Divisional Court re-instates requirement for prisons assurances in Lithuanian accusation cases: Jane v Prosecutor General’s Office, Lithuania [2018] EWHC 1122 (Admin)

18.05.18 | |

The “headline” Lithuanian prisons case heard by the Divisional Court on 25 April 2018 led to a judgment handed down on 15 May 2018.  

 

Noting the extensive ongoing international criticism of two of Lithuania's three remand prisons (Lukiskes and Siauliai), the Court found that, despite reductions in overcrowding, there was no international consensus that conditions had been made Article 3 compliant pursuant to the test in Elashmawy (paras 90-91). Judges at WMC had accordingly been wrong in law and in fact to allow, since mid-2016, accusation extraditions to Lithuania to proceed without assurances (at least in cases where it was not otherwise clear that the defendant would be remanded in Kaunas remand prison). 

 

Lithuania was granted 42 days to provide an adequate assurance in order to address the risk.  The judgment anticipates potential future argument about the adequacy of any assurance offered. 

 

The judgment effects all Lithuanian accusation cases where geography suggests the person will be held in any remand prison other than Kaunas.  The pre-2016 position is restored and assurances are required.  

 

The Divisional Court was composed of Hickinbottom LJ and Dingemans J.

 

The Appellant was represented throughout the proceedings by Mary Westcott, led on appeal by Mark Summers QC, instructed by Renata Pinter of Dalton Holmes Gray.  

 

Court of Appeal gives important ruling in exclusion case

The Court of Appeal has given judgment in a significant case concerning the exclusion from refugee status of people accused of publishing material supportive of terrorism. 

 

In Youssef & N2 v SSHD, Edward Fitzgerald QC and Alasdair Mackenzie of Doughty Street represented Mr Youssef, instructed by Sonia Routledge of Birnberg Peirce.  Mr Youssef, who was formerly a lawyer in Egypt and is accepted by the Home Office to be at risk of torture there on account of his political views, had been found by the Upper Tribunal to be excluded from protection under Article 1F(c) of the Refugee Convention, because of his sermons and other published materials which were said to have praised Al Qaeda and its leaders and to have encouraged others to emulate them. 

 

The Court rejected the argument that individual responsibility could not arise for the purposes of Article 1F(c) without evidence of a material contribution to an actual criminal event, and did not accept that the elements of individual responsibility must be the same under all the limbs of Article 1F. 

 

However, the Court did find that it was necessary to focus closely on the acts committed by the individual concerned, when deciding whether they were capable of affecting international peace and security, for purposes of Article 1F(c).  It found it ‘helpful to consider separately the quality of the acts in question, and their gravity or severity’.  Applying that test, it held that the Tribunal had not properly addressed itself to the gravity or seriousness of Mr Youssef's individual conduct, including questions such as the reach and the audience of his published material.  It therefore allowed the appeal, remitting it to the Tribunal for that issue to be reconsidered.  

Extradition refused on human rights grounds

11.05.18 | |

Amelia Nice successfully represented Mr Varga in an appeal against extradition to Romania. Mr Justice Ouseley allowed the appeal on Article 8 grounds, noting in particular the Appellant’s evidence that he had sought the permission of the Romanian court before moving to this country with his wife and young children.



Amelia Nice was instructed by Alison Fong San Pin of Lawrence and Co Solicitors. 

Emma Scott secures a stay for abuse of process in anti-hunting case

11.05.18 | |

Emma represented a teacher charged with aggravated trespass in relation to blowing horns on private land, where her client had reason to believe illegal hare coursing was taking place.

 

Defence footage was played of a purported 'trail hunt' which showed an animal hanging out of a hound's mouth, and also of the Police who were at the site to investigate complaints, riding pillion on the back of quad bikes driven by members of the hunting group.

 

Most of the Crown's case had been heard, including evidence that the hunt group purchased and imported real fox urine online from an individual in the USA so that a scent could be laid for a trail, when a piece of evidence was brought to the attention of the Defence.
 

This evidence had been in the possession of the Crown but had not previously been disclosed to the Defence. Emma argued that as a result of the contents and the point in the proceedings when it was finally disclosed, her client was so prejudiced that she could not now receive a fair trial as a result.
 

The Court agreed and a stay for abuse of process was granted.
 

Emma was instructed by Jessica Black of Bindmans.

Emma Scott represents man charged with Grievous Bodily Harm with intent on his ex-partner.

09.05.18 | |

Mr Ndiaye was convicted of Grievous Bodily Harm with intent, burglary with intent to commit Grievous Bodily Harm, and common assault, in what the Judge described as, “the most savage attack in front of neighbours”.

 

Mr Ndiaye was assessed as a dangerous offender.  The offences included a substantial collection of aggravating features, including previous convictions for domestic violence.  Emma successfully mitigated the total sentence imposed to 13 years' imprisonment with an extended licence period of 5 years.

 

Emma was instructed by Robert Dynowski at Steel & Shamash. 

 

See news article here.

 

 

 

Supreme Court considers lawfulness of miscarriage of justice compensation regime

On 8 and 9 May 2018 the Supreme Court is hearing the appeal of Sam Hallam, who argues that the legislation governing whether the state will pay compensation for miscarriage of justice is too restrictive, unlawful and incompatible with the presumption of innocence within article 6(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

 

Mr Hallam was sent to prison aged only 17, and spent 7 years and 7 months in custody before his conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal. His claim for miscarriage of justice compensation was rejected, and in response he has challenged the statutory regime governing these claims. 

 

Heather Williams QC and Adam Straw represent Mr Hallam, instructed by Birnberg Pierce solicitors. 

 

To read more please see here.

 

Rose McGowan instructs Doughty Street counsel to seek justice and accountability for abuse and harassment

Artist, activist and former actress Rose McGowan has instructed Jennifer Robinson to help her develop an international advocacy effort to support women and to work with US lawyers to seek justice and accountability for the abuse and harassment she has suffered from Mr Weinstein. Ms Robinson is working with Nancy Hollander, an Associate Tenant of Doughty Street, and her law firm Freedman Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward.

 

It is now public knowledge that Weinstein employed underhanded tactics to "silence" his victims, including hiring private investigators to collect information about the journalists trying to expose allegations of sexual assault and to "target" those who were speaking out about him. Ms McGowan was targeted by the counter-intelligence companies Psops and Black Cube: she was stalked, had her private accounts hacked, was publicly attacked and ridiculed, and was secretly recorded and exploited by people she confided in, who later turned out to be hired by Weinstein.

 

Ms. Robinson says: "Rose has suffered a vile campaign of harassment at the hands of Mr Weinstein and his representatives. It is well documented that Mr Weinstein went to extraordinary lengths to silence Rose and undermine her credibility, including hiring ex-Mossad agents to infiltrate her life and a PR team to malign her in the media."

 

"Rose is a feminist whistle-blower. For speaking out about sexual abuse and harassment in Hollywood, she has faced the kind of harassment I’m used to seeing authoritarian governments use against political dissidents and whistleblowers. Rose faced this treatment because she spoke out about abuse by one powerful man and about the industry which protected him. Mr Weinstein abused his power over many women, which was facilitated for decades by the silence of many. Rose and the women who have spoken out should be celebrated, not persecuted."

 

Ms Robinson is also advising Rose on her international advocacy work, which has commenced with her new #RoseArmy fundraising campaign for the Coalition to End Violence Against Women through the CrowdJustice platform, to support women speaking out about abuse and harassment.

 

"Rose is determined to turn her experience into a positive opportunity to assist other women to speak out about abuse and harassment," Ms Robinson said.

 

In April Ms McGowan submitted evidence to the Women and Equalities Committee in the UK Parliament for its inquiry into the abuse of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual abuse and harassment cases. Advised by Ms Robinson, Ms McGowan shared her experience of Mr Weinstein’s lawyers and their attempts to have her sign an NDA, explaining how NDAs were used by him for decades as a tool to silence women - in the US and the UK - to ensure his impunity and his ability to continue to abuse women. Zelda Perkins, Weintein’s former assistant, also spoke to the Committee about the NDA she was forced to sign about sexual harassment by Weinstein in Europe against his UK-based employee.

 

Ms Robinson said, "Rose contributed to the Parliamentary Inquiry in the UK to encourage more women to speak out about their experience and to assist with law reform efforts to stop NDAs being abused to silence women and to cover up abuse. We cannot allow there to be any more Weinsteins, anywhere."  

 

Ms. Hollander said,"Rose McGowan is a courageous woman. I am looking forward to helping her continue to be a spokesperson and supporter of others who have suffered as she has in the entertainment industry and elsewhere. With her help, others can find their voices. Together we will make the changes that are necessary so women can finally stand on equal footing with men everywhere."

 

Ms Robinson attended court with Ms McGowan in Virginia this week. See reports here and here.

 

Lauzikas: Important new guidance on public law and EU law points in detention challenges

04.05.18 | |

The Administrative Court found that a Lithuanian national was unlawfully held by the Home Office for almost 50 days.  R (Lauzikas) v SSHD establishes two vital points of legal principle for which the Claimant had contended. First, where EEA nationals (or their family members) are detained, EU law imposes a test of individualised proportionality and the detention must be shown to be necessary. Second,  a material public law error in a distinct, prior decision which bears on the decision to detain (eg an unlawful certificate) renders detention unlawful.

 

Laura Dubinsky of Doughty Street Chambers was leading counsel for the Claimant and Jane Elliott Kelly of Lamb Building was junior counsel. They are instructed by Lupins Solicitors. 

 

The full judgment can be found here

Hospital Order rather than a Hybrid Order following the recent guidance in Edwards [2018] EWCA Crim 595

01.05.18 | |

A man who killed an 83 year old woman in 2016 was made the subject of a hospital order with restrictions by Stuart Smith J following a guilty plea to manslaughter. The Judge decided not to impose a hybrid order pursuant to s.45A of the Mental Health Act 1983. Tim Moloney QC, instructed by OWN solicitors represented the defendant, leading Steven Garrett.

 

Read about this case in The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Mail and on The BBC

Adam Wagner to give evidence to Parliament on human rights enforcement

On Wednesday 9 May at 15:15, Adam Wagner will be giving evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on their inquiry into attitudes to enforcement of human rights

 

Adam is a new Doughty Street tenant and the founder and chair of RightsInfo (www.rightsinfo.org), a charity which focuses on countering media misinformation and presenting a positive message about human rights in the UK. 

 

The Committee will also hear from Liberty's Director and Doughty Street associate tenant Martha Spurrier, Dr Alice Donald and Professor David Mead.

Humanists UK to intervene in Noel Conway’s assisted dying appeal

The Court of Appeal has granted permission to Humanists UK to intervene in an important appeal being heard this week concerning assisted dying.  Noel Conway’s case will be heard by the Court of Appeal on Tuesday 1 - Thursday 3 May 2018.  The Court of Appeal has also permitted Humanists UK to rely on witness evidence from eminent moral philosophers Professor Simon Blackburn and Professor John Harris and its Chief Executive, Andrew Copson.

 

Humanists UK is represented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Graeme Hall of Doughty Street Chambers and Nancy Collins of Hodge Jones and Allen. 

 

More details are available in Humanists UK’s press release, available here.

 

 

Lord Chancellor confirms legal aid for victims of trafficking and modern slavery in scope under LASPO

The Lord Chancellor conceded a claim for judicial review against the refusal of legal aid to a victim of trafficking, just before the substantive judicial review hearing was to be heard in the High Court.

 

The Claimant, LL is an extremely vulnerable victim of trafficking. She had a positive reasonable grounds decision under the NRM. She applied for a legal help extension for an expert report in relation to a conclusive grounds decision that she was a victim of trafficking and discretionary leave to remain, making clear that the two matters were integrally linked. The Lord Chancellor refused the extension because (a) a conclusive grounds decision was out of scope and (b) because no “application” is needed for consideration of discretionary leave for victims of trafficking (Victims of modern slavery – Competent Authority guidance - v.3.0, 21 March 2016) and so this could not be in scope under paragraph 32 of the First schedule to LASPO which refers to an “application for leave to enter or remain”. In making these decisions the Lord Chancellor was applying a recent change in practice for cases of this kind.

 

On 16 April 2018 the Lord Chancellor conceded LL’s application for judicial review of that decision. The hearing was due to take place on 17 April 2018. The order was approved by Mr Justice Walker on 18 April 2018 and is now available here, together with a statement of reasons.

 

The approved order restores what was previously understood to be the position and recites his agreement to the following points:

 

That civil legal services provided to assist a victim of trafficking to obtain a conclusive grounds determination will be in scope of legal aid under s. 9 and para 32(1) of LASPO where that work is in relation to a determination of whether or not the victim should be granted leave to enter or remain for any reason.

 

That victims of trafficking are entitled to legal aid for any kind of application for leave to enter or remain, and irrespective of whether or not any specified form or formal application is required by the Home Office.

 

The agreed order makes clear that work in securing a conclusive ground decision is in scope where, as is so often the case, it is vitally linked to grant of leave. It also puts an end to reliance on the highly technical argument that work on obtaining leave is not covered by legal aid simply because there is no need for a formal application.

 

On Friday 27 April 2018 the Legal Aid Agency confirmed that the declaration contained in the order was circulated to the relevant LAA casework teams, shortly after it was approved by the Judge. It also confirmed the understanding that the declaration will be published on the LAA’s website early this week, and the LAA has agreed that the declaration will also apply to  modern slavery cases under para 32A. These are important further clarifications – especially as this judicial review had always alleged that four years after the entry into force of LASPO, the LAA was not entitled to change its mind about the interpretation of para 30; still less fail to tell anyone about it.

 

Together with the recent decision in PK (Ghana), R (On the Application Of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 98, which explained the circumstances in which leave will be granted under ECAT, and in line with its purpose to assist and protect victims, LL is an important advance for victims of trafficking and modern slavery.

 

Carita Thomas at ATLEU, and Martin Westgate QC and Catherine Meredith of Doughty Street Chambers, acted for LL. The team are grateful to Zoe Harper, Doughty Street Chambers, Dr Anne Gallagher, Academic Panellist of Doughty Street Chambers, Kate Roberts at the Human Trafficking Foundation and all those who helped with evidence in the case; and to the AIRE Centre and legal team for their Third Party Intervention.   

 

Martin Westgate QC also acted with Catherine Meredith and Nina Rathbone Pullen at Wilson Solicitors LLP in PK and were again assisted by Dr Anne Gallagher. We are closely monitoring policy developments following that case.

 

The Anti-Trafficking Team at Doughty Street Chambers will be holding a specialist trafficking seminar on 15 June 2018 to discuss these developments, and others, including the revised NRM.  Further details to follow shortly.

Academic Expert Anne Gallagher AO has been elected President of the International Catholic Migration Commission

Academic Expert Anne Gallagher AO has been elected President of the International Catholic Migration Commission. ICMC’s mission is to protect and serve uprooted people, including refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced people, victims of human trafficking, and migrants - regardless of faith, race, ethnicity or nationality. Since its founding in 1951, ICMC has resettled more than a million refugees. It currently operates in over fifty countries.

 

Anne takes over from the late Peter Sutherland, Former Attorney-General of Ireland, Director of the World Trade Organization and Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Migration. As President, she will lead ICMC’s international advocacy efforts, most immediately in relation to the Global Compact for Migration that is currently being negotiated by the international community.

 

Anne’s work has started straightaway. She recently took part in the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration which discussed the plight of the Rohingya; who in Anne’s view have not received adequate international help: "What worries me most is the uniform timidity, the complicity of silence in the face of such egregious injustice meted out against a persecuted minority by a single bad actor" (The Spectator, 14 April 2018). Anne’s full article is available here.

 

We wish Anne the very best of luck with this important and influential appointment and in working to protect the rights of those amongst the world’s most vulnerable communities.

 

Katy Thorne QC successfully defends “follower of cult leader” accused of historic sexual offences instructed by Michelle George of Blackfords Solicitors.

30.04.18 | |

Katy’s client was alleged to be the brainwashed follower of a religious leader and was accused of assisting him in the rape and indecent assault of several complainants including two as young as six years old. 

 

The religious leader had previously been found to be unfit to plead.  He was therefore unable to refute the allegations.The jury had to consider whether he had committed the acts, and also, in the trial on the indictment, whether Katy’s client had taken part in or assisted him in multiple counts of indecent assault and rape. 

 

After a trial in which even the religious beliefs of the defendant were in dispute, the jury unanimously acquitted the defendant and found that the religious leader, had not committed the acts. 

 

Katy is particularly skilled at the combination of tactical strategy and sensitive but robust cross-examination which secures acquittals in such cases.

 

She was instructed by Michelle George of Blackfords Solicitors.

 

Emma Scott successfully secures an acquittal for student charged with Grievous Bodily Harm with intent after blinding a fellow student with a pool cue.

27.04.18 | |

Mr Winter had used a pool cue to hit a fellow student at a college near Oxford and had pleaded Guilty to inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm.  The issue at trial was intent.

 

Emma argued that Mr Winter had lost it after enduring an evening of his fellow student’s drunken behaviour and inappropriate advances towards female colleagues, intending only to hurt him and not cause him serious injury.  Horrifically, the cue made contact with the eye.

 

The jury acquitted Mr Winter, accepting that he had not intended to cause really serious bodily harm.

 

Emma was instructed by Ann Ridge of Howells.

 

Read about this case in the press here

 

Court of Justice gives important ruling in torture case

The Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union has given judgment in an important case providing additional protection under EU law for torture victims. 

 

In MP v SSHD, a reference from the UK Supreme Court, the Court holds that subsidiary protection status (known as humanitarian protection in UK domestic law) must in certain circumstances be given to a person who has been tortured by the authorities of their country of origin, but who is not at risk of further torture in future.  Subsidiary protection must be given where the individual is at serious risk of committing suicide on return, as a result of trauma resulting from the past torture, and where there is also a real risk of being intentionally deprived of appropriate care for the physical and mental after-effects of the torture. 

 

The Court takes account, in reaching its ruling, of the duty on states in Article 14 of the UN Convention against Torture to provide torture victims with ‘the means for as full rehabilitation as possible’.  The Court makes clear that ‘intentional’ deprivation of care can extend to a situation where the state authorities simply ‘are not prepared’ to provide rehabilitation, or where access to health care excludes certain people on a discriminatory basis.

 

Mr MP is a Sri Lankan Tamil who was severely tortured by the Sri Lankan authorities in 2001-02 and continued to suffer severe psychological after-effects of the torture.

 

Alasdair Mackenzie of Doughty Street represented Mr MP, led by Raza Husain QC with Professor Takis Tridimas, both of Matrix, and instructed by Arun Gananathan at Birnberg Peirce Ltd.

Successful ‘Substantial Injustice’ Appellant Released Following Sentence for Manslaughter Tim Moloney QC

25.04.18 | |

On 30 January 2018, John Crilly’s conviction for murder was quashed by the Court of Appeal and a retrial was ordered. Mr. Crilly’s appeal is the first ‘substantial injustice’ appeal to be allowed in the wake of Jogee.

 

Mr. Crilly subsequently pleaded guilty to manslaughter and a determinate sentence which enabled his immediate release was imposed by Mr. Justice William Davis.

 

Mr. Crilly was represented by Tim Moloney QC instructed by Simon Natas of ITN solictors.

 

For some of the coverage of the case see:

 

The BBC, The Times, The Telegraph and Legal Cheek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Bentley QC advises on DNA issues in controversial case against leading Malaysian politician

24.04.18 | |

In 2014, leading Malaysian opposition politician Anwar Ibrahim was sentenced to four years imprisonment after his appeal against his controversial and internationally criticised conviction for sodomy was rejected. That conviction was heavily dependent on DNA evidence, said to implicate Anwar.
 

London-based criminal defence specialist David Bentley QC (known for his expertise in forensic DNA issues) was asked to review the safety of that conviction.
 

His opinion, which identified potentially significant shortcomings in the DNA evidence presented at trial, was cited by his family and his lawyer at a recent press conference. They urged the home ministry to carry out an urgent retest of the DNA samples used at his trial.
 

Reports of this press conference can be seen here and here.

Detained Reuters Journalists in Myanmar Should be Released

20.04.18 | |

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have now been in prison in Yangon for over four months. Their arrest and prosecution are part of a crackdown on freedom of the press in Myanmar intended to silence reporting on the crimes committed against Rohingyas. The journalists are young Buddhists who have done nothing to harm the state. Yet they face a sham trial for possessing “official secrets” and may be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.

 

Today in court one of the prosecution’s own witnesses admitted that the arrest was a “trap” in stunning testimony that drew gasps from those in the courtroom. The witness, a police captain, gave evidence that brigadier Tin Ko Ko ordered police to arrange a meeting with Wa Lone to hand over “secret documents” that would set up an arrest moments later. According to the witness, the brigadier gave the documents to a junior police officer, instructed him to give them to Wa Lone in a restaurant and told him that when Wa Lone came out the “regional police force has to entrap him and arrest him”. The brigadier also “told the police members, ‘if you don’t get Wa Lone, you will go to jail’”.

 

It is now clear to any impartial observer that this case is a bungled attempt to entrap two innocent young men. The US, UK, Canada, the UN and the European Union have already demanded the journalists’ release, and further action may follow if the case is not resolved. 

 

Silencing critics through false arrests and arbitrary detention flies in the face of Myanmar’s professed dedication to the rule of law and free speech, and risks lasting damage to the country’s reputation and economy. But the truthful testimony of a brave witness is a step in the right direction. The prosecution should now drop the case immediately or, failing that, the district court judge should dismiss it. If this does not happen, it will be the responsibility of the government to grant an amnesty. 

 

Amal Clooney

Counsel for Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo and Reuters 

Will Artificial Intelligence result in artificial disclosure? - Insight from Peter Caldwell.

18.04.18 |
|

by

Peter Caldwell

 

As we await the results of the disclosure review of criminal cases, intended to address what the outgoing DPP described as “deep-rooted and systemic disclosure issues”, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that with immediate effect it would permit the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in all of its new casework.  For the SFO, the use of AI might be considered a logical response to the pressure of managing digital data, but it is a step change of approach and brings significant risks of injustice to the trial process.

 

Fraud cases, have always been “document-heavy”, but the growth in digital data in recent years has been exponential.  It is relatively easy to seize large amounts of data, (regularly measured in terabytes), but more difficult to ensure an effective review of the data for material that may assist the accused.  While the collapse of a series of rape trials highlighted disclosure failures in relation to data stored on personal electronic devices the implications for the review of digital data in corporate investigations is of a wholly different order.

 

Automated document analysis is nothing new.  Prosecution agencies (as well as defence lawyers) have been using “key word” searches to trawl large volumes of digital material for many years now.  The proposed use of AI however, is a departure.  In the past, decisions on disclosure of relevant material, whether by way of a physical sift of the use of electronic searches, have always been conducted by a lawyer or investigator.  The purpose of deploying AI, is to move beyond defined word searches and permit the robot prosecutor an element of discretion in the conduct of a search; to “learn” from the process and to apply what it has learned in deeper searches of the material.  By this means AI can be used to search for and group data thematically.  This is not merely matching like for like, but making judgment calls.

 

The use of AI is now commonplace in corporate internal investigations where platforms using natural language and machine learning can assist in identifying fraud and misconduct quickly.  Pressure of time (as well as the cost of resources) can be particularly acute where there is an obligation to make a report to a regulator or to trace and freeze stolen assets.  These are considerations which place a premium on a corporate getting the best answer it can in the shortest time possible. From an investigator’s point of view, the task of finding a needle shouldn’t be deterred by the size of the haystack.

 

The obligations on a prosecutor, however, are not the same as for a corporate conducting an internal investigation.  The duty of the prosecutor is to get it right, and to err, where the judgment call is close, on the side of disclosure to the accused.

 

The use of AI had been “piloted” by the SFO in its investigation of Rolls Royce Plc. Some 30 million documents had been submitted for automated document analysis to review for material that might attract Legal Professional Privilege (LPP).    Though hailed as a success by the SFO, it should be noted that the Rolls Royce investigation was not a typical criminal case.  This was not a test of disclosure in the context of adversarial litigation, but collaborative effort by both parties towards a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).  For those purposes Rolls Royce as the company under investigation had itself provided the keys to its own warehouse of material.  It had access to its own data in a way that most defendants accused of economic crime do not.  The investigation had in very large part been conducted and voluntarily revealed to the SFO by Rolls-Royce itself.   The DPA approved by Sir Brian Leveson PQBD, by its very nature did not involve adversarial proceedings against individual defendants.  The use of AI was ultimately restricted to a search for items that might be subject to legal professional privilege, a task that would previously have been conducted by independent disclosure counsel.

 

Would the use of AI would be considered such an unqualified benefit in a contested prosecution of serious economic crime?  The SFO evidently consider it will benefit the prosecution, but will it assist the defence?  In such cases necessarily an accused’s defence is likely to be derived from material not relied on by the prosecution, but in the surrounding material of emails and notes, which in ordinary business life provide the context and very often the evidence capable of explaining alleged misconduct.  It is questionable whether AI will help or hinder the process of locating relevant material.

 

The rules underpinning disclosure in document-heavy cases have been revisited on a number of occasions.  Historically, the Courts have expressed concern that the defence should not be given the “keys to warehouse door”, a phrase derived from the physical storage of unused material.  This dicta reflected a policy decision based on cost and manageability; that the defence should not be permitted to make unnecessary use of time and resources.  It cannot have been intended to confer a proprietorial advantage to the prosecution. 

 

Though usually a step or two behind the development of technology and the growth of data sources, guidance given in the disclosure protocols has emphasised the need for transparency in the process, while allowing prosecutions to be manageable.  There is inevitably a tension between these two principles.

 

In R. v. R [2016] 1 WLR 1872,  the Court of Appeal reviewed the approach to disclosure that should be taken in such cases, emphasising the principle that “the burden of disclosure should not render the prosecution of economic crime impractical.”  One consequence of this principle is that the prosecution’s obligation to account for its handling of unused material has been reduced.  Thus, the 2013 Guidelines qualify the requirement to keep a “record or log” of all digital material seized as a duty to record only the “strategy and the analytical techniques used to search the data”.  Similarly, the scheduling duty imposed on the disclosure officer separately to list each item of unused material is modified in favour of block listing the search terms used and any items of material which might satisfy the disclosure test.

 

Central to the decision in R. v. R. was the principle of transparency in the conduct of the prosecution’s review. The prosecution must explain what it is doing and what it will not be doing at this stage, ideally in the form of a “Disclosure Management Document” (DMD). This document, as recommended by the Review and the Protocol, is intended to clarify the prosecution’s approach to disclosure (for example, which search terms have been used and why) and to identify and narrow the issues in dispute.  

 

Whereas the Court of Appeal contemplated the use of word searches based on defined terms about which the defence could be informed, it did not have in mind the development of technology that would permit autonomous searching.  The change from sift by word-search to sift by algorithm is not merely quantitive (more and faster), but qualitative.  It marks a wholly different approach to reviewing material. 

 

The fact that the defence is informed that AI is being used does not avoid unfairness or a lack of transparency inherent in the use of AI.  Although a prosecutor may inform the defence of the nature of the review the AI platform was tasked to perform, the prospect that the defence will have an opportunity to check that process or hold it to account seems remote.

 

Given the carte blanche the SFO has awarded itself following the Rolls Royce case it is unlikely that the use of AI will be limited to post-charge disclosure reviews, rather it will inform the strategy of the investigation and decisions to prosecute from the very first.  The clear implication is that an AI platform will be tasked to review the material with a particular object in mind.  Prosecutors directing AI platforms in this way, rather than exploring all reasonable lines of enquiry, will be happy to have their worst suspicions confirmed.  These algorithms inevitably (necessarily) look for patterns in the data and serious errors of bias can occur.  Far from offering transparency, the process of AI decision making is likely to be opaque.  There may be an input of data and an output of analysis, but no reasons given for the decision the robot has made.  Informed IT specialists have noted that there is substantial scope for oversight and confirmation bias as part of a decision making process that is not truly accountable.

 

The use of AI is likely to diminish transparency and increases the risk of injustice in criminal cases.  Moreover, it renders any injustices that may arise so much harder to identify and redress. It must be recalled that while prosecutors and defence lawyers have a duty to manage disclosure issues professionally, the process at heart is not at all collaborative but adversarial.  If however, the use of AI is sanctioned, then fairness surely requires equality of arms.  At the very least this should permit the defence to participate and have access to the AI platforms – if not the keys to the warehouse door, then at least the codes.

 

Upper Tribunal hands down guidance on out of country appeals heard before Supreme Court judgment in Kiarie and Byndloss

18.04.18 | |

In AJ (s 94B: Kiarie and Byndloss questions) Nigeria [2018] UKUT 00115 (IAC) the Upper Tribunal has handed down guidance on the application of Kiarie and Byndloss to appeals which were heard prior to the handing down of the Supreme Court’s judgment.

 

The Appellant had been removed prior to the hearing of his appeal, pursuant to certification under section 94B of the 2002 Act.  The UT found that the First-tier Tribunal judge had erred in law in failing to consider whether it was necessary for the Appellant to give oral evidence albeit he had not had the benefit of the Supreme Court’s judgment.

 

The UT’s guidance for FTT judges is set out at paras [44-52] of the determination.  The UT concluded:

 

69. Both in the present case and in any other appeal where the section 94B certificate has not been quashed, if the First-tier Tribunal, as a result of adopting the step-by-step approach, concludes that the appeal cannot lawfully be determined unless the appellant is in the United Kingdom, the Tribunal should give a direction to that effect and adjourn the proceedings, to enable the respondent to secure the appellant’s return.

 

Andrew Jones at Wilson Solicitors LLP and Marisa Cohen acted for the Appellant

 

 

 

 

Acquitted of conspiracies to supply class A drugs and convert criminal property

17.04.18 | |

A and her boyfriend, together with 3 others, were said to be party to a substantial conspiracy to supply class A drugs. They and another were also said to have been party to a conspiracy to launder the proceeds. The case was arose from a substantial police surveillance operation.

 

A and her boyfriend were said, by the Crown, to be ‘in the thick of it’. As well as both being present during a meeting with another co-conspirator, A’s house was used for a previous drugs transaction.

 

On the day of A’s arrest, they had been at the house of another co-defendant, when 1kg of cocaine, at a high level of purity was delivered. The block was broken up at the address. A and her boyfriend left with 2/3 of it. They left by taxi. Just under ½ kg of the cocaine was placed, by A, into her jacket pocket.  Another approximately 240g was recovered from a bag in the taxi next to her, when the police intercepted the taxi.

 

The jury acquitted A, following trial. They accepted that she was not a party to the conspiracies. The defence were able to demonstrate, via cell-site evidence, that A was at work when the earlier drugs transaction took place.

 

Amos Waldman was instructed by Matthew Agar at MMA Solicitors, Middlesbrough.

 

 

Joel Bennathan’s client not guilty of murder

16th April 2018: Gleneson Mark found not guilty of murder by unanimous verdict after a 6 week trial at the Old Bailey. Mr Mark was defended by Joel Bennathan QC and Angharad Mousley of ITN Solicitors, instructed by Theresa Gerald.

 

Read more about the case here.

 

 

 

Jamie Burton & Sam Jacobs to speak at Young People’s Legal Rights Conference

Liam Walker of Doughty Street Crime acts in high profile drink driving case

16.04.18 | |

As a result of their commitment to their clients, Counsel from Doughty Street Crime are often instructed to represent high profile clients. Liam Walker is regularly instructed to represent professionals whose livelihoods and reputations depend on the outcome of a case. In addition to representing clients in Court Liam provides pre-charge advice and advises on cases where charges may possibly be avoided at an early stage. Liam’s case was reported in the BBC here, in The Telegraph and The Independent. To instruct Liam please contact his clerks.

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE IN THE HUMANITARIAN AID SECTOR REQUIRES INDEPENDENT, SECTOR-WIDE INQUIRY

 

            

 

 

A coalition of lawyers from the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the Disaster Law Project (DLP) and Doughty Street Chambers has submitted a joint submission to the International Development Committee (IDC) inquiry on sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) and related misconduct in the humanitarian aid sector. The submission sets out key changes necessary to establish effective safeguarding processes and strengthen accountability in the sector, and calls for an independent, external sector-wide inquiry.

 

 “The IDC’s inquiry is an important first step, but an in-depth independent inquiry is necessary to reveal the scope of the problem, analyse how safeguarding practice are operating on the ground and ensure accountability” said Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney with IJDH and one of the submission’s authors. “An independent inquiry is an opportunity for the UK to lead globally in ending abuse and impunity in the aid sector and rebuilding public confidence. This goes far beyond Oxfam” she continued.

 

The submission was made following a meeting of the Haiti All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) chaired by Lord Griffiths in March, where Brian Concannon, Executive Director of IJDH and Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers, spoke alongside Nick Roseveare, Director of International Programmes at Oxfam. At that meeting, Concannon emphasised that the Oxfam scandal is merely “the visible tip of the iceberg” and that the entire international aid sector is in the same boat with Oxfam over safeguarding, stating “and it's sinking…If they don’t fix the boat, then it will sink.”

 

Both Concannon and Robinson emphasised the need for an independent sector-wide inquiry at the APPG, a position also welcomed by Oxfam. At least 23 organisations have been reported to have been implicated in SEA in Haiti, the Ivory Coast and Sudan. Robinson said that a sector-wide review would have greater credibility with the public; would better protect Oxfam’s reputation and the reputation of other aid organisations and would be far more cost efficient than if each aid organisation conducted its own internal review. While the Charities Commission investigation into Oxfam is welcomed, Robinson said that “an organisation-specific approach is not going to have the sector-wide impact that it needs to have".

 

The Haiti All Party Parliamentary Group meeting participants, which included Lord Bates, Minister of State at the Department for International Development, were receptive to the proposals and encouraged a submission to the IDC.

 

In addition to explaining the need for a broader inquiry beyond the IDC and proposing models which DFID could fund, the submission draws the Committee’s attention to key deficiencies in existing safeguarding policies, with a particular focus on organisations’ Codes of Conduct and grievance mechanisms. The submission calls upon IDC to make recommendations to:

 

  • strengthen cooperation between humanitarian actors and local authorities in criminal and civil actions;
  • compel organizations to clearly define and expressly prohibit SEA, violations of domestic law, staff misconduct, and other actionable program concerns in a Code of Conduct; and
  • require grievance mechanisms that are transparent, accessible, secure, and capable of providing victims with an adequate remedy.

The work of IDC and any subsequent independent inquiry to “must consider misconduct towards both staff and beneficiaries, hear directly from affected communities and address not only sexual abuse but other misconduct like physical violence and corruption” said Phillips. “All abuse in the aid sector is unacceptable.”

 

Reports from the Haiti APPG can be found here and here.

 

Contacts:

 

Jennifer Robinson, Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers, j.robinson@doughtystreet.co.uk, +442074041313 (London, UK)

 

Nicole Phillips, Staff Attorney, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, nicole@ijdh.org, +509-4645-2888 (Port-au-Prince, Haiti)

 

Kathleen Bergin, Director, Disaster Law Project, kathleen.bergin@gmail.com, +1 857-222-6176 (Ithaca, USA)

 

Noor Salman, wife of the Florida nightclub bomber, found not guilty. Associate Tenant Linda Moreno defends

03.04.18 | |

Noor Salman, the widow of the gunman in Orlando's Pulse nightclub shooting, sobbed Friday as she was acquitted of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization and of obstruction of justice in connection with her husband's 2016 rampage.

 

Read about this case in the press here

Doughty Street Crime Team to take direct action in opposing legal aid funding reforms

30.03.18 |
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Yesterday (29th March 2018) the Criminal Bar Association issued a statement in which it set out the devastating consequences of the UK Government’s underfunding of the criminal justice system. The latest blow is a series of reforms to criminal barristers’ fees in the Crown Court. Under the new fee regime which comes into force on 1 April 2018, and which the MoJ asserts to be ‘cost neutral’, we have calculated projected losses of up to forty per cent of a barrister’s income in certain types of case compared to the current fee regime. Not a single barrister in our crime team who assessed their income under the new scheme reported a cost-neutral outcome.

 

Barristers’ fees have been subject to savage cuts since 1997. It is our view that the premise of these reforms is misleading and that the reforms represent an attempt to introduce further substantive cuts to the legal aid budget. Having summarised the various ways in which this government is dismantling our criminal justice system, including cuts to the budgets of Probation, the Prison Service, HMCTS, and the police, the Criminal Bar Association has now advised criminal barristers to refuse instructions in cases under the new fee regime.

 

Members of Doughty Street's Crime Team have accepted that advice. We will not accept cases under the new fee regime and we will take part in days of action. We will support our colleagues across the criminal justice system who wish to protest against this government’s lack of respect for the work that they do every day to keep the system afloat.  

 

In particular, we support our colleagues at chambers and solicitors’ firms who will engage in direct action. We will work hard to support junior barristers who, through taking this direct action, will increase the financial strain under which they already labour as members of this profession – a profession whose value continues to elude the Ministry of Justice.

   

Associated/MailOnline pay libel damages and apologise in ‘Trojan Horse’ plot defamation case

29.03.18 | |

Associated Newspapers today became the latest newspaper group to pay damages and apologise in defamation proceedings brought by Nasim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman against a number of newspaper groups for articles which falsely claimed the couple were involved in an Islamist ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to take over a primary school. Mark Henderson, instructed by Rahman Lowe Solicitors, acts for the Claimants.

 

A statement by Associated Newspapers published today on MailOnline states that:

 

"Our reports on 19 and 20 February last year suggested that Nasim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman were involved in a suspected ‘Trojan Horse’ plot involving an Islamist campaign of intimidation to take over Clarksfield primary school in Oldham with the aim of imposing an aggressive and separatist Islamic agenda on the school. We accept that such allegations are unfounded. We apologise to Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman for any distress caused and have agreed to pay them substantial damages and costs."

 

Mark Henderson and Zillur Rahman of Rahman Lowe also act for the couple in claims arising from similar articles which were published by most other national newspapers. Claims regarding The Sun, Daily Telegraph, and Mirror have already been concluded with damages, published retractions and apologies by News Group Newspapers, Mirror Group Newspapers, and Telegraph Media Group. Claims continue with respect to articles in The Express, The Times, and Sunday Times.

 

Speaking today, Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman said:

 

We are really pleased with this outcome. These allegations against us have now been recognised to be false by four different newspaper groups.  MailOnline is the most widely read news website in the UK and some of the online comments that were made on their articles concerning our family were truly horrific. We are therefore particularly pleased that they have now set the record straight.”  

 

Associated Newspapers’ retraction and apology is published on MailOnline here.

 

The statements published in The Sun, Mirror, and Telegraph can be found herehere, and here.

 

 

Amal Clooney to represent Reuters reporters detained in Myanmar

29.03.18 | |

Amal Clooney, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in international law and human rights, has confirmed that she will serve as counsel to Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters currently on trial in Myanmar. Ms Clooney has been instructed jointly by Reuters and the two defendants in the case.

 

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are investigative reporters who were arrested last December following their reporting of a massacre of 10 Rohingya men and boys in Rakhine State, Myanmar. They are accused of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act, a colonial-era statute which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years, and are currently detained in a Yangon prison while the criminal trial against them is ongoing.

 

When asked why she decided to take on this case, Amal Clooney stated that: “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are being prosecuted simply because they reported the news. I have reviewed the case file and it is clear beyond doubt that the two journalists are innocent and should be released immediately. Yet they have been denied bail and face 14 years in prison. The outcome of this case will tell us a lot about Myanmar’s commitment to the rule of law and freedom of speech.“

 

Gail Gove, Chief Counsel of Reuters, said, “We will pursue all avenues to secure our reporters’ release. Retaining Ms Clooney greatly strengthens our international legal expertise and allows us to broaden those efforts.”

 

Any inquiries relating to this press release can be directed to Abbe Serphos at Reuters.

Theo Huckle QC wins landmark ruling over musician’s ruined hearing

28.03.18 | |

In a 125 page Judgment handed down on 28/03/2018 at the High Court, London by the Honourable Mrs Justice Nicola Davies DBE, the Royal Opera House has been found responsible for failing to protect the hearing of its Musicians and for causing Acoustic Shock to former Viola player, Chris Goldscheider.

 

The full press release can be found here

 

Read about this case in the press here.

Former British champion ice dancer and Olympic coach has been found not guilty of raping a skater when she was 13

28.03.18 | |

Former British champion ice dancer and Olympic coach has been found not guilty of raping a skater when she was 13. The former ice dancer turned coach was involved in the coaching of current Team GB skaters competing at the Pyeong Chang Winter Olympics. He was unanimously acquitted after a two week trial at Reading Crown Court, defended by Sarah Elliott QC. Sarah was instructed by Natalie Smith and Nigel Richardson of Hodge Jones & Allen.

 

Press coverage can be found here and here

Misuse of Non-Disclosure Agreements: Submission to the Women and Equalities Committee’s Inquiry into Sexual Harassment

Jennifer Robinson has, together with Anya Proops QC, Aileen McColgan and Natalie Connor of 11KBW, yesterday made written submissions to the Women and Equalities Committee’s Inquiry into Sexual Harassment, specifically in relation to the misuse of non-disclosure agreements in cases of sexual assault and harassment.

 

The Committee was established in June 2015 to hold the Government and its Equalities Office to account.  Its Inquiry into Sexual Harassment was launched at the beginning of this year and the Committee is currently hearing evidence from various individuals who have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, and individuals which have signed NDAs in that connection.  

 

Controversy over the use of NDAs in relation to sexual assault and harassment cases arose after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in late 2017 and it became apparent that NDAs had been used to effectively suppress repeated allegations of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment over several decades. Concern has been raised about the extent to which NDAs conceal wrongdoing and potential criminal acts, contribute to a culture of silence and foster an environment in which wrongdoers feel that they can continue to act with impunity, placing others at risk.  In the UK, Zelda Perkins, Weinstein’s former personal assistant in London, has spoken out about the NDA she felt pressured to sign in relation to the alleged sexual assault of a colleague. Further controversy followed the President’s Club annual charity dinner in London in January, where it was reported that women staffing the event had been groped and harassed but had been required to sign NDAs prior to the event, which they understand prevented them from speaking out. It was further reported that the women did not have a proper opportunity to read the agreements prior to signing them and were not permitted to retain a copy of what they had signed. In response, Prime Minister May called for a review of the use of NDAs.

 

The submissions provided yesterday to the Committee highlight that there is a real risk of ‘wrongdoers’, i.e. the people in respect of whose conduct the NDA is drafted, acting with impunity and abusing their dominant position so as to induce an individual (who may be a victim of criminality) to enter into an oppressive and excessive NDA which prevents serious or criminal wrongdoing from coming to light. The submissions look not only at NDAs which have the effect of concealing sexual harassment of women, but also more broadly at confidentiality agreements signed by men and women alike which are designed to conceal serious wrongdoing, including possible criminal conduct, and to prevent free speech and legitimate public interest disclosures.  The submissions examine the existing legal and regulatory landscape in this area, including the protections against enforcement of such agreements, protections for whistleblowing and the possible criminal and regulatory sanctions which might apply to those who facilitate their creation, including lawyers.   

 

Ms Robinson told Channel 4 news tonight that “there are real and legitimate concerns” that NDAs have been misused “in a way that creates a culture of secrecy and impunity for wrongdoers”, emphasising that “we must do as much as we can to encourage women who have suffered sexual assault and harassment so that they feel comfortable coming forward and we don’t put any additional legal pressure or otherwise on them to stop them”. 

Statement of Doughty Street Crime Team in response to MoJ reforms to legal aid funding

26.03.18 |
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Doughty Street’s Crime Team is appalled by the decision of the Ministry of Justice to implement AGFS reforms. Our chambers was one of many who submitted a detailed consultation response and financial data to the MoJ in order to demonstrate the flawed and misleading premise of these reforms and the impact on members in enacting them, particularly junior members of the bar, women, and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

 

It is our view that this scheme represents yet another unacceptable and devastating reduction in funding of a criminal justice system which is already on its knees. We have balloted our members in accordance with the questions posed by the Criminal Bar Association. Our members are overwhelmingly in support of refusing instructions under this scheme and returns in respect of any cases which are funded under it. We will support any proposed action by the CBA. We support our colleagues across the bar and at chambers and solicitors’ firms who take action in response to these reforms.

 

Joel Bennathan QC

Head of DSC Crime Team 

 

Kate O'Raghallaigh

Deputy Head of DSC Crime Team 

Kristy Brimelow QC to speak at the SLS Annual Seminar 2018: Legal Legacies of the Iraq War 2003

Kirsty Brimelow QC will be part of a panel alongside Dr Ayça Çubukçu, Assistant Professor in Human Rights, London School of Economics; Erica Gaston, Gates Scholar, University of Cambridge and Non-Resident Fellow; Dr Robert Knox, Lecturer in Law, University of Liverpool and Dr Paul O’Connell, Reader in Law, SOAS University of London

 

For more information on the event click here

Federal Republic of Germany suspends imprisonment for 29 frauds totalling €96,766 over 6.5 years

23.03.18 | |

In January, Abigail Bright, instructed by Edward Jones, secured withdrawal of a European Arrest Warrant (‘EAW’) issued by the Federal Republic of Germany. 

 

Abigail and Edward then framed and supported submissions on behalf of the eighty-four year-old Requested Person, in pleadings before the Amtsgericht, the court of 'ordinary jurisdiction' of the German judiciary (Ordentliche Gerichtsbarkeit).

 

This month, a judicial decision of the Amtsgericht took into account information made available to the Court by Abigail and Edward.

 

The Amtsgericht decided:    

 

  • On the Order of the Court, a suspended sentence to be passed for a period of one year.
  • Order that the duration of the ‘probation’ period of the suspended sentence is five years.
  • Order that the only restriction on the liberty of the Requested Person is a condition
that must inform the Court of any change to residence.
  • Order to pay reparations of EUR 70.00 (circa £60) per month to the German State for a period of five years, i.e. EUR 4,200.00 (circa £3,590 @ RoE 1.17).

 

Reasons given by the Court for passing this sentence read:

 

  • Advanced age and vulnerability if confined in a prison.
  • Recognition that psychological stress endured to date
whilst under threat of an order of extradition to Germany and resultant confinement.
  • No criminal offences committed before and none committed since these admitted 26 acts of fraud.
  • Recognition of an offer to make amends, as now administered by this Court, on the basis of free admissions made to the acts of which accused and of which convicted by admitted pleas.
  • Non-execution of this sentence to be classed and recorded as a warning, rather than a penalty of enforcement.

 

Abigail Bright defended A, instructed by Edward Jones, partner, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP.

BBC publishes retraction of Andrew Neil/ This Week claim that UK Imam believes Jews are descended from pigs - Mark Henderson Instructed

22.03.18 | |

The BBC has published a retraction of a statement made by BBC presenter Andrew Neil on BBC1’s This Week about a nationally and internationally prominent UK scholar, academic and jurist, Dr Haitham al-Haddad.  

 

Mr Neil had stated on This Week on 5 March 2015 that Dr al-Haddad believes that Jews are descended from pigs. The statement was, it transpired, based on an inaccurate internet post attributing words to Dr al-Haddad that he had never in fact said. The BBC had not corroborated or checked the internet site with Dr al-Haddad before broadcasting Mr Neil’s statement as a statement of fact.

 

The published retraction and undertaking not to repeat the claim concludes long running litigation in which Saracens Solicitors, instructing Mark Henderson of Doughty Street Chambers, acted for Dr al-Haddad against the BBC Litigation Department, instructing Andrew Caldecott QC and Jonathan Scherbel-Ball.

 

The BBC’s statement, published on its website, states that the BBC accepts that Dr al-Haddad “has not stated that "Jews are descended from pigs"” and that “It has withdrawn this allegation and confirms that it will not repeat it.”

 

The BBC continued to broadcast the allegation on its website for almost three years while litigation continued, until it was required to halt ongoing publication last week pursuant to an undertaking as part of the settlement. At the point when Mr Neil’s statement was first broadcast on This Week, Dr al-Haddad had already confirmed on the record that he had never said those words. The BBC made no contact with Dr al-Haddad to verify the statement before broadcasting it on This Week.

 

Nishtar Saleem, Senior Partner at Saracens Solicitors and Dr al-Haddad’s solicitor, stated as follows:

Andrew Neil’s statement that my client believes that Jews are descended from pigs was, it turned out, based on nothing more than an inaccurate posting on a foreign website. The BBC breached its own accuracy rules by doing nothing to verify this uncorroborated internet source before broadcasting Andrew Neil’s claim as if it were established fact. Had it first done some elementary research, it would have seen, including from video online, that my client had confirmed that the report was indeed false and that he had never said such words. The BBC also breached its own guidance and Ofcom fairness rules and failed to respect basic principles of fair and responsible journalism by broadcasting this allegation without first making any approach to my client for comment.

 

Dr al-Haddad is horrified that the BBC relied on an unverified internet posting to broadcast such an allegation. In the course of the long battle to correct it since it was first broadcast, the BBC has produced not a shred of evidence to support the claim. To make this incendiary allegation against an Imam, scholar and jurist respected within the British Muslim community and abroad without any corroboration at all, undermines the trust that the community places in the BBC.

 

Dr al-Haddad was clear throughout these proceedings against the BBC that his aim was to win a public retraction of this allegation and a recognition that it was untrue, and to ensure that the BBC would stop broadcasting the allegation online and never repeat it. He is relieved to have finally achieved all these aims.

 

Dr al-Haddad remains deeply concerned that the BBC continued to broadcast Mr Neil’s allegation online for almost three years after he had confirmed directly to the BBC that it was relying on a false report. He very much regrets that he had to fight for so long to win a public retraction and a published acceptance that he had not said what was attributed to him, together with an undertaking not to repeat it, which finally halted all online publication on the BBC’s website and Facebook pages.

 

Proceedings were pending before Ofcom about the fairness of other statements made by Mr Neil on This Week which completely misrepresented Dr al-Haddad’s adherence to orthodox Islamic beliefs. Again, the BBC gave him no opportunity to correct them or respond before broadcasting. My client respects that people may disagree with Islamic principles, but they should not be distorted by the BBC in breach of fairness rules. Nicky Campbell had repeated similar statements, shortly afterwards, on BBC1’s Sunday morning programme, The Big Questions, also without approaching my client to obtain a response. The BBC itself partly upheld the complaint about The Big Questions.

 

Dr al-Haddad pursued a regulatory complaint about the statements on This Week which was still unresolved by the BBC Trust when it was abolished in April 2017. In January 2018, Ofcom agreed to take over the unresolved appeal and investigate on fairness grounds once this litigation ended.

 

The BBC however, sought an agreement from my client not to pursue any part of the regulatory proceedings about This Week as part of the settlement of the litigation which led to the published retraction and undertaking from the BBC. Having faced years of unresolved litigation with the prospect of years more if the matter was not settled, Dr al-Haddad was not prepared to risk further delaying a public retraction of the abhorrent claim that he believed that Jews were not human. Nor did he want to delay obtaining the undertaking from the BBC, by which it was required to halt the ongoing online broadcasting of the claim, which would otherwise continue to mislead audiences, who may not know that it was based purely on a false internet post of words that he had never said.

 

Dr al-Haddad therefore reluctantly agreed with the BBC to discontinue his regulatory complaint which has the effect of preventing Ofcom’s investigation proceeding. He is however surprised and disappointed that the BBC sought this undertaking which would halt the Ofcom investigation into whether Mr Neil’s statements about his Islamic beliefs breached Ofcom’s Fairness Code. The effect is to prevent these statements being exposed to the independent scrutiny that Ofcom was going to give them, and their fairness will therefore remain unresolved.

 

Mark Henderson was instructed by Nishtar Saleem of Saracens Solicitors - click here for a link to the firm's website where you can find out more about their work.

 

NOTES

The BBC’s retraction published in the following terms:

 

This Week, BBC One, 5 March 2015

During an episode of This Week broadcast by the BBC on 5 March 2015, the BBC made a number of statements about Dr Haitham al-Haddad. One was that Dr al-Haddad believed that Jews were descended from pigs. Dr al-Haddad has made clear to the BBC that he has never stated that Jews were descended from pigs and that the BBC had referenced an incorrectly attributed sermon. The BBC accepts Dr al-Haddad's assurance that he has not stated that "Jews are descended from pigs". It has withdrawn this allegation and confirms that it will not repeat it.

 

You can view the BBC's retraction by clicking here.

 

The BBC’s earlier Finding in its complaints process partly upholding Dr al-Haddad’s complaint about The Big Questions can be found by clicking here.

 

 

Three Judicial Appointments for Doughty Street Chambers

Doughty Street Chambers is extremely proud of Heather Williams QC, Rebecca Trowler QC, and Richard Thomas who have been appointed as Recorders of the Crown Court by HM The Queen, on the advice of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice.  Heather has been assigned to the Northern Circuit, and Rebecca and Richard have both been assigned to the South Eastern Circuit.  They will all be trying criminal cases later this year.

 

Although they have taken up these part-time judicial roles they will, of course, maintain their busy practices at the Bar. 

 

We congratulate them warmly on their success in what is – rightly - a challenging and competitive appointments process.

 

Heather, Rebecca and Richard join the long list of practising members of Doughty Street who hold current judicial office (as Crown Court Recorders, Tribunal Judges, Assistant Coroners, and Deputy High Court Judges), as well as those who have left practice in Chambers to sit full-time in the Court of Appeal, High Court, and elsewhere.  We are proud that the quality and expertise of our barristers and former members benefits not only our client, but also justice more widely by this service on the Bench.

EUROPEAN COURT MISSES THE OPPORTUNITY TO CORRECT THE HOODED MEN RULING OF 1978

If you would like to dowload a copy of the press release please click here

 

Today a chamber of the European Court of Human Rights issued its decision on Ireland’s request that the Court revise one of its most controversial and damaging judgments. In that judgment, issued in 1978 in the case Ireland v UK, the European Court considered that the treatment of 14 men who were subject to five sensory-deprivation techniques whilst interned in Northern Ireland constituted “inhuman and degrading treatment” but not torture. These men became known as the ‘Hooded Men’ because one of the techniques involved the forcible use of a dark hood over the men’s faces in between interrogations. The Court’s 1978 judgment has given rise to serious criticism. It was inexplicable even at the time, given that it ran counter to a diametrically opposed conclusion by the Court’s own fact-finding body, and --- crucially --- also ran counter to the UK’s own admission in the case that the techniques used on the Hooded Men amounted to torture.

 

Ireland’s request to revise this old judgment provided an opportunity for the European Court to correct the record. The request referred to fresh evidence discovered at the UK’s National Archives that had finally been made available after 30 years. That new evidence undoubtedly supported the conclusion that the treatment of the Hooded Men constituted torture, and that those at the highest level of the UK government had authorised it.  This is sufficient to allow the Court, under its rules of procedure, to revise the initial judgment. But it chose not to do so.

 

The Court’s 1978 judgment was the first case in which the European Court defined torture, and it has been relied on by governments around the world to justify similarly brutal practices. But in the US the Obama administration reversed the position outlined in legal memos that had referred to the 1978 judgment to justify ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’. And since the judgment the House of Lords of the United Kingdom and the High Court of Belfast have recognised that the five techniques, if evaluated today by a Court, would very likely be found to constitute torture. The European Court has itself u-turned on the case in subsequent jurisprudence, including the Selmouni case which was referred to by the majority in today’s judgment.

 

So the question the Court was looking at today was not: do the five techniques constitute torture, as this crime is defined today? The answer to that question is clearly yes. The question was whether the new evidence disclosed facts which were unknown at the time of the original judgment and which could have had a decisive influence on it.

 

In order to answer this question in the negative, the Court applied a misguided reading of the original judgment and the applicable legal standard, such that “it is difficult to avoid the impression”, as the dissenting opinion points out, that the Court has ”sought to shelter itself” behind the principle of legal certainty to refuse to re-open the case. By doing so, as the dissent points out, “it risked damaging the authority of [its] case-law”.

 

In reacting to today’s judgment, our clients, who suffered the effects of these interrogation techniques, have expressed their disappointment that the Court has not taken up this opportunity to correct this grave injustice.  Indeed it is shameful that the request by the Hooded Men to intervene in the case was completely ignored by the Court in its judgment. In an era where human rights litigation is supposed to be victim-centred it is disappointing that the decision reached by the European Court is one taken without first affording the victims an opportunity to address the Court in their capacity as directly affected persons.

 

Commenting on today’s judgment, Mr Francis McGuigan, one of the Hooded Men, said:

 

“After a long and turbulent road, we are dismayed by today’s judgment.  It is now 40 years since the judgment, 15 years since the start of the Iraq war, and 3 years since we lost our fellow hooded man Gerry McKerr, it comes as a truly devastating blow.  It is with regret that we learn that the Court has sought to side step this opportunity to correct the grave injustice of the Ireland v UK ruling.  This has ultimately allowed for many other torture victims like us, to be the subject of these techniques under the veil of an erroneous legal finding”. 

 

We are also dismayed that the European Court of Human Rights has not taken up this opportunity to uphold the very principles it was designed to protect in this most crucial field of human rights protection. Our clients have instructed us to take steps to support a referral of this case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court. It is hoped that this injustice can be corrected in that forum, for the sake of the integrity of the Court and survivors of torture all over the world.

 

Ben Emmerson QC

Amal Clooney

Adam Straw

Darragh Mackin

 

Counsel/Solicitor for Francis McGuigan, Jim Auld, Patrick McNally, Liam Shannon, Kevin Hannaway, Brian Turley, Joe Clarke, Paddy Joe McClean, Brian Shivers on behalf of Pat Shivers (Deceased), Deirdre Montgomery on behalf of Michael Montgomery (Deceased), and Jim McKerr on behalf of Gerard McKerr (Deceased)

 

Theo Huckle QC & Christopher Johnson to speak at the APIL annual conference and AGM 2018

Theo Huckle QC & Christopher Johnson to speak at the APIL annual conference and AGM 2018  on Tuesday, 17 April (2.00pm - 3.00pm)

 

The de minimis argument in the context of noise induced hearing loss


• Pushing the limits of Rothwell: can (or should) NIHL which is objectively identifable ever be dismissed as de minimis? Is there room for a test case?

• An update on de minimis “hot topics” after Evans v Department of Energy and Climate Change and Anor:

• Losses at or above 4 kHz

• The status of the 2015 Guidelines (the LCB) • The phenomenon of “loudness recruitment” • The threshold of subjectively appreciable hearing loss.

 

More information can be found here

 

 

Hearing the Arguments

Theo Huckle QC and Christopher Johnson ask whether a recent case spells the end of de minimis and loudness recruitment arguments in NIHL cases. 

 

Read the article here

An International Use of Force in Salisbury?

15.03.18 | |

In the afternoon of Sunday, 4 March, Mr Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a park bench in Salisbury. Mr Skripal is a former Russian agent convicted of espionage for the West, exchanged in a spy swap and brought to live in the UK. He, his daughter and a number of individuals who had attended to them were found to have been exposed to a nerve agent known as Novichok. At the time of writing, both remained in critical condition in hospital, with uncertain prospects of recovery. One of the first responders, Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, was also kept in hospital in a serious condition.

 

On 12 March the British Prime Minister addressed the House of Commons. She claimed that it was ‘highly likely’ that the government of the Russian Federation was responsible for the action. She asserted that ‘either this was a direct action by the Russian state against our country, or the Russian government lost control of its potentially catastrophically damaging nerve agent and allowed it to get into the hands of others.’ She demanded a ‘credible response’ by Russia within a day, indicating that, failing such a response, the UK would conclude that this action ‘amounts to an unlawful use of force by the Russian state against the United Kingdom.’

 

The responsibility for the action was placed on the Russian Federation by the UK government in view of its previous suspected involvement in the assassination in the UK of former Russian security operative Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 using the similarly exotic means of radioactive polonium, instances of politically motivated killings allegedly undertaken by Moscow elsewhere, and Moscow’s perceived generally aggressive attitude towards the West, and the UK in particular, especially after its purported annexation of Crimea in 2014.

 

The Russia government dismissed the allegations and requested samples of the nerve agent in order to mount its own investigation, ignoring Ms May’s deadline. Moscow instead offered cooperation through the relevant mechanism of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). While Russia’s responsibility for the action will evidently remain contested, this post considers the claim of the UK government that it amounts to a ‘use of force’.

 

Read more here.

BBC Calls for Talks with Iran over BBC Persian Journalists

The Director of the BBC World Service Group, Jamie Angus, has today called on the Iranian authorities to stop the harassment of BBC Persian journalists in London and their families in Iran and appealed to the authorities to discuss any grievances they may have about the BBC Persian Service coverage. BBC Persian staff and their families have come under sustained harassment and persecution from the Iranian authorities for the last nine years.

 

Jamie Angus said: “I invite them to come to speak to us at any time and any place. In public or in private. We are happy to investigate any complaints respectfully.” He was speaking at a side-event at the 37th session of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in Geneva. Angus emphasised that Iran should raise any editorial complaints with the BBC and that “the persecution of BBC Persian families and their staff is unacceptable”. 

 

The UK Ambassador to the UN, Julian Braithwaite, also called on Iran to cease all action against the BBC staff and their families, and end its harassment of independent journalism. “Freedom of expression and of the press is a hallmark of an open society,” he said.

 

Speaking via a video message the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, David Kaye, said it was clear that for the Iranian authorities any affiliation with the BBC is a crime; “Iran should cease all legal action against BBC Farsi staff and their families and cease the use of repressive legislation against independent journalists whether affiliated to the BBC or not.”  

 

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, counsel for the BBC World Service, said: “Harassing journalists and accusing them of espionage for simply doing their jobs is not a new tactic. But targeting family members and their sources, and taking this across borders, is new and deeply concerning.”

 

Jeremy Dear, Deputy General Secretary of the International Federation of Journalists, said: “Iran stands condemned – for its human rights abuses, for jailing journalists, for those forced into exile, for those barred from returning, for the arbitrary arrest, detention, intimidation and harassment of media workers.”

 

Journalist and human rights campaigner, Maziar Bahari, recounted his own experiences in Iran: “I was arrested for doing my job in 2009 when I was a reporter for Newsweek magazine and making documentaries for different channels in the UK. During my interrogation I realised that doing my job as a reporter was my only crime.”

 

On Wednesday this week, a senior correspondent with the BBC Persian Service and NUJ member, Kasra Naji, delivered the first ever appeal to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of his colleagues. He address the Council and said: “When security forces arrested a 27-year-old woman in Tehran and took her to Evin prison, her captors contacted her sister in London, one of my colleagues in BBC Persian, with an ultimatum: Stop working for the BBC, or at least spy on your colleagues for us, in return for the release of your sister. When she refused they kept her in solitary confinement for 17 days.”

 

Naji also highlighted there are many other cases of persecution and harassment and Iran has escalated its attacks on BBC Persian staff, “by accusing 152 present and former BBC Persian staff of conspiracy against national security, and freezing their assets.” He described this latest act as an “unprecedented collective punishment” and a “mass assault on freedom of expression”.
 

Details of the Appeal to the UN can be found here. 

New crime team book on drugs offences published by Bloomsbury

Bloomsbury Press have published The Drug Offences Handbook this week, written by Tim Moloney QC, Steven Bird, Tom Stevens, Abigail Bright, Paul Mason and Harriet Johnson. The Handbook provides a comprehensive, focussed and concise analysis of the often complex evidential and litigation issues that relate to drugs cases.

 

It addresses the key areas in drugs offences, evidence and post-conviction matters.  These include manufacture and cultivation, importation, possession and supply, police powers of search and seizure, sentencing and confiscation.

 

The Handbook is the latest addition to the Bloomsbury Professional Criminal Practice Series.  It is a joint venture between members of the Doughty Street Crime Team and Birds solicitors. 

 

It can be purchased from the publisher here.

 

 

Russia nerve gas attack: Malcolm Hawkes discusses the legal questions on CNN: Hala Gorani Tonight

14.03.18 | |

Malcolm Hawkes was interviewed by CNN to add a legal commentary to the issues arising out of the nerve gas attack at Salisbury, following Prime Minister Theresa May’s public condemnation of alleged Russian state involvement in the offence.

 

Stephen Cragg QC speaks at Human Rights Watch Film Festival.

13.03.18 |
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Stephen appeared on a panel for the London Premiere of the French film 12 Days. Every year in France, 92,000 people are placed under psychiatric care without their consent. By law, the hospital has 12 days to bring each patient before a judge. Relying on little information beyond doctor recommendations, a crucial decision must be made: will the patient be forced to stay or granted the freedom to leave?  Focusing primarily on these public hearings, renowned filmmaker and photographer Raymond Depardon captures the raw and vulnerable interactions at the border of justice and psychiatry, humanity and bureaucracy. Absorbing and thought-provoking, 12 Days gives a platform to those whose voices are so rarely considered.

 

Stephen Cragg QC specialises in cases concerning the police, the criminal justice system, access to information and social welfare law, and has appeared in many Court of Appeal and Supreme Court cases in these areas. He has been involved with mental health law for over 20 years, acting for patients, NGOs and sometimes healthcare bodies in tribunal and High Court cases. He has been a part-time judge of the mental health tribunal for ten years, sitting on over 200 cases where mental health patients appeal against their continued detention in hospital.
 

The festival continues this week and more detail can be found here

Lekić v. Slovenia

On March 14, 2018 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hear oral arguments in the matter of Lekic v. Slovenia (application No. 36480/07).

 

The case concerns the adverse effects of the Financial Operations of Companies Act (so-called FOCA), passed by the Slovenian Parliament in 1999, on the rights of a former minority shareholder of a limited liability company. Notably, the FOCA introduced the unparalleled measure that purportedly inactive companies incorporated under Slovenian law were to be struck off the register of companies by the registry courts on their own motion. The striking off resulted into the former shareholders’ personal, joint and severe liability for the struck off company’s outstanding debt.

 

Mr Lekic, as a former shareholder who was forced to surrender his personal assets to cover the outstanding debt of the company in which he once held 11.11% share, complains that the implementation of the FOCA breached his rights under the European Convention of Human Rights. Namely, under Article 6 of the Convention, it is claimed that the proceedings which resulted in the striking off of the company did not measure up to the fair trial guarantees. Under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, it is submitted that the implementation of the former shareholders’ personal and unlimited liability for the outstanding debt of the struck off company amounted to an interference with the right to property which lacked the necessary procedural safeguards in terms of foreseeability and proportionality.

 

These complaints have been rejected by the Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights with a judgment of February 14, 2017.

 

On September 18, 2017, however, a panel of five judges of the European Court accepted the request to refer the case to the Grand Chamber, that was submitted, on behalf of the applicant, by Professor Andrea Saccucci, member of Doughty Street International, together with two Italian attorneys, Giulia Borgna and Matteo Zamboni, who act for the applicant before the Grand Chamber.

 

In the request for referral, as well as in the procedure before the Grand Chamber, the applicant’s representatives point to the extraordinary nature of the measure. Indeed, such a blanket implementation of the shareholders’ personal and unlimited liability for the company’s debt is unknown to any other State party to the Council of Europe. It contradicts the universal principle of company law of the strict distinction between a company and its shareholders.

 

They also point to the systemic implications of the FOCA. As a matter of fact, according to the data published by the Slovenian Ministry of Economy, from 1999 to 2007 more than 24,000 limited liability companies have been struck off. As a result, tens of thousands of former shareholders have been forced to pay the outstanding debt of these companies out of their pockets.

 

For this reason, the hearing of March 14, 2018, will have a crucial impact on the future of the Country entrepreneurship, and it will be of great concern for as much as 2.5% of the entire population of Slovenia.   

 

A webcast of the hearing can be found here.

BBC Makes Unprecedented Human Rights Appeal to UN with assistance of Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson

 
For the first time in its history, the BBC is making an appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva to protect the human rights of BBC journalists and their families. This unprecedented move comes in response to years of persecution and harassment by the Iranian authorities, which escalated in 2017. BBC journalists will address the Human Rights Council 37th session (HRC37) to call upon member states to take action to protect BBC staff and to ensure their ability to report freely.
 
Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson were consulted by the BBC last year after 152 current and former BBC Persian were accused by the Iranian authorities of crimes against national security for their reporting work with BBC and subjected to an asset freezing order which prevents them from buying and selling property. This followed almost a decade of persecution and harassment, commencing in 2009, of BBC Persian staff and their families. Represented by Doughty Street, BBC World Service filed an urgent appeal to the UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and Asma Jahangir on behalf of BBC Persian staff: the first time in the BBC’s history that it has had to resort to the UN to protect its journalists and staff.
 
BBC Director General, Tony Hall, said: “The BBC is taking the unprecedented step of appealing to the United Nations because our own attempts to persuade the Iranian authorities to end their harassment have been completely ignored. In fact, during the past nine years, the collective punishment of BBC Persian Service journalists and their families has worsened. This is not just about the BBC – we are not the only media organisation to have been harassed or forced to compromise when dealing with Iran. In truth, this story is much wider: it is a story about fundamental human rights. We are now asking the community of nations at the UN to support the BBC and uphold the right to freedom of expression.”
 
Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC said: “Journalism is not a crime, but for almost a decade BBC Persian journalists have been systemically harassed and threatened simply for doing their jobs, and their families targeted. Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right which underpins other freedoms. Without it, societies wither. The international community must stand up to the Iranian authorities and speak out to support BBC Persian and protect freedom of expression.”
 
In addition to the urgent appeal, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson have advised BBC World Service on the international legal and advocacy campaign to protect BBC Persian staff. Working with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Doughty Street Chambers, the BBC has organised a series of events during HRC37 in Geneva this week about BBC Persian. BBC journalists will speak during the session as IFJ representatives and there will be a side event on Thursday 15 June where Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC will speak about Doughty Street’s legal efforts.

The event will raise awareness about the persecution of BBC Persian Service journalists in London and their families in Iran. In additional to the criminal investigation and asset freeze injunction, they have faced arbitrary arrest and detention of family members in Iran, the confiscation of passports and travel bans preventing people leaving Iran, ongoing surveillance of journalists and their families, and the spread of fake and defamatory news targeting individuals especially women journalists.

 

 
As a result of the work of Doughty Street counsel, the treatment of BBC Persian staff is now firmly on the international human rights agenda of the UN. After the urgent appeal was filed by BBC World Service, UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and the late Asma Jahangir issued a joint statement expressing concern that the “Iranian authorities appear to regard any affiliation with the BBC as a crime” and that the “measures are clearly aimed at targeting the BBC and at preventing journalists from continuing their legitimate work with BBC Persian.”
 
During HRC37, the UN Secretary-General’s report on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran (A/HRC/37/24) specifically mentioned the persecution of BBC Persian staff and their families and the fact that “special procedure mandate holders issued a statement calling upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease all legal action against the BBC staff and their families, and to end the use of repressive legislation against independent journalism, whether affiliated to the BBC or not.”
 
Today in Geneva, the late UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, Asma Jahangir’s report will be tabled and discussed at the Human Rights Council. The late Ms Jahangir, a celebrated Pakistani human rights lawyer, reported being “disturbed after hearing the accounts of the staff members” and how the UN Special Rapporteurs have “issued a statement calling upon the Islamic Republic of Iran to cease all legal action against the staff and their families, and to cease the use of repressive legislation against independent journalism.”

Harriet Johnson secures acquittal for abuse victim who stabbed her husband

09.03.18 | |

Harriet Johnson has successfully ensured the acquittal of her client in a trial at Manchester Crown Court. Harriet’s client, K, was in a violent and abusive 5 year marriage. K had frequently reported the assaults by her husband to police, then withdrawn the allegations. 

When K was pregnant with their child, K’s husband attacked her with a weapon in a vicious assault causing her head injuries.  Fearing for her life and the life of her unborn child, K stabbed him in self-defence causing her husband life-threatening injuries.

 

After hearing detailed submissions at the close of the prosecution case, the Judge at Manchester Crown Court ruled that the case could not proceed beyond the half way mark, and directed K’s acquittal.  After spending five months on remand awaiting trial, K was duly discharged.

 

Harriet Johnson was instructed by James Goodfellow of Connor Ross Brown solicitors.

 

For information on instructing Harriet in similar cases, please contact her clerks 

Not guilty of “Hit Squad” murder.

09.03.18 | |

The Defendant, Connal Cocker-Dawkins, represented by Piers Marquis, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter by an Essex jury after a four  week trial.

 

He was alleged to have been part of a “hit squad” in an organised revenge killing; a brutal machete murder, in broad daylight on a suburban street.

 

The Prosecution built a largely circumstantial case after a “huge” police investigation, generating hundreds of hours of CCTV evidence and more than 60,000 pages of used prosecution material.

 

The Crown’s case theory had to be systematically unpicked to give credence to the Defendant’s case, that he was unwittingly present at what he thought would be the scene of a drug deal. Two co-defendants who were also at the scene were convicted of murder.

 

With Giles Cockings QC and instructed by Sasha Sidhu at SVS Solicitors.

 

Read about this case in the press here

Independent legal report on Brexit and Human Rights launched today in Westminster

The European United Left / Nordic Green Left ("GUE / NGL") Group of the European Parliament today launched an independent legal report on the Human Rights Implications of Withdrawal from the EU, authored by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Angela Patrick and Katie O'Byrne.

 

The report analyses the mechanics of the European Union (Withdrawal Bill), the Joint Report of negotiators, and the draft Legal Text published by the European Commission.  The report finds that Brexit, and the UK’s proposed withdrawal from the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, will result in a significant shrinking of human rights protections for UK citizens generally, as well as UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK, and for the people of Northern Ireland in particular.  

 

The report provides concrete case study examples of the forms of rights regression that are likely to occur on Brexit across a number of different areas of law. It goes on to make recommendations to MEPs and negotiators on how human rights arguments might inform the future EU-UK relationship. 

 

The report was launched at Westminster today and is available online here

 

Doughty Street Women Apply For A Red Plaque To Honour Revolutionary Barmaids Who Defeated Churchill

08.03.18 |
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This morning barristers from Doughty Street Chambers announced an application they have made for a Red Plaque (to mark “events of importance to the social history of the city”) in the centre of the city of Manchester, to honour the achievements of the Barmaids Political Defence League.

 

In 1908 the Licencing Bill was making its way through the Houses of Parliament.  The bill, supported by a number of prominent MPs (who were, at that time, all men) effectively gave the power to Magistrates to ban women from working in public houses.  The bill was welcomed by many religious organisations and by a group of MPs who published their opposition to women working on licensed premises, claiming that the lives of barmaids often ended in “drunkenness, immorality, misery and frequently suicide”.

 

Eva Gore-Booth, the suffragist, social worker, activist and experienced trade unionist, set up the Barmaids’ Political Defence League.  She headed a deputation of barmaids to lobby the home secretary, protesting against a Bill that had the potential to throw thousands of women out of work.  The furore over the Bill grew, attracting controversy for many political figures – including one Winston Churchill, a rising star, who publically supported the bill.

 

Things reached a head when Churchill was standing for re-election in his constituency of Manchester North West, where it was expected that he would stroll to victory: he had secured a majority of 62% over his opponent in his election two years earlier.

 

Two days before the election, Churchill addressed the public at the Coal Exchange in Manchester.  Thousands turned out to hear him speak.  Meanwhile, Eva Gore-Booth organised a coach, drawn by four white horses, to be driven around Manchester, with her sister, Constance Markievicz, at the whip. 

 

The women stopped periodically and stood on the roof of the carriage, making rousing speeches about the rights of women.  Gore-Booth urged voters to vote against Churchill, to prove to the Government that “it was not a minor matter to take away the livelihood of 100,000 respectable, hard-working women”.  At one stage, while addressing the crowd, Markievicz was heckled by a man who asked “can you cook a dinner?” “Certainly”, replied Markievicz, “can you drive a coach-and-four?”

 

The following day, the Barmaids Political Defence League organised their own mass meeting in the Coal Exchange in advance of the election.  Markievicz appealed to voters to support the Conservative candidate, William Joynson-Hicks, saying

 

“I have come over from Ireland to help because I am a woman.  I am not a Conservative – I am a Home Ruler – but I have come over here to ask everyone to vote for Mr. Joynson-Hicks because he, of the three candidates who are standing, is the only one who takes a straight and decent view of the barmaid’s question”.

 

Despite snow and bitter wind, turnout on election day was overwhelming, with 10,691 of 11,914 registered voters casting their votes.  At 9:30 on the evening of 24th April 1908, the result was announced: Churchill has lost, by a margin of 529 votes.

 

Shortly thereafter, the Licensing Bill was defeated after 294 out of 355 MPs rejected the bill.  During the debate, Wilfrid Ashley MP called into question whether “a body of men elected entirely by men had any moral right to prohibit the employment of women in a certain trade purely on sentimental grounds”.

 

The barmaids had won.

 

A crowdfunding page has been set up to support the costs associated with the project.  Those who wish to support the project can donate funds here.

 

Harriet Johnson, barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in Manchester, submitted the application on International Women’s Day.  She said

 

"The story of the Barmaids Political Defence League is one that deserves telling; and, better yet, memorialising.  It is a story of Manchester; of resilience in the face of oppression; of women banding together to support and protect other women; and of the incredible difference that a single campaign can make.  This city is full of memorials to the achievements of men: on International Women’s Day, we think it’s fitting that we launch our campaign to memorialise some incredible Manchester women."

 

The application is supported by Sarah Judge, Assistant Executive Member and Lead Member for Women at Manchester City Council. 

 

The project will be officially launched by Harriet Johnson at Doughty Street Chambers’ annual celebration of International Women’s Day, the Manchester strand of which is taking place at the Midland Hotel on 13th March 2018.  As part of its other activities to celebrate International Women’s Day, Doughty Street Chambers are highlighting women’s invisibility in London street names, with a social media project to rename the local streets after suffragettes who were based in the Doughty Street area.  Doughty Street has also applied for a Blue Plaque to honour Helena Normanton, England’s first woman barrister.

 

Notes for editors:

 

The application for a Red Plaque was submitted on 8th March (International Women’s Day) by Harriet Johnson on behalf of Doughty Street Women.  Doughty Street Women is a group of barristers within Doughty Street Chambers.  More information can be found at www.doughtystreet.co.uk or at the hashtag on twitter, #DoughtyStWomen

 

Any enquiries regarding the Red Plaque application or Doughty Street Chambers’ International Women’s Day celebrations should be directed to Harriet Johnson at h.johnson@doughtystreet.co.uk or 0161 618 1066

Equatorial Guinea: Cartoonist Ramón Esono Ebalé released from prison

(Nairobi, March 7, 2018) – An Equatorial Guinean court on March 7, 2018 released an artist imprisoned on dubious charges for nearly six months, 18 human rights groups said today. The prosecution dropped all charges against Ramón Esono Ebalé, a cartoonist whose work is often critical of the government, at his February 27 trial after the police officer who had accused him of counterfeiting $1,800 of local currency admitted making the accusation based on orders from his superiors.  

 

"It is a huge relief that the prosecution dropped its charges against Ramon, but they should never have been pressed in the first place," said Salil Tripathi, chair of PEN International's Writers-in-Prison Committee. "We urge the authorities to guarantee his safe return to his family, allow him to continue creating his hard-hitting cartoons, and ensure that Equatorial Guinea respects the right to freedom of expression.”

 

The global #FreeNseRamon coalition, consisting of hundreds of artists, activists, and organizations devoted to protecting artistic freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights, carried out a campaign to direct international attention to his situation.

 

“Ramon’s release from prison is a testament of the power of collective work of hundreds of artists, concerned citizens, and NGOs,” said Tutu Alicante, director of EG Justice, which promotes human rights in Equatorial Guinea. “But we must not forget that dozens of government opponents who are not as fortunate fill Equatorial Guinea’s jails; thus, the fight against human rights violations and impunity must continue.”

 

Esono Ebalé, who lives outside of his native Equatorial Guinea, was arrested on September 16, 2017, while visiting the country to request a new passport. Police interrogated him about drawings critical of the government, said two Spanish friends who were arrested and interrogated alongside him and were later released.

 

But a news report broadcast on a government-owned television channel a few days after the arrest claimed that police had found 1 million Central African francs in the car Esono Ebalé was driving. On December 7, he was formally accused of counterfeiting. The charge sheet alleged that a police officer, acting on a tip, had asked him to exchange large bills and received counterfeit notes in return.  

 

“Equatorial Guinea’s government has a long record of harassing and persecuting its critics,” said Mausi Segun, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Ramon’s release is an important victory against repression.”

 

At the trial on February 27 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea’s capital, it became clear that the police officer who had made the accusations had no personal knowledge of Esono Ebalé’s involvement in the alleged crime, according to his lawyer and another person present at the trial. After offering details that conflicted with the official account, the officer admitted that he had acted on orders of his superiors, they said. The prosecution then withdrew the charges.

 

“We are delighted that Ramón was acquitted and is finally free,” said Angela Quintal, Africa Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists. “The fact that the state's main witness recanted, underscores the point that authorities manufactured the charges in the first place. Ramon should never have spent a single day behind bars and we trust that he will not be subjected to any further reprisal.” 

 

The human rights groups are Amnesty International, Arterial Network, Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, Asociación Profesional de Ilustradores de Madrid, Cartoonists Rights Network International, Cartooning for Peace, Committee to Protect Journalists, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason, Doughty Street Chambers, UK, EG Justice, FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, Freemuse, Human Rights Watch, Index on Censorship, PEN America, PEN International, Reporters without Borders, Swiss Foundation Cartooning for Peace, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. 

 

“Now that Ramon has been released, the authorities must launch a thorough and effective investigation into whether the charges against him were fabricated, and ensure that the criminal justice system is no longer misused to target and harass human rights defenders,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International’s Campaigner on Equatorial Guinea.

 

For more information, please contact:
In Chapel Hill, for EG Justice, Tutu Alicante (Spanish, English, French): +1-615-479-0207 (mobile); or tutu@egjustice.org. Twitter: @TutuAlicante
In New York, for Human Rights Watch, Sarah Saadoun (English): +1-917-502-6694 (mobile); or saadous@hrw.org. Twitter: @sarah_saadoun
In Washington, DC, for Cartoonists Rights Network International, Robert Russell (English): +1-703-543-8727; or director@cartoonistsrights.org. Twitter: @BroDirector

 

 

Day 8: International Women’s Day - Where are all the Women?

08.03.18 |
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Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

 

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

 

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.

 

Day 3: 3 March 2018

 

Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here

 

Day 4: 4 March 2018

 

Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here

 

Day 5: 5 March 2018

 

Lamb’s Conduit Street became Haslam Street. Read more about Dr Kate Haslam here

 

Day 6: 6 March 2018

 

John Street became Kenney Street. Read more about Annie Kenney here

 

Day 7: 7 March 2018

 

Theobald’s Road became Richardson Street.  Read more about Mary Richardson here

 

Day 8: 8 March 2018 – International Women’s Day

 

Today, International Women’s Day 2018, we rename Russell Square as Pankhurst Square, in honour of Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), founder and President of the Women’s Franchise League and Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (“WSPU”).

 

Among the best known of the suffragettes, Emmeline Pankhurst was the founder (in 1889) of the Women’s Franchise League. It was considered among the more radical suffrage groups at the time in part because it advocated that women should have equal rights in respect of divorce and inheritance.

 

Born in Manchester, Emmeline lived in Bloomsbury, at 8 Russell Square between 1888 to 1893. In her drawing room in that house she held Women’s Franchise League conferences. In 1903, she was among the founders of the WSPU and a prominent participant in its activities, which resulted in her repeated arrest and hunger-striking.

 

Emmeline is honoured, together with her daughter Christabel, in Victoria Gardens in the shadow of the Houses of Parliament.  She will shortly be commemorated by the city of Manchester in a new statue, one of the first to honour any woman’s achievements there.

 

While Emmeline’s achievements may be well-known, her legacy has been profound.  Doughty Street Chambers was delighted to have her great granddaughter, Helen Pankhurst close this year’s London International Women’s Day event with the call to action Emmeline made legend: Deeds, not Words.

 

 

The #DoughtyStWomen urge you to continue to work for equality for all women everywhere.  Let us never forget that change is achieved through our deeds, not words.

 

 

#DoughtyStWomen Keina Yoshida, Kate Beattie, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Laura Pankhurst, Angela Patrick, Jen Robinson, Sian Wilkins and Jeannie Mackie mark the change of name from Russell Square to Pankhurst Square.

Day 7: Where are all the women?

07.03.18 |
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Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

 

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

 

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.

 

Day 3: 3 March 2018

 

Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here

 

Day 4: 4 March 2018

 

Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here

 

Day 5: 5 March 2018

 

Lamb’s Conduit Street became Haslam Street. Read more about Dr Kate Haslam here

 

Day 6: 6 March 2018

 

John Street became Kenney Street. Read more about Annie Kenney here

 

Day 7: 7 March 2018

 

Today, Theobald’s Road becomes Richardson Street.

 

Theobald’s Road was named after Theobald’s House, where the Stuart monarchs had their hunting grounds.

 

Today, we reimagine it as Richardson Street, after suffragette and activist Mary Richardson.

 

Mary Raleigh Richardson (1882/3 – 1961) was one of the most militant of the suffragettes.  According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, she grew up in Belleville, Ontario, and came to Britain when she was sixteen, studying art and travelling to Paris and Italy. She lived in Bloomsbury and whilst there undertook freelance journalism work. On 18 November 1910 she witnessed the events of ‘Black Friday’, when the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), led by Emmeline Pankhurst, lobbed Parliament and were brutally attacked by the police. This spurred her into joining the WSPU and she quickly became involved in militant activities. She later described the moment when she witnessed police brutality against protestors and decided to join the WSPU as like being enlisted “in a holy crusade.”

 

Mary Richardson was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned. She was arrested nine times and served several sentences in Holloway Prison for assaulting police officers, breaking windows (including at the Home Office and Holloway Prison) and for arson. She was one of the first two women to be force fed, under the ‘Cat and Mouse Act’ in 1913, having been arrested at the scene of an arson attack. She suffered extensive bruising and poor health as a result, and described this experience as “torture.”  

 

In October 1914 Mary was released from Holloway after a long period of forcible feeding and she found shelter at Jane Lyons’ boarding house at 48 and 49 Doughty Street, now the Charles Dickens Museum. This was the address from which she set out on the morning of 10 March 1914, when she went the National Gallery and famously attacked the Diego Velazquez painting, The Toilet of Venus (known as the Rokeby Venus) with a butcher’s hammer she had purchased on Theobald’s Road. The painting was one of the most expensive in the gallery (according to Lucinda Hawksley, March Women March) and it depicted Venus, the goddess of love. The act was said to be a protest to draw attention to the plight of Emmeline Pankhurst, who remained in Holloway on hunger strike (although see Elizabeth Crawford’s analysis on that point, here). Mary wrote a brief statement explaining her actions to the WSPU, and it was immediately printed in The Times:

 

“I have tried to destroy the picture of the most beautiful woman in mythological history as a protest against the Government for destroying Mrs Pankhurst, who is the most beautiful character in modern history. Justice is an element of beauty as much as colour and outline on canvas. Mrs Pankhurst seeks to procure justice for womanhood, and for this she is being slowly murdered by a Government of Iscariot politicians. If there is an outcry against my deed, let every one remember that such an outcry is an hypocrisy so long as they allow the destruction of Mrs Pankhurst and other beautiful living women…”

 

Mary Richardson’s actions led to immediate fame – or infamy. She was described as “‘Slasher’ Mary Richardson” by much of the press. An example of the coverage is this cover from the Daily Mirror the following day. She was sentenced to 18 months with hard labour, and many museums closed their doors to unaccompanied women.

We have learned of the link between Doughty Street and Mary Richardson’s notorious attack at the National Gallery from a blog by researcher and writer Elizabeth Crawford: ‘What Links Charles Dickens, the Rokeby Venus and the Number 38 Bus?’ (which you can read here).

 

Later in life, Mary became involved in politics, joining the Labour Party in 1919 and unsuccessfully standing for Parliament in 1922, 1926, 1931 and 1934. She briefly joined the British Union of Fascists in 1934 but left them in 1935 and took no further part in politics.

 

Mary Richardson died on 7 November 1961. A number of years before her death, she explained why and how she slashed the Rokeby Venus in a piece aired on BBC’s Woman’s Hour on 12 September 1957, which you can hear here.  She also described this incident in her 1953 autobiography, Laugh a Defiance.

 

Today, we acknowledge Mary Richardson and her local connection.

 

 

CAPTION: #DoughtyStWomen Mary Westcott and Keina Yoshida stand, fittingly, outside the police station on Theobald’s Road, where Mary Richardson purchased the butcher’s hammer she used when she set out from Doughty Street on 10 March 1914

Bar Human Rights Committee delivers training on rights of IPDs in Nigeria

The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (‘BHRC’) in conjunction with the Nigerian Bar Association (‘NBA’) conducted a four-day training workshop on the enforcement of the legal rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the domestic, regional and international levels. The workshop took place in Abuja between 12 and 15 February 2018 and was delivered by BHRC Chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC, and members, Dr Tunde Okewale MBE and Jelia Sane, to a group of 55 Nigerian human rights lawyers practising in the North East of the country.

 

As a result of the conflict between Boko Haram and the state security forces, over 2 million people have been displaced in the northern states of Nigeria, making the nation  home to the 6th largest internally displaced population in the world. The vast majority of IDPs are in dire  need of protection and humanitarian assistance and face widespread abuses of their civil, political, and socio-economic rights, as well as discrimination on account of their displaced status.  Against this background, the principal aim of the workshop was to train participants on international normative framework relevant to the protection of IDP rights, the principle avenues of redress at the regional level and within the UN system, as well as best practices in evidence gathering and retention, in order to increase access to justice for IDPs.

 

BHRC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NBA and will continue to provide training and litigation support for human lawyers in the country  

 

More information about the workshop can be found here and here.

 

Guideline authority on electronic service in extradition: Greek prosecution appeal dismissed for filing appeal notice late

07.03.18 | |

Malcolm Hawkes represented a woman before the Divisional Court whose extradition was sought by Greece to serve a sentence of five years imprisonment for infanticide. The woman had given birth while on holiday in Greece, but her baby was found smothered shortly afterwards. She was held in prison for 11 months, at times in squalid conditions before being acquitted by a Greek jury. The Greek prosecutor appealed and, some six years later, secured her conviction and sentence in absentia and sought her extradition from the UK.

 

The woman was discharged on Article 8 grounds at the Westminster Magistrates Court. The CPS lodged an appeal against that decision and duly served notice of appeal on the court which was received and sealed. However, despite sending notice and grounds of appeal to the Respondent by email in time, these documents were not received within the 7-day statutory deadline. This, the court found, was likely because of restrictions on the size of attachments and mailbox capacity of the secure CJSM email system used by the CPS.

 

As a point of principle, the Divisional Court held that, when serving documents by email, it is essential that the sending party obtains confirmation of receipt of the message and attachments; the recipient would be expected to cooperate in that process. Whereas the Criminal Procedure Rules at 4.11 do establish same-day service of documents by email, that does not mean service is necessarily effective; rather, it creates a rebuttable presumption that the document has been received.

 

In the instant case, the court accepted the evidence of the woman’s solicitors, William Bergstrom and Chirag Patel that no appeal documents were received within the statutory period. The court agreed that the failure, by an appellant judicial authority to serve notice and grounds of appeal in time is indeed an incurable error and dismissed the appeal.

 

In Greece v LA, Malcolm was instructed by William Bergstrom of McMillan Williams Solicitors.

 

Day 6: Where are all the Women?

06.03.18 |
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Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

 

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

 

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.

 

Day 3: 3 March 2018

 

Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here

 

Day 4: 4 March 2018

 

Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here

 

Day 5: 5 March 2018

 

Lamb’s Conduit Street became Haslam Street. Read about Kate Haslam here

 

Day 6: 6 March 2018

 

John Street was named after 18th century carpenter John Blagrave.

 

Today, we reimagine it as Kenney Street, named after Annie Kenney, a suffragette who stayed in Jane Lyons’ boarding house in the area when on the run under the Cat and Mouse Act. She is often described as “an English working class suffragette” and she became a leading figure in the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), very unusual in an organisation which was largely a middle-class one.

 

Annie Kenney (1879 – 1953) was born in Springhead, near Oldham, in 1879, into a large and poor family. By the age of 10 she had started working in a local cotton mill as a “half-timer”, spending her mornings working in the mill and afternoons at school. By 13 she was working full time on 12 hour shifts, from 6am to 6pm. Her job involved assisting weavers by fitting the bobbins and tending to strands of fleece when they broke; one of her fingers was ripped off when doing this work. She stayed working at the mill for 15 years, where she became very involved in trade union activities. She loved literature  and furthered her education by self-study. 

 

In 1905, aged 25, she and her sisters Jessie and Jane went to a meeting in Oldham where Christabel Pankhurst spoke about women’s voting rights. The Working Class Movement Library describes this as a key moment for Annie: “Annie was so inspired that she was soon organising and speaking at meetings, and joined the [WSPU] which Christabel has recently helped form.”  A few months later, in October 1905, Annie and Christabel attended a Liberal Party  rally together. Accounts of this event vary – some describe it as taking place in Manchester and the women heckling Winston Churchill; others describe it as taking place in London and them heckling Sir Edward Grey, a Minister. However, it is clear that it took place in Manchester, and it was reported in The Manchester Courier on 21 October 1905 (this extract is from Lucinda Hawksley’s book, March Women March: How Women Won The Vote, 2013). Annie and Christabel attended the meeting to ask that the Liberals support their campaign for Votes for Women. They were thrown out of the meeting and, in the ensuing struggle, a policeman claimed they kicked and spat at him. They held a meeting outside once ejected from the meeting. Both women were arrested and prosecuted. The Manchester Courier described the court case:

 

Mr Bell [the prosecuting solicitor]… said the defendants evidently went to the meeting with the firm intention of creating a disturbance. They appeared to have had a number of questions to put to the speakers and… one or both of them mounted a seat in the body of the hall and yelled and shrieked to the utmost of their powers. They were persuaded to desist but afterwards renewed the disturbance and were ejected from the hall… Miss Pankhurst spat in the faces of Superintendent Watson and Inspector Mather… When they got outside the defendants went into South Street and began holding a meeting. A crowd gathered round them and the police took them into custody for obstructing the thoroughfare. On her way to the police station Miss Pankhurst said that, having assaulted a police constable, she felt quite satisfied. Mr Bell added that the behaviour of the defendants was not such as was expected from ladies of education, but ‘it would be more attributable to women from the slums’… Miss Kenney said she felt it her duty to do what she had done.”     

 

It was also reported that, when the magistrates left to consider the sentence, Annie and Christabel put up a ‘Votes for Women’ banner in the courtroom. They were both found guilty and fined, but given the option of spending seven days in prison instead of paying. They refused to pay and so were brought to Strangeways Gaol. Their imprisonment attracted substantial publicity for the WSPU.

 

Once released, Annie Kenney attended an outdoor meeting in her honour, at Manchester’s Stevenson Square, where she critised the Liberal Party’s treatment of women and declared, “They have not tamed us. We have more fire in us than ever before.

 

In 1912, Annie Kenney became Deputy of the WSPU. She is described by the Working Class Movement Library as being “the only working class woman in a position of authority in the organisation.”

October 1905 was the first of 13 times that Annie Kenney was sent to prison. She was involved in many militant acts and underwent force-feeding repeatedly, being released and rearrested under the terms of the Cat and Mouse Act. It was during one of the occasions when she was released from Holloway Prison, having undergone force-feeding and when very ill, that she hid out at Jane Lyons’ boarding house on Doughty Street (described by Mary Richardson, and summarised in this anonymous blog). On one occasion when she had been released from prison, in January 1914, The Times reported that she attended a WSPU meeting at Knightsbridge Town Hall: “Miss Kenney was conveyed to the meeting in a horse ambulance; and she was borne into the meeting on a stretcher, which was raised to the platform and placed on two chairs. She raised her right hand and fluttered a handkerchief and, covered with blankets, lay motionless watching the audience. Later, her licence under the "Cat and Mouse" Act was offered for sale. Mrs Dacre Fox stated that an offer of £15 had already been received for it, and the next was one of £20, then £25 was bid, and at this price it was sold. Soon afterwards Miss Kenney was taken back to the ambulance. Detectives were present, but no attempt was made to rearrest Miss Kenney, whose licence had expired.”

 

In her book Prison Faces she later wrote, “The law may be stronger than I am, but if I may not change the wicked law that holds in bondage the smitten womanhood of this country, I will at least die in the attempt to change it.

 

We are proud to honour Annie Kenney, in acknowledgment of the sacrifices she made and her huge contribution to securing women’s suffrage.

 

 

Day 5: Where are all the Women?

05.03.18 |
|

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

 

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

 

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.

 

Day 3: 3 March 2018

 

Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here

 

Day 4: 4 March 2018

 

Gray’s Inn Road became Singh Street. Read about Sophia Duleep Singh here

 

Day 5: 5 March 2018

 

Today, Lamb’s Conduit Street becomes Haslam Street.

 

Lamb’s Conduit Street was named after William Lambe, a local benefactor who gave £1,500 for the rebuilding of the Holborn Conduit (an Elizabethan dam) in 1564.

 

Today, we imagine it renamed as Haslam Street, in honour of Dr Kate Haslam, a local suffragist in Bloomsbury.

 

Dr Haslam was a founder member of the Tax Resistance League, which was founded on 22 October 1909 to “conduct a campaign of constitutional militancy and organised resistance by women to taxation” (Elizabeth Crawford, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866 – 1928).  Since 1870, a number of women had highlighted the anomalous position of women being subject to tax, but not having the vote – taxation without representation. The Tax Resistance League drew on this history, and on a longer tradition of tax resistance including that of John Hampden in the sixteenth century. He stood trial in 1637 for his refusal to be taxed for ship money and he was one of a number of Parliamentarians whose attempted unconstitutional arrest by King Charles I in the House of Commons sparked the Civil War.

 

The founding meeting of the Tax Resistance League in October 1909 was held at the invitation of Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson. Dr Haslam attended that first meeting, at which the simple slogan ‘No Vote, No Tax’ was agreed. By 1910 she was a committee member.

 

Dr Haslam’s name comes up repeatedly in coverage of the work of the Tax Resistance League, and it is clear she was an active and key member of the group throughout its lifetime, from 1909 to 1918. For example, the 6 July 2012 issue of The Vote (see more here) describes how the League “after some difficulty” were able to attend the unveiling of a statue of John Hampden at Aylesbury, and so “able to pay their last tribute to the great Tax Resister.” They laid a wreath of white flowers with black writing, “From Women Tax Resisters.” Dr Haslam was one of those reported to be present.

 

The Tax Resistance League’s basic premise was described by Beatrice Harraden in the New York Times in 1913 as follows:

The least any woman can do is to refuse to pay taxes, especially the tax on actually earned income. This is certainly the most logical phase of the fight for suffrage. It is a culmination of the Government’s injustice and stupidity to ask that we pay an income tax on income earned by brains, when they are refusing to consider us eligible to vote.

 

Women in Criminal Law launched on March 1st.

05.03.18 | |

Women In Criminal Law launched on 1st March 2018 at The Law Society.  Despite the snow and travel problems, the hall was full of women and men, wanting to work together to make sure that our industry is a welcoming and empowering place for women working in the criminal justice system.  It was a wonderful occasion, filled with positivity and celebration. 

 

I am very proud of Doughty Street Chambers, who have been there from the outset, helping advising and resourcing our efforts to make WICL a success.  DSC also sponsors us, and with that support, we organised the official launch last week, and also have a programme of events to announce in the very near future. 

 

Check out my article in The Times this week here.

 

The future is looking bright for women working in the criminal law. Join us here

 

Katy Thorne QC

Founder Women in Criminal Law

PRIVY COUNCIL JUDGMENT IN A v R (GUERNSEY)

The Privy Council has today handed down judgment in A v R (Guernsey) [2018] UKPC 4.  The case arose out of an Order requiring the making of maintenance payments in respect of a child made by the Court of the Seneschal in the island of Sark in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.  The Court had purported to make the Order pursuant to its powers under customary law.  The Appellant, in an appeal with potentially significant consequences for the citizens of Sark, argued that the Court of the Seneschal was a ‘creature of statute’ and had no customary law at all.  The Privy Council rejected the appeal.

 

The Privy Council's press summary is available here.

 

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Sam Jacobs of Doughty Street Chambers acted for the Respondent, instructed by Nick Barnes of Ashton Barnes Tee, Guernsey.

Day 4: Where are all the Women?

04.03.18 |
|

 

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.

 

Day 3: 3 March 2018

Roger Street became Kerr Street. Read about Harriet Kerr here.

 

Day 4: 4 March 2018

Gray’s Inn Road becomes Singh Street

#DoughtyStWomen Rebecca Trowler QC and Angela Patrick

 

Gray’s Inn Road was named after Lord Gray of Wilton, owner of a local inn or town house which was later leased to lawyers in the 16th century.

 

Today, we reimagine it as Singh Street, in honour of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh (1876-1948).

 

Sophia Duleep Singh was born in London, the daughter of the exiled last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.  Despite growing up with access to many privileges of the aristocracy (Queen Victoria was her godmother and she lived at Hampton Court) she became one of the leaders of the suffragette resistance.

 

She joined the Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (“WSPU”) in 1909. She worked closely with the WSPU when they were based near Doughty Street, at Clement’s Inn. She used her relative affluence to help fund the movement, and was known for selling copies of The Suffragette newspaper in Hampton Court. She was also an active member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League (“WTRL”) and had her property seized for her refusal to pay taxes. 

 

Ms Singh was among the leaders of the protest on “Black Friday”, 18 November 1910 at which more than 150 women were violently assaulted. In 1911 she threw herself in front of the car of the Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith bearing a “Give Votes to Women” banner. After 1918 she joined the Suffragette Fellowship.  She became its President in 1928 following the death of Emmeline Pankhurst.

 

Day 3: Where are all the Women?

03.03.18 |
|

 

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

Guilford Street became Lawson Street – read about Marie Lawson here.

 

Day 3: 3 March 2018

Roger Street becomes Kerr Street.

#DoughtyStWomen Heather Williams QC and Eileen Donaghey

 

Roger Street was originally called Henry Street, after Henry Doughty, a landlord in the late 18th century. It was renamed in 1937 and became Roger Street. Although the reason is unclear, it appears likely that it was renamed in honour of Sir Roger Charles Doughty-Tichborne. In 1867 the Doughty Estate was embroiled in the Tichborne case, when a claimant came forward asserting that he was Sir Roger and thus entitled to the Doughty Estate in Bloomsbury and other property (Oxford Dictionary of National Biography).

 

Today, we reimagine it as Kerr Street, in honour of Harriet Roberta Kerr (1859-1940).

 

Harriet Kerr was born in West Ham. She ran a typewriting business in the City and it is reported that she gave up her secretarial business to work for the Women’s Suffrage and Political Union (“WSPU”).  She was the WSPU’s office manager and Secretary. She was famously photographed leading a group of women in protest in 1908, flag aloft, arms linked, in line with seven other suffragettes. 

 

Harriet Kerr was living at 18 Doughty Street at the time of the 1911 census and she was one of the women who refused to give her information as a protest at women not being allowed to vote. In 1913 she was charged with conspiracy to cause damage to property and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment.  She went on hunger strike and was released under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913. This was commonly referred to as a ‘Cat and Mouse Act’. When the women were released they were given time to recover before being rearrested and taken back to prison to serve out the rest of their sentence. Further information on Ms Kerr can be found (by clicking here) at the LSE Women’s Library.

Day 2: Where are all the Women?

02.03.18 |
|

Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art. Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we are focussing on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Share these stories, follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

 

Doughty Street became Lyons Street – read about Jane Lyons here

 

Day 2: 2 March 2018

 

Guilford Street becomes Lawson Street

 

#DoughtyStWomen Ulele Burnham and Amelia Nice 

 

Guilford Street in Bloomsbury, just north of Doughty Street, is named after Lord Frederick North, a former Prime Minister and the second Earl of Guilford.

 

Today, we imagine it renamed as Lawson Street, to honour Marie Lawson.

 

Marie Lawson (1881-1975), Women’s Freedom League

 

Marie Lawson was born in Sunderland. She was one of 6 siblings and the child of a solicitor. She studied law at the LSE but since law was a profession closed to women, she became a clerk at an engineering firm. At 21 years old, she took her own flat at 4 Guilford Street in Bloomsbury, which was then considered “a rather disreputable area” and “a forward thing to do”.[1]

 

In 1907 Marie joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in London. She joined the Women’s Freedom League and was elected to the executive in 1908. Marie formed Minerva Publishing Company in 1909, in order to produce The Vote. That same year, she refused to pay income tax and a year later she joined the newly founded Women’s Tax Resistance League. In 1911 Marie was one of the women who ‘vanished for the vote’ by refusing to register for the census. The records describe her and Emily Ridler, both “over 30,” as follows: “4 Guilford Street… Census night: resisters. Occupation: secretaries to suffragettes.”

 

In 1920-1923 Marie was vice-president of the Women’s Election Committee and a member of the International Women’s Franchise Club. She died in the south of France. We are proud to honour Marie Lawson, a local suffragette. Share her story.

 

[1] Elizabeth Crawford, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866-1928 

Upper Tribunal case on appointeeship

01.03.18 | |

The Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) has published a decision in an appeal about the appointeeship system. This is the regime where social security benefits can be paid to someone other than the claimant, where the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decides that the benefits claimant is unable to act. Oliver Lewis represented Medway Council, the appointee for the disability living allowance claimant in this case. In his submissions, Oliver raised concerns about the fairness of the appointeeship system, and whether it complies with the UK’s obligations both under the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The judge found that these were “important issues”, but did not need to decide them in this case.

 

Oliver would be interested in hearing from solicitors or law centre caseworkers who have benefit claimant clients wanting to appeal against decisions made by the DWP in relation to the appointee, for example complaining about the appointee, displacing the appointee or cancelling the appointeeship. These aspects seem not to have been examined by the courts through the lens of human rights. 

Bar Pro Bono Awards 2017: A special commendation awarded this year to Kirsty Brimelow QC

A special commendation has also been awarded this year to Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee ad barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in recognition of her outstanding long-term contribution to assisting on human rights issues around the world. This has included interventions on death penalty cases in the Middle East, North Africa and the USA; mediating peace talks between the Colombian Government and the San José de Apartadó peace community and prosecuting cases of child rights abuses in Nigeria.

 

Lord Goldsmith QC said of Kirsty:

 

“The breadth and depth of the pro bono work undertaken by Kirsty Brimelow QC, best illustrated by the diversity of the supporting references, demonstrates a career-long commitment spanning continents. Her role at the helm of the Bar Human Rights Committee enables her to nurture an environment that supports pro bono on a global scale, an opportunity she has grasped with both hands.”

 

Lord Goldsmith QC also noted the high calibre of nominations this year across the board.

 

“Reading through the submissions assures me that the Bar is still an exciting and inspiring place to be.

 

“This year has been an exceptionally difficult year to choose an overall winner and I, together with my fellow judges, continue to be humbled by the commitment of the nominees to tackling injustice.”

 

Read more here

IICSA has published its report into the child migration scheme operated by the UK government between the 1940s and 1970s

IICSA has published its report into the child migration scheme operated by the UK government between the 1940s and 1970s.  The Inquiry has been critical of the UK Government and relevant institutions.  It has made recommendations, including that the UK Government should set up a compensation process to make payments in Redress.

 

The Counsel to the Inquiry team included Henrietta Hill QC (also Deputy Counsel to the Inquiry) and Katie O’Byrne of DSC.

 

The Child Migrants Trust, a core participant, which has been instrumental in bringing the issue of former child migrants to public knowledge was represented by Aswini Weereratne QC and Keina Yoshida of DSC.

 

Click here and here to read about this in the press. 

 

Indian dowry law ‘blackmail’ extradition request rejected: no dual criminality

01.03.18 | |

A request by the Government of India for the extradition of a man, represented by Malcolm Hawkes, for an alleged offence of blackmail has been rejected.

 

The conduct related to alleged dowry law offences in India, which was certified in the UK as an offence of blackmail. The man, who lives and works in the UK, was alleged to have threatened to divorce his wife unless her family paid him an additional dowry of £10,000.

 

The defence raised multiple challenges to the request, including dual criminality and prima facie case; it was argued that the conduct would not amount to a criminal offence under the law of England and Wales and the evidence was insufficient to establish a case to answer.

 

The conduct was linked with Indian marital law which was introduced in that country in response to the abuse of women and their families who faced ever increasing dowry demands from their in-laws. Some women were driven to suicide and other acts of serious self-harm. In response, the Indian government outlawed both the payment and receipt of dowries. However, the Indian Supreme Court acknowledged in 2017 that, in setting the threshold so low for complaints of dowry demands to be made, there had been a proliferation of false cases which resulted in numerous arrests and the abuse of the court system.

 

Central to the defence case was a taped telephone call with the man’s former father-in-law, a senior lawyer who admitted that the alleged dowry demand was indeed false. The Indian government failed to respond to this evidence, despite having months to do so.

 

Moreover, INTERPOL has for some time refused to issue Red Notices for dowry-law-related matters, which reflects the concerns over the lack of criminality of these issues, as opposed to Indian cultural mores.

 

Since the court rejected the request on dual criminality and prima facie case grounds, the other issues raised – poor prison conditions, corruption and unfair trial – were not addressed in the court’s judgment.

 

In India v SJ, Malcolm was instructed by Giovanna Fiorentino of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors.

 

Where are all the women?

01.03.18 |
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Have you ever wondered where the names of London’s streets come from? Many of them give recognition to historical figures, but disappointingly few of these are women.

 

Doughty Street Chambers – and the #DoughtyStWomen - are proud to be based in Bloomsbury, with its rich history of inspirational women leaders from politics, law, journalism, and art.

 

Within a few hundred metres of our chambers are buildings where the suffragettes built their campaigns, as well as the former home of the first woman barrister in England and Wales. Helena Normanton QC lived and worked a block north, on Mecklenburgh Square. 

 

Yet, the streets we walk every day are named instead for men: many of them wealthy landowners or benefactors whose public contribution stemmed principally from their wealth.  Of the women honoured on our street signs now, many are profiled not in their own right but simply as the wives of historically high-profile men.

 

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2018, and the centenary of women’s suffrage,  #DoughtyStWomen are reimagining our streets renamed.  For eight days between 1 March and International Women’s Day on 8 March we will focus on one of our local Bloomsbury streets, honouring eight of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement who had connections in the area and who are too often forgotten.

 

Follow us on social media and help us honour Bloomsbury’s inspirational feminist history.

 

#DoughtyStWomen #IWD2018

 

 

Day 1: 1 March 2018

Reimagining Doughty Street; discovering Lyons Street.

 

Doughty Street was built in the 1790s. It is part of the Doughty estate in Bloomsbury, part of extensive lands owned by the Doughty family.[1] The Street was named after Henry Doughty, a member of the family and a landlord of the area in the late eighteenth century.[2]

 

So, today, welcome to Lyons Street.

We are honouring Jane Lyons, who ran a 'Private Hotel and Boarding House' at 48 and 49 Doughty Street from 1901-1923 (the buildings are now the Charles Dickens Museum).

 

Born in 1836, Jane Lyons moved in London in the late nineteenth century. Researcher and writer Elizabeth Crawford has described how she had by 1901 become the proprietor of the Boarding House at Doughty Street, and, “on the day of the census, she had 24 boarders – all women – … clerks, teachers and typists (and a stockbroking nephew).”  By 1911 her boarders included both men and women.

 

Miss Lyons gave shelter to many suffragettes at her Boarding House - when they were released from Holloway Prison; when they travelled to London to protest; and to those on the run. It was, for many women, a safe house, providing shelter when they were fighting for their rights.

 

One such woman was Mary Richardson. In her autobiography, Laugh a Defiance, she describes being given shelter in Miss Lyons’ Boarding House in October 1913, when she was let out of Holloway under the terms of the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act 1913, commonly known as the ‘Cat and Mouse Act.’ The Act was the Government’s attempt to deal with hunger-striking suffragettes: it allowed for the early release of prisoners who were so weakened by hunger striking that they were at risk of death.  They were to be recalled to prison once their health was recovered, where the process would begin again.  On 10 March 2014, it was from Miss Lyons’ Boarding House that Mary Richardson set out for the National Gallery when she attacked the Velasquez painting, The Toilet of Venus (known as The Rokeby Venus) with a butcher’s hammer she had bought on the Gray’s Inn Road. Another woman who found shelter at Miss Lyons’ Boarding House was Annie Kenney, a working class suffragette from Manchester who became a leading figure in the Women’s Social and Political Union.

 

Jane Lyons would have been in her late 70s at this time, when she was providing a roof over the heads of Mary Richardson, Annie Kenney and many others. Her Boarding House was, for many women, a safe house, providing shelter when they were fighting for their rights.

 

You can read more about Jane Lyons here and here.

 

[1] Survey of London, vol. 24, 1952, cited by the UCL Bloomsbury Project.

[2] Weinreb, Ben & Hibbert, Christopher (1992). The London Encyclopaedia (reprint ed.). Macmillan. p. 241.

 

Authorities in Equatorial Guinea Drop Charges against Cartoonist Ramon Ebalé

Artist and activist, Ramón Esono Ebalé, has been detained by the Equatoguinean state since September 2017. Mr Ebalé was arrested on 16th September 2017 and questioned about his cartoons. For many years, he has been a critic and satirist of President Obiang’s regime in Equatorial Guinea.  His work continues to receive international recognition and he is the recipient of multiple awards.

 

On 1st December 2017 his international legal team (Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason of Doughty Street Chambers’ International Media Defence Panel), along with the organisations EG Justice and Cartoonists Rights Network International, filed urgent appeals with the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr David Kaye, and with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The appeals requested urgent steps to protect Mr Ebalé and to call on the authorities in Equatorial Guinea to comply with their international legal obligations. The urgent appeals were filed after the President of Equatorial Guinea, Teodoro Obiang, failed to respond to an urgent open letter calling for Mr Ebalé’s immediate and unconditional release, sent on 15 November 2017 by a large number of expert international organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The letter was also signed by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Chair of JUSTICE.

 

Although detained since September 2017, Mr Ebalé was initially detained without charge. He was only charged with offences after the complaint was filed with the UN bodies in December. He has only been able to see his local lawyers once, on 20th September, and was denied access to them for the months he spent on remand and in the lead-up to his trial.

 

Today, the first day of his trial, the charges were suddenly dropped, and he is to be released imminently.This news has been widely welcomed by his supporters, friends and legal team. A press release with further detail will follow.

 

More background information is available here and here.

Life sentence avoided for serious offender

27.02.18 | |

Abigail Bright recently appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on behalf of a client who pleaded guilty during a trial, after the complainant had given evidence, on an indictment of rape, sexual assault, and threatening with an offensive weapon (using a knife).  At the time of conviction the judge observed that, given the seriousness of the offending and the particular circumstances of the case, she was giving consideration to passing a life sentence.  A psychiatric report was commissioned.

 

Notwithstanding this indication, Abigail persuaded the Judge that the Court should, wholly exceptionally, commission a second forensic psychiatric report to look in particular at the issue of insight, as well as the defendant’s ability to respond to treatment by specialist mental health services on the prison estate.  Although the defendant’s offending was at the very serious end of the spectrum of criminal behaviour, the Judge was persuaded by Abigail, as well as the results of the second psychiatric report she persuaded her to commission, that the risk to the public presented by the defendant could be met by the passing of an extended sentence.  The passing of a life sentence was, the Judge concluded, not required notwithstanding her earlier indication at the time of conviction.

 

Abigail was instructed by Andy Malik of DJMS Solicitors, Newcastle, assisted by Nicole Wright.

How will the latest non-disclosure debacle affect appeals?

26.02.18 | |

Following the series of recent cases that have collapsed due to inadequate prosecution disclosure, the CPS will be reviewing all live rape and sexual offence cases. But what of the convictions in completed cases that may have been tainted by similar non-disclosure? At the moment, these are not included in the “live” case review and attempts to trigger investigations appear to lie with potential applicants.

 

The initial difficulty here is that the CPS may send a negative response to any such request based on R (Nunn) v Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary [2014] 2 Cr App R 22. In this case the Supreme Court considered a case in which the claimant had been refused leave to appeal against his conviction and had then sought all the police records of the investigation. In relation to post conviction requests for disclosure the Supreme Court stated:

 

(a)   Although the common law duty of disclosure applied to appellate proceedings, and prosecutors were obliged to disclose any relevant material which was not already known to the defendant and which might assist him in the proceedings, such disclosure did not involve a re-performance of the entire disclosure exercise.

(b)   Similarly, where the trial process was complete, the common law did not recognise a duty of disclosure and inspection which was the same as that prevailing prior to and during the trial.

(c)   The public interest until conviction was in the trial process being as full and fair as possible. After conviction, and apart from the question of its safety, the public interest was in finality.

(d)   There was no indefinitely continuing duty on police or prosecutors to respond to whatever enquiries the defendant might make for access to case materials to allow re-investigation.

 

Crucially, however, in the context of the current discussion, the Supreme Court stated that where, after the conclusion of the proceedings, material came to light which might cast doubt on the safety of the conviction, the prosecutor was obliged to disclose the material to the defendant unless there were good reason not to do so, and, further, where there was a real prospect that further enquiry might reveal such material, there was also a duty to make that enquiry.

 

In light of the above it is submitted that the CPS would not be justified in issuing a blanket refusal to requests to carry out investigation of the unused material where the request is more than just a “fishing expedition”, and instead identifies the basis of the request with as much particularity as possible. As the Supreme Court stated a “realistic evidential foundation” should be laid to show why the conviction may well be unsafe. Following the recent cases in which late disclosure led to the collapse of the trials, it is arguable that the CPS is at least under a duty to investigate all the cases relating to the particular disclosure officer(s) involved. These may be thought to provide “a real prospect that further enquiry might reveal [relevant] material.”

  

In addition, it is arguable that if the current review of “live” cases identifies evidence relating to other convictions which might afford arguable grounds for contending that that conviction was unsafe, “there can be no doubt” that the CPS and police have a “duty to disclose it to the convicted defendant.”

 

Another difficulty in these cases is that an applicant may not have enough material – without further disclosure - to draft arguable grounds. In these case, an alternative route may be an application to the CCRC to assist. However, they too will need to be persuaded that the request is more than a speculative, fishing expedition.

 

The CCRC has stated that: “….Since the media spotlight fell on non-disclosure in criminal cases in late 2017, we have again been in contact again with the Metropolitan Police and the Crown Prosecution Service about disclosure problems generally and more immediately to check whether there are any particular cases we should look at again.”

 

Paul Taylor QC

Paul Taylor and Katy Thorne sworn in as Queen’s Counsel

Doughty Street Chambers is extremely proud of Paul Taylor QC and Katy Thorne QC, who received their Letters Patent from the Lord Chancellor today, delivered on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, at a ceremony in Westminster Hall.  They were also sworn in as Queen's Counsel by the Lord Chief Justice at a ceremony at the Royal Courts of Justice.

 

Unusually amongst criminal barristers, Paul Taylor QC (Call: 1989) specialises exclusively in criminal appeals.  He is widely lauded by the industry directories as “attracting plaudits for his preparation and intellect”, “bringing great energy to the legal team”, and being “an absolutely standout barrister”.  He is the Head of the Doughty Street Appeals Unit, and is the author of Taylor on Criminal Appeals (Oxford University Press), the leading practitioners’ authority.  He has developed a particular expertise in cases involving fresh evidence, homicide, and offenders with mental disorders.  He is commonly instructed to provide “2nd opinion” advices on appeal against conviction and sentence, including those being made out of time.  In addition to his work in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), he has extensive experience of drafting submissions to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and representations on the judicial setting of tariffs in murder cases.  He also works internationally, advising on appeals in Commonwealth and other overseas jurisdictions, and appears before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in death penalty cases and other appeals.

 

Katy Thorne QC (Call: 1994) acts for a broad spectrum of clients including barristers, doctors, those serving life sentences, alleged members of organised criminal gangs, and others.  She is instructed to lead in the most serious criminal cases including murder, manslaughter, and serious drug trafficking, as well as in cases of sexual allegations and abuse, child abuse, and financial crime.  The directories say of her that she is “always thorough and well-prepared”, and she is frequently singled out for her client care skills.  A particular area of expertise is in presenting and challenging expert evidence at trial, and she is an author of Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers (Bloomsbury, 2015).  In addition, Katy regularly acts for professionals who face proceedings brought by their regulatory bodies, particularly where those arise as a result of criminal allegations.  She is the Founder of the Women in Criminal Law network, which seeks to support women working across the whole criminal justice system.

 

For more information on Paul or Katy's work, please call their clerks Tom Street (020 7400 8915) or Richard Vile (020 7400 9054) or send an e-mail.   

 

Survivors of black cab rapist win landmark victory in Supreme Court

21.02.18 | |

Two women, who were sexually assaulted by the ‘black cab rapist’, John Worboys, have won their claims against the Metropolitan Police for the serious failings in the police investigation into Worboys’ offending.

 

The two women who brought the claim and who were anonymised in the proceedings as DSD and NVB were represented by Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Ruth Brander.  Their solicitor was Harriet Wistrich of Birnberg Peirce.

 

DSD was one of Worboy’s first victims.  NBV was his 76th known victim.  Worboys went on to attack at least another 29 women after NBV and before he was caught.  In total there were at least 105 victims over a four year period, at least 10 of whom had made complaints to the police.  The judge who heard DSD and NBV’s claims in the High Court found numerous systemic and individual failings in the police investigation into their allegations against Worboys, including failures in training, supervision and allocation of resources to the investigation of sexual assaults.

 

The claims establish that police can be liable to victims of serious and violent crime for failing to conduct an effective investigation into credible allegations.  The Supreme Court held that Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, requires the state to investigate credible allegations of mistreatment that crosses the threshold of torture or inhuman and degrading treatment, even where such conduct is that of a private individual and there is no complicity on the part of any public official or state agent.  This is a significant legal development as victims of crime are not generally able to bring claims against the police for failing to investigate under the common law.  The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, supported by the Home Secretary, had argued that the duty owed to victims of serious and violent crimes should be limited to putting in place a criminal justice system and no claim should arise out of the failings of a particular investigation.  The Supreme Court has rejected this approach and held that serious failings can give rise to a claim.

 

This decision will enable a number of challenges, which have been on hold pending the outcome of this case, to proceed.

 

 

An Evening to Celebrate the Life And Work of Asma Jehangir

Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience: MSc in Forensic Mental Health, 2017-18 programme

16.02.18 | |

For a sixth year, Abigail Bright is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, MSc in Forensic Mental Health. 

 

Abigail’s lecture today at the Institute is on appeals against conviction and appeals against sentence in the context of forensic mental health clinical practice. The lecture critically discusses the legal frameworks concerning the treatment for mental disorder of those detained in hospital and/or detained in prison. Abigail holds a Dip.F.M.S. (diploma in forensic medical sciences) after examination in 2010 at Barts and The London School of Medicine and serves as a committee member of the Criminal Appeal Lawyers Association.  

 

You can contact Abigail directly if you would like a copy of the materials she uses to present her lecture/

Appeal filed against sweeping anti-protest injunction in #IneosvThePeople

Protesters against the fracking industry have lodged an appeal with the Court of Appeal against a sweeping anti-protest injunction granted to a multinational fracking company.

 

In an unprecedented decision last July, INEOS – the fracking company which has been awarded the most fracking licences by the UK Government – was granted a pre-emptive, ex parte injunction against protests at eight sites across England where fracking is planned or under investigation by INEOS. In a concerning development, the injunction extended to contractors, subcontractors and other entities which make up INEOS’ ‘supply chain’.

 

Environmental activists Joseph Boyd, represented by Heather Williams QC, Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh and Jennifer Robinson with Leigh Day Solicitors, and fellow campaigner, Joseph Corré, represented by Stephanie Harrison QC and Stephen Simblett of Garden Court and Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, applied to the court to have the injunction discharged.

 

In December the High Court upheld and renewed the injunction with the effect that campaign groups and individuals are prevented from being able to protest at fracking sites without the immediate threat of arrest and fines for contempt of court. The injunction was addressed to “persons unknown” (that is, the world at large), spurring the campaign hashtag #INEOSvThePeople.

 

The effect of the injunction is that individuals will be in contempt of court if they engage in a variety of different forms of protests, such as slow-walking, which have not previously been held to be unlawful in all circumstances. An arrest for breach of this injunction could result in a prison sentence of up to two years and/or a fine up to £5,000. The injunction has implications for all social movements and their right to freedom of speech and assembly.

 

Without the efforts of Joe Boyd and Joe Corré to represent “persons unknown”, the status quo of this injunction will continue unchallenged. Joe Boyd’s ongoing legal challenges against the injunction can be supported through the Crowd Justice campaign here.

Bar Council response to Law Commission’s third consultative document on the Sentencing Code

14.02.18 | |

The General Council of the Bar of England and Wales, the Bar Council, has responded to the Law Commission’s third consultative document on the Sentencing Code, and accompanying draft legislation.

 

Abigail Bright was part of the Bar Council’s Law Reform Committee that settled the response of the Bar Council. 

 

Abigail took the lead in drafting the Bar Council’s response to chapter 6 of the Law Commission’s consultation (‘Financial orders and orders relating to property’), questions 27 to 33, inclusive.

 

A copy of the Bar Council’s response is here.  

 

Abigail is the elected representative of barristers under seven years’ Call on the executive committee of the Criminal Bar Association of England & Wales. 

Sarah Elliott QC and Daniella Waddoup secure a manslaughter conviction for defendant charged with murdering his step-grandmother

Sarah Elliott QC and Daniella Waddoup acted for JG, a 23-year old man who brutally killed his step-grandmother, who had raised him since a baby. The defendant slit her throat, in front of others, with a large hunting knife, and tried to decapitate her, believing her to be an evil witch who “had to go”.

 

JG was floridly psychotic and in a profoundly disturbed emotional state at the time of the killing, which the court described as shocking and tragic.

 

Psychiatric experts found that JG had a primary diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and that although he may have taken illicit drugs in the run-up to the killing, his abnormality of mental functioning was a significant factor in causing him to act as he did. The prosecution were persuaded to accept a plea to manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility.

 

The Recorder of Cardiff agreed with the submissions of Sarah and Daniella that the most appropriate way of dealing with the case was by way of a hospital order coupled with a restriction order. The effect is that JG will be detained in a high-secure hospital to receive treatment for the foreseeable future. The restrictions affect leave of absence, transfer between hospitals and discharge, all of which require Ministry of Justice permission.

 

The Judge was persuaded to find JG’s culpability to have been low notwithstanding his possible drug use. She rejected a ‘hybrid order’ (which would allow for the defendant to be transferred to prison for punishment upon completion of his treatment), noting that the public would be better protected if decisions about release and supervision are led by clinicians.    

 

Sarah and Daniella were instructed by Sarah Griffiths-Jones of Evans, Hayes, Burnell Ltd. solicitors.

 

Press coverage can be found here.

Russia breached journalist’s rights

Today the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Russia breached the rights of a Ukrainian journalist when he was arrested at a  protest upon which he was reporting, and later detained and charged.  The European Court of Human Rights has held that the journalists rights under Article 5(1) (right to liberty), 6(1) (fair hearing) and 10 (freedom of expression) have been breached.

 

Three expert NGOs filed a third party intervention in the case: the Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI), ARTICLE 19 and the Mass Media Defence Centre, Russia. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Keina Yoshida acted for them, and Nani Jansen Reventlow, now an associate at Doughty Street Chambers, was MLDI’s Legal Director at the time the submissions were prepared.

 

The judgment is available here

 

Read the press release here

Amos Waldman instructed to appear at the International Criminal Court, in the Hague

13.02.18 | |

Amos Waldman has been instructed to represent a witness during the ongoing trial of the Prosecutor v Dominic Ongwen.

 

More details about the case can be found here

Doughty Street Chambers mourns the loss of Asma Jahangir

13.02.18 | |

The Bar Human Right Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) pays tribute to its friend and colleague, international human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir.

 

BHRC Executive Committee member & barrister at Doughty Street Chambers  Zimran Samuel said:

 

Asma was a powerful voice who held the feet of the establishment to the fire her whole life. She was a source of immeasurable inspiration for a movement in Pakistan and an entire generation of activists, campaigners and lawyers.I will never forget the way she opened up her home to me in Lahore. Talking to her you could see the passion in her eyes as she discussed the problems that many young girls face, particularly from religious minorities or marginalised communities. She allowed me to stay with her and ensured I was safe when investigating sensitive issues in Pakistan. She was just an incredibly warm and generous person. To my mind Pakistan has lost its greatest daughter.

 

Read the full tribute here

Court awards paralysed patient £4m over surgery consent blunder

A woman who was left unable to walk after an operation on her spine has been awarded £4.4m by the High Court after it found the surgeon had failed to ensure she was given informed consent. Christopher Hough acted for Tracy Hassell.

 

Mr Justice Dingemans ruled in favour of Tracy Hassell yesterday. She was operated on at the Mount Vernon Hospital, part of the Hillingdon Hospitals Foundation Trust, in 2011.

 

The case is one of the first in the country to be brought against the NHS where a patient did not have the full risks of a procedure explained to them. It follows a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court that material risks must be fully explained to patients.

 

In 2015, HSJ reported on fears among senior figures at the Care Quality Commission and NHS England over lapses in patient consent processes in the NHS, which meant patients were being denied copies of their consent form and the forms vary throughout the country.

 

Ms Hassell was operated on by spinal orthopaedic surgeon Shaun Ridgeway after an MRI scan identified spondylolisthesis – a condition where a bone in her vertebra has slid over the bone below leading to her spinal cord being squeezed.

 

She underwent a series of operations between 2009 and 2011 to tackle the pain until in October 2011 she had an operation that left her paralysed on her right side and with weakness on her left side.

 

The judge said Mr Ridgeway did not properly explain the risks of the surgery and had he done so, it was likely that Ms Hassell would not have agreed to the operation.

 

He said: “I find that Mr Ridgeway used reasonable care and skill in carrying out the operation, and that I am unable to identify the cause of Ms Hassell’s spinal cord injury. I find that Ms Hassell did not give informed consent to the operation, and that if she had been given information about material risks and conservative treatment Ms Hassell would not have agreed to the operation on 3 October 2011.”

 

He added: “Whatever Mr Ridgeway’s strengths as a surgeon when carrying out the operation… Mr Ridgeway was not a good communicator about the risks of operations.”

 

In court, the judge was told Ms Hassell was told the worst case scenario was her spine would have to be fused and there was no discussion about other treatment options such as painkillers or physiotherapy. She claimed Mr Ridgeway told her the operation was routine surgery.

 

On the day of the operation, Ms Hassell went to the hospital with her husband. Whilst her husband went to get her something from the hospital shop, Mr Ridgeway arrived with the porter and nurse, and Ms Hassell was told that she was going to the operating theatre.

 

Ms Hassell said she felt nervous and had not said goodbye to her husband. She was given a consent form to sign but she described the events as a rush and she did not pay attention to what it said. She did not recall any discussion about paralysis.

 

Olive Lewin, from the medical negligence team at Leigh Day that represented Ms Hassell, said she “was not made aware of the substantial risks such an invasive procedure would have on her and the risk of paralysis, which has had such a calamitous effect on her life.

 

The [Supreme Court] ruling should ensure that all patients have the full knowledge of the risks associated with a medical procedure and have a dialogue with the consultant so that they can accurately balance those risks and give truly informed consent.”

 

Ms Hassell said: “I walked into the Mount Vernon on 3 October and came out in a wheelchair. I spent eight months in hospital, which took me away from my family and friends who have supported me throughout this six year battle.

 

“Integrity is telling myself the truth, and honesty is telling the truth to other people.”

 

A spokeswoman from the trust said: “The trust acknowledges that Ms Hassell was left with serious injuries following surgery that was carried out at the Mount Vernon Hospital in 2011, which is a matter of real regret. Nonetheless, the trust felt very strongly that the performance of the surgery itself was carried out to a high standard, and that the poor outcome was a recognised risk of the procedure. The judge agreed with this, and made no criticism of the performance of the operation. He did, however, find fault with the consent process prior to the surgery, and awarded damages to Ms Hassell on that basis.”

Open letter to Iran’s Mr Larijani

Four members of Doughty Street International (Professor Juan Mendez, Baroness Kennedy QC, Lord Gifford QC and Kirsty Brimelow QC)  have joined other leading international and human rights lawyers from around the world in signing an open letter to Mr Larijani, the Head of the High Council for Human Rights in Iran. The letter draws Mr Larijani’s attention to the launch of a new website that documents human rights abuses against Iran’s Baha’i community.

 

Read the letter here

No bail power without lawful detention

08.02.18 | |

In B, an important judgment on bail powers,  the Supreme Court today affirmed that the power to impose conditions of bail must be narrowly interpreted. The bail power under the Immigration Act 1971 applies only to a person who could still lawfully be detained. Laura Dubinsky of Doughty Street Chambers was junior counsel for the Intervener.

 

The judgment is availble here.

Nicholas Bowen QC & David Lemer in Supreme Court victory: Robinson v CC West Yorkshire

POLICE NEGLIGENCE: MAJOR VICTORY ON HILL IMMUNITY

 

The UK Supreme Court today handed down a seminal decision on the tort of negligence in the case of Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [2018] UKSC 4.  Nicholas Bowen QC and David Lemer acted for Mrs Robinson, instructed by Duncan Fairgrieve and Grieves Solicitors.  Key issues flowing from today's decision include: (1) the liability of the police in negligence for the “supposed” Hill immunity, that police owe no duty of care in respect of action taken in the course of suppressing crime, does not exist; (2) the “idea that Caparo established a tripartite test is mistaken” in all but novel cases, and; (3) the case has important implications for watchers of the fate of CN v Poole.

 

This is a landmark case on the liability of the police and public authorities more generally, and by its judgment the Court has decided (click here for a link to the judgment), that the police owe a duty of care to avoid causing foreseeable personal injury to another person in accordance with the general law of tort, and that this extends to a duty to protect an individual from a danger of injury which they have themselves created.  The judgment builds upon and explains the 2015 Supreme Court decision in Michael v South Wales Police.  Contrary to previous dicta in both Court of Appeal and House of Lords / Supreme Court cases, it does not matter that the act or omission that caused the damage took place in the context of a “core” police activity”. 

 

A pre-planned arrest operation of a suspected drug dealer went badly wrong resulting in personal injury to Mrs Robinson, an elderly lady and innocent bystander in her late 70s who was out shopping in Huddersfield.  She ended up on the ground with two large officers and the suspect on top of her.

 

The Supreme Court unanimously found the police liable for the injuries caused to Mrs Robinson. Lord Reed giving the lead judgment dismissed arguments for the defendants that there was a general rule denying liability of the police when discharging their function of preventing and investigating crime, holding that this was a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of previous cases. On the contrary, “when discharging their function of preventing and investigating crime .. (t)hey generally owe a duty of care when such a duty arises under ordinary principles of the law of negligence, unless statute or the common law provides otherwise.”  The police, in common with everyone else, owe a duty of care to avoid causing foreseeable personal injury to another person.

 

In so holding, the Court re-established the pre-eminence of important principles of tort law, including the role of the Caparo test in determining the existence of a duty of care. Lord Reed re-affirmed the incremental approach underpinning the decision in Caparo, rejecting robustly the Court of Appeal’s view that the three-stage Caparo test “applies to all cases in the modern law of negligence” . The recent retreat in the role of public policy concerns was also confirmed, with Lord Reed confirming that such factors should not be a “routine aspect of deciding cases in the law of negligence”, and are only to be considered in novel cases.

 

A Diceyan approach to the liability of public authorities was underlined by the Court whereby the private law rules of tort apply similarly to public bodies and private persons alike. The omissions principle, which had been applied in a similar sphere in the Michael case, was reaffirmed so that public authorities, like private individuals, are not under a duty of care to prevent the occurrence of harm, other than in exceptional circumstances where the public authority has created a danger of harm, or has assumed a responsibility for an individual’s safety on which the individual has relied, or has been in control of the third party which caused the harm.

 

In the instant case, the injury of Mrs Robinson was found to have been caused by a positive act of the police in deciding to effect the arrest in circumstances in which it was not only reasonably foreseeable but actually foreseen that the suspect would attempt to resist arrest. That reasonably foreseeable risk of injury was sufficient to impose on the officers a duty of care towards the pedestrians in the immediate vicinity when the arrest was attempted.

 

The judge at first instance was entitled to have found that, on the facts, the police had been negligent. The chain of causation was not interrupted by the suspect’s voluntary decision to resist arrest, as that act was the very one which the defendant was under a duty to guard against.

 

The Chief Constable was thus found liable and the case was remitted for assessment of damages

 

Lords Mance and Hughes gave concurring judgments.

 

The judgements have important implications for whether or not the police will now be liable in a range of areas where they were previously thought to be protected by the immunity:

  • Most notably perhaps a failure to investigate.  This issue will be revisited in a further Supreme Court appeal due to be heard on 6 / 7 March 2018 in which Nicholas Bowen QC and David Lemer also act for Claimant police officers against the MPS Commissioner: https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2017-0003.html.
  • A variety of factual circumstances where the police have caused physical or psychiatric injury either by way of positive acts or have played an “active part in the critical events” which led to the damage, or a case where they have failed to protect a person from harm but they were in “control” of the person / risk who causes the damage and have a special / proximate relationship with the person who has suffered the damage.
  • The judgment may also have implications for the long-term survival of Lord Justice Irwin’s very recent and controversial judgment in CN v Poole Borough Council where the Court of Appeal boldly held that D v East Berkshire was no longer to be followed as a result of the judgment in Michael v SWP, a case that now needs to be read in the light of Robinson and the retreat from a policy justification for non-liability; watch that space.

 

The judgement is available here

Edward Fitzgerald QC delivers the second Hong Kong University-Boase Cohen Collins Criminal Law Lecture

Edward Fitzgerald QC was recently invited to Hong Kong to deliver the second annual lecture in the Hong Kong University-Boase Cohen Collins Criminal Law series.  Edward's subject was a comparative analysis of the approach of the appellate courts in Hong Kong and in England and Wales, as well as in the Caribbean, when those courts come to consider criminal appeals and fresh evidence.

 

The lecture series has immediately become a major feature in the annual calendar for HKU's law students, as well as senior professionals from Hong Kong's criminal justice community including prosecution and defence lawyers, judges, and academics.  Our sincere thanks go to Colin Cohen of Boase Cohen Collins and to Professor Michael Hor, Dean of the HKU law faculty, for their kind invitation to Edward to address such a distinguished audience of 200 guests.   

 

You can watch a video of Edward's lecture below, or by clicking here if the video below doesn't appear in your browser.  If you would like a copy of the supporting papers (Edward's lecture notes, as well as an in-depth supporting paper by Paul Taylor on fresh evidence and the Pendleton test) please email Maurice MacSweeney, our Business Development Director, or call him on +44 (0)207 400 8906.

 

You can also see more information, as well as photos of the event, by clicking here for a link to the relevant page of the Boase Cohen Collins website. 

 

Christopher Johnson drafts written submissions to the European Court of Human Rights.

Christopher Johnson has drafted written submissions on behalf of Validity (formerly the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre) in the case of Marinov v Bulgaria App. No. 26081/17.

 

The Applicant (Marinov) is a person under partial guardianship in Bulgaria. As a result of the partial guardianship the Applicant is automatically excluded from the electoral register and thus prevented from voting.

 

In its intervention, Validity argued that it is contrary to Article of 3 Protocol 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights to have (1) automatic disenfranchisement; or (2) any form of assessment of “capacity to vote”.

Russian extradition request refused: Chechen man wins 3-year legal battle

06.02.18 | |

A Chechen man, AZ, represented by Malcolm Hawkes has won his appeal against extradition to Russia, where he is wanted to stand trial for murder. It was alleged that during the second Chechnya conflict in 2001, he forced a woman to take revenge on a man who had raped her and supplied her with the gun she then used to kill him.

 

The Appellant initially left Russia for Belgium where his extradition was ordered in 2011. In 2014, the European Court of Human Rights upheld the Belgian court’s decision to extradite him and dismissed his account of being at risk in Russia due to his combatant past.

 

The Appellant fled Belgium for the UK where he was arrested and subject to fresh extradition proceedings. His account of having been a fighter in the Chechnya conflicts and tortured was rejected. However, on appeal the Appellant adduced fresh evidence which seriously undermined the reasoning of both the Strasbourg and Westminster courts.

 

First, the prosecution witness statements were disclosed which confirmed that the Appellant was indeed a combatant which would adversely affect the fairness of his trial. Second, the co-accused insisted that she had been tortured to name the Appellant as her accomplice, there was no other evidence capable of supporting a conviction. And third, the evidence the Appellant would be tried by jury was found to be incorrect; he would stand trial by a single judge. The acquittal rate of single-judge trials in Russia is less than 1%, but in Chechnya itself it is zero.

 

The Divisional Court remitted the case back to the Westminster Magistrates Court to determine whether the Appellant’s extradition would be compatible with his Article 3 and 6 rights.

 

Following a two-day hearing, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot found that there was a real risk the Appellant would suffer a flagrant breach of the right to a fair trial, contrary to Article 6 of the Convention and refused the extradition request.

 

In Zarmaev v Russia, Malcolm was instructed by Kate Goold of Bindmans Solicitors.

 

Index on Censorship give evidence to Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech in Universities

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has launched an inquiry into Freedom of Speech in Universities. The inquiry is considering a number of issues including: whether free speech is being suppressed in universities, by whom, and the causes. Index on Censorship has provided written evidence to the Committee, which has now been published. 

 

Doughty Street Chambers barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Keina Yoshida worked with Index on Censorship to prepare their submission. It addresses the question of whether freedom of speech on campus is in jeopardy, and specifically considers and criticises the Prevent strategy. Caoilfhionn, Jonathan and Keina’s evidence on behalf on Index on Censorship is available here.

 

Index is currently undertaking a project looking at the issue of free speech at colleges and universities around the world. You can read more about this work and how to support Index here

Lord Chief Justice gives landmark judgment on forum bar to extradition

Mr Lauri Love, represented by Edward Fitgerald QC and Ben Cooper both members of these chambers (instructed by Kaim Todner Solicitors) will not be extradited to the United States of America. 

 

In a judgment handed down today at the High Court by the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Ouseley it was held that the extradition of Mr Love would not be in the interests of justice given that he could be tried in England and there was a high risk that his mental and physical health would seriously deteriorate in custody in the United States.

 

Mr Love is accused by US authorities of cyber crime activity, and faced a very severe sentence in prison were he to be extradited and found guilty by a US court. Although Mr Love will not be extradited to face trial in the US, it is open to the UK authorities to consider whether or not to bring a prosecution against him. 

 

This is the first extradition case to win on the new forum bar to extradition. This was on the basis that he could be tried in England without the very serious risk of mental deterioration and even suicide if he was extradited.  The court accepted there was a real risk that Mr Love would deteriorate to the extent that he would become unfit to stand trial in the US due to his mental and physical health and the inadequate health care available in US federal prisons.

 

For more information on our market leading extradition team, please click here.

 

Read about this case in the press here and here

 

Read the High Court judgment of the Lord Chief Justice and Mr Justice Ouseley here.

 

 

 

Disclosure: what goes on?

02.02.18 |
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The Director of Public Prosecutions is scrambling to catch up. A string of defendants have seen their cases dropped after the late disclosure of material that undermined the case against them. Alison Saunders’ response has been to announce a review into all forthcoming rape trials. How have we got here? Cuts to the funding of the criminal justice system have undoubtedly played a part, but there are more profound problems; first, there has been a toxic mix of ever more complex material being found during investigations and, second, those responsible for assessing and disclosing that material have no motive to do so.  The complexity most often comes from the vast storage capacity of smart phones or from ever-present CCTV cameras. The lack of motive arises because police, and on occasions prosecutors, have a belief and commitment to the case they have painstakingly assembled and often yield to the temptation to let that infect their judgment of what will and will not undermine that case; it is all too easy to explain away an inconvenient text message or not notice an unhelpful piece of CCTV if one is partisan and knows the judgement made will never be subject to open scrutiny.

 

For no reason she has yet articulated, the DPP has explicitly said the current scandal does not lead her to worry that there may have been wrongful convictions. It is implicit within her decision to confine her review to rape cases that all other criminal investigations are somehow magically insulated from these problems.

 

Three questions arise. Is the current review an adequate answer to the problem? Are past convictions touched by these failings? What can a practitioner do? The answers that we at Doughty Street’s Crime Team would give are no, yes and watch this space. Over the next few weeks our team of experienced and expert barristers will be posting short pieces on how disclosure failings affect cases of sexual offences, terrorism, fraud and appeals. We hope they will help. 

First Successful ‘Substantial Injustice’ Joint Enterprise Appeal.

Tim Moloney QC, Jude Bunting and Kate O’Raghallaigh represented the first Applicant to be granted exceptional leave to appeal by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in the wake of the decisions in Jogee and Johnson.  On 30th January 2018, the Applicant’s conviction for murder was quashed and the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial. Accordingly, details of the case cannot yet be published.

 

Tim, Jude and Kate act for a number of applicants who have sought assistance in challenging their convictions from the campaign group ‘Joint Enterprise Not Guilty by Association’ (JENGbA). In all of those cases, they are instructed by Simon Natas of ITN Solicitors. Simon and Tim commenced their work with JENGbA in 2012 when they gave evidence on Joint Enterprise to the House of Commons Justice Select Committee. Tim and Jude subsequently acted for JENGbA, instructed by Simon, in the Supreme Court case of Jogee and the subsequent Court of Appeal case of Johnson.

Sarah Vine secures first acquittal in ‘child sex doll’ prosecutions

29.01.18 | |

R v DA (Chelmsford Crown Court, January 2018)

 

In this case, A was charged with importing a child sex doll. The doll in question was a ‘hybrid’ of child and adult features. At the close of the Prosecution case, Sarah argued that there was insufficient evidence upon which a jury could convict A of the charge. The judge upheld this submission, resulting in the first acquittal in a prosecution for an article of this kind.

 

Press can be found here & here

 

Mary-Rachel McCabe awarded prestigious Pegasus Scholarship

Doughty Street Chambers is delighted to announce that Mary-Rachel McCabe has been awarded a scholarship by the Inner Temple Pegasus Trust.

 

Mary-Rachel’s practice covers a broad range of social welfare law, including community care (adult and children’s social care), housing and mental health and capacity law.  
 

Mary-Rachel has a particular interest in children’s rights. She regularly acts in urgent judicial review proceedings for children who are street homeless or otherwise in need of support or accommodation, and unaccompanied age-disputed migrant children.

 

As a Pegasus scholar, Mary-Rachel will spend three months in New Zealand later this year working with YouthLaw, a community law centre for children and young people aged under 25, based in Auckland.

 

The Pegasus Trust was founded to build links between the English legal profession and the legal profession in overseas jurisdictions.

 

The Pegasus scholarship scheme “makes it possible for gifted young lawyers – the future leaders of their professions – to learn about the practical working of the common law system in countries other than their own, and to form enduring links with lawyers in those countries” (Founder and Chairman of the Pegasus Trust, the Rt Hon Lord Goff of Chieveley).

 

More information about Mary-Rachel’s practice is available here

Joint head of Chambers Geoffrey Robertson QC named in the Australia Day Honours list

We warmly congratulate our joint head of Chambers Geoffrey Robertson QC who has been named in the Australia Day Honours list for a life’s work of “distinguished service to the law and the legal profession as an international human rights lawyer and advocate for global civil liberties”.

 

Read more here

 

Chief Coroner’s Birmingham Bomb decision quashed.

26.01.18 | |

Today the Divisional Court gave judgment in R (Hambleton) v. Coroner for the Birmingham Inquests. This was a judicial review challenge to the decision of the Chief Coroner, who was appointed to hear the inquests into the deaths of the victims of the Birmingham Bombings in 1974. The Chief Coroner decided to exclude from the scope of the inquest the question of who was responsible for the atrocity. The judicial review challenge was made on behalf of relatives of 10 of those killed. The Divisional Court upheld the claim, quashing the Chief Coroner’s decision. The court provided guidance on how decisions of this nature should be taken.

 

The bombings were the largest peacetime loss of life in their time, with 21 people killed and a further 220 injured. The miscarriage of justice by West Midlands Police in respect of their investigation of the Birmingham Six is notorious.

 

Adam Straw represented the claimants, instructed by KRW Law.  

 

Read about this case in the media here

 

Adam Wagner acting in Joint Enterprise European human rights challenge

26.01.18 | |

Adam Wagner led by Felicity Gerry QC and acting alongside Peta-Louise Bagott of Carmelite Chambers, instructed by Wells Burcombe, have applied for permission to bring an application before the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Asher Johnson in a joint enterprise appeal.

 

Asher Johnson’s attempt to appeal (largely in time) after the decision in R v Jogee; [2016] UKSC (Jogee) was refused by the Court of Appeal in 2017. He was then refused a certificate to appeal to the Supreme Court on grounds of general public importance which included breach of his Convention rights. His application for permission to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) was served on the 15th of January 2018. The issues the ECtHR will be asked to consider include whether section 33(2) of the Criminal Appeal Act (CAA) 1968 is compatible with Convention rights, whether the ambit of the ‘substantial injustice’ test (applicable to all appeals based on Jogee grounds) applied by the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (CACD) is unduly onerous and places a disproportionate burden on an Appellant and also the discriminatory effect of joint enterprise law against BME youth (which applies to Asher Johnson). David Wells and Alan Burcombe of Wells Burcombe, Felicity Gerry QC, Adam Wagner and Peta-Louise Bagott were instructed as fresh solicitors and counsel after the Court of Appeal dismissal.

 

Stateless mother-of-two wins appeal against extradition to Lithuania

25.01.18 | |

Malcolm Hawkes represented a stateless woman who challenged the order for her extradition to Lithuania to serve an 18-month prison sentence for fraud, and to stand trial for similar offences.

 

The woman had entered the UK on false identity documents and was convicted of those offences in this country.

 

She challenged extradition on the basis that her statelessness would mean she could never return to the UK if she were extradited and be reunited with her children. Born in the Soviet Union, she had never regularised her immigration status in independent Lithuania; she faced insurmountable obstacles in establishing her right to citizenship of that country.

 

In the UK, she was the victim of domestic violence and extreme controlling behaviour from her husband, who had been convicted of murder in Lithuania and would regularly threaten her. He has since been deported to Lithuania where he faces trial for a second murder allegation.

 

The woman’s two children were severely affected by their mother’s arrest and imprisonment and were at real risk of further significant and serious psychological harm were she to be extradited.

 

Describing the case as one of the most difficult of its type, High Court judge, Sir Wyn Williams accepted that if the woman were extradited, she would automatically lose custody of her children as she would be unable to contest care proceedings in the family court. He concluded that this outcome would be a clearly disproportionate interference with her and her children’s right to private and family life.

 

In JB v Lithuania, Malcolm was instructed by John Howey of JFH Solicitors

 

Digital Freedom Fund launches to support digital rights litigation in Europe

Launched on 25 January, the Digital Freedom Fund (DFF) supports strategic litigation to advance and protect digital rights in Europe. Operating from Berlin and Brussels, it provides financial support to NGOs and individuals litigating to protect human rights in online and networked spaces and supports coordination and collaboration between digital rights activists in Europe.

 

The Digital Freedom Fund responds to an identified need to strengthen strategic litigation on digital rights and increase the impact of both litigation and advocacy to protect and advance the enjoyment of human rights in the digital sphere.

 

Since October 2017, DFF has been seeking input from the digital rights community on its strategy and funding priorities. Please get in touch to share your views.

 

The first call for funding applications is scheduled for April 2018. Receive a notification by signing up for updates here

 

DFF is led by Nani Jansen Reventlow, an experienced human rights lawyer, strategic litigator and associate tenant at Doughty Street Chambers. "We are very excited to launch the Digital Freedom Fund. Litigation is a powerful tool to push back on the curtailment of our human rights in the digital sphere. By supporting the digital rights community in the important work it does, we pursue an open and democratic society in which people can freely exercise their rights."

 

DFF is supported by a Board and a group of friends. "Ensuring that our human rights are protected online is crucial, especially as more and more parts of our lives enter the digital sphere" said David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression and part of the group of friends of the Digital Freedom Fund. "The Digital Freedom Fund will help reinforce the efforts of those fighting for our rights online, including the right to freedom of expression.”

 

The Digital Freedom Fund is grateful for the support of the Open Society Foundation, Adessium Foundation, Omidyar Network and the Renewable Freedom Foundation, and expresses its thanks to the Advisory Group that helped develop DFF.

 

Stay up-to-date with the Digital Freedom Fund by signing up for DFF's newsletter or by following DFF on Twitter

 

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