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.

Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chairwoman of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and Andrew Walker QC Chairman of the Bar Council raise international human rights law breaches with Iran over its imprisonment of its lawyers.

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

 

Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chairman of the Bar Human Rights Committee, issues a joint statement with Andrew Walker QC, Chairman of the Bar Council Andrew Walker in recognition of the Day of the Endangered Lawyer

On the day of the Endangered Lawyer, Kirsty Brimelow QC, Chair of BHRC, said:

 

“In 2016, BHRC, called upon the President of Egypt to end the persecution against lawyers in Egypt. “The Egyptian government continues to issue travel bans, freeze assets and detain human rights lawyers as part of an ongoing and sustained campaign to intimidate and undermine their work.

 

“Prominent figures currently facing persecution include Azza Soliman, a women’s rights lawyer and co-founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance (CEWLA), Malek Adly, a human rights lawyer and director of Lawyers Network at the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), and Khalid Ali, a workers’ rights lawyer. . They have been subject travel bans, asset freezes, imprisonment with hallmarks of solitary confinement, beatings and denial of family and lawyer visitation.

 

“On this important day, BHRC condemns this campaign to intimidate and undermine the work of these lawyers and others like them in Egypt.” 

 

Read the full statement here.

Edward Fitzgerald QC gave the annual Hong Kong Base Cohen and Collins Criminal Law Lecture on the introduction of fresh evidence in criminal appeals in Hong Kong

On the 26th of January, Edward gave the annual Hong Kong Base Cohen and Collins Criminal Law Lecture on the introduction of fresh evidence in criminal appeals in Hong Kong. The talk was attended by members of the Hong Kong judiciary, Department of Justice, and Bar Association, as well as students from Hong Kong’s three law schools.

 

The full talk can be seen here.   

High Court finds Personal Independence Payments Regulations unlawful

The High Court has found that part of the Regulations governing Personal Independence Payments (PIP) are unlawful and discriminate against people with mental health impairments.  The claimant in the case, RF, had all three of her grounds of challenge accepted by Mr Justice Mostyn.  He held that the Regulations are discriminatory, in breach of Article 14 of the European Convention; that they are ultra vires; and that the preceding consultation process was unlawful. 

 

The claimant is represented by Martin Westgate QC, Alison Pickup and the Public Law Project.

 

There were two interveners who supported the challenge: the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and MIND. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC represents the EHRC. The EHRC argued that the Regulations breach the right to independent living, protected by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Mr Justice Mostyn agreed and stated that this further supported his finding that the Regulations are discriminatory.

 

The Secretary of State sought permission to appeal.  This was refused by the High Court but he has indicated his intention to now seek permission to appeal from the Court of Appeal.

 

Further information is available from Public Law Project here

Sarah Elliott QC and Benjamin Newton secure an acquittal and wasted costs order in case dropped by CPS as a result of disclosure failings.

Sarah Elliott QC and Benjamin Newton secured an acquittal and wasted costs order at Southwark Crown Court for a client accused of assault causing grievous bodily harm after last minute disclosure forced the Crown Prosecution Service to drop the case.

The defendant was indicted under s18 Offences Against The Person Act 1861. In the months leading up to the trial repeated attempts were made to secure disclosure of the download from his mobile phone, seized by the police, because he had consistently asserted that it contained material that would support his defence. Despite repeated requests and court orders for disclosure the material was not provided until the trial had begun. The material from the mobile phone demonstrated that the complainant had been lying to the police, as the defendant had always asserted, and was not someone who the CPS should put forward as a witness of truth. Although the case had been opened to the jury and a live link to Australia had been established for the complainant, defence submissions to prosecution counsel and the reviewing lawyer finally resulted in the Crown offering no evidence on the second day of the trial, before the witness was called.

An application to recover the wasted costs incurred by the defendant under s19 Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 was granted following a hearing on 19th January 2018. HHJ Lorraine-Smith cited the "ineptitude" of the CPS and police, and observed that the case would have ended in January 2017 if the mobile telephone had been examined immediately as it should have been.

Sarah Elliott QC acted for the defendant at trial and Benjamin Newton appeared in relation to the wasted costs application.

Both were instructed by John Harding and Nicholas Dent of Kingsley Napley solicitors.

Guilty pleas vacated - Evidence of human trafficking accepted

In June 2017, N, a Vietnamese citizen, pleaded guilty to offences of producing cannabis and unauthorised use of electricity. The Crown’s case was that N had been 'responsible for industrial scale production, operating from a factory’. 

 

N was represented by a lawyer at the police station. He answered ‘No comment’ in interview to the majority of questions he was asked. N had legal representation when he pleaded guilty at court to both offences, the next day. 

 

Six months later, and with newly instructed counsel and solicitors, N’s legal team successfully applied to vacate both N’s guilty pleas on the ground that there was prima facie evidence that N had been the victim of human trafficking. N’s convictions were duly set aside.  

 

The Crown Prosecution Service requested that the Crown Court list the case, again, for trial. The Court did so. N’s counsel settled submissions that there were no remaining issues to litigate before a jury and that the Crown Prosecution Service had failed to apply its own guidance. N’s solicitor prepared a detailed chronology of all proceedings to date, including missed opportunities by investigating and arresting police to pursue reasonable lines of inquiry that would have shown, at the earliest, that N was a victim of human trafficking. 

 

Today, at the PTPH, the Crown Prosecution Service elected to discontinue the listed trial proceedings against N. 

 

From first instruction in the Crown Court, N’s counsel and solicitors drove N’s case down the route of the National Referral Mechanism and elicited 'reasonable grounds’ and ‘conclusive grounds’ decisions that founded N’s application to vacate his guilty pleas. N’s legal representatives commissioned an expert report on indicators and classic hallmarks of human trafficking and how those were indicated and apparent per the case served against N. 

 

N was represented by Abigail Bright and Hayley Douglas, instructed by Miriam Thompson, Faradays Solicitors

 

‘Revenge porn’ case against Facebook

Last week, Edward Fitzgerald QC appeared in a ‘revenge porn’ case in Belfast. Naked photos of a minor were being continually shared on Facebook. At an earlier hearing, Facebook had sought to have the case struck out on the basis that they had no duty more than to take down the photo once reported. At last week’s hearing, Edward argued that it was possible to block access to individual images for all time and Facebook had a responsibility to do so. Edward further argued that the processing of her sensitive data and doing so without her consent was contrary to the Data Protection Act and constituted a misuse of information.  The case against Facebook settled on confidential terms with an order that Facebook pay the Plaintiff’s costs. 

 

Read about this case in the news here

Rape trial collapses after disclosure failures

15.01.18 | |

Another high-profile rape trial has collapsed after the CPS was forced to offer no evidence when images emerged of the defendant in bed with his alleged victim.

 

The collapse of the prosecution at Snaresbrook Crown Court is the latest example of vital evidence either not being found or not being disclosed.  

 

Samson Makele had been under investigation for a year and a half before the case collapsed just two weeks before his trial was due to begin.

 

Harriet Johnson, Mr. Makele’s barrister, said 

 

“had we not been able to recover these images ourselves, there is every chance Mr. Makele could have been wrongly convicted.  The prosecution are under a duty to investigate all avenues that could potentially prove the defendant’s innocence, as well as his / her guilt - yet cases like this make it clear that that is not being done.  Unless the disclosure regime is seriously overhauled I have no doubt that there will be miscarriages of justice.”

 

Coverage of the case can be found here, here and here

 

Harriet Johnson was instructed by Paris Theodorou of Hodge Jones and Allen

Oldest person requested in extradition proceedings - fraud of €96, 766: EAW withdrawn

11.01.18 | |

A, an eighty-four year-old, was requested by the Federal Republic of Germany.

 

The European Arrest Warrant (‘EAW’) was withdrawn after written submissions were filed and served on behalf of A. Those written submissions set out, extensively, A’s positive case in response to the application for her arrest and extradition to Germany. .

 

A was accused of twenty-nine offences of fraud, with a total value of €96,766, allegedly committed over a six-and-a-half-year period. In the event of her conviction for any one such offence, A was liable to a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment.

 

A had allegedly engineered repeated frauds of the Federal Cash Office (Bundeskasse) and the responsible State pension regulatory authority (Bundesfinanzdirektionen).

 

A’s positive case, as pleaded, was that she did not deny any part of the alleged frauds but that there were bars to her extradition pursuant to the 2003 Act; alternatively, resort should be had to less intrusive measures than extradition to resolve the outstanding criminal proceedings. No reliance was placed by A on ill or poor health as a potential bar to order of extradition. A is a high-profile political activist and civil rights campaigner.

 

At the request of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the Crown Prosecution Service confirmed that A is the oldest person known to have been requested in UK extradition proceedings.

 

A’s legal representatives arranged for A to present herself, voluntarily, not under compulsion of any power of arrest, and ensured that A at no time was placed in handcuffs or detained in a cell.

 

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

 

Hidden in Plain Sight: Australia to follow the UK in Establishing a Modern Slavery Act

Dr Anne Gallagher AO 

 

2017 may be seen, in hindsight, as the Year of the Slave. Almost immediately after his inauguration, President Trump vowed to "bring the full force and weight of our government" to combat this “epidemic”. In September at the UN General Assembly, new data on the number of slaves (40.3 million) was publicly released. The data was generated by an alliance between the International Labour Organisation and Walk Free, the authors of the methodologically troubled Global Slavery Index. A high-level panel convened to mark the occasion and discuss “the greatest issue of our time” included UK Prime Minister Theresa May and Presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump.

 

Theresa May’s role was not an accidental one. The United Kingdom has been at the forefront of this global campaign, principally through its success in marketing the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the 'MSA') as a legislative game-changer –  a model  that other States seeking to burnish their anti-slavery credentials could usefully follow.

 

The MSA is certainly unusual. While most countries have adopted legislation criminalizing trafficking and related forms of exploitation, only a few have gone as far as the UK in legislating for “supply chain transparency” or creating independent oversight mechanisms (in the form of an Anti-Slavery Commissioner).

 

In February 2017, the Australian Parliament established an Inquiry into whether Australia should adopt a version of the MSA. Anne Gallagher, in her role as Academic Adviser, gave evidence and coordinated Doughty Street Chambers’ (‘DSC’) submission to the Inquiry.

 

The submission acknowledged that the MSA has some positive features that Australia could usefully consider when seeking to further refine its laws. These include prevention provisions focused on encouraging business to identify and respond to exploitation in their supply chains and the creation of an independent mechanism to oversee implementation of the law.

 

But the submission was clear that the MSA has significant weaknesses which are too often ignored by those who are pushing it as a model for other countries to follow. Not least is its startling, unconscionable failure to provide minimum statutory entitlements to victims of exploitation.

 

Drafters of the MSA chose to not specify the rights of person assessed to be victims of trafficking. They also chose to not impose an obligation on government authorities to provide support. Rather, the MSA authorises the relevant public official to issue guidance (Article 49) and make regulations (Article 50) concerning victim identification and support. These can, of course, be amended at any time.

 

The practical impact of the MSA’s failure to mandate victim rights and entitlements is partially moderated by the UK’s obligations under European law – which include substantial and detailed protections for victims of trafficking. Even leaving aside the very real possibility that this safety net will be removed, the experience of DSC and others has confirmed that securing such rights is a difficult and time-consuming process, often requiring court action. In short, and contrary to the dominant PR spin, this aspect of the MSA is far from international good practice.

 

As widely expected, the Parliamentary Inquiry’s report, released in December 2017, calls for the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia, along with the establishment of an independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Several of its key recommendations draw on the DSC submission. The Inquiry recommends the introduction of a statutory defence for victims who commit status-based offences, similar to but stronger than that set out in Article 45 of the MSA. The report also recommends the establishment of a national compensation scheme for victims of exploitation.

 

But opportunities to address more fundamental problems were missed. Australia’s criminal justice response to trafficking is desperately in need of review and reform. Too few victims are ever identified, and successful prosecutions are vanishingly rare. The Inquiry was made aware of these failings but declined to even call for a review of what is going so terribly wrong. And while the report acknowledges the need to protect victims’ rights, it tinkers with details rather than proposing that the new law unambiguously articulate obligations of protection and support.

 

The main problem with the report is the disproportionate attention it pays to the newly fashionable ‘solution’ of supply chain transparency. As I have written elsewhere, addressing supply chains must be part of any comprehensive attack on exploitation. It is, however, no silver bullet. In fact, there is a real risk that the current obsession with supply chains, as reflected in the global marketing of the MSA and the Australian Inquiry’s final report, will deflect precious time, energy and resources away from the grindingly difficult, less glamorous tasks we know to be critical to making a difference. These include: identifying and supporting victims; securing more and better prosecutions; reducing the vulnerabilities of migrants and migrant workers; enforcing labour legislation; and addressing the structures and attitudes that help to normalize exploitation.

Paul Barker to lecture at Harvard Law School

11.01.18 | |

Paul Barker, a specialist in international dispute resolution, has been invited to lecture on the international arbitration course at Harvard Law School in January 2018.

 

Drawing on his experience as a practitioner, Paul has also been a guest lecturer at Stanford Law School and teaches an annual class on investment treaty arbitration at City University of Hong Kong.

 

Paul accepts instructions as counsel and appointments as arbitrator in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations.  A link to Paul’s profile is available here.

Following the release of John Worboys, Kirsty Brimelow QC comments on parole laws in the UK

Kirsty Brimelow QC states that now 'taxi rapist' John Worboys has been released from prison we need to fix the parole laws.

 

Read the full article on Newsweek here

Sarah Elliott QC successfully defends client charged with voyeurism

10.01.18 | |

The defendant, a professional in a senior position at a global media company, used a hidden camera to covertly film women in intimate situations, both in his home and theirs, as well creating an extensive catalogue of “upskirting” videos of women on public transport. The offences were committed over a four year period and were aggravated by the planning and sophistication of execution .  Sarah successfully persuaded the Judge to pass a suspended sentence with a requirement to attend a sexual offenders programme rather than the immediate custodial term the Judge original had in mind. She also successfully argued that the terms of the sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) should not prevent the defendant from having ordinary electronic devices, such as a mobile, with camera facilities.

 

The case has appeared in the media.

 

Sarah was instructed by Tim Walker, Sonn MacMillan Walker.

Murder charge dropped at trial

04.01.18 | |

The Defendant was alleged to have been running a “County Lines” drugs telephone in Sussex on behalf of South London gang members. In the course of an altercation over a drug debt he was said to have attacked the deceased and murdered him by stabbing him twice in the chest, in a public street in broad daylight. After extensive, evidenced, representations by the Defence, the Prosecution conceded at trial that contrary to their initial case, the Defendant had only armed himself in response to an armed attack by the deceased. The count of murder was not proceeded with.

 

Represented by Piers Marquis, instructed by Sasha Sidhu at SVS Solicitors.

 

Read about the case in the news here and here

Police treatment of menstruating women and girls in the cells likely to be unlawful

The Independent Custody Visitors Association (“ICVA”) has called on the Home Secretary to address ongoing failures by police forces across England and Wales to ensure that women and girls in police custody have proper access to sanitary protection.  

 

The ICVA has written to Amber Rudd MP and the Minister for Women and Equalities, Justine Greening MP, to ask that an immediate review of police practice is undertaken, consistent with the public sector equality duty, and that specific protection is provided for menstruating women in Code C to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the statutory Code of Practice governing the treatment of police detainees.

 

ICVA is represented by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Angela Patrick, who have produced a legal opinion, provided to the Home Secretary and today published by the ICVA. 

 

The legal opinion makes clear that leaving women and girls in police cells without access to a pad or a tampon will violate women’s right to be treated with dignity, protected by the Human Rights Act 1998 (Articles 8 and 14).  In some cases, it may amount to degrading treatment (prohibited by Article 3).  Forces are failing to follow their own statutory guidance, inconsistent with their public law duties.  A continuing failure to treat women with equal respect may violate the public sector equality duty (Section 149, Equality Act 2010).  The Home Secretary and individual forces risk judicial review and some women may have a right to compensation.

 

Copies of the ICVA Press Pack are available, here. 

 

Coverage of the ICVA’s request to the Home Secretary is available from Buzzfeed, the BBC and the Guardian.

 

For more information, please contact Eileen Donaghey, on e.donaghey@doughtystreet.co.uk or 0207 404 1313 .  The legal opinion by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Angela Patrick for the ICVA is available by request.

Nick Stanage joins UN Roster of Senior Consultants

22.12.17 | |


Following an open competition, Nick Stanage has been selected to join the Roster of Senior Consultants of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, based in Geneva.

Nick will work for the Multilateral Diplomacy Programme which trains diplomats, international civil servants and other government officials in international human rights protection and promotion, international law, communication, public speaking, negotiation skills, and drafting UN resolutions.


UNITAR works in particular with delegates of UN missions from the least developed countries and small island developing states.


More information about the Institute can be found here and a fact sheet can be downloaded here.


Nick Stanage is a member of Doughty Street International. Domestically he specialises in police law and inquest law. Internationally he has worked for various UN agencies, Embassies, governments and NGOs, advising on detainees’ rights, police powers and procedure, criminal justice reform, the independence of the judiciary, and on effective investigations into allegations of torture and slavery.


The above work has been conducted variously in English, French and Spanish.
 

Paul Taylor and Katy Thorne to be appointed Queen’s Counsel

Doughty Street Chambers is thrilled and proud to announce that Paul Taylor and Katy Thorne will be appointed Queen’s Counsel in a ceremony at Westminster Hall on 26 February 2018, when the Lord Chancellor will present them with their Letters Patent on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen.

 

Called in 1989, Paul Taylor specialises in criminal appeals and is Head of the Doughty Street Appeals Unit.  He has particular specialism in cases involving fresh evidence, homicide, and offenders with mental disorders.  He is the author of leading practitioner textbook, Taylor on Criminal Appeals, and edits our monthly appeals bulletin (which can be viewed via our website).  Paul appears regularly before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division), as well as in applications to the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and he has appeared before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.  The most recent edition of Chambers & Partners says of him that he is, "A fantastic, hard-working advocate who is highly regarded for his specialism and expertise in appellate work. He attracts plaudits for his preparation and intellect, and has been instructed in some of the most complex and challenging appeals of recent years, including those relating to fresh evidence, murders and historic sexual offences.  He's meticulous in his directions to instructing solicitors, he brings great energy to the legal team and he goes the extra mile when preparing for cases."  The Legal 500 comments that Paul is “the leading junior authority on criminal appeals”, and as having “an unrivalled encyclopaedic knowledge of appeal issues".

 

Katy Thorne has defended since her call to the Bar in 1994, and her specialisms now include sexual allegations and abuse, child abuse and financial crime.  She is also instructed in the most serious criminal cases including murder, manslaughter, and high level drug trafficking.  Comments from legal directories include that “she is always thorough and well-prepared” (The Legal 500) and she is particularly singled out in feedback for her client care skills, being easy to work with, and for her good judgement.  Katy has particular expertise in challenging experts, from medical to cell site, and is often sought by professionals who face concurrent proceedings brought by their regulatory body (befoire which she also appears), particularly where those arise as a result of criminal allegations. In 2015, she published Mason’s Forensic Medicine for Lawyers with Professor Helen Whitwell and others.

 

Paul and Katy join our market leading team of 32 Silks who practise across all areas of crime, criminal appeals, fraud, public and administrative law, and civil and international law.

 

For more information on Paul and Katy’s work, please call our criminal senior practice team leader Tom Street on 020 7400 9088 or send an e-mail.   

 

A list of all those appointed Queen's Counsel in 2018 can be found here.

Man accused of criminal damage to £24 million painting in the National Gallery, found Not Guilty by reason of insanity.

21.12.17 | |

Emma Scott defended Keith Gregory, charged with slashing an “x” into the Thomas Gainsborough painting, “The Morning Walk” on 18 March 2017.

 

Mr Gregory could be seen on CCTV walking up to the painting and slashing it, before being pulled away by a member of the public, and detained by a guard of the Gallery.

 

Mr Gregory accepted damaging the painting, but the defence of insanity was raised.  Three psychiatrists agreed that Mr Gregory was suffering from a psychotic disorder at the time of the incident, most likely paranoid schizophrenia.  He had previously been detained under the Mental Health Act, but had absconded.  He spent four months travelling the country, alone, with no contact with his family or medical professionals, believing himself to be under surveillance by people with laptops and other devices.  In the Gallery, Mr Gregory informed psychiatrists that he heard a “powerful voice” that told him to leave a mark on the painting so his family could find him.

 

The issue for the jury, was whether, at the material time, Mr Gregory “knew what he was doing was wrong”.  The expert evidence differed on this point.

 

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of Not Guilty by reason of insanity in under 2 hours.

 

'Emma Scott was instructed by Tim Walker of Sonn MacMillan Walker.

 

Read about this case in the news here

European Parliament Study on the Implications of Brexit for the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice in the EU coordinated by Associate Tenant, Susie Alegre, is published

20.12.17 | |

The Study looks at some of the issues that will need to be discussed and considered in the next phase of negotiations - migration policy, judicial cooperation in family and criminal law, police cooperation and data protection for security and law enforcement.  It concludes that the impact of Brexit in these fields is complex and there may be a need for the EU to balance immediate operational needs with wider implications for policy development and greater integration in the EU in some areas. 

 

On an operational level, to ensure continued police and judicial cooperation is possible after Brexit, there is an urgent need to address some legal issues relating to cross-border cooperation including transitional arrangements around the European Arrest Warrant, whether at an institutional level (such as agreements with Eurojust) or on a bilateral level with Member States. The technical issues of transitional provisions to be included in the Withdrawal Agreement should be discussed as soon as possible in order to provide legal certainty for ongoing proceedings.

 

Many of the AFSJ areas affect the daily lives of people. Family law should not be considered an area of negotiation subject only to the principle of reciprocity. Whatever the UK position in this area might be, European families should not be held hostage to the political turbulence surrounding Brexit. The EU should explore ways of ensuring, to as great an extent as possible, legal certainty in the EU27 following Brexit.

 

The EU will need to bear in mind the implications of the decisions it makes on the AFSJ for the integrity of EU law. To ensure that Brexit does not weaken the foundations of the AFSJ itself, the importance of the role of the CJEU and the rights and principles set out in the EU Charter need to be fundamental.

 

Read the full study here.

Judicial Diversity: Where there’s no will, there’s no way

The Government’s response to David Lammy’s recommendation for the recruitment of Judges from ethnic minorities is as disappointing as it is predictable. David Liddington, the latest Justice Secretary, claimed today that setting targets “was the wrong way” saying instead “you need to look at the critical path of how people get into the legal profession in the first place". This solution would seem to require the elimination of all discrimination and disadvantage in schools and universities, thus kicking the can down the road for another 30 years. Liddington could form a double act with Lord “50 years before judicial equality between the sexes” Sumption. Decades of listening to this particular debate have left me with the belief that nothing will happen until we really, really want it to. It’s not like there aren’t solutions out there, how about:

  • Targets: tell your recruitment panels they should aim for 10% BME appointments and 50% women. At the end of each year, see how they got on. Telling people they’re being watched makes them try harder.
  • Learning from around the world: In American Football the Rooney Rule obliged all teams to interview at least one black candidate when choosing a new coach, and lead to a dramatic increase in the appointment of black coaches.
  • All women shortlists: Condemned by its critics as leading to the women selected being regarded as second rate. Really? Try this simple test. Name one female Labour MP who was chosen from an all women shortlist. Without looking it up. Unless you are such an MP [or were part of the selection process], I’ll bet you can’t 

Would such action cause unbearable resentment amongst those who would feel they might otherwise have been appointed? I will accept the need for caution and elaborate care to avoid stirring up divisions and prejudice amongst white working class men, but I’m damned if a bit of grousing at the bar in the Garrick should derail attempts to arrive at equality and justice. Anyway, speaking as a white man myself, at least this way I’d know any appointment I managed to achieve was based on merit.

ICSID provisional measures v extradition proceedings: and the winner is…...

18.12.17 | |

Arbitration Analysis: Emilie Gonin examines the interactions between ICSID provisional measures and extradition proceedings in Nova Group Investments, B.V. v Romania.

 

Read the full article here

 

The article was first published on Lexis Nexis. 

Doughty Street Chambers members give evidence to House of Lords committee on Brexit and citizens’ rights

The House of Lords' EU Justice Sub-Committee is undertaking further work on citizens' rights after Brexit, following its 2016 Inquiry, Brexit: acquired rights. It has now published a range of evidence which it has recently received on these issues, including a submission from Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Susie Alegre. Their evidence summarises their key concerns regarding:

 

(a) The impact of Brexit on citizenship rights for all UK citizens;
(b) The particular issues arising in relation to citizenship rights in Northern Ireland; and
(c) The impact of Brexit on citizenship rights for EU nationals resident in the UK.

 

Caoilfhionn and Susie’s evidence is available here and a blogpost summarising it is available here.

Kenyan Supreme Court abolishes the mandatory death penalty

15.12.17 | |

In a landmark decision that will affect thousands of prisoners, the Supreme Court of Kenya has struck down the mandatory death penalty (Muruatetu & Mwangi v Republic, 14 December 2017).

 

Under Kenya’s Penal Code anyone convicted of murder or aggravated robbery is automatically sentenced to death. This produces hundreds of death sentences every year, most of them imposed in the magistrates’ courts for aggravated robbery. The Supreme Court ruled that imposing the ultimate penalty for all such offences, without considering the circumstances of the offence or the offender, was incompatible with the fundamental rights enshrined in Kenya’s Constitution, including the right to a fair trial and the prohibition of inhuman and degrading punishment. The death penalty itself has not been abolished, but its imposition in future is likely to be the exception rather than the rule.

 

Joe Middleton addressed the Court on behalf of the Death Penalty Project. The Court allowed the Death Penalty Project to take part in the appeal as a “friend of the court” because of its historic expertise in bringing constitutional challenges of this kind. The Court was also provided with a detailed analysis of capital sentencing from other common law jurisdictions in Africa and elsewhere.

 

Reacting to the judgment, Joe said:

 

“This is a great achievement for Kenya, for the judiciary and for the many lawyers who have worked on the constitutional litigation in Kenya over the last decade. These cases continue to build on the pioneering death penalty challenges argued by Edward Fitzgerald QC and Sir Keir Starmer QC. The Court has provided a powerful affirmation of fundamental rights under the Constitution, and in doing so rejected  the colonial legacy of mandatory death sentences. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with colleagues in Kenya on capital sentencing principles, as well as the resentencing process for prisoners who have been given unconstitutional capital sentences”.

Amos Waldman successful in appeal against restraining order on acquittal

15.12.17 | |

Amos Waldman, represented David Taylor during his trial, for burglary, which took place, at Liverpool Crown Court, in May of this year. He was acquitted.

 

Following the trial, the Trial Judge imposed a restraining order, on acquittal. The power to do so is contained within S5A Protection from Harassment Act 1997, as amended by the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004.

 

Mr Waldman argued that:

(1)    the statutory test, namely, that the court may impose such an order if it considers it ‘necessary to do so to protect a person from harassment by the defendant’ was not met; and

(2)the factual basis for the order was not clear.

 

In delivering the court’s judgement, Irwin LJ, reviewed the relevant earlier authorities.

 

He reiterated that, given the potential consequences of breaching the order, one should only be imposed if it was truly necessary.

 

Report of the case can be found here.

 

Amos Waldman was instructed by Andy Malik, at DJMS Solicitors.

Check out Kirsty Brimelow QC’s review of books for the holiday season in The Times.

Twists, turns and a touch of inspiration: the best books for Christmas by Kirsty Brimelow QC. 

 

Read the full article here

ALISON PICKUP AND MARIA ROCHE IN LANDMARK IRAQI CIVILIANS VICTORY

Alison Pickup and Maria Roche, instructed by Sapna Malik and Shubhaa Srinivasan of Leigh Day, successfully represented Iraqi civilians in claims against the Ministry of Defence for human rights abuses relating to their inhuman and degrading treatment and arbitrary detention during the conflict in Iraq from March 2003 onwards.

 

In this landmark judgment, raising novel and complex issues of English and Iraqi law, the Court awarded damages under the Human Rights Act 1998 to four lead Claimants, who came from Iraq to give evidence in trials lasting over seven weeks.  The Court found that none of these Claimants had been engaged in terrorist activities or posed any threat to the security of Iraq.

 

Mr Justice Leggatt held that the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment under Article 3 ECHR had been breached through the deliberate assault and/or hooding of each Claimant and that the right to liberty protected by Article 5 ECHR had been breached by their unlawful detention.  

 

The limitation period was extended under s.7(5) of the Human Rights Act 1998 to reflect the significant obstacles that the Claimants faced in bringing their claim. Damages awarded range from £10,600 to £33,300.

 

Alison Pickup and Maria Roche were part of the Counsel team representing Mr Alseran, Mr Al-Waheed, MRE and KSU. 

 

The judgment can be found here.

NO CASE TO ANSWER FOR NOTTINGHAM PRISON OFFICERS

The POA are pleased that their members have been cleared of misconduct in a public office after a prisoner died on 16th December 2013. The pressure facing criminal charges has been immense for the Officers but hopefully now they can move forward knowing that this sad case has finally concluded and they have been cleared by the Court.
 

Steve Gillan General Secretary of the POA said,
 

'We are delighted by the strong judgment of His Honour Judge Dickinson QC which sets out comprehensively that prison officers, Mr Philip Marshall, Mr Paul Atkin and Mr Auvil Graham had no case to answer. He indicated that this was “crystal clear”. Sadly, it has taken several years since the tragic death of Mr Moore for this case to come to Court and for Mr Marshall, Mr Atkin and Mr Graham to receive, in a full considered judgment, a validation of their position. They are very grateful to their legal teams who, from the very start, identified the flaws in the case against them and to the Judge who enabled a just verdict of not guilty, with no case for them to answer. It is unfortunate that the prosecution failed to analyse the evidence carefully so as to understand that there was no criminal conduct by any of these prison officers. These are charges that should never have been brought.
 

Mr Marshall was represented by Mrs Gillian Jones QC, Mr Michael Lavery and Mr Greg Powell, Mr Atkin by Ms Kirsty Brimelow QC, Mr David Toal and Ms Gemma Zakrzewski and Mr Graham by Mr Simon Csoka QC, Mr Patrick Cassidy and Mr Jared McNally.

 

For more information click here

 

Christopher Johnson secures significant NIHL judgment

Christopher Johnson acted for the successful Claimant who received compensation of £11,567.49 (subject to apportionment) for NIHL of 11.2dB averaged over 3 and 4 kHz.

 

The judge dismissed the Defendant’s reliance on numerous in vogue points including: de minimis; the importance of losses at 4kHz; and the phenomenon of “loudness recruitment”.

 

Read the full judgement here

Child Sexual Exploitation Acquittals

12.12.17 | |

After three days in retirement an Oxford man represented by David Hislop QC leading Alwyn Jones was acquitted by a jury of six counts of conspiracy to rape, one count of rape and further counts of assault by penetration and conspiracy to have sexual activity with a child. The charges arose out of a police investigation known as Operation Nautical, an investigation into Child Exploitation by Asian gangs.

 

Garry Green successfully defends inmate in Pentonville Prison murder trial

11.12.17 | |

Garry Green and Charlie Sherrard QC appeared for Joshua Ratner who was acquitted unanimously of a murder committed in Pentonville Prison in October 2016. In a trial lasting 3 months at the Old Bailey the poor conditions of the North London prison were laid bare. Inadequate staffing, violence and the illegal trade in contraband; phones, drugs and weapons. The deceased was killed in a dispute over contraband with a  smuggled in “Rambo knife". Joshua  Rather was an inmate on the same wing at the time.The prosecution alleged he was jointly responsible for the stabbing and death of  Jamal Mahmoud.The motive was said to be a dispute about the control of contraband going into the prison wing. The location and circumstances of the incident were very obviously unique.  During the trial the jury visited the prison wing. They saw first hand the very unsatisfactory conditions of the prison.  A recent report into another London prison, Wormwood Scrubs, highlighted similarly poor conditions.  The case highlights the need to look again at how offenders are punished and how our prisons operate.  

 

For news links to the Pentonville and Wormwood Scrub stories, see here and here

 

 

 

 

 

Press Release: Statement from the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia

 

INTERNATIONAL LAWYERS ADVISE THAT DAPHNE CARUANA GALIZIA MURDER INVESTIGATION IS IN FLAGRANT BREACH OF ECHR REQUIREMENTS

“External, impartial investigators essential and extremely urgent”

 

International lawyers at Doughty Street Chambers have advised Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family that the investigation into her assassination violates procedural requirements of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

 

In a legal opinion issued today, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jonathan Price say “we are of the firm view that Malta is in flagrant violation of the Article 2 investigative duty and thus in breach of its obligations under the ECHR”, and that “from the information available at this stage it appears highly likely to us that the Maltese authorities have also violated other human rights of Ms Caruana Galizia and the bereaved family, under Articles 2, 3, 8, 10 and/ or 13 ECHR (and indeed under other international human rights treaties and domestic law).”

 

The lawyers conclude that Malta is in breach of its obligations to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family under the ECHR. Their legal opinion calls for swift action to be taken by the authorities in Malta to immediately remove the Deputy Commissioner from his role and to apologise to the family “for the failure to appropriately update and involve them in the investigation, and alter the way in which information is provided to them to comply with Article 2’s requirements.”

 

They further note that the involvement of external, impartial investigators is “an essential requirement, and an extremely urgent one.”
 


 

Note to Editors:

  • Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC has acted in many landmark human rights cases in the UK in recent years, including acting for bereaved families and survivors of the 7/7 London bombings and the Hillsborough disaster. She has particular expertise in freedom of expression and she regularly acts for journalists worldwide who are imprisoned, prosecuted or harassed due to their work. She is a member of the Board of Reporters Without Borders, and earlier this year she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts for her contribution to the protection of human rights.
  • Jonathan Price specialises in media, publication and information law, and he regularly defends journalists and writers both in the UK and internationally.
  • Doughty Street Chambers is home to leading specialist barristers who advise and appear as advocates for clients in courts and tribunals around the world. The Chambers practise in crime, civil law, public and administrative law, international law, mediation, and arbitration, frequently in cases invoking issues of human rights and civil liberties. Doughty Street is home to over 120 barristers, including 29 Queen’s Counsels.
  • A detailed explanation of the lawyers’ findings and conclusions can be viewed here.

Inmates cleared of Pentonville Prison murder

08.12.17 | |

Robert Butler, defended by Piers Marquis and Di Middleton QC, has been unanimously acquitted of murder by an Old Bailey jury at the conclusion of a three month trial. Butler was one of three inmates accused of murdering a fellow inmate in HMP Pentonville. The Crown alleged that the three had launched a premeditated attack, stabbing the deceased to death with a hunting knife and flick knife.

 

Butler maintained that order had broken down to such an extent in Pentonville that his Wing was being run by an armed criminal gang; and the Prison Service was powerless to prevent the proliferation of weapons and extreme violence. Butler had to habitually carry a knife because of almost daily incidents of violence. When he himself faced life threatening violence he had to defend himself. 

 

Read about this case in the news here and here

Louise Price and Harriet Wistrich, Birnberg Peirce, have lodged a complaint to UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women on behalf of seven women psychologically and sexually abused by undercover policemen infiltrating UK protest groups.

08.12.17 | |

The women complain that the United Kingdom Government has failed to prevent institutionalised discrimination against women by the police. All the women suffered serious psychological harm through having been deceived into long term intimate relationships with undercover policemen.   These intimate relationships involved five different undercover police officers over a period spanning nearly 25 years.

 

The case is one of the first complaints of its kind made to the committee and has been launched to coincide with the 16 days of action called by the United Nations that commenced with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November and culminates in Human Rights Day on 10th December. 

 

View the full press release here

Rebecca Trowler QC to speak at the Kazakhstan Lawyers Association Annual Forum in Almaty

Rebecca Trowler QC attends the Kazakhstan Lawyers Association Annual Forum in Almaty this Friday, 8th December, to give speeches on protecting the independence of the legal profession and the importance of the role and protections of the defence lawyer. She is attending in her capacity as International Director of the Criminal Bar Association. 

Court rejects Police attempt to strike out claim brought by abandoned son of police spy

 

Heather Williams QC and Fiona Murphy instructed by Jules Carey of Bindmans LLP have successfully defended a strike out application brought by the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in a bid to prevent the son of undercover officer, Bob Lambert, from bringing his claim for misfeasance in public office and negligence.
 

In a judgment handed down on 4 December 2017 Mr Justice Nicol commented that the Commissioner’s application missed the point as it was the “whole deceptive course of conduct from Lambert’s sexual liaison [with the claimant’s mother] through the Claimant’s birth, his father’s contact with him in the early years and then abandonment, all of which were based on a fiction” that was material to the claim in negligence and that in relation to the claim in misfeasance, on a strike out application, the Court had to accept as true the Claimant’s assertion that his psychiatric injury was a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the alleged unlawful actions of Bob Lambert.
 

Further details are reported here.

Call for ‘written guarantees’ on human rights in NI post Brexit

04.12.17 | |

16 signatories from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, have published a letter in today's Irish Times saying that "fundamental questions about human rights are at stake" in current Brexit negotiations. The signatories include: Liam Herrick executive director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties; Tanya Ward, chief executive of the Children’s Rights; Colin Harvey, professor of human rights law at Queens University, Belfast; and Dr Anna Bryson, school of law at Queens’ University.
 

One of the signatories, Professor Colin Harvey, Queen's University Belfast is also an Academic Expert at Doughty Street Chambers.
 

A copy of the article in The Irish Times can be read here

Special Treatment

Theo Huckle QC and Christopher Johnson examine the law on claiming damages for immunotherapy for cancer patients.

 

Read the article here

Pippa Woodrow speaking for the LCCSA on the sentencing of Gypsy and Traveller children

01.12.17 | |

On 4th December Pippa Woodrow will be working with speakers from the Traveller Movement to run training for the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association which is intended to raise awareness of the particular issues facing Gypsy and Traveller children who come into contact with the criminal justice system.  The session will highlight that Gypsy and Traveller children are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, and will help to ensure criminal solicitors are informed of common factors relevant to GTR children as members of a minority ethnic group in order to bring these to the court's attention.

 

Pippa will be speaking in particular about the Sentencing Council’s guidelines on Sentencing Children and Young People, and will also be referring to the guidance issued by the Traveller Movement (available by clicking here), which she and Doughty Street colleague Katy Thorne were involved in drafting earlier this year.
 

More information on the event is available on the LCCSA website.

RENOWNED ARTIST AND ACTIVIST RAMÓN ESONO EBALÉ MUST BE RELEASED IMMEDIATELY

 

RENOWNED ARTIST AND ACTIVIST RAMÓN ESONO EBALÉ MUST BE RELEASED IMMEDIATELY

 

His international legal team calls on the government of Equatorial Guinea to end his arbitrary detention immediately and unconditionally.

 

Artist and activist, Ramón Esono Ebalé, has instructed a team of expert international lawyers to challenge his continued detention by the Equatoguinean state.  Mr Ebalé, a citizen of Equatorial Guinea, has been detained in Black Beach prison, Malabo, without charge since his arrest on 16th September 2017. When arrested he was questioned about his cartoons.

 

This week, Mr Ebalé’s international legal team, along with the organisations EG Justice and Cartoonists Rights Network International, have 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 request urgent steps to protect Mr Ebalé and to call on the authorities in Equatorial Guinea to comply with their international legal obligations.

 

These urgent appeals have been 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.

 

Ramón Esono Ebalé

Ramón Ebalé is a well-known illustrator, blogger and human rights activist.  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.

 

His blog, Las Locura de Jamón y Queso was blocked by the government of Equatorial Guinea in 2014 and remains shut down there.  His work has been exhibited in Equatorial Guinea, as well as in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Spain, Paraguay and the United States.  He has collaborated with various international organizations, including the African Union and UNICEF and gives lectures on political corruption, dictatorships and democracy.

 

In 2011, and following threats on social media to Mr Ebalé and his family from government supporters, he moved to Paraguay, where he continued to exhibit his work.  In 2014, he published a graphic novel, La pesadilla de Obi (“Obi’s Nightmare”) funded by EG Justice, an NGO based in the United States. The novel depicts President Obiang as a citizen, experiencing the injustices of his own regime.

 

Arrest

Ramón Ebalé was arrested with two Spanish nationals by members of state security on 16th September outside a restaurant in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea.  Mr Ebalé had returned to the country from Paraguay to apply for a new passport.

 

While the Spanish nationals were released, Ramón was detained without explanation or charge.  He was questioned by state security about his views on President Obiang and the nature of his cartoons of the President, Vice-President and First Lady. On 20th September, Mr Ebalé appeared in court, accused of counterfeiting and money laundering – although no mention had been made of these allegations when he was first arrested and questioned.  He was not formally charged with either offence but was subsequently detained at Black Beach prison in Malabo.

 

He has now been detained without charge for more than 70 days.  His lawyers in Equatorial Guinea filed a request for his release on bail on Monday 20th November but are yet to receive a response from the court.  The open letter to the President has also been ignored. 

 

Restrictions on Free Speech in Equatorial Guinea

Freedom of expression is severely curtailed in Equatorial Guinea. On 16th April 2017, police arrested the President and Vice-President of the Equitoguinean human rights organisation, CEID. Both men were detained without charge for ten days. Cultural and artistic comment on President Obiang’s regime has been subject to severe restriction. In July, authorities detained Benjamin Ndong, after he released a song in support of taxi drivers who were protesting an increase in licensing fees. A UNICEF-funded theatre production raising awareness about HIV was banned also because of its criticism of government policy on sexual health.

 

Journalists have faced similar restrictions. In August this year, authorities ordered the withdrawal of all copies the pro-government weekly Ebano, which reported government harassment of journalists in Equatorial Guinea.  In January 2015, security officials detained two Financial Times journalists and confiscated their equipment, which was not returned. The journalists were released after several hours but only after revealing their laptop passwords.

 

Urgent Appeal

Mr Ebalé has instructed Doughty Street Chambers, EG Justice and Cartoonist Rights Network International to take action. Their urgent appeals sets out the infringements by Equatorial Guinea of its international obligations both to protect Mr Ebalé’s right to freedom of opinion and expression and that his arbitrary detention with no legal means of challenge is neither necessary or reasonable

 

Tutu Alicante, Executive Director of EG Justice said “An innocent man has now been deprived of his liberty for over 70 days, solely for exercising his freedom of expression with a pencil. The lack of evidence to substantiate the police accusation, and the state’s unwillingness to summon witnesses to be interrogated by Ramon’s lawyers shows that the accusations were completely fabricated.  It is time for the United Nations and its members to take urgent action to place pressure on the government of Equatorial Guinea to free artist Nse Ramon.”

 

 

Note for Editors:

 

  • Ramón Esono Ebalé is represented by barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jonathan Price and Paul Mason of Doughty Street Chambers, London, United Kingdom.
  • The appeal has been filed on Ramon Ebalé’s behalf by Doughty Street Chambers, EG Justice and Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI). More information about EG Justice and CRNI is available from their websites, available here and here.
  • Press enquiries should be directed to Tutu Alicante (tusantu@gmail.com) or
  • Eileen Donaghey at Doughty Street Chambers on  +44 (0)20 7404 1313 or e.donaghey@doughtystreet.co.uk
  • Members of the legal team are available for interview.
  • There is a Twitter campaign supporting the call for Ramon’s release, through the hashtag #FreeNseRamon.

 

 

 

Kirsty Brimelow QC commended for her work in international human rights by the Bar Council and Bar Pro Bono Unit

Kirsty Brimelow QC commended for her work in international human rights by the Bar Council and Bar Pro Bono Unit. At the Bar Conference on 4th November 2017, Bar Council Chair Andrew Langdon QC particularly praised Kirsty human rights work in Colombia.

 

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.”

 

Read more here.

 

 

Kirsty Brimelow’s client acquitted of a serious sexual offence

Kirsty Brimelow QC defended in R v P - a serious sexual offences case at  Croydon Crown Court (October 2017) instructed by Alex Nelson of Bark and Co. She exposed many flaws in the police handling of the case and the evidence. The jury acquitted on both counts after a retirement which only required the lunchtime hour to agree the unanimous verdict of not guilty. 

Evidence: JUSTICE report launched, ‘Mental Health and Fair Trial’

 

Joe Stone Q.C. and Abigail Bright both gave evidence to the rapporteurs at JUSTICE by way of contribution to the report. Click here to read the report.    

 

Linklaters LLP hosted the launch this week of the report. Click here to read the full text of the speech given at the launch by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon. 


 

The Lord Chief Justice said the report is 'a valuable contribution to a continuing debate over the appropriate ways to cater for mental health illness and neurological illness at all stages of investigation, prosecution and disposal of offences'.


 

Click here to read today’s article on the report by The Brief in The Times. 


 

Click here to read an article on the report in The Guardian. 

Lauri Love’s fight against extradition to the USA begins

Today, Edward Fitzgerald QC and Ben Cooper are representing Lauri Love in a two day extradition appeal. Mr Love faces extradition to the USA on cyber crime charges and will most likely serve a very long sentence in the Metropolitan Detention Centre (“MDC”) or Metropolitan Correctional Centre (“MCC”). In 2016, the District Judge ruled that Mr Love was at a real risk of suicide, both in pre-trial detention and in detention in the MDC or MCC. Mr Love suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, insomnia, clinical depression and extreme eczema.

 

Mr Love’s case has been widely compared to Gary McKinnon’s. In 2012, the then Home Secretary, Theresa May, withdrew her extradition order to the United States, stating ‘Mr McKinnon is accused of serious crimes. But there is also no doubt that he is seriously ill [...] He has Asperger's syndrome, and suffers from depressive illness. Mr McKinnon's extradition would give rise to such a high risk of him ending his life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with Mr McKinnon's human rights." 

This case has been covered in the media

Cleared of Manslaughter

Francis FitzGibbon represented Adam King, who was acquitted on the Judge’s direction of the manslaughter by gross negligence of 16 year 0ld Megan Bannister. She died of a probable overdose of Ecstasy, supplied by the co-defendant. The medical evidence failed to show a prima facie case that the defendant’s failure to get help caused her death. 

 

 

Quoted in the media here

London: Indirect Discrimination: where are we now? Gender pay reporting: Can it really fill the gap?

On December 6th Heather Williams QC and Henrietta Hill QC will be presenting a talk on indirect discrimination. This discrimination double header will consider the implications of recent indirect discrimination appellate case law, identifying and discussing the trends and outstanding issues and examine the new gender pay reporting regime, and explore how far it will go in meeting the recognised gender pay gap.

 

This meeting is free of charge to members and open to non-members for a nominal fee (details below).  Members are encouraged to pre-book their attendance at this meeting if possible but they can also pitch up at the session without doing so if they prefer.

 

Non-members are however asked to pay a nominal fee of £15 (reduced to £5 for trainee solicitors, voluntary sector workers, pupil barristers and unwaged) in advance of the meeting.

 

Non-members should click here to book their attendance and pay on-line (using a debit card only)

 

For more information please visit the Industrial Law Society website.

Law relating to admission of fresh evidence on appeal under the Extradition Act 2003 ought to be heard by Supreme Court

28.11.17 | |

On 28 November 2017, the High Court (Hickinbottom LJ and Green J) certified the following points of law (but refused leave to appeal) in the case of FK v Stuttgart State Prosecutor's Office, Germany [2017] EWHC 2160 (Admin) (handed down on 19 September 2017):

 

Question 1:

Under the Extradition Act 2003, in what circumstances, if any, is it permissible for a respondent to an appeal to seek to rely on fresh evidence which was available at first instance (or could have been available with due diligence), and which is not in response to fresh evidence adduced by an appellant?

 

Question 2:

Is it ever permissible for a Part 1 warrant which fails to comply with the requirements of section 2 of the Extradition Act 2003 to be corrected through the provision of information extraneous to the warrant?

 

Question 2 is the same question as that certified in Alexander v The Public Prosecutor’s Office, Marseille District Court of First Instance, France [2017] EWHC 1392 (Admin).

 

Question 1 arose in FK as, following the first appeal hearing before Sir Stephen Silber, the judge asked the Crown Prosecution Service to secure further information from the Requesting Judicial Authority relating to dual criminality.  The matter was then relisted before a Divisional Court for a rehearing.

 

The points of law are important as they go to the regulation of fresh evidence on appeal, as well as the (inherent) jurisdiction of the High Court to seek further information from Requesting Judicial Authorities.

 

Graeme Hall was instructed by Shah Law Chambers at first instance and on appeal. Hugh Southey QC led at the appeal before the Divisional Court.

High Court upholds draconian anti-protest injunction granted to fracking company INEOS

Yesterday, the High Court upheld and renewed a wide sweeping pre-emptive injunction granted to fracking company INEOS.

 

INEOS is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of chemical and oil products, and the largest owner of shale licenses in the UK, with fracking licenses that cover more than 1.2m acres of land across the north‐west of England, Yorkshire and the Midlands.   In July 2017 INEOS  was granted an unprecedented, ex parte injunction  preventing a wide range of protests against INEOS and its suppliers.

 

The injunction applied not only to eight sites across England, where fracking is planned or under investigation by INEOS, but also to a large number of unidentified group companies, contractors, subcontractors and other entities which make up INEOS’s ‘supply chain’. The injunction was addressed to “persons unknown”, that is, the world at large, which spurred 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.

 

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 Garden Court counsel and Bhatt Murphy Solicitors, applied to the court, seeking the injunction’s discharge.

 

Heather Williams QC argued that the unprecedented injunction was unlawful on the grounds that INEOS had failed to provide the court with evidence which justified such a broad injunction and that the order was having a substantial impact on the legitimate rights of those people wishing to protest lawfully against fracking across the UK. The inclusion of slow-walking, which has become a particularly important form of protest in the anti-fracking movement and other movements in the UK and around the world, in the scope of the injunction is particularly problematic.  However, Mr Justice Morgan has now upheld these concerning elements of the injunction, although accepting that the part of his earlier injunction relating to harassment should be discharged.

 

 

In response to the ruling, Mr Boyd said yesterday:

 

“What INEOS has obtained from the Court today is profoundly troubling, it allows for an unprecedented restriction on our fundamental rights. The removal of the harassment aspect of the injunction is an important victory for us. But the rest of the injunction cannot be left unchallenged and we will be filing an application for permission to appeal.”

 

Mr Boyd plans to seek permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal. 

 

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

 

For further information, see also.

Is your library criminal?


In 1999 the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, was presenting what was to become the Terrorism Act 2000 to the House of Commons. Answering a challenge about the breadth of its terms he said:

 

Of course, we can all invent hypothetical circumstances—fantastic circumstances—in which any of us, according to the criminal code, could be charged and subject to conviction; but there is no point in our doing so. We know that, in the real world in which we live, the criminal law is subject to a significant series of checks and balances, including proper invigilation by the courts of the land and control of the Crown Prosecution Service by Members of Parliament who are answerable to the House of Commons and the other place. Such circumstances therefore do not arise, and I do not believe that they ever will.

 

Tell that to Josh Walker; in the summer of 2015 he was organising a student role playing game at his university in Aberystwyth. To make it more real he signed into his student library internet account, searched and printed off a partial copy of the Anarchist Cookbook, a ragbag originally produced in early 1970s USA containing a mix of pranks, firework and bomb recipes and tips on how to make free phone calls and cheat the US credit card companies. He could have bought a copy off Amazon, but didn’t bother. At the end of the game the students planned to destroy all the paperwork but Josh forgot and ended taking the partial book and some other random papers home. A year and a half later they were found in the drawer under his bed. In the meantime Josh had seen what was going on in Syria and flown out to help the Kurdish groups who were fighting against ISIS. He came home in December 2016 and was arrested as police tried to work out what he had been doing in the Middle East; he was not charged for helping the same group that the Americans, the French and the UK are assisting, but a police search of his Aberystwyth bedsit found the book and 10 months later he stood trial in Birmingham Crown Court, accused of possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist, under section 58 of Jack Straw’s 2000 Act.

 

No one said Josh Walker was going to make one or more of the bombs described in the book. No one said he knew any terrorists. No one said there was any sensible prospect of a terrorist looking in the drawer under the bed in his room. Yet the terms of section 58 don’t require the person owning the book to be a terrorist, nor that their copy of the book might fall into the hands of a terrorist; if the information in the book is such as is “likely to be of use to a terrorist” the owner is guilty unless he or she has a “reasonable excuse”.

 

It wasn’t meant to be this way. Jack Straw thought he was passing a law that would only be used to stop terrorism. The House of Lords in the appeal of G seem to have been told the offence would not be used against books such as an “A to Z” and placed great faith in prosecutors who are “very familiar with the need to exercise a wise discretion in deciding whether taking proceedings would ultimately be in the public interest”. Tell that to Josh.

 

And so, on 23rd October 2017 Josh Walker and his legal team turned up at Birmingham Crown Court. An application was made for the trial Judge to halt the prosecution on the basis it was an unjustified interference with both common law rights and the European Convention right to “receive information”, and that the Director of Public Prosecutions’ consent to the case proceeding should never have been given. The Judge refused and the trial started. Three days later a Birmingham jury decided that a student owning a book with no intention to harm anyone was a reasonable excuse and Josh Walker was found not guilty.

 

Questions remain. What was the public interest in prosecuting this case in the first place? Do Jack Straw’s assurance to Parliament and the expectation of the Law Lords in G count for nothing? And if the CPS wishes to criminalise a book, why not pick on someone their own size, like Amazon, instead of a student on legal aid who had risked his life fighting terrorists in Northern Syria? Someone really ought to ask the DPP.
 

UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson commits to raising persecution of BBC Persian staff with Iranian Government

During the FCO questions session in parliament yesterday, UK Foreign Secretary responded to a question from Diana Johnson MP, and agreed to take up the BBC Persian Service case when speaking with his counterparts in Iran. 

 

Referencing the joint UN Special Rapporteur statement made after the urgent appeal filed on behalf of the BBC Persian staff by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson in October, Hull North MP Diana Johnson asked:

 

"The United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of expression and human rights report that the Iranian regime has undertaken a campaign of harassment, persecution and intimidation against staff of the BBC Persia Service and their families, aimed at preventing [them] doing their job. Can the Foreign Secretary say what representations he's made to the Iranians about this?" 

 

Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, said:

 

"We have made repeated representations to the Iranians about human rights concerns, but I will certainly be happy to take up the issues she raises in person in the course of my visit to, my projected visit to Iran in the next few weeks." 

 

As was made clear in the urgent appeal, BBC Persian staff and their families have suffered growing persecution since BBC Persian TV was launched in 2009. It is clear this persecution is directed at them because of their work and affiliation with the BBC. The most recent measures include a criminal investigation alleging that BBC journalists are undermining Iran’s national security and an asset freezing injunction preventing 152 current and former BBC Persian staff from buying, selling or inheriting property.

 

In response to the urgent appeal, the UN Special Rapporteurs David Kaye and Asma Jahangir issued a joint statement in October raising their concern: 

 

 “The Iranian authorities appear to regard any affiliation with the BBC as a crime. We are concerned at recent reports that the action has now escalated to direct targeting of family members of BBC Persian staff. The measures are clearly aimed at targeting the BBC and at preventing journalists from continuing their legitimate work with BBC Persian. We urge the Iranian authorities to cease all legal action against BBC Persian staff and their families, and to cease the use of repressive legislation against independent journalism, whether affiliated to BBC or not.”
 

The Foreign Secretary’s statement in Parliament is the first time the UK government has publicly committed to taking diplomatic action on behalf of BBC Persian staff, many of whom are dual nationals of the UK.

 

Further background is available from the BBC here and the NUJ here.

Environmental Exposure to Asbestos Kills Indian People

 

Environmental Exposure to Asbestos Kills Indian People

Kymore-A Slow-Motion Bhopal

 

On the 27th November 2017, Nirmala Gurung, will speak in front of hundreds of people at the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva. Nirmala is a former teacher and headmistress of a secondary school in the village of Kymore, Madhya Pradesh, India who was diagnosed with parenchymal asbestosis in 2016. Parenchymal asbestosis is a lung disease caused by exposure to substantial amounts of asbestosis dust that can quickly lead to lung cancer. In the United Kingdom, it is recorded that thousands of people die from asbestos-related lung cancer every year, decades after its use was stopped.

The UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is the largest global gathering of people interested in ensuring that there is a proper remedy for human rights violations caused by corporations. This year over 2000 people, including victims, NGOs and corporations will attend. 

Nirmala will talk to the Forum about the fact that she has lived near a factory which has been making chrysotile or white asbestos products, for over 30 years. The subsidiaries of the former British company Turner and Newall PLC and the Belgium company ETEX (Eternit) dumped asbestos waste on 600,000 square metres of land on or near which more than 3000 people currently live. The factory  is currently owned by Everest Industries Limited. In her own words:

“During the dry season dry asbestos dust particles even blew into the class rooms. Parents and children used to come into the classroom covered with dust. The owners and workers in the UK and Belgium certainly knew about the hazards of asbestos but did not inform the community. I have seen many victims dying slowly and painfully. It’s really horrible to watch a healthy person turn into a skeleton. I wish the coming generation must be saved from this and that first and foremost there is a need for the proper treatment of the asbestos wastage which the factory dumped in the surrounding populated area. Asbestos must be banned and those suffering from asbestos diseases should be compensated”.

 

Both ETEX and Everest Industries Limited have been invited to attend.

 

Krishnendu Mukherjee a barrister and advocate at Doughty Street Chambers, London, has been involved with Kymore since 2013. He will be speaking at the above session on the “Barriers to Remedy in Transnational Cases”.

 

Elise Groulx, Associate Tenant at Doughty Street Chambers will also be speaking at the Forum at a separate session on a Trust Fund, which is being set up to assist these exact types of cases.

 

For more information see:

 

Press Release by ABAN, IBAS, OEHNI, AMRC, ABEVA, UK Forum of Asbestos Victims’ Groups

 

The Legacy of the European Asbestos Industry Continues in India 

 

ASBESTOS INVESTIGATION AND REMEDIAL OPTIONS ANALYSIS

KYMORE VILLAGE, MADHYA PRADESH, INDIA

 

 

Additional Information

 

Kymore (300km from Bhopal), the site of India’s first asbestos factory, started by the British company Turner and Newall PLC in 1934 and still operating under its present owners Everest Industries Limited.  Since medical camps started in 2013, over 400 people have been diagnosed and compensated with asbestos-related diseases from a Trust Fund set up after the bankruptcy of Turner and Newall in 2001. The process is on-going, but many will have died without ever knowing that they were affected. Up until 1996, the factory dumped asbestos waste in the surrounding area, including on private land. This included both the subsidiary of Turner and Newall and the subsidiary of a Belgium Company, ETEX (better known as Eternit), which had a large number of factories in Europe, in Africa and in Asia, and which still operates (albeit no longer in the asbestos industry). ETEX sold its subsidiary to an Indian company in 2001, shortly before asbestos-production was completely banned in Belgium. Everest Industries Limited is one of India’s largest asbestos-product producers, with 5 factories around India. There are around 250 people working in the factory, who are mostly contract labour.

 

An environmental report by a Canadian company, ECOH, commissioned by the community, found that there was 1m tonnes of asbestos-contaminated surface soil in two different sites around the factory.  in some places there was 70% asbestos concentration in the soil. The company estimated that it would cost at least $52m to remediate the site. Meanwhile, there are 3000 people living directly on the site and up to 8000 people living near it, who could face exposure to asbestos fibre in the environment. In the UK, which essentially stopped using asbestos in the 80’s, there are still over 2000 mesothelioma cancer sufferers, who are diagnosed annually, with very limited exposure to asbestos fibre.

 

The response from the statutory authorities has been poor. Despite knowing about the illegal dumping of waste, no action was or is being taken by the MP Pollution Control Board. Neither has repeated letters to the District Magistrate yielded any action. Health assessments by Everest Industries Limited conducted amongst the workers since 1985 did no reveal any instances of asbestosis or even pleural plaques (the initial symptom of asbestosis), despite the fact that there obviously must have been. Due to poor medical infrastructure there has been no proper diagnosis of asbestos-related lung cancer.

 

Given the number of people who must have died over the past nearly 90 years from asbestos-related diseases, which must have been in the thousands, we are terming it “A Slow-Motion Bhopal” after the world’s worst industrial disaster.

 

For more information contact:

 

Jagdish Patel

OEHNI coordinator

jagdish.jb@gmail.com

 

20th November 2017

 

Emma Goodall’s client acquitted of a night club acid attack

14.11.17 | |

Emma Goodall’s client, Andre Phoenix, was accused of throwing acid during an altercation on the dance floor of a popular club in Hackney causing serious burn injuries to a number of clubbers. The incident was captured on CCTV.

 

After a five week trial Mr Phoenix was found not guilty of four counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and other assault charges. These acquittals followed a successful submission of no case to answer in relation to ten additional counts.   His co-defendant, Arthur Collins, who was subject to media attention due to his relationship with a TOWIE actress, was found guilty of a series of assaults.

 

Emma was instructed by Phaedon Georgiou and Trivena Jothibal of Joseph Hill Solicitors.

 

For media coverage see here and here

Theo Huckle QC to speak at Brexit and Human Rights: Better Protected In or Out?

14.11.17 | |


5.30pm Thursday 30 November 2017

Registration from 4.45pm

Welsh Government Building, Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ

          

The White Paper on a Great Repeal Bill published earlier this year provided some clarity about how equality and human rights concerns will be addressed. For instance existing EU law in place at the point the UK leaves is to be preserved ‘wherever possible’. However what will be the impact of losing the Charter of Fundamental Rights? Will we be at risk of a future government passing laws which fall below the current standards of EU law? Will our future rights suffer from no longer following the European social rights agenda?

The Human Rights Lawyers’ Association and Public Law Wales invites you to join our expert panel of speakers to explore the challenges and benefits posed by Brexit in this specific context.

Speakers

Theo Huckle QC
Doughty Street Chambers


Martin Howe QC
8 New Square Chambers


Professor Fiona De Londras
Chair in Global Legal Studies at Birmingham Law School

 

To reserve your seat at this free event, please RSVP to administrator@hrla.org.uk.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe: UK urged exercise diplomatic protection in case of dual British-Iranian citizen arbitrarily detained in Iran.

On 9 November 2017 Redress urged the UK to exercise diplomatic protection in the case of Nazanin-Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian citizen arbitrarily detained in Iran. Alongside its statement, Redress released a legal opinion authored by Professor John Dugard SC, Tatyana Eatwell and Alison MacDonald QC (Matrix) concerning the availability of diplomatic protection to the UK in this case. This legal opinion follows on from a first previously released on 23 October 2017 in which counsel advised that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is arbitrarily detained in Iran. The UK government has received both opinions.

 

In the opinion counsel conclude that "the only effective means under international law by which the grave harm suffered by Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe may be repaired lies in the UK's right to exercise diplomatic protection".  All the requirements of diplomatic protection have been met in this case: at the time of her arrest Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was predominantly British, and continues to be and she has been subjected to a series of grave violations of human rights, including the right to fair trial and freedom from arbitrary detention. Moreover, the question whether Iran recognises Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe is irrelevant for the purpose of diplomatic protection. 

 

Professor Dugard and Tatyana Eatwell are instructed by Redress on behalf of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe.

 

For further information on the case please go to: http://www.redress.org/international-jurisdictions/nazanin-zaghari-ratcliffe and www.freenazanin.com 

@freenazanin

 

Berlusconi v Italy

On 22 November 2017 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will hear oral argument in the matter of Berlusconi v Italy (application no. 58248/13).

 

In February 2013 Mr Berlusconi was elected as a Senator. He took his seat in Parliament as a representative of Forza Italia and leader of a coalition with around 30% of the vote. In November 2013 he was stripped of his Senatorial position because of his conviction of tax offences allegedly committed some 15 years earlier. The basis for stripping him of his democratic mandate was the Severino Decree, a law passed by the Government in December 2012. It imposed further penalties for offences committed long before the law was passed.

 

It is anticipated that Italy’s next general election will take place in March 2018. Notwithstanding the considerable support Mr Berlusconi enjoys amongst the Italian electorate, the Severino Decree prohibits him from standing in that election.

 

It will be argued before the Grand Chamber on Mr Berlusconi’s behalf that the Severino Decree is a retroactive penalty in violation of Article 7 of the European Convention of Human Rights (‘the Convention’).

 

It will further be argued that Mr Berlusconi is the victim of a violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1 of the Convention which protects against the disproportionate limitation of electoral rights and arbitrary interference with the tenure of a duly elected candidate. This complaint arises from the fact that the Severino Decree imposes a mandatory ban from public offices for at least six years, regardless of the gravity of offence. In addition, the Decree contains no express provision to authorize the stripping of office of a Parliamentarian following conviction. Moreover, the decision to strip Mr Berlusconi was taken by Parliament. The process was governed by no accessible criteria and as a result was open to political manipulation and abuse. In Mr Berlusconi’s case it seems clear that such political manipulation dictated the result.

 

Finally, it will be argued that the absence of any possible judicial review or scrutiny of these complaints in Italy amounts to a violation of Article 13 of the Convention. This guarantees the right to an effective domestic remedy.

 

A separate application to the European Court, which is still pending, complains that Mr Berlusconi was the victim of an unfair trial in violation of Articles 6 and 7 of the Convention.

 

A webcast of the hearing can be found here.

 

Three members of Doughty Street International act for Mr Berlusconi: Edward Fitzgerald QC, Steven Powles and Professor Andrea Saccucci.

Defending private prosecutions: the LexisPSL Corporate Crime interview - parts 1 and 2

07.11.17 | |

Abigail Bright was interviewed for LexisPSL Corporate Crime by Judi Simmons, Current Awareness Editor, LexisPSL

 

Published by LexisPSL on 4th October 2017: Private Prosecutions - The Long View: Part one

 

Published by LexisPSL yesterday: Private prosecutions - a closer analysis: Part two 

Young defendants and the dock: LSE seminar, Tuesday 14th November 2017, 6.30pm to 8.30pm

06.11.17 | |

The seminar, which is free to attend, happens on Tuesday 14th November 2017, 6.30pm to 8.30pm. A reception follows. The location is the LSE, Clement House, Strand, room 2.02. 

 

The seminar brings together academics and legal professionals to analyse whether it is fair to put accused youths in an enclosed dock at a criminal trial.

 

Speakers drawn from the Bar: Abigail Bright, elected representative for barristers under seven years’ Call, Criminal Bar Association; Chris Henley, Q.C., elected Vice Chair of the Criminal Bar Association 

 

Academic speakers: Professor Linda Mulcahy and Assistant Professor of Criminology, Dr Meredith Rossner

 

Chair: Professor Peter Ramsay

 

The researchers conclude that confining a defendant to a dock undermines the presumption of innocence. 

 

Speakers reflect on the research in light of their practices and their work with young defendants.

 

Professor Linda Mulcahy will present her work on the history of the secure dock. She has digested the MoJ archives, and has some really interesting findings.  

 

Dr Meredith Rossner will present the results of an empirical study conducted together with colleagues in Australia: a series of mock trials with defendants in different locations in the courtroom. 

 

A summary of the research, together with the full paper, is available on request, sent via email. Requests may be sent to Abigail Bright at a.bright@doughtystreet.co.uk.cjsm.net

 

You can register to attend here. 

Court quashes decision not to investigate Ministerial authorisation of torture of ‘Hooded Men’.

01.11.17 | |

The High Court of Northern Ireland has quashed the decision made on behalf of the Police Service of Northern Ireland not to take further steps to investigate and if appropriate to prosecute those responsible for authorising the torture of the ‘Hooded Men’ in 1971. 

 

Adam Straw represents the 'Hooded Men', along with Hugh Southey QC and Blinne Ni Ghralaigh, instructed by Darragh Mackin of KRW Law. 

 

Read about this case in the media here & here

Heather Williams QC representing anti-fracking campaigner in the High Court this week


Heather Williams QC is back in court this week representing environmental campaigner Joseph Boyd in his High Court challenge to the unprecedentedly wide-sweeping injunctions granted at a ‘without notice’ hearing in July to Ineos, the largest owner of shale gas licenses in the UK.  During a three day hearing commencing today, Heather will argue that the injunctions are wrong in law and infringe rights guaranteed by Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights in suppressing legitimate anti-fracking protest.  


The injunctions have been criticised for their impact on the public’s right to protest, sparking a social media campaign entitled #INEOSvThePeople. Concerns have also been raised about the company’s lack of transparency around its attempt to obtain the injunctions.


For further information see The Guardian here.  Heather is leading Blinne Ni Ghralaigh of Matrix Chambers and Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers and they are instructed by Rosa Curling of Leigh Day.


Mr. Boyd is running a CrowdJustice campaign to raise funds for the case. 

Update: On 31st October, The Guardian covered an update of the case which can be read here. 

 

Not Guilty of terror charge for having book

Joshua Walker, who had fought with the Kurdish YPG against ISIS, was found not guilty on 26th October at Birmingham Crown Court after being prosecuted for possessing a copy of the Anarchists Cook Book in a case which hinged on freedom of information and the right to read and possess books.

 

He was charged with an offence of “possessing information likely to be of use to a terrorist” under section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000. The case was an unusual prosecution as it was not alleged Mr Walker had any terrorist links or any intention to make use of the various bomb recipes within that book, he having downloaded it from the internet. His defence was that he had a “reasonable excuse” based on his interest and his right to freedom of expression and freedom of information.

 

Joel Bennathan QC and Alastair Lyon of Birnberg Peirce Solicitors defended Mr Walker.

 

Read about this case in the press here and online here

BBC makes urgent appeal to United Nations over persecution of BBC Persian staff by Iran

Professor David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur, freedom of opinion and expression 

 

UN Special Rapporteurs Professor David Kaye and Ms Asma Jahangir have expressed serious concerns about the persecution of BBC Persian staff by Iran at the UN General Assembly following an urgent appeal filed by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson on behalf of the BBC.

 

The urgent appeal was filed with Professor David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Asma Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, late last week. It relates to the recent asset-freezing injunction and underlying criminal investigation which is targeted at 152 individuals, comprising current and former BBC Persian staff and contributors.

 

This latest measure forms part of an ongoing campaign of harassment and persecution by the Iranian authorities targeting BBC Persian staff and their families because of their work as journalists with the BBC. The urgent appeal details numerous human rights concerns, including:

 

  • A spurious criminal investigation on national security grounds directed at BBC Persian journalists collectively because of their journalism;
  • The associated collective application of a punitive and disproportionate financial sanction, which applies to BBC Persian staff and anyone who jointly owns property with them;
  • A pattern of arbitrary detention for the purposes of interrogation, surveillance and other forms of harassment and threats against BBC Persian staff and their families making them fear for their safety and security; and
  • The confiscation of passports and imposition of travel restrictions or bans on family members in Iran to prevent their ability to enjoy their family life.

 

Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC, said:

 

The Iranian government is conducting what appears to be a politically motivated investigation into 152 BBC Persian staff, former staff and contributors accusing them of conspiracy against national security in Iran.  This is an unprecedented collective punishment of journalists who are simply doing their jobs…The BBC will use all available legal avenues to challenge this order and we call on the international community to use their own influence in Iran to persuade the authorities that this completely unacceptable treatment must end.

 

Ms Jahangir, UN Special Rapporteur on Iran, raised concern with the treatment of BBC staff as part of her statement to the UN General Assembly when formally presenting her report.

 

The urgent appeal has been widely reported in domestic and international media, including BBC, Guardian, Times, Washington Post, and Reuters.

 

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jennifer Robinson are instructed by the BBC to act on behalf of all BBC Persian staff. They are members of Doughty Street International’s Media Defence Panel. More details about the Panel are available here

UK government urged to publicly acknowledge ill treatment and arbitrary detention of dual British-Iranian citizen in Iran and to demand her immediate release.

Professor John Dugard SC, Tatyana Eatwell and Alison MacDonald QC (Matrix)

On 23 October 2017 Redress released the legal opinion authored by Professor John Dugard SC, Tatyana Eatwell and Alison MacDonald QC (Matrix Chambers) in which they conclude that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is arbitrarily detained in Iran and has been denied the most basic guarantees required for a fair trial under international and domestic law. The UK government, that has received the opinion, is yet to acknowledge that Mrs Zachariah-Ratcliffe is the victim of grave violations of human rights.


Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard in April 2016. She was held in solitary confinement for 45 days at an undisclosed location before being transferred to Evin Prison. She was sentenced to 5 years' imprisonment following a trial in camera by the Revolutionary Court of as yet unspecified charges relating to national security. In January 2017 her appeal was dismissed by the Supreme Court.


On 8 October 2017 the Revolutionary Court laid two further unspecified charges against her punishable by a further 16 years' imprisonment.
 

Professor Dugard and Tatyana Eatwell are instructed by Redress on behalf of Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband.


For further information on the case can be found here.

Court of Appeal hears challenge to 25 year starting point for murder

Today, Edward Fitzgerald QC appeared in the Court of Appeal on behalf of Peter Morgan. This was a well publicised case involving a man who killed his younger, escort girlfriend after being subjected to humiliation and blackmail by her. The Court will have to decide whether the carrying of an adapted piece of twine to be used as a ligature is covered by 25 year starting point reserved for a ‘knife or other weapon’ (paragraph 5A of Schedule 21 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003). The argument put forward by Edward Fitzgerald is that section 5A does not extend that widely.

 

Edward’s further point is that the sentencing judge, when applying paragraph 5A, fettered his discretion when he effectively treated himself as bound. This is an important point as to the extent of starting points being treated as mandatory, contrary to will of Parliament. 

 

You can read about this case in the press here.

Supreme Court hears Northern Ireland abortion appeal.

Today the Supreme Court hears the appeal in the case of Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission v. Attorney General. The appeal argues that the laws criminalising abortion in Northern Ireland in cases of rape, incest and serious foetal abnormality are unlawful and incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

 

The appeal has been brought by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Fiona Murphy and Mary-Rachel McCabe acting for Bhatt Murphy and Humanists UK. Adam Straw for KRW Law and Amnesty Northern Ireland. Jude Bunting for Leigh Day and several NGOs. 

 

The appeal is expected to last three days and has been covered in the media.

 

Pro-choice campaigners welcome British government’s pledge to fund abortions for women from Northern Ireland

 

Every year, more than 700 women and girls resident in Northern Ireland travel to Great Britain for terminations. Until June 2017, they had to pay privately: for their own healthcare in England, and for any travel or accommodation expenses involved in making the journey across the Irish Sea. Abortions are criminalised in Northern Ireland in all but a very tiny number of extreme cases, and they were blocked from accessing free NHS services when travelling to other parts of the UK.

 

However, in June 2017 over 105 MPs backed Stella Creasy MP’s amendment to the Queen’s Speech on allowing Northern Irish women access to free NHS abortion services in England, and hours before a debate and vote on the amendment was due to take place in Parliament the Government announced a u-turn to its previous policy. More background to the amendment is available here

 

As a result, since 29 June 2017 women and girls who travel from Northern Ireland have been able to access abortion services in clinics in England free of charge. However, two significant issues remained unaddressed:

 

(1)  The travel and accommodation expenses for low income women, for whom the cost of the termination itself was only one barrier to travel; and

(2)  Access was only through clinics, but in some complex cases women require hospital treatment, and they were unable to access this in England due to a barrier on accessing NHS services in England in non-emergency situations.

 

Today, Equalities Minister Justine Greening has announced details of the new scheme which addresses both of these concerns. The scheme will include travel and accommodation costs for women on low incomes, and women with a clinical need to access termination services in a hospital setting will be able to do so.

 

Pro-choice campaigners have worked closely with the Department of Equalities since June 2017 on the details of the scheme, and they have welcomed today’s announcement. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC has represented the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign in these discussions, working alongside Stella Creasy MP’s constituent, Sarah Fox, and other organisations; and Jude Bunting has been providing advice to the Family Planning Association and others. A joint press release has been issued today by the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, Abortion Support Network, Alliance for Choice, Amnesty International UK, the Family Planning Association, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), Marie Stopes UK, and Stella Creasy MP. It can be viewed here. It includes this quote from Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC: "For half a century Northern Irish women and girls have been second class citizens, unable to access healthcare services freely available to women in Great Britain. This new scheme in England is very welcome, but now the law in Northern Ireland must change.

Pregnant mother of two spared extradition to Poland

20.10.17 | |

Sir Ross Cranston has refused to uphold an order to extradite a pregnant single-mother of two young children to serve a 14-month prison sentence for low-level offences, committed over a decade ago.

 

Represented by Malcolm Hawkes, the appellant challenged the order to extradite her, after the lower court had described her offending as ‘a course of serious criminal conduct’. However the offences were low value, such as the sale of a stolen mobile phone and shoplifting and were committed when the appellant was a teenager.

 

The woman faced extradition despite lacking any information about the care plans for the appellant’s children, aged 7 and 3; both were likely to be taken into social services care. A chronic shortage of prison places for mothers with babies in Poland raised a real risk of the infant being separated from its mother soon after its birth.

 

The judge recognised that the appellant was only nominally represented by lawyers at the magistrates court, who had lodged an appeal but did not prepare any substantive argument. They also failed to inform the appellant that her application for leave to appeal was refused. The appellant only learned that she was to be extradited when police called to her home telling her to surrender.

 

Acting initially pro bono and instructed by Lansbury Worthington solicitors, Malcolm lodged an application for permission to appeal, out of time, which was granted, along with permission to appeal on the merits.

 

In allowing the appeal, the court disagreed with the lower court’s assessment, the offences were not serious, the interference with the children’s human rights would be disproportionate, and the appellant was now pregnant with her third child.

 

In Janik v Poland, Malcolm was instructed by Kamila Kwincinska of Lansbury Worthington Solicitors.

 

Associate tenants Marc Weller and John Dugard prepare a legal opinion on Catalonia’s independence

Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya instructed a commission of four legal experts composed of Professors Marc Weller, John Dugard, Richard Falk and Ana Stanic to prepare a legal opinion on Catalonia’s independence.   In a recent post, Professor Marc Weller summarises his views on the criteria for statehood, the legality of unilateral declarations of independence and the issue of self-determination.  He discusses how those concepts apply to the current situation in Catalonia.  The legal opinion which is entitled “the question of Catalonia: The Will of the People and Statehood” will be published in the near future.

New guidance for vulnerable persons handed down

The Court of Appeal today handed down important guidance on when a person is “vulnerable” for the purposes of determining whether are in priority need under s. 189(1)(c) of Part VII of the Housing Act 1996. The decision was given in the linked appeals of Panayiotou v LB Waltham Forest and Smith v LB Haringey [2017] EWCA Civ 1624

 

In Panayiotou Martin Westgate QC acted for the appellant with Tessa Buchanan of Garden Court Chambers.  They were instructed by Simon Mullings of Edwards Duthie

 

The full housing duty under Part VII is only owed to those in priority need so, as the Court explained it is “critical” to know whether somebody falls within this definition. In 2015/16 57,750 households in England were accepted as being homeless and in priority need.

 

In Hotak v Southwark LBC [2015] UKSC 30, [2016] AC 811 Lord Neuberger held that the statutory term connotes “significantly more vulnerable than ordinarily vulnerable”. Since then reviewing officers and county court judges have taken different approaches to “significant” for these purposes. Many decision makers took it to mean that even if an applicant might suffer more harm than would an ordinary person they were only “vulnerable” if the harm reached a particular level of severity.

 

The Court of Appeal has decided that this approach is wrong. At paragraph 64 Lewison LJ explains that “significant” does not introduce a quantitative threshold but is used in a qualitative sense. “In other words the question to be asked is whether, when compared to an ordinary person if made homeless, the applicant, in consequence of a characteristic within section 189 (1) (c), would suffer or be at risk of suffering harm or detriment which the ordinary person would not suffer or be at risk of suffering such that the harm or detriment would make a noticeable difference to his ability to deal with the consequences of homelessness” [64]

 

The effect is that reviewing officers ought simply to ask whether there is a noticeable difference between the applicant and an ordinary person in these circumstances and not whether that difference is so great in degree or level to count as significant.

 

On the facts the court held that the reviewing officer had erred in Smith (appeal allowed) but not in Panayiotou (appeal dismissed)

 

The full judgement can be found here

Theo Huckle QC and Christopher Johnson report on an interesting recent living mesothelioma claim

Apil PI Focus has just published the latest in the series of disease claims comment pieces by Theo Huckle QC and Christopher Johnson, this one on a number of novel legal issues arising from a recent high-value fatal asbestos (mesothelioma) claim they conducted to a £500k settlement.  

 

Read the full article here.

Nick Toms answers everything you need to know about the abolition of tribunal fees

19.10.17 | |


The Supreme Court has ruled that Employment Tribunal fees are to be abolished in a judgement handed down in July 2017. Nick Toms, Barrister in our Employment team, answers everything you need to know about what this means for you and your client.

 

Sarah Elliott QC successfully defends GP accused of sexually assaulting a staff member

19.10.17 | |

Sarah Elliott QC  was instructed to represent at trial a General Practitioner alleged to have committed a sexual assault on an employee in their place of work; Sarah’s client was acquitted by a jury within an hour.  Sarah was instructed by Kate Goold of Bindmans LLP.

 

At an early stage the GP was suspended from practice by the General Medical Council whilst the criminal allegations were investigated, although at a subsequent hearing was permitted to practise with conditions.  The acquittal will shortly lead to an application to practise unrestricted.

 

Sarah regularly represents professionals accused of criminal offences, in particular those working in healthcare, financial and other industries where they are also subject to the oversight of a professional regulator, and where consistency of counsel may be beneficial.  For more information please contact the criminal clerks on 020 7400 9088 or by email.

National law and policy on disclosure and use of conviction data unlawful.

18.10.17 | |

The Administrative Court (Lord Justice Fulford and Mr Justice Green) today handed down the judgment in R (R) v. National Police Chief’s Council and Secretary of State for Justice [2017] EWHC 2586 (Admin). In this important judgment about the right to privacy, the court concluded that the following were unlawful:

 

(1) The Statutory Instrument which means an applicant for specified jobs (such as a police constable) has to disclose a caution, and that she could be prejudiced by that caution;

 

(2) The national police policy as to whether a job should be refused to someone on the basis of a caution; and

 

(3) The decision to refuse the claimant a job in the police, on the ground that she had received a caution. 

 

Adam Straw represented the claimant, instructed by Richard Easton at Sonn McMillan Walker. 

 

The Claimant, ‘R’, received a reprimand when aged 13 on the ground that she helped some other girls shoplift a sarong from Primark. Later, she completed a degree in criminology, and wished to pursue a career working for the police. Her application was rejected solely on the basis of her reprimand. 

 

When a conviction becomes spent, it can normally no longer be relied on as a basis for refusing someone employment. The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 provides protections to a job applicant, and others, to ensure she is not prejudiced by a spent conviction or caution. However, the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 provides that, in the context of a number of jobs, including a police constable, those protections do not apply. That means a person may be required to disclose her convictions and cautions when applying for those jobs. 

 

The High Court concluded that the 1975 Order is incompatible with the right to a private life in article 8 ECHR. That was firstly because it is not ‘in accordance with the law’, and secondly because it is not 'necessary in a democratic society'. The interference in the claimant’s article 8 rights was severe, and there is no rational connection between the reprimand, and her preferred employment. 

 

The NPCC is responsible for a national policy regarding recruitment to the police. The policy says that if the applicant had one of a specified range of convictions or cautions (including for theft) she should be rejected unless there are exceptionally compelling circumstances. The High Court concluded that the policy is unlawful as it misstates the effect of legislative provisions. In addition, the policy is incompatible with article 8. That was because it contains a very powerful presumption against employing someone who had a prior reprimand, and means that there is no meaningful consideration and assessment of the factors that are relevant to article 8. Further, there are no safeguards in the policy which enable the applicant to appeal or review a decision to refuse her employment. The court concluded that the policy was neither in accordance with the law, nor necessary in a democratic society. 

 

Finally, the court concluded that the decision by the police to refuse the claimant employment on the basis of her prior reprimand was unlawful as it was in breach of article 8.   

 

Report on Brexit and Northern Ireland launches in European Parliament

Today, an independent legal report, written by Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Katherine O'Byrne of Doughty Street Chambers, is launched at an event in the European Parliament, Brussels. 

 

The report finds that, whilst 'Brexit' raises many questions of unparalleled complexity in political, legal and constitutional terms, the thorniest questions undoubtedly concern the potentially huge ramifications of Brexit for Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.  The report summarises the unique combination of circumstances which mean that the potential adverse impact upon Northern Ireland is very great, including risking undermining the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, stated on his first official visit to Northern Ireland that "every single aspect of life in Northern Ireland could be affected by Brexit" and he described it as "the challenge of this generation."

 

Today's launch takes place just weeks after the European Parliament voted (on 3 October) overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution which heavily criticised "the absence of any clear proposals" from the UK Government concerning Northern Ireland, stating that this "has seriously impeded the negotiations". The resolution also noted that, although the UK's position paper on Northern Ireland "fall short," the Prime Minister in her 22 September speech "excluded any physical infrastructure at the border, which presumes that the UK stays in the internal market and customs union or that Northern Ireland stays in some form in the internal market and customs union."

 

The report finds that Northern Ireland is a unique and special case, and that creative solutions are urgently required. The EU has historically been willing to agree a range of tailored, differentiated packages with other individual states or parts of states in order to reflect particular legal, political, historical, economic and / or geographical circumstances. A range of potential models is set out, to address the particular needs of and challenges concerning Northern Ireland.

 

The independent report was commissioned by the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/ NGL) group in the European Parliament. It is being launched publicly today in Brussels.

 

The full report is available to read here

 

Referral to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human rights in the case of Lekic v. Slovenia

On September 18, 2017, a panel of five judges of the European Court of Human Rights accepted the request submitted by Professor Andrea Saccucci that the case Lekic v. Slovenia be referred to the Grand Chamber pursuant to Article 43 ECHR. The judgment of February 17, 2017, in which a Chamber of the Fourth Section of the Court found no violation of the ECHR, will therefore be subject to a full review by the Grand Chamber as it raises “a serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, or a serious issue of general importance”.

 

The case concerns compliance of Slovenian corporate legislation with the European Convention on Human Rights; namely with the right to property protected by Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention, the right to a fair trial enshrined in Article 6 ECHR, and the right to an effective remedy guaranteed by Article 13 ECHR.

 

The Financial Operations of Companies Act (so-called FOCA), passed by the Slovenian Parliament in 1999, provided for the ex-officio erasure of all the companies that were presumed to be inactive. As a result of the erasure, the shareholders of the erased company became personally liable for all the debts incurred by the company irrespective of their actual role in the management of the company.

 

The measure of piercing the corporate veil affected more than 24,000 small and medium Slovenian enterprises (according to the data made available by the Slovenian Ministry of Economy) and triggered collective litigation before domestic Courts and before the European Court of Human Rights.

 

The application in Lekic v. Slovenia was the first of such cases to be examined and decided by the European Court of Human Rights. The panel’s decision to accept the request for referral to the Grand Chamber submitted by Professor Andrea Saccucci is great news in that it allows the Court to ponder the consistency of the Chamber’s ruling with the previous case-law on piercing the corporate veil and to address some issues that seemingly were not considered by the Chamber’s ruling.

Theo Huckle QC shortlisted in the Personal Injury Awards

16.10.17 | |

Theo Huckle QC has been shortlisted for Claimant Lawyer of the Year award in the Personal Injury Awards 2017. The awards are organised by Eclipse Proclaim Personal Injury Awards with the ceremony taking place on 29 November in Manchester. The awards seek to ‘highlight and celebrate the excellence of individuals and organisations across the personal injury sector.’ We wish Theo and all the nominees the best of luck at the awards. 

Validity (MDAC) Intervenes at European Court to uphold Right to Liberty

Aswini Weereratne QC and Sophy Miles act for Validity (MDAC) who have intervened in an important case before the  European Court of Human Rights, about article 5, forensic detention on the grounds of mental disorder and the right to the least restrictive alternative.  Read MDAC’s press release by clicking here.

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