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.

Bar Human Rights Committee reports on Jungle demolition

The Bar Human Rights Committee has released its fact-finding report “Breakdown: the dismantling of the Calais “Jungle” and of the promises to its unaccompanied children”.  

 

BHRC chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC, and member, Jelia Sane, gained access to the Jungle during the demolition  operation which took place in October 2016 and witnessed first-hand the squalid conditions that residents, including lone children, had been exposed to for many years. They met with representatives from Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, amongst others, and interviewed camp residents, including unaccompanied migrant children from Sudan and Eritrea. 

 

As documented in this report, the evidence collected by BHRC strongly suggests that in the rush to demolition, the British and French governments failed to take effective steps to safeguard the welfare of the estimated 1900 unaccompanied minors living in the camp, leaving many at risk.  Moreover, BHRC considers that the Home Office led ‘expedited’ process for the transfer of children to the UK under the Dublin III Regulation and the Dubs amendment was procedurally defective leading to unlawful decision-making. BHRC notes with concern that hundreds of children who underwent this process remain in France, one year on, and further condemns the decision by the British government to end the Dubs scheme. 

 

The treatment of, and conditions faced by,  the Jungle’s unaccompanied minors is in many ways symptomatic of the EU wide failure to protect unaccompanied child refugees and uphold the best interests of the child principle. This report seeks to contribute to the debate regarding what action can be taken to effectively protect what is one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, by examining the circumstances surrounding the dismantlement of the ‘Jungle’ and considering what lessons can be learnt. 

 

BHRC thanks Pippa Woodrow for her contribution to the drafting of this report.  

 

Read about this case here and here. 

 

Cannabis seed dealer discharged on all Counts in federal US extradition case

10.10.17 | |

At Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 30 August 2017 District Judge John Zani discharged UK-based international seed dealer, Gypsy Nirvana, following a federal extradition request brought by the US on 4 counts of conspiracy to produce, supply, and import cannabis into the US State of Maine, and money laundering the proceeds of sales. The US relied on a number of confidential witnesses and a YouTube video of Mr. Nirvana making an ‘activist’ speech at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam promising to sell seeds to US customers.
 

Mr. Nirvana had been arrested in July 2013 by Filipino immigration authorities at the behest of the US DEA and was held in a Philippine detention centre for more than 2 years while he appealed his detention to the Supreme Court.  He then contacted Richard Parry, a specialist in the law on drugs at Saunders Solicitors Ltd based in the City of London, who advised him to come back to the UK to fight extradition from here. He had already fought off an attempt to get him on a flight to the UK because it was scheduled to stop in Los Angeles, where he would have been arrested and incarcerated pursuant to the extant US warrant. He was facing a possible prison sentence of up to 20 years under US law.
 

Back in the UK, Mr. Parry instructed Ben Cooper to defend his extradition. Ben argued that no equivalent offence would have been committed in England had the conduct alleged been transposed to the jurisdiction of an English criminal court. The court accepted selling cannabis seeds is legal in the UK and accordingly ruled the conduct underlying all four counts failed to satisfy the dual criminality test. The court held the sale and supply of cannabis seeds did not of itself establish incitement or a conspiracy to be concerned in the production of cannabis. As the money laundering offences indicted were predicated on the alleged illegality of the seed sales Mr. Nirvana was discharged on all Counts.
 

The US now seeks to challenge this decision in the High Court and is seeking permission to appeal to the Administrative Court (Queen’s Bench Division).
 

Domestic media coverage of the case can be read here

Harriet Johnson secures acquittal for anti-fascist protester

09.10.17 | |

Harriet Johnson has secured the acquittal of an anti-fascist protester charged with directing violent clashes in Liverpool in February 2016.  Her client was alleged to have coordinated the actions of hundreds of anti-fascist protesters who turned out in response to a march by far-right groups, including North West Infidels and the now-banned National Action.  An investigation into the violence seized some 9,200 hours of video footage recorded on the day, parts of which the Crown claimed showed Harriet’s client inciting or encouraging violence towards the far-right protesters.  After a two-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court, Harriet’s client was unanimously acquitted by the jury.

 

Harriet Johnson was instructed by Robert Lizar Solicitors. For enquiries about instructing Harriet in similar matters, please contact her clerks here

Acquitted of attempted murder and GBH

09.10.17 | |

Liam Walker’s client, ‘MS’, was today acquitted following a week-long trial at Inner London Crown Court.

 

MS was charged with attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. The Crown alleged that MS, along with his cousin LS, had stabbed the complainant repeatedly whilst attending his home. The complainant suffered multiple life-threatening injuries. LS, previously a co-defendant, pleaded guilty to the alleged joint enterprise after initially claiming the attack had been carried out in lawful self-defence.

 

Despite having accepted being at the scene at the time of the attack MS was acquitted of all charges against him

 

Liam Walker is regularly instructed in cases involving allegations of murder and attempted murder. Liam was instructed by Ed Jones of Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors.


The case has been reported in the London press.

Lawyers accuse UK-backed Bahrain watchdogs over torture inquiry

The Bar Human Rights Committee has petitioned Bahrain for clemency in two death penalty cases- Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Moosa. Also, its Chair, Kirsty Brimelow QC has called upon the Foreign Office to intervene as it provided international law training to the institutions which are failing to investigate allegations that the confessions were extracted through torture. Kirsty Brimelow QC:

 

"The UK government has carried out international human rights training of the Special Investigation Unit in Bahrain. In these circumstances, it must have an enhanced duty to ensure the implementation of international human rights law. Words need to be reflected in action. There must be transparent investigation of this evidence of torture. Also, at minimum, the UK government should join the Bar Human Rights Committee's call for clemency to be applied to the death penalty cases. "

 

Read about this case in the press here

 

For more information and a link to the report, visit the Bar Human Rights Committee website here.

Joe Stone QC collapses rape indictment at Manchester crown court

06.10.17 | |

D was indicted with two counts alleging rape and attempted rape. Defence at trial was consent. A proactive defence with a detailed defence case statement triggered complex disclosure issues bearing on section 41 issues, bad character and disclosure of sensitive third party medical counselling and psychiatric records. Detailed written submissions led to the prosecution reviewing the case at the highest level and making a formal decision to offer no evidence. Joe Stone QC was privately instructed in R v D by Kimneri Patel at MPR solicitors, London 

Right to die case dismissed by High Court; Humanists UK support Noel Conway’s appeal

Noel Conway’s challenge to the law against assisted dying has this morning been dismissed by the High Court. Humanists UK member Noel suffers from motor neurone disease. He challenges the illegality of assisted dying for those who are terminally ill and have six months or fewer to live. His case was heard in July and this week the Divisional Court rejected it. Humanists UK, which intervened in the case in his support, has expressed its disappointment at the decision. Noel intends to appeal the decision, and Humanists UK will seek to intervene in any appeal.

 

Humanists UK has been represented in its intervention by Nancy Collins of Hodge Jones & Allen LLP alongside Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Graeme Hall, both of Doughty Street Chambers. Humanists UK made written and oral submissions.

 

More information is available from Humanists UK, here

Cleared of Murder and Manslaughter

05.10.17 | |

A 17 year old defendant (who cannot be named for legal reasons) was acquitted of murder and manslaughter at the Central Criminal Court on the 04/10/17 after a three week trial. The prosecution had alleged that D had been part of a joint enterprise attack on a 19 year old youth (Abdullahi Tarabi) in Northolt, North West London fatally stabbing the deceased in the abdomen. The prosecution relied upon cell site, forensic and CCTV evidence showing the actual attack taking place. There were also extensive disclosure issues relating to material from the Metropolitan Police Service Gang Matrix Unit. 

Joe Stone QC has a specialist defence practice involving a detailed understanding of joint enterprise law and gang rivalries in London and beyond. He led Michael Newport (Lamb Buildings) and was instructed by MB Law Solicitors (Hounslow).

Bar Council and Law Society heads urge foreign secretary to call for release of Andy Tsege

Andy Tsege is a British national who was abducted in Yemen by Ethiopian security agents and rendered to Ethiopia in June 2014.  He has been detained without access to a court in Ethiopia ever since, having been sentenced to death after a trial in his absence in 2009.  A campaigner for democracy and free elections, Mr Tsege is regarded by the Ethiopian government as an opponent of their regime.  Ben Cooper worked with the Law Society and Bar Council, briefing the leaders of those organisations, which has resulted in a joint letter from the Chair of the Bar Council and the President of the Law Society calling on Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, to change his approach to the case, intervene more forcefully with the Ethiopian government and call for Mr Tsege's release.

 

In an article published by The Guardian, Ben is quoted as saying: "The foreign secretary has shown real disinterest in the flagrant ill-treatment of a British citizen over a long period of many months and years.  Boris’s defence of avoiding interfering with a foreign legal process rings hollow in the absence of any process whatsoever for three years following a brazen abduction and no access to a court. It is high time the minister got off the fence and shows he can roar for elementary justice."

 

Ben Cooper and Katherine O'Byrne are instructed by Maya Foa of Reprieve and Rosa Curling of Leigh Day. 

 

 

Emma Goodall’s client found not guilty of historic child cruelty offences

02.10.17 | |

Emma Goodall’s client was unanimously acquitted of eight counts of assault and child cruelty at the conclusion of a trial that lasted over two weeks. The allegations, which dated back almost forty years, were made by two of the defendant’s children and supported by her former husband who gave evidence against her. The trial was extremely emotive and was subject to daily reporting by the media.

 

Emma was instructed by Ann Rushton of Traymans Solicitors.

 

For coverage of the conclusion of the trial see: The Times & The Daily Mail 

Civil servant acquitted: three counts of rape

26.09.17 | |

O was found ‘Not Guilty’ of the three counts of rape on which he stood trial. 

 

O’s defence at trial, to all three counts, was consent. 

 

O’s defence case involved extensive preparation of legal argument on the point of evidence of O’s bad character. O’s counsel, Abigail Bright, successfully opposed the Crown’s application to admit evidence of O’s conviction for a violent robbery of a sex worker, in her home, of which O had previously been convicted after trial. O had been found guilty of robbery of hundreds of pounds and two mobile telephones from the sex worker, a jury having found that O had tied up his victim and had been stopped by police from fleeing the scene. 

 

Abigail Bright was instructed by Paris Theodorou, solicitor, Hodge, Jones & Allen LLP., Ptheodorou@hja.net, 020 7874 8594 

 

Abigail recently appeared at trial as defence counsel in allegations of knifepoint stranger rape involving the use of a knife. News coverage of this case can be found here.  

Nancy Hollander has been announced to speak at The Disappearing Trial - The rule of law in a world with more guilty pleas and fewer trials

26.09.17 | |

The event brings together leading lawyers from the UK and the US to discuss the growing reliance on trial waiver systems. Countries across the globe are finding new ways to persuade people to simply admit guilt and forego the right to a trial. In the US, 97% of federal cases are settled in this manner. In Brazil, they have gained prominence in Operation Car Wash. In England and Wales, changes introduced to sentencing guidelines last year are also encouraging earlier pleas. A distinguished panel will discuss the implications of trial waiver systems for the rule of law, and other criminal justice priorities such as efforts to tackle torture, corruption, the overuse of pre-trial detention.

 

To find out more about this event and to register, please visit the website

Life sentence appeal to be heard based upon retraction of evidence

Today, Edward Fitzgerald QC is presenting an appeal in Trinidad involving 10 people sentenced to death in 2001 who are now serving life sentences.

 

The appeal is based on new evidence where the key prosecution witness has retracted his trial evidence. In 2015, the key prosecution witness swore a statement saying he lied at trial. As a result of this, the matter was sent back to the Court of Appeal by the President of Trinidad and Tobago, Anthony Carmona, in 2014.

 

Submissions to the Justices of Appeal started last week and evidence is due to begin today. 

 

Read about this case in the press here.

LAG magazine reviews Female genital mutilation: Law and practice

25.09.17 | |

Cris McCurley praises an important work by a specialist in the field Zimran Samuel

 

Click here to read the full review. 

United Nations Security Council Adopts Resolution to Investigate ISIS Crimes in Iraq

21.09.17 | |

The United Nations Security Council today unanimously adopted a historic resolution establishing an international investigation to collect evidence of ISIS’ crimes in Iraq. This evidence can be used in trials against ISIS militants around the world.

 

Today’s resolution empowers the UN Secretary-General to establish an Investigative Team, led by a Special Adviser, with a mandate to collect evidence of acts that may amount to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The evidence is to be gathered “to the highest possible standards” for use in “fair and independent” criminal proceedings in courts that comply with international human rights law.

 

The resolution recognizes that ISIS’ crimes, including kidnapping, enslavement, human trafficking, rape, sexual slavery and the recruitment of child soldiers, are “part of the ideology and strategic objectives of [ISIS]” and that “holding [ISIS] members accountable, particularly those who bear the greatest responsibility … will further expose this”.

 

The UN has found that ISIS has committed genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq and other atrocities against Shias, Christians, Sunnis, and other groups. Although the genocide against the Yazidis started over 3 years ago, no ISIS member has been put on trial for it and evidence is disappearing every day: mass graves are being contaminated, witnesses are becoming dispersed, documents lay uncollected and medical evidence is getting lost. This is why the Security Council’s action was so urgent and critical.

 

Amal Clooney is legal counsel to Yazidi victims of ISIS’ crimes, including UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad, and to Yazda, a non-governmental organization that supports the Yazidi minority. Ms Clooney has led the advocacy campaign for the establishment of a UN investigation on behalf of her clients, and for over a year has supported the UK government’s efforts to table a resolution before the Council for a vote.

 

In response to the passing of the resolution, Amal Clooney commented that: “This resolution is a victory for victims of ISIS who have fought for so long for justice. Through its unanimous vote today the UN has sent a strong message that ISIS can no longer commit genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes with impunity.  And that victims may finally have their day in court.”

 

In addition Nadia Murad said: “On behalf of the victims of the Yazidi genocide and all victims of ISIS crimes, I would like to thank the UK, Iraq and all members of the Security Council. I would also like to thank so many people and organizations that have stood by us during this campaign. Justice is worth our time and even our lives and I am glad this work led to a fruitful result”. She continued: “I hope we can now move swiftly to create this team with a strong capacity and start exhuming mass graves and collect evidence. Although ISIS is being defeated on the ground, victims need justice in order to allow healing and reconciliation and we hope this resolution will mark the beginning of that process”.

 

Please click here and here for media coverage, and here for an op-ed written by Amal Clooney in The World Post.

 

 

 

مجلس الأمن التابع للأمم المتحدة يعتمد قرارا للتحقيق بجرائم "داعش" في العراق

 

اعتمد مجلس الدولي ، اليوم الخميس، قرارا تاريخيا بالاجماع، تحدد للمرة الاولى تحقيقا دوليا لجمع الادلة على الجرائم التي ارتكبتها "داعش" في العراق، وسوف يتم استخدام هذه الادلة في المحاكم ضد مسلحي "داعش" في كافة انحاء العالم.

 

هذا القرار يتيح لامين العام للامم المتحدة، بأنشاء فريق تحقيق دولي، يرأسه مستشار خاص، يكلف بجمع الادلة على أفعال قد ترقى الى حجم الابادة الجماعية،جرائم الحرب وجرائم ضد الانسانية. حيث ان الادلة ينبغي ان يتم جمعها وفق " اعلى المعايير الممكنة" لغرض استخدامها في الاجراءات الجنائية " العادلة والمستقلة" في كافة الدول التي تمثثل للقانون الدولي الانساني.

 

ويعترف القرار بان جرائم "داعش"، بما في ذلك الاختطاف، الاستعباد، الاتجار بالبشر،الاغتصاب، الاسترقاق الجنسي وتجنيد الاطفال، هي جزء من ايديولوجية واهداف استراتيجية قد رسمتها داعش، وهذه الجرائم تضع عناصر داعش امام القانون والمحاسبة، سيما اولئك الذين يتحملون المسؤولية الاكبر عن ارتكاب هذه الجرائم.

 

وقد كشفت الامم المتحدة ان "داعش" ارتكب ابادة جماعية ضد المجتمع الايزيدي في العراق وغيرها من الجرائم ضد ضد الشيعة ،المسحيين ،السنة والمجتمعات الاخرى، وبالرغم من ان الابادة الجماعية قد ارتكبت ضد الايزيدين منذ اكثر من ثلاث سنوات، الا انه لم يتم محاسبة او محاكمة اي عنصر في صفوف داعش، وتختفي الادلة والشواهد عن هذه الجرائم كل يوم وبمرور الزمن: فهناك المقابر الجماعية تم العبث بها، الشهود على الجرائم اصبحوا مشتتين حول العالم، الوثائق لم يتم جمعها، الادلة الطبية تضيع يوما بعد يوم. وهذا هو السبب في ضرورة تدخل مجلس الامن وبشكل ملح للغاية.

 

أمل كلوني، هي مستشارة قانونية للضحايا الايزيدين، بما فيهم سفيرة الامم المتحدة للنوايا الحسنة نادية مراد ويزدا التي هي منظمة غير حكومية تدعم المجتمع الايزيدي ، وقادت السيدة كلوني حملة دولية نيابة عن موكليها من اجل انشاء تحقيق من قبل الامم المتحدة، ودعمت منذ اكثر من عام جهود الحكومة البريطانية لتقديم القرار الى مجلس الامن الدولي والتصويت عليه.

 

في معرض ردها على صدور القرار , قالت أمل كلوني : ان هذا القرار هو انتصار لضحابا داعش الذين حاربوا لفترة طويلة من اجل تحقيق العدالة، وبهذا التصويث بالاجماع ارسلت الامم المتحدة رسالة قوية مفادها بان داعش لم تعد قادرة على ارتكاب الابادة الجماعية وجرائم حرب وجرائم ضد الانسانية دون ان يواجه العقاب، وفي نهاية المطاف سوف يكون هناك يوما للضحايا في المحكمة.

 

بالاضافة الى ذلك, قالت نادية مراد : نيابة عن ضحايا الابادة الجماعية الايزيدية وجميع ضحايا جرائم داعش، اود ان اشكر المملكة المتحدة والعراق وبلجيكا وجميع اعضاء مجلس الامن الدولي، وايضا اشكر الكثير من المنظمات والاشخاص الذين وقفوا معنا خلال هذه الحملة، فتحقيق العدالة تستحق ان تاخذ وقتنا وجهدنا وحتى حياتنا، وانا سعيدة باننا نقطف جزء من ثمار هذا الجهد اليوم

.

ناديا اضافت : أمل ان نتمكن من التحرك بسرعة لانشاء هذا الفريق بقدرة قوية والبدء باستخراج وتحليل المقابر الجماعية وجمع الادلة ودفن رفاة الضحايا. وعلى الرغم من هزيمة داعش على ارض الواقع, يحتاج الضحايا الى العدالة من اجل شفائهم من الصدمة التي اصابتهم, ونأمل ان يكون هذا القرار بداية لتلك العملية. 

 

 

EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

New CEDAW General Recommendation on Violence Against Women

20.09.17 | |

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has adopted a new General Recommendation (GR) on Violence against Women: GR35 on gender-based violence against women, updating general recommendation No. 19, available here.

 

GR35 updates GR 19 on this issue, which dates from 1992. CEDAW have acknowledged the landmark nature of GR 19, as well as the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, and they state in GR35 that it was decided to mark the 25th anniversary of the adoption of GR19 by providing States parties with further guidance aimed at accelerating the elimination of gender-based violence against women.

 

In drafting GR 35, CEDAW was assisted by an Expert Group which met at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security.  Doughty Street Chambers’ Keina Yoshida was a member of this expert group.
 

IBRAHIM HALAWA ACQUITTED OF ALL CHARGES IN EGYPT

 

Today Ibrahim Halawa, the 21-year-old Irishman arrested in Egypt in August 2013 and held in arbitrary pre-trial detention for over four years, has been acquitted of all charges by the Egyptian court in Cairo.  Ibrahim’s international legal team expresses great relief at this news and continues to stand in solidarity with Ibrahim and his family. 
 

 

Ibrahim was arrested when a child aged 17 during protests in Cairo, while sheltering in a mosque.  He was tried en masse with 493 other defendants.  No specific evidence to support the charges in Ibrahim’s case was ever presented, either in court or to his legal team.  During his time in detention in various prison facilities in Egypt, Ibrahim witnessed and was subjected to horrific human rights abuses and inhuman prison conditions, including violent physical abuse, overcrowding, humiliation and appalling lack of sanitation.

 

Throughout the four years of his detention, international human rights bodies have consistently called for Ibrahim’s release.  Following representations by his international legal team (barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Katie O’Byrne and Mark Wassouf, and solicitor Darragh Mackin, KRW Law), a Joint Urgent Appeal from several United Nations bodies (the Special Rapporteurs on Torture, Counter-Terrorism, the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, and Summary Executions) and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention was sent to the Government of Egypt on 14 August 2015.  In December 2015, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to recognise the human rights abuses to which Ibrahim was subjected and to call for Ibrahim’s immediate release and repatriation to Ireland. Ibrahim’s case was adjourned over thirty times by the Egyptian court.

 

A press release has now been issued jointly by KRW Law, Doughty Street Chambers and the family, available here

 

Further background is available from RTÉ and the Irish Independent.

 

Heather Williams QC will speak at ‘22 QCs speaking on the Hot Employment Law Issues of 2017 – 18’

Heather Williams QC will be speaking on the 5th October on the topic of “Who is disabled”.

For more information and to register visit the event website

 

 

Henrietta Hill QC will speak at “Mindfulness & Wellbeing in Practice” - Hosted by The Female Fraud Forum

The Female Fraud Forum invites you to their next event "Mindfulness & Wellbeing in Practice" on Wednesday 18th October 2017. 

Jonathan Cooper OBE and Quincy Whitaker will be speaking at the MBL Human Rights Conference 2017

This conference will cover a wide range of highly topical human rights law issues. It will include an up-to-the-minute assessment of the international landscape on human rights; the need to anticipate human rights protection in the UK post-Brexit, and, specifically, will it matter if the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights is no longer binding law in the UK?

 

For more information and to register visit the website

Heather Williams QC represents prominent anti-fracking campaigner challenging multinational firm Ineos in the High Court today

Heather Williams QC today represents environmental campaigner Joseph Boyd in his High Court challenge to the unprecedentedly wide-sweeping injunctions granted at an earlier ‘without notice’ hearing to Ineos, the largest owner of shale gas licenses in the UK.  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.  For further information see The Guardian here.  Heather is leading Blinne Ni Ghralaigh of Matrix Chambers and they are instructed by Rosa Curling of Leigh Day, solicitors, see here

Doughty Street Criminal Appeal Bulletin: The September Edition is out now including new Hong Kong case law section

08.09.17 | |

View the September issue here

Professor Nicolas Angelet and Emilie Gonin advised the Walloon region: Belgium asks the CJEU to rule on the CETA investment court

On 6 September 2017, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs of Belgium announced that Belgium had filed a request for an opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the compatibility of the investment court system in the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with European law.   

 

Professor Nicolas Angelet, who recently joined Doughty Street as associate tenant, and Emilie Gonin advised the Walloon Region of Belgium, the driving force behind the request, on the initial draft of the request, which was then subject to negotiations between the Walloon Region and the Belgian Federal State.

 

The CJEU is now to opine on four key topics, namely whether the investment court system is compatible with:

1.      The CJEU’s exclusive jurisdiction to provide the final interpretation of the law of the European Union.  

2.      The non-discrimination principle and the practical effect requirement.    

3.      The right of access to the courts.

4.      The right to an independent and impartial judiciary.  This includes the conditions of remuneration and appointment of the members of the court as well as the provisions regarding court members’ potential conflicts of interest.

 

The decision of the CJEU will provide clarity on an issue that has given rise to controversy far beyond the legal community.  It will also have an impact on whether the investment court system will replace traditional investor state arbitration mechanisms in the future trade and investment treaties entered into by the European Union.   

 

A further report on this topic is available on the Global Arbitration Review (subscription only).

Emma Goodall secures an acquittal for her client charged with an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

04.09.17 | |

Emma Goodall secures an acquittal for her client charged with an offence under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

 

Emma Goodall represented a client before the Southwark Crown Court defending a charge of possession of nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, with intent to supply. After the defence raised a point of law upon the construction of the Psychoactive Substance Act 2016, the case was reviewed and no further evidence was offered. The issue turned upon whether nitrous oxide fulfilled the definition of a medicinal product and was consequently exempted from prohibition under the 2016 Act.

 

Had the case proceeded to a full trial expert scientific evidence would have been called challenging whether the prosecution could prove that nitrous oxide was a psychoactive substance within the definition of the 2016 Act.

 

It subsequently transpired that before the Taunton Crown Court an application to dismiss succeeded where it was also submitted that nitrous oxide was exempted from the 2016 Act. Together these cases have attracted considerable media coverage and we now wait with interest to see what impact this argument may have on past and current prosecutions.

 

Read about this case in the media here and here

 

Emma was instructed by Mike Boyd and Mark Fanthorpe of EBR Attridge LLP Solicitors.

 

Charlotte Kilroy nominated for Human Rights and Public Law junior of the year

01.09.17 | |

We would like to congratulate Charlotte Kilroy nominated for Human Rights and Public Law junior of the year by the Bar Awards. The Bar Awards are run by Chambers and Partners and reflect notable achievements of individuals and sets over the past 18 months. The awards dinner will take place on 26th October in London. Charlotte is one of three juniors nominated in this category. All the award nominees can be seen by clicking here.   

Siobhan Grey QC has been announced to speak at the 30th Annual Global Trade Controls and Compliance conference in London.

31.08.17 | |

The event will involve lawyers and Industry figures from around the globe who will be discussing export controls, sanctions, and cyber-surveillance technology.

Sionahn Grey QC will be taking part in a panel discussion on what the impact of Brexit will be on export controls and sanctions. Siobhan will also be discussing recent enforcement cases in the UK.

For more information visit the conference website

Harriet Johnson achieves unanimous acquittal on all counts in murder trial

25.08.17 | |

After a seven-week trial, Harriet Johnson has achieved a unanimous acquittal on all counts for her client in a high-profile murder trial.  Kiroraj Yogarajah was one of three men and one youth facing alternative charges of murder, manslaughter, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, and causing grievous bodily harm.  Two of Mr. Yogarajah’s co-defendants were convicted of murder, and the other of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

 

During the course of the trial, the Crown took the decision not to rely on a witness who gave evidence of a phone call made by Harriet’s client, which provided crucial exonerating evidence that supported his account.  After considering Harriet’s carefully drafted legal argument, however, the Crown ultimately acquiesced to her submission that it had a duty to call him, meaning his evidence went before the jury as part of the prosecution case.  

 

Coverage of the case can be found here.

 

Harriet was instructed by Pan Symeou and Noreen Kibria of Faradays Solicitors, and led by Jonathan Higgs QC

Jonathan Cooper interviewed by The Times on the future of diversity in the legal profession

The Brief, which is the in-depth legal features publication from the Law section of The Times newspaper, has been running a series of video interviews this week on diversity in the law.  In the final part of this series they interview Doughty Street barrister and well known human rights specialist Jonathan Cooper, who argues that, although the legal profession in Britain is at last very welcoming to LGBT lawyers, it is incumbent upon us to continue to push other countries to decriminalise homosexuality. 

 

You can watch the interview with Jonathan by clicking here, and the other interviews in the series can be accessed by clicking here.  

 

President of Upper Tribunal orders the SSHD to admit vulnerable teenage asylum seeker in Greece

In AR v SSHD the Upper Tribunal granted AR’s application for interim relief and ordered that the SSHD admit him to the UK. AR arrived in Greece as an unaccompanied 17 year old and claimed asylum. Under the Dublin III Regulation has the right to join his extensive family in the UK who are willing to take care of him. However, he had been trapped on the Greek Island of Lesvos for over 9 months without his case being transferred to the UK. In an important decision on interim relief the Tribunal found that the in view of the prospects of AR succeeding and the balance of convenience, the SSHD should admit the AR to the UK. 

 

Charlotte Kilroy and Michelle Knorr represent AR and are instructed by Christine Benson at the Migrants’ Law Project at Islington Law Centre. 

 

AR v SSHD is one of a series of successful cases brought on behalf of asylum seeking children in Europe separated from their families in the UK. 

Upper Tribunal finds refusal to grant a victim of trafficking Indefinite Leave to Remain is unlawful

21.08.17 | |


In R(FT) v SSHD [2017] UKUT 00331 Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb and Upper Tribunal Judge Blum found that the SSHD’s refusal to grant FT, a recognised victim of trafficking, indefinite leave to remain (ILR) was unlawful. The case considers the SSHD’s policy on grants of leave to victims of trafficking on account of their personal circumstances. The Tribunal accepted that the SSHD’s misconduct in handling FT’s case, which had significantly undermined FT’s recovery and worsened his mental health, was a relevant factor in deciding the duration of leave granted. The judgment makes clear that a broad range of factors must be considered in determining whether a victim of trafficking’s personal circumstances are such that leave should be granted and, if so, for what duration. 

 

Michelle Knorr was counsel for FT instructed by Nina Rathbone-Pullen at Wilson Solicitors LLP.

A link to the judgment can be found here

IRAQ REQUESTS UN’S ASSISTANCE TO BRING ISIS TO JUSTICE

16.08.17 | |

The United Kingdom has today announced that it is working with Iraq on a resolution to be adopted by the United Nations Security Council establishing a mechanism to investigate and prosecute crimes committed by ISIS. This follows a letter sent by the Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari to the UN last week seeking assistance in holding ISIS accountable for its crimes, and a similar request by the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi issued before that.

Amal Clooney is counsel to Yazda, Nadia Murad and other Yazidi victims of ISIS’ genocide. She has repeatedly called on the United Nations Security Council to establish a mechanism to investigate and prosecute ISIS’ crimes in line with international standards. And she has urged the Government of Iraq on multiple occasions to send a letter to the United Nations that would trigger a Security Council vote.

Mrs Clooney welcomes Minister al-Jaafari’s letter as an important first step to bring ISIS to justice. And she congratulates the Government of the United Kingdom for its role in leading this initiative within the UN. Of course, this step is only meaningful if it is followed by prompt action by the Security Council to collect evidence of ISIS’ crimes so that it can be used in future prosecutions that respect international fair-trial standards. 

Nadia Murad, a Yazidi survivor and UN Goodwill Ambassador, noted: “I am very happy to receive this positive news just one day after the third anniversary of the massacres in Kocho. I am grateful to Iraqi Prime Minister Mr Abadi and to the United Kingdom for initiating the first step to establish an international mechanism to investigate ISIS and hold them accountable. Victims deserve a meaningful accountability mechanism in which they trust and I hope that the Security Council resolution will reflect that”. Mrs Clooney added that: “Yazidis and other ISIS victims want justice in a court of law, and they deserve nothing less. I hope that the Iraqi Government’s letter will mark the beginning of the end of impunity for genocide and other crimes that ISIS is committing in Iraq and around the world”.
 

End

العراق يطلب مساعدة الأمم المتحدة لجلب عناصر داعش الى العدالة 

أعلنت المملكة المتحدة ،اليوم،أنها تعمل مع العراق على تقديم مشروع قرار يتبناه مجلس الأمن الدولي التابع للأمم المتحدة بإنشاء آلية للتحقيق في الجرائم التي ارتكبتها تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية ومقاضاة مرتكبيها. ويأتي ذلك بعد رسالة بعث بها وزير الخارجية العراقي السيد ابراهيم الجعفري الى الامم المتحدة الاسبوع الماضي طالبا فيها المساعدة في محاسبة داعش على جرائمه وطلب مماثل من رئيس الوزراء العراقي السيد حيدر العبادي صدر قبل ذلك.

أمل كلوني, المستشارة القانونية لمنظمة يزدا ولنادية مراد وغيرها من ضحايا الأيزيديين الناجيين من الابادة التي ارتكبتها تنظيم داعش، دعت مرارا مجلس الأمن التابع للأمم المتحدة إلى إنشاء آلية للتحقيق في جرائم داعش ومحاكمتها وفقا للمعايير الدولية. وحثت حكومة العراق في مناسبات عديدة على توجيه رسالة إلى الأمم المتحدة من شأنها أن تؤدي إلى تصويت في مجلس الأمن.

وترحب السيدة كلوني برسالة وزير الخارجية العراقي السيد أبراهيم الجعفري كخطوة أولى مهمة لجلب داعش إلى العدالة وتهنئ حكومة المملكة المتحدة على دورها في قيادة هذه المبادرة داخل الأمم المتحدة. وبطبيعة الحال، فإن هذه الخطوة سوف تكون لها معنى فقط إذا ما اتبعت بإجراء عاجل من مجلس الأمن لجمع الأدلة على جرائم داعش بحيث يمكن استخدامها في الملاحقات القضائية في المرحلة المقبلة.

وقالت نادية مراد، وهي ناجية من الأبادة الايزيدية وسفيرة النوايا الحسنة لدى الأمم المتحدة: “إنني سعيد جدا بتلقي هذه الأنباء الإيجابية بعد يوم واحد فقط من الذكرى الثالثة لأبادة قريتي, كوجو. وإنني ممتنة لرئيس وزراء العراق السيد حيدر العبادي والمملكة المتحدة على البدء في الخطوة الأولى لإنشاء آلية دولية للتحقيق في جرائم داعش ومحاسبتهم. الضحايا  يستحقون آلية جادة للمساءلة ذات مغزى يثقون بها وآتمنى أن يعكس قرار مجلس الأمن ذلك “. 

وأضافت السيدة كلوني: “إن الأيزيدين وضحايا داعش الآخرين يريدون الوصول الى تحقيق العدالة ومثول مرتكبي الجرائم امام القانون، ولا يستحقون شيئا أقل من ذلك. وآمل أن تكون رسالة الحكومة العراقية بداية لنهاية الإفلات من العقاب على الإبادة الجماعية وغيرها من الجرائم التي ارتكبتها داعش في العراق وحول العالم “.

النهاية

 

Regaining Our Balance With Vulnerable Witnesses

11.08.17 | |

It is undeniably important that complainants alleging sexual offences are treated with consideration in the course of criminal proceedings, and we will rightly continue to see further research and development in the criminal justice system to promote this. It is equally undeniable, however, that there are times when the presumption of innocence can fall from view in the application and interpretation of rules and guidance that protect those making the allegations.

 

In R v SG [2017] EWCA Crim 617 the Court of Appeal (Simon LJ, Stuart-Smith J and The Recorder of Cardiff) considered a mid-trial decision by a Recorder to treat an eighteen-year-old complainant as vulnerable, and direct that the defence prepare written questions before cross-examination resumed the following day. Whilst the appeal was ultimately dismissed because the course adopted did not cause unfairness to the defendant and the convictions were safe, the Court’s summary and interpretation of current rules and guidance is likely to be of assistance to defence advocates in similar situations.

 

The discussion of the issues arising began with a strong and welcome reaffirmation of the prerogative of a defence advocate to test the prosecution evidence. Simon LJ observed (at paragraph 44) that it is wrong to characterise questions in cross-examination as being objectionable because they are ‘speculative’ or had not been foreshadowed in the Defence Statement. Where the defence case is a denial that an event or offence took place, the defence is entitled to test the truth and accuracy of prosecution evidence by questions which test their likelihood. Cross-examination of the ‘mechanics’ of how something happened may lead a jury to conclude that it did not happen, or may not have happened, in the way described by the witness. Such a challenge does not have to be specifically pre-figured in a Defence Statement.

 

His Lordship then went on to summarise the current provisions and guidance in relation to the treatment of vulnerable witnesses (see paragraphs 45 to 51).

 

Having done so, he noted that the complainant in the instant case had not been regarded as a vulnerable witness up to the point that cross-examination began, there had been no ground rules hearing, and she appeared to be a mature and articulate witness. Although a witness’s vulnerability may only become apparent when giving evidence, it is important for the court to hold a balance between the importance of a witness being able to give the best evidence they can without being harassed by the form or nature of the questioning and the potentially conflicting interest of a defendant in being able properly to challenge a witness’s account.

 

The Court also observed that whilst witnesses may find giving evidence in court (and reliving their experiences through their evidence) to be highly stressful, there may also be a reason for distress which might be said to favour the defence: a witness may have been caught out in a lie or may be apprehensive about being challenged in relation to an untruthful account given in evidence. ‘Importantly in the present context, a witness exhibiting signs of distress is not necessarily to be treated as a vulnerable witness’.

 

Even if a witness is vulnerable it does not follow that the only course is to direct the form of cross-examination – advocates will be aware of the danger of alienating the jury by inappropriate tone or content of questioning and have a professional duty to treat witnesses with proper consideration. ‘In the generality of cases courts should bear in mind the disadvantages to the defence in prescribing the form of questioning, not least because it may inhibit the development of cross-examination in response to a particular answer’.

 

This is a welcome recognition of the constraints that defence practitioners increasingly act under, whilst continuing to do the best for our clients and protecting their right to a fair trial.

 

Guilty plea guideline comes into force - will sex sentences increase?

11.08.17 | |

The sentencing council’s definitive guideline reduction for guilty plea came into force on 1st June 2017. If you were already thinking “Can sentences for sexual offending get any longer?” the answer may well be yes. The guideline supersedes all previous authorities, (for example, Caley [2013] 2 Cr.App.R(S) 305) and provides in terms that defendants will only normally be entitled to the one-third discount at the first hearing when an indication of plea is sought and recorded by the court. Which of course ordinarily is the Magistrates court.

 

While the idea itself is not new, the guideline now makes it very difficult for Crown Court Judges to justify giving a third discount at PTPH as many have been still prepared to do.

 

The exceptions to the rule make it clear that

 

“your client knows whether he did it not – you don’t need the text messages/medical evidence/ABE” before he enters a plea”

 

the approach of some crown Court Judges is acceptable – it is only if the evidence is necessary to understand whether the client is in fact and law guilty of the offence that allowing for a delay for evidence to be served and retaining full credit may be permissible.

 

Legal teams will need to be alive to this consideration when seeking out the third discount at PTPH. In cases where counsel are to be instructed seeking an opinion at the pre Crown Court stage is likely to be increasingly important. The reality of advice now has to be that the discount will be 25% at PTPH and that poses all sorts of problems in sex cases where you think there might be a guilty plea. Cases prepared for the Magistrates Court hearing (and any committal for sentence) may not provide the full evidential picture and defendants accused of sexual misdemeanours who are in fact guilty often need time -and quality legal advice - to be prepared to admit their guilt.  The timescale between charge, first appearance in the Magistrates and a potential committal for sentence date in the Crown Court is short with a very small window for assessing the evidence against a defendant

 

We suspect that that there might be some Crown Court Judges – the sort who wouldn’t dream of saying  ‘your client knows whether he did it or not’ who will feel concerned at the loss of their discretion  to give the full discount at PTPH in cases always destined for the Crown Court and who might make adjustments elsewhere in the sentence calculations as a result.

 

Latest case on guilty plea discount

 

R v Campbell [2017] EWCA Crim 272

 

12.5% discount for plea on the first day of trial (and subsequent failed attempt to withdraw it) too generous in offence of assault by penetration

 

More guidelines sex and young defendants

 

The definitive guideline sentencing children and young people is also now in force as of 1st June 2017. It contains both overarching principles and offence specific guidelines for sexual offences and robbery. The new sexual offences guideline applies to all those under 18 at the time of sentence regardless of the date of the offence.

 

Still on the subject of children and young people a section 15A has been inserted into the SOA 2003 making it an offence to have sexual communication with a child, thereby making the sending of sexual messages by adults to children under 16 for the purposes of sexual gratification an offence. As with other grooming offences, there is a need to prove that the defendant did not have reasonable belief that the child was 16 or over.

 

Cautionary tales

 

We’ve noticed lately some surprising comments turning up on the footage of ABE interviews. One recently had ‘Vulnerable witness interview’ superimposed over the screen throughout, and another came back from the editing suite with words “Section Removed” helpfully coming up on the screen every time there was an edit. It can only be a matter of time before one is subtitled “Victim’s interview”.

 

Sarah is widely recognised as one of the leading silks at the Bar specialising in defending sexual allegations. Sarah is available for advice for solicitors and their clients at all stages of proceedings from pre charge to post conviction Click here for more information and to contact her directly. 

Riot at your peril: Manslaughter sentences revisited?

Is it time for the Court of Appeal to revisit manslaughter sentences after Jogee? In Lord Hughes’s Supreme Court judgment in that case [2016 2 W.L.R. 681] the mental element for a secondary party to murder was raised from foresight to intent. Less commented upon was the Court’s accompanying decision about criminal liability for a fatality during public disorder when the secondary accused [“D2”] did not know, typically, that the principal had a knife. Before Jogee such an accused would be guilty of affray, violent disorder or whatever but not of any form of homicide. No longer; D2’s “intention to assist in a crime of violence is not determined only by whether he knows what kind of weapon D1 has in his possession. The tendency which has developed .......to focus on what D2 knew of what weapon D1 was carrying can and should give way to an examination of whether D2 intended to assist in the crime charged” [98].

 

From now on defendants who are part of large fights will stand to be convicted of manslaughter if one of their group kills; what the Supreme Court gives with one hand it takes with the other. Yet the sentences suggested by the Court of Appeal in “manslaughter by stabbing” cases all proceed on the basis that the offender was either the knifeman or knew such a weapon was being carried [Bishop (2012) 1 Cr. App. R. (S.) 60 or Odegbune and Others (2013) EWCA Crim 711 to take two examples]. This could change; Lord Justice Gross gave leave to appeal sentence in recent days in a case in which the appellant pleaded to manslaughter on the basis he only became aware the principal was armed with a knife after the mass violence had begun yet the sentencing judge took a starting point of about 15 years, at the top of the knife-wielding manslaughter range.  The Court of Appeal now has the chance to reconsider the proper sentence range in these less culpable manslaughter cases. Might this be a rare example of the Court intervening to lower a range of sentences? We can but hope.

International Criminal Court must act on Yazidi atrocity

The third anniversary of the massacre of Yazidis at Mount Sinjar – now known to the community as the mountain of death – was last Thursday.

 

Images of a peaceful community trapped on a desolate mountain, unable to escape and awaiting death, targeted by Islamic State because of its ancient religion, are seared onto many memories. Thousands of men and older women were summarily killed. Younger women were captured and more than 3,000 remain captive, sexually enslaved and subjected daily to rape, sexual violence and torture. Boys have been forcibly converted and conscripted into Isis’s forces. More than 360,000 Yazidis were displaced.

 

The Global Justice Centre in New York and the human rights committee of the Bar Council of England and Wales recently lodged a legal submission with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda. It argued that she has jurisdiction to open a preliminary examination into Isis’s acts of genocide and other grave crimes against the Yazidis.

 

The UN, the European parliament and the EU have declared that crimes against the Yazidis constitute genocide, but there has not been a single prosecution of an Isis fighter for genocide or crimes against humanity. States have clear obligations under international law to punish war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. While Germany has led the way in issuing arrest warrants, efforts to achieve justice are fragmented. Accountability is a patchwork, with terrorism prosecutions in domestic jurisdictions around the world, including in Iraq, and a handful of potential cases under universal jurisdiction in Germany.

 

An ad hoc or hybrid tribunal in Iraq has been suggested, as has a referral of Syria or Iraq to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and a specialised Isis court. However, the implementation of these remedies is unlikely because of a lack of willingness from or inability of the key states. Recent reports about a new Isis court in Iraq, which focuses solely on terrorism, raise serious human rights concerns over the rights and treatment of the accused and continued impunity for international crimes.

 

The Yazidi genocide demands an international law response in an international court. An appropriate legal solution is the exercise of jurisdiction by the ICC over foreign fighters from states party to the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court. This would include, according to best estimates, up to 15,000 fighters from at least 34 states.

 

The ICC has an opportunity to fulfil its core mandate to prosecute individuals for genocide and crimes against humanity and end impunity. There is a legal basis for the court to act, complementary to legal actions carried out by individual states. It should do so urgently. Otherwise, the ICC is in danger of appearing to turn its back on the mountain of death.

 

Kirsty Brimelow, QC, is the chairwoman of the Bar Council’s human rights committee and a tenant at Doughty Street Chambers in London; Akila Radhakrishnan is the legal director of the Global Justice Centre]

 

Read the original article here.

Rwandan genocide: High Court rules that extradition would breach Article 6 ECHR

In a landmark ruling following a six day appeal hearing at the High Court between November and December 2016, a Divisional Court has ruled that the extradition to Rwanda of five men in relation to the 1994 genocide would breach Article 6 ECHR. The judgment is available here.

 

In ruling in favour of the Respondents, the court (Irwin LJ and Foskett J) upheld the decision of Deputy Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot (now the Chief Magistrate of England and Wales) who, following the longest running extradition proceedings in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, discharged all five men from the extradition request in December 2016. The Divisional Court further held that, in two of the Respondents’ cases – Mutabaruka and Nteziryayo – extradition was statute barred by reason of double jeopardy.

 

The decision is the latest event in an eleven year battle on behalf of the Government of Rwanda to secure extradition of the men, who are alleged to have participated in the genocide. In 2006, the Government of Rwanda and the UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding which gave rise to the first set of extradition proceedings in 2007. At that time, national jurisdictions would not extradite genocide suspects to Rwanda to stand trial, following the practice of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which had refused to transfer genocide suspects to Rwanda to stand trial in all applications which had come before it (Munyakazi; Kanyarukiga; Hategekimana; Gatete; Kayishema). The common thread of the respective legal positions adopted by national jurisdictions and the ICTR was that the Rwandan state was not yet able to guarantee fair trial rights, and that there was serious difficulty regarding the availability and presentation of defence evidence, which included issues relating to witness intimidation and reprisals from state actors.  

 

At the conclusion of the first round of proceedings in 2008, the Secretary of State ordered that extradition should take place. All requested persons appealed to the High Court. In the decision of the High Court in 2009 (Brown and others v Government of Rwanda and another [2009] EWHC 770 (Admin)), Lord Justice Laws ruled that extradition would breach Article 6 ECHR because of the risks of witness intimidation and absence of judicial independence in Rwanda. The Court recorded the efforts made by Rwanda to rebuild its criminal justice system and to conform with international standards, but held that:

 

“...we have not forgotten the scale of the dreadful tribulations suffered in Rwanda in 1994. Nor have we ignored the real and substantial measures taken to establish a judicial system capable of delivering criminal justice to acceptable standards. But our duty is to apply an objective test – real risk of flagrant denial of justice. We certainly cannot sanction extradition as a means of encouraging the Rwandan authorities to redouble their efforts to achieve a justice system that guarantees due process. That might serve a political aspiration, but would amount to denial of legal principle.” [120]

 

Following a shift in the approach of the ICTR in 2009 with the ruling in Jean Uwinkindi (Case No. ICTR-2001-75-R11bis), in which the ICTR authorised the first transfer of a genocide suspect to Rwanda under Rule 11 bis, a number of national jurisdictions followed suit. The Government of Rwanda signed a second Memorandum of Understanding with the UK and launched the second round of extradition requests in 2013, arguing that there had been a ‘sea-change’ in the international legal community’s assessment of Rwanda’s ability to deliver fair trial rights to genocide suspects. The second extradition hearing started in April 2014.

 

Since then, the case has centred on the political regime in Rwanda, judicial independence, the provisions of Rwanda's Transfer Law, the independence of the judicial police, and the quality of defence representation in genocide and politically sensitive trials. The case has heard evidence from lay and expert witnesses across the world, including evidence from a range of political scientists and lawyers specialising in the Rwandan genocide, as well as anonymous genocide survivors. The Respondents relied upon evidence which tended to demonstrate the complicity of the Rwandan government in extra-judicial killings, disappearances and torture both inside and outside of Rwanda. This evidence included a number of Osman warnings given by British police to Rwandan individuals in the UK. The case was also considered by the United Kingdom Supreme Court in 2014 during an interlocutory judicial review relating to anonymous witness evidence: R (on the application of VB) v Westminster Magistrates’ Court [2014] EWHC   889 (Admin).  

 

In reaching the conclusion that, if extradited, there was a real risk that the Respondents would be subject to a flagrant denial of justice contrary to Article 6 ECHR, the Divisional Court held:

 

“If there is a real risk of a flagrant denial of justice, that means there is a real risk of the innocent being convicted. To extradite in the face of such a risk, even if motivated by a desire to repatriate the criminal process to the country where it should properly be conducted, would be no more and no less a wrong than it would be to permit a serious miscarriage of justice here.” [369]

 

The Court has invited the Government of Rwanda to consider whether it can, by way of a “final opportunity”, proffer any assurances that would meet the failings identified.

 

In Emmanual Nteziryayo and others v Government of Rwanda [2017] EWHC 1912 (Admin), Edward Fitzgerald QC and Kate O’Raghallaigh represented Celestin Ugirashebuja, instructed by Hallinan Blackburn Gittings and Nott. Tim Moloney QC represented Charles Munyaneza, instructed by O’Keefe’s Solicitors.

 

Man acquitted of murder of celebrity bodyguard following six week ‘cut throat’ murder trial

31.07.17 | |

Tim Moloney QC represented the acquitted defendant, instructed by Shreeta Gondhia of Edward Fail, Bradshaw and Waterson and leading Aisling Byrnes of 25 Bedford Row.

 

Read more about the case in the news here and here

French right to be forgotten case referred to European Court of Justice

Where a regulator in one EU country requires information to be removed from the internet, should that be given effect in that one country, across the EU or globally?

 

This is the question France’s Conseil d’Etat, the country’s highest administrative court, has referred to the EU Court of Justice to decide to resolve a dispute between Google and France’s data protection authority, la Commission nationale informatique et libertés (“CNIL”). The dispute concerns the extent of Google’s responsibility to remove information from the internet in relation to the controversial “right to be forgotten”.

 

In 2014, CNIL ordered Google to remove 21 links from the results of an internet search on the name of a French citizen who claimed a “right to be forgotten”: the right to have results removed that are embarrassing or out of date.  Google initially removed the links from its French search site (www.google.fr) and other European search sites.  Google then blocked the links from results returned to European users, even when using Google’s non-European sites, including www.google.com. Still, this was not enough.

 

CNIL demands that when it orders content to be “forgotten” from search results, this decision must be given effect worldwide. This means that the results must be made unavailable to all users internationally, regardless of where they are accessing internet search engines.  CNIL also imposed a huge fine on Google, of €100,000.

 

CNIL’s rationale is that failing to remove links with global effect creates an "absurd" situation where data that can’t be shown in Europe to protect a person’s right to be forgotten remains available globally, undermining their right. But the effect of CNIL’s decision is to enforce France’s right to be forgotten beyond its borders and in countries which don’t recognise the right, raising concerns about country-specific laws limiting what is available on the internet for everyone. Google is challenging the decision for this reason: the French approach creates a precedent for governments to force worldwide removal of content that is illegal in their country.

 

What happens to the internet when countries with sharply diverging definitions of acceptable and lawful online speech are able to enforce their standards globally by forcing Google to remove content elsewhere in the world? If permitted, the information available on the internet will have to comply with the world’s strictest legal restrictions.

 

This has serious implications for freedom of expression, particularly in the developing world. For this reason, 18 NGOs specialising in the defence of human rights and online freedom of expression in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe intervened in the Conseil d’Etat case with the assistance of Doughty Street International members Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jude Bunting, Jennifer Robinson and associate Nani Jansen Reventlow, all of whom have expertise in freedom of expression law.  The NGOs’ intervention brief raised concern about the impact of CNIL’s decision on the many people across the world whose rights they protect and on their ability to do their work. The NGOs argued for the need to be able to rely on the free exchange of ideas and information online in order to carry out their important human rights work. The internet is of particular importance to those working in countries where restrictive laws limit the information available in the local media.

 

The decision follows a string of domestic decisions about the right to be forgotten in the Netherlands, Japan, France and Belgium which demonstrate the widely divergent approaches taken by different countries. This only highlights the danger of applying any one country’s laws beyond their borders and the difficulties of regulating cross-jurisdictional flows of information.

 

The intervention brief can be read here in French and English.

 

More details about Doughty Street’s International Media Defence Team is available here

Peter Carter QC and Kirsty Brimelow QC to speak at the JUSTICE Human Rights Law Conference 2017

One of the highlights of the human rights lawyer’s CPD calendar, JUSTICE Human Rights Law Conference 2017 offers a prime opportunity to update your legal knowledge and gain valuable insight into the human rights issues of the year. As ever, this year’s programme aims to ensure that delegates are equipped with the key legal and policy developments necessary to defend current human rights concerns.  

 

Peter Carter QC and Kirsty Brimelow QC will be presenting the Criminal justice and human rights update, chaired by  Professor Jackie Hodgson, University of Warwick.

 

For more information, visit the conference website.

 

Abigail Bright acts for ICAEW in successful case against incompetent accountant

19.07.17 | |

A tribunal of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales Disciplinary Committee accepted Abigail Bright’s submissions that financial transactions in which Mr B (an ICAEW-registered Chartered Accountant) involved himself were such as to bring discredit on himself, the Institute and the profession of accountancy.  The case against Mr B involved allegations that he misrepresented investors as to the success of a company involved in dishonest financial conduct.

 

Jessica Sutherland-Mack, Legal Adviser at the ICAEW, instructed Abigail to advise the Institute and to present its case against Mr B before the tribunal.

 

The terms of complaint formulated by the ICAEW were that, contrary to Disciplinary Bye-law 4.1b, Mr B 'performed his professional work or the duties of his employment, or conducted his practice, inefficiently or incompetently to such an extent, or on such a number of occasions, as to bring discredit on himself, the Institute or the profession of accountancy'.

Paul Mason contributes to leading work on human rights and the media

19.07.17 | |

 

Routledge has announced the publication of a new volume of essays offering a comprehensive and contemporary survey of the key themes, approaches and debates in the field of media and human rights.  The Routledge Companion to Media and Human Rights is edited by Professor Howard Tumber,  City University and Professor Silvio Waisbord,  George Washington University, USA. 

 

Paul’s chapter, 'Prisoners, Human Rights and the Media' assesses the way in which prisoners’ rights are constructed by the mainstream media and examines the coverage of the European Court of Human Rights cases concerning prisoners’ right to vote in Italy and the UK. It argues that state agencies and elite news sources define for the public who the prisoner is, what rights they have, and what rights they do not.

 

 

Independent Inquiry into Child Sex Abuse continues its hearings – several Doughty Street barristers appearing

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is continuing with its public hearings, which relate to alleged sexual abuse in the British child migration programmes. These were large-scale schemes where various institutions migrated thousands of children to countries across what was the British Empire.

 

Henrietta Hill QC is instructed as Counsel to the Inquiry, leading Mark Wassouf and Katie O’Byrne.  

 

Appearing on behalf of Core Participant the Child Migrants Trust are Aswini Weereratne QC and Keina Yoshida.

 

The Inquiry will hear live evidence this week from a number of witnesses from institutions involved in the child migration programmes including the Government, and expert witnesses. 

 

More information about the hearings can be found here.

 

You can also watch the proceedings which are being streamed live by clicking here.

 

Briefing note on the EU Withdrawal Bill with particular reference to the EU Charter

Jonathan Cooper OBE has prepared a briefing note on the EU Withdrawal Bill with particular reference to the EU Charter. The briefing note provides an introduction to why the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights needs to remain part of the UK’s legal arrangements post the UK’s exiting the European Union. 

 

The full briefing document can be read here

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC has been appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), in light of her “outstanding commitment to enabling the Human Rights Act’s protections.”  The mission of the RSA is to enrich society through ideas and action.  Caoilfhionn was selected to join the RSA Fellowship due to her work on groundbreaking human rights test cases, acting for individual clients and NGOs, and for the Act for the Act campaign.

 

Caoilfhionn’s recent human rights cases include acting for disabled children, carers, victims and survivors of domestic violence and lone parents in a series of successful challenges to welfare cuts (the benefit cap and the ‘bedroom tax’); acting for bereaved families in the Hillsborough inquests and related civil proceedings; and acting for women and girls from Northern Ireland where abortion is criminalised in almost all circumstances.  She has particular expertise in children’s rights, women’s rights, freedom of expression and strategic litigation.

 

The Act for the Act campaign, run entirely by volunteers, was founded by Caoilfhionn, legal journalist Fiona Bawdon and Doughty Street Chambers Associate and Director of Liberty, Martha Spurrier.  They were inspired by seeing the importance of the Human Rights Act in their professional lives, and witnessing firsthand the vital protections it provides to people every day. They felt that, in the political, legal and media debate about the Human Rights Act, the most important voices were missing:  the everyday people and families who in times of great distress and difficulty suddenly needed the Human Rights Act.  This was the inspiration for a crowdfunded nationwide advertising campaign to tell some of these stories: on billboards; in tube stations; on the sides of buses; and on huge iconic advertising towers on the motorways into major cities.

 

RSA Fellows come from diverse backgrounds and professions.  Current RSA fellows include Judi Dench, Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough and Tim Berners-Lee.  Notable previous fellows include Marie Curie, Karl Marx and Charles Dickens. The Fellowship is now a global, interdisciplinary network of 28,000 people who support the RSA’s mission and have innovative ideas for achieving social change.

 

On receiving the fellowship, Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC said:

 

“It is a privilege to be invited to become a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. The RSA aims to address our most pressing social challenges through collaborative action and multi-disciplinary thinking. I can’t wait to get stuck in and work with other RSA fellows in creative ways to address threats to our hard-fought human rights protections at home – all the more important and urgent given Brexit plans.

The RSA’s global reach also brings unique opportunities and I plan to work with others to address two international issues of great concern to me: the imprisonment and gagging of journalists, and gender-based violence.”  

Divisional Court to hear ‘right to die’ case

Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Graeme Hall, instructed by Nancy Collins, partner at Hodge Jones and Allen, are representing Humanists UK in its intervention in the case of R (Noel Conway) v Secretary of State for Justice, being heard before a Divisional Court next week (17 – 20 July).

 

Mr Conway has motor neurone disease, a terminal and degenerative illness. He seeks a declaration that section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 – which criminalises “complicity in another’s suicide” – is incompatible with his right to private and family life under Article 8 ECHR, and his right to freedom from discrimination under Article 14 ECHR. His case is about the impact of the current law on adults who are terminally ill and have less than six months to live, who wish to die, but as a result of disability cannot end their own lives unaided and need the assistance of others.

 

Humanists UK was given permission to intervene in the case in recognition of its expertise in relation to assisted dying, summarised here.  Humanists UK campaigns to legalise assisted dying across the UK.  It wholly supports Mr Conway’s case and seeks to build upon the arguments he advances.  Humanists UK’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson said in the press that the deliberate extension of suffering as a matter of public policy is “a stain on our humanity”.

 

More information is available from Hodge Jones and Allen, here, and from Humanists UK, here. Humanist UK’s intervention has been covered in politics.co.uk.  More background on Noel Conway’s legal fight is available from the Shropshire Humanist.

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