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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Phone hacking silk appointed High Court Judge.........in place of retiring Litvinenko Inquiry Chair

The retirement of Owen J will see Andrew Edis QC appointed to the High Court bench on 1st October.  He was the prosecution lead in the phone hacking trial as well as in the Huhn and Pryce case.  Sounds like he deserves it.......

Sir Robert Owen meanwhile will spend the first part of his retirement inquiring into Litvinenko's death given the Home Secretary's recently well timed volte face and he made the following opening statement today:
https://www.litvinenkoinquest.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Suspension-of-Inquest-and-Opening-of-Public-Inquiry.pdf  

which included this which will be of interest to the Russian Govt:

Because of the sensitivity of the HMG evidence, it is inevitable that at least some of my final report
will also have to remain secret. But I make it clear now that I intend to make public my final conclusion on the issue of Russian State responsibility, together with as much as possible of my reasoning in that regard.  I should add that HM Government has made a restriction notice under section 19 of the 2005 Act, the effect of which will be to require that specified sensitive material is considered in closed session, and may make further restriction notices. I intend to make the open  parts of such notices available on the inquiry website.




The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Andrew Jeremy Coulter Edis QC, to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 1 October 2014 on the retirement of Mr. Justice Owen on 19 July.

The Lord Chief Justice will assign Mr Edis to the Queen’s Bench Division.

Notes for editors

Mr Edis, 55, was called to the Bar (M) in 1980 and took Silk in 1997. He was appointed a Recorder in 1999 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge.

Mr. Justice Owen was called to the Bar (I) in 1968 and took Silk in 1988. He was appointed a Recorder in 1987 and a judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in 2001.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Most successful Govt policy ever

Went to an Employment Tribunal yesterday where I have been appearing for over 15 years.  Used to queue out the door and on CMD/PHR days EJs would have multiple cases listed in front of them leading to a long wait in the Respondent's waiting room (which is where I usually find myself).  Cases took years to be listed and if you did get a listing you would be floating for days on end.....

Yesterday with fees, enforced conciliation and the unfair dismissal 2 year rule fully kicked in - there was literally nobody there.  My case was the only one listed. The Judge looked surprised that he/she had a real case to deal with; took longer than he/she needed to hearing the case and when it came to listing it for final hearing could offer any day we wanted in the next 6 months........

Turns out this BBC story is true:

There were 5,619 cases between January and March this year compared with 13,739 in the same period in 2013.
Thats a Govt policy which has worked - employment claims have been well and truly stifled.  Well Done!  Business now free to do what is wants and employees left with little access to justice.

Excellent.  Now all they need to do is starting consulting the Judges and Tribunal staff over their redundancy rights.......

Better find myself another area to specialise in..........

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Once again, it is lawyers to the rescue......

Got a serious problem which you can't deal with in-house?  Don't worry civil servant, get a former/ judge/top QC in to sort it?

The Home Office is appointing Rt Hon the Baroness Butler-Sloss of March Green GBE, former President of the Fam D to lead its independent inquiry panel of experts in the law and child protection to consider whether public bodies – and other non-state institutions – have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse - but which will not have any powers of compulsion to have evidence given or delivered to it (curiously in order to avoid prejudicing criminal proceedings?) - although if that becomes an issue:  if the inquiry panel chairman deems it necessary – the government is prepared to convert it into a full public inquiry in line with the Inquiries Act. Lady Butler-Sloss was the Diana Coroner until she stepped down, is 5 years over the long stop judicial retirement age and now has a lot on her hands.  Good luck to Her Ladyship.....

Turns out she may not be the right choice after all...... http://lawyerwatch.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/a-few-thoughts-on-the-butler-sloss-controversy/

It is also appointing Richard Whittam QC, First Senior Treasury Counsel at the Central Criminal Court (HMG's top prosecutor at the Bailey) to review its own review into
where certain 114 files have gone missing.....let's hope he can find them or a convincing reason for their disappearance..........



Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Mayor's and City of London Court, now renamed: the County Court sitting at Mayor’s and City of London Court

Wanted to know what had happened following the introduction of the National County Court, to the Mayor's and City Court:

Thank you for your email of 18th April 2014, in which you asked for the following information from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ):

I note that the Crime and Courts Act 2013 repeals the following provision:

(2) For the purpose of establishing a court to exercise so much of the jurisdiction previously exercised by the Mayor's and City of London Court as is appropriate to a county court and for exercising any other jurisdiction which may hereafter be conferred on a county court, the City of London shall, by virtue of this section, become a county court district and accordingly the enactments relating to county courts shall apply in relation to the county court for the City of London as they apply in relation to a county court for any other county court district.

(3) Without prejudice to subsection (1) above, the county court for the district constituted by subsection (2) above shall be known as the Mayor's and City of London Court and the Circuit judge assigned to that district under section 20(1) of this Act shall be known as the judge of the Mayor's and City of London Court.

But curiously not this provision:

The courthouse and accommodation which up to the appointed day have been respectively known as the Central Criminal Court and the Mayor's and City of London Court shall continue to be known by those names, and it shall be the duty of the Common Council of the City of London (in this section referred to as “the Common Council”) to continue to make the said premises available for use for the sittings and business of those courts respectively.

What information do you hold about the effect which the creation of the New National County Court will have on the existence, jurisdiction and name of the Mayor's and City Court in the City of London?
 


Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

I can confirm that the department holds information that you have asked for, and I am pleased to provide this to you.

In response to your question, following the introduction of the (single) County Court on the 22 April 2014 the Mayor’s and City Court continued to exist and retained its current jurisdiction (in terms of the types of cases it can hear). The introduction of the single County Court invested the powers and jurisdiction that was conferred on the 173 individual county courts, in the County Court, with modifications.  Therefore individual county court geographical boundaries no longer exist and claimants are no longer limited to issue particular claims in the county court that had jurisdiction for a particular area.


Under the single County Court, Mayor’s and City of London Court will now be known as the County Court sitting at Mayor’s and City of London Court, as the venue has retained its name.  The County Court will continue to sit at the Mayor's and City of London Court, as it will continue to sit at the other hearing venues that were previously called county courts. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

If Scotland Leaves, what happens to the rest of us?

The House of Lords Constitution Committee has been asking some big and important questions about what happens if Scotland decides to up sticks and leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (although polling this week-end confidently seems to predict that this will not happen, not least because of the large numbers of English referendum voters resident in Scotland).  The Committee's Report is one of the best analyses of the potential constitutional crisis which may follow; asking questions such as - will E, W and NI be a new successor state (i.e. with a need to apply to rejoin the EU?) or the same State just without Scotland (which is the predominant view of everybody save for the Scottish Government....).  Another important question is what will happen with the Scottish MPs at Westminster (particularly during that weird time between yes vote and actual independence) and what happens on Scottish independence day if they leave their seats but consequently bring down HMG's majority?  Who should negotiate the terms of independence and what happens to all of the UK's assets North of the Border (particularly of the nuclear military variety) and will the MOD move them all S just prior to the Big Day?

The potential for political (if not worse) strife if Scotland votes yes and all the shared assets have to be negotiated over is obvious and we just have to cross everything that this historic union has a little more life in it yet.........



Saturday, 17 May 2014

Central London County Court - now at the RCJ?

The Court Hearing Centre in Central London belonging to the new national County Court will no longer be in its splendid (from the outside, not inside) Regency (think Bath) style crescent in Regent's Park, but has gone to a new home in the Thomas Moore Building (last home of the Chancery Division, now residing in the Rolls Building) within the RCJ estate on the Strand to be known as the Central London Hearing Centre of the new national County Court.  Just a little example of how a Court which looked after Westminster and Camden is being moved under the new non-local arrangement - all to save money and resources.  No doubt the Crown Estate will be able to re-let the incumbent Court at great profit! The CLCC has for many years been effectively an overflow for the Chan D of the High Court and its location in the Chan D's old home is no coincidence because it is going to get more of its work, with a newly widened Chan, bankruptcy and winding up jurisdiction to take the pressure off the Rolls Buildings Registrars (a process which started in 2011)........ The Supreme Court Costs Office and the Costs Judges and Masters will continue to occupy the TMB for the meantime....

So goodbye this


And hello this little beauty:




                

Sunday, 27 April 2014

New High Court Judge

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Miss Elisabeth Mary Caroline Laing, Q.C., to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 29 April 2014 on the retirement of Mr. Justice Keith on 14 April 2014.

Public lawyer from 11KBW of great repute, had a career break to look after her children and recently acted for Lewisham LBC in quashing DH's big ideas about closing down some of the useful bits of Lewisham Hospital unlawfully - although HMG is just changing the law to get round the problem....

Useful addition to the Admin Court, in which she has sat as a Deputy since 2010.