Sunday 31 January 2010


There has to be 12 Justices of the Supreme Court.  The 12 existing Law Lords were going to take over - Lord Scott was going to retire and be replaced by Lord Clarke.  But Lord Clarke was succeeded as Master of the Rolls by Lord Neuberger leaving only 11 Justices.  So who will be the 12th?  It is currently predicted that Lord Justice Dyson will be appointed.  

But will he get a peerage?  Peerages cannot be given out under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 any more because the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 repealed it.  He could be given a Life Peerage.  Lord Clarke was given a life peerage in June 2009 before becoming a Justice of the Supreme Court in October 2009.  Life Peerages are usually also given to the Lord Chief Justice if he is already not a peer (Lord Judge for example)  

But the Government has said this:

All new judges appointed to the Supreme Court after its creation will not be members of the House of Lords; they will become Justices of the Supreme Court.

There was an idea that new Justices would not get a peerage but would be entitled to be called Lord and Lady as senior judges in Scotland are.  But we have not heard anymore about this.  So it looks more likely that the new Justice - will be Rt Hon SIr John Dyson, who will have to sit with his Baron and Baroness brother and sister judges as a mere Knight Bachelor.  

It then looks likely that the Court will be stable for a while -until Lord Saville retires in 2 years time (although he has yet to sit in the Supreme Court - having only been an active Law Lord for 1 year before he was appointed to the Bloody Sunday Inquiry for 11 years - he is due to deliver his report and starting sitting in the Supreme Court this year).

Friday 29 January 2010


Speaking as someone who once appealed a wheel clamping release charge to an internal appeal service within the wheel clamping firm and did not receive even rough justice -news that a statutory Tribunal is going to be set up by HMG to hear such appeals is excellent news.  See the story on the BBC:

I also recommend reading this:

Tuesday 26 January 2010


Charon QC as ever provides excellent coverage of the Iraq Inquiry.  He notes the following exchange between the Chair and today's witness:

 I did enjoy Wilmshurt’s response when Sir John Chilcot asked  if it made  a difference that Jack Straw himself is a qualified lawyer?.  Elizabeth Wilmshurt replied…“He is not an International Lawyer”. Rather sums it up, I think?

I understand that Straw was a practising barrister from 1972 to 1974 only.  He remains a door tenant of Valios Boardman Chambers at 4 Bream Buildings (or at least he appears on their door as such).  He became special adviser to Barbara Castle in 1974 and I note that from 1971 to 1974 he was a member of the Inner London Education Authority and Deputy Leader from 1973 to 1974.

He therefore probably did not practice very much in his limited 2 year career.  

This probably puts a gloss on the idea that the former Foreign Secretary and current Lord Chancellor is to be considered a qualified lawyer.

Also this deserves reading:


The recession ends today (0.1% growth in the last quarter?).  Let's hope it doesn't come back because on 1st October 2011 the Government will throw a spanner in the works of that recession life blood of a business saver - the agency worker.  When times get tough you can recruit lots of agency workers who you can get rid of without having to worry about their employment law rights.  Not from 1st October 2011 when this little baby comes into force:

5.—(1) Subject to regulation 7, an agency worker (A) shall be entitled to the same basic working
and employment conditions as A would be entitled to for doing the same job had A been recruited
by the hirer—
(a) other than by using the services of a temporary work agency; and
(b) at the time the qualifying period commenced.
(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), the basic working and employment conditions are —
(a) where A would have been recruited as an employee, the relevant terms and conditions
that are ordinarily included in the contracts of employees of the hirer;
(b) where A would have been recruited as a worker, the relevant terms and conditions that
are ordinarily included in the contracts of workers of the hirer,

The agency worker gets those rights after 12 continuous weeks with the hirer.

And then basically they are an employee and after 12 months you can't get rid of them without following anti-unfair dismissal procedures and after 2 years they obtain redundancy rights.  Good bye flexibility; good bye recovery; hello recession again.  But good news for agency workers!

Friday 22 January 2010


There has been a lot of inaccurate things said about self-defence and the case of Munir Hussein lately.
His case has nothing to with self-defence but about allowing our justice system to punish criminals rather than taking 'the law into your own hands'.
The judge at first instance got it right:
It may be that some members of the public or media commentators will assert that the man Salem deserved what happened to him at the hands of you and the two others involved and that you should not have been prosecuted and need not be punished.

However, if persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting justice run its course, then the rule of law which are the hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse. The courts must make it clear that such conduct is criminal and unacceptable.
Commentators should also note that the valiant Mr Hussein was found by the jury to have lied to them about his lack of involvement at all in the attack:

Of course, it is to be noted that it was never suggested by you or on your behalf in the trial that there was any justification for the attack upon Salem. You simply claimed that you were not involved in it.
The jury was sure that you were involved and convicted you of this serious offence of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to cause such harm.

Wednesday 20 January 2010


[2010] EWCA Civ 9
CA (Civ Div) (Pill LJ, Lloyd LJ, Sir Paul Kennedy) 19/1/2010 
Mr and Mrs Orams bought a holiday home in Northern Cyprus.  Its alleged former Greek owner obtained the following judgment from a Court in the Republic of Cyprus (the southern part of the island):
1. Demolish the Villa, pool and fencing.
2.Give possession of the land
3.Pay £11,514.28 in damages
4.Pay £442.85 a month until delivery up
5.Interest and costs
The Court of Appeal, following a judgment of the ECJ say that this is now enforcable in England and Wales. 
This has been reported as the Court of Appeal ordering Mr and Mrs Orams to demolish the villa, the pool and the fencing and to give possession of the land back to Mr Aposolides.  Obviously the Court of Appeal can't and hasn't ordered any such thing.  It has ordered that the judgment from a court in Greek Cyprus (and member of the EU) is enforcable in England and Wales,  although clearly the only bit enforcable is the order to pay special damages, mesne profits and interest.  An English Sheriff has no power to go enforcing Southern Cypriot possession orders in Northern Cyprus.  He would probably need a small invasion army to assist him and may meet resistance from UN peace keepers.  The non-money and possession orders will remain unenforcable until Turkish Northern Cyprus recognises and enforces the judgments of Greek Southern Cyprus.  The Turkish Government of Northern Cyprus said this:
“The British court will have to decide how to implement its ruling. We will not implement it,” Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat’s spokesman Hasan Ercakica told the Mail, adding: “If Apostolides really wants his property back, he can apply to the property commission”.
Which probably means it is a while before Mr and Mrs Orams will have to give up their lovely holiday home.  Indeed does Mr Apostolidies want his property back?  Does he, can he return to live in Northern Cyprus.? Or does he just want the cash?

Tuesday 19 January 2010


The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment
 of Miss Nicola Velfor Davies, Q.C., to be a Justice of 
the High Court with effect from 22 January on 
the elevation of Mr. Justice Pitchford to the 
Court of Appeal.  The Lord Chief Justice will assign 
Miss Davies to the Queen’s Bench Division.
Surely the first Dame from Bridgend Girls’ Grammar School?

The doyen of the GMC defence bar: defender of 
Shipman, Meadow and many many other infamous 
doctors, guilty and innocent & now she may hear HIgh Court 
appeals against the GMC's decisions.  She does not suffer 
fools gladly.  She carries big black hand bags.   
You have been warned. 

Congratulations to Pitchford J, now LJ, too.  

Monday 18 January 2010


Prince William of Wales has opened the new building of the Supreme Court of New Zealand.

It certainly looks slightly more modern than our own Supreme Court.

The SC of NZ actually opened for business on 1st July 2004 (Prince W is only opening a new building and not a new court) when it replaced the Privy Council as NZ's final court of appeal.  Like our own novice SC of UK, NZ's SC is one of those few Supreme Courts which can't actually do anything useful like strike down legislation.

Wednesday 13 January 2010


This came into force today (section 73 Coroners and Justice Act 2009)

73 Abolition of common law libel offences etc
The following offences under the common law of England and Wales and the common law of Northern Ireland are abolished—
(a)     the offences of sedition and seditious libel;
(b)     the offence of defamatory libel;
(c)     the offence of obscene libel.

So that means that it is no longer a criminal offence (unless covered by some other offence) to

    (1)     to bring into hatred or contempt, or to excite disaffection against, the Sovereign or the government and constitution of the United Kingdom or either House of Parliament, or the administration of justice; or
    (2)     to excite the Sovereign's subjects to attempt, otherwise than by lawful means, the alteration of any matter in church or state by law established; or
    (3)     to incite persons to commit any crime in disturbance of the peace; or
    (4)     to raise discontent or disaffection amongst the Sovereign's subjects; or
    (5)     to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different classes of those subjects.
The act or words must also have a tendency to incite public disorder and violence.

Tuesday 12 January 2010


Tuesday, 12th January 2010
At half past 10
T20047275 R v Twomey
T20057472 R v Blake
T20067051 R v Twomey
T20067187 R v Hibberd
T20067304 R v Hibberd
T20077124 R v Cameron

There it is - the first trial on indictment without a jury in England and Wales in about 400 years.  It starts today.

See here for how it came to this.

A sad day.

Monday 11 January 2010


Mrs Parker (on a winter holiday) was told by her tour operator's representatives no to proceed beyond a red light on a toboggan run. She did and was injured and she sued.  She thought that there ought to have been a member of staff on hand to prevent her from proceeding past the red light.  The Trial Judge (the ever sound and excellent HHJ Simpkiss of Brighton County Court and DCJ for Surrey, Sussex and Kent) dismissed her claim.

As did the Court of Appeal Longmore LJ:

I cannot bring myself to hold that it is the duty of a tour operator dealing with rational adults on a winter holiday to repeat simple warnings already given with clarity or to point out obvious dangers of ice on the road and the relative safety of snow at its side.  So to hold would only encourage potential claimants to believe that whenever an injury occurs someone must be to blame. That is not what the law of negligence is about.

Common sense prevailed again.

Parker v TUI:   
Follow the link
[2009] EWCA Civ 1261

Thursday 7 January 2010


During the Prison Officer stirke of August 2007 a prisoner called Mr Iqbal could not get out of his cell in accordance with the usual prison regime because there were no prison officers.  The Governor ordered the prisoners to be kept in their cells.  Mr Iqbal sued the Prisoner Officers Association (POA) for false imprisonment.  This made no sense to me.  If a person is lawfully in prison, how can he be falsely imprisoned in his cell?  Anyway His Honour Judge Shaun Spencer QC thought he had been falsely imprisoned and awarded him £5 against the POA.
The POA appealed and the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment below on 4th December last year - Iqbal v POA [2009] EWCA Civ 1312.  The Court was worried that if prisoners were not let out of their cells by mistake or inefficiency, the Courts would be overwhelmed with claims:

"The rights of prisoners should certainly be acknowledged: indeed according and respecting rights are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. Further, it can fairly be said that every moment out of his cell is valuable to a prisoner. However, I think that the court should be reluctant to reach a conclusion whose implications could lead to many small private law damages claims arising from what may often be little more than poor time-keeping by prison officers, and whose outcome may often turn on issues such as whether an officer in an undermanned prison could better have organised his working day to ensure that a prisoner was let out of his cell at precisely the time stipulated by the governor."

The MR would have awarded him £120 rather than £5 if he had have been falsely imprisoned.

But at least common sense prevailed in the end.


Today I defeated the snow and ice by using the Thames River Boat service.

It was excellent.  You can wi fi, drink excellent coffee and you get a seat.

Andrew Gilligan agrees (follow llink) and so does The Policy Exchange in a report issued today (Link)

See the time table

Tuesday 5 January 2010


My home Borough, the London Borough of Greenwich is to have Royal Borough status conferred on it in 2012 to mark The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.  It will join Windsor & Maidenhead, Kensington & Chelsea, Kingston upon Thames and The Royal Town of Caernarvon in Wales. 

Sutton Coldfield was made a Royal Town by Henry VIII (for 'forever' his Charter said) but was subsumed into the City of Birmingham.

There will also be a competition for City Status in 2012.  I am hoping that Huddersfield, another place close to my heart will finally cease to be the largest town in England, although technically the City honour would have to go to the made up place of the Metropolitan Borough of Kirklees in which it administratively dwells.   Reading may also be a candidate?

Interestingly Greenwich applied to be made a City (along with Croydon?) in the 2002 Golden Jubilee City Status competition.  The winners were  Preston, Newport, Stirling, Lisburn and Newry in 2002.  

Trivia - Rochester upon Medway in Kent is the only City to ever have lost its City status (in 1998) - perhaps Her Majesty will be pleased to give it back.

The Queen will also promote a Mayor to Lord Mayor and a Scots Provost to Lord Provost in 2012.  In 2002 the Lord Mayor winner was Exeter.  Scotland has not had a new Lord Provost for years.

There is also going to be a 4 day week-end and a new medal.  

This is what Lord M said in the House of Lords this pm;

3.08 pm

The First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Lord President of the Council (Lord Mandelson): My Lords, with your Lordships’ permission, I would like to make a brief and important Statement about the Government’s plans to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Two thousand and twelve will be a landmark year for Her Majesty, Britain and the Commonwealth. Queen Victoria is the only British monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee. However modestly our present Queen might approach this celebration, I know that people across the whole country will want the chance to recognise this remarkable achievement, paying tribute to the Queen and celebrating with great pride and affection Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne. It will also be an opportunity for us as a country to reflect on the incredible changes that have taken place, both here and around the world, over the past six decades. We want this to be a nationwide celebration. Working with colleagues in Buckingham Palace and the devolved Administrations, we are currently planning a series of fitting events to enable communities all over the country to mark the Diamond Jubilee. Although we are still in the early stages of organisation, I can confirm to the House that these celebrations will take place around the first week of June 2012.
In honour of Her Majesty, we will create a special Diamond Jubilee weekend, moving the late May bank holiday to Monday 4 June, and adding an extra bank holiday on Tuesday 5 June. In Scotland, national holidays are a devolved matter and we will work closely with the Scottish Government to help ensure that people across the United Kingdom can celebrate the jubilee together.
In keeping with previous jubilees, we also plan to issue a Diamond Jubilee medal. Over the next few months we will be considering this in more detail, and who should be eligible to receive it. In addition, we will be holding national competitions to be launched later this year for city status, a Lord Mayoralty and Lord Provostship. Further details of these and other government plans for the Diamond Jubilee are available in the Printed Paper Office as well as online, via the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s website (
Finally, I can confirm that the Queen has agreed, as a mark of royal favour, to confer royal borough status on the London Borough of Greenwich. This rare honour is to be bestowed in recognition of the historically close links forged between Greenwich and our royal family, from the Middle Ages to the present day, and the borough’s global significance as the home of the Prime Meridian, Greenwich Mean Time and a UNESCO world heritage site.
Further announcements will follow as our plans for the Diamond Jubilee are confirmed, but I know that voluntary organisations and local communities will benefit from this early indication of the relevant dates. This will be a truly historic occasion and a testament to the hard work and dedication of Her Majesty the Queen to this country and her people. We are committed to ensuring that celebrations take place of which we can all truly be proud.

The Legal Services Board

Just noticed that this leviathan came into being on 1st January 2010

Its mission?

We are the new, independent body responsible for overseeing the regulation of lawyers in England and Wales. Our goal is to reform and modernise the legal services market place by putting the interests of consumers at the heart of the system, reflecting the objectives of the statute that created us, the Legal Services Act 2007.


Some cases of some interest:

[2009] EWHC 3397 (QB)

Good case on circuit judges granting inappropriate without notice orders and how to get them set aside.

                                                                                                                     [2009] EWHC 3329 (Admin)

Allowing appeal 10 months out of time against ASBO?

Plus a new extra High Court Judge

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Guy Richard Newey, Esq., Q.C., to be an additional High Court Judge with effect from 12 January 2010.
The Lord Chief Justice will assign Mr. Newey to the Chancery Division.QC
Notes to Editors
Mr. Newey, 50, was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1982 and took Silk in 2001. He was appointed an Acting Deemster in the Isle of Man in 2003 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge.
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice made a written Ministerial Statement in the House of Commons on 25 November 2009 acceding to the request of the Lord Chief Justice for this additional High Court Judgeship.

Monday 4 January 2010

March on Wooton Bassett

Some people are planning to march on Wootton Bassett. See here

Is there an application under section 13 Public Order Act 1986 pending?

13 Prohibiting public processions

(1)     If at any time the chief officer of police reasonably believes that, because of particular circumstances existing in any district or part of a district, the powers under section 12 will not be sufficient to prevent the holding of public processions in that district or part from resulting in serious public disorder, he shall apply to the council of the district for an order prohibiting for such period not exceeding 3 months as may be specified in the application the holding of all public processions (or of any class of public procession so specified) in the district or part concerned.
(2)     On receiving such an application, a council may with the consent of the Secretary of State make an order either in the terms of the application or with such modifications as may be approved by the Secretary of State.


The Times today (5/1/10) carries an answer to my question:

Wiltshire police said it had received no request from al-Muhajiroun, or its alternative name Islam4UK, to hold a march in Wootton Bassett.

A police spokesman said any proposed demonstration had to comply with public order legislation.

He added: "The Public Order Act states that the organiser must inform the police of the date, time and route of the proposed procession, together with the name and address of the organiser.

"If the march or procession is believed to be likely to result in serious disorder, disruption or damage, then the police can impose conditions upon the organiser.

"In exceptional circumstances, the police may apply to the local authority for an order prohibiting such a march."