Tuesday 18 November 2014

David Holgate QC appointed High Court Judge...Goldring LJ retires but will carry on hearing Hillsborough Inquest

Joint Head of Landmark Chambers and oft sitting Deputy High Court Judge, David Holgate QC has been helped into the red judicial dressing gown....as they used to say.  He is to replace Ramsey J, although I would suspect not in the TCC, but in the Admin or Planning Court where he is more at home, although you never know......

Taking off the black and gold space suit is Goldring LJ who has retired from the C of A but not from being Assistant Coroner for South Yorkshire (East) and West Yorkshire (West) for the purposes of the Hillsborough Inquest

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of David John Holgate Esq QC to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 1 December 2014 on the retirement of Mr Justice Ramsey.
The Lord Chief Justice will assign Mr Holgate to the Queen’s Bench Division.
Notes for editors
Mr Holgate, 58, was called to the Bar (M) in 1978 and took Silk in 1997. He was appointed a Recorder in 2002 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge.
Mr Justice Ramsey was called to the Bar (M) in 1979 and took Silk in 1992. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1998, a Recorder in 2000 and a judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in 2005.
Lord Justice Goldring retires as Lord Justice of Appeal with effect from 10 November 2014. His appointment as Assistant Coroner for South Yorkshire (East) and West Yorkshire (West) will continue until the completion of the inquests into those who died as a result of the Hillsborough disaster.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Lord Sumption gets into his groove....

The Home Sec, with Foreign Off advice, keeps excluding a leader of the Iranian Opposition (Mrs Maryam Rajavi) living in France, from our shores, on the Royal Prerogative grounds of her presence not being conducive to the public good.  Some peers wanted to meet her in the UK and thus engaged their freedom of expression rights under art 10 ECHR by way of a JR of the decision to exclude: Which brought into question the old question of when Judges should question the Executive's superior and more constitutionally appropriate opinion on what is and what is not conducive to the public good,although with a new twist re how the old law applies when convention rights are engaged......

In direct contrast to Lord Kerr for the minority (of one), Lord Sumption encapsulates the traditional and in my view, correct if not only possible (if the current constitutional peace is to be kept and respected) response to such issues.

Neuberger P and Hale and Clarke JJSC follow him in the result, although Hale and Clarke in particularly make it clear that they morally support Kerr but feel forced on the law to follow Neuberger and Sumption.

This is just a flavour of an exceptionally sharp and well crafted judgment:

This gives rise to what is surely the central issue on this appeal. How is the court to determine where the balance lies if (i) it has no means of independently assessing the seriousness of the risks or the gravity of the consequences were they to materialise, and (ii) the Secretary of State is not shown to have committed any error of principle in her own assessment of them. For that is indeed the position in which the court finds itself. We are not in point of law bound to accept the factual assessment of the Foreign Office about the impact on our relations with Iran of admitting Mrs Rajavi to the United Kingdom. But if we reject it we must have a proper basis for doing so. In this case, there is none. There is no challenge to the primary facts. We have absolutely no evidential basis and no expertise with which to substitute our assessment of the risks to national security, public safety and the rights of others for that of the Foreign Office. We have only the material and the expertise to assess whether the Home Secretary has set about her task rationally, by reference to relevant matters and on the correct legal principle. Beyond that, in a case like this one, we would be substituting our own decision for that of the constitutional decision-maker without any proper ground for rejecting what she had done. All the recent jurisprudence of this court has rejected that as an inappropriate exercise for a court of review, even where Convention rights are engaged. Yet that appears to be where Lord Kerr’s analysis leads. “We do not ask whether the Secretary of State’s view is tenable”, he says (para 158), “but whether it is right.” Notwithstanding the respect which in earlier parts of his judgment Lord Kerr has acknowledged is due to the executive’s assessment of questions of
national security, this is in fact nothing less than a transfer to the courts of the constitutional function of the Home Secretary, in circumstances where the court is wholly incapable of performing it.