Saturday 23 January 2016

All Change Please! All Change!

Lord Justice Briggs has published a very interesting report: "Civil Court Structure Review - Interim Report"

It is full of alarming ideas:

1. Banning lawyers from claims worth less than £25k by creating an Online Court (the OC) to which all shall have easy access.

2. Banning judges from routine judicial work - transferred to the civil equivalent of Justices' Clerks - the Case Officer.

3. Banning of regional cases from London - keep them all in the regions with more civil only local judiciary (DJs and CJs) i.e. stop them being sucked into crime and family.

4.Banning medium value civil claims from the High Court - so High Court judges can go and sit in the Court of Appeal (which could be reduced to just the one LJ per Court like the Crim Div)  The report mentions Senior CJs sitting in the C of A Civ Div - steady on a minute!!

5.Banning the QBD from the Rolls Building. so that the TCC, Commercial Court and Chan D roll into one combined business list?

6. Banning oral renewals of refused permission to appeal paper applications - they are just too expensive!

7. Banning county court multi track final decision appeals to the Court of Appeal - first stop the High Court with the second appeals test protecting the C of A from County Court riff raff appeals.  Bloody good idea this - see the recent decision of PI cases and CRU produced by a C of A composed entirely of former practitioners who could put what they know about PI and CRU on a very small sized postage stamp...quite expensive process of appealing to Supreme Court to put that house back together....

8. Banning the Employment Tribunal and EAT - lump it into the County Court whilst moving some of the housing jurisdiction of the County Court into the Property Chamber of the FTT (now that is a good idea).

Basically, shifting the deckchairs around on the deck of civil justice until someone provides some cash for some new judges, some new courts and some new IT.  All in the finest make do and mend traditions of the justice system....

Went to a Mags Court last week - sweet Jesus - now that is a system on its absolute knees - absolute chaos all round.

In other news there is a new crop of Deputy High Court Judges (e.g. here) and a new President of the EAT: Simler J, with Holgate J off to preside over the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal (what we used to call the Lands Tribunal!)  Simler P better enjoy herself whilst it lasts - until the EAT is abolished....

Tuesday 12 January 2016

Happy New Year

& congratulations to the 99 new Crime and Family Recorders appointed before Christmas  and to the 107 new QCs announced yesterday.  Corks popping left, right and centre.

Also congrats to the 8 new Honorary Silks - including Joshua Rosenberg, the long serving and distinguished journalist and Adrian Briggs, who's books always get through the odd private international law nightmare which I face from time to time:

Professor Robert Blackburn is a solicitor and professor of Constitutional Law at King’s College London. He has been recommended for his constitutional law work and in particular for his report on how a written constitution might work. He is the author of several key academic works and numerous articles, having written extensively on areas of constitutional law, including authoritative works on Parliament, the Monarchy, the electoral system, Crown proceedings and constitutional reform. His works include contributing four titles to Halsbury’s Laws of England. He has on numerous occasions been called to provide written and oral evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees and public inquiries on matters related to electoral and constitutional reform.
Professor Adrian Briggs is a legal academic and barrister. His nomination focuses on his book on private international law which is relied upon by the courts. He has been a full-time member of the academic staff of the Faculty of Law of the University of Oxford, and a Tutorial Fellow of St Edmund Hall, since 1980; and a non-resident member of Blackstone Chambers since 1990. He is an expert in private international law, in particular on the law of jurisdiction and foreign judgments. He is an author or editor of several significant publications, the one most frequently cited being Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments, now in its 6th edition. His Private International Law in English Courts, published in 2015, seeks to restate the subject in line with its increasingly European infrastructure and details; and Agreements on Jurisdiction and Choice of Law will be published in its second edition in the coming year. He has given advice to bodies charged with law reform, and with the scrutiny of proposed new laws, when and whenever invited to do so. He has also given evidence on English private international law to courts in several jurisdictions overseas.
Professor Sara Chandler is a solicitor specialising in landlord and tenant law and is also Visiting Professor in Clinical Legal Education at London South Bank University. She has been recommended for her work on pro bono and human rights. Professor Chandler has been instrumental in developing the concept of a clinical legal education, such that students give pro-bono advice to the public, under the guidance of qualified lawyers. In her career she has worked at a number of Law Centres and has made a major contribution to the voluntary sector through the Law Centres Federation and Network, where she was an Executive Committee member for a number of years from 1999. She has represented solicitors in the voluntary sector since 2002 on the Council of the Law Society of England & Wales. As a result she is a trustee of four legal charities, including the Access to Justice Foundation. She has also made a major contribution in the field of human rights and was the winner of the LUKAS Human Rights Worker of the Year Award in May 2014. She is the author of numerous articles and conference papers. She has held a variety of positions in boards and committees of the Law Society from 1992 to the present date.
Professor Jonathan Harris is a barrister at Serle Court chambers and is Professor of International Commercial Law at King’s College, London. He also holds a door tenancy at St Philips chambers. He was called to the Bar (Lincoln’s Inn) in 2006. He has been recommended for his work on private international law and in particular for having written the law in several jurisdictions on firewall trusts. He is joint general editor of Dicey, Morris and Collins, The Conflict of Laws and is also responsible for eleven chapters of the book. He is the author of a widely cited book on the Hague Trusts Convention and of a co-authored work on International Sale of Goods and the Conflict of Laws. He has also contributed to various major works and written numerous influential articles. He is the co-founder of the Journal of Private International Law and of the Studies in Private International Law book series. He is a member of the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law and has actively contributed to the Committee’s work. He has advised the Ministry of Justice on many occasions and, in particular, in negotiations on EU initiatives in the field of cross-border succession and wills.
Anne-Marie Hutchinson OBE is a solicitor who specialises in international children’s cases. She was nominated particularly because of her efforts to get countries to sign up to the Hague Convention. She was awarded the inaugural UNICEF Child Rights Lawyer award in 1999 and an OBE for her services to international child abduction and adoption in the 2002 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List. In 2004 she was selected as Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year for her work with the victims of forced marriage and in 2010, she received the International Bar Association’s Outstanding International Woman Lawyer Award. She has been involved in many of the most important court cases in her field of expertise. She is involved (amongst many areas) in work promoting the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. She has recently provided advice to lawyers and government officials in Japan in advance of Japan implementing the 1980 Hague Convention. She has also been active bringing to the attention of many other governments around the world other important issues related to the field of children law. She also speaks regularly on issues concerning international family law. In the last year she has delivered talks to a number of agencies and/or conferences, including to the Prime Minister’s UK Government Girl Summit, held in London.
Joshua Rozenberg is a non-practising solicitor. He has been recommended for his work as the pre-eminent legal analyst of modern times. He is an honorary bencher of Gray’s Inn, best known as a leading legal journalist and commentator. After taking a degree in law, he became the BBC’s first legal correspondent. He then joined the Daily Telegraph and is now a freelance writer and broadcaster, contributing to a range of outlets. He presents Law in Action on Radio 4 and his work includes four published books.
Professor Ian Scott qualified as a solicitor and a barrister in Victoria, Australia, but moved to the UK in the 1960s and joined the academic staff of the Faculty of Law at the University of Birmingham. He has been recommended particularly for his work editing the Civil Procedure Rules. Throughout his career he has maintained an interest in civil procedure and judicial administration, and has contributed significantly to the English and Welsh legal system through writing, lecturing and Government committee work. Over the last 25 years Professor Scott has contributed greatly to the reform and development of Civil Procedure in England and Wales. He was first editor of the Civil Justice Quarterly (from 1979 to 2006), and in 2007 became General Editor of the White Book, having been a member of the editorial team since 1989. For 25 years he wrote and edited Supreme Court Practice News and more recently Civil Procedure News, compiling at least ten issues every year.
Professor Clive Walker has made a major contribution to the UK law on terrorism over many years and has been regarded as an international expert in this field since the 1980s. He has been recommended for his work as an adviser to the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and for his contribution to the UK law on terrorism. He has written several authoritative books and articles on counter terrorism legislation and has researched this area extensively. He advised Lord Carlile QC when he was Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation and also assists the current holder of this role, David Anderson QC. Professor Walker’s work was important in the introduction of TPIMs (Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures). He has also regularly assisted professionals involved in counter terrorism work.