Saturday, 25 June 2016

We cannot leave the EU - SIGN THIS PETITION (PLEASE) NOW!





Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Trouble in the Colonies...yes really, in 2016...

If you had forgotten that we had colonies and did not know that they were a dangerously dysfunctional check out this report by Sasha Wass QC re St Helena, our colony in the middle of the Atlantic.  Imagine if somebody wrote such a damning report about a community in mainland UK which has a population of 4,000.....Unsurprisingly this report came out on 10th December and a new Governor was announced on 20 January

The report is here but here is a taster...

” b. The administration of the St Helena Government and that of its departments have failed to establish management practices, procedures and guidelines to ensure safeguarding routines. c. There is a lack of continuity when managers are replaced. There is a failure of overlap on handovers or a failure to create best practice manuals to ensure that incomers learn from past experience and benefit from prior reports. d. Some of those responsible for directorial oversight were found to be inexperienced and ignorant of best practice. This has resulted in their inability to question front-line professional staff and hold them to account. e. The existence of previous reports and recommendations ought to provide a touchstone for newly arriving staff; instead, new recruits appear to be unaware of them. Consequently, lessons need to be relearned at regular intervals through the intervention of yet more costly investigations, studies, reports and inquiries. 14 The Wass Inquiry Report f. We saw one example of employment gaps in Social Services whereby the only qualified social worker on St Helena left her post in May 2012 and it was not until June 2012 that the St Helena Government even started advertising for qualified social workers to work on the island. Claire Gannon was appointed to take up the post in early 2013. St Helena Social Services had been without a qualified social worker on the island for a period of nine months. Claire Gannon was presented with a chaotic and unmanned Social Services Department on her arrival on St Helena. Her lack of recent experience in front-line social work meant that she found herself completely out of her depth. Although this cannot excuse the unprofessional behaviour she went on to exhibit, it should be recognised that Claire Gannon was not properly briefed for the task that confronted her when she arrived on St Helena in February 2013. 1.49 In addition to the systemic failings, the Inquiry did find that, during the current incumbent’s tenure, Governor Capes’ attention was specifically drawn to matters which required urgent consideration by an email from Viv Neary, the Child Protection Coordinator for British Overseas Territories, in March 2012. These included the lack of a formal arrangement for fostering children on the island; and the fact that the only qualified social worker was due to leave in May 2012 with no replacement ready to take over. 1.50 Neither of those two matters was resolved by the Governor, and his failure to heed the warnings given to him directly impacted on the complications that arose during the Child F adoption case in late 2013 and early 2014. The full facts of that case are addressed in Chapter 8. 1.51 The Inquiry Panel was disappointed to learn that one of the legitimate complaints made by former Police Constable Anderson in his letter of November 2012 remained unresolved at the time of the Inquiry Panel’s visit to St Helena in March 2015. Mr Anderson specifically complained about a case in which a sex offender had been convicted on Ascension Island and sentenced to a community order by the Ascension Island Magistrates’ Court. The man in question was deported to St Helena, where he breached the community order. He was brought before the same Chief Magistrate who had sentenced him and who was now presiding over the St Helena Magistrates’ Court. The legal position was that the St Helena Magistrates’ Court had no power to deal with the breach of a community order which had been imposed by the Ascension Island Magistrates’ Court. In giving his judgment in October 2012, the Chief Magistrate made it plain that this matter required urgent action and that the passing of an Ordinance would resolve the matter quickly. Despite the fact that former Police Constable Anderson had specifically drawn attention to this legal anomaly, the St Helena Government had failed to deal with it by March 2015, when the Inquiry Panel visited the island. We can find no excuse for this oversight.

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.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

High Court retirements and appointments...

Parker J retires

Sir Kenneth Parker (70) was called to the Bar (G) in 1975, took Silk in 1992 and elected as a Bencher in 2002. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1999 and a Recorder in 2000. He was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Information Tribunal and National Security Appeals Tribunal in 2001 (now known as Deputy Judge of the Upper Tribunal (Administrative Appeals Chamber) and Judge of the First Tier Tribunal (General Regulatory Chamber)). He was appointed a Recorder in 2005. He was appointed a Law Commissioner and approved to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2006. He was appointed a Judge of the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) in 2009 and a Judge by Request (Upper Tribunal (Immigration Appeals Chamber)) in 2010.

Tony's bro (the one who went to Balliol) takes over the Commercial Court from Flaux J

Mr Justice (William James Lynton) Blair (65) was appointed as a Recorder in 1998, a Legal Chairman to the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal in 2001, a Chairman to the Pensions Regulator Tribunal in 2005 and became a High Court Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division in February 2008. He was then appointed as a Tribunal Judge in the Upper Tribunal Tax and Chancery in 2009 and First Tier Tax Chamber in 2010.

& David Richards LJ gets replaced by a QC from 4 New Square:
The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Michael Alexander Soole Esq QC, to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 26 November 2015 on the elevation of Lord Justice (David) Richards to the Court of Appeal.
The Lord Chief Justice will assign Mr Soole to the Queen’s Bench Division.
Mr Soole, 61, was called to the Bar (I) in 1977 and took Silk in 2002. He was appointed as an Assistant Recorder in 1999 and as a Recorder in 2000, and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge.  Former TECHBAR Chair, with any luck he'll get to sit in the TCC.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Jan Luba QC goes to the bench.....

This will strike fear into the landlords and local authorities of the bailiwicks of the County Court sitting at Central London and Mayor's and City....although my own experiences of him as a Recorder show him to be remarkably balanced....he was one of the few Recorders who could sit in the EAT because he did not undertake any work before it, although he did add some interesting cases to its repertoire. Perhaps he will sit there again when not busy clearing the housing lists.....
Most recently Chamber UK 2016 said:
"The leading silk for tenant-side work. He has had a long and successful career at the cutting edge of housing law developments.” It is said that he is “At the top of his game – there’s nothing that can be said about him that hasn’t already been said.”
The Queen has appointed Jan Luba QC to be a Circuit Judge on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, the Right Honourable Michael Gove MP, and the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, the Right Honourable The Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd.

The Lord Chief Justice has deployed him to the South Eastern Circuit, based at Central London and Mayor’s & City of London County Courts with effect from 21 December 2015.
Jan Luba, aged 58, will be known as His Honour Judge Luba QC. He was called to Bar (M) in 1980 and took Silk in 2000. He was appointed as a Recorder in 2000.

I wonder if he will stop co-writing "Defending Possession Proceedings" unlike his previous co-author, now HHJ Madge?