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?

Friday, 6 November 2015


From January 2016, Mr Justice Cranston will succeed Mr Justice Ouseley as Judge in Charge of the Administrative Court.Cranston was once Solicitor-General under Blair and now he is in charge of holding HMG to account.  He has some big shoes to fill following the awesome Ouseley J.
From January 2016, Mr Justice Coulson will assume responsibility as the Administrative Court Liaison Judge for the Western and Midland Circuits. Slightly suprising as a TCC/construction specliaist....
From January 2016, Mr Justice Lewis will assume responsibility as the Administrative Court Liaison Judge for Wales. Not at all surprising that this former public law specialist and former Standing Counsel to the NAW gets this job....
From November 2015, Mrs Justice Patterson will succeed Lord Justice Lindblom as Planning Liaison Judge.  This is also to be expected given My Lady's experience and previous professional life....


Lord Justice Aikens retires as Lord Justice of Appeal with effect from 2 November 2015
Sir Richard John Pearson Aikens (67) was called to the Bar (M) in 1973, took Silk in 1986 and elected a Bencher in 1994. He was Junior Counsel to the Crown, Common Law, from 1981 to 1986, a Member of the Supreme Court Rules Committee from 1984 to 1988, appointed a Recorder in 1993, a deputy Judge of the High Court (Queen’s Bench and Chancery Division) in 1998 and a Judge of the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division) in 1999. He was appointed Presiding Judge for the South East Circuit from 2001 to 2004, Judge in charge of the Commercial Court from 2005 to 2006 and a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2008, when he was sworn as a Privy Councillor.
The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Neil Stephen Garnham Esq QC to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 3 November 2015 on the elevation of Mr. Justice Lindblom to the Court of Appeal.
This is expected given his track record at public inquiries and high profile inquests.....,
The Lord Chief Justice will assign Mr Garnham to the Queen’s Bench Division
Mr Garnham, 56, was called to the Bar (M) in 1982 and took Silk in 2001. He was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1999, as a Recorder in 2000 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge.
Mr Justice Lindblom was called to the Bar (G) in 1980 and took Silk in 1996. He was appointed a Recorder in 2001 and a judge of the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court in 2010.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Rational Federal Constitution for the United Kingdom or a fathomless hokey cokey: EVEL

How to solve the West Lothian question?

Well now we have the answer:

Under the new procedures the Commons Speaker will be required to ‘certify’ bills, or clauses within them, that meet two criteria: first, they relate only to England (or England and Wales); and second, comparable policy decisions are devolved elsewhere in the UK. On such legislation, MPs representing English (or English and Welsh) constituencies will have the opportunity to give their ‘consent’ to the provisions, through two new mechanisms: first, a Legislative Grand Committee of English (or English and Welsh) MPs will vote on a ‘consent motion’ prior to the bill’s third reading; and second, a ‘double-majority’ voting system will apply when MPs consider Lords amendments (which will also apply on secondary legislation). The effect of these reforms is a ‘double veto’: to pass, certified legislation will require the support both of UK-wide MPs and those representing English (and/or English and Welsh) constituencies. Detailed discussion of the government’s original proposals can be found here. These changes will come into effect immediately, and will affect the passage of a number of bills, even though there is no immediate threat of a ‘West Lothian’ situation in the House of Commons.

I don't quite follow the double veto system.  If you are following the logic, then surely Scots and NI MPs just shouldn't vote on these English/Welsh Bills/motions at all.  No wait, its not an English/Welsh Parliament is it, it is the UK Parliament and it can't pass laws unless a majority of English, Welsh, Scots, and NI MPs have voted in favour of the measure?  Hence the double in the double veto......clear?  As mud?

Come on let's have a constitutional convention to sort it all out?

Friday, 23 October 2015


A female Circuit Judge from Wood Green Crown Court (HHJ Mary May QC) becomes May J to replace the much missed Akenhead J in the QBD.
and Senior Treasury Counsel at the Old Bailey and first ever female Asian occupant of the High Court bench (Bobbie Cheema- Grubb QC of 2 Hare Court) becomes Cheema-Grubb J to replace Kenneth Parker J in the QBD.  Both much needed criminal input to the High Court Bench.

Northern Ireland have also broken their own mould with their first ever female High Court Judges: McBride and Keegan JJ:

Monday, 12 October 2015

A Constitution?

The Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee have issued a draft Constitution .
Not a bad piece of work although the preamble leaves me a bit cold......what do you think?

United, we stand in celebration of the diverse voices that make up the great chorus of our nation. Confident in our individuality, and steadfast in our shared values and common purpose, we—the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—have come together in the spirit of self-determination in order to establish the principles of our law and governance.
 By this act, we create for ourselves a sovereign state, animated by many spirits, accountable to all. Conscious of the responsibility that we bear to future generations—and of their role in defending and regenerating this Constitution—we lay down maxims crafted to promote civic harmony, mutual tolerance, universal wellbeing, and social and political freedom.
 We embody these ideas in democratic government, and enshrine them in a system of law. And we empower each citizen to reform this design, by democratic process and political debate. By popular mandate, we establish this Constitution:
 To recognise every citizen as an equal partner in government—at a local, regional, and national level.
 To affirm that each citizen is entitled to fair and equitable treatment under the law.
 To establish the principle of equality of opportunity for all citizens.
 To eradicate poverty and want throughout the nation.
 To protect and cultivate community identities within the four great countries of the union: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
 To preserve our common environment, and to hold it in trust for future generations.
 To safeguard freedom of thought, conscience, and assembly; and to facilitate peaceable dissent.
 And to protect these fundamental rights against the encroachment of tyranny and the abdication of reason.
 Through this undertaking, we remind one another of the benefits and duties of citizenship enshrined in membership of the United Kingdom, challenging ourselves to enact these principles throughout society.
 Let our example stand as an inspiration to the peoples of the world, and to their rulers and their governments.
 Let our principles animate our dedication to peace and justice in international affairs.
 And let our united resolve grow ever-stronger under the enlightened auspices of this Constitution.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy.[55]
Possible alternative:
The United Kingdom shall be a democracy where the people are sovereign.
There shall be a separation of powers guaranteeing an independent and elected executive and legislature, and an independent and impartial judiciary.
The United Kingdom shall operate as a Union of nations with power devolved to the lowest appropriate level.
The United Kingdom constitution is composed of the laws and rules that create the institutions of the state, regulate the relationships between those institutions, or regulate the relationship between the state and the individual.
These laws and rules are not codified in a single, written document.
Constitutional laws and rules have no special legal status.
Possible alternative:
The Constitution of the United Kingdom shall be the basic law according to which the United Kingdom shall be governed. The Constitution shall have the highest legal status and all other laws and rules must be consistent with it.