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.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

New Legal Year Excitement

The usual processing to the Abbey and Breakfasting thereafter (doesn't Gove LC look lovely):

They had an Orthodox service in Melbourne earlier this year...ought to try that at home...

Apart from the usual excitement, look out for the Brand New Financial List in the Rolls Building, which is supported by a new Part 63A CPR and is going to be run by a partnership of the Commercial Court and the Chan D.  Also check out PD 51M which will allow this new judicial beast to hear claims without a cause of action, so called friendly actions:

2.1 The Financial Markets Test Case Scheme applies to a claim started in the Financial List which raises issues of general importance to the financial markets in relation to which immediately relevant authoritative English law guidance is needed (“a qualifying claim”).

2.2 In such cases the Financial Markets Test Case Scheme enables the qualifying claim to be determined without the need for a present cause of action between the parties to the proceedings.

Proceedings in the Financial Markets Test Case Scheme

2.3 Where there is a qualifying claim a person who is or was actively in business in the relevant market may, by mutual agreement, issue proceedings against another person who is or was actively in business in the relevant market provided that other person has opposing interests as to how the law of England and Wales issue(s) raised by the qualifying claim should be resolved.

THERE is another beast introduced into the wilds this month - "The County Court Legal Adviser"  - Barristers or Solicitors who will be able to do all sorts of judicial things at the County Court Business Centre and the County Court Claims Centre - like extending time for service of the Claim Form within the limitation period, permitting amendments to the POC before the Defence is in or stay proceedings by consent....if you don't like their orders you can ask the DJ to take another look.  Speaking of which I always like it when a DJ dresses up:

ALSO, there are some new Criminal Procedural Rules and a general revolution in criminal case management...about which I blissfully know nothing at all....

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


In a previous post I lamented the retirement of Swift J - she is to be replaced as follows:

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Peter Donald Fraser Esq QC to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 1 October 2015 on the retirement of Mrs Justice Swift.
Mr Fraser, 52, was called to the Bar (M) in 1989 and took Silk in 2009. He was appointed a Recorder in 2002 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge. He is a construction expert from Atkin Chambers who I expect will find his way eventually to the TCC/Commercial Court

Meantime Simon J also gets a replacement:

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Mrs Philippa Jane Edwards Whipple QC to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 1 October 2015 on the elevation of Mr Justice Simon.

Mrs Whipple, 49, was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple in 1994 and took Silk in 2010. She was appointed a Recorder in 2005 and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge. She is public/tax/health law specialist from 1 COR who will probably end up in the Admin Court.  She was leading counsel to the Gibson Detainee Inquiry.  She also came a cropper when she tried to appear in the Court of Session without advocacy rights.....

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Longest to reign over us

God save our gracious Queen! 
Long live our noble Queen! 
God save the Queen! 

Send her victorious, 
Happy and glorious, 
Long to reign over us, 
God save the Queen.

Thy choicest gifts in store 
On her be pleased to pour, 
Long may she reign. 

May she defend our laws, 
And ever give us cause, 
To sing with heart and voice, 
God save the Queen.

The runners and riders:

FromTodaysyears, days
1Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom6 February 1952Present23,22663 years, 215 days
2Victoria of the United Kingdom20 June 183722 January 190123,22663 years, 216 days
3George III of the United Kingdom25 October 176029 January 182021,64459 years, 96 days
4James VI of Scotland24 July 156727 March 162521,06657 years, 246 days
5Henry III of England and Lord of Ireland18 October 121616 November 127220,48356 years, 29 days
6Edward III of England and Lord of Ireland25 January 132721 June 137718,41050 years, 147 days
7William I of Scotland9 December 11654 December 121417,89248 years, 360 days
8Elizabeth I of England and Ireland17 November 155824 March 160316,19844 years, 127 days
9Llywelyn of Gwynedd1 January 119511 April 1240>16,17244–45 years (approximately)
10David II of Scotland7 June 132922 February 137115,23541 years, 260 days

Sunday, 23 August 2015


Presumably to replace the much vaunted Judge Waksman who has gone South to act as the London Mercantile Judge (replacing Judge Mackie) and hearing those London commercial cases which fall short in value and importance of the Commercial Court's purview, comes a former Partner of Linklaters no less (yes, a female solicitor -  that'll be noticed by the locals around King/St John's Streets) - already she has been exercising her skills as a Dep High Ct Judge (and will no doubt remain a section 9 Judge in Manchester) and as a Recorder ( ).  She is ex Cheltenham Ladies, and Clare College Cambridge, was an articled clerk at Linklaters in 1982, and became a partner in 1991, and then after a stint in house at Vodafone, again returned to the Linklaters' partnership in 2002.  She is a capital market expert and now has to get to grips with the mercantile case load of the North West:

The Queen has appointed Jane Clare Moulder to be a Specialist Mercantile 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 her to the Northern Circuit, based at Manchester Civil Justice Centre with effect from 18 September 2015.
Notes to editors
Jane Clare Moulder, aged 55, will be known as Her Honour Judge Moulder. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1984. She was appointed as a Recorder in 2010.

Monday, 3 August 2015



To preside over the Presidents of the Chambers of the UT and FTT, Ryder LJ to replace Sullivan LJ who is retiring.  He's a TD, DL of Greater Manchester, Chancellor of Bolton University and formerly of the Fam D.


The following will be swapping red for gold (tabs) in the near future:

Mr Justice Hamblen

Mr Justice Hamblen was called to the Bar, Lincoln’s Inn, 1981 and practised at the Commercial Bar from 1982 to 2008. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1997. He was appointed Assistant Recorder in 1999–2000; Recorder, 2000–08. A Judge of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, since 2008 and designated as a Judge of the Commercial Court.

Mr Justice Lindblom

Mr Justice Lindblom was called to the Bar of England and Wales at Gray’s Inn in 1980. He was called to the Bar of Northern Ireland in 2002. He was admitted to the Hong Kong Bar in 2000 and 2008, and to the Bar of the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2006. He became a Bencher of Gray’s Inn in 2003. He practised as a barrister from 1981 to 2010, was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996, became a Recorder in 2001 and was authorised to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge in 2009. He has been a Judge of the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, since October 2010, President of the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) since 2013, and Planning Liaison Judge (the lead judge of the Planning Court) since 2014.  Will be interesting to see who will take over the Lands Chamber and the Planning Court?

Mr Justice (David) Richards
(with the High Sherriff of Shropshire, wife of Charles Flint QC)

Mr Justice (David) Richards was called to the Bar, Inner Temple, 1974. Bencher, Lincoln’s Inn, in 2000. Junior Counsel (Chancery), DTI, 1989–92. He became Queen’s Counsel 1992. Contrib 2000–, Joint General Editor 2009–, Buckley on the Companies Acts. A Judge of the High Court, Chancery Division, since 2003. Vice Chancellor, County Palatine of Lancaster, 2008–11.

Mr Justice Simon

Mr Justice Simon was called to the Bar, Middle Temple, 1973. Bencher in 1999. He became Queen’s Counsel in 1991. A Recorder in 1998–2002. A Deputy High Court Judge in 1999–2002. A Judge of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division, since 2002; Presiding Judge, North Eastern Circuit, 2006–08.  
He is son of Lord SImon of Glaisdale, who I don't think sat in the C of A, because he was President of the Old Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Division, after being an MP and Solicitor General.  He entered the H of L as a Life Peer, but was entitled to sit in the Appellate Committee.
And they have started replacing them already:

The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of Henry James Carr Esq QC, to be a Justice of the High Court with effect from 1 October 2015.
The Lord Chief Justice will assign Mr Carr to the Chancery Division.
Mr Carr, 57, was called to the Bar (G) in 1982, and took Silk in 1998. He was appointed as a Deputy Chairman of the Copyright Tribunal in 2007, and is approved to sit as a deputy High Court Judge.  He is a specialist IP practitioner from 11 South Square.

& most regretfully, Swift J has retired early, I would have look forward to seeing her rise to the highest judicial offices:
Dame Caroline Swift DBE (60) was called to the Bar (I) in 1977, elected as a Bencher in 1997 and took silk in 1993. She was appointed an Assistant Recorder in 1992, a Recorder in 1995, a deputy High Court Judge (Queen’s Bench and Chancery Divisions) in 2000 and was Leading Counsel to the Shipman Inquiry from 2001 to 2005. She was appointed a Judge of the High Court, Queen’s Bench Division in 2005 and was a Member of the Judicial College Senior Judiciary Planning Group from 2010 to 2014.

Sunday, 26 July 2015


Gove and the Govt are thinking about putting Court and Tribunal fees up again.  Indeed they are thinking of introducing fees where currently there are none:

For example:

  • The general fee cap of £10,000, rising to £20,000 (but not for PI)
  • A general 10% uplift on civil fees all round.
  • Civil possession claim from £280 to £355.  As most of those are brought by local authorities and social housing providers, the flow of cash would be a little circular.
  • General Part 23 Applications - from £50 to £100 if without notice and from £155 to £255 otherwise.
  • Divorce is going up from £410 to £750; why not profit from those going through one of the worst periods of their life.
  • Want to appeal to the C of A, was £235, went up to £480, in future - £528??
  • Want a hearing in the Immigration Chamber of the FTT?  £280 up from £140.
  • Want to challenge your landlord in the Leasehold bit of the FTT?  £2,000 for hearing, currently nil!
  • Want to challenge an FOI refusal from HMG in the FTT - currently free, in future £500!
  • Don't like a HMRC decision, want to appeal to the Tax Chamber of the FTT -  all currently free - fees to be introduced, up to £1000?
Thinking that all of that is a bit of a step too far....

Respond to the consultation here -