25/02/15 High Court holds Lord Chancellors Guidance on Funding for Inquests to be unlawful
Joanna Letts sought legal aid to be represented at an inquest into her brother’s death, who committed suicide following his discharge from a psychiatric hospital. Joanna was refused legal aid and challenged that decision, together with the lawfulness of the Lord Chancellor’s Guidance on funding representation at inquests. The Legal Aid Agency conceded the claim, but the Lord Chancellor defended it. Green J held that the Lord Chancellor’s Guidance was unlawful because it permitted and encouraged unlawful decision-making by the Legal Aid Agency. The flaw was that the Guidance stated that an Article 2 investigation is only required if it is shown with evidence to be arguable that the state breached one of its substantive duties under Article 2; the Guidance failed to recognise that there were categories of case in which an Article 2 investigation was automatically required, irrespective of evidence of state breach. Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Chris Buttler were involved in this case. For coverage from the Guardian please click here.
25/02/15 Nominations for the 2015 Legal Aid Practitioners Group Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards open today
The Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards are into their 13th year and are organised on a not-for-profit basis by the Legal Aid Practitioner Group (LAPG). The nominations for the awards are now open and will close on 27 April. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on 1 July 2015. There are 12 awards in total and the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award is being sponsored by Matrix Legal Aid Link. For further information about LAPG please click here. For the nomination form please click here.
25/02/15 Water and sewerage companies are required to provide environmental information to the public (which they have previously refused
Fish Legal, the legal arm of the Angling Trust had asked United Utilities Water plc and Yorkshire Water Services Ltd for information relating to discharges, clean-up operations and emergency overflow from their sewage works. The companies denied that they were under a duty to provide the information under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (SI No 3391) on the basis that they are not ‘public authorities’ within the meaning of the Regulations and the Directive they implement. Following a reference to the CJEU. the Upper Tribunal has found that the companies are public authorities because they have ‘special powers’ (including in accessing private land without consent and in promoting bye-laws which create criminal offences). David Wolfe QC was involved in this case.
24/02/15 Fifteen members of Matrix appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's new Panel of Preferred Counsel
Congratulations to fifteen members of Matrix that have been appointed to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s new Panel of Preferred Counsel. Their appointments will commence on 2 March 2015 and will last four years. For a full list of all the Matrix members appointed please click the link below. Find out more.
19/02/15 Government admits that regime for handling legally privileged communications is illegal
The Government has admitted that the intelligence agencies’ regime for handling legally privileged communications is illegal. Find out more.
18/02/15 Julian Knowles QC to speak at Global Law Summit
Julian Knowles QC has been invited to take part in a distinguished panel on 24th February at the Global Law Summit. The panel, including Sir Scott Baker and Clive Nicholls QC, will discuss a range of issues relating to extradition law. The Global Law Summit will bring over 2,000 delegates from law firms, governments, and business, as well as in-house General Counsel and legal academics from around the world to discuss and debate a range of legal issues over three days. Julian is one of the UK’s leading international criminal lawyers and is the co-author of the leading work in the field.
17/02/15 Police responsible for breach of ECHR, Article 5
The Court of Appeal found that there was an arguable case that the police were responsible for a breach of Article 5 of the ECHR as it was arguable that they were responsible for the failure of the court to conduct proceedings with “special diligence” when dealing with an accused person held in custody awaiting trial, as required by ECHR jurisprudence. Find out more.
16/02/15 Anthony Hudson and Professor Zachary Douglas appointed as Queen's Counsel
Congratulations to Anthony Hudson and Professor Zachary Douglas who have been appointed Queen's Counsel today.
10/02/15 James Laddie QC acting in case where football fan bitten on the face and neck by police dog
Football fan Tommy Meyers has settled his case against the British Transport Police and Thames Valley Police following an incident on 10 September 2010 where he was unlawfully arrested over an allegation that he had assaulted a police officer at Reading Train Station. During the arrest Tommy was manhandled to the ground and handcuffed. While lying on the ground on his back he was bitten on the face and neck by a police dog. Tommy has also settled a claim against the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation for negligent treatment of the bite wounds that saw him rushed into emergency surgery to remove a life threatening infection. Tommy was on a trip with this father and brother to watch Crystal Palace against Reading when the incident happened. James Laddie QC was involved in this case.
09/02/15 Croatia v Serbia - General List No. 118
Croatia alleged that Serbia had violated the 1948 Genocide Convention, by actions taken in the town of Vukovar and elsewhere in 1991, and Serbia later filed a counter-claim concerning 1995 Operation Storm. The Court found that it had jurisdiction over the claims, but no violations of the Genocide Convention, given the insufficiency of evidence to demonstrate the "specific intent required for acts of genocide". Kate Cook, Edward Craven, James Crawford AC SC, Helen Law, Blinne Ni Ghralaigh and Philippe Sands QC were involved in this case.
09/02/15 Inquest in to death of Paul McGuigan resumes today
Paul McGuigan died on 8 August 2009 while working as a private security contractor in Iraq. Paul and another contractor were shot and killed by Daniel Fitzsimons, a fellow employee who had been deployed by the security contractor ArmorGroup (now G4S). Fitzsimons had been dismissed from previous security firms and was at the time of the killing awaiting trial in the UK on a number of criminal offences. Fitzsimons was also suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to his experiences in the army. Paul’s mother is hoping that the Inquest will finally provide answers as to how Daniel Fitzsimons came to be recruited by G4S. For more information please click here. Nick Armstrong has been involved in this case.
06/02/15 International students unfairly affected by Home Office action
The National Union of Students (NUS) has published two reports linked to the international student crisis following the broadcast of a Panorama programme that revealed fraud in the taking of English language tests for use with student visa applications. The Home Office commissioned the provider of the test (Educational Testing Services (ETS) to try to identify who may have cheated. The investigation has resulted in the Home Office taking action against universities and private colleges whose students are accused in participating in the fraud, as well as against a large number of individual students. Thousands are affected. The NUS reports include an independent expert report which says the ETS process means that a number, and potentially significant number, of students will have been wrongly accused. Salima Budhani of Bindmans LLP and Nick Armstrong are instructed. For more information please click here.
06/02/15 Professor James Crawford AC SC appointed as Judge to the International Court of JusticeMatrix is delighted to announce that former Matrix member, James Crawford AC SC, was appointed Judge to the International Court of Justice in a ceremony that took place at the Peace Palace in The Hague this morning. This marks the beginning of a nine-year term for Professor Crawford as one of 15 judges to the court.
06/02/15 Why the English legal system is world class
Lindsay Scott, CEO of Matrix, appeared on BBC World at Oneyesterday speaking to Clive Coleman about the English legal system and why itis world class. To listen to the interview in full please click here.
02/02/15 Trial of arms-trade protesters dropped by the CPS
The prosecution of nine demonstrators who occupied the roof of the UAV Engines Ltd factory in Staffordshire, a subsidiary of the Israeli drones manufacturer Elbit Systems, has been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. The objective of the demonstration, which took place during Israel’s assault on Gaza in the summer of 2014, was to highlight claims that British-made weapons were being used by Israeli forces in contravention of UK export regulations and in the alleged commission of war crimes. The CPS dropped its aggravated trespass prosecution after UAV Engines withdrew its two witnesses and failed to provide key information regarding the nature of its exports to Israel requested by the Defence, critical to establishing the lawfulness or otherwise of the company's activities, and the criminality of the protestors' actions. Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh represented the demonstrators in this case.
28/01/15 Ben Emmerson QC involved in the public inquiry in to the death of Alexander Litvinenko
Ben Emmerson QC is representing Marina Litvinenko the wife of Alexander Litvinenko at the inquiry into the murder of her husband. The inquiry, which started earlier this week in the High Court, is being led by Sir Robert Owen and hearings will take place over the next 10 weeks. Alex Bailin QC and Lorna Skinner represent 11 media organisations, who made submissions on open justice issues during the preliminary stages of the Inquiry. For coverage from The Guardian please click here. For coverage from the BBC please click here.
28/01/15 Iraqi civilians claims against the Ministry of Defence allowed and not time barred
A court has determined that Iraqi civilians seeking damages for their alleged unlawful detention and alleged ill-treatment by British armed forces in Iraq are able to bring claims agains the Ministry of Defence. In 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority Order 17 had been issued, which conferred immunity from suit in Iraq on all British military personnel. The civilians' claims were made on the basis of the Human Rights Act 1998 and in tort. It was common ground that the law applicable to the tort claims was that of Iraq, and that the civilians had not commenced their claims until after the expiry of the three-year limitation period prescribed by the Iraqi Civil Code art, 232. The Court noted that art, 435 of the Code suspended the time limit in art, 232. Art, 435 provides that the time limit would be suspended if there was an impediment rendering it impossible to exercise a right under art, 232. The Court accepted that CPA Order 17 constituted an impediment. Richard Hermer QC was involved in this case.
22/01/15 High Court rules that the Government racially discriminated against Romany Gypsies seeking pitches in the green belt
A High Court Judge has said that the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles was operating an unlawful policy of “recovering” for his own consideration appeals by travellers who claimed there were exceptional circumstances for allowing them Green Belt sites. Gilbart J held that Mr Pickles had “discriminated unlawfully against a racial group” by subjecting planning applications from Gypsies and Travellers to special scrutiny and taking the decision away from independent inspectors. The judge held that Mr Pickles had breached the Equality Act 2010. He also found that the Minister for Planning, Brandon Lewis, had operated an unpublished policy that conflicted with his written ministerial statement to Parliament. Chris Buttler was involved in this case. For the judgment please click here. For coverage from the BBC please click here. For coverage from the Guardian please click here.
19/01/15 Supreme Court hearing application to restrict publication of performing artist's biography
The appellant is a well-known performer. He suffered sexual abuse as a child which led to episodes of severe mental illness, about which he has spoken publicly in the past and wishes to recount in a forthcoming autobiographical book. He has a son, the respondent, who lives abroad with the appellant’s former wife. The respondent is now 11 and suffers from a combination of ADHD, Asperger's, Dysgraphia and Dyspraxia. His mother is concerned that publication of the book will come to his attention and cause him serious harm. She obtained on the respondent’s behalf an injunction to restrain publication on the ground that it was arguable that the publication fell within the scope of the tort of intentionally inflicting harm and that he was likely to establish at the trial that publication should not be allowed. Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sara Mansoori and Edward Craven are representing the appellant. Antony White QC is representing the book’s publisher (who supports the appeal).
16/01/15 Aaron Watkins appointed to TSol C Panel
Matrix is pleased to announce that Aaron Watkins has been successful in his application as one of the Attorney General’s Junior Counsel to the Crown (C Panel). Aaron’s appointment will commence on 2 March 2015.
14/01/15 Anthony Hudson and Professor Zachary Douglas to be appointed Queen's Counsel
Congratulations to Anthony Hudson and Professor Zachary Douglas who have been successful in their applications to be appointed one of Her Majesty’s Counsel. Anthony is a specialist in media and information law and has been involved in some of the most significant recent cases on privacy, defamation and open justice. Zachary has a substantial practice before international courts and tribunals as counsel and arbitrator and before the English courts in international law cases. The QC Ceremony will be held at Westminster Hall on 16 February 2015.
07/01/15 Shell agrees 55m compensation deal for Niger Delta community after 3-year London legal battle
Oil-giant Shell have agreed a compensation package of £55m to compensate 15,600 Nigerian fishermen and their community after it was devastated by two massive oil spills in the Niger Delta in 2008 and 2009. This follows a three year legal battle by the Nigerian’s lawyers, London based law firm Leigh Day, in the High Court in London following the spills which devastated the environment surrounding the community of Bodo, in Gokana Local Government Area, Rivers State, Nigeria. Experts have confirmed that the spills destroyed thousands of hectares of mangrove, which is the largest man-made disaster of this sort ever seen. Richard Hermer QC led the team of counsel that also included Matrix members Jonathan Glasson QC and Edward Craven. For the full press release please click here.
22/12/14 Court of Appeal reject challenge on police procedures following fatal shootings
The families of of Mark Duggan and Rafal Delezuch have lost a challenge over police procedures following the fatalities of the two men at the hands of the police. The challenge centred on the Association of Chief Police Officers' policy of allowing officers to confer following a fatality, however the court dismissed the appeals. Phillippa Kaufmann QC, Hugh Southey QC and Jonathan Glasson QC were involved in this case. For further details please see the BBC website.
18/12/14 Inquest into death of 15 year old boy criticises local authority and prison
A jury has criticised both Tower Hamlets and Cockham Wood Young Offenders Institution in the inquest into the death of a vulnerable 15 year old in their care. Alex Wood was found hanging in his cell in January 2012, one of three children to die in Young Offenders Institutions from apparently self-inflicted deaths within a ten month period. The inquest found serious failings on behalf of the local authority, including failing to allocate a named social worker to Alex. Danny Friedman QC and Mark Scott of Bhatt Murphy represented Alex's family on behalf of INQUEST. For more information please see the below press release from INQUEST.INQUEST Press Release
16/12/14 Court rules that guidance on granting legal aid for exceptional cases is unlawful Three Court of Appeal judges have ruled that the Lord Chancellor’s guidance on granting exceptional funding for cases that are out of scope for normal legal aid was unlawful because it wrongly implied that the European Convention on Human Rights only demanded funding in rare and extreme cases.
Find out more.
15/12/14 Court of Appeal rules that a council must support a child with Downs Syndrome even if the family travels out of the area
The Court of Appeal has held that local authorities have the power to provide Children Act services outside their area, in a ruling that is particularly important for Romany Gypsies and other itinerant families. Worcestershire Country Council has been ordered to provide support to a four year old with Down’s Syndrome whose family travel outside of the County for ten months of the year. The family, who work on fairgrounds, had originally been told to claim from the local authority where they were living. For the judgment please click here. For coverage from the BBC please click here. Chris Buttler was involved in this case.
10/12/14 Supreme Court awards damages to prisoners not provided with reasonable opportunities to progress their rehabilitation
The Supreme Court has considered if it should depart from the previous House of Lords judgment in R (James & Ors) v Secretary of State for justice following the ECtHR ruling in James v UK. The court was considering the joined appeals relating to prisoners sentenced to imprisonment for public protection or life imprisonment. The four appellants argued that they had not been provided with the reasonable opportunity to progress their rehabilitation and release, breaching their rights under the ECHR, arts 5 and 14. The court unanimously allowed the appeals of two of the prisoners awarding them damages. Hugh Southey QC has been involved in this case. For the judgment please click here. For the press summary please click here.
09/12/14 Samantha Knights appointed as co-reviewer of police use of section 60 stop and search powers
The Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has launched a new partnership between the MPS and the Middlesex School of Law. Professor Joshua Castellino, Dean of the School of law, has been appointed by the Commissioner to conduct an independent review of the MPS’s use of section 60 stop and search powers. Matrix member, Samantha Knights, will work with Professor Castellino, Dr Robin Fletcher (also at Middlesex University) and Joseph Middleton (Doughty Street Chambers) to produce a set of recommendations for the MPS based on their findings that will then be made publically available. For further information please click here.
08/12/14 Matrix celebrates Human Rights Week 2014
Matrix is delighted to be putting on two events during Human Rights Week to celebrate Human Rights Day, held annually by the UN on the 10th December 2014.Find out more.
08/12/14 Murder case against Shrien Dewani dismissed by South African judge
A judge in South Africa has dismissed the case against British businessman Shrien Dewani who was accused of arranging the murder of his wife Anni in South Africa in 2010. The judge stated that the evidence presented by the prosecution fell “far below the threshold” of what a reasonable court could convict on. Dewani has always denied plotting with others to murder his wife. Clare Montgomery QC, Julian Knowles QC and Mark Summers QC were involved in the extradition case. For coverage from the BBC please click here.
03/12/14 Gavin Millar QC joins Matrix from Doughty Street Chambers
Matrix is pleased to announce that Gavin Millar QC has joined Matrix from Doughty Street Chambers. Gavin has a wide ranging practice covering media, public and employment law. He undertakes defamation, privacy, contempt and reporting restriction cases and acts for most of the UK major media organisations. Gavin has been described as “amongst the most influential people in the media.” Gavin has recently been acting for The Sun in the defamation case between The Sun and Andrew Mitchell, the former Tory chief whip.
Find out more.
26/11/14 Compulsory retirement age of 70 for Judges is not age discrimination
The compulsory retirement of Judges aged 70 does not amount to age discrimination contrary to the Equal Treatment Framework Directive. Claire Darwin appeared for the Ministry of Justice. She was led by Charles Bourne QC of 11KBW, and instructed by the Treasury Solicitor. For the Employment Tribunal judgment, please see below. Judgment
25/11/14 Hegglin v Google Inc settles
The case of Hegglin v Google Inc has been settled on a confidential basis out of court. The trial was due to start on the morning of 24 November, but instead a statement was read out in court. Hugh Tomlinson QC and Ian Helme (1 Brick Court) were instructed for the Claimant by Olswang LLP and Antony White QC, Guy Vassall-Adams and Jonathan Scherbel-Ball (1 Brick Court) were instructed by Pinsent Masons LLP for the Defendant. The statement can be found below.Statement
25/11/14 Womens rights campaigners welcome withdrawal of the Law Societys sharia wills practice note
The move by the Law Society to withdraw their sharia wills practice note has been welcomed by One Law for All, Southall Black Sisters, the Centre for Secular Space, Nari Diganta and the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. The practice note advised solicitors on how to draw up ‘Sharia-compliant’ wills. Karon Monaghan QC provided legal advice that stated that the practice note was unlawful as it provided guidance to solicitors that promotes an interpretation of Sharia that is discriminatory on the grounds of gender, religion and ethnicity and thus gave rise to the possibility of direct discrimination by solicitors. For the full press release please click here.
20/11/14 High Court allows claims against the MOD and FCO in torture and rendition claims
The High Court has handed down a judgment in claims brought against the Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office concerning alleged unlawful detention, torture and rendition in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr Justice Leggatt rejected the Government's arguments that the rules of state immunity and foreign act of state precluded the English court from hearing the claims, holding that it would be "failing in its duty" if it did not determine the claims. Phillippa Kaufmann QC and Edward Craven represented the Claimant.
19/11/14 Matrix wins Chambers of the Year and the Retention "Talent Management" award at the BSN UK Diversity Legal Awards
Matrix was delighted to win two awards at the Black Solicitors Network 5th UK Diversity Legal Awards last night. The judges acknowledged our approach, which goes across a number of diversity categories, and also its impact. Overall staff and member retention improved measurably and we also reported a very significant percentage of members self-declaring as LGBT. As ‘Chambers of the Year’ Matrix ranked number one within the 2014 Diversity League Table publication. For more information about the BSN please click here. For more information about the UK Diversity Legal Awards please click here.
19/11/14 Matthew Ryder QC listed in the top 10 Power List: Britains most Influential Black People
Matthew Ryder QC has been named again for the fifth year in a row in the “Powerlist” of the UK’s most influential black figures. The list celebrates the most influential people of African and African-Caribbean heritage in Britain today. Matthew was mentioned alongside Karen Blackett (CEO of MediaCom UK), Steve McQueen (Artist/Director) and Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1 Driver). Please click here for coverage from The Telegraph.
12/11/14 Supreme Court hearing challenge to the lawfulness of suspicion-less powers to stop, detain and question travellers
The Supreme Court is today hearing a significant challenge to the lawfulness of the suspicion-less powers to stop, detain and question travellers passing through UK ports and airports under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000. The Appellant claims that the powers are incompatible with her fundamental rights of liberty, respect for private life and freedom from compulsory self-incrimination. This is the first time the Supreme Court has considered these powers, which have been used on over 300,000 occasions during the last five years. Matthew Ryder QC and Edward Craven are representing the Appellant, Sylvie Beghal. Alex Bailin QC is representing the intervener Liberty. Dan Squires is representing the intervener the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
10/11/14 Landmark judgment provides stronger protection against Hong Kong money laundering law
Ken Macdonald QC has successfully acted for the appellant, Pang Hung Fai, who had been convicted of dealing with property known or believed to represent proceeds of an indictable offence contrary to the Organised and Serious Crime Ordinance (OSCO).Find out more.
07/11/14 Hearing in landmark challenge to legality of government intelligence gathering taking place today
A further hearing in a landmark challenge to the legality of government intelligence-gathering is taking place today before the usually secret Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The tribunal is hearing the claims brought by Liberty, Privacy International and a large number of civil liberties organisations. They argue that mass surveillance of UK residents is taking place without proper safeguards and in breach of people’s rights to privacy. Matthew Ryder QC, Dan Squires and Edward Craven are involved in this case.
07/11/14 Professor Conor Gearty condemns Conservative pledge to scrap Human Rights Act
Professor Conor Gearty a leading LSE Law professor and barrister at Matrix has condemned the Conservative pledge to scrap the Human Rights Act. Professor Gearty accused the Conservatives of “inventing a problem” in order to be seen by the electorate to be taking a stand against Europe. At the speech on Thursday night at LSE Professor Gearty explained that the Act enshrined Parliamentary sovereignty which means that decisions under the Act cannot force Britain to change its laws. Nor can the European Court of Human Rights. Prisoners still do not vote in the UK despite a Strasbourg ruling in 2005 to the effect that some should be allowed to.
07/11/14 UK intelligence agencies routinely intercepting legally privileged communications
It has been revealed that UK intelligence services have been routinely intercepting legally privileged communications between lawyers and their clients in sensitive security cases. Official documents show that British intelligence agencies have policies which permit staff to access privileged communications between lawyers and their clients. Find out more.
06/11/14 Report recommends urgent measures to address low proportion of women and ethnic minority judges
A report published today and authored by Karon Monaghan QC and Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC has recommended that quotas should be introduced to ensure that at least a third of all senior judges are women. The report calls for a shake-up in the composition of those that sit on the bench to create a more diverse judiciary that commands broader public support. Those from minority ethnic backgrounds should also benefit from the new measures. For coverage from The Guardian please click here. Please see below for a copy of the report.Report
04/11/14 Warning that court case could lead to the criminalisation of pregnancy drinking
Two leading women’s charities, The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas) and Birthrights, are intervening in a case on criminal injuries compensation for a child whose mother drank during pregnancy. The charities believe that the case could seriously undermine women’s autonomy while pregnant and their freedom to make decisions for themselves. The case is being heard in the Court of Appeal tomorrow. For more information about bpas please click here and for more information about Birthrights please click here. Helen Mountfield QC and Elizabeth Prochaska are involved in this case.
03/11/14 Nicholas Randall QC joins Matrix Chambers
Matrix is pleased to announce that Nicholas Randall QC has joined us from Devereux Chambers. Nicholas has a strong reputation and practice in employment law, sports and pensions law and the aim is to build on the links between his and our practices in these areas of specialism. This caps a very successful year for the Matrix employment team in particular. In recognition of the quality of the cases we have been involved in over the last year or so (more than 20 reported cases among them) we were named “Employment Team of the Year” for 2014 by Chambers & Partners.
31/10/14 Matrix Chambers ranked in 14 practice areas by Chamber & Partners 2015
Matrix is delighted to have been ranked in 14 different areas by Chambers & Partners with 150 individual rankings. Matrix is now ranked fourth out of all the sets in the UK in terms of number of individual rankings. Matrix has also been ranked as a set in Data Protection and Inquests & Public Inquiries for the first time. This follows Matrix winning Set of the Year, Employment Set of the Year and Defamation/Privacy Set of the year at the Chambers & Partners Bar awards 2014. For the full rankings please click here.
30/10/14 Libyan exile wins right to bring claim against the government to court
The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of Abdul Hakim Balhaj and his wife Fatima Bouchar in the latest stage of their attempt to win damages over their rendition to Tripoli. The couple claim they were secretly flown to Tripoli in 2004 where he was imprisoned and tortured by Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces for six years. The court heard claims that the British Government was complicit in the arrest of him and his wife and ruled that the case can go ahead despite the government’s attempts to prevent it. Richard Hermer QC was involved in this case. For coverage from The Guardian please click here.
30/10/14 Matrix holds top spot in the Diversity League Table 2014 for second year running
Matrix is delighted to have been listed as the top chambers in the Black Solicitors Network overall Diversity League Table 2014. The table brings together the rankings of chambers from both the demographic and policy and practice tables. Matrix achieved a score greater than 800, higher than any of the firms included in the analysis. The Diversity League Table is the UK legal professions leading equality and diversity report from the Black Solicitors Network.
27/10/14 Matrix shortlisted for the UK Diversity Legal Awards 2014
Matrix is delighted to have been shortlisted for the ‘Talent/Retention Management’ award at the UK Diversity Legal Awards 2014. The UK Diversity Legal Awards are the only legal industry awards which focus solely on recognising and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion. For further information about the awards and the full shortlist please click here.
22/10/14 Inquest into death of prisoner at HMP Lincoln criticises the prison service
The inquest into the death of John Stabler at HMP Lincoln has criticised the prison service and Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Trust for a number of missed opportunities that contributed towards John’s death. John died on 6 March 2013 after having been found hanging in his cell in the segregation unit at HMP Lincoln. John had a history of depression and anxiety for which he was receiving medication and therapy. The failures by staff not to assess John correctly upon his transfer to closed conditions and again prior to his move to segregation contributed to his death. John’s sister and niece were represented by Jo Eggleton at Deighton Pierce Glynn and Kirsten Sjovoll. For more information please click here. John’s case is also discussed in The Guardian here.
16/10/14 Matrix wins 'hat-trick' of 'Chambers of the Year' Awards
Matrix completed a ‘hat-trick’ of awards last night by winning ‘Chambers of the Year’ at the Modern Law Awards 2014. This follows wins at the Chambers & Partners UK Bar Awards 2014 for ‘Chambers of the Year’ and the Halsbury Legal Awards 2014 for ‘Chambers of the Year’. Matrix is delighted to have been recognised for its achievements during another exciting and successful year. Chambers & Partners said that ‘Commentators view Matrix as one of the most progressive sets at the Bar, and one that is set fair to enjoy continued success in the future.’
14/10/14 High Court gives permission for judicial review on legal aid funding for inquests
The High Court has given permission for a judicial review of the Lord Chancellor’s guidance on legal aid funding for inquests. Joanna Letts, whose brother Christopher died after being hit by a train in 2013 claims that the guidance is flawed and unlawful. Letts was originally denied legal aid to be represented at a four-day inquest into her brother’s death. The judge found that, although legal aid had now been granted, the challenge to the guidance raised issues of wider public importance and allowed the case to proceed. Chris Buttler represented Joanna Letts, instructed by Saimo Chahal QC at Bindmans.
09/10/14 Matrix attending the Annual Conference of the International Bar Association in TokyoLindsay Scott, Chief Executive, will be attending the Annual Conference of the International Bar Association taking place from 19 October until 24 October 2014 in Tokyo, with Senior Practice Manager, Jason Housden; and Matrix barrister Andrew Bodnar. Please contact Annie Bargione (email@example.com) at Matrix if you would like to meet up during the course of the week.
03/10/14 Matrix wins four awards at Chambers Bar Awards 2014Matrix is delighted to have won overall Set of the Year, Employment Set of the Year and Defamation/Privacy Set of the Year at last night's Chambers Bar Awards, and is proud to announce that Phillippa Kaufmann QC won Human Rights and Public Law Silk of the Year. For tweets and photos from the event, please see #UKBarAwards2014 on Twitter.
02/10/14 Julian Knowles QC in major Guernsey financial services victory
Julian Knowles QC successfully represented Tamara Menteshvili, the former Chief Executive of the Channel Islands Stock Exchange, during an investigation into the Exchange by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.
In February 2012 the Commission commenced an investigation into the Exchange in relation to transactions in certain listed securities which had been implicated in possible market manipulation and other forms of irregular trading.
On 1st October 2014 the Commission announced that its investigation was complete and that it had found that Ms Menteshvili had not breached any regulatory requirement and that its investigation had revealed nothing that would justify any action in relation to her and that she was a fit and proper person in good standing. The full Public Statement can be found here.
Julian Knowles QC was instructed by Advocate Karen Le Cras of Carey Olsen, Guernsey. He has a significant financial services practice in the Channel Islands.
02/10/14 Julian Knowles QC wins British Virgin Islands extradition caseJulian Knowles QC has secured a major victory in a high-profile extradition case in the British Virgin Islands. Since 2012 Julian has been representing Earl 'Bob' Hodge, a well-known local businessman, in relation to an extradition request from the United States for the alleged importation of cocaine from the British Virgin Islands into the United States. Mr Hodge denies the allegations against him.
On 29th September 2014 the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean held it had no jurisdiction to entertain an appeal by the Attorney General against the grant of habeas corpus by the High Court in September 2012. The Court of Appeal's decision means that Mr Hodge has been discharged in relation to charges against him in North Carolina.
Julian is one of the UK's leading extradition lawyers and advises all over the world in relation to extradition and international criminal law issues. He is also the co-author of the leading work in the field.
02/10/14 Prosecutors drop terror charges against former Guantanamo inmate Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, has walked free from prison after seven terrorism related charges against him were dropped. The prosecution collapsed after the police and crown prosecutors were handed secret intelligence material which undermined the terrorism case against him. The judge entered a formal verdict of not guilty and ordered the Begg be set free immediately from Belmarsh High Security prison. Tim Owen QC was involved in this case. For coverage from the BBC please click here.
26/09/14 Court of Appeal orders that parts of terrorism trial can be held in public
The media appealed against an order that a terrorism trial be held in camera, that the defendants names be anonymised and that the hearing not be reported. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, varying this order as follows – the core of the criminal trial would still be held in camera, however part of the trial would be in public and a number of ‘accredited journalists’ could attend certain parts heard in private, although they would not be able to report on those parts of the proceedings pending a review at the end of the trial. The names of the defendants were made public; the Court stressing that only in very exceptional circumstances would a trial be held in camera and the name of a defendant be anonymised. Anthony Hudson and Ben Silverstone were involved in this case.
26/09/14 Prisoner found hanging in his cell was failed by prison Satheeskumar Mahathevan died while a remand prisoner at HMP Pentonville. The jury in the inquest into his death has concluded that his death was an accident and that failings at the prison contributed to his death. The Inquest head evidence that Satheeskumar was let down by failings in information sharing, multi-agency communication and by inadequate training of staff. Raj Desai represented the family.
25/09/14 Matrix wins 'Chambers of the Year' at the Halsbury Legal Awards 2014
Matrix is delighted to have won ‘Chambers of the Year - London’ at the Halsbury Legal Awards 2014. The awards were presented yesterday at an exclusive event in central London. The winners were decided by an independent panel of judges. For a list of all the winners please click here.
24/09/14 Abu Qatada acquitted of charges faced in Jordan
Abu Qatada has today been acquitted of the second of two charges that he faced in Jordan. He was acquitted of the first charge in July. He was represented in his protracted deportation proceedings in the UK and before the ECtHR by Danny Friedman QC who also consulted on his defence before the Jordanian State Security Court. The issue in the UK case concerned the demand for mechanisms that could ensure that Abu Qatada would obtain a fair trial in Jordan. For coverage from the BBC please click here.
16/09/14 UKSC Blog interviews Lord Neuberger
This summer, some of the editors of the UKSC Blog, including Anthony Fairclough from the Legal Information Team at Matrix, were invited to the UK Supreme Court to interview Lord Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court. Highlights of the discussion with Lord Neuberger can be found on the UKSC blog by clicking here. The UKSC blog is run by Matrix Chambers and Olswang and provides commentary on the UK Supreme Court and its judgments.
10/09/14 Permission to Appeal granted to The Badger Trust
The Badger Trust has been granted permission to appeal against the fact that that an Independent Expert Panel is not overseeing the second year of the pilot badger culls. The second year of culls commenced on Monday in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset in a bid to tackle bovine TB. David Wolfe QC has been involved in this case.
05/09/14 Ben Emmerson QC to serve as counsel to the Fiona Woolf inquiry into historical child abuse The Home Office announced today the appointment of Fiona Woolf CBE to lead an independent inquiry into historical child abuse. The inquiry will consider the extent to which public bodies and other important institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse. Ben Emmerson QC will serve as counsel to the inquiry. Fiona Woolf will also be assisted by Graham Wilmer MBE, a child sexual abuse victim and founder of the Lantern Project and Barbara Hearn OBE, the former Deputy CEO of the National Children’s Bureau. Their first tasks will be to finalise the membership of the panel and agree terms of reference for the inquiry. For further information please click here.
04/09/14 Matrix nominated for 'Chambers of the Year' at the Modern Law Awards 2014
The Eclipse Proclaim Modern Law Awards celebrate best practice in the modern legal services arena. Matrix is delighted to have been nominated for 'Chambers of the Year'. The winners are chosen by a cross-industry panel and will be announced at an awards ceremony at the Hilton on Park Lane on 15 October 2014. For the full shortlist please click here.