News

News

Details of the latest Matrix news.
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 serviceThe 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 Four Matrix members speaking at the JUSTICE Annual Human Rights Law Conference 2014

Helen Mountfield QC, Aidan O’Neill QC, Matthew Ryder QC and Professor Conor Gearty are speaking at the Justice Annual Human Rights Law Conference on Monday 20 October. This year the programme includes keynote speeches from leaders in the field and breakout session updates on disability, surveillance and privacy, criminal law, judicial review and immigration. For further details please see the programme below.

Programme
16/10/14 Helen Mountfield QC appointed to the JUSTICE Council

JUSTICE has appointed Helen Mountfield QC to its Council. JUSTICE is an all-party law reform and human rights organisation working to strengthen the justice system in the United Kingdom. JUSTICE works to promote access to justice, human rights and the rule of law through research, education and interventions in the court. For more information about JUSTICE please click 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.

15/10/14 Julian Knowles QC and Jessica Simor QC to speak at the Sweet & Maxwell Human Rights Law Conference

Julian Knowles QC will deliver the lecture on crime and human rights at the Sweet & Maxwell Human Rights Law Conference on 22nd October 2014. Julian’s paper will examine the leading crime/human rights cases of the legal year 2013/2014.  Julian is one of the country's leading practitioners working at the crime/human rights interface. Details of his practice can be found here.  
 
Jessica Simor QC will deliver the lecture on ‘Privacy in a networked age: rights, responsibilities and remedies.’  Jessica’s will look at the practical implications of the headline privacy/human rights cases. Jessica is recognised as one of the country’s leading specialists in human rights and public law. Details of her practice can be found here

Full details for the conference can be found here.

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.

10/10/14 Matrix attending Hong Kong Arbitration Week

Our Chief Executive, Lindsay Scott, is visiting Hong Kong next week for the HK Arbitration Week, including the Arbitration Charity Ball on Wednesday 15 and the ADR in Asia conference on Thursday 16 October. Clare Montgomery QC and Lord Ken Macdonald QC are also attending and are currently instructed in cases in Hong Kong. You can find out more about the conference and the Arbitration Week on their website.

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 (ab@matrixlaw.co.uk) at Matrix if you would like to meet up during the course of the week.
08/10/14 Thomas Linden QC wins 'Employment: Silk of the Year' at the Legal 500 UK 2014 Awards

We are delighted that Thomas Linden QC has won ‘Employment: Silk of the Year’ at the Legal 500 UK 2014 Awards. The awards are handed to elite legal practitioners based on comprehensive research into the UK Legal market. Over 50,000 interviews have been conducted to ascertain the winners who are invited to a networking dinner to celebrate. For a list of all the winners please click here.

06/10/14 Matrix welcomes three new members

Matrix are delighted to welcome Anita Davies, Tamara Jaber and Jessica Jones as full members on completion of their traineeship. 

Find out more.
06/10/14 Opinion on Human Rights Act repeal

The Labour Party has published an opinion by Tim Owen QC and Alex Bailin QC on the Conservatives' proposals for repeal of the Human Rights Act. For more information please click here.

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 High Court hearing for UK rendition and complicity in torture cases A three day hearing started yesterday in the High Court in the case of Yunus Rahmatullah, a Pakistani citizen who was captured by British forces in Iraq in 2004. Yunus claims that while in detention he was tortured before being handed over to US forces. He alleges that the US forces also tortured him before rendering him to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, where he remained for 10 years without charge, trial or access to a lawyer. In 2012 the UK Supreme Court suggested that Mr Rahmatullah’s rendition was unlawful and a breach of the Geneva Convention. The High Court will also hear a further three claims relating to cases of Iraqi citizens similarly transferred into US custody by UK forces in Iraq. Philippa Kaufmann QC and Edward Craven are involved in this case.
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.

18/09/14 Three Afghan spies suing British military for abandoning them without protection

Three Afghan men who spied for on the Taliban for the British military are suing the government in the High Court for abandoning them after pulling out of Afghanistan. During the course of the conflict, the men provided the British military with intelligence including the location of Taliban targets; however they claim that when British forces left the country last year, they were left without any security or protection and have genuine concerns for their own and their families' safety. The men are seeking urgent relief to provide them with secure accommodation in Afghanistan pending their claims for compensation. Samantha Knights and Laura Prince are instructed for the claimants by Deighton Pierce Glynn.

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.

08/09/14 Former Matrix Member, Mr Justice David Bean, appointed as Lord Justice of Appeal

Former Matrix member, Mr Justice David Bean has been appointed as Lord Justice of Appeal. His appointment will fill one of the forthcoming vacancies in the Court of Appeal arising in autumn 2014. Mr Justice Bean was called to the Bar in 1976 and became Queen’s Counsel in 1997. He was a founding member of Matrix in 2000 and was a member of the employment team at Matrix until was appointed as High Court Judge, Queens Bench Division in 2004.  For further information please click here.

08/09/14 Matrix International website launches today

The website for our new sister brand, Matrix International, has launched today. You can view the website at matrixlawinternational.com. You can also follow Matrix International on Twitter @matrixlawint. Matrix International will help up promote our members outside the UK and build upon our already well-established reputation in several regions and the opening of a Matrix office in Geneva. We have already worked in over 111 countries, providing advice, advocacy, investigations and training.

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.

04/09/14 Prior fundamental breach of contract by an employee does not bar later constructive dismissal claim The claimant alleged that he was the victim of constructive dismissal and had brought proceedings against the respondent at the Employment Tribunal. The claimant also alleged that he suffered a detriment as a result of a Public Interest Disclosure. The Employment Tribunal struck out the claimant’s case. They concluded that because the claimant has been guilty of conduct which amounted to a repudiatory breach of his contract the constructive dismissal claim was bound to fail. This case affirmed the principle that a prior fundamental breach of contract by an employee did not bar a later constructive dismissal claim. Laura Prince was involved in this case.
04/09/14 Voice of Freedom exhibition on display at MatrixToday we welcomed PhotoVoice in to the Matrix office to set up their Voice of Freedom photography exhibition, previously on show at Amnesty International UK, which will be displayed in our Seminar Room till the end of the year. Since inception, Matrix’s Core Values have included a commitment to raising awareness and tackling the challenges facing our wider community. By displaying this exhibition, Matrix seeks to support the project’s aim of highlighting the broad issue of modern-day slavery.Find out more.
02/09/14 Claire Darwin successful in EAT

Today the EAT held that disability is an 'important factor' which Employment Judges must have regard to when making case management decisions. Thus the decision of the Employment Judge not to adjourn a hearing despite the claimant's obvious ill health was perverse and unlawful. Claire Darwin appeared for the successful Appellant, instructed by Kiran Daurka of Slater & Gordon. You can read the judgment here.

19/08/14 Matrix shortlisted for 8 awards at 2014 The Chambers Bar Awards

Matrix is delighted to have been nominated for Set of the Year in three practice areas - Defamation & Privacy, Employment and Human Rights & Public Law. Hugh Tomlinson QC has been nominated for Defamation & Privacy Silk of the Year. Thomas Linden QC has been nominated for Employment Silk of the Year. Maurice Sheridan has been nominated for Environment and Planning Junior of the Year. Philippa Kaufman QC has been nominated for Human Rights & Public Law Silk of the Year and Dan Squires has been nominated for Human Rights & Public Law Junior of the Year. The 2014 Chambers Bar Awards will be held on Thursday 2 October. For the full shortlist please click here.

13/08/14 An analysis of the seminal judgment on serious harm

Judgment was handed down today in the libel case of Cooke and Anor v MGN [2014] EWHC 2831 (QB).

Find out more.
07/08/14 James Laddie QC and Sarah Hannett acted for the Mayor of Tower Hamlets in strike out applicationThe petitioners sought to challenge the Mayoral Election in the Borough of Tower Hamlets and pursuant to their challenge they sought a Protective Costs Order. The successful candidate in the election applied to dismiss the petition. The Election Petition Rules 1960, r 4(d) require the petitioner to set out with sufficient particularity the facts that they wish to rely on. The Court accepted that the petition, at the time of the hearing, failed to do this but gave the petitioners until the 18 August to remedy the deficiency. James Laddie QC and Sarah Hannett were involved in this case. For the judgment please click here.
01/08/14 Court rules on the obligation of humane treatment under international humanitarian law

R (Haidar Hussain) v SSD [2014] EWCA 1087 - The judgment recognises that (1) international humanitarian law is justiciable under domestic law by virtue of the policy of the Minister to comply with it, (2) Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions contains both a negative obligation to refrain from war crimes, but also a positive obligation to ensure humane treatment, (3)  the concept of humane treatment is to be further understood not just by reference to article 3 ECHR, but also by reference to the principle of dignity contained in Article 8 ECHR.

Find out more.Judgment
01/08/14 Historic decisions against Russia re Yukos Oil

Two landmark decisions relating to Yukos Oil Company were handed down this week. On 28 July the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague awarded US$50 billion damages for Russia's politically motivated expropriation of Yukos and its assets in contravention of the Energy Charter Treaty.


On 31 July the European Court of Human Rights awarded €1.9 billion 'just satisfaction' damages against Russia for the expropriation of Yukos in violation of the Convention. Alex Bailin QC has been advising GML Ltd - the majority shareholder in Yukos, instructed by Tim Osborne of Wiggin Osborne Fullerlove.

25/07/14 UK Supreme Court decision on referendum vote for prisoners The UK Supreme Court unusually gave a judgment in court yesterday (with reasons to follow) on this case of major constitutional importance in advance of the Scottish Referendum vote due to take place on 18 September. The court dismissed the case that sought to overturn the ban on convicted prisoners being able to vote. The UK Supreme Court called the case in to be heard on less than 4 weeks’ notice which is the quickest in their five year history. Aidan O’Neill QC was involved in this case.
24/07/14 Julian Knowles QC secures the release of two men from death row

In the last month Julian Knowles QC has secured the release of two men from death row in Trinidad.
 
In the first case, Marcus Daniel v. The State, the Court of Appeal quashed Mr Daniel’s conviction for murder and substituted a verdict of manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility and passed a sentence of imprisonment. Julian successfully represented Mr Daniel before the Privy Council (with Michelle Butler) and secured the remission of his case to the Court of Appeal on the basis of fresh evidence concerning his mental state at the time of his offence.
 
In the second case, Nigel Brown v. The State, the Court of Appeal quashed Mr Brown’s death sentence for murder and imposed a sentence of life imprisonment.  Julian successfully appealed the original dismissal of Mr Brown’s appeal to the Privy Council (with Mark Summers QC), who remitted the case to the Court of Appeal for its reconsideration.

23/07/14 Public inquiry to be held into death of Alexander LitvinenkoUK Home Secretary, Theresa May, has announced that there will be a public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB officer who died in 2006 after being poisoned with radioactive polonium. The inquiry will look at whether the Russian state was behind the death. This follows a successful judicial review claim brought by Mrs Litvinenko. Ben Emmerson QC acts for Mrs Litvinenko instructed by Elena Tsirlina of Blokh Solicitors. Alex Bailin QC and Lorna Skinner act for a large number of media organisations. For the judgment please click here.
22/07/14 Richard Hermer QC warns judges in torture case that government wants impunity from UK courtsThree senior judges were warned on Monday that the government has said that it is determined to prevent ministers and officials from being accountable to the courts for any colluding or wrongdoing abroad even if it involves torture. Abdel Hakin Belhaj and his wife Fatima Bouchar were abducted in 2004 in a joint MI6/CIA operation and secretly flown to Tripoli where they were tortured by Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces. Richard Hermer QC is acting for Belhaj who wants to sue MI6 and other British agencies, and then the Labour foreign secretary, accusing them of involvement in the rendition operation and arguing that they should share responsibility. For coverage from The Guardian please click here.
18/07/14 Blanket prohibition on student loan for long-term resident without settled status held unlawfulImmigrant with DLR ineligible for a loan from Student Loan Company pursuant to Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011. Regulations held to be a blanket ban and a disproportionate interference with the claimant’s right to education under ECHR, art 2, protocol 1 (A2P1) and Article 14 with A2P1. Helen Mountfield QC and Raj Desai were involved in this case. For the judgment please click here.
18/07/14 Court maintains decision to convert comprehensive school into academy

The Governing Body of the Warren Comprehensive School and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham sought judicial review of the decision of the Secretary of State for Education to convert the school into an academy. The Claimants maintained that the Secretary of State had erred in concluding that academy schools improved GCSE results at a faster rate than local authority maintained schools. In particular, the Claimants maintained that the Secretary of State had erred by having regard to non-GCSE “equivalents” when looking at rates of improvement, despite the Secretary of State stating that such qualifications were worthless. The Court dismissed the claim. Helen Mountfield QC and Sarah Hannett acted for the claimant school and local authority. For the judgment please click here.

18/07/14 Supreme Court recommends that the Foreign Secretary review death penalty funding policy

In the case of Mrs Sandiford, a British national facing the death penalty in Indonesia, the Supreme Court has unanimously decided that an urgent review is required of the policy not to provide funding for legal representation for British nationals facing capital charges abroad by the Foreign Secretary. The Foreign Secretary previously operated a policy to provide funding in exceptional cases. This policy was changed in 2007 and Mrs Sandiford challenged that change when she was refused £2,500 to cover the expenses of a pro bono lawyer. Although the original decision not to provide funding was upheld by the Supreme Court it drew attention to the information that had come to light in respect of the serious issues as to the  functioning of the local judicial system in Indonesia. Aidan O’Neill QC was involved in this case. For the judgment please click here. For the court press summary please click here.

14/07/14 School Exclusions Project nominated for the Community Organisation award at the National Diversity Awards

Sarah Hannett and the City-Matrix School Exclusions Project have been nominated for the ‘Community Organisation Award’ at the National Diversity Awards. The School Exclusions Project provides free advocacy to help parents appeal against their child’s permanent exclusion. The National Diversity Awards celebrates the excellent achievements of grass-root communities that tackle issues in today’s society, given them recognition for their dedication and hard work. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 26 September 2014.  For further information about the awards and the School Exclusions Project please click here.

09/07/14 Case against MI5 to be heard in secret

Former IRA informant Martin McGartland is to have his case against MI5 heard in secret. McGartland claimed that her had been inadequately protected by MI5 and deprived of promised funds. The complaints will have to be heard behind closed doors in what is known as a closed material procedure according to the judgment  given by Mr Justice Mitting. For coverage from The Guardian please click here. Phillippa Kaufmann QC is involved in this case.

08/07/14 Matrix members act for Bangladesh in Bay of Bengal maritime boundary arbitration The Arbitral Tribunal unanimously decided that it had jurisdiction to identify the land boundary terminus and to delimit the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone and the continental shelf between Bangladesh and India within and beyond 200 nautical miles in the areas where the claims of the parties overlap. James Crawford AC SC and Philippe Sands QC acted for Bangladesh. For the full press release please see document below.
Press Release
04/07/14 Julian Knowles QC appointed a director of the Death Penalty ProjectJulian Knowles QC has been appointed to the Board of the Death Penalty Project and will become a trustee of the Death Penalty Project Charitable Trust. These organisations provide free and effective legal representation and assistance to those individuals who are facing the death penalty and work to promote restrictions on the use of the death penalty.

Julian is one of the UK’s foremost lawyers specialising in death penalty issues and has appeared in many of the major constitutional challenges to its use over the last 20 years in the Privy Council and other courts.
02/07/14 Matrix shortlisted for two awards at the Halsbury Legal Awards 2014

Matrix has been shortlisted for ‘Chambers of the Year’ and the ‘Award for Diversity and Inclusion’ at the Halsbury Legal Awards 2014. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Wednesday 24 September. The awards are chaired by independent judges and celebrate the values the legal community embodies and which are prized by the profession and wider community. For a full list of those shortlisted please click here.

01/07/14 Matrix members act in football State aid caseOn Monday 30 June 2014, judgment was given on a judicial review concerning a £14.4m loan by Coventry City Council to the Ricoh Arena, in which, for the first time, an English Court has considered the application of the so-called “market economy investor principle” used in determining whether there has been a State aid requiring notification to the EU Commission. Rhodri Thompson QC , Christopher Brown and Nicholas Gibson acted for the Claimants, the owners and/or investors in Coventry City Football Club, which formerly played its home matches at the Ricoh Arena.  The judgment can be found below.Judgment
27/06/14 Inquest finds that neglect contributed to death of US citizen in immigration detention A jury has returned a neglect conclusion in an immigration detention death inquest. US citizen Brian Dalrymple was detained at the Harmondsworth Immigration Detention centre in June 2011 after being refused leave to enter the UK because his behaviour was ‘odd’. Brian suffered from schizophrenia and had severe hypertension. Despite concerns being raised about his behaviour no psychiatric assessment took place during the six weeks he was detained. Brian died on 31 July 2011 from an aortic rupture after having refused to take his antihypertensive medication. The inquest found that Brian’s death was a result of natural causes contributed by neglect. During the course of the two week inquest the jury heard extensive evidence about systems failures, failures of communication and shambolic medical record keeping and staff not being aware of basic protection systems. Nick Armstrong represented the family at the inquest with Jocelyn Cockburn and Lucy Cadd of Hodge Jones & Allen.  
26/06/14 David Wolfe QC appointed to be Chair of the Recognition Panel following the Leveson Inquiry

David Wolfe QC has been appointed to be the Chair of the Recognition Panel established by the Royal Charter in the light of the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. For full details please click here.

19/06/14 Minor convictions should be dropped from criminal record checks The Supreme Court has ruled that certain past minor cautions and convictions should remain part of a protected private life and should not be disclosed in criminal records checks. The two respondents appealed against the decision to disclose details of their criminal records on job applications. The respondents had been issued warnings and cautions several years ago and when one of them had been a child. The court found that the relevant provisions did violate the respondents ECHR Article 8 Rights, seriously affecting their entry into their chosen professions. Hugh Southey QC and Nick Armstrong where involved in this case. For coverage from the BBC please click here. For the judgment please click here. For a briefing note prepared by Hugh Southey QC, Nick Armstrong and Anita Davies please see below. Briefing Note
18/06/14 Doctors now under legal duty over resuscitation orders

The Court of Appeal has ruled that doctors are now under a legal duty to consult with and inform patients if they want to place a Do No Resuscitate (DNR) order on medical notes. Doctors already have guidelines in place recommending that patients and families are involved in decisions regarding DNR orders but the court ruling now makes it a legal requirement. This follows the case of Janet Tracey who had terminal lung cancer and died three years ago after a DNR notice was placed on her notes without consulting her family. David Wolfe QC has been involved in this case. For coverage from the BBC please click here.

18/06/14 Julian Knowles QC wins Supreme Court case

Julian Knowles QC successfully represented the Crown Prosecution Service in R (Nunn) v. Chief Constable of Suffolk, judgment in which was given today by the Supreme Court.  The case concerned the Crown’s duty of disclosure where a defendant has been convicted and appealed unsuccessfully to the Court of Appeal.  The Supreme Court held that the Crown Prosecution Service had been entitled not to disclose the material in this case. It is Julian’s third victory in the Supreme Court in the last 12 months.

18/06/14 New guidelines issued for Reporting Restrictions in the Criminal Court

A third updated set of guidelines on open justice and reporting restrictions in the criminal courts has been published by the Judicial College, Newspaper Society, Society of Editors and the Media Lawyers Association. The joint guidelines have been revised by Guy Vassall-Adams and reflect and incorporate numerous changes in both statute and case law that have taken place in the last few years and that are relevant to the reporting of the criminal courts. For the full media release please click here. For the guidelines please see below.

Reporting Restrictions Guide
17/06/14 Practice Assistant, Frankie Penton, awarded Student of the Year at Institute of Barristers Clerks dinner

Frankie Penton, a Practice Assistant at Matrix, was awarded the John Carter Memorial Award/Student of the Year at the 2014 IBC Annual Dinner. The dinner took place on 12 June at the Royal College of Surgeons and The Chairman of the IBC noted that this is the third time in four years that a Matrix staff member has received the award.  For more information about the IBC please click here. For a list of those that have previously won the award please click here.

10/06/14 Afghanistan interpreters to challenge government decision

Six former interpreters who worked with British troops in Afghanistan are to argue at the High Court tomorrow that Britain should give more people the right to resettle in the UK if they are threatened by the Taliban. Currently only interpreters who have been deployed to dangerous parts of Afghanistan with British troops for at least 6 months after December 2012 can apply for help. Hugh Southey QC is involved in this case. For coverage from The Times please click here (please note full content behind a pay wall).

23/05/14 Helen Mountfield QC advises on Jewish students right to politically balanced education on Middle East boundaries Leading Jewish state schools have been accused of showing political bias by using maps that do not show the boundary lines between Israel and the Palestinian territories.  A student lead campaign has contacted 16 Jewish state schools asking them to join their Sign on the Green Line campaign. The Green Line refers to the pre-1967 boundary that marks out the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The students have said that schools are promoting a false picture of the political realities of the Middle East and are failing to properly educate young people. Helen Mountfield QC has provided legal advice to the students. For more information please click here.
21/05/14 Supreme Court rules that LLP members are protected by whistle blowing legislation

The Supreme Court has held that a member of a LLP was a “worker” within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and as such was entitled to the protection granted to whistle-blowers under the Public Disclosure Act 1998. The case came about after former Clyde & Co partner Krista Bates van Winkelhof alleged she was ejected from the firm after blowing the whistle on alleged bribery and corruption. The case is important because, in addition to whistle blowing protection,  members of LLPs will now have a number of rights under employment protection legislation on the basis that they are workers. Thomas Linden QC was instructed by Joanna Blackburn of Mishcon de Reya. For coverage from The Lawyer please click here.

12/05/14 Court finds HMRC misconstrued powers and duties in refusing to disclose information to Privacy InternationalThe Administrative Court held that HMRC had acted irrationally and misconstrued the scope of its powers when it refused to disclose any information to Privacy International about a criminal investigation into the activities of Gamma International, a British manufacturer of surveillance technology and spyware.
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12/05/14 Matrix Health Week starts today

This week, Matrix is holding its annual Health Week, our week-long health observance aimed at encouraging staff to discover new ways of improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Throughout the week, health specialists will be coming in to Matrix to provide nutrition and dental health advice, work station assessments, massages and fitness classes. This year, we are combining our Health Week with Walk to Work Week, a workplace walking challenge run by Living Streets. By getting staff to compete over who can walk the furthest during the week, we hope to encourage staff to walk more, contributing to health and wellbeing; improve productivity through physical activity; and get some healthy competition going in the workplace to promote team spirit. Such commitment to the health and wellbeing of our staff stems from the pledges we have made as a partner of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, which aims to improve the public health of the country.

09/05/14 Unlawful detention by UK armed forces in Afghanistan

A court has held that the arrest and initial detention of Serdar Mohammed by UK forces in Afghanistan was lawful however the continued detention was beyond the time permitted by the International Security Assistance Force policy was unlawful. Mohammed was held by the British for over three months during which time he was submitted to sleep deprivation and repeated interrogations. The detention solely for the purpose of interrogation was not for the purpose permitted by the Human Rights Act 1998, art 5 and was not in accordance with any written policy for detention and was therefore arbitrary. Richard Hermer QC was involved in this case. For the judgment please click here

 
01/05/14 Matrix Chambers turns 14 today

Matrix was formed in 2000 by 23 barristers from a wide range of legal disciplines. Since it has opened for business Matrix has been joined by other established practitioners and by barristers starting in practice. It has developed its practice internationally and has associates around the world. Matrix now has now grown to 77 members and has an office in Geneva.

28/04/14 Matrix nominated for Chambers of the Year at The Lawyer Awards

The shortlist for The Lawyer Awards 2014 was announced last week and Matrix is pleased to have received a nomination for Chambers of the Year. The winner will be announced on 25 June at the awards ceremony. Please click here for the full list of nominations.

16/04/14 Nick Armstrong nominated for Legal Aid Champion at this years LALY AwardsMatrix is delighted to announce that Nick Armstrong has been nominated in the inaugural Legal Aid Champion category at the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards 2014 for his work campaigning against the legal aid cuts. The Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards are now into their 12th year. They are run on a not-for-profit basis by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group to recognise excellence among access to justice lawyers. The other nominees for Legal Aid Champion include Bill Waddington and Robin Murray from the Criminal Law Solicitors Association and Matt Foot from Birnberg Pierce. The winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on 5 June 2014.
11/04/14 Permission to appeal refused by Supreme Court in 999 response case

On Wednesday three Supreme Court Judges, Lady Hale, Lord Wilson and Lord Reed refused Humberside Police permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal’s judgment of October 2013. The claimants had claimed that the police’s failure to respond promptly to a 999 call for assistance amounted a breach of Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This was prompted by the concerns about the response time of police officers to 999 calls made when a gang of youths rampaged through the claimant’s estate in Grimsby. The Court of Appeal unequivocally rejected the police’s arguments and stated that it was not an unreasonable or disproportionate burden to expect the police to respond in accordance with their 15 minute target. The Supreme Court confirmed the views of the Court of Appeal by refusing the appeal. The claimants were represented by Hugh Southey QC instructed by Deighton Pierce Glynn.

12/11/13 Matrix wins two awards at UK Diversity League Awards

Matrix are delighted to have been awarded 'Chambers of the Year' at the UK Diversity League Awards for coming 1st in the 2013 Black Solicitors Network Overall Diversity League Table. Matrix also won the 'Retention: Talent Management' award for our continued support and effective management of talented women with children, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.
 
These national industry awards recognise the work of organisations who are making significant contributions in the area of promoting diversity within, and equality of access into, the legal profession.
 
Lindsay Scott, CEO of Matrix said “The promotion of equal opportunity has been a Core Value of Matrix since its inception in 2000. Since then we have worked hard to build a workforce comprised of approximately equal proportions of women and men, and one where minorities are proportionately represented. We are delighted that our achievements as an equal opportunities organisation have been recognised in this year’s Diversity League Table. Thank you.” For further information on the Diversity League Table please see the Black Solicitors Network website.