Details of the latest Matrix news.
26/03/15 Phillippa Kaufmann QC appointed as Chair of the Board for the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre

Phillippa Kaufmann QC has taken over from Dr Felicity Callard as Chair of the Board at the Mental Disability Advocacy Centre (MDAC). The MDAC is an international human rights organisation that uses law to secure equality, inclusion and justice for people with mental disabilities worldwide. They operate at a global level as well as regional and domestic levels in Europe and Africa.  Phillippa has supported MDAC since 2002 when she delivered training for lawyers and NGOs with MDAC staff in Latvia. To learn more about Phillippa’s appointment and MDAC please click here.

26/03/15 Report on whistleblowers by Sir Anthony Hooper is welcomed by the GMC

A review commissioned by the General Medical Council has recommended that organisations referring concerns about a doctor’s fitness to practise to the GMC should declare whether the doctor has raised concerns about patient safety. The report by Sir Anthony Hooper says that there is evidence that those who raise concerns may suffer, or believe they will suffer, reprisals from their employer of colleagues. The report also proposes a series of recommendations to make sure that such whistleblowers are treated fairly. For more information please click here. For the report please click here

25/03/15 Carbon Journey exhibition now on display at Matrix

Matrix is delighted to announce the launch of a powerful exhibition from the "Carbon Journey" photographic series by acclaimed British photographer Matthew Webb. Webb is renowned for his subtle, thoughtful studies on modernisation and the environment. The exhibition now installed at Matrix presents images of low carbon livelihoods from across Russia and other former Soviet Union countries taken between 2010 and 2014.

Find out more.
25/03/15 Supreme Court dismisses appeal regarding deprivation of British nationality

The appellant was born in Vietnam in 1989 and came to the UK, acquiring British citizenship at the age of 12. When he was 21 he converted to Islam and allegedly became an Islamic extremist. The Supreme Court unanimously dismissed an appeal regarding the respondent’s order to deprive the appellant of British Nationality on the grounds that it would be conducive to the public good under the British Nationality Act 1981, s 40(2). The central issue for the Court to consider was whether the respondent was precluded from making the order because to do so would render the appellant stateless. The appellant argued that he would be stateless because he had lost his Vietnamese citizenship.  At a preliminary hearing SIAC allowed the appeal on the basis that the appellant would not have been considered to be a Vietnamese national by the Vietnamese executives on 22 Dec 2011. The Court of Appeal allowed the Secretary of State’s appeal of this decision and held that the appellant was a Vietnamese national on the relevant date under the text of Vietnamese laws. Hugh Southey QC was involved in this case.

20/03/15 Matrix launches election law briefings in run up to the General Election

Our election law team, including Anthony Hudson QC, Gavin Millar QC, Antony White QC and Helen Mountfield QC, are publishing weekly briefings on key election law issues in the run up to the UK General Election on 7 May 2015. The briefings will cover discussion from our experts on freedom of political expression, privacy, lobbying, election offences and election campaign coverage. The series will be sent out each Friday by email and published on our election law practice area page. Please sign up to the mailing list by contacting our Legal Information Manager, Anthony Fairclough, on

20/03/15 UN tribunal rules that Britain acted illegally in the way it exercised control over the Chagos Islands

A UN tribunal has ruled that Britain acted illegally in the way that it has exercised territorial control over the Chagos Islands.

Find out more.
17/03/15 Kate Cook appointed as Chair of the Legal Response Initiative

Kate Cook has been appointed as Chair of the Legal Response Initiative (LRI). The LRI provides pro bono legal support to least developed countries as well as non governmental organisations at the climate change negotiations (UNFCCC). It works through a network of volunteer advisors from law firms, barristers chambers and universities in different jurisdictions who give hands-on assistance during meetings, draft legal opinions or build the capacity of lawyers and negotiators from developing countries. For further information about Kate’s appointment and the LRI please click here.

17/03/15 Tim Owen QC rules in a first-of-its-kind ruling in the Cayman Islands Grand Court

Tim Owen QC acting as a visiting Cayman Islands Grand Court judge, agreed that hundreds of pages of records relating to the ill-fated Operation Tempura police corruption investigation should be withheld from public release. The ruling, which was delivered via Skype, marked the culmination of a three year process to decide if a complaint by the former senior investigating officer in the operation, Martin Bridger, and the Cayman Islands governor’s office’s subsequent evaluation of the complaint should be made public.  It was decided that an ongoing criminal investigation targeting Mr Bridger allowed the governor’s office to exempt those records from release. For further information on this case please click here and here.

16/03/15 Employment Barristers call for urgent review of ET fees

Over 400 employment barristers have sent an open letter to politicians calling for an urgent review of ET fees.  For a copy of the letter please see below.

16/03/15 Nicholas Randall QC acts for Hull City in successful landmark challenge

Hull City have succeeded in quashing the decision of the FA Council to refuse its application to change the Club’s playing name to Hull Tigers. The Club’s challenge was unanimously upheld by an Arbitral Panel appointed under Rule K of the Rules of the FA (the Right Hon. Sir Stanley Burnton, Chairman, Tim Kerr QC and Nicholas Stewart QC).  

Find out more.Judgment
06/03/15 Inquest into overdose death at leading London psychiatric hospital finds systematic failures by medical staff
A jury at the inquest into the death of a 39-year-old father of two, from Croydon who died whilst under section at Bethlem Royal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in Beckenham, South London, has found that ‘systematic failures in training and procedure’ by medical staff contributed to his death.
The inquest began on 2 March and concluded on 5 March 2015. It was held in the South London Coroner’s Court  and overseen by Senior Coroner, Selena Lynch. The jury found that the death of Derek Richards, who died on 19th May 2012 of a methadone and diazepam overdose, followed multiple failures by the hospital including inadequate training, lack of communication, poor record keeping and incorrect prescribing of medication. The risk of methadone toxicity and methadone and diazepam in combination was not adequately recognised or managed and this contributed significantly to the death of Mr Richards. Mr Richards’ family was represented by Kirsten Sjøvoll and Clair Hilder of Hodge Jones & Allen.  
05/03/15 Matrix and The Bar Council hold Open Day for those with disabilities interested in a career at the Bar

Yesterday afternoon, the Bar Council and Matrix held a student Open Day at Matrix Chambers aimed at people with disabilities who are interested in embarking on a career as a barrister and finding out more about training at Matrix and other sets. For all the hand-outs from this event please see below.Find out more.Open Day AgendaRachel Spearing HandoutTraineeship Brochure Traineeship Brochure Black and White PowerPoint slides

04/03/15 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 the full list of those appointed please click the link below.

Find out more.
04/03/15 Matrix and City University School Exclusion Project shortlisted for LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2015

The School Exclusion Project that is supported by Matrix and City University has been shortlisted for the award – ‘Best Contribution by a Team of Students’ at the LawWorks and Attorney General Student Pro Bono Awards 2015. The School Exclusion Project provides free advocacy to help parents appeal against their child’s permanent exclusion and specialises in disability discrimination and cases where the child has special education needs. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday 25 March at the House of Commons.  To find out more about the School Exclusion Project please click here. For more information about LawWorks please click here.

02/03/15 Matrix welcomes Sarah Hannett back from maternity leave

Matrix is delighted to welcome back Sarah Hannett today from maternity leave. 

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.

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 Investigative Powers Tribunal finds that access to intercepted information obtained by the NSA breached human rights law

Monitoring agency GCHQ has been found to have breached human rights laws through its mass surveillance of the internet.

Find out more.
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. 
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.

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.

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 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.
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.

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.

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.

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.
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 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.