03/09/15 Paul Nicholls QC joins Matrix Chambers
Matrix is pleased to announce that Paul Nicholls QC has joined us from 11KBW with effect from Thursday 3 September 2015. We have recruited him because of his strong commercial reputation and practice in employment law cases with a commercial element and related commercial law work. His cases include restraint of trade, confidential information, unlawful competition, contract disputes and directors’ duties cases, LLP disputes and general commercial matters. He also practises in public and procurement law. The aim is to build on the links between his and our practices, expanding in particular our practice in commercial law.Find out more.
27/08/15 Sir John Chilcot facing legal action from bereaved families regarding the publication delay of the Final Iraq Inquiry Report
The families of the British victims that were killed during the Second Iraq war have threatened legal action against Sir John Chilcot in regards to the delay of the release of the Final Iraq Inquiry report. Chilcot has again defied calls to set a publication date and has defended the controversial Maxwellisation process which has been blamed for the delay. This process allows those who face criticism a chance to respond by reviewing and responding to details prior to publication. The families have been threatening a judicial review to force Chilcot to publish and will now be taking legal action where necessary and appropriate. Lord Daniel Brennan QC and Sarah Hannett are involved in this case.
25/08/15 Police and Crime Commissioner and senior police officers call for Police Chief Nick Gargan to resign after misconduct charges
A group of senior police officers at the Avon and Somerset force have called for Police Chief Nick Gargan to resign. This follows the call by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Sue Mountstevens for Mr Gargan to resign at a sanctions hearing on 19 August 2015 where Mr Gargan received eight final written warnings for misconduct. That day the IPCC published its report into the investigation that led to the disciplinary hearings. Jonathan Glasson QC acted for the IPCC. Please click here for the IPCC’s final report and here for the press release.
24/08/15 Matrix Professor Christian J. Tams appointed Visiting Professor at University of Vienna School of Law for 2015-2016
Professor Christian J. Tams, Matrix member and International Law Chair at the University of Glasgow, has been appointed a Visiting Professor at University of Vienna School of Law for the academic year 2015/2016. As part of his Visiting Professorship, Christian will teach seminars on international litigation. Founded in 1365, the University of Vienna is one of the oldest and most prestigious in Europe. The Law School is renowned globally for its International Law department, which has an outstanding reputation, notably in investment law.
Professor Tams teaches, writes and practices in the fields of public international law and international arbitration. His particular specialisms are inter-State litigation, State responsibility, State immunity, investment treaty disputes, and international sports law. Christian has acted in cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the Iran-US Claims Tribunal as well as in investment disputes. A qualified German lawyer, he is also a member of the German Court of Arbitration for Sport.
19/08/15 Andrew Smith's article featured in 'Top 50 Football Law Articles you should read this season' published by Law In Sport
Andrew Smith's comprehensive step-by-step guide, 'A Guide to Training Compensation and Solidarity Payments in Football', has featured in the Law In Sport’s list of essential football law articles. The ‘Top 50 Football Law Articles to read this season’ compiles those that focus on the key legal, regulatory and commercial issues that national associations, leagues, clubs, agents and players may need to consider. For the full guide and access to Andrew’s article, please click here.
13/08/15 Rwandan intelligence chief, Lieutenant General Karenzi Karake, will not be extradited to Spain after UK court rejects case
A UK court has rejected an extradition case against Rwandan intelligence chief, Lieutenant General Karenzi Karake, allowing him to return home. Upon his departure from Heathrow in June, the General was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant issued by Spain over alleged war crimes in Rwanda. It was ruled, however, that Spain's allegations did not amount to offences capable of prosecution under UK law. For extradition, the conduct alleged must amount to a crime in both the executing and requesting countries. The Spanish authorities conceded that the General had committed no offence that could be prosecuted in England. Mark Summers QC represented the General alongside a legal team from Omnia Strategy LLP headed by Cherie Blair CBE, QC. Aaron Watkins represented Spain.
11/08/15 Andrew Smith quoted in Jake Cohen's article: 'A guide to the key legal issues in the football transfer window'
In an article produced by Jake Cohen for LawInSport, Andrew Smith provides an insight into some of the legal considerations surrounding the football transfer window. In particular, Andrew looks at issues regarding the training and compensation and solidarity payments regimes. Questioning a number of football’s top lawyers and agents, Jake has created a useful guide for both professionals and fans looking to learn more about the business and legalities of transfer-related matters. To read the article in full, please click here.
10/08/15 Sir Anthony Hooper's independent whistleblowers review leads to General Medical Council action plan
A review on independent whistleblowers by Sir Anthony Hooper has resulted in the General Medical Council (GMC) creating and publishing an action plan in response. The GMC is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK. They commissioned Sir Anthony Hooper to consider how it deals with doctors who have raised concerns in the public interest. In his review, he proposed a series of recommendations for GMC investigations to make sure that such whistleblowers are treated fairly. The action plan concentrates on how the GMC will handle cases involving whistleblowers, the action that has been identified in response and indicative timeframes for completing this work. For more information, please click here.
07/08/15 The Lawyer highlights Matrix as a set with the highest number of female barristers
Reviewing results from last year, The Lawyer have studied the top 30 chambers and Matrix has been highlighted as an innovative, commercial and ambitious set. Out of the Bar Top 30 Matrix has the highest percentage of female barristers standing at just below 50%. Lindsay Scott, Chief Executive, said “We are very proud of our achievements with gender balance, a key target of Matrix from the outset”.Find out more.
31/07/15 Court of Appeal hands down landmark judgment in Mohammed and others v Secretary of State for Defence, Rahmatullah v MoD
The Court of Appeal has handed down a landmark judgment in Serdar Mohammed v Ministry of Defence and Rahmatullah & the Iraqi Civilian Claimants v Ministry of Defence & Foreign and Commonwealth Office  EWCA Crim 843.Find out more.
31/07/15 QBD Master awards damages of over 15 million US dollars to Catalyst Managerial Services
The QBD Master on a summary judgment application has ruled in a commercial action that the defence provided by the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP) challenging a case brought against it by Catalyst Managerial Services (CMS) was “fanciful”. It awarded CMS damages of over $15 million plus interest. This judgment forms part of a wider claim by CMS against LAP for unpaid project fees, expenses and damages relating to a five year services contract that was commenced in Tripoli in 2009. In the current hearing Master Kay QC held that LAP had no evidential basis for its defence and therefore it was not necessary to proceed to a full hearing since LAP had no real prospect of defending the claim on any factual basis. Lord Daniel Brennan QC was involved in this case.
31/07/15 Supreme Court rules that the segregation of two prisoners for six months was unlawful
The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal regarding the decisions to place and/or keep the appellant prisoners in segregation for substantial periods of time, and granted a declaration in each case that the appellant’s segregation beyond the initial period of 72 hours was not authorised and was therefore unlawful.Find out more.
30/07/15 Former Libyan officials, including Abdullah Al-Senussi and Saif Gaddafi, sentenced to death by Libyan Court
Several Gaddafi-era Libyan officials, including Abdullah Al-Senussi, former head of intelligence, Col Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and former PM Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi have been sentenced to death following a trial in Libya. In total over 30 associates of Col Gaddafi were tried in Tripoli’s Court of Assize with nine sentenced to death and 23 to prison terms ranging from five years to life imprisonment. Accused of incitement to murder and suppressing peaceful protests during the 2011 uprising which resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Libyan civilians, they have the right to appeal within 60 days. There has however been controversy regarding the fairness of Libya’s judicial system from human rights agencies who have said that “deserved justice for the victims can only be delivered through fair and transparent proceedings”. Philippe Sands QC and Michelle Butler acted for the Government of Libya. Ben Emmerson QC acted for Mr Al-Senussi in proceedings for the ICC.
29/07/15 Supreme Court upholds appeal in challenge to discriminatory student loan eligibility criteria
The Supreme Court has today in R(Tigere) v Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills  UKSC 57 held by a 3:2 majority that the blanket requirement that all applicants for a student loan have “indefinite leave to remain” is discriminatory and must be amended by the Government.Find out more.Judgment
28/07/15 Court of Arbitration of Sport delivers judgment in Dutee Chand v IAAF
"Dutee Chand v IAAF - The Court of Arbitration for Sport has suspended the “IAAF Regulation Governing Eligibility of Females with Hyperandrogenism to Compete in Women’s Competition” (the “Hyperandrogenism Regulations”). The CAS Panel held that, on the evidence presented to it, it was unable to conclude that female athletes with naturally high levels of testosterone benefit from such a significant performance advantage that it is necessary to exclude them from participating in female athletics events. The CAS Panel granted the IAAF a maximum of two years to adduce further evidence concerning the quantitative relationship between enhanced testosterone levels and improved athletic performance in hyperandrogenic athletes. Should the IAAF not file any scientific evidence within that period, the Hyperandrogenism Regulations will be declared void. Edward Craven served as ad hoc clerk to the CAS Panel. For the judgment please click here.
27/07/15 Andrew Smith's 'A Guide to Training Compensation and Solidarity Payments in Football', published by LawInSport
Andrew Smith has written a comprehensive step-by-step guide on the topic of training compensation and solidarity payments in football. LawInSport.com is a leading online international sports law publication, providing expert commentary and analysis on the latest issues and legal developments in the world of sport. To read Andrew’s guide, please click here.
24/07/15 Supreme Court delivers judgment in Beghal v Director of Public ProsecutionsThe Supreme Court has delivered judgment in Beghal v Director of Public Prosecutions  UKSC 49. A majority of the Court held that the suspicionless powers to stop, detain, search and question under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 are compatible with Articles 5, 6 and 8 of the ECHR. The majority added, however, that detention beyond what is necessary to complete the process of questioning and search must be justified by objectively demonstrated suspicion. The majority also suggested that retention of electronic data for more than a reasonable period for initial inspection would also need to be based on objective suspicion. Lord Kerr gave a dissenting judgment in which he concluded that Schedule 7 powers are incompatible with Articles 5, 6 and 8 and breach the common law privilege against self-incrimination. Matthew Ryder QC and Edward Craven represented the Appellant. Alex Bailin QC represented Liberty (intervening). Dan Squires represented the Equality and Human Rights Commission (intervening).
20/07/15 Right-to-die judgment in the High Court
A man with locked-in syndrome who wants to end his life is seeking to appeal after losing a challenge to General Medical Council guidance discouraging doctors from providing assistance.Find out more.Judgment
17/07/15 High Court declares that key parts of data retention legislation breaches EU law
The High Court has declared that key parts of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Act 2014 breach EU law and must be dissapplied. The DRIP Act empowered the Home Secretary to require communications providers to retain everyone’s communications metadata for up to one year. The court’s judgment made it clear that the DRIP Act failed to include sufficient protections against disproportionate access to that data by public authorities. The effect of the judgment has been suspended until 31 March 2016 to allow the government time to enact compliant replacement legislation. Jessica Simor QC acted for the interveners in this case Open Rights Group and Privacy International, instructed by Deighton Pierce Glynn. Please see below for the judgment.Judgment
16/07/15 Court finds Legal Aid Agency's operation of the Exceptional Case Funding scheme is unlawful
The High Court has today handed down a judgment in a test case which will have profound implications for access to justice. Find out more.
16/07/15 Matrix members involved in over half of the cases listed in 50 Human Rights Cases that Transformed Britain
Matrix members have been privileged to have worked with several outstanding law firms and solicitors in over half (27) of the cases included in a list of ’50 Human Rights Case that Transformed Britain’. The list is a journey through 50 extraordinary human rights cases. The list was published by RightsInfo and was put together by barrister Adam Wagner. RightsInfo use social media to find new ways to talk about and deliver human rights stories and information. Cases that Matrix members have been involved in include issues surrounding the right to die, not imprisoning people without charge, employers respecting religious beliefs, protecting people’s right to protest and prisoner voting rights. For the full list of cases please click here.
14/07/15 Equal Justices Initiative raises concern regarding the Garrick Club's decision to uphold its men only membership
The Equal Justices Initiative (EJI) has expressed concern about the decision by the Garrick Club to continue with its men only stance on membership. The Garrick Club is a private gentleman’s club founded in 1831, where it is estimated that 25 per cent of the senior judiciary and a number of senior legal practitioners hold membership. Members here can socialise and network to support their own professional aspirations, an opportunity that women are denied. In a profession that struggles with equality and diversity, the EJI has called upon any lawyers who are members to commit publicly to bringing about equality and diversity at all levels of the legal profession, and to push these aims forward in the Garrick Club or to distance themselves from the message sent by the vote last week by renouncing their membership until the position changes. Karon Monaghan QC is a member of the executive committee of the EJI.
13/07/15 Matrix members welcome CBA decision to ballot
The members of the criminal team at Matrix Chambers support solicitors in their opposition to the 8.75% cut to solicitors’ litigator fees implemented on 1 July 2015. The team welcomes the decision of the Criminal Bar Association to ballot its members on taking further action. Members will carefully consider their position, in coordination with our solicitor colleagues, following publication of the results of the ballot, which will close on 14 July 2015. Pending the ballot and further consultation, each member of the criminal team has considered his/her individual stance and informed the practice staff that they will not be accepting instructions with a representation order dated from 1 July 2015.
09/07/15 Coventry City FC owners Sisu win permission to appeal
The owners of Coventry City FC have obtained permission from the Court of Appeal to argue that a long term loan of £14.4m from Coventry City Council to the operator of their home ground in January 2013 was a notifiable State aid measure that was made unlawfully and caused them loss. This is a long running dispute between the Club and Coventry City Council that led the Club to move to Northampton for the 2013/14 season and to now share their home ground with Wasps RFC. Rhodri Thompson QC, Nicholas Gibson and Christopher Brown are instructed by Brown Rudnick LLP to represent the owners in this matter and in a related challenge to a 200 year lease extension granted by the Council in the context of the new contractual arrangements with Wasps.
08/07/15 Ken Macdonald QC to head prestigious prize for political writing
The Orwell Prize has announced that Ken Macdonald QC, Matrix member and Warden of Wadham College, has become Chair of its governing body, the Council of the Orwell Prize. The Orwell Prize is Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing. Each year they award prizes for work which comes closest to George Orwell’s ambition to ‘make political writing into an art’. Ken Macdonald said: “The Orwell Prize is prestigious, it is rigorous, and it means a lot to the writers who win it. It is an extraordinarily good thing to have a prize which recognizes the best political writing, and the Orwell Prize is an important part of the writing landscape and tradition of political writing in the UK.” For further information about Ken’s appointment and The Orwell Prize please click here.
08/07/15 Supreme Court allows appeal and determines residence of young man with learning disabilities
The Supreme Court has allowed the appeal by a majority of 4-1 and determined the ordinary residence of a young man with learning disabilities ‘PH’ at the relevant time was to be Wiltshire. Find out more.
03/07/15 Judgment given by Commercial Court on application to dismiss Tchenguiz claims
Vincent Tchenguiz and other claimants alleged that the individual defendants in this case had pursued a malicious prosecution of them, had conspired to injure them by unlawful means and maliciously procured arrest and search warrants and execution of the same against them. Two of the defendants (Kaupthing Bank HF & Jóhannes Rúnar Jóhannsson) brought an application pursuant to CPR 11 seeking dismissal or a stay of the proceedings brought against them on two independent grounds of insolvency and jurisdiction. The court ruled that the claim against Kaupthing Bank could not continue in England due to Icelandic law. However the claims against Jóhannes Jóhannsson, a member of Kaupthing’s winding-up committee; accountants Grant Thornton and two of its partners - Stephen Akers and Hossein Hamedani - can continue in Britain, the court ruled. Samantha Knights was involved in this case.
01/07/15 Matrix shortlisted in two categories for the Halsbury Legal Awards 2015
Matrix is delighted to have been shortlisted in two categories for the Halsbury Legal Awards 2015 in a ceremony to be held on 16 September. We appear in the Award for Business Development and Award for Diversity and Inclusion categories. Matrix has previously won the 'Chambers of the Year' at the 2014 Awards, and currently holds 'Chambers of the Year' at The Lawyer Awards 2015, the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2014, the Modern Law Awards 2014 and the BSN Diversity Legal Awards 2014. The full shortlist for all categories can be found on the Halsbury Legal Awards website.
30/06/15 Landmark ruling by ECHR Grand Chamber for Azerbaijani refugees displaced during the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh
The European Court of Human Rights has delivered a Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Chiragov and Others v Armenia in a long-running case in which Michelle Butler represented the applicants (led by Mark Muller QC of Doughty Street Chambers). The Court held that there were continuing violations of the applicants' rights under Articles 1, 8 and 13 of the Convention, relating to their inability to return to their homes and property following their displacement as a result of the conflict in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The area in question is controlled by Armenia. The judgment will have a significant impact on the hundreds of thousands of Armenians and Azerbaijanis who have been internally displaced or have become refugees because of this conflict, for whom there are several thousand cases pending, as well as having wider implications for others displaced or made refugees by conflict across Europe. To read the ECHR press release please click here.
26/06/15 Karon Monaghan QC celebrated as a legal hero for Pride in London
The annual Pride Parade in London, which sees hundreds of thousands of people celebrate LGBT diversity, takes place on Saturday 27 June. Legal professionals including representatives from the Law Society, the Bar Council, the Junior Lawyers Division (JLD), the Bar Lesbian and Gay Group and the Interlaw Diversity Forum will march under the 'Equality under the law' banner. The legal march will be led by Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon. This year as part of the Pride celebrations the Law Society is highlighting members of the profession who are working or have worked extremely hard on promoting LGBT rights and seeking justice for LGBT people including Karon Monaghan QC. For further information and the full list of nominees please click here.
26/06/15 Mathew Purchase appointed to the A panel and Claire Darwin to the B panel of the Attorney General's Panels of Junior Counsel
Matrix is delighted to announce that, effective from 1 September 2015, Mathew Purchase will move from the B panel to the A panel and Claire Darwin will move from the C panel to the B panel of the Attorney General’s Panels of Junior Counsel to the Crown. The appointments will last for a period of five years.
26/06/15 Rwandan intelligence chief, Karenzi Karake, fights extradition to Spain
Rwandan intelligence chief, Emmanuel Karenzi Karake, was arrested at Heathrow last weekend under an European arrest warrant following a six-day visit to London. He will now fight an extradition request from Spain over allegations of genocide and terrorism. Karake is among 40 people sought on the orders of a Spanish judge in respect of the events that followed the 1991-1994 Rwandan genocide, and by which the RPF government of Rwanda is alleged to be a 'terrorist organisation'. Karake was granted bail on Thursday pending a full extradition hearing. Mark Summers QC is representing Gen. Karake. Aaron Watkins is representing the Spanish government. For coverage from The Guardian please click here.
24/06/15 Ecotricity settles with Tesla out of court in electric vehicle chargers dispute
Rhodri Thompson QC and Nicholas Gibson have been acting as specialist competition counsel for the claimants in Ecotricity Group Ltd & The Electric Highway Company Ltd v Tesla Motors Inc & Tesla Motors Netherlands BV. Green energy supplier Ecotricity filed for an injunction against Tesla at the High Court in May 2014, alleging that Tesla was seeking to procure that operators of motorway service stations break their exclusive contracts with Ecotricity to supply charging services for electric vehicles. In its counterclaim, Tesla challenged on competition law grounds the exclusivity of Ecotricity’s electric vehicle charging network at motorway service stations. The case was set to apply competition law to exclusive agreements for the use of land with important implications for the growing market for electric vehicles as well, and was highlighted by The Lawyer as one of the ‘Top 20 cases of 2015’. An out of court settlement has now been reached between the parties, the terms of which are confidential.
24/06/15 Matrix wins Chambers of the Year at The Lawyer Awards 2015
Last night Matrix was awarded ‘Chambers of the Year’ at The Lawyer Awards 2015 in London. The Lawyer Awards, now in their 21st year, are established as the leading awards initiative within the legal industry. Judges said Matrix “stands out, over and above its competitors”, praising it’s phenomenal list of cases and stellar cast of silk appointments. Matrix currently holds the title of ‘Chambers of the Year’ at the Chambers UK Bar Awards 2014, Halsbury’s Legal Awards 2014, The Modern Law Awards 2014 and the BSN Diversity Legal Awards 2014.
22/06/15 IPT finds that GCHQ intercepted communications of Human Rights NGOs and acted unlawfully
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) has ruled that intelligence services acted unlawfully in the way that they handled intercepted private communications of two human rights organisations (the South African Legal Resources Centre and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights). Find out more.
22/06/15 Supreme Court to hear test case on immigrants who are ineligible for student loan
This Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear a test case over the rules that exclude persons with limited leave to remain in the UK from eligibility for a student loan, even if they have been in the UK since childhood and are irremovable due to their Article 8 private life rights. The test case could change the rules for hundreds of schoolchildren who sit A-levels and expect to go to University with their peers only to find that they are not entitled to a university loan due to their immigration status. Helen Mountfield QC and Raj Desai, instructed by Public Interest Lawyers, are acting for the Appellant and Karon Monaghan QC, Sarah Hannett and Nick Armstrong are acting for Just for Kids Law.
15/06/15 Renowned Public International Lawyers Professor Sean D. Murphy and Professor Christian J. Tams join Matrix
Matrix is pleased to announce that Professor Sean D. Murphy, Patricia Roberts Harris Research Professor of Law at George Washington University, Washington, DC, and Professor Christian J. Tams, International Law Chair at the University of Glasgow will join us as associate members with immediate effect.Find out more.
12/06/15 De Menezes Legal Battle is taken to the European Court of Human Rights
The family of Jean Charles de Menezes took their case to the European Court of Human Rights. Mr de Menezes was mistaken for a terror suspect and shot dead by Metropolitan Police officers at Stockwell tube station. Mr de Menezes’ family challenged a decision not to prosecute any individual for murder. They argued that the assessment used to make this decision was incompatible with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers the right to life. Hugh Southey QC was instructed by Marcia Willis Stewart at Birnberg Peirce on behalf of the family of Mr de Menezes. Clare Montgomery QC acted for the British Government. Alex Bailin QC acted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
09/06/15 High Court to hear challenge to Government's legal aid Exceptional Case Funding scheme
Tomorrow (Wednesday 10 June) the High Court will begin hearing a judicial review that will have far reaching implications for the ongoing implementation of the Government’s legal aid cuts. The Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) scheme was set up by the government as a safety net to ensure that the legal aid cuts did not breach the Human Rights Act or EU law rights, by providing legal aid for vulnerable and incapacitated individuals who cannot represent themselves, need a lawyer and would otherwise be denied access to justice. The claimant in this case, a vulnerable individual represented through the Official Solicitor, argues that the operation of the scheme by the Lord Chancellor and the Legal Aid Agency is unlawful in that it obstructs the purpose of the legislation to provide legal aid funding to those that need it. Richard Hermer QC and Chris Buttler of Matrix Chambers are instructed by Public Law Project to represent the claimant. For further information please click here.
05/06/15 Karon Monaghan QC appointed to executive committee of the Equal Justices Initiative
Matrix are pleased to announce that Karon Monaghan QC will be joining the executive committee of The Equal Justices Initiative (EJI). The EJI serves as a forum for bringing together academics, practitioners, judges and policy-makers to work towards gender parity on the bench. Their main aim is to promote the equal participation of men and women in the judiciary in England and Wales by 2015. For further information about the EJI please click here.
04/06/15 Hooded men win first stage of legal battle to have torture case investigated
A group of men that say they were tortured in Northern Ireland have been granted leave to seek judicial review at the High Court in Belfast today. Fourteen men said that they were interned and subject to torture techniques after being held in Northern Ireland without trial in 1971. The men are calling on the chief constable, the secretary of state and the Department of Justice to account for alleged failures to order a full inquiry. Hugh Southey QC and Blinne Ní Ghrálaigh have been involved in this case. For coverage from the BBC please click here.
02/06/15 Jessica Simor QC with Lord Hope and others on BBC Radio 4's Unreliable Evidence
Jessica Simor QC appeared alongside Lord Hope and others on the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Unreliable evidence’ on Saturday 23 May talking about the military, combat immunity and human rights. To listen to the programme please click here.
27/05/15 Shortlist announced for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards 2015
The shortlist of this year’s finalists in this year’s Legal Aid Practitioners Group ‘Legal Aid Lawyers of the Year Awards’ has been announced. Matrix Legal Aid Link is delighted to be sponsoring the ‘Outstanding Achievement’ award. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in central London on 1 July 2015. For more information about LAPG and the awards please click here. For a full list of the finalists please click here.
20/05/15 Supreme Court overturns injunction to prevent publication of autobiography
The Supreme Court has unanimously overturned an injunction that prevented a well-known musician, James Rhodes, from publishing an autobiography describing his experience as a victim of serious childhood sexual abuse. The Court of Appeal had banned the publication under the obscure “Wilkinson v Downton tort” on the basis that “vividly descriptive” passages within the book were likely to cause the author’s son psychological harm if he came across them online. The Supreme Court ruled that this approach was wrong in principle. The Supreme Court held that the right to publish true autobiographical information was justification in itself, and that an injunction restraining “graphic description” rather than specific information was unsustainable. Hugh Tomlinson QC, Sara Mansoori and Edward Craven represented the Appellant, James Rhodes. Antony White QC represented the publisher of the book, Canongate Books Ltd.
15/05/15 Neglect finding in highly critical inquest verdict into restraint death
Kingsley Burrell, a 29 year old Black man from Birmingham, died on 31 March 2011 following a prolonged and brutal restraint by police and a failure by medical staff to provide basic medical care. The 6 week inquest into his death has concluded with a verdict of neglect, amidst a raft of critical findings including that that police officers lied about the circumstances in which Kingsley was left in seclusion, and that unreasonable force by police contributed to the death. Karon Monaghan QC was involved in this case. For the press release please click here.
12/05/15 Court of Appeal holds public law issues not for Court of Protection
The appellant suffered from profound disabilities and lacked the capacity to make relevant decisions for himself. When he turned 19 a clinical commissioning group (ACCG) took over responsibility from the local authority for the funding of the appellant’s care. The appellant’s parents contended that ACCG ought to facilitate contact with the appellant in their home. The Court of Protection held that it was not possible to facilitate contact in the parents’ home and that the Court ought not to embark upon a best-interests analysis of contact at the parents’ home as a hypothetical possibility. The parents appealed and the Court of Appeal held that the Court of Protection did not have the power to obtain resources or facilities from a third party and it ought not to embark on an analysis on a hypothetical possibility. Hugh Southey QC was involved in this case. For the judgment please click here.
12/05/15 Unlawful killing verdict in inquest into death of Paul McGuigan
An inquest has ruled that Paul McGuigan who was shot dead in Iraq in 2009 was unlawfully killed. Paul McGuigan was one of two shot dead in 2009 in Baghdad by Danny Fitzsimons when hired for close protection duties in Iraq. A third guard, an Iraqi, was also shot but survived. Fitzsimons is currently serving a 20 year sentence in Iraq after being convicted of murder. The coroner described Fitzsimons as a “highly manipulative individual” who provided forged information to his employers. However, G4S had failed properly to vet him, having not obtained a CRB check, military discharge documentation, and proper reference.
The case threw a rare spotlight on the private security industry, and the way in which it had operated in the aftermath of the Iraq war. The coroner also found that Fitzsimons had not been properly managed by the probation service, including in its approach to ex-service personnel, and its understanding of security work. Nick Armstrong instructed by Sarah Ricca and Christina Juman of Deighton Pierce Glynn is representing Mr McGuigan’s mother in the inquest. For coverage from the BBC please click here.
07/05/15 Retired vicar wins case highlighting inaccuracy of unpaid council tax enforcement costs
Reverend Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty has won his test case in the High Court after complaining that magistrates ruling on allegations of council tax non-payment were failing to check the accuracy of costs bills. He claimed that sums were being wrongly added to legal costs bills and were a penalty unfairly imposed on the poor. Mr Nicolson deliberately refused to pay his tax to Haringey Council as he suspected the costs were inaccurate. The High Court said that it was the duty of the magistrates to ensure that they were satisfied that the orders made only included costs reasonably incurred in obtaining the liability order. The Tottenham magistrates did not have the “relevant information” before them when making a costs order and so it as unlawful. Mrs Justice Andrews said that case was of “significant public interest”. Helen Mountfield QC and Eloise Le Santo acted for Reverend Nicolson through the Bar Pro Bono Unit. For coverage from the BBC please click here.
06/05/15 Employment Appeal Tribunal decision on Rule 12 of the new Employment Tribunals Rules
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has today handed down its first decision on Rule 12 of the new Employment Tribunals Rules of Procedure 2013. Rule 12 requires an Employment Judge to reject a claim before it is sent to a Respondent if it contains certain substantive defects. Claire Darwin appeared for both Respondents. Please see the judgment below. Judgment
06/05/15 New guidelines published for reporting restrictions in the criminal courts
A fourth updated set of guidelines on open justice and reporting restrictions in the criminal courts is published today by the Judicial College, News Media Association (NMA), Society of Editors and the Media Lawyers Association. The new edition covers the new reporting restrictions applying to under 18 year olds, which came into force earlier this month, the Female Genital Mutilation anonymity provisions which come into force next month and other changes relevant to reporting the work of the criminal courts. The joint guidelines have been revised by a specialist media barrister, Guy Vassall-Adams, following previous discussions between the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, the Society of Editors, the News Media Association and the Media Lawyers Association and is available on their websites at www.judiciary.gov.uk, www.societyofeditors.co.uk and www.newsmediauk.org.
30/04/15 GCHQ ordered to destroy legally privileged communications
The Government has failed in its attempt to avoid a determination in a case where it has conceded that its system in relation to intercepting privileged material was unlawful and where interception was found to have occurred. Find out more.
14/04/15 Matrix supports 'Legal Aid Team!' film
Yesterday, an animated superhero adventure film pitting three audacious lawyers against the justice minister, Chris Grayling was released. This satirical take on the government cuts to legal aid features the voices of Joanna Lumley, Simon Callow and Sally Hawkins and aims to safeguard legal aid from government cuts. To view the film on the Guardian website please click here.
08/04/15 G4S former boss accepts systemic failures in vetting procedures that led to murder
A former CEO of security multinational G4S has accepted that systemic failings in its vetting procedure led to the murder of two of its security guards by another in Iraq. Paul McGuigan was one of two shot dead in 2009 in Baghdad by Danny Fitzsimons when hired for protection duties in Iraq. A third guard, an Iraqi, was also shot but survived. Fitzsimons is currently serving a 20 year sentence in Iraq after being convicted of murder. An inquest has now heard that in addition to the failures in respect of Fitzsimons (which included failures to obtain a CRB check, failures to obtain references or a military discharge documentation, and failures to identify a career history that involved sackings from other security companies), an audit of 527 expat recruitment files revealed that 58% failed to meet basic vetting standards, including 44% without CRB checks. Nick Armstrong instructed by Sarah Ricca and Christina Juman of Deighton Pierce Glynn is representing Mr McGuigan’s mother in the inquest. For coverage from Channel 4 please click here.
01/04/15 Rhodri Thompson QC and Andrew Smith instructed by UEFA and FIFPro in Complaint against Third Party Ownership in football
UEFA and FIFPro have today formally launched a Complaint with the European Commission questioning the legality of Third Party Ownership (“TPO”). The Complaint sets out why the practice of TPO is said to contravene fundamental principles of European law, is harmful to the interests of players, clubs and fans, and undermines the standing and integrity of the game. Rhodri Thompson QC and Andrew Smith are involved in this matter. FIFPro Press ReleaseUEFA Press Release
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Letter
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
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.