01/07/15 Julian Knowles QC in landmark judicial review victory
Julian Knowles QC has scored an important judicial review victory for a firm of solicitors, in R (MRH Solicitors Limited) v. Manchester County Court  EWHC 1795. The High Court held that a county court judge had acted unlawfully in making findings that a firm of solicitors had behaved fraudulently in relation to litigation without giving it an opportunity to be heard. The case is the first time in which the High Court has struck down findings of the County Court in such circumstances. The High Court also held that the judge should recuse himself from future hearings on the case on the grounds of apparent bias. Julian was instructed by Ramona Mehta and Hannah Blom-Cooper of Mishcon de Reya.
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.
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 or 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 email@example.com.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.