Menu My portfolio: 0

Matrix Judgments & Commentary

Matrix’s Legal Support Service produce summaries of cases that Matrix members are involved in, which you can find below. You can browse these through the search function on the right.

EAT gives guidance on when parties might be permitted to make an audio recording of proceedings

Heal v The Chancellor, Master and Scholars of the University of Oxford & Ors UKEAT/0070/19/DA

The claimant indicated that he had a disability in his ET1 and requested some adjustments including permission to use a recording device as he said his conditions made it difficult for him to take contemporaneous notes. The employment tribunal indicated that the application should be at a Preliminary Hearing. The claimant appealed on the grounds […]

Court of Appeal confirms that Universal Credit transitional scheme is discriminatory against the severely disabled

R (TP, AR & SXC) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] EWCA Civ 37

The Master of the Rolls, and Singh and Rose LJJ today handed down judgment in the joined appeals of TP, AR & SXC v SSWP.

The Court unanimously dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeals against two High Court judgments (Lewis J in [2018] EWHC 1474 (Admin) and Swift J in [2019] EWHC 1116 (Admin)), upholding the findings of both High Court judges to the effect that the Universal Credit transitional provisions constitute discrimination under ECHR, art 14 (read with A1P1) in respect of “severely disabled persons” i.e. people who had previously been entitled to receive the Severe Disability Premium in Legacy Benefits.

TP, AR and SXC were all individuals who lost c £180 per month when they were moved onto Universal Credit, because of the absence of transitional protection for them despite their severe disabilities. After Lewis J’s judgment in which he found that the scheme discriminated against severely disabled people who moved local authorities and had to claim UC, the SSWP introduced new regulations which proposed to pay that cohort £80 in transitional payments (rather than the £180 they lost on moving to UC), but Swift J held that those regulations were also discriminatory under ECHR, Article 14 and quashed them.

The Court of Appeal upheld both decisions.

High court determines ‘Taming of the Screw’ article to mean claimant committed serious misconduct as a prison officer

Hamilton v News Group Newspapers Ltd [2020] EWHC 59 (QB)

This case involved the determination of meaning as a preliminary issue for a libel claim. The claimant was, for a period of months in 2017, a prison officer at Her Majesty’s Prison, Wandsworth. She brings an action for libel and misuse of private information against the publisher of The Sun newspaper in respect of an article published in the print edition of The Sun for 28 February 2018 under the heading, “Taming of the Screw – Jail officer quits after lag ‘fling’”, and a similar online article.

Held: The central, natural and ordinary meaning of each article, in my judgment, is this: “the Claimant committed serious misconduct in her role as a prison officer by engaging in an emotional and physical relationship with an inmate.

High Court declines to hear Bitcoin libel claim due to pending proceedings abroad

Wright v Granath [2020] EWHC 51

In a judgment handed down on 16 January 2020, the High Court has declined jurisdiction over a libel claim arising from the disputed identity of “Satoshi Nakamoto”, the pseudonym used by the founder of digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin.

Applying Article 27 of the Lugano Convention (which regulates jurisdiction over civil cases as between EU member states and EFTA states), the Court judged that proceedings issued in Norway by the English defendant before the English proceedings began involved the same cause of action. As such Article 27 required that the English court took the proceedings no further. The judgment offers guidance as to the application of international jurisdiction rules in the context of libel claims.

Court finds breaches of rights of former Yukos executives over second trial and also rejects several complaints

Khodorkovskiy and Lebedev v Russia (No 2) (Applications nos. 51111/07 and 42757/07)

This case concerned the second trial of former executives of the Yukos oil company, Mikhail Khodorkovskiy and Platon Lebedev. During the trial, the judges refused to call several witnesses for the defence and rejected requests for finance and oil market specialists to come and testify in the applicants’ favour on the expert reports which had been part of the prosecution case. The applicants complained under Article 6 (right to a fair trial), mentioning the trial court judge’s lack of impartiality and independence, a lack of confidential contact with their lawyers; the taking and examination of evidence; and a breach of the presumption of innocence. They also complained under Articles 7, 8 and Article 4 of Protocol No 7.

The Court held unanimously that there had been breaches of the applicants’ right to a fair trial under Article 6 (1) and Article 6 (3) (c) and (d) of the European Convention on Human Rights because of the trial judge’s refusals to allow the defence to examine prosecution and defence witnesses and to submit important expert or exculpatory evidence. However, the Court unanimously found no violation of Article 6 (1) concerning the independence and impartiality of the trial judge and no violation of Article 6 (2) (presumption of innocence) with regards to comments during the trial made by Vladimir Putin, prime minister at the time.

By five votes to two, the Court held that the applicants had suffered an unforeseeable application of the criminal law to their detriment, in breach of Article 7 (no punishment without law). It unanimously held that there had been a violation of Article 8 (right to private and family life) because of a lack of long-term family visits when the applicants were on remand before the trial. The Court unanimously held that there was no need to examine the applicants’ complaints under Article 18 (limitation on use of restrictions on rights) in conjunction with Articles 6 and 7 and Article 4 of Protocol No. 7 (right not to be tried or punished twice), and, no violation of Article 18 in conjunction with Article 8.