The United Nations’ Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared as unlawful Bahrain’s detention of three relatives of the director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD). Ariane Adam and Vyaj Lovejoy, assisted by Alex Bennie, drafted the submissions to the Working Group for BIRD and Reprieve. In its decision the Working Group confirmed it was “persuaded [they] were deprived of their liberty, interrogated and prosecuted for their family ties with Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, and that these were acts of reprisals.” The Working Group has called for their immediate release and an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations.
Spahiu, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 2604 (28th November 2018)
This case provides important guidance from the Court of Appeal on amending grounds for judicial review in the Upper Tribunal. The then President of the Upper Tribunal, McCloskey J, had reversed a decision of UTJ Chalkley, refusing Mr Spahiu permission to amend his grounds for judicial review. The Secretary of State appealed. Three points in particular are noteworthy.
Firstly, the Court held that grounds for judicial review can be amended, without the need for permission and without incurring any fee, up to the point where they are served on the Respondent. Thereafter, it is necessary to apply for permission to amend and to pay a fee (paragraphs 25–27, 29, 35).
Secondly – and contrary to the submissions on behalf of the Secretary of State – the Court held that an applicant who has been refused permission to amend his grounds may apply to the Upper Tribunal to review that decision. The refusal to amend was a case management direction/decision (it mattered not which term was used) pursuant to Rule 5 of the Upper Tribunal Procedure Rules and jurisdiction to review such a direction/decision was provided by Rule 6(5) of those Rules and section 10 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 (paragraphs 46–52, 56).
Thirdly, as to the merits of the review allowing the amendment (which had challenged a further decision of the Secretary of State made after the issue of judicial review proceedings) the Court stated (paragraph 63)
“In short there is no hard and fast rule. It will usually be better for all parties if judicial review proceedings are not treated as ‘rolling’ or ‘evolving’, and it is generally simpler and more cost-effective for the reviewing court to avoid scrutinising post-decision material. But there will also be a need to maintain a certain procedural flexibility so as to do justice as between the parties.”
There had been not error of law in this regard in the President allowing the amendment on the facts of the case (paragraph 64):
“In my view, this was a case in which the President was entitled to reach the view he did, and to adopt a measure of flexibility. The challenge to the removal directions was based on the respondent’s Article 8 claim. The challenge to the decision to reject his Article 8 claim (the subject of the amendments) was necessarily concerned with the very same claim. This is not a case about supplementary decisions and the like. The claim has always been founded on the same basis. So the President was entitled to conclude that, on the particular facts of this case, fresh proceedings were not necessary such that the application for permission to amend should be granted. Other judges may have reached a different conclusion, but there was no error of law.”
Barnabas Lams, led by Hugh Southey QC, acted for Mr Spahiu.
Christina Warner was credited for her work with the LGBT+ and Spanish-speaking communities on 21st November 2018 at the UK Diversity Legal Awards.
The only individual nominee to be shortlisted in two categories – Lawyer of the Year and Diversity Champion -Christina was praised for her work in encouraging access to the family courts for those who form part of alternative family structures and for her voluntary work with domestic abuse charities. Additionally, Christina was recognised for her contribution to promoting better visibility of the communities and their needs on both a social and legal scale.
The awards celebrate the efforts of legal practitioners and academics in promoting access to justice as well as recognising diversity across the legal profession.
1MCB members have again been ranked as leading barristers in Chambers & Partners and Legal 500.
Legal 500 describes chambers as having ‘a wealth of talented individuals’ providing ‘a very well-rounded employment offering’, and for some it is ‘the first port of call’ for crime and public law work. ‘The barristers are extremely passionate about their work, however “mundane” the case may appear; they do the absolute maximum for the client rather than worrying about their own reputations.’ The clerk’s room, under the leadership of Adam Brosnan (senior criminal clerk) and Sophia Carter (senior civil clerk), ‘strives to provide excellent customer service’. Collectively, the ‘smooth’ and ‘knowledgeable’ clerking team is ‘quick and efficient; always return calls and emails’ and ‘will move counsels’ diaries around at short notice to accommodate the vast majority of requests’.
Both Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners ranked Iain Edwards for his criminal work. Legal 500 ranked Iain in tier 1 and describes him as a ‘composed advocate, his cross-examination is controlled and gentlemanly’. Chambers & Partners says he is a ‘highly regarded practitioner who attracts praise for his deep knowledge of international criminal law’, a ‘very calm and composed advocate, who is incredibly experienced, very knowledgeable on the law and a good strategist’, and ‘his client-handling and research skills are excellent’.
Nick Bano is ranked in the social housing field by Chambers & Partners. His review describes him as an ’emerging talent’ whose ‘thriving practice takes in homelessness appeals, disrepair claims and possession proceedings, among others’. He is described as a ‘wonderful housing lawyer who gives very detailed and full advice and leaves no stone unturned’, and ‘very tenacious, extremely knowledgeable and someone who displays a real passion when dealing with possession matters. Clients feel that Nick is really fighting their corner’.
1MCB congratulates Alex Bennie, who joins us as a tenant on completion of his pupillage. During his pupillage, Alex has been exposed to a wide range of chambers’ practice areas and now looks forward to developing his practice in crime, immigration, housing, community care, education law, employment & discrimination, and prison law.
We also welcome Michael Peters, who practises in crime, actions against the police and coronial law. Michael is dual qualified and joins us from McMillan Williams Solicitors.
Finally, we are pleased to welcome back Shiraz Rustom. Shiraz combines criminal defence with a broad civil litigation practice, and returns to 1MCB following a six year absence.
David Parvin, leading Shakeel Jamil of 33 Bedford Row, successfully defended P, who was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation.
In a four-week trial at Reading Crown Court, the prosecution case was that P had been involved in a cash-for-crash conspiracy involving induced collisions taking place across East Berkshire and South Buckinghamshire. In each case the driver of the suspect car would induce a collision with an innocent member of the public before the fraudsters would submit false claims for personal injury. A total of £1.4 million was paid out by various insurance companies in relation to these claims. If all of the claims had been successful, it is estimated that it would have cost the insurance industry some £7.25 million.
P had been an employee at a car garage that appeared to be buying and selling vehicles that had been used in various induced collisions. The prosecution claimed that P was one of three key individuals linked to some 550 collisions, and sought to link P to the conspiracy by showing that he had images of specific cars and other documents relevant to the fraud on his mobile phone and that he had been in contact with his co-accused by telephone and email. It was claimed that P had offered to help a disgruntled customer by involving the car she had bought in an accident.
P’s defence was that he had no knowledge of any conspiracy to induce collisions and make false insurance claims. He put forward innocent explanations for the images and documents found on his phone and any contact with his co-accused. P was found not guilty by a unanimous verdict. The first and second defendants were convicted and sentenced to nine and three years’ imprisonment respectively.
Raymond Ali successfully defended his client (first on the indictment) who, along with seven others, was charged with possessing class A and class B drugs with intent to supply and possessing criminal property.
The prosecution alleged that the defendant’s premises (a small one-bedroom flat) was a ‘drugs den’ and that he, with the other defendants, used it as a base to package and supply drugs across county lines. Police raided the premises and found an assortment of drugs, together with drug paraphernalia. Some of the defendants tried to throw the drugs out of the premises. Meanwhile, Raymond Ali’s client was found in his bedroom, under the duvet in bed. The police believed that he was trying to hide and pretending to be asleep; his defence was that he had no knowledge of any criminal activity, and was drugged throughout from a concoction called ‘leem’.
The jury returned verdicts after some eight hours of deliberation. Two others were acquitted, three were convicted and the remaining two had pleaded before the trial.
This year’s awards will be expanded beyond the one Bar Pro BonoAward which has been presented to a barrister each year since 1997, in order to recognise the wider contribution barristers and chambers make to providing free legal advice and advocacy to the most vulnerable in society. For further details please see here.
Other judges on the panel include the Bar Pro Bono Unit Founder and President Lord Goldsmith QC, the Lord Chief Justice and Chair of the Bar.
Christina has been shortlisted for the UK Diversity Legal Awards as Lawyer of the Year and Diversity Champion.
As well as regularly volunteering at LGBTQ/I+ and women’s charities, in her practice Christina often represents those who are fleeing domestic abuse. She also represents individuals who form part of alternative family structures, promoting their rights and those of their children as well as better visibility of the community before the family courts. Christina aims to raise awareness of social mobility and access to justice within the family courts, and provides voluntary support and training for charities who are all too often underfunded.
Nick Bano acted in a successful homelessness appeal which concerned a local authority’s decision that ‘temporary’ accommodation was suitable for the applicant even though council had decided that it owed her the ‘main housing duty’ under section 193(2).
In RR v Lewisham (5th July 2018, County Court at Central London (HHJ Parfitt)) the local authority had given the applicant poor-quality temporary accommodation while it made inquiries into whether it owed her a homelessness duty. Lewisham then accepted that it owed her the ‘main housing duty’ but sent a letter notifying her that it had very limited availability, and that she might have to remain in her temporary accommodation for years. Eventually, after an argument at the housing office about the condition of the accommodation, RR handed in her keys.
Lewisham decided that the housing duty had been discharged because RR had left, and because the temporary accommodation had been suitable. RR appealed, arguing that there is no such thing in law as ‘temporary section 193 accommodation’, and that the suitability of the accommodation should have been judged by reference to a higher standard (whether it had been suitable as a performance of the open-ended main housing duty).
HHJ Parfitt ruled that there is no separate class of ‘temporary section 193’ accommodation. Any accommodation provided under section 193 must be suitable as a performance of the main housing duty. However, the court ruled that there was some ‘flex’ in the question of suitability and that local authorities were entitled to take into account the length of time that an applicant would be expected to stay: on the specific facts of the case, the council had not relied on the temporary nature of the accommodation to the extent that the decision was unlawful.
The appeal was allowed on a separate ground: that the reviewing officer had breached section 11 of the Children Act 2004 by failing to have due regard to the best interests of the children when deciding that a journey to school that took 80 minutes each way, via central London during rush hour, with several changes and a 20-minute walk, was reasonable.
Nick was instructed by Centre 70 Advice.
1MCB is launching a new series of webinars, offering solicitors and other litigators the opportunity to complete their CPD hours from the comfort of their own desks.
The first webinar in the series will be ‘mediation’ by Cynthia McFarlane, and will take place on 17th July 2018 at 6pm. For further information, including details of how to sign up, please see our events page.
John Benson QC and Ranjeet Dulay, together with Salma Lalani led by Max Hill QC successfully defended two of three men charged with murder. The prosecution alleged that the deceased was targeted after an argument with the accused the previous day at a family celebration. The case required painstaking scrutiny of CCTV material which captured the presence of the parties before and after the assault in which the deceased was fatally stabbed. A number of the key prosecution witnesses were granted anonymity, which added to the challenges in a complex case.
Ranjeet Dulay said: ‘This was a difficult and sensitive case. To meet the prosecution’s case as to what happened and the motive relied on required very careful analysis of the CCTV material and challenges to witnesses to the events which were said to have provided motive for the attack”.