law pages of Bournemouth and Poole College.
Government use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has shot up by 1,200 per cent on the previous year.
The Department of Constitutional Affairs (DCA) report ‘Monitoring the effectiveness of the Government’s commitment to using ADR’ discloses that ADR was used in 617 Government disputes in 2002/2003 “an increase of over 1,200 per cent”. 89 per cent settled without recourse to a hearing.
In June 2003 The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) recommends a revolutionary approach towards clinical negligence claims that would include a no fault, tariff-based compensation scheme, for the NHS. The CMO is attracted by a no fault approach, but has stopped short of this, save for cases involving severely neurologically-impaired babies.
Full report, here
Making amends, here
The significance of this case is that the miscarriage of justice survived for over 30 years.
1970 Patrick Colin Murphy, Michael Graham McMahon and David Cooper were convicted of the murder of Reginald Stevens at Luton during a bungled post office robbery in 1969.
Sequence of appeals:
1971 appeal dismissed by C of A.
1973 the Home Secretary referred the case of Murphy to the C of A who allowed his appeal.
1975 the Home Secretary referred the cases of Cooper and McMahon, but their appeals were dismissed.
1976 a second reference was again dismissed.
1978 the C of A declined to receive fresh evidence tendered by McMahon following a further reference by the Home Secretary.
1980 Cooper and McMahon were released from prison by order of the Home Secretary, because of the “widely felt sense of unease” about the safety of their convictions.
1995 Cooper died.
1999 McMahon died.
2001 the Criminal Cases Review Commission referred their cases to the C of A.
31st July 2003, their appeals were allowed. In part because of a discredited police officer; credibility of witnesses; non-disclosure and disquiet as to what happened to reward money (kept by a corrupt police officer?).
Whole case, here
Restorative Justice – bringing victims and offenders into contact – offers victims in particular, things which traditional justice can’t:
A chance to speak directly to the offender, and tell them the real impact of their offending
A chance to receive an apology
The opportunity to get answers to questions – like ‘why me – why did this happen to me?’
And the opportunity to get reparation from the offender – to themselves, or to the community if that is what they want.
Lord Chancellor’s speech, here
The House of Lords said the growing compensation culture is “evil” after ruling against John Tomlinson who sued Congleton Borough Council after breaking his neck when he dived into a flooded gravel pit in 1995; they said he had been reckless.
There were clear ‘No Swimming’ signs around the pit, but Tomlinson claimed the council should have taken better measures to prevent people from swimming, which they regularly did, ignoring the signs.
They said, “When you invite somebody into your house to use the staircase you do not invite them to slide down the banister.”
They said, “The pursuit of an unrestrained culture of blame and compensation has many evil consequences and one is the interference with the liberty of a citizen.
“There is some risk of accidents arising out of the joie de vivre of the young, but it is no reason to impose a grey and dull safety regime on everyone”.
“It is unjust that the harmless recreation of responsible parents and children with buckets and spades on the beaches should be prohibited in order to comply with what is thought to be a legal duty to safeguard irresponsible visitors.”
“The fact that such people take no notice of warnings cannot create a duty to take steps to protect them.”
The government has made a Pledge to resolve disputes by the use of ADR (unless inappropriate) Departments will provide appropriate clauses in their standard procurement contracts on the use of ADR techniques to settle their disputes.
Cases not suitable for settlement through ADR: intentional wrongdoing, abuse of power, public law, Human Rights and vexatious litigants, where a precedent is needed to clarify the law, or where it would be contrary to the public interest to settle.
Full details here