Mandamus, prohibition and certiorari abolished.

Friday 23 April 2004 at 10:05 pm | In News | 1 Comment

1st May 2004:  The terms “mandamus”, “prohibition” and “certiorari” are abolished in favour of “mandatory”, “prohibiting” and “quashing” orders. We thought this had already happened, following the Woolfe Reforms; shows how wrong we can be :-)
Brought into effect by Civil Procedure (Modification of Supreme Court Act 1981) Order 2004. SI 2004/1033

The Consumer Complaints Service (CCS) has replaced the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors.

Tuesday 20 April 2004 at 9:01 pm | In News | Post Comment

19th April 2004: The Consumer Complaints Service (CCS) has replaced the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors. The CCS is part of the Law Society.
The CCS deals with complaints about poor service by solicitors and will check to see whether the solicitor’s bill is fair and reasonable (but not if the service involves court proceedings).

It is the reception point for all complaints from the public, but processes only the 10,000 complaints about solicitors’ service received annually.
Professional misconduct by solicitors is dealt with by the Law Society’s Compliance Directorate in its role as a regulator of the solicitors’ profession.

The CCS is monitored by an Independent Commissioner, Sir Stephen Lander, who was appointed in November 2002. His role is to make sure the service works fairly and efficiently. He doesn’t get involved in individual complaints.

ADR: Conciliation

Tuesday 13 April 2004 at 11:38 am | In News | Post Comment

The Family Division conciliation scheme is to be extended.
Conciliation in respect of children’s’ residence, contact, specific issue or prohibited steps orders, change of surname (and a few others) will be subject to this procedure.

The meeting will comprise the district judge, an officer of the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS), both parties and legal advisers, and affected children. The purpose of the meeting is for the parties to reach an agreement.

Role of judges.

Friday 9 April 2004 at 1:59 pm | In News | Post Comment

In October 2004, a committee of 9 Law Lords will decide whether the detention of foreign terror suspects without trial is lawful. The House of Lords Judicial Committee has only once before comprised 9 judges.

Sentencing; record fine

Tuesday 6 April 2004 at 6:24 pm | In News | Post Comment

5th April 2004
Thames Trains were fined a record £2million for the collision at Ladbroke Grove. The fine followed a one-day sentence hearing at the Old Bailey, where the judge also awarded costs of £75,000 in addition to the fine.

On 5 October 1999 a Thames Trains Turbo passenger train passed signal 109 at red shortly after leaving Paddington station. The Turbo collided head on with a First Great Western high-speed train that was approaching Paddington station. Fire broke out immediately following the collision. 31 people died, including both train drivers, and many more suffered serious injuries.

The maximum sentence in a Crown Court for a single offence is an unlimited fine.

Those parts of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which increase the pool of potential jurors, came into effect today.

Monday 5 April 2004 at 4:48 pm | In News | Post Comment

All registered electors in England and Wales, except people with a mental illness and those convicted of certain criminal offence, must now serve on a jury if summoned.

Jury service – which usually lasts for up to 10 working days – is compulsory for anyone summoned who is on the electoral register, between the ages of 18 and 70 and has lived in the UK, Channel Islands or Isle of Man for a continuous period of at least 5 years since the age of 13.

1. Compelling reasons why eligible people could defer include: death or illness of a close relative, health reasons, pre-booked holiday, full time serving members of the armed forces where the commanding officer certifies that the person’s absence would be detrimental and religious festivals.
2. Compelling reasons why eligible people could be excused include: insufficient understanding of English, certain care responsibilities and being a member of a religious order or society whose beliefs are incompatible with jury service (evidence must be provided).
3. A juror may appeal against a decision by the Head of the Jury Central Summoning Bureau to refuse an application for excusal but the appeal must be heard by a judge.
4. Section 321 of Schedule 33 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 abolishes the categories of ineligibility and excusal as of right contained in schedule 1 of the Juries Act 1974.
5. The Act also places a statutory duty on the Lord Chancellor to publish guidance about the way in which the Jury Central Summoning Bureau will exercise its function on discretionary deferrals and excusal under sections 9 and 9A of the 1974 Act.
6. Under the new legislation anyone who does not wish to serve as a juror will be required to show “good reason” why he or she should not serve as summoned. It will then be for the Jury Central Summoning Bureau, taking account of the guidance issued by the Lord Chancellor, to consider whether or not to grant the application for excusal or deferral.

Court Service guidance here

Barber v Somerset County Council [2004] HL

Saturday 3 April 2004 at 3:16 pm | In News | 2 Comments

[Tort – negligence – duty of care – overworked schoolteacher – duty owed when problem known or should have been known]
D the council which employed C a 52 year old schoolteacher as head of mathematics in a comprehensive school. He worked long hours about which he complained of ‘work overload’. Following a period of sickness because he was ‘overstressed/depression’ he suffered a mental breakdown at school.

Held: The school owed C a duty of care, and their breach of that caused the claimant’s nervous breakdown. The employer’s duty to take some action arose when the claimant saw separately each member of the school’s senior management team. It continued so long as nothing was done to help the claimant. The senior management team should have made inquiries about his problems and seen what they could have done to ease them, instead of brushing him off unsympathetically or sympathising but simply telling him to prioritise his work. Stokes v Guest, Keen and Nettlefold (Bolts and Nuts) Ltd [1968] applied.

C won

Whole case here

Gorringe v Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council [2004] HL

Saturday 3 April 2004 at 1:28 pm | In News | Post Comment

[Negligence – duty of care – private duty of care not automatically derived from the shadow of a statutory duty]
D was the local authority responsible under Highways Act 1980 for the maintenance of a country road. C drove too fast towards the crest of a hill and collided with a bus suffering very severe injuries. C argued that D’s failure to paint the word ‘SLOW’ on the road surface constituted a breach of its duty under the Highways Act and the Road Traffic Act 1988. She argued that that the statutory duties cast a common law shadow and created a duty to users of the highway to take reasonable steps in compliance with the duties in the section.

Held: It was not possible to impose upon a local authority a common law duty to act based solely on the existence of a broad public law duty. A common law duty of care could not grow parasitically out of a statutory duty not intended to be owed to individuals. The drivers had to take responsibility for the damage they caused and compulsory third party insurance is intended to ensure that they would be able to do so. In the instant case, where the complaint was that the authority had done nothing, the action had to fail. Stovin v Wise [1996] applied.

C lost
Whole case here

ADR: Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)

Thursday 1 April 2004 at 8:40 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) was introduced today under the Police Reform Act 2002 to replace the Police Complaints Authority and will have a range of powers to ensure an effective new police complaints system. The new commission will:
* have its own investigative teams;
* have increased powers and wider responsibilities;

The system provides for the handling of complaints and internal conduct issues that impact on public confidence.

Web site here.

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