Blake v Galloway [2004] CA

Tuesday 29 June 2004 at 9:57 pm | In News | Post Comment

[Negligence – duty of care – horseplay – duty only breached by recklessness or high degree of carelessness]
D threw a piece of wood bark at C hitting him in the eye causing serious injury. They were throwing bark and twigs at each other during their lunch break. C and D were members of a jazz quintet (all about 15 years of age). D relied on C’s consent and volenti non fit injuria as defences (to battery and negligence).

Held: Only recklessness or a very high degree of carelessness is sufficient to breach the duty of care owed during horseplay. There is a close analogy between organised sport and horseplay. The absence of formal rules in horseplay is not sufficient distinction, both are consensual, involve physical contact, decision are made quickly or instinctively. C had consented to the risk.

C lost

Nice money, if you can get it

Sunday 27 June 2004 at 2:25 am | In News | Post Comment

Since April, barristers have refused to sign contracts with the Legal Services Commission in very high cost criminal cases (those which last 11-28 days, including murder, drug trafficking, fraud and terrorism cases); they have effectively been on strike.
If the deal had not been reached, defendants would have been released on bail.
The government has agreed to increase defence barristers’ fees under a new scheme (thought to cost £15m). Daily rates will be £600 a day for a QC and £300 a day for a junior barrister putting annual earnings for a QC at £240,000 and a junior barrister £80,000.
This does not mean that all barristers will earn these figures; a newly qualified barrister is only guaranteed £10,000 a year in his/her first year.

Tesco Law – has started – at… Tesco

Monday 21 June 2004 at 10:30 pm | In News | Post Comment

Deregulation of legal services dubbed “Tesco law” appears to have started, by Tesco.

Tesco’s “legal store”, on its Tesco.com website, offers: a DIY separation and divorce kit, a “special offer” at £7.49; flat rental agreement forms for £4.49; and triple clubcard points with its £9.99 last will and testament kit

Adams v Bracknell Forest Borough Council [2004] HL

Monday 21 June 2004 at 9:59 pm | In News | 1 Comment

[Tort – time limit of 3 years applied as C could reasonably have been expected to be curious about his injury, dyslexia does not prevent that]
D, the local authority where C went to school. C was dyslexic but this was not diagnosed and so he received no special teaching. C grew up with limited reading and writing skills and as a result, he suffered psychological problems and was disadvantaged in the employment market. He met an educational psychologist 16 years later, and he was advised he had a cause of action against the authority, so he sued. C claimed that his cause of action would only be time-barred from when he knew he had a case. 

Held: There was no reason why C should not have been curious about his ‘injury’ and he could have consulted his doctor and a solicitor. Therefore, s 11 of the Limitation Act 1980 which sets a time limit of 3 years for actions involving personal injury could not be extended. Phelps v London Borough of Hillingdon [2000] HL and Robinson v St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council [2002] (CA) approved.

C lost

Sorry, more about the barrister on jury service; we can’t resist it.

Wednesday 16 June 2004 at 8:24 pm | In News | Post Comment

We did warn you that the stories about “lawyers on jury service” had a long way to run.
Today, in the magazine “The Lawyer”, it is reported that the QC who was discharged from jury service at the Old Bailey has in fact been discharged three times in the last eight days because he keeps bumping into colleagues.

The QC was summoned to do jury service on 6 April the day after new legislation came into force.

The reasons: “…he practised there {the south Eastern Circuit] on a regular basis…” “he knew too much about the system”. “…he knew the judge.”.    Of course the anonymous juror (all jurors are entitled to anonymity) did not discharge himself, the judges did that.

It appears that the QC was feeling a bit miffed and applied to the Old Bailey’s most senior judge, the Recorder of London Michael Hyam to discharge him from jury service. Judge Hyam refused his application.

Juries: selection – the Will of Parliament

Tuesday 15 June 2004 at 9:35 pm | In News | 4 Comments

15th June:
It has been widely reported in the press that a barrister who is Queen’s Counsel was discharged from jury service in a murder trial at the Old Bailey last week.

Judge George Bathurst-Norman is reported to have ruled that the presence of the “silk” might be prejudicial to the defendant. It was also reported that that the QC told staff that he recognised prosecuting counsel after being sworn in.

The facts are not fully reported, and so much is speculation. We did report on 3rd June that this topic will give us something to talk about during the long holiday.

On the one hand it is clear is that a judge has to ensure a fair trial, on the other hand it seems to us that judges are able to undermine the will of Parliament (Criminal Justice Act 2003). This case may signal the way barristers and judges will wheedle their way our of jury service “I recognise my learned friend for the prosecution”. Barristers are all deemed to know each other and by convention don’t shake hands with each other, so it is almost certain to be true.
In our office, we are taking bets on the certainty that Lord Justice Dyson’s presence in the jury box lasts no more than a few minutes, or even seconds.

Direct access to barristers from next month

Friday 11 June 2004 at 10:02 pm | In News | Post Comment

Barristers are to be allowed to offer their services directly to the public without the need to go through a solicitor. The reform comes into force next month, having been approved by David Lammy, a minister in the Department for Constitutional Affairs. The exact arrangements have not yet been announced, but it is expected that most barristers will still require their clients to be referred by a solicitor.

Driving ban for any offence

Thursday 10 June 2004 at 9:45 pm | In News | Post Comment

Any offence committed after 1997 can result in a driving ban for as long as a court thinks fit. The Home Office Circular bringing the power into force at the beginning of this year gives no indication about how long a disqualification should last, or when it should be used. The Magistrates’ Association and the Justices’ Clerks’ Society have therefore issued their own guidance on how magistrates should use this sentencing power, which basically advises them to use it for vehicle-related crime. This may at first seem good sense, but we think it destroys the purpose of the disqualification; young offenders value the freedom their licence to drive gives them, and it was this point that was thought important by the government.

New name for Court Service

Friday 4 June 2004 at 6:06 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Court Service and independent magistrates courts are to merge into a single executive agency called ‘Her Majesty’s Courts Service’ (HMCS).
HMCS will come into effect from April 2005.
In his Review of the Criminal Justice System in 2001, Sir Robin Auld recommended a “single and nationally funded administrative structure, but one providing significant local autonomy and accountability.”
The Courts Act 2003 makes the necessary statutory changes to allow the creation of HMCS as a new executive agency.

Court of Appeal judge summoned for jury service

Thursday 3 June 2004 at 9:35 pm | In News | Post Comment

3 June 2004: The Telegraph reports that a “leading member of the Court of Appeal” has been summoned for jury service. As members of the House of Lords are not allowed to vote, they do not appear on the electoral roll; as they are not on the roll, they can’t be selected for jury service. So, if this report is true the new system for selecting jurors has gone right to the top of the pile. What will happen? The mind boggles, does the judge have to address the jury as “My Lord (or My Lady) and members of the jury”? Will the defence watch the eyes of the judge to see if he looks at His Lordship more than he looks at other members of the jury? Will the judge be influenced by the expression on His Lordships face? And, what will happen when the judge gets to the bit when he says, “[…] I must now give you directions as to the law which applies in this case. When I do so, you must accept those directions and follow them.” As for what goes on in the jury room, we will never know. I do hope this report is true, the law seldom gives us an opportunity like this to be really silly and to be guaranteed endless jokes and cartoons …. we can’t wait.
News item here

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