Categories
Law

Royal Courts of Justice

The Royal Courts of Justice are a grand court building situated in The Strand London England which are located opposite to the Temple Bar Memorial Pillar.

The Royal Courts of Justice serves as the central court of the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal.

His Majesty King Charles III visited the Royal Courts of Justice (RCJ) on the 14th December 2023 for a historic event which celebrated the relationship between the monarchy and the judiciary. The King was met by Lady Carr, Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales (LCJ), who hosted his visit, as well as many judges and magistrates, and Judicial Office and HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) staff.

King Charles III visits the Royal Courts of Justice

About the Royal Courts of Justice

The High Court of Justice in London, known properly as His Majesty’s High Court of Justice in England, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, are the Senior Courts of England and Wales.

Its name is abbreviated as EWHC (England and Wales High Court) for legal citation purposes.

It deals at first instance with all high value and high importance civil law (non-criminal) cases, and also has a supervisory jurisdiction over all subordinate Courts and Tribunals, with a few statutory exceptions.

The High Court consists of 3 divisions: the King’s Bench Division, the Family Division, and the Chancery Division.

The Central London County Court deals with civil cases of varying complexity and value, including disputes between individuals, businesses, and organisations and is one of the largest County Courts in England and Wales. The County Court is located in the Thomas More Building.

History of the Building

The Royal Courts of Justice building, located on The Strand, was designed by architect George Edmund Street and completed in 1882.

Its impressive Victorian Gothic architecture, grandeur and history make it one of the most recognizable landmarks in London, attracting thousands of tourists and legal professionals every year.

The Royal Courts of Justice was built to address the need for a larger, more centralised court system in London. Prior to its construction, there were several different courts throughout the city that were responsible for different types of cases. This led to confusion and inefficiency, and it was decided that a new, purpose-built courthouse was needed.

The building of the Royal Courts of Justice began in 1873 and took nearly a decade to complete. The cost of construction was substantial, with estimates suggesting that it was around £1.2 million, which was a significant sum of money at the time. The building’s design was based on Gothic architecture, which was popular during the Victorian era.

The Royal Courts of Justice was officially opened by Queen Victoria in 1882. Since then, it has played a central role in the British legal system, serving as the site of many significant cases over the years.

The Royal Courts of Justice is a fascinating and impressive court building that is steeped in history. Its grand architecture and impressive design reflect the importance of the legal system in British society, and it is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in law and history.

Visiting the Royal Courts of Justice

If you are planning on visiting the Royal Courts of Justice you should read the Royal Courts of Justice webpage on the Find a Court or Tribunal service.

Court and tribunal hearings in England and Wales usually take place in public. This means you can observe a court or tribunal hearing whether you’re a journalist, academic or member of the public.

The Royal Courts of Justice daily cause list lists all cases for trial in the Royal Courts of Justice and its outlying buildings.

If you are attending any court, it is important to be aware of what you are allowed to bring with you, as well as what is prohibited. The general rules Going through security at a court or tribunal building should be referred to.

Going through security at a court or tribunal building 28th March 2023

Surrender and seizure of articles

(1)If a court security officer acting in the execution of his duty reasonably believes that an article in the possession of a person who is in, or seeking to enter, a court building ought to be surrendered on any of the grounds given in subsection (3), he must ask the person to surrender the article.

(2)If the person refuses to surrender the article, the officer may seize it.

(3)The grounds are that the article—

(a)may jeopardise the maintenance of order in the court building (or a part of it),

(b)may put the safety of any person in the court building at risk, or

(c)may be evidence of, or in relation to, an offence.

Courts Act 2003 Part 4 Section 54

Spoons at the Royal Courts of Justice

The Royal Courts of Justice appear to have different prohibited item rules to other courts as detailed in Version 1.03 of a Ministry of Justice (MoJ) document (with obligatory spelling mistakes) obtained on the 2nd November 2022. This document may have been updated since.

Prohibited Items at the Royal Courts of Justice London

As you will notice, Metal cutlery is prohibited but Spoons are explicitly allowed ! They can clearly be used as weapon. How and why are they allowed ?

Spoon as a Weapon – Fawlty Towers © BBC
Spoon Salesman – Fawlty Towers © BBC

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Categories
Law

R v Sussex Justices

“It is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done”

Lord Hewart

In the case of R v Sussex Justices, Ex parte McCarthy [1924] 1 KB 256, Mr. McCarthy was convicted of dangerous driving by two justices of the peace sitting in petty sessions.

It later emerged that one of the justices had a personal interest in the outcome of the case, as he was the chairman of the local road transport committee and was therefore responsible for road safety in the area.

This raised concerns of bias, as the justice’s involvement in road safety could have influenced his decision-making in the case.

Mr. McCarthy sought to have his conviction quashed on the grounds of bias, and the case eventually reached the King’s Bench Division of the High Court of Justice.

In his judgment made almost 100 years ago, Lord Chief Justice Hewart established the principle that

It is not merely of some importance, but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

Lord Hewart

This principle became known as the rule against bias, and it established that justice must not only be impartial, but must also be seen to be impartial.

In other words, a decision-maker must be free from any personal interest or bias that could affect their judgment, and the appearance of impartiality is just as important as the reality of impartiality.

Nothing is to be done that creates even a suspicion that there has been an improper interference with the course of justice.

Lord Hewart

The significance of the Rex (The King) v Sussex Justices case lies in its establishment of the principle of natural justice and the rule against bias.

The case set an important precedent for future cases, and it remains a cornerstone of the UK legal system to this day.

The case also highlighted the importance of procedural fairness and transparency in the legal system, which ensures that justice is not only done, but is also seen to be done.

COMMON LAWS OF ENGLAND – THE KING v. SUSSEX JUSTICES Ex parte McCARTHY

November 9 1923 [1924] – KINGS BENCH DIVISION

Justices – Possibility of Bias – Justices’ Clerk interested professionally in Civil Proceedings arising out of Subject Matter of Complaint.

Arising out of a collision between a motor vehicle belonging to the applicant and one belonging to W., a summons was taken out by the police against the applicant for having driven his motor vehicle in a manner dangerous to the public. At the hearing of the summons the acting clerk to the justices was a member of the firm of solicitors who were acting for W. in a claim for damages against the applicant for injuries received in the collision. At the conclusion of the evidence the justices retired to consider their decision, the acting clerk retiring with them in case they should desire to be advised on any point of law. The justices convicted the applicant, and it was stated on affidavit that they came to that conclusion without consulting the acting clerk, who in fact abstained from referring to the case:-

  Held: the the conviction must be quashed, as it was improper for the acting clerk, having regard to his firm’s relation to the case, to be present with the justices when they were considering their decision.

RULE NISI for a writ of certiorari to bring up, for the purpose of being quashed, a conviction of McCarthy, the applicant for the rule, for having driven a motor car on a certain highway in a manner which was dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances of the case.

On August 22, 1923, a collision took place between a motor cycle driven by the applicant and a motor cycle and side-car driven by one Whitworth, and it was alleged that the latter and his wife sustained injuries in the collision. In respect of those injuries Messrs. Langham, Son & Douglas, solicitors, Hastings, by a letter dated August 28, 1923, made a claim on behalf of Whitworth against the applicant for damages, and the police, after making inquiries into the circumstances of the collision, applied for and obtained a summons against the applicant for driving his motor cycle in a manner dangerous to the public.

At the hearing of that summons on September 22, 1923, the applicant’s solicitor, who stated in his affidavit that he had no knowledge of the officials of the court, inquired whether Mr. F. G. Langham, the clerk to the justices and a member of the said firm of Langham, Son & Douglas, was then sitting as a clerk, and was informed that he was not, but had been appointed a deputy for that day.

The case was then heard, and at the conclusion of the evidence the justices retired to consider their decision, the deputy clerk retiring with them. When the justices returned into the court they intimated that they had decided to convict the applicant, and they imposed a fine of 10 shillings and costs.

Thereupon the applicant’s solicitor brought to the notice of the justices the fact, of which he said he had only become aware when the justices retired, that the deputy clerk was a brother of Mr. F, G. Langham, Son & Douglas, and so was interested as solicitor for Whitworth in the civil proceedings arising out of the collision in respect of which they had convicted the applicant.

The solicitor in his affidavit stated that had he known the above facts he would have taken the objection before the case began. This rule was thereafter obtained on the ground that it was irregular for the deputy clerk in the circumstances to retire with the justices when considering their decision.

In their affidavit the justices stated that the clerk to the justices, Mr F. G. Langham, was on holiday at the date of the hearing and had no knowledge of the proceeding, that in his absence his brother and partner Mr F. G. Langham acted as his deputy, that no formal objection was taken to the latter acting, that at the conclusion of the evidence the justices retired, the deputy clerk retiring with them in the usual way, taking with him the notes of the evidence in case they should be required, or in case the justices should desire to be advised upon any point of law, that in fact the justices came to their decision to convict the applicant without consulting the deputy clerk, who scrupulously abstained from referring to the case, and that the justices were not in any way biased by the fact that a member of the deputy clerk’s firm had written the said letter before action.

The justices added that it appeared to them that the applicant’s solicitor must have had knowledge of the deputy clerk’s connection with the firm of Langham, Son & Douglas, and that he waived any formal objection; and that is a formal objection has been taken at the commencement of the proceedings the justices would have followed their usual course in such circumstances by adjourning the hearing and requesting the clerk to arrange with one of his colleagues from a neighbouring division to act at the adjourned hearing.

Russell Davies for the justices showed cause. However undesirable it may have been in the circumstances for the deputy clerk to retire with the justices when they were considering their decision, the fact that he did so does not invalidate the conviction, seeing that he took no part in the justices’ deliberations.

[LORD HEWART C.J. In a recent unreported case,* this Court quashed a conviction where the chief constable, who was then prosecuting, retired with the justices]

There it was not the duty of the chief constable to retire with the justices; here it was the duty of the deputy clerk to do so in case the justices should desire to consult him upon any point of law. If, however, there was any irregularity in the proceedings, the applicant, through his solicitor; must be taken to have waived it.

*[He referred to Regina v Brakenridge (1) (1884) 48 J.P. 203]

W. T. Moncton for the superintendent of police, who had been served with the rule. H. D. Samuels in support of the rule was not called upon.

LORD HEWART C.J. stated the grounds of the rule and continued: It is clear that the deputy clerk was a member of the firm of solicitors engaged in the conduct of the proceedings for damages against the applicant in respect of the same collision as that which gave rise to the charge that the justices were considering. It is said, and, no doubt, truly, that when the gentleman retired in the usual way with the justices, taking with him the notes of the evidence in case the justices might desire to consult him, the justices came to a conclusion without consulting him, and that he scrupulously abstained from referring to the case in any way.

But while that is so, a long line of cases shows that it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.

The question therefore is not whether in this case the deputy clerk made an observation of offered any criticism where he might not properly have made or offered; the question is whether he was so related to the case in its civil aspect as to be unfit to act as clerk to the justices in the criminal matter.

The answer to that question depends not upon what actually was done but upon what might appear to be done. Nothing is to be done that creates even a suspicion that there has been an improper interference with the course of justice.

Speaking for myself, I accept that statements contained in the justices’ affidavit, but they show very clearly that the deputy clerk was connected with the case in a capacity which made it right that he should scrupulously abstain from referring to the matter in any way, although he retired with the justices; in other words, his one position was such that he could not, if he had been required to do so, discharge the duties which his other position involved. His twofold position was a manifest contradiction.

In those circumstances I am satisfied that this conviction must be quashed, unless it can be shown that the applicant or his solicitor was aware of the point that might be taken, refrained from taking it, and took his chance of an acquittal on the facts, and then, on a conviction being recorded, decided to take the point. On the facts I am satisfied that being no waiver of the irregularity, and, that being so, the rule must be made absolute and the conviction quashed.

LUSH J. I agree. It must be clearly understood that if justices allow their clerk to be present at their consultation when either he of his firm is professionally engaged in those proceedings or in other proceedings involving the same subject matter, it is irrelevant to inquire whether the clerk did or did not give advice and influence the justices.

What is objectionable is his presence at the consultation, when he is in a position necessarily make in impossible for him to give absolutely impartial advice. I have no doubt that these justices did not intend to do anything irregular or wrong, but they have placed themselves in an impossible position by allowing the clerk in those circumstances to retire with them into their consultation room. The result, there being no waiver, is that the conviction must be quashed.

SANKEY J. I agree.

Rule absolute; conviction quashed.

Solicitors for the applicant: W. C. Crocker

Solicitors for justices: Pettitt & Ramsey, for Langham Son & Douglas, Hastings.

Solicitors for police superintendent: Taylor, Willcocks & Co., for Lawson Lewis, Eastbourne.

J.S.H.

Check out our articles on Rule of Law, Litigants in Person, Horsham County CourtHHJ FarquharHHJ Bedford and the highly dubious Sussex Family Justice Board.

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Categories
Legal Analysis

What is Section 35 ABCP Act 2014 ?

Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 grants police officers the power to direct a person to leave a specified area for up to 48 hours if certain conditions are met.

The Met Police were recently criticised for their use of Section 35 powers to arrest Tommy Robinson who was attending a march against antisemitism in London whilst working as a journalist.


(1) If the conditions in subsections (2) and (3) are met and an authorisation is in force under section 34, a constable in uniform may direct a person who is in a public place in the locality specified in the authorisation—

(a) to leave the locality (or part of the locality), and

(b) not to return to the locality (or part of the locality) for the period specified in the direction (“the exclusion period”).

(2) The first condition is that the constable has reasonable grounds to suspect that the behaviour of the person in the locality has contributed or is likely to contribute to—

(a) members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or

(b) the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder.

(3) The second condition is that the constable considers that giving a direction to the person is necessary for the purpose of removing or reducing the likelihood of the events mentioned in subsection (2)(a) or (b).

(4) The exclusion period may not exceed 48 hours.

The period may expire after (as long as it begins during) the period specified in the authorisation under section 34.

(5) A direction under this section—

(a) must be given in writing, unless that is not reasonably practicable;

(b) must specify the area to which it relates;

(c) may impose requirements as to the time by which the person must leave the area and the manner in which the person must do so (including the route).

(6) The constable must (unless it is not reasonably practicable) tell the person to whom the direction is given that failing without reasonable excuse to comply with the direction is an offence.

(7) If the constable reasonably believes that the person to whom the direction is given is under the age of 16, the constable may remove the person to a place where the person lives or a place of safety.

(8) Any constable may withdraw or vary a direction under this section; but a variation must not extend the duration of a direction beyond 48 hours from when it was first given.

(9) Notice of a withdrawal or variation of a direction—

(a) must be given to the person to whom the direction was given, unless that is not reasonably practicable, and

(b) if given, must be given in writing unless that is not reasonably practicable.

(10) In this section “public place” means a place to which at the material time the public or a section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission.

(11) In this Part “exclusion period” has the meaning given by subsection (1)(b).

Directions excluding a person from an area Section 35 ABCP Act 2014

These conditions include the officer having reasonable grounds to suspect that the person’s behaviour has contributed or is likely to contribute to members of the public being harassed, alarmed, or distressed, or to the occurrence of crime or disorder in the area.

The direction must be given in writing (unless impractical), specify the area, and may include requirements on the time and manner of departure, including the route. Failing to comply with the direction is an offence.

The power can be exercised by a Police Constable or a Police Community Support Officer. and must be authorised by a police officer of at least the rank of inspector. Section 34 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 details the Authorisations to use powers under section 35.

(1) A police officer of at least the rank of inspector may authorise the use in a specified locality, during a specified period of not more than 48 hours, of the powers given by section 35.

“Specified” means specified in the authorisation.

(2) An officer may give such an authorisation only if satisfied on reasonable grounds that the use of those powers in the locality during that period may be necessary for the purpose of removing or reducing the likelihood of—

(a) members of the public in the locality being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or

(b) the occurrence in the locality of crime or disorder.

(3) In deciding whether to give such an authorisation an officer must have particular regard to the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly set out in articles 10 and 11 of the Convention.

“Convention” has the meaning given by section 21(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998.

(4) An authorisation under this section—

(a) must be in writing,

(b) must be signed by the officer giving it, and

(c) must specify the grounds on which it is given.

Authorisations to use powers under section 35 Section 34 ABCP Act 2014

Challenge a Section 35 Order

There are several ways to challenge the use of Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 if you believe that the powers have been used inappropriately or unfairly :-

  1. Complain to the Police: Initially, you can make a complaint to the police force that issued the direction under Section 35. Each police force and local authority will have a formal complaints procedure.
  2. Independent Review: If you are not satisfied with the response from the police or local authority, you can seek an independent review. For police complaints, this may involve the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).
  3. Judicial Review: As a last resort, you can consider a judicial review, which is a type of court proceeding where a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. A judicial review could challenge the way in which the powers were exercised.
  4. Legal Advice: It is advisable to seek legal advice if you are considering challenging the use of these powers. A solicitor can provide guidance on the merits of your case and the appropriate course of action.

Remember, the use of these powers is subject to certain conditions and must be proportionate to the issue being addressed. The rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, as set out in the Human Rights Act 1998, must also be considered by the authorities when exercising these powers.

If you need detailed guidance or support, you may want to consult a legal professional who specialises in this area of law. They can provide personalised advice based on the specifics of your situation.

Public place” includes any highway and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public have or are permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise ”.

Section 33 Criminal Justice Act 1972

Check out our articles on HHJ FarquharHHJ Bedford and the highly questionable Sussex Family Justice Board.

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

“He is awful, underhanded and should not be practising law!”

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Categories
Legal Analysis

Bar Standards Board Justice ?

The Bar Standards Board published disciplinary findings against barrister Mr Thomas David Davidson on the 21st November 2023.

Thomas Davidson, a practising barrister, behaved in a way which was likely to diminish the trust and confidence which the public places in him or in the profession, in that, on 7 February 2022 at Salisbury Magistrates Court, following the conclusion of a trial during which he had represented a defendant before a Bench consisting of three Lay Magistrates, and after the Chairperson raised with him the issue of his having used a German accent during the proceedings and telling him that this conduct had been inappropriate, Mr Davidson looked at the Bench and said “Jawohl” at the same time as raising a hand in a Nazi salute, which conduct was seriously offensive and discreditable.

For professional misconduct contrary to Core Duty 5 of the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales, Thomas Davidson was reprimanded and fined £250 with costs of £1,750.00.

The work that the Bar Standards Board do is governed by the Legal Services Act 2007 (the Act) as well as a number of other statutes.

The BSB Handbook contains the rules about how barristers must behave and work. Version 4.7 of the BSB Handbook came into force on the 20th September 2023.

This is hardly a punishment or deterrent by the Bar Standards Board. Where is the justice in this pathetic reprimand ?

Why was he not dealt with by the magistrates for contempt of court ?

•    setting the education and training requirements for becoming a barrister;
•    setting continuing training requirements to ensure that barristers’ skills are maintained throughout their careers;
•    setting standards of conduct for barristers;
•    authorising organisations that focus on advocacy, litigation, and specialist legal advice;
•    monitoring the service provided by barristers and the organisations we authorise to ensure they meet our requirements; and
•    considering reported concerns about barristers and the organisations we authorise and taking enforcement or other action where appropriate.

Bar Standards Board Responsibilities

Check out our articles on HHJ FarquharHHJ Bedford and the highly questionable Sussex Family Justice Board.

We recommend you should always seek formal legal advice if required, from a qualified and reputable lawyer (solicitor or barrister).

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

“He is awful, underhanded and should not be practising law!”

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Categories
Judiciary

Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman (JACO)

The Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman (JACO) is a UK government organisation that provides an independent review of complaints about the conduct of judicial office holders and the judicial appointments process.

JACO works with the Ministry of Justice and can look into complaints about how investigating bodies have handled allegations of misconduct by judicial office holders, as well as complaints about the judicial appointments process1.

Here’s what JACO does:-

Judicial Conduct Complaints

If someone is not satisfied with how a complaint about a judge, magistrate, tribunal member, or coroner was handled, they can apply to JACO. The complaint must have already been considered by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, tribunal president, or magistrates’ advisory committee.

For judicial conduct investigations process complaints, the JACO are responsible for:

  • considering complaints about the judicial conduct investigations process
  • asking the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office, a tribunal president, or magistrates’ advisory committee to re-investigate a complaint where appropriate
  • recommending changes to procedure in order to prevent the same issue from happening again
  • proposing that compensation be paid if we believe that a complainant has suffered because of maladministration

JACO Judicial Conduct Complaint Form

Complete the JACO judicial conduct complaint form to ask the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman to look into the handling of a complaint about judicial conduct.

Judicial Appointment Complaints

JACO also looks at how complaints about the judicial appointments process are handled.

For judicial appointment complaints, the JACO are responsible for:

JACO Judicial Appointment Complaint Form

Complete the JACO judicial appointment complaint form to ask the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman to look into the handling of a complaint about judicial appointment.

Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman

The current Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman is Douglas Marshall. If you need to contact JACO, their email address is headofoffice@judicialombudsman.gov.uk

Office of the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman
Postal Point 1.55
1st Floor, the Tower
102 petty France
London
SW1H 9AJ
United Kingdom

JACO Important Information

It’s important to note that JACO cannot help with a court or tribunal case, investigate a judicial office holder, or say whether their actions amount to misconduct. They also cannot reopen a court or tribunal case, review a judge’s decision, reprimand the office holder, remove them from office, or force anyone to pay compensation. However, they can recommend an apology, compensation for any loss suffered, or changes to the judicial complaint process.

JACO Decisions

The ombudsman’s decision is final and cannot be appealed against. For more detailed information, you can visit the official JACO website.

Check out our articles on HHJ FarquharHHJ Bedford and the highly questionable Sussex Family Justice Board.

We recommend you should always seek formal legal advice if required, from a qualified and reputable lawyer (solicitor or barrister).

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Categories
Legal Analysis

What is a Lucas Direction ?

A Lucas Direction, stemming from the case of R v Lucas (Ruth) [1981] EWCA Crim J0519-8, is a legal principle used in criminal trials to guide the jury on how to consider the evidence of lies told by a defendant. The case of Regina v Lucas (Ruth) is a landmark decision that established the criteria under which a lie can be considered as evidence of guilt.

The case involved Iyabode Ruth Lucas, who was convicted at Reading Crown Court on two counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of the prohibition of the importation into the UK of a controlled drug, namely cannabis, contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. The conviction was based on her arrival from Nigeria at Gatwick and Heathrow airports with significant quantities of cannabis. The appeal focused on whether the trial judge gave a correct direction on the question of corroboration of the evidence provided by an accomplice.

The Court of Appeal, led by Lord Lane LCJ, held that the mere fact that a defendant has lied is not in itself evidence of guilt. People may lie for various reasons, such as shame, panic, or the desire to cover for someone else. Therefore, a Lucas Direction instructs the jury that they can only consider a lie as evidence supporting guilt if certain conditions are met:

The lie must be deliberate.
The lie must relate to a material issue.
The lie must be told after the crime.
The lie must be told before there is a strong suspicion of guilt.
The jury must be satisfied that the lie was told to conceal guilt, and even then, it is not conclusive proof of guilt but merely an additional piece of evidence to be weighed with all other evidence in the case.

Lucas Direction Conditions

The Lucas Direction is significant because it protects defendants from being unjustly convicted based solely on their lies. It ensures that the jury understands that not all lies are indicative of guilt and that they must carefully consider the context and reasons for the lie before drawing any inferences.

The principles from Regina v Lucas (Ruth) have been cited in numerous subsequent cases and have become an integral part of jury instructions in criminal trials. It reflects the careful balance that must be struck in the justice system between the prosecution’s need to prove guilt and the protection of the rights of the accused.

In summary, the Lucas Direction serves as a safeguard against wrongful convictions and underscores the importance of a fair trial. It is a reminder that while the truth is paramount in the pursuit of justice, the reasons behind a person’s actions, including their lies, must be thoroughly examined and understood. The legacy of Regina v Lucas (Ruth) continues to influence the administration of justice, ensuring that juries are properly directed on how to approach evidence of lies in the context of a criminal trial.

We recommend you should always seek formal legal advice if required, from a qualified and reputable lawyer (solicitor or barrister).

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Categories
Judiciary

Senior President of Tribunals

The Senior President of Tribunals is the independent and statutory leader of the tribunal judiciary. The office of the Senior President of Tribunals is independent of both the Executive and the Chief Justices, and was established under the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

Just as the Lady Chief Justice heads the judiciary in England and Wales, the Senior President heads the tribunals judiciary, although his remit extends to Scotland and Northern Ireland depending on the jurisdiction concerned (Immigration and Asylum as well as Tax are UK-wide).

The Senior President of Tribunals provides leadership for around 5,000 office-holders., all those within the First-tier and Upper Tribunals and the Employment Tribunals. This includes all the Chamber Presidents and their Tribunal Judges and members, as well as those within Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and their Scottish counterpart, and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

The Senior President has a number of statutory responsibilities. These include representing the views of tribunals judiciary to the Lord Chancellor, parliament and ministers.

Check out our articles on HHJ FarquharHHJ Bedford and the highly questionable Sussex Family Justice Board.

We recommend you should always seek formal legal advice if required, from a qualified and reputable lawyer (solicitor or barrister).

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

“He is awful, underhanded and should not be practising law!”

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Categories
Legal Analysis

Photography in Court

Section 41 of the Criminal Justice Act 1925 (CJA 1925) makes it an offence to take any photograph, make or attempt to make any portrait or sketch of a justice or a witness in, or a party to, any proceedings before the court, either in the courtroom or its precincts. A court precinct are its buildings and land.

According to the CPS, the penalty on summary conviction is a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale. A Level 3 fine is a maximum of £1,000 and is published on the Sentencing Council website. The CJA 1925, however only provides for a fine not exceeding £50.

(1) No person shall—

(a) take or attempt to take in any court any photograph, or with a view to publication make or attempt to make in any court any portrait or sketch, of any person, being a judge of the court or a juror or a witness in or a party to any proceedings before the court, whether civil or criminal; or

(b) publish any photograph, portrait or sketch taken or made in contravention of the foregoing provisions of this section or any reproduction thereof;

and if any person acts in contravention of this section he shall, on summary conviction, be liable in respect of each offence to a fine not exceeding fifty pounds.

Criminal Justice Act 1925 Section 41

The Criminal Justice Act 1925 comes into effect within the precinct of a Crown Court; whereas the Contempt of Court Act 1981 comes into effect on all other HMCTS sites.

The offence at s41 CJA 1925 can be charged as a criminal offence in accordance with the Director’s Guidance on Charging, or the underlying behaviour can be dealt with by the court as a contempt in accordance with the summary procedure at Rule 48.5 of the Criminal Procedure Rules – see R v D (Contempt of Court: Illegal Photography) [2004] EWCA Crim 1271, or on a later application to the High Court by the Attorney General.

If dealt with by summons or charge normal time limits apply. The decision whether to charge a criminal offence or to bring proceedings for contempt will depend on the facts of the case, including the gravity of the interference with the administration of justice.

In Solicitor General v Cox [2016] EWHC 1241 (QB) the Solicitor General brought proceedings for common law contempt in respect of photos and videos taken in court and posted online along with derogatory comments about the judge. The court found that both the taking and publication of the illegally taken images, accompanied by pejorative comments about a judge, amounted to contempt, in circumstances where the contemnor knew phones were banned and had acted in deliberate defiance of it. The court considered the gravity of the risks and of the interference with the due administration of justice in the case and held that proceedings for contempt, rather than prosecution of the criminal offence, were appropriate.

The case of Cox highlights the extent to which the use of social media can interfere with the administration of justice and the need to take appropriate action. Prosecutors should refer to the Criminal Practice Directions (CPD I General matters 6C. This clarifies the use which may be made of live text-based communications, such as mobile email, social media (including Twitter) and internet-enabled laptops in and from courts).

Where evidence exists of an offence contrary to s.41 CJA 1925 prosecutors should assist the court by reference to the above considerations. The court initially decides on whether action must be taken by application of the summary contempt procedure at Rule 48.5. In the magistrates’ court the summary contempt procedure must be completed that day – see Practice and Procedure below. If the court does not proceed in this manner a decision has to be made on whether to proceed by charge or to refer the matter to the Attorney General having regard to the gravity of the risks and interference with the due administration of justice in the case.

Two options

  1. If the offender is apprehended on the day and the court is sitting advise court that it can deal with it as a contempt of court there and then, using the summary procedure at Rule 48.5 above, or have the police decide whether to charge an offence contrary to s.41 Criminal Justice Act 1925. If a magistrates’ court decides to deal with it there and then it may receive an apology but cannot impose a sanction – see Rule 48.5 procedure above.
  2. If the court does not deal with it there and then the normal police investigation and charge procedure applies. The offence is at s41 Criminal Justice Act 1925. Penalty is a level 3 fine. AG consent is not required so police can charge. Prosecutors note – there is no need to contact AGO when this scenario occurs unless the risks and interference with the due administration of justice was particularly grave. See Solicitor General v Cox where particularly serious issue.
Photography in court – Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Legal Guidance

Contempt of Court

Contempt of Court is conduct that denotes wilful defiance of, or disrespect towards the court, or that wilfully challenges or affronts the authority of the court or the supremacy of the law itself.

Photography Ban and the Crimes and Courts Act 2013 

According to The Law Society Gazette article Court photography ban under review in transparency drive written by Monidipa Fouzder and published on the 11th May 2023 :-

A ban imposed nearly 100 years ago on photography in courts could be lifted under ideas being floated by the government to make the justice system more transparent.

A call for evidence published by the Ministry of Justice today asks if the 1925 prohibition on photography and 1981 prohibition on sound recording remain fit for purpose.

The Crimes and Courts Act 2013 allows the ban to be disapplied in certain circumstances by secondary legislation. For instance, the Court of Appeal and Competition Appeal Tribunal can broadcast proceedings. The Crown court can broadcast sentencing remarks. The Supreme Court is excluded from the two bans because cases heard by the UK’s highest court, which was established in 2009, would have previously been heard in the House of Lords where broadcasting was allowed.

Court photography ban under review in transparency drive

Video of Crown Court and Court of Appeal Cases

The latest cases as captured by Sky News cameras in the Crown Court and Court of Appeal are published on the Sky News – Courts YouTube Channel.

Please be advised that the published videos may contain graphic descriptions of serious crimes, including murder and sexual offences.

Check out our articles on Can you Criticise a Judge ?, Litigants in Person, McKenzie Friends, Horsham County CourtHHJ FarquharHHJ BedfordR v Sussex Justices and the highly dubious Sussex Family Justice Board.

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap

Categories
Law

Dodgy Judges

Here are a few examples of dodgy judges, otherwise known as rogue judges, that have been dismissed, disciplined or resigned. Some judges even managed to get criminal convictions.

In my opinion, these judges are almost as questionable as the Sussex Family Justice Board.

  1. Judge Constance Briscoe was dismissed from the judiciary in 2014 after being found guilty of perverting the course of justice. She was sentenced to 16 months in prison for lying to the police during an investigation into former cabinet minister Chris Huhne’s speeding points.

Reference: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28675376

  1. Judge Peter Smith resigned in 2016 after the JCIO began investigating Smith’s conduct in July 2015 about a matter involving British Airways and his luggage.

Reference : https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/conduct-probe-into-high-court-judge-ends-with-retirement/5063448.article

  1. Judge Beatrice Bolton. The Crown Court judge who was convicted of failing to control a dangerous dog will face no further disciplinary action after she handed in her resignation..

Reference : https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/judge-beatrice-bolton-quits-after-1340889

4. Judge Heather Perrin was dismissed from the judiciary in 2012 after being found guilty of professional misconduct for deceiving a client in a property deal.

Reference: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20525832

JCIO Disciplinary Statements 2023

JCIO Disciplinary Statements are published by year on the JCIO website

A statement will normally be published when a disciplinary sanction has been issued to a judicial office-holder for misconduct.

The Lord Chief Justice and Lord Chancellor may decide jointly to:

  • issue a statement in any case;
  • decline to issue a statement in any case;
  • delete a statement prior to the expiration of the relevant publication period.

Publication Periods

Statements published before 22 August 2022

Statements about cases which resulted in a sanction below removal from office will be deleted after one year. Statements about cases which resulted in removal from office will be deleted after five years.

Statements published from 22 August 2022

The following publication periods apply to statements published from 22 August 2022. Following the outcome of the 2020-22 review of the disciplinary system, statements now contain more detail. The JCIO privacy notice has been updated to reflect this change.

Sanction ImposedPublication Period
Formal AdviceTwo Years
Formal WarningFour Years
ReprimandSix Years
Removal from Office (except for failure to meet minimum sitting requirements)Indefinite
Removal from Office for failure to meet minimum sitting requirementsFive years
JCIO Sanctions and Publication Period

Requesting a Copy of a Deleted Statement

A copy of any statement which has been deleted following expiration of its publication period can be requested by emailing: general.enquiries@judicialconduct.gov.uk

Requesters must state the name of the office-holder. It will also help to locate statements if requesters give as much information as possible about the nature of the conduct for which the office-holder received a disciplinary sanction, and the year in which they believe the statement was published.

JCIO aims to reply to all requests for deleted statements within 10 working days.

Disciplinary Statements – JCIO

These example only represent a small fraction of judicial misconduct cases in the UK. These cases demonstrate the importance of judicial ethics and the need for accountability within the justice system.

The importance of maintaining high ethical standards in the UK judiciary cannot be overstated, and the consequences that judges may face if they engage in misconduct.

While it is important to hold judges accountable for their actions, instances of judges being dismissed for misconduct are relatively rare.

It is worth noting that the vast majority of judges in the UK are ethical and diligent in carrying out their duties. When instances of misconduct do occur, they are usually dealt with through disciplinary proceedings or other forms of corrective action.

Complain about a judge to the JCIO ?

The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) are an independent office which supports the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice in considering complaints about the personal conduct of judicial office holders.

JCIO Complaint

Here is the complaint I made to the JCIO in November 2020 against DDJ Mills (Deputy District Judge Mills) that was unfortunately dismissed.

a) Was “rude and condescending” and spelt out his name M-I-L-L-S, he:
• “Appeared to have superiority complex by the language used”. He spelt out his name in “an incredibly patronising way”.
• Stated, “I suggest you continue your studies in English Law Mr Watts as you appear to know nothing“.

Amnesia ?

DDJ Mills and Miss Eleanor Harriet Battie of 1 Crown Office Reach (1COR) both appear to have suffered from amnesia. Deputy District Judge Chris Mills continues to sit (fee paid) and inflict himself on the public.

Fortunately for both of them the Court failed in its legal duty to record the hearing. How convenient ! Hearings at the Crown Court and at civil and family courts are always recorded.

“Having searched all the BT Meet Me recordings for the 1st of October it is unfortunate that I have to advise you that there must have been a technical glitch on that day and your hearing was not recorded.

Brighton County and Family Courts Court Clerk and Court Usher manager

“a particular burden on the court and herself, as an officer of the court, to ensure that everyone involved understood clearly what was being said.”

Eleanor Battie Barrister JCIO

This statement is clearly untrue and misleading

“In the UK, barristers are not officers of the court unlike solicitors”.

It is possible that the JCIO misquoted Miss Battie, but as a barrister Eleanor Battie is bound by the Bar Standards Board (BSB) rules and code of conduct. Ms Battie, I believe, had a duty to immediately apologise for misleading the JCIO and to correct the record. I do not believe that this ever happened.

In my opinion, this is shameful behaviour or legal ignorance by the barrister Eleanor Battie and no doubt in breach of the Bar Standards Handbook 4.7

Read our article and analysis of Eleanor Battie Barrister

Read also the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

Fair dealing for criticism, review or quotation is allowed for any type of copyright work. All sources acknowledged. Article updated 7th October 2023 to include link to BSB Handbook 4.7 and latest JCIO Disciplinary Statements.

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap

Categories
Legal Analysis

What is Recusal ?

Judges have a duty to act impartially and without bias. This duty is enshrined in common law principles and is essential for upholding the rule of law.

Recusal is an important ethical and legal principle in the justice system, designed to ensure that legal proceedings are conducted fairly and impartially, and that the rights of all parties are protected. It helps maintain public trust in the legal system and upholds the principles of justice and due process.

The basic principle is that a court or tribunal hearing a case must be impartial and that justice “should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done” R v Sussex Justices

Recusal is when a judge steps down (recuses) from hearing a case on the basis that it’s not appropriate for them to deal with it. They may have a conflict of interest or there might be actual, presumed or apparent bias against a party. There may also be a real possibility that a fair-minded observer would conclude that the judge should not try the case because they cannot be impartial.

A judge can decide to recuse themselves of their own volition, or a party can make an application for recusal. The application should be made at the beginning of any hearing or proceedings.

A Practical Law article RECUSAL OF JUDGES IN CIVIL LITIGATION is published on the 3 Paper Buildings (3PB) Chambers website.

What is a conflict of interest ?

A conflict of interest (COI) refers to a situation in which a judge is involved in multiple interests or relationships, and these interests or relationships could potentially compromise their ability to make impartial or objective decisions. In such situations, there is a risk that personal or financial considerations may unduly influence a judge’s actions or decisions.

What is bias ?

“Bias is an attitude of mind that prevents the judge from making an objective determination of the issues that they have to resolve” Re Medicaments and Related Classes of Goods (No 2) [2001] 1 WLR 700, Para 37.

The University of Oxford Faculty of Law published Determining Bias: A survey of the law in the United Kingdom in January 2020

Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in In Re Medicaments and Related Classes of Goods (No 2) [2001] 1 WLR 700, the accepted test is that laid down in Porter v Magill [2001] UKHL 67, [2002] 2 AC 357, para 103: “whether the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased”……. The characteristics of the fair-minded and informed observer are now well understood: he must adopt a balanced approach and will be taken to be a reasonable member of the public, neither unduly complacent or naïve nor unduly cynical or suspicious.

R v. Abdroikof (Appellant) and another (On Appeal from the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)

Check out our articles on  R v Sussex Justices, Rule of Law, Litigants in Person, McKenzie Friends, HHJ FarquharHHJ Bedford and the highly dubious Sussex Family Justice Board.

We have a number of links to Free Legal Resources and Legal Organisations on our Free Legal Advice , Legal Aid and Pro Bono pages.

Read the reviews of Gavin Howe Barrister

“He is awful, underhanded and should not be practising law!”

Latest Articles

All articles can be found in our Sitemap or Legal Blog pages.

Rule of Law - Open Justice - Policing By Consent

Access To Justice Is A Right Not A Privilege
Equal Justice Under Law