Weekly Notes: legal news from ICLR — 29 October 2018

This week is Justice Week 2018 and as our latest roundup attests, there have been some big law stories in recent days although respect for the rule of law itself — even among lawmakers — seems to have taken yet another battering.

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Justice Week 2018

Justice Week is a new initiative setup by the three legal professional bodies; the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx). The purpose of the week is to boost the profile of justice and the rule of law, helping to place them at the centre stage of public and political debate.

Family law

The princess and the plea

It might have been a fairytale wedding, but it was hardly a fairytale divorce. As Polly Morgan wrote on the Transparency Project blog:

Media law

Breach of confidence — it’s as easy as ABC

Except that it isn’t quite so simple as some seem to think. In ABC v Telegraph Media Group Ltd [2018] EWCA Civ 2329 the Court of Appeal imposed an injunction to stop the Daily Telegraph revealing the name of a prominent British businessman whose companies had settled claims by five employees of sexual harassment and racial abuse. The settlements were made subject to non-disclosure agreements (NDAs), of which the Daily Telegraph had become aware and the details of which, including the identity of said businessman, they wanted to publish. The employers sought an interim injunction, refused by Haddon-Cave J [2018] EWHC 2177 (QB) but granted by the Court of Appeal — as an temporary measure pending trial of the issues. As well as the employers, at least two of the five complainants opposed publication.

Parliamentary privilege — or You’re So Hain (you probably think this song is about you, don’t you?)

Contempt of court

Earlier last week about a thousand supporters of Tommy Robinson crowded the streets of London to protest about his trial — or retrial — at the Old Bailey, for contempt of court in filming defendants in breach of reporting restrictions during their trials for sexual offences. At the short hearing the Recorder of London, Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, referred the case to the Attorney General for further consideration.

Crime

System in chaos, admits top prosecutor

In an interview in the Observer this weekend, the outgoing Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, admitted that the

Courts

Media guidance for court staff

This week the Ministry of Justice issued Guidance to staff on supporting media access to courts and tribunals as “part of a wider effort to build stronger working relationships between courts and the press and maintain the principle of open justice as we increasingly digitise court services.”

Experience of litigants

Penelope Gibbs of Transform Justice has written about some MOJ research data which she has obtained, by FOI request, which provides a much fuller picture than that revealed in their earlier report on peoples’ experience of the courts. The report, published in June, is here: HMCTS citizen user experience research. According to Gibbs, in an earlier post,

  • Most of the information people do know comes from watching TV
  • Crucially, those who were involved in cases felt being listened to was more important than what the outcome was.

Gavels

A rather extraordinary book, The Presidents’ Hammers, all about gavels and their significance as a legal and cultural object, has been reviewed by ICLR’s Paul Magrath on the Bloomsbury Professional Law Blog: Bang to rites: everything you ever wanted to know about gavels but were afraid to ask

Legal Profession

Bar Pro Bono Unit becomes Advocate

According to its chief executive Jess Campbell, the change of name is intended to make the charity “more accessible for those in need of legal assistance while celebrating the vital contribution volunteer barristers make to access to justice. Our previous name — which used legal Latin — was not user-friendly for most of the people coming to us for help.” The rebrand was funded by the Legal Education Foundation (LEF).

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Dates and Deadlines

Supreme Court moot finals

Does your graduate law school or university law society have a mooting competition? Would you like to have the opportunity to practice your advocacy in front of a Supreme Court Justice? If so, you can still apply for a place in Supreme Court Moot Finals but the deadline is Wednesday 31st October 2018 at 17:00.

SPARK21 Annual Conference 2018: Levelling the Playing Field

7 November 2018. The conference is a one-day event with four keynote speakers, a selection of insightful panel discussions and a drinks reception to finish. Kindly hosted by Simmons & Simmons, 1 Ropemaker Street, London EC2Y 9SS.

First International Forum on Online Courts: “The cutting edge of digital reform”

Co-Chaired by Susan Acland-Hood, Chief Executive, HM Courts & Tribunals Service and Professor Richard Susskind OBE FRSE, President of SCL, and hosted by: DLA Piper UK LLP, Mitre House, 160 Aldersgate, London, EC1A 4HT.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. Watch this space for updates.

This post was written by Paul Magrath, Head of Product Development and Online Content. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of ICLR as an organisation.

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The ICLR publishes The Law Reports, The Weekly Law Reports and other specialist titles. Set up by members of the judiciary and legal profession in 1865.

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