Sunday, 11 June 2017

Sunday roundup

Baby Charlie Gard:

The Supreme Court has rejected an application for appeal in the terribly sad and distressing case of Baby Charlie Gard.  The application hearing in the Supreme Court may be heard HERE.   See also the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) judgment and the judgment of Mr Justice Francis in the High Court.

The case is now before the European Court of Human Rights with a view to that court hearing the parent's application - BBC News 9th June

Here we see the unbounded love of good parents for their baby boy.  They wish to take him to the USA for treatment.  Medical personnel in London sought the permission of the court to withdraw life support.  The parents undoubtedly consider that the "best interests" of Charlie is that he receives the "experimental" treatment offered in the USA.  The UK courts disagree.  The difficult legal question therefore arises as to when State intervention is permissible so that a clear and agreed decision of responsible parents need not be followed.  The parents have been able to raise funds to pay for Charlie to go to the USA and to receive the treatment.

Readers should note that there is a court order in place preventing anything that might reveal the identity of medical personnel in either the UK or the USA - see the Supreme Court website where Lady Hale may be seen reading out the order - HERE.

Supreme Court:

On 12th June, the Supreme Court is to sit in Edinburgh - see Edinburgh - Supreme Court

On 14th June, the Supreme Court will hand down judgment in a case from Northern Ireland.  The issue is:-
  1. Was the Secretary of State for Health's failure to exercise his power to require that abortion services be provided through the NHS in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland unlawful, in that he failed to discharge his duty under s.3 of the NHS Act 2006 to "take such steps as he considers necessary to meet all reasonable requirements" for services?
  2. Does the continuing failure to provide abortion services free of charge in England to women ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland infringe art.14 and art.8 ECHR?
 See fuller details of the case on the Supreme Court's website.

UK - political situation:

Following the "hung Parliament" outcome of the 8th June General Election, political events are fast moving and there are many questions in the air.

The Prime Minister is setting about making her Ministerial appointments and there are attempts to negotiate some kind of working arrangement so that, with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the Prime Minister will be able to proceed with a legislative programme to be announced in the Queen's Speech.  Such an agreement has the potential to upset the delicate balance brought about by the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement because the effectiveness of the Agreement  depends to a large extent on the British government being even-handed in its dealings with all Parties in Northern Ireland.  Questions have also been raised about whether the details of any Conservative Party - DUP arrangement will be published.  Non-publication of an agreement of such key importance to the governance of the British people should be unthinkable.  Power-sharing in Northern Ireland has yet to be re-established following its breakdown earlier this year.  Negotiations with the EU on Brexit are scheduled to commence on 19th June.

The Salisbury Convention:

This political convention has developed since 1945 and has the effect that the House of Lords will not usually vote against government measures that were manifesto commitments.  The interesting question has been raised by Professor Mark Elliott of Cambridge University as to whether the Convention applies in the present parliamentary situation - see the discussion at Public Law for Everyone.

Salisbury-Addison Convention

Royal Bank of Scotland:

A legal action brought by shareholders of Royal Bank of Scotland has been settled - BBC News 6th June .  The action was brought on behalf of more than 27,000 investors who lost money by subscribing for shares during the 2008 RBoS Rights Issue.  It was alleged that directors of the bank acted improperly by misrepresenting the underlying strength of the bank at the time and by omitting critical information from the Prospectus. This led to tens of thousands of shareholders taking part at an over-inflated price.

The Members of the RBOS Shareholders Action Group Limited  claimed circa £1.2 billion, including interest and costs, for breaches of section 90 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000  by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (“RBS”) and four of its directors in respect of the contents of a Rights Issue Prospectus dated 30 April 2008.

Dismissal of South Yorkshire Chief Constable:

In September 2016, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire (David Crompton) was called upon to resign by the Police and Crime Commissioner.  The High Court has quashed the decisions of the Commissioner -  R (Crompton) v PCC for South Yorkshire [2017] EWHC 1349 (Admin)

Leigh Day:

Solicitors Leigh Day have been cleared of all charges of professional negligence in relation to Iraq compensation claims - The Guardian 9th June 2017.   The decision was delivered by the solicitor’s disciplinary tribunal (SDT) in London and are a seen as a setback for the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which launched the costly hearing, and the defence secretary, Michael Fallon, who had called for legal action.  The 7 week hearing is said to have costs in the region of £10 million.  For more on the case see Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal

Manchester Inquests:

The Coroner - sitting at Manchester's Civil Justice Centre - has opened inquests into the deaths of those killed in the Manchester Arena attack.  The inquest was adjourned to 24th November 2017.  BBC News 9th June

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