Systemic Unfairness

April 15th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

A rule, administrative system or policy is unlawful if it gives rise to an “unacceptable risk of unfairness”. The threshold however is a high one. It requires showing unfairness which is “inherent in the system itself”, not just the possibility of aberrant decisions and unfairness in individual circumstances.

In MR v SoS (2021) EWCA Civ 541 it is held that, where there is systemic unfairness, it is not an answer to say that Judicial Review is available to correct unfairness in any single case. Nonetheless the important distinction must be maintained between adjudicating in cases, which is for the Courts, and determining policy, which is not.

 

Duty of Care

March 30th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In Anchor Hanover Group v Oxfordshire County Council and Others (2021) EWHC 543 (TCC) O’Farrell J at para 59 stated principles as follows: (1) Local and other public authorities do not owe any duty of care at common law simply by exercising their statutory duties and powers; (2) The absence of a duty of care extends to advice given as part of the exercise of such duties; (3) However, a common law duty to protect from harm may arise, where the principles applicable to a private party would impose that duty; and (4) Such cases include where there is an assumption of responsibility.

 

 

Duty of Candour

March 19th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In DVP v SSHD (2021) EWHC 606 (Admin) the Divisional Court emphasised the importance of the duty of candour when making applications for judicial review. Dame Victoria Sharp P said at para 9: “The duty of candour in this context means that the claimant must disclose any relevant information or material fact which either supports or undermines his case. Material facts are those facts which it is material for a judge to know when dealing with the urgent application. The duty requires the claimant to make the court aware of the issues that are likely to arise and the possible difficulties in the application or underlying claim.” She added, at para 10, that if there is a breach of the duty an order will be set aside even if it might otherwise have been justified. See also paras 73-80.

 

Standing

February 19th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In R (Good Law Project and 3 MPs) v SoS for Health and Social,Care (2021) EWHC 346 (Admin) Chamberlain J in procurement proceedings granted standing to the first claimant and refused it to the other three. At paragraphs 77-108 he stated general principles as regards standing for judicial review as follows :-

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Judicial Review and Cuts

February 15th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

On systemic claims, whether a decision (to cut funding on EHCPs) gives rise to an unacceptable risk of unlawful outcomes, and on whether a strategic statutory duty (under Section 27 of the Children and Families Act 2014) to keep provision “under review” is triggered, see R (M and IR) v Waltham Forest LBC (2021) EWHC 281 (Admin).

 

Mandatory Injunctions

February 12th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In Mohammad v SSHD (2021) EWHC 240 (Admin) Chamberlain J stated principles in relation to mandatory injunctions against public authorities. They include :-

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Statutory Interpretation

January 13th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In Privacy International v Investigatory Powers Tribunal (2021) EWHC 27 ( Admin ) Bean LJ stated relevant principles of statutory interpretation as follows :-

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Without Prejudice

January 11th, 2021 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

Motorola v Hytera (2021) CA Civ 11 concerned when without prejudice privilege is displaced by the “unambiguous impropriety” exception. Males LJ reviewed the authorities at paras 24-56 inclusive, and states at para 57: “From this review of the cases I would conclude that the courts have consistently emphasised the importance of allowing parties to speak freely in the course of settlement negotiations, have jealously guarded any incursion into or erosion of the without prejudice rule, and have carefully scrutinised evidence which is asserted to justify an exception to the rule.” Although the “unambiguous impropriety” exception has been recognised, the cases in which it has been applied have been “truly exceptional”.

 

Unjust Enrichment

December 24th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

Surrey County Council v NHS Lincolnshire CGC (2020) EWHC 3550 (QB) concerns a restitution claim by a local authority against an NHS body in the context of healthcare and community care services. Issues include whether the claim is a public law claim that should be brought by judicial review or can be brought as a private law claim( paras 72-84), limitation ( paras 85-91), a novel category of unjust enrichment ( paras 92-121), and change of position defence ( paras 122-129).

 

Liability for Accident in Public Park

December 4th, 2020 by James Goudie QC in Judicial Control, Liability and Litigation

In Lewis v Wandsworth LBC (2020) EWHC 3205 (QB) it is held that the local authority had been under no legal duty to warn those using a path in a public park that a game of cricket with a hard ball was in progress and that the boundary of the cricket pitch was alongside the path. Bolton v Stone (1951) AC 850 was considered. Reasonable foreseeability of an accident is not sufficient to found liability. The Court has to consider not only the potential seriousness of an accident but also the chances of an accident happening and the measures which could be taken to minimise or avoid an accident.