The recent flights to Jamaica have brought the government into conflict with the judiciary again. Whilst the media are unclear as to whether the injunction has actually been breached, it is a timely reminder of the power of the courts to ensure that the executive obeys its will.
Theresa May MP as the Home Secretary in 2012 became only the second Home Secretary to have been found in contempt of Court. The first Kenneth Baker, now Lord Baker, fell foul of the Courts in M v Home Office  UKHL 5, which established the Courts power to hold the office of SSHD in contempt. In that case the Courts had ordered the then SSHD to return an asylum seeker to the UK, the SSHD disobeyed. The SSHD was held in contempt.
In May MP cases, the SSHD had agreed to release an individual, within an interim order. The SSHD then purported to review that decision and not release the Claimant. HHJ Cotter QC sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, disagreed that this was a lawful approach, and determined that the then Home Secretary was in contempt, and so joined that exclusive club.
May PM, then managed to achieve something no other PM has ever achieved before, when her Government was found in contempt of Parliament at the end of December 2018. Although contempt of Parliament is a very different concept to contempt of court, she did appear to be a trend setter.
The so what of a SSHD being found in contempt of court for a minister is little. The minister would not be personally held liable for a contempt caused by her department. However having been found in contempt the first time, if a Minister were then again to fail to comply with the Order or remedy the breach it seems likely that the minister would then be personally liable. I doubt the current government is willing to test the Courts and find out what happens on the second strike.
A great success for a serving Captain in the British Army, refused a visitors visa for his elderly mother, herself a widow of a Gurkha sought advice on challenging the refusal. Within 48 hours the decision was withdrawn and within 24 hours the embassy had made a short telephone interview, in order to reconsider the refusal.
The right advice at the right time is essential for immigration cases. A failure to challenge a wrong decision can lead to further refusals later on. In this case the early strong challenge meant that plans in place for the visit did not need to be changed. Adam offers a wide range of immigration services, see the immigration page.
Airline delay claims are typical small claims in that whilst highly complex issues arise of both fact and law, they are generally of a low value. Costs can be recovered but these are fixed costs. Where a flight has been cancelled or delayed in excess of three hours, there is a right to compensation, so long as the cause of the delay was not for exceptional circumstances, such as a volcano eruption, and that the airline took reasonable steps to avoid the cancellation.
EC Regulation 261/2004 (the “Flight Regulation”) creates a statutory framework for compensating passengers on regulated flights to compensation if the flight is cancelled or delayed for 3 hours or more.
Claims are relatively simple once you have established you were delayed on a flight, then it is for the airline to prove that you should not have compensation. In the majority of cases there should be no requirement to litigate at all.
There can be some complications were the delay is as a result of air traffic control direction or political instability in the contrary of origin. The case of Blanche v EasyJet  EWCA Civ 69 gives some indication of how a defence maybe run, which is below.
If you have been delayed by more than three hours please look at my pages on how to make a claim, which is here
As the traditional boxing day hunts come around, it is a timely reminder that this area of law is still far from clear. Hunts with hounds and birds of prey remain an area open to interpretation as mentioned in the interim injunction case of Fitzwilliam Land Company and others v Cheesman and others  EWHC 3139 (QB).
A key issue in the response to this injunction was whether the hunt was illegal due to the use of hounds and birds of prey. The Hunt suggested that they were not acting unlawfully as they were hunting on an artificial trial laid, with hounds. On the occasion the hounds would find a fox, they would continue to flush the fox into open ground upon which a bird of prey, a Golden Eagle, would be used to kill the fox. The Respondents argued as recorded in paragraph 37 of the judgement that:
The judge noted that it was persuasive at this stage that the Hunt may have been acting unlawfully when hunting in this manner. The Respondents did not take part in the final determination of the issues in the matter, and it appears it was never determined. As such it remains a live, ongoing issue.
Adam has created a rough and ready calculator for those wishing to calculate damages for periods of which they have been unlawfully detained. The calculator is here. The calculator is a rough and ready estimate. It does not replace legal advice and you should always seek independent legal advice.
The Commission have released a new and updated practice direction in relation to what has been identified as "increasing numbers of late appeals and improperly instituted appeals."
Paragraph 16 sets out what it expects from the Appellants representatives, which includes "It is the responsibility of appellants’ representatives to fill in the notice of appeal accurately and completely. This includes accurately recording the date of service of the notice of the decision which is challenged (by reference, where appropriate, to any applicable rules about service), and calculating when the time for lodging the appeal expired. Those exercises must be done in accordance with the Rules (see 9, 11, 10 and 13, above). It is not acceptable for appellants’ representatives to leave this work to the Commission or to GLD." and not leaving boxes blank.
Paragraph 26 onwards makes clear that the Commission expect a legal representative to have the authority of the Appellant to file an appeal and completed it in accordance with their instructions.
These directions which appear to be stating the obvious appear to be a start towards placing further hurdles in the way particularly of solicitors in these matters.
If you need help with your appeal see the page here
Adam has now moved to Scott-Moncrieff & Associates solicitors as a solicitor advocate. He will continue to deliver his litigation and advocacy services. Adam will continue to develop his committal practice, and is producing a detailed page on procedure for committal. Adam is going to continue to develop his pro bono practice, and is on duty on the 9 December 2019, at the RCJ Court 37. Adam continues to work with LawWorks to develop a pro bono immigration service at the Upper Tribunal