R (Dolan) v Secretary of State for Health & Social Care & Secretary of State for Education [2020] EWCA Civ 1605

“This is the final video case review in the CrimeCast series, ‘The Top 50 Cases of 2020’, and it relates to an issue which has dominated all of our lives for the past year … The case was concerned with the lockdown regulations and involved challenges to the lawfulness of the regulations on three main grounds, namely that they were ultra vires (that is to say, there was no power to make them under the relevant primary legislation), that they were also unlawful on other conventional public law grounds and that they violated a number of Convention rights, which are guaranteed in domestic law under the Human Rights Act 1998 …”

ADDED Wednesday 17th February 2021

Serious Fraud Office v G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Ltd (Case No: U20201392)

“The case was concerned with a Deferred Prosecution Agreement relating to G4S, one of the biggest players in the global public procurement market. The facts related, ironically, to G4S’s provision of one of the key services contracted out by the government in relation to the day-to-day operation of the criminal justice system. This was the 8th Deferred Prosecution Agreement entered into in this jurisdiction since the regime was first introduced by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 and it gave the court an opportunity to continue the development of the principles to be applied …”

ADDED Wednesday 27th January 2021

R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for Home Department [2020] 4 All ER 1027

“The case was concerned with the lawfulness of one of the key planks of the so-called ‘hostile environment’ designed to combat illegal immigration into the United Kingdom. It involved a Judicial Review challenge to the ‘Right to Rent Scheme’, which originally introduced civil penalties for private landlords who failed to satisfy themselves of the immigration status of prospective tenants and later imposed swinging criminal sanctions on those who failed to terminate the tenancy of any individual whom they knew or believed to be disqualified under the scheme. A Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division granted a declaration of incompatibility with the European Convention and the subsequent appeal by the Home Secretary prompted the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) to review the European and domestic jurisprudence on what amounts to discrimination and when it can be justified …”

ADDED Wednesday 13th January 2021

Fuseon Ltd v Senior Courts Costs Office & Lord Chancellor [2020] 2 Cr App R 2

“The case was concerned with the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction to disturb a judge’s decision as to costs where that costs decision would effect real injustice (and even though the judge has refused to certify a point of principle of general importance). The specific point in issue was whether the determining officer and then the costs judge had been right to reduce substantially the award of costs, as against the costs claimed by the private prosecutor, by making a comparison with the costs that would have been incurred by the Crown Prosecution Service had they conducted the case and by applying the so-called Singh reduction after standing back and making a broad assessment of the overall level of the costs claimed ...”

ADDED Tuesday 12th January 2021

R (Redston) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2020] EWHC 2962 (Admin)

“The case related to an infamous incident, at the time of the first national lockdown in March and April 2020, when the Prime Minister’s Chief Adviser, Mr Dominic Cummings, drove with his family to County Durham and, whilst there, went on a day trip to Barnard Castle. An application for judicial review of the DPP’s failure to make use of an alleged power to refer the case to the police, prompted the Divisional Court to analyse the position of the Crown Prosecution Service as an independent public prosecution body and its relationship with the police. The Court also considered the duty of public bodies to act independently and transparently and the requirement placed on them by section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 not to act incompatibly with Convention rights.”

ADDED Monday 11th January 2021

R (C) v Director of Public Prosecutions [2020] 4 WLR 158

“The case was concerned with the lawfulness of the measures taken by UK law enforcement to obtain from the French authorities data relating to the so-called EncroChat communication platform, which is alleged to have been used by the criminal fraternity in the belief that such communications could not be spied upon or obtained by the police and other investigation and prosecution agencies. Encrochat hit the headlines when it was announced that the system had been cracked, leading to many hundreds of arrests and numerous criminal investigations and prosecutions …”

ADDED Thursday 7th January 2021

Re K (Secretary of State for Justice intervening) [2020] 2 WLR 1279

“The case was concerned with forced marriages, the culture of so-called honour murders and violence and the approach to be taken by the court to Forced Marriage Protection Orders, in particular where the forced individual is an adult with full capacity who opposes the making or continuation of the order. The court considered,  specifically, the jurisdiction to ban international travel and require the surrender of a passport and also gave guidance on how the court should seek to arrive at an outcome which accommodates both the absolute prohibition on torture and inhuman and degrading treatment under Article 3 of the European Convention and the qualified right to a private and family life under Article 8 ...”

ADDED Wednesday 6th January 2021

R (Director of Public Prosecutions) v Woolwich Crown Court [2020] EWHC 3243 (Admin)

“This case involved two separate applications for judicial review, which were unconnected save that they raised similar issues regarding the correct approach to be taken to Custody Time Limit applications during the COVID-19 pandemic. The background to the judicial review proceedings was the measures taken by the United Kingdom government in seeking to combat the spread of the virus generally and the specific steps taken, in order to enable trial by jury to continue ...”

ADDED Tuesday 5th January 2021

Ashbolt v HMRC [2020] STC 1813

“The case arose from the response of certain taxpayers and their professional advisers to the Treasury’s introduction of the so called ‘loan charge’ under the Finance Act (No 2) 2017, which was intended to enable HM Revenue and Customs to put an end to what had become a widespread practice of avoiding income tax by characterising payments as loans rather than income. HMRC commenced a criminal investigation into the conduct of a number of subscribers to a particular tax avoidance scheme and, in the course of that investigation, they obtained and executed search warrants relating to both residential and business premises. The question arose whether the first set of access conditions in paragraph 2 to Scheduled 1 of PACE, and whether the further condition in paragraph 14(d) of that schedule had been satisfied. It prompted the Divisional Court to issue a stern warning about the need for scrupulous care in presenting such an application and the court also gave guidance on how, in practical terms, the judge to whom the application is made should be assisted in focusing on the key issues which he or she needs to resolve …”

ADDED Monday 30th November 2020

R (RD) v Justice Secretary [2020] EWCA Civ 1346

“This was the second of a pair of recent cases which suggest that police officers and those who aspire to be police officers are held to a higher standard than the general public whom the police are sworn to protect. I discussed yesterday R v Luckett (Michael David) [2020] EWCA Crim 565, which illustrated the approach taken by the Criminal Division of the Court of Appeal to the sentencing of offences of misconduct in a public office by serving police officers. The case of R (RD) v Justice Secretary addresses the rigorous disclosure requirements imposed on those who apply to become police constables or police cadets. It prompted the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal to consider the application of Article 8(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights to candidates for the police service - specifically whether the current regime for the rehabilitation of offenders and for the disclosure of convictions, cautions and reprimands is in accordance with law and necessary in a democratic society ...”

ADDED Friday 27th November 2020