Crime tender ‘very shortly’

In a response to a question from Karl Turner, MP for Kingston Upon Hull East, on November 11, Chris Grayling said that following the recent consultation updated proposals will be introduced ‘very shortly’.

We will post more information as soon as we can.

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Exceptional funding grant – injunction brought by local authority

Our thanks to Garden Court North for drawing this case to our attention. The LAA has recently granted exceptional funding for an application to set aside an injunction banning persons unknown from begging in Leeds city centre. GCN’s website reports:

Exceptional case funding has been granted by the Legal Aid Agency to apply to set aside Leeds City Council’s injunction obtained under S222 Local Government Act 1972 against persons unknown on behalf of a man who it has been sought to commit to prison.

Leeds City Council obtained the injunction / restraining order from “begging” in Leeds City centre against “persons unknown”, even though a number of the alleged beggars, including our client, are known to Leeds City Council.  Our client was then served with the injunction after it had been obtained despite being later described in Leeds City Council’s own evidence as a known and prolific beggar.

The committal has been adjourned pending this application to set aside and will be challenged on the basis that:

- The Court did not have power to make it as there are statutory remedies that should have been used.

- It was an abuse of process not to name those it knew and alleged to be begging.

- In any event the criteria for an injunction restraining a criminal offence or public nuisance are not met and the injunction fails to consider the personal circumstances of the individuals concerned and subverts the prohibition on the making of bye-laws without the permission of the Secretary of State.

After a lengthy struggle to obtain funding, exceptional funding was granted (on 5th November 2014) to challenge the injunction itself.

James Stark and Joe Markus of GCN are instructed by Rhiannon Jones of Lester Morrill Solicitors .

As always, we would be pleased to hear of other grants of exceptional funding, and to publicise them for the benefit of others making similar applications.

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False imprisonment claims – High Court clarifies scope

In Sisangia, R (on the Application of) v Director of Legal Aid Casework [2014] EWHC 3706 (Admin) the High Court has clarified the requirements for funding claims of false imprisonment. They are within scope by virtue of para 21  of Part 1 of Schedule 1 of LASPO, which provides:

21. Abuse of position or powers by a public authority

(1) Civil legal services provided in relation to abuse by a public authority of its position or powers.

General exclusions

(2) Sub-paragraph (1) is subject to-

(a) the exclusions in Part 2 of this Schedule, with the exception of paragraphs … 3 … of that Part …

Specific exclusion

(3) The services described in sub-paragraph (1) do not include services provided in relation to clinical negligence.

Definitions

(4) For the purposes of this paragraph, an act or omission by a public authority does not constitute an abuse of its position or powers unless the act or omission –

(a) is deliberate or dishonest, and

(b) results in harm to a person or property that was reasonably foreseeable

(5) In this paragraph –

“clinical negligence” means breach of a duty of care or trespass to the person committed in the course of the provision of clinical or medical services (including dental or nursing services).

Para 3 of Part 2 says that claims for the torts of assault, battery or false imprisonment are out of scope, but those exclusions are dis-applied by para 21(5), meaning that those torts can be pleaded as part of a claim against a public authority for abuse of powers.

The LAA’s position was that for an application to be granted, it must be shown that the act or omission complained of was deliberate or dishonest and resulted in foreseeable harm, and that there must also be an abuse of position or power - that more than simple negligence is required. It said that both the act itself (in this case, an arrest)  and the absence of lawful authority behind that had to be deliberate or dishonest – that in the case of unlawful arrest and false imprisonment it was necessary to show that the arrest was deliberate or dishonest and so was the lack of lawful authority – that the arresting officer action deliberately or dishonestly arrested knowing there was no legal power to do so, intending to abuse his powers.

Dingemans J held that para 21(4) was a complete definition, not a minimum requirement. If its requirements are made out, then that will be enough to show that there was an abuse of position or powers. Nothing further will be required. Only the act had to be deliberate or dishonest. The arrest was deliberate, it resulted in harm and the harm was foreseeable. It need not be also shown that there was also bad faith or dishonest motivation or that the arresting officer acted knowing he had no power to do so.

This is a helpful decision and should make the granting of funding in cases under para 21 more likely in the future.

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Filed under Actions Against the Police, LASPO, Public Law

CCMS – don’t give up – report

Resolution, the Law Society and LAPG have spent many hours in meetings with the LAA, trying to secure improvements to CCMS (the LAA’s civil certificate client and cost management system). The LAA believes the system is functioning adequately but we hear that many practitioners encounter problems.

Some simply despair and cannot face adding yet more unbillable time to their day by reporting the problems to the helpdesk. We also know that a significant number have decided to wait until the system becomes mandatory next year. Unfortunately, unless the LAA has evidence that the system isn’t working effectively, they will be able to press ahead.

Resolution and LAPG are urging their members to report all problems, at least during November, so the LAA gets a more accurate picture. They would also appreciate feedback to Resolution  or LAPG.

 

 

 

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Filed under Civil, Clinical Negligence, Community Care, Family, Housing, Public Law

Family mediation tender closes Friday 31 October at noon

Just to remind organisations which want a new Family mediation contract, and existing providers who want to open new outreach offices, that they must submit their applications by noon tomorrow.

More information, including the most recent answers to frequently asked questions, can be found here.

Existing providers who want to continue as they are from 1 February 2015 do not need to do anything now.

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LASPO Impacts

The Commons Justice Committee is holding an enquiry into the impact of LASPO. It took oral evidence earlier this week on housing, immigration and family cases – you can read the transcript here (and see here Nearly Legal’s take on the kind offer of one MP on the committee).

Meanwhile, the written evidence submitted to the enquiry is also available; it makes interesting, if depressing, reading.

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Filed under Civil, Family, Housing, Immigration, LASPO, Policy

Tender update

More news on a couple of ongoing or upcoming tenders:

  • The LAA has published an advert for the forthcoming clinical negligence, public law and actions against the police tenders. The tender opens on 1 December and closes on 23 January 2015.
  • The final FAQ for the current mediation tender has been published. This tender closes at noon on 31 October 2014. Remember that this tender is only for new entrants; existing mediation contract holders don’t need to apply unless they want to open additional locations.

 

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Filed under Actions Against the Police, Civil, Clinical Negligence, Family, Public Law