Gulati and others v MGN Ltd, [2015] EWHC 1482 (Ch), Mann J, 21 May 2015

The Cs claimed damages for misuse of private information against D, the proprietor of the Daily Mirror, the Sunday Mirror and The People. The claims related to the interception of the Cs’ mobile telephone voicemail inboxes. D had conceded liability in all cases save that it was not conceded that a handful of the articles published in D’s papers were the product of phone hacking. The court was required to ascertain the damages payable to the Cs. The Cs contended that compensation should have several elements, namely: (1) loss of privacy or autonomy, (2) injury to feelings, and (3) damage/affront to dignity or standing. D submitted that compensation was for distress/injury to feelings alone, and that the awards should be determined in line with damages for distress in harassment claims (applying Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police [2002] EWCA Civ 1871). The Cs invited the court to make awards of damages for 3 separate layers of activities: (1) voicemail interception, (2) blagging of personal information, and (3) publication of the information obtained. D contended that each C should obtain an overall sum for all wrongs.

Mann J held that compensation could be given for things other than distress, and in particular for the commission of the wrong itself in so far as it impacted on the values protected by the Cs’ Article 8 ECHR right to privacy. An award for infringement of privacy rights was capable of including other elements, and so the idea of a scale, let alone the Vento scale, was inappropriate. He also found that the separate layers of activity each called for separate treatment in terms of awards. He could then adjust any sum appropriately to ensure that the overall sum was proportionate and a proper reflection of the overall pattern of wrongdoing. D’s apology did little, if anything, to mollify the effect of the phone hacking. Taking all of these factors into account, the Cs were entitled to damages ranging from £260,250 in the case of Sadie Frost to £72,500 in the case of Lauren Alcorn.

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July 7, 2015   Posted in: Case Reports  No Comments

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email infoatqccartoondotcom  (infoatqccartoondotcom)  .

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July 6, 2015   Posted in: Cartoons  Comments Closed

Weekend video: Lord Pannick QC explains the relationship between equality and the rule of law

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July 4, 2015   Posted in: News  Comments Closed

Book recommendation: Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

Go Set a Watchman is set during the mid-1950s and features many of the characters from To Kill a Mockingbird some twenty years later. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) has returned to Maycomb from New York to visit her father Atticus. She is forced to grapple with issues both personal and political as she tries to understand both her father’s attitude toward society, and her own feelings about the place where she was born and spent her childhood.

Available from Amazon.

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July 1, 2015   Posted in: News  Comments Closed

How to: Bang the Gavel for Organisation in Your Practice

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

The life of a lawyer isn’t filled with quite as much pizzazz as Ally McBeal or Boston Legal might have you believe. Instead of attractive lawyers screaming “Objection!” in judge’s faces, the main tasks in the day of a lawyer involve paperwork, paperwork and even more paperwork.

There might be the occasional natty suit to be worn, but the land of the law is about as glamorous as a nightclub in Stoke.

But while it might not be stylish or even particularly exciting, keeping on top of paperwork is vital.

In a sea of client documents, updates to the law, detailed case studies and payment information for staff, the savvy lawyer doesn’t just understand the law – they know how to keep every facet of organisation in check.

With that in mind, we’ve come up with a few great ways to keep your organisation skills in check. Take a look.

The right software

In this space-age 21st century, it’s not possible to rely on old fashioned filing cabinets and Post-it notes as a means of organisation.

But, until very recently, human resources software was little more than a glorified spreadsheet. Inputting all the appropriate information was like enduring a long and sombre battle.

Let’s thank the tech gods that HR software has improved since those painful days of glitches and wipe outs. Now, the cream of the HR crop is packed with features and a number of automatic settings to make input that little bit easier.

Great software will let you check the progress of your employees and pay them pronto. And it certainly beats your fusty old filing cabinet.

An appy state

That smartphone in your pocket isn’t just for taking calls – it can organise your entire life for you.

If you’re in law, you’ll understand the need to stick to a tight schedule. Unless you fancy entire stretches of evening living on nothing but caffeine and legal jargon, you’ll need an organiser that’ll keep you rigorously on time.

And a quick visit to any app store online can give you everything you need for the organisational precision of a keyhole surgeon.

Alarm clocks, schedule planners and Cloud notebooks – they’re all just a finger press away.

Trustworthy help

You know that job applicant who said they can get you “anything you want off the back of a van”? Probably best not to hire them.

But being more serious, it’s vital to check on the trustworthiness of anyone you’re hiring – especially when they’re surrounded by sensitive files and cases.

Make your employees file a disclosure before they can work for you. This’ll give you peace of mind for both yourself and your clients.

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June 30, 2015   Posted in: News  Comments Closed

A v B [2015] EWHC 1562 (Fam); habitual residence/consent/acquiescence

Mother’s application for the summary return under the Hague Convention of a child to Germany. In this unusual case, the father maintained that the child had been conceived with the intention that the child would live with him and his wife in England, not with the mother in Germany. The judge ruled that the child was habitually resident in England but that even if that was wrong (i) the mother gave clear and unequivocal consent to the child leaving Germany for England and (ii) her subsequent actions as recorded on social media and voice mail amount to acquiescence to the child’s continued presence here.

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June 30, 2015   Posted in: Case Reports  Comments Closed

Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

qccartoon
This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email infoatqccartoondotcom  (infoatqccartoondotcom)  .

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June 29, 2015   Posted in: Cartoons  Comments Closed

Weekend video: The Importance of Law – Helena Kennedy

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June 27, 2015   Posted in: News  Comments Closed

Book recommendation: A Certain Justice (Inspector Adam Dalgliesh Book 10) by P.D. James

From P.D. James, one of the masters of British crime fiction comes the tenth novel to feature commander Adam Dalgliesh. A Certain Justice is a chilling murder mystery packed with forensic detail, set in the treacherous legal world of London. Venetia Aldridge QC is a distinguished barrister. When she agrees to defend Garry Ashe, accused of the brutal murder of his aunt, it is one more opportunity to triumph in her distinguished career as a criminal lawyer. But just four weeks later, Miss Aldridge is found dead at her desk. Commander Adam Dalgliesh, called in to investigate, finds motives for murder among the clients Venetia has defended, her professional colleagues, her family – even her lover. As Dalgliesh narrows the field of suspects, a second brutal murder draws them into greater complexities of intrigue and evil. P.D. James, the bestselling author of Death Comes to Pemberley, Children of Men and Death In Holy Orders, once again explores the mysterious and intense emotions responsible for the unique crime of murder, with authority and sensitivity. A Certain Justice is set in the legal world of London and possesses all of the qualities which distinguish P.D. James as a novelist.

Available from Amazon.

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June 24, 2015   Posted in: News  Comments Closed

Warner-Lambert Co LLC v Actavis Group & Ors, CA (Arden, Ryder, Floyd LJJ), 28/5/15

W’s appeal against the refusal of an interim injunction was dismissed, and W’s appeal against the striking out of a claim for patent infringement was allowed. The claims concerned a “Swiss form” claim for the use of a compound to make a treatment for neuropathic pain. Patent protection for other indications for the same drug had expired. The Court found that the claim did not require a subjective intention on the part of the manufacturer that the drug be used for the patented indication. What was required was that the manufacturer knew, or could reasonably foresee, the intentional use by the end user for pain relief. The strike-out was reversed but the interim injunction was continued on the basis of balance of justice, since the NHS had issued suitable guidance to doctors.

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June 23, 2015   Posted in: Case Reports  Comments Closed