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|AM (Afghanistan) v SSHD (2017) EWCA Civ 1123||Immigration tribunal - fair hearing, litigation friends||In this judgment the Court of Appeal gave guidance on the general approach to be adopted in FTT and UT immigration and asylum cases to the fair determination of claims for asylum from children, young people and other incapacitated or vulnerable persons whose ability to effectively participate in proceedings may be limited. In relation to litigation friends, despite there being no provision in the tribunal rules for litigation friends, the court decided that: "[T]here is ample flexibility in the tribunal rules to permit a tribunal to appoint a litigation friend in the rare circumstance that the child or incapacitated adult would not be able to represent him/herself and obtain effective access to justice without such a step being taken. In the alternative, even if the tribunal rules are not broad enough to confer that power, the overriding objective in the context of natural justice requires the same conclusion to be reached."|
|Lord Chancellor v Blavo and Co Solictors Ltd (2018) EWHC 3556 (QB)||John Blavo personally ordered to repay Legal Aid claims||The High Court gave judgment for the Lord Chancellor against John Blavo in the sum of £22,136,001.71 following the allegation that Blavo & Co made dishonest claims for payment on the legal aid fund for thousands of cases where it was not entitled to any fee.|
|Lord Chancellor v John Blavo (2016) EWHC 126 (QB), (2016) MHLO 6||Freezing order continued||There was a strongly arguable case that John Blavo was party to an arrangement whereby false claims were submitted to the LAA in many thousands of cases, there was evidence of a less than scrupulous approach to his duty of disclosure to the Court, and evidence of a recent attempt improperly to put property beyond the reach of the Lord Chancellor. Taking these matters together there was a real risk that any judgment would go unsatisfied because of disposal of assets. Given the sums of money involved and the admitted financial difficulties it was just and convenient in all the circumstances to continue the freezing order. (The precursor to the official investigation was an audit during which 49 files were passed to the LAA's counter-fraud team, whose conclusions included: "In respect of 42 of these 49 files HMCTS have confirmed that they have no record of there having been tribunal proceedings either in respect of the individual client or on the date when the file indicates...Following this, the LAA made inquiries of the NHS on a selection of files among the 42 that had no tribunal hearing and the NHS confirmed that they have no records relating to 16 of the clients... After completing this analysis the Applicant undertook a further comparison of all mental health tribunal claims against the HMCTS system. As a result of this analysis, it was found that the Company had submitted a total of 24,658 claims for attendance at tribunals of which 1485 (6%) tribunals were recorded by HMCTS as having taken place... After visiting the Company's Head Office and requesting documentation from the Company and the Respondent, the LAA team used an electronic sampling tool to randomly select 144 cases for further investigation, across the last three complete financial years. Only 3% could be evidenced from HMCTS records...")|
|Mazhar v Lord Chancellor (2017) EWHC 2536 (Fam)||Inherent jurisdiction||"This is a claim brought under sections 6, 7(1)(a), 8(1) and 9(1)(c) of the Human Rights Act 1998 against the Lord Chancellor in respect of a judicial act. The act in question is an order made by a High Court judge, Mr Justice Mostyn, who was the Family Division out of hours applications judge on the late evening of Friday, 22 April 2016. The order was made on the application of Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. It was an urgent, without notice, out of hours application made in respect of the claimant, Mr Aamir Mazhar. ... Mr Mazhar seeks to argue that the inherent jurisdiction cannot be used to detain a person who is not of unsound mind for the purposes of article 5(1)(e) of the Convention and that a vulnerable person's alleged incapacity as a result of duress or undue influence is not a basis to make orders in that jurisdiction that are other than facilitative of the person recovering, retaining or exercising his capacity. His removal and detention were accordingly unlawful and in breach of article 5. He also seeks to argue that his article 6 rights were engaged such that the absence of any challenge by the judge to his capacity and/or the evidence of the NHS Trust and the absence of any opportunity to challenge those matters himself or though his family or representatives before the order was executed was an unfair process. He says that his article 8 right to respect for family and private life was engaged and that the order was neither necessary nor in accordance with the law. ... The consequence is that I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing in the HRA (taken together with either the CPR or the FPR) that provides a power in a court or tribunal to make a declaration against the Crown in respect of a judicial act. Furthermore, the HRA has not modified the constitutional principle of judicial immunity. Likewise, the Crown is not to be held to vicariously liable for the acts of the judiciary with the consequence that the claim for a declaration is not justiciable in the Courts of England and Wales. A claim for damages against the Crown is available to Mr Mazhar for the limited purpose of compensating him for an article 5(5) breach but the forum for such a claim where the judicial act is that of a judge of the High Court cannot be a court of co-ordinate jurisdiction. On the facts of this case, the only court that can consider a damages claim is the Court of Appeal. If Mr Mazhar wants to pursue his challenge to the order of Mostyn J he must do so on appeal."|
|R (JS) v SSHD (2019) UKUT 64 (IAC)||Litigation friends for children in immigration tribunal proceedings||The Upper Tribunal provided mainly age-based guidance on whether a child applicant in immigration proceedings requires a litigation friend, and on the role of the litigation friend.|