High Court finds Haringey LBC acted unlawfully in failing to ensure housing needs of family with severely disabled child are met.

The High Court today handed down judgment in R (KS & AM) v London Borough of Haringey. The claim was brought by a mother and her youngest child who is six years old, is severely disabled and has no sense of danger. Children’s services recognized the danger that the current accommodation presents, particularly the danger of the child falling from one of the two the balconies at the front and rear of the property. A fire risk assessment found that it was not appropriate to seal the balcony doors and so the risk of serious injury from a fall remained. Children’s services therefore requested that the authority’s housing department provided the family with suitable accommodation.

The judgment was concerned with the relationship between the obligations owed to the family by the local authority’s children’s services and its housing department. It was found by the court that the housing authority was not entitled to treat the request that it provides appropriate accommodation as a request for a review of its housing allocation decision and put the family on a waiting list with little or no prospect of securing suitable accommodation. The court also found that where the housing department did not act on children’s services request for appropriate accommodation for the family, the children’s services department was required to formulate a plan setting out how the unaddressed needs of the family were to be met.

This is an important judgment which clarifies the high degree of co-operation required by law between children services and housing departments where they are dealing with vulnerable children. It will hopefully help to avoid the longstanding problem of families with such vulnerable children being passed from one public body to another without either taking responsibility for their pressing needs.

A link to the judgment of the High Court is available here.

Monckton Chambers’ Ian Wise QC acted for the claimants, instructed by Rebekah Carrier of Hopkin Murray Beskine Solicitors.

“Benefit cap” legislation survives the Court of Appeal – now for the Supreme Court

The Court of Appeal today handed down its long-awaited judgment in R (DA & Others) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. The claim relates to a challenge to the lawfulness of the “benefit cap” legislation on the grounds that it unlawfully discriminates against, and hence breaches the human rights of, lone parents of children under two years old, and such children in their own right. A challenge to an earlier version of the benefit cap went all the way to the Supreme Court  but a narrow majority of the Supreme Court judges held that it did not discriminate against lone parents (and hence women) even though the majority of the Supreme Court judges did find that the cap breached the United Kingdom’s international obligations in relation to the welfare of children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Today’s judgment of the Court of Appeal concerns the judicial review challenge to the revised, and significantly harsher, benefit cap legislation. The High Court held that the new cap did indeed discriminate unlawfully against lone parents of children under two years old (and such children), concluding that the cap had caused “real misery to no good purpose” (see here).

The Court of Appeal, by a majority of two to one, has overturned the High Court judgment based in particular on a different interpretation of the judgment in SG. The Court of Appeal did however consider that the High Court was entitled to find that the revised cap was again in breach of the UK’s obligations to children under the UNCRC. In addition, recognising the real public importance of the issues raised, the Court of Appeal has taken the unusual step of granting permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against its own judgment. This means that the lawfulness of the benefit cap is going to be considered again at the very highest level of the judicial system.

A link to the judgment of the Court of Appeal is available here.

Monckton Chambers’ Ian Wise QC and Michael Armitage acted for the claimants/respondents, instructed by Rebekah Carrier of Hopkin Murray Beskine LLP.

George Peretz QC gives evidence to the House of Commons International Trade Select Committee.

George Peretz QC gave evidence to the International Trade Select Committee this morning on the provisions of the Trade Bill and Customs (Cross border trade) Bill that deal with the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) and anti-dumping duties and countervailing measures post-Brexit. Topics covered included the division of powers between the TRA and the Secretary of State, the constitution and powers of the TRA, and appeals from decisions of the TRA. George has previously written for the UK Trade Forum on these issues (here).

General Court issues a key judgment on the reach of the Aarhus Regulation

The General Court has annulled the Commission’s decision that it did not need to comply with a request for review made under the Aarhus Regulation insofar as the decision in question related to the safety risks, as opposed to ‘environmental risks’ posed by a genetically modified organisms (“GMO”).

Pursuant to the Aarhus Regulation, Testbiotech submitted a request for review to the Commission of the legality of a market authorisation for a genetically modified soybean. The Commission rejected the greater part of the review on the basis that it was out with the scope of the Aarhus Regulation because it examined the health threats posed by the GMO, and not the threat it posed to the environment. The General Court found that as GMOs are cultivated in the environment they are, therefore, part of the general environment (whether they are cultivated in the EU or not). The Court found, therefore, that the Aarhus Regulation applies to any provision of EU legislation concerning the regulation of GMOs that has the objective of dealing with a risk to human or animal health, that originates in those GMOs or in environmental factors that may have effects on GMOs when they are cultivated or bred in the natural environment.

This judgment has broader significance for the exercise of environmental law rights by NGOs. It demonstrates that the General Court will adopt a broad and purposive approach to the scope of the Aarhus Regulation, enabling NGOs to challenge inappropriate market authorisations or other environmental decisions.

Kassie Smith QC and Julianne Kerr Morrison, instructed by Leigh Day, acted for Testbiotech.

For further detail see the General Court’s Press Release.

The judgement may be found here.

Monckton Chambers supports the seventh annual Sir Jeremy Lever Lecture

The seventh annual Sir Jeremy Lever lecture was held on Friday 23rd February, to celebrate the career of Sir Jeremy Lever KCMG, QC, a pioneer of both the practice and academic study of competition law in Europe.

The lecture titled “Mutual recognition and individual rights: the golden mean between blind trust and inadequate trust” was given by Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston QC and chaired by Philip Moser QC.

The event was followed by a celebratory dinner at All Souls College.

Chambers Global 2018 – Recognition in Dispute Resolution (Russia), and UK Competition Law and Construction

Chambers Global 2018 has just been published. Covering 190 countries worldwide and also includes region-wide and global-wide sections, the Guide recognising the world’s best lawyers.

Monckton Chambers is one of four sets to be recognised for COMPETITION LAW (THE BAR) — UK and one of only two in the leading band.

Individual Monckton members ranked for this category are:


Jon Turner QC, Daniel Beard QC, Tim Ward QC, Paul Harris QC, Kassie Smith QC, George Peretz QC, Meredith Pickford QC, Mark Brealey QC


Ronit Kreisberger, Julian Gregory, Rob Williams, Anneli Howard, Ben Lask, Ben Rayment, Alistair Lindsay, Alan Bates, Philip Woolfe, Anneliese Blackwood, Laura Elizabeth John, Alison Berridge, James Bourke.

In addition, Michael Bowsher QC was recognised for CONSTRUCTION and Drew Holiner, ranked for DISPUTE RESOLUTION (foreign expertise) — RUSSIA.

High Court to review Muslim graves case

The High Court has granted permission for a judicial review of Walsall Council’s cemeteries policy, deeming it a matter of public interest.

The Claimant’s late father is buried in the lawn area of Streetly Cemetery, which is reserved for Muslim burials. The Council’s policy prohibits edging around graves in that area. The Claimant argues that appropriate edging is a religious requirement (to prevent people from stepping on graves) and that the ban is in breach of the right to freedom of religion under Article 9 ECHR and contrary to the Equality Act 2010.

Nikolaus Grubeck is acting for the Claimant.

For the media coverage see BBC and the Guardian.

GCR Awards 2018 – Daniel Beard QC nominated for Litigator of the Year

Monckton’s Daniel Beard QC is flying the flag for the English Bar at the forthcoming GCR Awards. The only barrister to be nominated, Daniel is one of eight lawyers shortlisted for “Litigator of the Year” award. The category is described as “a competition litigator whose superior technical skill, practical judgment and excellence in serving clients in court in 2017 demonstrate that he or she is among the very best in the field.

Daniel’s nomination is supported by the following credentials: “Daniel Beard QC at Monckton Chambers was lead counsel for Intel in its successful appeal before the European Court of Justice against a decision by the General Court to uphold a €1 billion abuse of dominance fine. The judgment was arguably the most significant EU competition ruling of 2017 and the most important abuse of dominance decision for several years, requiring EU enforcers’ infringement findings to account for evidence and effects. Beard was instrumental to the success of the case and those who attended the oral hearing commented on the excellence of his advocacy. He was also lead counsel for BT in its successful appeal before the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, challenging the UK communications regulator Ofcom’s findings of market definition and imposition of intrusive remedies. It is believed to be the first time that a UK regulator’s market definition has been successfully challenged.”

GCR are inviting readers to vote online for the cases, law firms, lawyers, economists and enforcers they believe excelled in 2017.

The winners will be announced at the GCR 8th Annual Awards Ceremony on 10 April in Washington, DC.

High Court rules that damages are inadequate for NHS claimants

The TCC has refused an application by Lancashire County Council to lift the suspension of a procurement relating to Children’s Services in Lancashire. The procurement is challenged by two local NHS Trusts – Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – who are the incumbent providers of the services. The contract has been awarded to Virgin Care Services Limited.

The judgment is notable in a number of respects:

  • The Court held that the constraint on the availability of damages to a “sufficiently serious breach” was a factor which could be taken into account in deciding whether to lift the suspension.
  • The Court held that damages were not an adequate remedy for the claimants given that the loss of the contract would require them to restructure their operations and would affect the way in which they provided other public services
  • The Court rejected an argument that the Court should lift the suspension because a contract extension would be illegal
  • The Court made observations confirming that contracting authorities should not unreasonably resist applications for specific disclosure of core evaluation and bid material

The Court ordered an expedited trial of the claim in April 2018.

Rob Williams acted for the successful Claimants instructed by Hempsons. The judgment can be found here.

Two of The Lawyer’s Top 20 Cases for 2018 feature four Monckton Chambers’ members

The Lawyer has published the Top 20 Cases due to be heard in 2018, which this year has “public interest cases take centre stage” and is described as “a plethora of headline-grabbers.” Four members of Monckton Chambers are highlighted in this year’s list relating to two cases:

Peugeot SA & Ors v NSK Ltd & Ors

Competition Appeal Tribunal,

16 April, six weeks

Peugeot has launched a claim for damages against automotive parts supplier NSK Ltd and others that will reach court in April, following a March 2014 European Commission decision that identified cartel behaviour. The commission found the defendants guilty of collusive behaviour relating to their supply of automotive bearings to claimant the Peugeot group between 2004 and 2011. The upcoming hearing will examine the remaining technical issue surrounding the ‘overcharge’ resulting from anti-competitive behaviour.

The defendants claim this overcharge was passed onto Peugeot’s customers and, as such, it is not their responsibility to pay further damages. There is also confusion as to the extent of Peugeot’s loss resulting from the defendants’ cartel behaviour, and whether it is possible to monetise that loss.

Monckton Chambers’ Josh Holmes QC and James Bourke, instructed by Macfarlanes partner Geoff Steward is acting for the fifth defendant, AB SKF


Liberty v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors

High Court,

27 February, two days

Liberty is seeking a judicial review of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016, otherwise known as the ‘Snooper’s Charter’, which was brought into law while Theresa May was home secretary in 2015.The bill granted the security services and the police powers to hack devices such as mobile phones and computers, and to retain data that might help them combat an increased terror threat. The legislation provoked an immediate backlash from civil rights campaigners who said it compromised citizens’ right to privacy and journalists’ ability to do their job.

The powers granted by the bill, including a requirement for telecoms operators to retain data, thematic hacking, the bulk interception of communications and the bulk acquisition of data, are (according to Liberty) incompatible with EU law and in contravention of the terms of the 1998 Human Rights Act.

Monckton Chambers’ Gerry Facenna QC and Michael Armitage, alongside Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC and 11 KBW’s Julian Milford, are instructed by the Government Legal Department for the defendant, the Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors.

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