Between 2010 and 2018 there were over 50 judicial reviews brought in respect of search warrants. This has been attributed to the perception that applications for warrants are seen as “…in essence matters of routine, in effect requiring no more than a rubber stamp of approval from the courts”. The spate of cases shows no sign of abating. High-profile cases have captured the attention of the media. The 2014 search of Sir Cliff Richard’s house resulted in a very public admission of liability and payment of £400,000 in damages by South Yorkshire Police, in addition to subsequent litigation in which the BBC was found liable for breach of privacy. The first case considered by the UK Supreme Court in 2018 addressed the issue of what evidence in support of a search warrant may be relied upon by a court when it cannot be disclosed to the person on grounds of public interest immunity (“PII”).Read More
Thom regularly writes articles for publication on various issues of legal interest. He has been published in The Times, The Guardian, Private Eye, New Statesman and Prospect, as well as in specialist law journals like Judicial Review, Public Law and the Solicitors Journal.
These articles are provided free of charge for information purposes only; they do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the articles, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted.
Recent years have seen a quiet revolution take place in public law challenges to decisions of public prosecuting bodies, such as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Serious Fraud Office (SFO). After a long line of authorities in which the courts took a restrictive approach to such claims, a spate of cases and European legislation, the availability of judicial review in this area began to open up after 2010.Read More
It might be thought that it requires a certain level of masochism for a legal aid practitioner to want to read a book which details the recent cuts to the justice system. Nonetheless, there are a growing number of recent publications that can be described as falling into the category of “misery lit for legal aid lawyers”. From Steve Hynes and Jon Robins’ concise but forceful 2009 polemic, The Justice Gap, and 2012 follow-up Austerity Justice, to the more recent publication of Access to Justice and Legal Aid by Asher Flynn, the spotlight is finally being shone on the effect of austerity on access to justice. The latest contribution to this growing sub-genre is Access to Justice: Beyond the Policies and Politics of Austerity.
(This article first appeared in the journal Public Law in April 2017)Read More
Nobody could accuse Lord Sumption of ducking the big issues. They certainly don’t get much bigger than those he addressed in the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Lecture, given in Kuala Lumpur, on 20 November 2013. His paper, entitled “The Limits of Law”, sought nothing less than a redefinition of the boundary between the legal and the political (This article first appeared in Judicial Review on 31 October 2016).Read More
It’s a trite complaint of most advocacy textbooks that the “art of oral persuasion” is one that cannot be acquired purely through reading books. Though there is undoubtedly some truth in that statement, those students looking to make a living from the spoken word are well advised to keep an amply stocked bookshelf (This article first appeared in The Times on 20 October 2011).Read More