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John Beggs QC and James Berry appear in judicial review challenge to decision not to re-open murder investigation

21st June 2022

Lee Balkwell died in 2002. His body was found by emergency services crushed between the drum and the chassis of a cement mixer that he had been cleaning out with his employer. Lee Balkwell’s father is adamantly of the view that the employer murdered his son.

Essex Police’s original investigation was criticised by IPCC and the Chief Constable has apologised to Lee Balkwell’s family. Essex Police commissioned a review by West Midlands Police, then a major investigation by Kent Police to discharge the recommendations of the review. That investigation involved the exhumation of Lee Balkwell’s body and resulted in the employer being prosecuted for manslaughter (of which he was acquitted) and health and safety offences (of which he was convicted).

Lee Balkwell’s father subsequently obtained the assistance of a firm of private investigators and asked Essex Police to re-open the investigation into his son’s death. Essex Police decided not to do so. Mr Balkwell then obtained evidence from an eminent pathologist who disagreed with the evidence of the pathologists who had previously provided reports. He again sought the re-opening of the investigation. This request was also declined.

Mr Balkwell sought judicial review of Essex Police’s decisions on the basis that they were irrational and in breach of Article 2 ECHR. He argued that Essex Police had never complied with its Article 2 investigative obligation following his son’s death or, alternatively, that the obligation had been ‘revived’ by the new material he had presented to the police.

The Divisional Court dismissed Mr Balkwell’s claim and found that Essex Police’s decisions were reasonable, that the Article 2 investigative obligation had not been ‘revived’ by the new material and that, even if it had, Essex Police had discharged that obligation in the steps it took upon receiving that material.

For the judgment click here.

John Beggs QC and James Berry represented Essex Police in this long running litigation.

Both John and James are expert in judicial review challenges to decisions concerning police investigations and the use of police powers including arrest and search.


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Guildford Pub Bombings inquests commence, Edward Pleeth and James Berry appearing

20th June 2022

The resumed inquests into the deaths of Paul Craig, Ann Hamilton, Caroline Slater, William Forsyth and John Hunter in a bomb exploded in the Horse and Groom pub in Guilford on 5 October 1974 started hearing evidence today.
The inquests are expected to last for four weeks.

Edward Pleeth is acting for the Ministry of Defence.
James Berry is acting for the Metropolitan Police Service.
Both have been involved since the application was made in 2018 for the inquests to be resumed.

Find out more about the history of these inquests here.


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Mental Health Awareness Week Initiative at Serjeants’ Inn

20th May 2022

Rachel Spearing, the co-founder of the Bar Wellbeing Initiative, devised a mental health campaign for Chambers, drawing on research from institutions such as: Wellbeing at the Bar, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, and the King’s Fund.

She gave Members of Chambers and staff key findings including job crafting, community and connection, with cognitive and behavioural exercises.

The campaign culminated in a webinar on wellbeing featuring Steve Eaton MBE, former special forces operative and global leadership coach, Rachel Spearing and Joint Head of Chambers, Angus Moon QC.

Find out more about Angus‘s or Rachel‘s practices by clicking on their names.


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James Berry appears in important IPT case on surveillance in misconduct investigations

16th May 2022

On 11 May 2022 the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (Lord Boyd, Sir Richard McLaughlin and Professor Graham Zellick QC) handed down their decision in Bartram & Howe v Chief Constable of British Transport Police.

The complaints’ case was that surveillance carried out on them during a misconduct investigation by British Transport Police (BTP) ought to have been authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and breached their Article 8 ECHR rights.

James Berry represented BTP, who argued that RIPA did not apply to surveillance for the purpose of internal (non-criminal) misconduct investigations and that the IPT lacked jurisdiction to hear the case.

The IPT appointed Counsel to the Tribunal who argued that RIPA did apply and that the IPT’s seminal case of C v The Police did not apply on the facts of case. C concerned ‘medical surveillance’ of a former officer suspected of exaggerating his pension claim, which the IPT decided fell outside RIPA and its jurisdiction.

The IPT accepted James’ arguments, applied the case of C v The Police to surveillance in (non-criminal) police misconduct investigations, and held that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

James Berry advises public authorities including police forces on surveillance in criminal and misconduct investigations and represents parties in proceedings before the IPT and related civil litigation.

James was instructed by David Riddle of Simons Muirhead Burton.

 


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Eloise Power co-edits and co-authors Lessons from Medicolegal Cases in Obstetrics and Gynaecology

16th May 2022

Eloise Power co-edits and co-authors , Lessons from Medicolegal Cases in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, with Swati Jha, a leading urogynaecologist. Published by Cambridge University Press, this book aims at improving this clinical practice by increasing awareness of past cases and their implications.

Eloise is the author of detailed legal commentaries throughout the book, together with a chapter giving an overview of clinical negligence law.

Find out more about Eloise’s clinical negligence practice here.

To find out more information and purchase Lessons from Medicolegal Cases in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, click here.


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Anthony Haycroft successfully defends a dentist before a Professional Conduct Committee of the General Dental Council

6th April 2022

Anthony Haycroft successfully defended a dentist before a Professional Conduct Committee of the General Dental Council. The case involved various alleged clinical failings in respect of a single patient. The dentist admitted a single failing and the PCC accepted her evidence and found her admitted allegation proven but no others. Although the admitted failing was far below standard, the PCC accepted the defence submissions that following the case of Calhaem there was no misconduct in the case either on public protection grounds or public interest grounds. As a result the case concluded with no action being taken at all upon the dentist’s registration.

 

Anthony Haycroft was instructed by Stephen Hooper of Clyde & Co, through Susan Willet of MDDUS and the defence expert was Dr Sharon Caro.


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Pravin Fernando succeeds in a claim for judicial review against the Secretary of State for Defence

29th March 2022

 R. (on the application of Ogunmuyiwa) v Army Board of the Defence Council & Anor

The claim concerned a service complaint brought by a private soldier against his commanding officer. In a wide ranging and significant judgment Ellenbogen J found that the decision of the Army Board of the Defence Council dealing with the service complaint was significantly flawed in a multitude of ways. The claim succeeded on all six grounds of judicial review. The judgment is the first in many years to deal with the service complaints process and the first addressing the Armed Forces (Service Complaints) Regulations 2015.

Please see the judgment here.


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Awards

Angus Moon QC 1986 | 2006    Joint Head of Chambers
Michael Horne QC 1992 | 2016    Joint Head of Chambers
Adrian Hopkins QC 1984 | 2003
John Beggs QC 1989 | 2009
Michael Mylonas QC 1988 | 2012
Tom Crowther QC 1993 | 2013
John de Bono QC 1995 | 2014
Dijen Basu QC 1994 | 2015
Nageena Khalique QC 1994 | 2015
Katie Gollop QC 1993 | 2016
Simon Fox QC 1994 | 2016
Bridget Dolan QC 1997 | 2016
Gerard Boyle QC 1992 | 2017
Sarah Clarke QC 1994 | 2017
Debra Powell QC 1995 | 2017
Jon Holl-Allen QC 1990 | 2018
Mark Harries QC 1995 | 2019
Ian Skelt QC 1994 | 2020
Sophia Roper QC 1990 | 2022
Claire Watson QC 2001 | 2022
Jemma Lee 2010
Liam Duffy 2012
His Honour Brian Barker CBE QC 1969 | 1990    Associate Member
Sir Robert Francis QC 1973 | 1992    Associate Member
James Watson QC 1979 | 2000    Associate Member
Natalie Cargill 2016    Associate Member
Susan Burden 1985    Door Tenant
Anthony Jackson 1995    Door Tenant
Benedict Wray 2009    Door Tenant