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News & Events

Devon Chambers attend LCCSA Rally

Westminster Central Hall was the venue for a lively rally held by the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association (LCCSA) to highlight the lack of attention that the legal aid cuts have received in the election build up.

The line-up included a whole list of leading campaigners including Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Shami Chakrabarti (Liberty), Sir Anthony Hooper, Bill Waddington (CLSA Chair), Jon Black (LCCSA President) and Joe Mensha-Dankwah (Black Solicitor Society) to name a few.

Leading the way was Sir Alan Moses who stressed that judges need advocates just like people need medicine. This comparison wa furthered by Mark Fenhalls (Criminal Bar Association Vice-Chair) whom likened justice as being as fundamental as health and education. Other speakers stressed the importance of legal aid on not only the junior end of the bar, but the devastating impact any further cuts would have on BAME and high street solicitors.

The rally was held to send a clear message and it did. The message was typified by a letter sent by Michael Mansfield QC who could not attend due to his current commitments at the Hillsborough inquiry. The message was a clear and strong one. He identified the dramatic and stark impact that the cuts have had creating a two tiered justice system as well as the government's inroads into the rule of law by its tightening of judicial review. He called for no returns and the withdrawal of services if these savage cuts continue.

Despite the rally having a resolute atmosphere, there were moments of light heartedness including a video made by Rat Films. There was also a message of hope. If the professions unite in direct action then the government's ideological assault on justice can be stopped.

Devon Chambers' Members attend the Western Circuit "Training the Trainers" Advocacy Course.

Kelly Scrivener and Jo Martin attended the Western Circuit "Training the Trainers" Advocacy Course at the University of the West of England on Saturday 18th April 2015. Together with Jason Beal, they are now able to participate in the Western Circuit advocacy courses for pupils and new practitioners. Devon Chambers is fully committed to this excellent programme which is geared towards promoting the highest standards of advocacy.

Read more: Devon Chambers' Members attend the Western Circuit "Training the Trainers" Advocacy Course.

Supreme Court Gives Significant Decision for All Disabled Occupiers of Housing (3)

The Supreme Court has today (11 March 2015) given judgment in the case of Akerman-Livingstone v Aster [2015] UKSC 15, which is concerned with the correct approach to be taken by the courts to Equality Act 2010 defences to possession claims. 

The Appellant, who was disabled by reason of his severe and chronic mental health condition, raised a defence of disability discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010. The County Court considered that the correct approach to adopt to such defences was the same as the approach taken to Article 8 defences and summarily dismissed the case (dismissed it without a trial). The High Court and Court of Appeal agreed with the County Court. However, the Supreme Court concluded that this was the wrong approach, and that the Equality Act 2010 provided an occupier with extra protection. The correct approach involved considering whether the proposed eviction was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim which in turn involved consideration of other lesser potential measures.

As a result of recent factual developments the Supreme Court found that it would be no kindness to the Appellant, and pointless, to remit the matter back to the County Court and therefore allowed the possession order in this particular case to stand. However, this decision will be of enormous importance to any and all occupiers of housing whether in the private rented or social sector.

Russell James of Devon Chambers represented the Appellant throughout this case, was instructed by Shelter Legal Services, led by Jan Luba QC in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and joined also by Catherine Casserley in the Supreme Court.

The press summary of the Supreme Court is available here and the video summary is available here.

The full judgment is available here.

Supreme Court Gives Significant Decision for All Disabled Occupiers of Housing

The Supreme Court has today (11 March 2015) given judgment in the case of Akerman-Livingstone v Aster [2015] UKSC 15, which is concerned with the correct approach to be taken by the courts to Equality Act 2010 defences to possession claims. 

The Appellant, who was disabled by reason of his severe and chronic mental health condition, raised a defence of disability discrimination contrary to the Equality Act 2010. The County Court considered that the correct approach to adopt to such defences was the same as the approach taken to Article 8 defences and summarily dismissed the case (dismissed it without a trial). The High Court and Court of Appeal agreed with the County Court. However, the Supreme Court concluded that this was the wrong approach, and that the Equality Act 2010 provided an occupier with extra protection. The correct approach involved considering whether the proposed eviction was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim which in turn involved consideration of other lesser potential measures.

As a result of recent factual developments the Supreme Court found that it would be no kindness to the Appellant, and pointless, to remit the matter back to the County Court and therefore allowed the possession order in this particular case to stand. However, this decision will be of enormous importance to any and all occupiers of housing whether in the private rented or social sector.

Russell James of Devon Chambers represented the Appellant throughout this case, was instructed by Shelter Legal Services, led by Jan Luba QC in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court, and joined also by Catherine Casserley in the Supreme Court.

The press summary of the Supreme Court is available here and the video summary is available here.

The full judgment is available here.

Devon Chambers at the Supreme Court Again

The final of the 2015 Devon Chambers Mooting competition was held in Court 2 at the Supreme Court in London on 2nd March and was presided over by Lord Toulson.

The competition is an annual event open to undergraduates attending the University of Exeter. This year saw over 100 participants taking part in moot problems covering a range of legal topics.

Rupert Taylor and Scott Horner from chambers were in attendance to offer advice to the 4 finalists and assist Lord Toulson in the prizegiving.

In a strongly contested moot based on the criminal defence of necessity, second year student Lowri Patterson was victorious, earning herself the 2015 title along with a £100 book token and the opportunity of a week long mini pupillage in chambers.

Lord Toulson congratulated all 4 finalists on their achievements in reaching the final and commented upon the high quality of the debate.

Our thanks go to Lord Toulson and the staff at the Supreme Court for making the event one which will live long in the memory of all those involved.