Christopher Poole represents Local Authority in committal proceedings reported in the Guardian

Joint Head of Chambers, Christopher Poole, recently represented a Local Authority in committal proceedings reported by the Guardian newspaper.

Mr Justice Hayden decided not to imprison the "bullying and bombastic" mother, who had attended her son's parents evening, despite previous orders for her not to contact her son, but refused to recuse himself. The mother stated that she was entitled to attend the parents evening under the terms of a previous order.

Pupillage Applications for 2019 Now Open

Chambers is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications for pupillage, to commence in October 2019, via the Pupillage Gateway.

The submissions window will close at 11.00am on 7 February 2019, following which we will consider all applications before offering interviews.

Child Case Management Practice - Sabrina Polak

Sabrina Polak has contributed to the 3rd edition of 'Child Case Management Practice' which was published on 6 November 2018 by Family Law Lexis Nexis.

The publication is a practical manual on the Public Law Outline, generating best practice case management documents and providing synopses of the law for all the major applications.

It is designed for use by the judiciary, barristers, solicitors, legal executives, CAFCASS, local authorities, guardians, the Ministry of Justice, experts and the Legal Services Commission.

A handbook for the busy practitioner and judge, designed to provide core skeleton arguments for the most common – and some less common – children applications” - Law Society Gazette

Christopher Poole & Giles Bain Ranked in Legal 500

We are delighted that Christopher Poole and Giles Bain have been ranked in the 2019 edition of Legal 500.

Chris is described as having "a charming manner in court, which is highly effective."

Giles is "an experienced advocate with a calm courtroom manner."

Sam Prout Joins Chambers

Congratulations to Sam Prout who, having successfully completed pupillage in chambers, joins us as our newest tenant. We wish Sam all the very best with his future career at the Bar.

Nisa-Nashim - Launch of Jewish Muslim Women's Network

We are delighted to announce our collaboration with Nisa-Nashim, the Jewish Muslim Women's Network, ahead of the launch event on 15 November 2018 at New Court Chambers.

Nisa-Nashim, the name coming from both the Islamic and Hebrew words for ‘women’, is an organisation of Muslim and Jewish women who came together initially as a friendship group to support each other against increasing Islamophobia and Anti-Semitism. 

The aim is to encourage Muslim and Jewish women to form meaningful personal relationships, while benefiting the wider society in which they live.

There are many such groups countrywide, however Raisa Saley and Elissa Da Costa-Waldman, both members of New Court, have taken the initiative to start an occupation group, hence the name ‘Sisters in Law’, joined in chambers by Sabrina Polak and Saiqa Chaudhry.

The religions of Islam and Judaism have much in common given that they come from the same root, and as lawyers the different ways in which we adhere to the same laws, for example, circumcision, modesty, dietary laws and laws on lending money, to name but a few, are fascinating and well worth exploring to further our knowledge and understanding of each other.

If you are interested in attending the Nisa-Nashim launch event on 15 November 2018, 6.00pm-7.30pm at New Court Chambers, please email, by 5 October 2018, heading your email ‘Sisters in Law’ to express your interest.

We look forward very much to hearing from you. 

“Do we have to?” - Ordering and Avoiding Disclosure by Third Parties

The starting point for ordering disclosure against organisations that are not party to proceedings is rule 21.2 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010(FPR). Rule 21.2(3)requires that the court can order such disclosure “only where [it] is necessary in order to dispose fairly of the proceedings or to save costs.” Necessary is the operative word.

Often the third-party organisation is given express permission to apply to vary or discharge the order. Even if that isn’t explicitly set out then the third-party organisation can apply to the Family Court under rule 21.3 FPR 2010 for an order permitting them to withhold disclosure on the ground that disclosure would harm the public interest. This ground (the public interest immunity or PII) is sometimes a third-party organisation’s last chance for withholding disclosure in care proceedings.

The approach for asserting a public interest immunity is set out in the leading House of Lords case -v- Chief Constable of West Midlands Police, ex parte Wiley; R. -v- Chief Constable of the Nottinghamshire Constabulary, ex parte Sunderland[1995] 1 AC 274, [1994] 3 All ER 420. In his speech (at p.424) Templeman LJ gives us the foundation of a three-stage test for building a PII argument:

  1. Whether the information is sufficiently relevant and material to require disclosure in the interests of justice; if so,
  2. Whether there is a real risk that disclosure would cause “real damage” or “serious harm” to the public interest; and if so,
  3. Whether the public interest in non-disclosure is outweighed by the public interest in disclosure for the purposes of doing justice in the proceedings.

You can see that the FPR thematically follows Templeman LJ’s point (i) and although Wiley originated in police complaints proceedings, the full approach has been adopted for disclosure in other areas. This includes disclosure ordered in care proceedings (see, for example, Re C (A Child) [2016]EWHC 3171 (Fam), [2017] 1 FLR 1665and Re C (A Child) No.2 (Application For Public Interest Immunity) [2017] EWHC 692 (Fam), [2017] 2 FLR 1342).

While successful public interest immunities are rarely established on the grounds of real damage or serious harm to the public, disclosure orders are often made out in (unavoidable) haste and with an abundance of (well-intentioned) enthusiasm. In those circumstances it’s often easier to vary or discharge an order under the first limb of the test. If you can argue that the information is simply not necessary, relevant, or material to the issues in the case then try that first.

Typically third-party disclosure orders are made against the police, social services, and health trusts but orders are also made against schools, community mental health or substance misuse organisations, charities, offender management/support services, and independent social services. The same tests for and against disclosure apply to any of these.

Members of Chambers have recently acted on behalf of an independent school that found itself (and its student records) caught up in care proceedings. In that case the order for disclosure was successfully varied to limit disclosure to relevant information only (crucially making the actual disclosure exercise a much more manageable task for the school office).

by Sam Prout

£625 raised for London Legal Support Trust

Team New Court hit the streets on 21 May 2018, along with over 13,000 other members of the legal community, to help raise funds for the London Legal Support Trust. For more information on some very worthy causes please visit the London Legal Support Trust website here.