A final offer made by the Legal Aid Agency in respect of counsel’s fees in a “Very High Cost (Crime) Case” had a sufficient public-law element to make it amenable to judicial review. The offer in the instant case was unlawful because, among other things, the Legal Aid Agency had failed to disclose its method of calculating the fees offered.
RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL
The court quashed a finding of contempt in relation to the livestreaming on Facebook of a video referring to details of defendants during a trial which was subject to a postponement order prohibiting the reporting of the proceedings until the conclusion of the trial. The judge had dealt with the contempt too quickly, there was no clarity about the particulars of the alleged contempt as required by the Criminal Procedure Rules 2015 Pt 48 and there was limited opportunity to investigate mitigation. The matter was remitted for rehearing.
The inclusion in an enhanced criminal record certificate of details of an individual’s acquittal on a charge of rape was a proportionate interference with that individual’s rights under ECHR art.8. In so deciding, the Supreme Court clarified when an appellate court could make a fresh determination as to proportionality, noted the lack of guidance to potential employers on how to treat ECRCs containing details of acquittals, and indicated that careful thought should be given to the value of disclosing allegations that had been tested in court and resulted in acquittal.
A prison governor’s decision that a prisoner serving a mandatory life sentence should attend a court hearing by video link rather than in person did not breach ECHR art.6, and the prison had not fettered its discretion.
The Court of Appeal considered the use of reporting restrictions in a criminal trial in the context of an appeal by the BBC against a postponement order imposed pursuant to the Contempt of Court Act 1981 s.4(2).