Recent cases

Road traffic accidents – general injury claims

SF v. Parkwood Holdings Ltd. – Poorly maintained park path with potholes led to the claimant’s injury. SF fell and fractured of a collar bone. After negotiations, SF settled the claim and received £3,100.

SK v. Global Cruise Services Ltd – This was a claim based on the employer’s liability for injury at work. SK worked on a cruise ship in the area exposed to sea spray and, sometimes, rain. He was not given protective non-slip footwear despite repeated requests. One day when the sea was rough, SK fell down the stairs and injured his back. The claim was settled for £42,000.

DH v. MoJ – The claimant was a disabled man employed to work in prison. His job was to pull trolleys with goods. He had not been given training, supervision or guidance and, on one occasion, whilst pulling a trolley backwards, he fell into an open manhole and injured his back. DH received £8,500.

MM v. Admiral – A man involved in a road traffic accident suffered the hand and hip injuries. Owing to the further developments it was identified that the claimant developed a psychological injury. The defendant sought to minimise the value of the injury and offered to settle the claim first for £50,000 and later for £100,000. After negotiation, the defendant agreed that the appropriate amount of damages should be £230,000.

A.B. v MoJ - A prisoner fell down the stairs and fractured his ankle. The Secretary of State was forced to accept liability and pay £3,500.00 in light of the fact that another prisoner had been injured on the same spot a few months before.

TD v. LV – A man who was crossing the road was hit by a motorbike and suffered multiple fractures. The defendant made allegations of contributory negligence based on the fact that the claimant had come out of a pub. His claim was settled out of court and our client received £55,000.

Unlawful detention

AHM v. SSHD – The claimant, having served a prison sentence, was detained for an excessive period. He had no leave and, following the criminal conviction, he was supposed to be deported. During this period the claimant rejected the attempts of the SSHD to facilitate an application for an emergency travel document and made repeated, although unsuccessful, asylum applications. The claimant had been diagnosed with a mental health condition which worsened during the period of immigration detention and led to the loss of capacity shortly after his release. The court accepted that approximately five months of the immigration detention was unlawful.

IB v. SSHD – The claimant died shortly after his release from immigration detention. The defendant resisted the claim and denied the allegations that the claimant’s detention was excessive and unjustified, both in light of the well-known and published policy and the claimant’s documented mental health condition. However, despite the repeated attempts by the defendant to delay the proceedings, the claim was settled and the family of the deceased claimant received compensation of £59.000.

KK v. MoJ – A man who was not released from prison after the Parole Board decision received £1,000.

MS v. SSHD - Asylum seeker from Eritrea who was unlawfully detained for several months after a lengthy prison sentence. His claim was settled out of court and M.S. received £13,000 compensation.

JPS. v. MoJ - A prisoner whose sentence has been miscalculated. Having served additional 145 days, J.P.S. received a full apology and £11,200 settlement.

LS v MoJ - This client raised an issue of a miscalculated prison sentence following his recall to prison. The Secretary of State had failed to take into account the full number of days our client spent on remand and he was awarded £12,000 compensation.

Injury in police custody

JC v. Noonan – A man in the police custody was given an excessive amount of medication owing to the poorly maintained records and inadequate communication between the staff members. The claimant required an urgent examination which caused some panic, anxiety and fear. Although the medical results did not show any damage to the claimant’s health he received £1,000 from the defendant.

Assault in prison

DB v. MoJ – A prisoner was assaulted by another inmate who was kept in the maximum security conditions. This prisoner was serving a long sentence for a violent offence and was known for propensity to violence. DB suffered a facial and shoulder injury and received £3,000 in damages.

LM v MoJ – The claimant was injured in an unprovoked attack by a man armed with a bladed instrument. He suffered facial injuries which resulted in permanent and significant scars. He received £10,000 in damages.

AB v MoJ – A serving prisoner was held in inadequate detention facilities upon arrival to prison. The officers failed to recognise the threats made against him and did not provide adequate protection. A.B was assaulted by a prisoner armed with a blade and suffered cuts to his arm. Despite his transfer to another prison, steps had not been taken to identify him as a vulnerable prisoner and A.B. was attacked again. This time he had an injury to his chest which left a scar. A.B. accepted £2,400 in compensation.

AR v. MoJ - The claimant in this matter had warned the defendant that he was at risk of assault by a group of prisoners. This warning was ignored and the claimant was attacked with a blade and cut across his chest. He received £6,500 in damages.

JW v. MoJ – The claimant who had been standing on the landing was assaulted by a deranged inmate armed with two blades who was also high on drugs. This prisoner assaulted or stabbed another three prisoners before kidnapping his fifth victim creating a hostage situation. This was resolved by the riot unit. The claimant received a cut to his neck and psychiatric injury and settled his claim for £6,000.

Immigration and Public Law

Queen (on the application of) Goldsworthy v. SSJ
The defendant recalled a 72 year old, terminally ill lifer to prison for causing minor property damage at a care home. The claimant’s cancer diagnosis and short life expectancy may have been the reason for his poor behaviour which was ignored by the defendant. The claimant had a severe mobility problem and could move only with a gutter frame. He also had a stoma with a colostomy bag and an in-dwelling catheter as well as a number of other ailments. The problem was exacerbated by the inadequate placement in a nursing home because of the acute shortage of housing for disabled prisoners. The court quashed the defendant’s decision, declared the recall decision unlawful and ordered immediate release.

Queen (on the application) of Michael Goldsworthy v. Parole Board and SSJ
The claimant, a lifer, challenged his delayed release from prison. Although he was released after he had issued proceedings the claimant pursued the claim against the Parole Board (for the delay of the parole review by at least 16 months) and against the Secretary of State for delaying release by approximately 10 months. Although the claim was defended, both defendants agreed by consent to pay damages and costs.

OO(Nigeria), R(on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWCA Civ 338 (10 May 2017)
The defendant sought to deport OO following his conviction for money laundering. He had no previous convictions and was married with one child. This was an appeal by the appellant OO against the order of Upper Tribunal refusing permission to seek judicial review of decisions made by the Secretary of State for the Home Department to remove OO from the United Kingdom and that if he wishes to appeal against a deportation order he must do so from outside the United Kingdom. The court accepted that OO’s removal from the UK would amount to a disproportionate interference with the Article 8 rights of OO and his family and allowed the appeal.

The Queen (on the application of Ian Mordecai) v. Parole Board for England and Wales
The claimant successfully challenged the Parole Board decision refusing to direct his release. The court recognised that the decision not to recommend transfer to open conditions was irrational and had to be quashed. This matter has been remitted to the Parole Board for a new decision and, possibly, transfer to the open conditions. The court accepted that the weight given to the expert evidence and old convictions was not balanced with regard to the claimant’s custodial behaviour and efforts to reduce risk of re-offending.

BD v. SSHD [2015] EXCA Civ 596 – A foreign national with several previous convictions argued that his removal would violate his Article 8 rights. The appellant argued that weight should have been placed on his rehabilitation and the test in MF(Nigeria) should have been applied. Unfortunately, the appellant failed to satisfy the Court of Appeal that his circumstances were sufficiently compelling.

The Queen (on the application of Bewley) v. MoJ - The claimant unsuccessfully challenged the decision of the Secretary of State not to transfer him to the open conditions despite the recommendation made by the Parole Board. The claimant argued that his progress towards post-tariff release was hampered by failures relating to his rehabilitation and arbitrary application of a public policy. He further argued that he had a substantive legitimate expectation to progress with his sentence and sought relief claiming breach of the defendant’s duty to progress indeterminate prisoners towards release, unlawfulness on the defendant’s part by his application of an inflexible policy and failure to identify good reason for departing from his earlier decision.

The Queen (on the application of Bowen and Stanton) v. Secretary of State for Justice [2016] EWHC 2057 (Admin)
The Claimants, Mr Bowen and Mr Stanton, were both convicted of serious offences and sentenced to indeterminate sentences (IPP). Both claimants had served the minimum period and were over tariff. The Parole Board then reviewed their cases and recommended release to approved premises. Owing to demand for such accommodation, each claimant had to wait several months to be released. Their claims relate to that period of waiting which they challenge as being, in whole or part, unlawful detention. The court held that there was no breach of public duty akin to James. The defendant did not breach the claimant’s rights under Article 5 ECHR or s.28 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997. Equally, the delay in providing AP accommodation was not unreasonable and the continued detention in each case was therefore lawful.

Criminal appeals

R. v. SJ - An asylum seeker convicted of possession of a false instrument under s. 4 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981. The Court of Appeal quashed the initial decision and ordered a retrial.

R. v Leacock and Anor (Nutting) - Another case involving a miscalculated sentence. Remand time was not taken into account by the judge, whilst counsel failed to make submissions on this point. The court ordered that 168 days be credited.

R. v Steven Oliver Johnson - A man convicted of possession of a class A drug with intent to supply (s. 5(3) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971). The jury was misdirected by failing to give them the alternative verdict of simple possession or assist them regarding the evidence that was capable of supporting the prosecution case. Conviction quashed.

General prison issues and discrimination

FK v MoJ - Governor of HMP Styal refused permission to the claimant following his application for special licence to attend mother’s funeral. It was accepted that the defendant had racially discriminated against the claimant who was a Muslim and had breached the claimant's human rights under ECHR and HRA 1998. The claimant received £1,500 compensation.

BA, ND, US - A group of Muslim prisoners were forced to abandon their headwear owing to the policy that applied only to the Muslims in custody of this part of the prison estate. This was held to be discriminatory and one of the claimants accepted the offer to settle his claim and received £2,000. The other two claimants received £5,000 each.

AR v MoJ - A woman, serving a short determinate sentence, was refused permission to speak to a journalist over the phone and under supervision. She was awarded £250 compensation.

JW v. MoJ - Upon transfer from another prison, the claimant who is a practising Pagan, had his tarot cards confiscated. It was subsequently established that he used the tarot cards in his religious rituals and only for this purpose. The Secretary of State returned the cards and paid the claimant’s costs.

SB v. MoJ - The claimant’s application for special licence to attend his mother’s funeral was refused for no obvious reason. He issued proceedings and received £1500.

OO v. MoJ - A man released on police bail was subject to electronic monitoring prior to his imprisonment. After his conviction the claimant continued wearing the electronic tag for 66 days in a high security prison despite his frequent complaints. He received £500.

RA v. Parole Board - The Parole Board delayed the claimant’s review for several months. His release was subsequently recommended and the claimant received £2,400 in compensation.

WT v. Parole Board - Another delayed parole review. The claimant received £1,500.

TD v. Parole Board - The oral hearing regarding the claimant’s parole matter was unreasonably delayed and he received £3,500 in compensation.

RB v. Parole Board - Unusually long delay in the parole review process was accepted as unreasonable. The claimant received £4,500 in damages.

Dental negligence

PD v Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust and Hertford Community NHS Trust
The Claimant was awarded £3,000 for failed and delayed dental treatment in both NHS Trusts leaving him in severe pain and discomfort.

JPS v. MoJ – Despite numerous requests to see a dentist, a prisoner was denied treatment for a long period of time which caused extensive decay, gum problems and loss of teeth. The claim was settled for £15,000.

Professional negligence

Confidential – An asylum seeker charged with possession of a false instrument (forged passport) received incorrect legal advice from his defence lawyer. The claim was settled by the insurer and the claimant received £26,000 of damages.

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