COURT HEARINGS

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THE COURT HEARINGS INFO PAGE -

1. HOUSE OF LORDS - (appeal hearing on 23-25 October 2006, ruling delivered in the main chamber of the House of Lords at 9.45am on Wednesday 13 December 2006)
BACKGROUND INFORMATION - A REPORT FROM COACH PASSENGERS - SPECIALLY COMMISSIONED LEAFLET - JUDGEMENT - FOR PRESS

2. COURT OF APPEAL HEARING (14-15 October, 2004, ruling hearing in Court 4 at Royal Courts of Justice on Weds 8 December 2004)
BACKGROUND INFORMATION - A REPORT FROM COACH PASSENGER - JUDGEMENT - FOR PRESS

3. JUDICIAL REVIEW (15-16 January, 2004)
BACKGROUND INFORMATION - JUDGEMENT - FOR PRESS

ABOUT THIS PAGE

This page has information related to the 23-25 October 2006 appeal hearing of Laporte v. Gloucestershire Police at the House of Lords. It also has details of the previous 14-15 October 2004 Court of Appeal hearing and consequent ruling on Wednesday the 8th of December 2004. For PRESS COVERAGE of the Appeal Hearing and results click here.

It also has the 15-16 January 2004 High Court judicial review hearing of Laporte v. Gloucestershire Police (with ruling on 19 February 2004). Click on the items above to jump straight to the section you want, or simply scroll down the page. For PRESS COVERAGE of the judicial review hearings in Jan/Feb 2004, click here.


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1. HOUSE OF LORDS - (appeal hearing on 23-25 October 2006, (ruling at 9.45am on Wednesday 13 December 2006) with support demo 8.30-noon

For a report on the House of Lords hearing and the support documents, visit this page. The House of Lords hearing was an appeal of the mixed result of a previous appeal at the Court of Appeal (concerning a judicial review judgement in the Divisional Court). We were appealing the Court of Appeal ruling that police were wrong to prevent us from joining the thousands who participated in the lawful protest at RAF Fairford. The police were appealing the ruling that they acted unlawfully by detaining us without arrest or trial.

This appeal took place in the House of Lords, for which there were the following requirements-

"Neither an admission pass nor prior notice is required for those members of the general public wanting to attend the hearing or judgment of an appeal; those wishing to attend either should enter the Palace via St Stephen's entrance."

"The Appellate Committee usually hears appeals on Mondays from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm and on Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10.30 am to 1.00 pm and from 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm. Hearings may, however, start earlier or later and finish earlier or later. Hearings take place in Committee Rooms 1 and 2 on the Committee Corridor of the Palace of Westminster."

"Judgment is given in the Chamber of the House. When judgments are to be given, the House usually sits on Wednesdays at 9.45 am."
(for further info, click here).

It was a room for 30 and we just had to turn up on the day. On some days we almost didn't all get to sit down. Our hearing started at 11am on Monday and 10.30am thereafter. Doors opened 30 minutes before. Entry was through the St. Stephens Entrance.

There were support demos for the previous High Court and Court of Appeal hearings. They were held outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. For the House of Lords hearing we had a support demo too (on Parliament Square). Sadly we had to apply for a SOCPA related permission for the right to demonstrate outside Parliament. Fortunately, we were able to commision a new leaflet from the miracle printers of Bath, and this will be made available to download here shortly (in an A4 format, but the version we handed out was extra long and narrow).

Here is a 119 page (4MB) PDF file with all the case arguments as presented by each of the parties. This is recommended reading if you plan to come to the hearing.


House of Lords Details:

Case Name:

  

Jane Laporte vs. The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police

Time/ Date/ Location:

  

Monday to Wednesday, 23-25 October 2006 with an 11am start on Monday, but 10.30am start on all other days.  The hearing will be in The House of Lords, Parliament before a Committee of five Law Lords. (Note- Seating for members of the public is limited to 30).

Claimant:

  

Ms Jane Laporte

Defence:

  

The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police

Interested Parties :

  

- The Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police
- The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Metropolitan Police)
- The Chief Constable West Mercia Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Northamptonshire Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Avon and Somerset Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

Type of Case:  

House of Lords appeal hearing
Concerning the result of an Appeal of the Divisional Court's ruling on the Judicial Review earlier in the year.

(Judicial Reviews are only seen in the High Court - for example, a Judicial Review about anti-terror searches)

Claimant's Legal Team:  

Legal Firm - Bindman and Partners

Solicitors - John Halford, Steve Grosz, Mike Schwartz

Barristers -

Michael Fordham QC of Blackstone Chambers. He is the author of the 1994 book the Judicial Review Handbook which is now in its 3rd Edition (2001), and has been cited by Law Lords in several recent House of Lords cases. CV available for download here. In 2005, Fordham was recognised as Lawyer of the Year at the Liberty-Justice Human Rights Awards Lawyer of the Year for his wide range of human rights work including seeking to show that the Human Rights Act could apply to actions of British military personnel in occupied post-war Iraq.

Ben Emmerson QC of Matrix Chambers. He was part of the legal team representing the Belmarsh Detainees in A & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2004) where it was ruled that the detainees could not be lawfully held without charges or trial. A year later Emmerson again represented the Detainees in A & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2005) - this case resulted in the crucial ruling that evidence obtained through torture cannot be used against terror suspects in UK courts. He also represented whistle blower Katherine Gun, the former GHCQ employee charged with Official Secrets Act disclosure in the run-up to the Iraq war.

(for Liberty) - Rabinder Singh QC of Matrix Chambers

Defence's Legal Teams:  

Barrister (for Gloucestershire Police) - Simon Freeland QC of 5 Essex Court

Barrister (for Thames Valley Police) - Edward Faulks QC of 1 Searjeant's Inn

Barrister (for Metropolitan Police) - David Pannick QC of Blackstone Chambers. Pannick is now involved in the Austin and Saxby case concerning the mass detention of Mayday protestors for 7 hours at Oxford circus - this case is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal in January 2007. Pannick has written about recent cases concerning article 5 of the European Human Rights Convention in a paper presented in 2005.

Law Lords:   A Committee of five Law Lords* will hear the case. The membes of this Committee are specifically:

Lord Bingham of Cornhill (Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary)
Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
Lord Carswell
Lord Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood
Lord Mance

*Please Note - Law Lords are members of the House of Lords. "There are 12 Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (or law lords). They are equivalent to supreme court judges in other countries and when the new UK Supreme Court comes into operation in 2008 the law lords will become the first justices of the Supreme Court. Law lords are appointed by The Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister, usually from the ranks of the senior appeal court judges in each part of the UK." (more info available from this helpful source). Although the Law Lords have the right to act as "political" Lords, in practice they have a purely judicial role. The House of Lords is the highest court of appeal available within the England and Wales.

Judgement:  

WE WON THE APPEAL AND CROSS APPEAL!!!

Judgments was handed down in the main chamber of the House of Lords on Wednesday 13 December 2006 at 9.45am.

"R (on the application of Laporte) (FC) (Original Appellant and Cross-respondent) v. Chief Constable of Gloucestershire (Original Respondent and Cross-appellant)"

There was a solidarity demonstration on the morning of the judgement.

ALSO visit the newswire at Indymedia UK for the judgement result - to be posted around 10.30am


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2. COURT OF APPEAL HEARING (14-15 October, 2004)

This hearing was an appeal of the (judicial review) decision by the High Court that police were right to stop us protesting at RAF Fairford. Judgement was handed down on Wednesday the 8th of December 2004 in Court 4 of the Royal Courts of Justice, on the Strand.

At the Court of Appeal, we challenged the police's decision to turn us away from the lawful protest at RAF Fairford after searching our persons and coaches. According to the police, the searches led them to believe that we would breach the police if we attended the lawful demonstration. This is a risk that always comes up at any demonstration. At the Special Constables website (unofficial) a forum discussion featured the following observation -

"There is always the possibility of BoP's [breaches of peace] occurring during a demonstration. This could be used to stop anyone from demonstrating about anything - the government will love that......" (20 Feb 2004 - by Rebelatheart)

Now available - a 10 page report on the 14-15 October 2004 Court of Appeal hearing.

ONE HOUR SUPPORT DEMO AT THE RULING HEARING
People demonstrated support outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand at 9am-10am on Wednesday the 8th of December, 2004. Click here to see photos of the demo at the 14-15th October hearing. Someone spontaneously created a flyer to promote awareness of the occasion, and we also handed out our specially commissioned 2004 flyer. The text is ours, but the printing and layout was done by Bath finest printer who printed it on tree-free hemp paper.  Here is a 10 page (detailed but readable) report of what was argued at the Court of Appeal Hearing.


Appeal Details:

Case Name:

  

Jane Laporte vs. The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police
   (In the Supreme Court of Judicature Court of Appeal (Civil Division) on appeal from Queen's Bench decision)

Time/ Date/ Location:

  

Thursday and Friday, 14-15 October 2004 - 11.00am daily start time.  The hearing will be in Court 3 of the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, UK. (Note- Cameras are not allowed into the court).

Judgement delivered at 10am on Wednesday the 8th of December 2004. Location was the Royal Courts of Justice, in Court 4. This hearing was presided over by Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf, and Lord Justice Clarke (but not Lord Justice Rix).

Claimant:

  

Ms Jane Laporte

Defence:

  

The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police

Interested Parties :

  

- The Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police
- The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Metropolitan Police)
- The Chief Constable West Mercia Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Northamptonshire Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Avon and Somerset Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

Type of Case:  

Court of Appeal Civil Division - an Appeal of the Divisional Court's ruling on the Judicial Review earlier in the year.

(Judicial Reviews are only seen in the High Court - for example, a Judicial Review about anti-terror searches)

Claimant's Legal Team:  

Legal Firm - Bindman and Partners

Solicitors - John Halford, Steve Grosz, Mike Schwartz

Barrister - Michael Fordham of Blackstone Chambers. He is the author of the 1994 book the Judicial Review Handbook which is now in its 3rd Edition (2001), and has been cited by Law Lords in several recent House of Lords cases. CV available for download here.

Barrister (for Liberty's "written intervention") - Jason Coppel of 11 King's Bench Walk Chambers.

Defence's Legal Teams:  

Barrister (for Gloucestershire Police) - Simon Freeland QC of 5 Essex Court
Barrister (for Thames Valley Police) - Edward Faulks of 1 Searjeant's Inn
Barrister (for Metropolitan Police) - John Beggs of 3 Serjeants' Inn

Judges:   Lord Chief Justice Lord Woolf, Lord Justice Clarke, and Lord Justice Rix
Judgement:  

The judgement hearing was delivered in Court 4 at 10am on Wednesday 8 December 2004.

The judgement is available (at the BAILII website's) where it is locate at the following address-
http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2004/1639.html

(You can also download an RTF file of the judgement here.)

The judgement is has been given the following reference information
Neutral Citation Number: [2004] EWCA Civ 1639
Case No. 2004/0608 and 2004/0615

 


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3. JUDICIAL REVIEW (15-16 January, 2004)

On 15-16 January 2004 the Fairford Coach Case Reached the High Court! On 19 February, the ruling was delivered at 10am in court 1.

At the High Court, the police's claims that we had knives and saws was shown to be untrue. The evidence they had of these items being seized came from two other vehicles entirely, which had been searched at other times during the day and ALLOWED TO PROCEED. The judicial review hearing judgement was given at 10am on Thursday the 19th of February, 2003. We released a press release about our response in the afternoon of this judgement hearing.

People demonstrated support outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand at 9am-10am on the day of the ruling. The demonstrators were pleased at the favourable high court ruling on behalf of the 120+ people detained by police on coaches. (Visit our photos page to see images of people demonstrating at the 15-16 February 2004 hearing).


Judicial Review Details:

Case Name:

  

Jane Laporte vs. The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police

(Judicial Review in the High Court of Justice, Queen's Bench Division, Administrative Court)

Time/ Date/ Location:

  

This judicial review hearing occured from 10:30am daily on Thursday and Friday the 15-16 January, 2004 - High Court Judicial Review Hearing in Court 3 of the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, UK.

The ruling hearing occured at 10am on Thursday the 19th of February, 2004.

Claimant:

  

Ms Jane Laporte

Defence:

  

The Chief Constable of Gloucestershire Police

Interested Parties :

  

- The Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police
- The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (Metropolitan Police)
- The Chief Constable West Mercia Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Northamptonshire Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Avon and Somerset Constabulary
- The Chief Constable Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

Type of Case:   Judicial Review (is only seen in the High Court)
           (Example: a Judicial Review about anti-terror searches)
Claimant's Legal Team:  

Legal Firm - Bindman and Partners

Solicitors - John Halford, Steve Grosz, Mike Schwartz

Barrister - Michael Fordham of Blackstone Chambers. He is the author of the 1994 book the Judicial Review Handbook which is now in its 3rd Edition (2001), and has been cited by Law Lords in several recent House of Lords cases. CV available for download here.

Defence's Legal Teams:  

Barrister (for Gloucestershire Police) - Simon Freeland QC of 5 Essex Court
Barrister (for Thames Valley Police) - Edward Faulks QC of 1 Serjeants' Inn
Barrister (for Metropolitan Police) - John Beggs of 3 Serjeants' Inn

Judges:   Lord Justice May and Mr Justice Harrison
Judgement:  

A favourable judgement was delivered on 19 February 2004. To read the judgement, visit the BAILII at

     http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2004/253.html
     (for online text of the judgement)

     http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2004/253.rtf
     (for an 80k downloadable document that opens in Word)


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Press Information

IMPORTANT: For instant quotes and photos, visit our PRESS web pages, and look particularly at the Quotes page and the Photo & Video Resources page. For background info and previous press coverage of the legal challenge, look at our ABOUT section.

How to contact the Fairford Coach Action press team-

By phone - 07817 483 167 (Jane Laporte), and 0781 458 7361 (Jesse Schust) also see PRESS PAGE.

By e-mail - press [at] fairfordcoachaction.org.uk

By post - Fairford Coach Action, c/o HSG, PO Box 2474, London, N8

 

How to contact John Halford (a solicitor from the Claimant's Legal Team)

By phone - at Bindman and Partners 0207 833 4433

By e-mail - j.halford [at] bindmans.com

 


THIS IS THE HEARING INFORMATION PAGE (located at http://www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk/case)