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Month: February 2016


Alistair Parker joins Brett Wilson LLP

On 29 February 2016 Alistair Parker joins Brett Wilson LLP. Alistair is a highly-regarded senior solicitor specialising in crime, fraud and regulatory/disciplinary proceedings.  He joins the firm’s private crime/regulatory department. Alistair’s full biography can be found here. Alistair can be contacted on 020 7183 8950 or by email at

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Assault conviction quashed

In Westlake v Crown Prosecution Service [2016] the Divisional Court quashed the defendant’s conviction for common assault where the Magistrates had applied an ‘objective’ as opposed to ‘subjective’ test to the question of recklessness.

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Max Clifford ordered to pay Royal Butler £5,000 for privacy breach

In Burrell v Clifford [2016] EWHC 294 (Ch) Princess Diana’s butler Paul Burrell succeeded in his High Court privacy claim against publicist Max Clifford. In 2002 Mr Burrell was the subject of a high profile criminal trial in which it had been alleged that he had stolen from the Royal Family.  He approached Mr Clifford…

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Sweett Group plc becomes the first corporate to be convicted under the Bribery Act

On 19 February 2016 at Southwark Crown Court HHJ Beddoe imposed a total penalty of £2.35 million against Sweet Group plc for committing an offence contrary to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010. Section 7 of the Bribery Act provides that a company will be guilty of an offence if an “associated person” (someone…

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CPS fails to review files before court hearings in nearly 40% of cases

HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate has reported its initial findings on its review of the Magistrates’ Court system Transforming Summary Justice.  The purpose of the review is to measure what steps have been taken by the prosecuting agency to cut delays, reduce the number of court hearings per case and to ensure that all cases…

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Court of Appeal upholds damages in phone hacking claims

In Representative Claimants -v- Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd [2015] EWCA Civ 1291 the Court of Appeal considered MGN’s appeal over privacy damages awarded against it for phone hacking. First Instance Decision Mann J’s decision in Gulatti & Ors v MGN Limited [2015] EWHC 1482 in May 2015 marked a turning point in the development of privacy…

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Increased court fees denying access to justice claims Master of the Rolls

Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, the country’s most senior civil judge, has expressed his concern over the effect of large year’s increase in court fees.  In March 2015 fees for claims valued at £10,000 or above began attracting a court fee of 5%.  This resulted in some fees increasing by nearly 600%. The ‘enhanced fees’ that were introduced…

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Defamation: case law update on the application of the 'serious harm' test

In Alvaro Sobrinho v Impressa Publishing SA [2016] EWHC 66 (QB) the High Court held that an article written in a Portuguese publication about allegedly illegal activity carried out by a banker did not satisfy the ‘serious harm’ test as set out in section 1(1) of the Defamation Act 2013. The Court also held that…

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Sentencing Council proposes definitive guidelines for maximum credit for guilty pleas

Under new proposed guidelines produced by the Sentencing Council a definitive sliding scale of credit for guilty pleas is proposed according to when the guilty plea is entered.  The reductions range from one-third at the first stage of the proceedings down to one-tenth on the first day of trial. Sentencing Council Chair Lord Justice Treacy…

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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.