November 15, 2013 · 1:20 pm
The Inner House of the Court of Session has today upheld the decision of Lord Woolman in the case of the SPFL v Lisini Pub Management. The full decision can be read here.
In terms of this decision the Court has upheld the dismissal of the action brought by the SPFL to prevent the defender, which owns various pubs, showing SPL/SPFL football matches via a Polish decoder and for damages for breach by Lisini of an undertaking not to do so.
This case follows that where the English courts referred a similar dispute to the European Court of Justice and as Lord Woolman noted:-
“Put short, the ECJ found that clauses prohibiting the use of foreign decoders and smart cards were void. They constituted a restriction on competition and the [free competition] provisions of European law prevailed over the 1988 Act.”
Lord Woolman’s decision was challenged by the SPFL but this appeal has failed. Continue reading →
June 19, 2013 · 9:09 am
The news broke yesterday that Andy Coulson, former bigwig at the News of the World, and latterly Director of Communications for the Prime Minister, had appeared in private at Glasgow Sheriff Court last Thursday on a charge of perjury. He made no plea or declaration and was released on bail.
Why Was His Case Dealt With In Private?
Before anyone suggests that Mr Coulson was receiving privileged treatment by having his case dealt with in private, that is in fact the required procedure for the first appearance on petition in a serious criminal case. These are always dealt with “in private”. That can mean in Sheriff’s chambers, or in a closed court, where only the Fiscal, defence agent and accused are present (along with the Sheriff and court and security staff).
The reports indicated that Mr Coulson was represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Richard Keen QC. It is unusual to wheel out the “big guns” so early in a case like this, but sometimes “visitors” from England fail to appreciate that solicitors deal with such appearances every single day. So Mr Coulson is likely to have incurred a substantial cost for Mr Keen’s appearance (and even if he applied for and was granted Legal Aid – and there is no indication he did – the public purse would not be paying for Mr Keen’s undoubtedly excellent services). Continue reading →
June 11, 2013 · 2:40 pm
My new post giving some sensible and practical advice for anyone due to attend court is now up at the Clarity Law Scotland website.
Mobile phones, suitable clothing and the exercise of restraint when receiving bad news are all touched upon.
To read the piece, click on the logo below.
June 9, 2013 · 9:00 am
In which I praise Private Eye for its news-gathering activities; comment on the failure of other news organisations to do the same; compliment the English courts for its open-ness; and contrast this with the prevailing mood in the Scottish courts regarding “Open Justice”.
I was skimming the marvellous BAILII website, looking for interesting legal cases. As I did so, I came across one which was decided on 30th May 2012 by Mr Justice Morgan in the High Court in London. The case is titled Pressdram Limited v Craig Whyte and David Anderson. Pressdram Limited is of course the owner and publisher of Private Eye.
What happened here was that Private Eye engaged in good, honest journalism.
They wanted to see papers which related to the disqualification procedures taken against Mr Whyte and Mr Anderson under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. These original proceedings were filed on 20th October 1998 and resulted in an order being made by Mr Registrar Simmonds on 13th June 2000. That order was a seven year disqualification for Mr Whyte.
Morgan J took account of guidance on “Open Justice” regarding “availability of documents to non-parties”. He also considered a very recent decision of the Court of Appeal – R (on the application of the Guardian News and Media Limited) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court & The Government of the United States of America and Article 19. In that case, which related to extradition, there had been, as Morgan J, in the Pressdram case, said, “a difference of view between the Divisional Court, which withheld the order sought by The Guardian newspaper and the Court of Appeal as to whether the Court had power to permit a newspaper to inspect certain documents and obtain copies of them, in relation to the extradition proceedings.” Continue reading →
May 26, 2013 · 9:00 am
Many unusual and unexpected things are heard in the courts of Scotland. However I had not, to my knowledge, been in court when reference was being made to the football transfer window, at least in a case that had nothing to do with football teams!
A couple of weeks ago, there was the usual crowd in Court 13 at Glasgow Sheriff Court. Lots of cases (83 to be precise) were on the list, many of them mortgage repossessions. Lots of people had turned up without representation in an effort to keep the roof over their heads.
Generally each case has its own specific circumstances – illness, separation, loss of employment – leading to mortgage arrears and frantic efforts to stave off repossession. From time to time an unusual solution to the problem is suggested, but generally it is only liberal applications of money which can solve the problems (there are actually far more things that a debtor can do to protect his position, but that is for elsewhere). Continue reading →