Neuberger and Dyson to head seven-judge panel for Coventry

Supreme Court

Supreme Court: Coventry set for 9 February

The president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, and Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, will head a seven-judge panel for the eagerly awaited Coventry costs hearing on 9 February, it has been announced.

The Supreme Court has scheduled two and a half days for the case, which raises the issue of whether the pre-Jackson conditional fee regime breached the European Convention on Human Rights.

Supreme Court panels are usually made up of five justices, so the larger panel indicates the importance attached to the case, as does the inclusion of Lord Dyson, who stepped down from the Supreme Court after his appointment as Master of the Rolls in 2012.

The other five judges are Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, Lord Clarke, a former Master of the Rolls, and Lords Mance, Carnwath and Sumption.

The court will consider later this month the written applications made by seven organisations which have applied to intervene in Coventry v Lawrence, including the Ministry of Justice, Law Society and Bar Council.

In other cases of note before the Supreme Court this term, on 19 January, it will hear on an expedited basis the unusual case of OPO v MLA. Lord Neuberger and Lady Hale will be joined by Lords Clarke, Wilson and Toulson.

Lord Justice Jackson joined two other Court of Appeal judges in October last year in a ruling that publication of a book detailing a father’s sexual abuse at school could amount to deliberately causing psychological harm to his son under the principles set out in an “obscure tort”.

The court’s decision to allow the boy’s appeal against the rejection of his application for an injunction was based on the principles set out in Wilkinson v Downton, which provides a remedy for the deliberate infliction of psychological harm by intentional statement.

One of the most complex commercial cases of recent years, JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov, is set to be heard by the Supreme Court on 16 March.

The JTA BTA Bank, based in Kazakhstan, accuses Mr Ablyazov, its former chairman, and others of defrauding it of over $6bn.

Mr Ablyazov instructed Clyde & Co to defend him against the bank’s claims in 2009. The law firm was later replaced by Stephenson Harwood and then by Addleshaw Goddard.

Lord Neuberger and Lords Clarke, Mance, Hodge and Kerr will hear the case.


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