The Court of Appeal gave judgment in LL v Lord Chancellor [2017] EWCA Civ 237 on 10 April 2017 (Longmore, Jackson and King LJJ).

The case concerned a claim for damages brought against the government under section 9 of the Human Rights Act 1998 and article 5 of the ECHR in respect of a flawed judicial custody decision. LL’s committal to prison for contempt by Russell J was quashed by the Court of Appeal in 2014, but his article 5 damages claim then failed before Foskett J the following year ([2014] EWCA Civ 905 and [2015] EWHC 3273 (QB)).

Reversing the latter decision, the Court of Appeal held that Russell J’s errors represented a “gross and obvious irregularity” entitling LL to an award of damages for breach of article 5. This is an unusual outcome and would appear to be the first reported domestic finding of liability on this basis.

This is the third such case in which Oliver Sanders QC has represented the Lord Chancellor as defendant following the earlier Court of Appeal and High Court decisions in Webster v Lord Chancellor [2015] EWCA Civ 742 and Wright v Lord Chancellor [2015] EWHC 1477 (QB).

In this latest case, Oliver was leading Elliot Gold of Serjeants’ Inn, instructed by the Government Legal Department, and LL was represented by Jamie Burton and Angela Patrick of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Natalie Sedacca of Hodge Jones & Allen.

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