Maugham’s Mystery £100,000 Donor

Twitter lawyer Jolyon Maugham is again trying to avoid being on the hook for his vanity legal proceedings. Court papers show that for the judicial review he launched against the Electoral Commission, Maugham has managed to persuade the judge to limit the costs he’d be liable for to £20,000, despite crowdfunding for the case and revealing that he had a secret donor who was willing to stump up £100,000 to guarantee any adverse costs.

Maugham has a history of using other people’s money to satisfy his own political agendas:

  • He raised £107,650 in an effort to sue Uber over a VAT receipt (which he suspended when he realised he might have to cover Uber’s costs personally)
  • £59,275 for a judicial review against David Davis (which he lost)
  • £70,000 when he went to the High Court in Ireland to reverse the Article 50 process (which he lost)
  • £76,925 to try to get the Scottish Court to ask the ECJ whether Parliament could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50 notification (which he lost)

In submissions to the High Court, Maugham claimed that the cost of the case would be £80,000, and the judge duly ordered that the Electoral Commission should be liable for £40,000 if they lose. This is despite Maugham admitting that he’d raised £62,492 by mid-May and had £27,290 left over from the Davis case which could be used, and revealing he had “received an email from an individual who will agree to guarantee any adverse costs up to the sum of £100,000, and her partner agreed a further indemnity of £2,000”. Tens of thousands of pounds worth of public money is going to wealthy middle class Remoaners to pursue a politically-motivated case…

Maugham has refused to make public the identities of his mystery wealthy backers. Jolyon revealed that a ‘private charitable trust’ has donated £5,000 to the Good Law Project, but guess what, these funders aren’t named either. Yet following the Charity Commission’s ruling that the Legatum Institute breached charity regulations, Maugham said that charities must “deliver the public good – not the ideological agenda of wealthy private donors”. If Maugham is such a bastion of transparency, why won’t he reveal the donors who are bankrolling his case against the Electoral Commission? What happened to his opposition to furthering the “ideological agenda of wealthy private donors”…

Jolyon Maugham Loses Again

Scotland’s top court has rejected yet another attempt by Remoaning lawyer Jolyon Maugham to reverse the referendum result. Maugham had wanted the European Court of Justice to rule on whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw its decision to trigger Article 50, and stay in the EU instead. The Court of Session in Edinburgh threw out Maugham’s bid, saying it was never going to happen:

“The option of revocation of the article 50 notice is contingent on other factors rendering it a live possibility. At present it cannot be said that it is a live practical question.”

A couple of months back Jolyon failed in his attempt to secure a judicial review against David Davis to get him to publish full versions of the government’s Brexit sectoral analysis. He really is the Eddie Izzard of the Bar…

Tommy Robinson Jailed, Reporting Restrictions Lifted

Tommy Robinson has been jailed for 13 months for potentially prejudicing a court case while already on a suspended sentence for contempt of court. Reporting restrictions on Robinson’s arrest have now been lifted. Robinson’s knuckle-dragging supporters were triggered yesterday into claiming there was a conspiracy of silence and an establishment stitch-up. In the real world, a judge ruled that Robinson’s actions could prejudice an ongoing case. Embarrassingly for the Breitbart crowd, reporting restrictions were only lifted following an application by the MSM…

This is what Judge Norton warned Robinson last year:

Robinson was warned he would be sent to jail if he took on contempt of court laws and did anything that could prejudice a trial ever again. He did so anyway. Tommy Robinson is an idiot.

Rich’s Monday Morning View

Craig Mackinlay Court Trial Delayed

Hearing that Craig Mackinlay‘s trial for election irregularities stemming from his 2015 fight against Nigel Farage  – which was due to begin today in Southwark Crown Court – has been postponed. No date has been set…

Man Who Wrote Watson’s Legal Advice Gave Interview to Sputnik Praising “Brilliant” Work of Assange Lawyers

The man who wrote Tom Watson’s legal advice on Syria gave an interview earlier this year to the Kremlin mouthpiece Sputnik praising the “brilliant” work of Julian Assange’s lawyers. Watson commissioned Oxford University professor Dr Dapo Akande to provide him with advice on the legality of the British strikes in Syria over the weekend. The advice, published this morning, suggested the strikes were against international law. Akande has been offering his view that humanitarian intervention in Syria is illegal since 2013. Guido is more interested in his interview with Sputnik earlier this year, in which Akande outlined how Ecuador could take the UK to the International Court of Justice over Assange and how they could give him diplomatic status. Akande gave Sputnik this effusive praise for Assange’s legal team:

“This latest move is actually an excellent move. I think it was a brilliant idea by the team to try and find a way. I don’t know whether it will be successful but it is about the best way of trying to advance his case and cause.”

Sputnik certainly enjoy Dr Akande’s work…

Cummings Filing Formal Complaint to Bar Standards Board About Jolyon

Popcorn alert: Dominic Cummings is filing a formal complaint to the Bar Standards Board about Jolyon Maugham, the mad Remainer QC who he brands “a disgrace to the bar”. He writes:

It’s been suggested to me that I should put in a formal complaint about the lawyer @JolyonMaugham to the Bar Standards Board. His twitter feed alone is a disgrace to the bar. He has been guilty of at least reckless falsehood. Strikes me this would be a good public service so feel free to send evidence about him to my public email and I’ll send in a formal document with help from some barristers. Public debate is badly undermined when QCs spread bullshit on the internet.

And on this subject, it was noticeable that in the hearing over a judicial review on the Electoral Commission recently all three teams were criticised by the Court: Jolyon’s, the EC’s, and VL’s. The JR won’t effect Brexit at all but it will affect future conduct in elections and the debate about reform. As I wrote in my long piece on the referendum a year ago the rules about our elections are a joke and regulators are in an impossible position (e.g the latest flap over what counts as ‘coordination’). It would be in the public interest if all three teams upgrade their lawyers for the JR in the summer so these arguments are properly made and contribute to serious reform of the whole system. (I have zero role with VL and have not been a director since early 2016 so these decisions have nothing to do with me.) 

NB. I respect @JolyonMaugham’s right to free speech and to express his political views on Twitter. Please only send examples of things that can genuinely and reasonably be seen as misconduct for a barrister such as misleading people or deliberately mistating the law. I have no interest in his politics, just his integrity and professionalism. There will be a very strict test applied by my team about what we say. Just the facts please…

Let’s see if the Board share the view of his fellow silks that Jolyon is “the biggest c*** at the English bar”…

Complaints are also being filed to the Electoral Commission and the Information Commissioner’s Office about the Remain campaign. Guido also understands legal letters are going in to Bindmans, the ‘campaigning’ lawyers who held that parody press conference yesterday, and the three lawyers Clare Montgomery, Helen Mountfield and Ben Silverstone threatening them with action for defamation and libel. The understanding is that the press conference wasn’t legally privileged and they aren’t covered by the barristers’ mutual fund because it was outside of court. The day the lies caught up with the lawyers…

Jolyon’s Failed Vanity Cases Cost Crowdfunders £350,000

Britain’s most insufferable lawyer Jolyon Maugham is taking a break from Twitter today and going to court in his latest attempt to stop Brexit. Maugham will petition for a judicial review against the Electoral Commission, arguing the regulator failed to investigate Vote Leave-BeLeave campaign donations. The Electoral Commission has already investigated the donations twice…

Speaking of donations, rather than putting his stupendous QC’s income where his mouth is – and, indeed, despite being a lawyer himself – Jolyon is using other people’s cash to fund the legal bid. He’s crowdfunded nearly £50,000. What can his donors expect for their cash?

Not much, if his form is anything to go by. In May 2017, Maugham went to the High Court of Ireland in an attempt to reverse the Brexit vote after Article 50 was triggered. The case was opposed by the Irish government and was struck out by Mr Justice Peter Kelly. More than £70,000 was crowdfunded…

Then, in February 2018, Maugham was involved in a similar case in the Scottish courts. Lord Doherty of the Scottish Court of Session ruled:

“I am mindful that demonstrating a real prospect of success is a low hurdle for an applicant to overcome. However, I am satisfied that that hurdle has not been surmounted. Indeed, in my opinion the application’s prospect of success falls very far short of being a real prospect…” 

A gentle judical admonishing of Jolyon’s grasp on reality. Crowdfunding for this failed case raised over £60,000…

As Guido reported, Maugham also tried to judical review David Davis over the Brexit sector analysis papers. Mr Justice Supperstone rejected permission, finding a simple (and free) FoI request was a suitable alternative. That failed judicial review was also crowdfunded: £59,275. When he loses, do people get their money back? “Any surplus funds will be held for the costs of other litigation”…

Jolyon, a specialist tax barrister, sued Uber to demand a 56p VAT receipt. When Guido says he sued we mean he suckered £107,650 from crowdfunders and cabbies to back this case. Vaingloriously making the claim in his own name he suspended the action when he realised that if he lost the case – a very real possibility given his less than stunning record – Uber would seek to recover their costs from him personally. Unwilling to put his own money where his suckers crowdfunders did, he pathetically said he was looking for an alternative claimant who didn’t have any material assets to take the risk. Not exactly brave leadership…Hapless Jolyon Maugham has therefore spent over a third of a million pounds (£350,000) of other people’s money vainly pursuing his agenda, entirely without success. All he has got for the money is gout. The crowd that backs him can afford to take the pain…

High Court Throws Out Maugham’s Case Against DD

Jolyon Maugham QC has failed in his attempt to secure a judicial review against David Davis to get him to publish full versions of the government’s Brexit sectoral analysis. The claim by Maugham and his Good Law Project was dismissed because versions of the analysis have already been published and the information can be sought in a less attention-seeking fashion via a Freedom of Information request. Mr Justice Supperstone concluded: “In my judgment, there is a suitable alternative remedy in this case”. Remember this is the same Jolyon Maugham who crowdfunded £100,000 to launch a High Court claim against Uber demanding a 56p VAT receipt. He’s great at wasting other people’s money…

High Court Orders UKIP to Pay Share of Labour Libel Costs

UKIP has been ordered to pay a share of the £670,000 costs of the Jane Collins libel case after their MEP accused Labour MPs of involvement in the Rotherham abuse scandal:

“The Court therefore makes an order that UKIP should pay the claimants’ costs from 20 March 2015 to 23 June 2015 and their costs of the assessment hearing.”

Only a share of the total cost, but still going to be tricky for the cash-strapped party to pay…

UPDATE: Labour source says UKIP share of legal costs is estimated at £200,000. Potentially fatal for the party if so…

UPDATE II: UKIP lawyers say they think it will be closer to £20,000. Labour still adamant the party owes £200,000.

Truss: We Can’t Undo Worboys Decision

Lord Pannick Backs Worboys Judicial Review

A judicial review of the decision to release black cab rapist John Worboys has been backed by Lord Pannick QC, one of the country’s leading JR experts. Pannick tells the Times that he endorses Justice Secretary David Gauke’s attempts to JR the Parole Board, and says the challenge should focus on whether the board followed a fair process: “The process issue appears to turn on whether the victims have been properly consulted, as fairness requires”. This is the key point: it has now emerged that there were multiple clear breaches of the proper procedure – victims were not consulted on either his release or the conditions, as was their right. Which means the original process is now likely to be declared unsound. With Pannick’s expert backing, Gauke has no excuse not to proceed…

Sam Armstrong Cleared of Rape

A jury at Southwark Crown Court has cleared Sam Armstrong of raping a woman in Craig Mackinlay’s office.

Starmer Forced to Turn Down Mishcon Second Job

Sir Keir Starmer has bowed to pressure and been forced to reject a lucrative second job at anti-Brexit law firm Mishcon de Reya. A win for Tory MP James Cleverly who wrote to Starmer last night pointing out the conflicts of interest the job would entail. Corbyn voted against second jobs and had a veto on the appointment, did Jez stop Sir Keir from taking the gig?

Sir Keir Joining Mishcon: Paid £18,000 For 24 Hours Work

The Lawyer reports Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer is joining Mishcon de Reya as a legal adviser. Mishcon are ultra Remainers – they were behind a big business legal challenge to Brexit and they of course represent Gina Miller. Will be slightly awkward in the office given the Shadow Cabinet’s position on the single market and customs union. In truth this is Sir Keir making his relationship with Mishcon official: last year they paid him £18,000 for 24 hours work. Kerching…

Mrs Milne Lawyers Up

Seumas Milne’s wife Cristina Montanari has taken legal advice – Guido’s betting she didn’t ask hubby if he knew anyone who could help. The Milnes are threatening the press with legal action if they attempt to contact them:

We have been contacted by Howe & Co on behalf of Cristina Montanari & Family.

They say their client will not be making any comments or statements in relation to matters that are currently circulating about her and her family in the press and media. No other member of her family will be making any comments or statements. They ask that press desist from asking questions and refrain from entering onto their client’s property.

They ask that media refrain from calling to the door of the family home (including knocking at the family’s door or ringing the doorbell), as all licences to enter onto the property have been revoked. Any distress caused to their client will result in legal proceedings being issued for damages against those individuals and press or media outlets involved.

They say the attempts by members of the press and media, including repeated attempts, to contact their client and/or members of her family are unwanted. Their client considers the media’s presence outside her family home, despite requests to leave is intimidating and harassing. Media must cease all attempts to contact Cristina Montanari and/or member of her family and must leave the vicinity of her family home.

Notable that Seumas isn’t actually mentioned in the legal threat. A situation where the press aren’t allowed to phone up a Director of Communications would be somewhat unorthodox…

Assange Lawyer Named as Milne’s Mystery Blonde

Seumas Milne’s mystery blonde is Julian Assange’s lawyer Jennifer Robinson, according to The Times. 36 year-old Australian Robinson has represented the Wikileaks founder since 2010. A source told The Times Seumas has visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in the last 16 months. Jen’s tweets show her public support for Seumas and Corbyn:

Robinson didn’t respond to requests for comment. The identity of the lady canoodling with Milne at the plush Courthouse Hotel was the subject of fevered speculation yesterday, with Labour colleagues pointing the finger of suspicion at each other. From Twitter it looks like Jen has been a fan of Seumas’ column for years…

Gary Lineker Tax Scheme Loses Court Bid

Gary Lineker is among a group of celebrities who have lost a court bid to overturn a £700 million tax bill. The achingly right-on footballer turned self-appointed current affairs expert claimed the press were pursuing a “vendetta” against him over his involvement in the Ingenious film investment scheme, where tax reliefs were claimed on artificial movie losses. It was all media lies, Gary insisted…

Seems the courts do not agree. HMRC argued that the scheme was an aggressive kind of tax avoidance and yesterday a tax tribunal judge ruled the tax relief claims were not “allowable deductions”. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bloke.

Brexit Challenge Struck Out in Irish High Court

Jolyon Maugham’s Quixotic challenge to the progress of Brexit in the High Court in Dublin has been struck out. Jolyon’s plan was hard to comprehend, he was seeking a ruling from an Irish High Court Judge to refer issues in the case for determination by the Court of Justice of the EU. Why in Ireland? Because he knew he had not a hope in the English Courts.

He was seeking a reference on the grounds that his rights under the Anglo-Irish Common Travel Area Agreement and the Belfast Agreement were being compromised.*  In addition the “Irish people, and, in particular, in so much as the provisions of the Belfast Agreement and Common Travel Area will be affected and does so without seeking the views of the Irish citizens by way of referendum.” He was arguing that Irish voters somehow had a veto on the sovereign right of the British people expressed by the referendum. There was more of this nonsense line of argument in his claim

Guido understands from his sources in Dublin legal circles that the consensus view was that he was “p***ing in the wind”. This did not stop Jolyon crowdfunding £70,000 in fees, then dropping the fight as soon the Irish Attorney General indicated she would challenge the case on the grounds of jurisdiction. Jolyon folded claiming it would be too expensive to fight the matter. So the £70,000 of donor’s funds will be wasted without even a proper fight…

*The only people who claim there will be a hard border are remainiacs. No Irish party wants a hard border, not Sinn Fein not the Ulster Unionists. Nobody in the Dublin or Westminster governments wants or expects a hard border. There will not be a hard border. It is a figment of extreme remainers’ imaginations.

Nadhim Zahawi Wins £338,000 Libel Payout From Press TV

Guido can reveal Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi has been awarded a stunning £338,000 payout after winning a libel case against Iranian state television channel Press TV. The channel had falsely accused Zahawi, who is of Kurdish background and was born in Iraq, of facilitating the trade of oil between ISIS and Israel.[…] Read the rest

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