Bias in the Context of Civil Litigation

Bias in the Context of Civil Litigation

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Course Overview

This 3-part session will provide a guide to the legal test of bias, including how Judges apply the test and how practitioners can raise a complaint of bias in civil proceedings.

Consideration will be given to the courses of action available when a Judge has business ties to the same chambers as a barrister in the case. In addition, the key points of practice in recent case law will be discussed and will provide a practical illustration of unconscious bias principle.

Part 1: What it Means and How to Raise it

During this session, barrister Ben Amunwa will explain the classic legal test for bias and will depict the key characteristics of how Judges have applied the test in practice, with reference to recent case law.

Consideration will be given to the procedures for raising complaints of bias (during a hearing and / or on appeal) and Ben will provide viewers with advice on how best to raise complaints of bias in an application for recusal or an application for permission to appeal.

Part 2: Professional Connections Between Judges and Barristers

Through the examination of a recent key case in this area, Ben will explore the duty of legal advisers to disclose information to their opponents’ regarding their professional business ties or associations with Judges. The need for this do be done in a proactive and timely manner will also be discussed.

Ben will provide viewers with guidance on how and when a bias challenge may succeed on the basis of professional connections between a Judge and a barrister in the case and will discuss some of the scenarios you should be alert to in practice.

Part 3: Practical Tips and Recent Developments

During this session viewers will gain an understanding of how the Court of Appeal assesses allegations bias.

Consideration will be given to a recent application of the bias test in an international commercial dispute and will highlight the importance of a fair hearing before an independent Tribunal. Viewers will be encouraged to advise clients on the importance of taking an objective approach that is supported by contemporary evidence. Viewers will also receive guidance on how to identify and evaluate the merits of such allegations and what evidence may be required

This session will assist practitioners develop a wider toolkit for advising clients on their likelihood of success on these difficult applications. Ben will also direct viewers to where they can find recent practical tips on allegations of bias, with wide application in civil litigation.

What are the requirements?

  • Watch this series of recorded webinars, review the reference notes and complete the short quiz to test your legal knowledge.
  • This course provides 1.5-3 CPD point (depending on length of time spent reviewing the supporting documentation).

Learning Outcomes

  • On completion of this course you will:
  • • Have a firm understanding of what the legal test of bias is and how it is applied by Judges
  • • Be able to identify the key attributes of the ‘fair minded and informed observer
  • • Understand how and when complaints of bias should be raised in civil proceedings
  • • Be aware of the general rule that applies when a Judge has business ties to the same chambers as a barrister in the case and appreciate the circumstances in which such a connection may give rise to a complaint of bias
  • • Have the skills and ability required to quickly and efficiently evaluate merits of applications and appeals
  • • Appreciate the importance of judicial transparency regarding their associations and conflicts of interest
  • • Be aware of the diversity of judicial opinion on when Judges may cross the line into acting partially in any given case

What is the target audience?

  • Civil practitioners of all levels

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About Instructor - Ben Amunwa

Called to the Bar in 2013, Ben enjoys a thriving practice in commercial, civil and public law. He also loves to train lawyers and non-lawyers in a variety of areas of law, putting to work his creative and presentation skills.

Ben runs a popular legal blog, called www.lawmostly.com, which aims to make the law accessible to a wider audience.

His advocacy is praised by Judges, opponents and clients. A member of 36 Civil, Ben is known for his exceptional client care and attention to detail in complex and urgent cases. Ben provides practical, cost-effective and punctual advice to a range of clients, including local authorities, professionals, businesses and individuals.

Before coming to the Bar, Ben spent over a decade in the charity sector supporting individuals in crisis. His experience of management and media enables him to perform calmly under pressure. Clients value his accessible manner and his ability to explain difficult areas of law.

Achievements include:

- representing a senior doctor in a race discrimination and harassment claim against an NHS Trust;

- securing a favourable settlement at mediation for a private client in a dispute over the construction of a multi-million pound house;

- successfully defending a teacher who faced regulatory prosecution for alleged professional misconduct over a period of 3 years;

- co-counsel in R (Medical Justice and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (2016). As featured in The Guardian, the case challenged the government’s reliance on a restrictive definition of torture to justify immigration detention.

- successfully defending a local authority in a judicial review concerning duties to children in need - R (SC) v London Borough of Ealing [2016] EWHC 2765 (Admin) and representing in Court of Appeal proceedings.

Course Curriculum

Part 1 - What it means and how to raise it

  • Webinar
    00:25:14
  • Notes
    6 Page
  • Slides
    13 Page
  • Evaluation
    1 Page

Part 2 - Professional connections between Judges and barristers

  • Webinar
    00:24:09
  • Notes
    5 Page
  • Slides
    10 Page
  • Evaluation
    1 Page

Part 3 - Practical tips and recent developments

  • Webinar
    00:25:51
  • Notes
    3 Page
  • Slides
    8 Page
  • Evaluation
    1 Page

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