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The case law of lawyers bills in England, India, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong

For a very long time in Commonwealth legal systems, the legal profession has been regulated for the benefit of clients of lawyers and the public at large. Among other things, there has been a recognised public interest in protecting those liable to pay legal fees from overcharging by lawyers. One of those protections is and has been the legal requirement for a bill to be provided so that the client can seek advice on the fees and charges.

As a result, one of the many modern obligations that lawyers in English legal systems have to comply with in the course of legal practice is to provide clients and any other persons liable for their fees with proper bills before such persons can be liable for or sued for such fees.

Full story: https://sterlinglawqld.com/the-case-law-of-lawyers-bills-in-england-india-australia-singapore-and-hong-kong/

Further revelations of Public Trustee of Queensland’s gouging of estates

The Public Trustee of Queensland is a public body charged with managing the finances of some of the most vulnerable members of the community, including those lacking capacity and prisoners.

The ABC has now again reported on the Public Trustee, this time in relation to its mismanagement and fee gouging of estates.

Cora Whitfort appointed the Public Trustee as executor of her estate when she made her will back in 2011.  She passed away six years later in 2017.

It took two years  and cost the estate more than $20,000 for the Public Trustee to obtain probate.

Read more: https://sterlinglawqld.com/further-revelations-of-public-trustee-of-queenslands-gouging-of-estates/

Christian Porter loses appeal from restraint on Sue Chrysanthou SC

Former Attorney General Christian Porter has lost his appeal of a restraint against Defamation specialist Sue Chrysanthou SC representing him in his claim against the ABC.

Justice Thawley had ruled that there was a potential conflict of interest and the integrity of the judicial process and the due administration of justice required Ms Chrysanthou to be restrained. Furthermore, whilst Ms Chrysanthou had given evidence she did not recall any confidential information and that she no longer had emails received in connection with the meeting, Justice Thawley held that:

“However recollections are liable to being revived and there is nevertheless a risk of subconscious use of confidential information”

Full story: https://sterlinglawqld.com/christian-porter-loses-appeal-from-restraint-on-sue-chrysanthou-sc/

UK tribunal holds calling a man bald is sex harassment

The facts

Tony Finn was employed by beer barrel stopper maker British Bung Company as an electrician between 22 September 1997 and 25 May 2021.

In late July 2019 an altercation between Finn and Jamie King occurred. Finn alleged of that incident that:


“I was working on a machine that I had to cover awaiting specialist repair. The covers were taken off, and it was apparent that Jamie King had done this. When I spoke to him about it, he began to call me a stupid old bald cunt and threatened to ‘deck me.’ Fearful for my personal safety I retreated to the nearby office of Ady Hudson, supervisor. Jamie continued his tirade of threats and abuse at the office door.”

Later, Finn claimed he had been called a “fat bald old cunt” by King in that incident.

A further incident on 25 March 2021 occurred in which King again threatened Finn.

Because a subsequent statement by Finn was prepared on West Yorkshire Police letterhead paper, Finn was dismissed on the grounds that he had “deliberately provided a witness statement which falsely suggested on its face and by its content, that it had been made to, and taken by, West Yorkshire Police in connection with the investigation of an alleged crime”.

In dismissing Finn with immediate effect, British Bung Company wrote to him that:

“We do not accept your explanation, or that you acted in good faith, or that there was merely an oversight. You did not apologise. On the contrary, you said that you did not think that you had done anything wrong… We are satisfied that your actions amount to gross misconduct justifying your immediate dismissal. In light of your failure to apologise, and insistence that you have done nothing wrong, we are satisfied that it would be impossible to have trust and confidence in you as our employee.”

British Bung Company letter to Finn

Finn was dismissed from his employment without notice despite until March 2021 having an unblemished disciplinary record over nearly 24 years of service.

Tribunal’s decision

The Tribunal panel, headed by Employment Judge Brain, found that Mr King did call Finn a “bald cunt” and that the word “old” did not feature. The Tribunal also found that King did threaten Finn with physical violence, rejecting King’s denials:

“We can attach no significant weight to Mr King’s version of events. Having received a warning from the respondent about the July 2019 incident it is unsurprising that he gives an account in which effectively he denies the use of threatening words or behaviour towards the claimant.”

Employment Judge Brain

The Tribunal found that the reason for the dismissal was the Finn’s conduct in presenting British Bung Co with a witness statement on West Yorkshire Police headed notepaper and which gave the appearance of matters having become a police matter. The Tribunal was satisfied that the health and safety reason and the protected disclosures were not the reasons for the dismissal.

Because Finn was led to believe that no decision would be made by British Bung Co pending hearing from the West Yorkshire Police with the outcome of their enquiries, only for his employer British Bung to dismiss him only two working days later, it was held good faith was lacking in British Bung’s disciplinary hearing which was not cured on its internal appeal.

The reason why this decision made headlines was due to the Tribunal’s finding that Mr King‘s comment amounted to harassment under the Equality Act 2010 because it targeted a protected characteristic, namely his sex:

“Plainly, some words or phrases would clearly be related to a protected characteristic. Where the link is less obvious then Tribunals may need to analyse the precise words used, together with the context, in order to establish whether there is any negative association between the two.

In our judgment, there is a connection between the word “bald” on the one hand and the protected characteristic of sex on the other. Miss Churchhouse was right to submit that women as well as men may be bald. However, as all three members of the Tribunal will vouchsafe, baldness is much more prevalent in men than women. We find it to be inherently related to sex. (In contrast, we accept that baldness affects (predominantly) adult males of all ages so is inherently not a characteristic of age)…

it is much more likely that a person on the receiving end of a remark such as that made by Mr King would be male. Mr King made the remark with a view to hurting the claimant by commenting on his appearance which is often found amongst men. The Tribunal therefore determines that by referring to the claimant as a “bald cunt” on 24 July 2019 Mr King’s conduct was unwanted, it was a violation of the claimant’s dignity, it created an intimidating etc environment for him, it was done for that purpose, and it related to the claimant’s sex.”

The complaint of harassment relating to sex arising out of the incident of 24 July 2019 therefore succeeded.

The claims that Finn was unfairly dismissed upon the grounds that he made the disclosures of the incidents of July 2019 or 25 March 2021, or for the health and safety reason, failed. However, the claim that Finn was unfairly dismissed pursuant to sections 94 to 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 succeeded because of the lack of good faith by British Bung Co in respect of the manner in which Finn was dismissed.

Full story: https://sterlinglawqld.com/uk-tribunal-holds-calling-a-man-bald-is-sex-harassment

Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction for sex trafficking upheld

Jeffrey Epstein’s long time girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell has had her sex trafficking conviction upheld.

Judge Alison Nathan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld Maxwell’s conviction for transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and sex trafficking of minors.

However, Judge Nathan ruled that the three conspiracy counts Maxwell was convicted of were “multiplicitous,” and sentencing the convicted sex trafficker on all of them would violate the Fifth Amendment’s Double Jeopardy Clause.

Maxwell was found guilty in December by a 12-person New York jury of five of the six counts she was facing, including sex trafficking.

Maxwell is due to be sentenced in June.

Full story: https://sterlinglawqld.com/ghislaine-maxwells-conviction-for-sex-trafficking-upheld/

Douglas Winning refused High Court leave to appeal against corruption conviction

At about 1.00 am on Sunday 17 February 2019, police were patrolling in Rockhampton when they saw a car driving erratically and knocking over a street sign. They pulled the car over and found the driver was local solicitor Douglas “call me Doug” Winning.

Winning folded the cash in his right hand and extended his right arm out of the car, and towards the officers, keeping it there for some time.



Soon after, Winning still had the $300 cash in his hand and said “You wa-, you wanna lazy quid?”.

Winning pleaded guilty to drink driving. After a trial, Winning was convicted of official corruption.

Despite Morrison JA’s detailed and cogent judgment, Winning subsequently sought to appeal to the High Court.


Full story:

https://sterlinglawqld.com/douglas-winning-refused-high-court-leave-to-appeal-against-corruption-conviction/

Chris Dawson refused High Court leave to appeal for a permanent stay

Former high school teacher and rugby league player Chris Dawson is accused of having murdered his wife Lynette Dawson 40 years ago.

Lynette, 33, disappeared from their Bayview home on Sydney’s northern beaches in January 1982, leaving behind their two young daughters Shanelle and Sherryn, then aged four and two.

In a brief judgment, High Court judges Stephen Gageler and Michelle Gordon upheld the rulings made by the NSW ­Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeal, which had previously rejected his application to strike the case out.

Justice Gageler said there was no sufficient reason to doubt the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Full story:

Race hate hoaxer Jussie Smollett gets appeal bail

In December, American actor Jussie Smollett was found guilty by a jury of falsely reporting a hate crime against himself.

He claimed two racist Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats beat him up. It turned out he had paid two Nigerian brothers to stage the whole thing so that he could pretend to be a victim of a racist and homophobic hate crime.

Earlier this month, Smollett was sentenced to 150 days in Cook County jail, and 30 months of felony probation, as well as restitution of $120,106 and a $25,000 fine.

Since then, Smollett was ordered to be released from jail after posting a personal recognizance bond of $150,000 by an appeals court pending the appeal against his convictions.

In Australia, a convicted person must ordinarily demonstrate exceptional circumstances in order to get appeal bail. The position appears to be different in America.

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