Wed, 27 Apr 2011
R (Harrison) v Birmingham Magistrates Court and Chief Constable of West Midlands Police  EWCA Civ 332
On 25 March 2011, the Court of Appeal (Hooper LJ, Pill LJ and Munby LJ) quashed a forfeiture order under s.298 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. In quashing the order, the Court accepted that Miss Harrison did not – as she had always asserted – know about the hearing in the magistrates court and expressed concern about the lack of safeguard for individuals such as her who do not know about such hearings and only learn about them when it is too late to appeal to the Crown Court. The Court further observed that it would be perpetuating a miscarriage of justice if it did not intervene.
Miss Harrison, who had pursued justice for a considerable period of time, was represented in the Court of Appeal by James Dixon who was instructed by Christoph Schneeberger of Tyndallwoods Solicitors, Birmingham. Mr John Howell QC, sitting as Deputy High Court Judge, had been persuaded in July last year to grant an extension of time (her claim having been lodged way after 3 months), though he refused to grant permission on the merits.