Success for Andrew Ward in the Court of Appeal on a matter of civil jury irregularity

July 21, 2016

Andrew Ward of Exchange Chambers successfully defended the Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS”) against allegations brought by the claimant (“DB”) of malicious prosecution and misfeasance in public office at a civil jury trial held in the County Court at Leeds between 2nd and 6th February 2015.

DB, who was a litigant in person, sought to appeal on the grounds that he knew one of the jurors. He also alleged that this juror approached and spoke to him after the first day of the trial. His central ground of appeal was that the trial was unfair because of this alleged jury irregularity.

The CPS knew nothing of this issue until it received DB’s appellant’s notice. Unfortunately, DB had not raised the matter with the trial judge despite her warning at the start of the trial that the parties must inform her if any juror is known to them. The judge’s ability to investigate the issue ceased at the conclusion of the trial when she became functus officio.

In these unusual circumstances, the Court of Appeal ordered the Respondent CPS to file evidence and to attend the hearing of DB’s oral application for permission to appeal on 5th July 2016. Andrew represented the CPS in the Court of Appeal. Lord Justice Jackson and Lady Justice Arden dismissed DB’s application on the basis that the grounds of appeal did not have a real prospect of success and there was no other compelling reason why permission to appeal should be granted pursuant to CPR rule 52.3(6).

Andrew was instructed by the Government Legal Department. Andrew is one of a small number of civil barristers with real experience of civil jury trials.