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Blackstone’s members have extensive experience of working effectively within and to support the reform of national security and justice sectors, both at home and overseas.

Support to the provision of security and justice overseas has included work to align domestic legislation with international standards, advice to officials on the development of sector strategies and institutions, as well as monitoring activities such as trial observation. Advice on justice sector institution-building has addressed, for example, judicial appointment models, the division of functions between the judiciary and justice system, and ensuring coherence between formal and informal systems. Recent trial observation work has been conducted primarily in contexts where allegations of politicised prosecution have become common. In addition, certain of our members are accredited to the Centre for Effective Despite Resolution and provide mediation services in international disputes.

This international work is complemented and informed by domestic litigation on related issues, most notably UK government policy on the provision of security sector services, such as policing and prisons, and legal aid.

Case Studies:

Design and capacity building of Palestianian Authority justice institutions

As Director of at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, Sir Jeffrey Jowell has advised on the design of core justice institutions for the Palestinian Authority. This work has been funded by EUPOL COPPS and, subsequently, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Arab Partnership Fund and sought to develop a coherent operating framework for the justice sector — one consistent with rule of law principles and which clarified the respective mandates, roles and responsibilities of different actors across the sector. Activities included a series of meetings, held in in September 2013 and March 2014, with the Legal Advisor to the President, the Chief Justice, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, as well as, in March 2015, the organisation of a study visit to London for senior Palestinian officials.

(Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, in his former role as Director of at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law)

‘Civilian expert’ deployment to the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team

During a one year posting as Senior Justice Adviser to the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Helmand,  Afghanistan, Naina Patel led a team of four to provide integrated civil-military assistance to the justice sector. The team designed a new $4 million, three year programme of support with the aim of strengthening the statutory and community-based justice sectors, as well as the links between them, and, in turn, of edging out the Taliban system of justice.

Support to the state included: the provision of salary support to civil prosecutors; increased funding to private defence lawyers; lobbying central government to deploy additional justice personnel to Helmand; providing training on criminal law and procedure, judicial ethics and fair trial principles; launching a case listing system and communication campaign to facilitate access; conducting trial observations and introducing a case-tracking system to enable the monitoring of the quality of justice provision. These activities were complemented by work to improve coordination between the state and non-state systems — for example, training customary ‘justice sub-committees’ in the basics of criminal and family law to enable them to make decisions that complied with Afghan law and human rights principles, as well as to better hold the statutory system to account — and support the development of a vibrant civil society that could continue assistance to the justice sector beyond transition. By December 2013, there were 31 judges, 44 prosecutors, 17 huquqs (local justices) and 16 defence lawyers in post across the province.

(Naina Patel, in her former role as Senior Justice Adviser to the Helmand Provincial Reconstruction Team)


Contribution to the design and implementation of DFID’s new rule of law policy

Contributed to series of papers and literature reviews exploring the relationship between development and the rule of law, the review of DFID’s existing rule of law programming and stakeholder consultation, all of which informed inputs to the design of DFID’s new rule of law policy and conceptualisation of related programme offerings — including the Rule of Law Expertise programme which aims to improve the rule of law in DFID priority countries by facilitating access to UK legal and judicial expertise. (Naina Patel)

Research into the measurement of UK policy on access to justice and taxation

Commissioned by the Open Society Justice Initiative to research the way in which the UK Government measures policy outcomes in relation to taxation and access to justice. The resulting report assesses the effectiveness of the relevant policies and their measurement, as well as the extent to which these have produced unintended consequences, in order to inform the development of indicators in these areas for use in international advocacy. (Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC and Naina Patel, in their respective former roles as Director and Director of Education and Training at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law) 

Advice on aligning security powers with international standards

Provision of advice to the government of an East Asian country concerning the review and potential reform of anti-terrorism and security powers with a view to aligning these more closely with international standards. Key issues included the extent to which due process can be compromised in the face of security concerns, and the appropriateness of operating (and lifting safeguards) in a permanent state of declared risk of terrorism. (Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC and Paul Luckhurst)


Belhaj & others v Security Services [2015]

Claim in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal about the protection of legal professional privilege when individuals, in this case Libyan families, may be under surveillance. This was the first claim where a complaint to the IPT against the Security and Intelligence Services has ever been upheld. (Ben Jaffey)

R (Chief Constable of West Yorkshire) v Independent Police Complaints Commission [2014] EWCA Civ 1367; [2015] PTSR 72; [2015] ICR 184

Appeal in the Court of Appeal about the scope of the IPCC’s powers — in particular, whether it is entitled to arrive at a conclusion on the legality of the use of force or of an arrest in investigating a complaint against the police. (Ivan Hare)

R (HC, a child) v Secretary of State for the Home Department and others [2014] 1 WLR 1234 (Divisional Court)

Claim in the Divisional Court for judicial review of the failure of the Secretary of State to make additional provision for the support of 17 year olds detained in police custody, relying upon the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Hanif Mussa)

R (Roberts) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015]

Supreme Court challenge about stop and search under s. 60 CJPOA 1994. Judgment pending. (Ben Jaffey)

R (Gilbert) v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWCA Civ 802

Appeal concerning a challenge to a new policy on transfers to open conditions and temporary release for prisoners with an abscond history, following the dismissal of the claim R (Gilbert) v Secretary of the State for the Home Department [2015] EWHC 927. (Tom Weisselberg QC and Naina Patel)

R (Kaiyam) v Secretary of State for Justice [2014] 1 WLR 1208

Appeal concerning the nature of the Secretary of State’s common law duties in making provision for rehabilitative courses for indeterminate sentenced prisoners (Tom Weisselberg QC and Hanif Mussa).

O v Legal Aid Agency

Judicial review challenging decisions of the Legal Aid Agency in allocating contracts for mental health work. (Hanif Mussa)

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