|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 05/05/2007 : 21:23:40
In order to keep a tally on complaints it would be a good idea to forward complaints to me if possible, so I can let press know(JohnDanStone@googlemail.com). John Fletcher suggests people might like to post their complaints below for the general interest (keep it cool).
It is essential that anyone who was involved in the MMR litigation gives their attention to this notice
MMR JUDGE FAILED TO DISCLOSE HE WAS BROTHER OF Glaxo SmithKline DIRECTOR AND LANCET BOSS
Just three days ago I discovered while going over the records for 2004 that the judge, Mr Justice Davis (aka Sir Nigel Anthony Lamert Davis), who had dismissed the appeal over the removal of funding of the MMR litigation by the Legal Services Commission was the brother of Lancet proprietor (CEO Reed Elsevier) Crispin (Henry Lamert) Davis who at the time had also recently become a non-executive director of Glaxo SmithKline. Though this has not been reported in the media the following press announcement was issued by the judiciary yesterday afternoon:
"In 2003 Mr Justice Davis's brother was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Glaxo SmithKline, a company which was formed as a result of a merger with Smith Kline Beecham. At the date of the hearing before Davis J, the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother's position did not occur to him.
"If he was wrong, any possible remedy must be sought from the Court of Appeal."
Former litigants should complain without delay to the Office for Judicial Complaints, focussing on the GSK conflict. Clearly if the judge had said at the time that his brother was a director of GSK but he intended to hear the case anyway his decision would have been regarded with a great deal more scepticism:
They should also write without delay to their MPs, and they should contact anyone they know who was also party to the litigation, and draw their attention to this notice. It is very important that as many people do this as soon as possible.
People may like to note the sequence of events:
1) July 2003 Lancet proprietor Crispin Davis become a non-executive director of MMR manufacturer Glaxo SmithKline
2) February 20, 2004. The Lancet throws Andrew Wakefield to the wolves for tenuous reasons. He is dragged through the mud by the BBC, Sunday Times and the Government (including the PM) for four days.
3) February 27, 2004. Mr Justice Davis dismisses the litigants appeal for restitution of funding.
4) June 2004. Crispin Davis knighted by the Blair government.
These are honourable men, I am sure, but the facts need some further explanation.
|15 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 06/17/2008 : 18:06:20
"They take issue with JABS in that we all exchange stories here so keep them coming we wont go away !!!"
This is why I've been effectively posting on behalf of my relative. My relative and I had discussed this with her solicitor. As someone else pointed out, when it comes to obtaining justice against any members/contractors/employees of the DoH, the odds are stacked against the plaintiff.
The government and its DoH have a pot of unlimited amounts of tax-payers money to fund their legal cases against a parent who 'dares' take them on - something that is not pointed out to parents when they present their infants and toddlers for immunisations.
|GUS THE FUSS
||Posted - 06/16/2008 : 14:36:57
No doubt we all got the same what a load of bull- sh- one -t They take issue with JABS in that we all exchange stories here so keep them coming we wont go away !!!
Judicial Appointments & Conduct
DX 149242 Victoria 13
T 020 7217 4470
F 020 7217 4262
Thank you for your correspondence with my officers setting out your concerns about the handling of your complaint against Mr Justice Davis.
I have now completed my deliberations and enclose a copy of my final report, which has today been sent to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice. You will see that I have partially upheld your complaint.
Sir John Brigstocke KCB
JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS AND CONDUCT OMBUDSMAN’S REPORT
COMPLAINT BY MR xxxx
Mr XXXX has applied to me to review the investigation by the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) into his complaint against Mr Justice Davis (Davis J).
2. This report sets out my findings, as required by section 112 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.
Mr XXXX’ complaint
3. Mr XXXX has complained to me that the OJC:
• did not treat his complaint as an individual complaint; and
• did not act with transparency and independence in dealing with his complaint and
did not address the substantive issues in his complaint.
4. Whilst not specifically raised by Mr XXXX, I have also considered whether the OJC took adequate steps to keep him informed of progress and notify him of any reasons for delay.
5. I also note that Mr XXXX was concerned about the fact that the OJC’s dismissal letter had been posted to him instead of being sent by e-mail at a time when a postal strike was in force and that this may have disadvantaged him when making a complaint to me. In the event, he was not disadvantaged as his letter was received within the required timescale, so I have not considered this issue further.
6. My conclusions are that:
• the OJC breached its own commitment in not providing Mr XXXX with regular updates with regard to progress during the course of its investigation. On this issue, I believe that this failure amounts to maladministration. I am not, however, recommending any redress as the OJC has already apologised for this;
• I am content that the OJC elicited sufficient and appropriate information from Davis J to enable the Nominated Judge to provide advice and to enable the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice to consider the allegations of misconduct made. I am also content that the overall investigation process was sound;
• I believe that the letter dismissing Mr XXXX’ complaint was deficient in two respects. I do not, however, believe that any shortcomings amount to maladministration; and
• it was reasonable for a common response to be sent to a number of people, all of whom had made substantially similar complaints.
Complaint by Mr XXXX — Ombudsman’s report
7. I have taken the following factors into account in considering Mr XXXX’ complaint:
• Mr XXXX’ views as expressed in his correspondence with this office and with the
• papers relating to the OJC’s investigation of Mr XXXX’ complaint, and other related papers; and
• the evidence outlined in the Investigating Officer’s report at Annex A.
8. With regard to the first part of Mr XXXX’ complaint, I am content that it was reasonable in general for a common response to be sent to all the complainants who lodged the same concerns about Mr Justice Davis. I have seen a number of these complaints, many of which use identical text and, in my view, it was sensible to make sure that those making the same complaints received the same information about the decision made by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice.
9. Turning to Mr XXXX’ case in particular, I note that the issues raised in his complaint to the OJC were the same as those raised in the representative complaint considered by the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice (paragraph 15 of the Investigating Officer’s report refers). As such, I am content that it was reasonable for Mr XXXX’ complaint to be dealt with by way of a common response. However, I do understand why Mr XXXX feels aggrieved about the tone of the response which he received, given that it makes absolutely no reference at all to his individual complaint. Although I make no finding of maladministration in relation to this aspect of Mr XXXX’ complaint, I recommend that, if a similar situation arises in the future, the OJC should attempt to reassure complainants that although they are receiving a common response, their complaint was nevertheless given individual attention during the investigation.
10. With regard to the second and third parts of Mr XXXX’ complaint, I am content that the
OJC elicited sufficient and appropriate information from Davis J to enable the
Nominated Judge to provide advice and to enable the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief
Justice to consider the allegations of misconduct made. However, I believe that the
OJC’s letter dismissing Mr XXXX’ complaint was deficient in two respects:
• it failed to address the issue that, arguably, the statement in the letter that Davis J was not aware of his brother’s non-executive directorship of GlaxoSmithKline was inconsistent with the Press Statement about the matter issued in May 2007, which could have been read as saying that the Judge knew of his brother’s connection with GlaxoSmithKline but the possibility of any conflict of interest did not occur to him. This might have caused suspicion that the judge’s position had changed after the Press statement had been issued; and
• it is unfortunate that the comments dismissing Mr XXXX’ complaint that Davis J should have declared his brother’s employment with Reed Elsevier, put undue emphasis on one point in the Judge’s response (ie his observations about the dates of articles in The Lancet). However, Davis J provided a detailed explanation as to why his brother’s connection with Reed Elsevier did not create a conflict of interest.
11. I have given careful consideration as to whether these deficiencies amount to maladministration. On balance, I am satisfied that they do not because it is my view
Complaint by Mr XXXX — Ombudsman’s report
that the investigation overall (as detailed in AF4 annexed to the Investigating Officer’s report) was sound.
12. In reaching this conclusion with regard to concerns about Davis J not declaring his brother’s connection with GlaxoSmithKline, I have considered that the options available to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice would have been to dismiss the case, impose a disciplinary sanction on Davis J or to refer the matter for a judicial investigation in which a senior judge would consider all the evidence and issues to decide whether disciplinary action was appropriate. Such an investigation might possibly have identified evidence suggesting that Davis J should have made the connection between his brother and GlaxoSmithKline but would not, in practice, have cast any further light on whether he had done so (this was the key question with regard to this misconduct allegation). It would have been extremely difficult, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to disprove Davis J’s statement that he had not been aware that a conflict of interest might have existed.
13. However, I am pleased that the OJC has agreed to write to Mr XXXX to clarify any apparent discrepancy between the statements about Davis J’s position in relation to his brother’s link with GlaxoSmithKline. The OJC has also agreed to clarify the misunderstanding which arose with regard to the allegations about Davis J’s brother’s link with The Lancet.
14. Finally, it is clear that the OJC breached its own general commitment to keep complainants ‘fully informed of progress’ and the specific promise to keep Mr XXXX ‘regularly apprised’ by not providing him with updates on the handling of his complaint. I note that the OJC apologised in its dismissal letter to complainants for not providing regular updates. I also accept that this was an unusual situation in that a large number of complaihts had been received about the same issue — the first time that this had ever happened. It might have been acceptable for senior managers in the OJC to have taken a pro-active decision at an early stage not to provide regular updates, and to have informed complainants of the position, inviting them to request updates whenever they wished. However, the reality was that a junior official took an arbitrary decision not to provide updates and, in Mr XXXX’ case, the OJC made a promise that it was not then able to keep. In these circumstances, therefore, it is my view that this amounts to maladministration. In view of the OJC’s previous apology, I do not believe that any further action is necessary. I recommend, however, that consideration is given to ensuring that any similar situation is handled more pro-actively in future.
The response to my draft report
15. In accordance with the requirements of section 112 of the Constitutional Reform Act
2005, I have shown this report, in draft, to the Lord Chancellor and to the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chancellor has provided a joint response.
16. The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice have commented that I am only minded to uphold Mr XXXX’ complaint in respect of one matter, namely that the OJC’s failure to keep Mr XXXX updated with regard to progress in its investigation amounted to maladministration. They have noted my acknowledgement that the OJC had never handled a multi-party complaint of this magnitude before and that I have concluded that the OJC’s managers should have provided more support to the Senior Caseworker who was given sole responsibility for handling in excess of one hundred complaints. The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice understand that, with the benefit of hindsight, the OJC accepts that there should have been far greater management involvement in monitoring the handling of the MMR complaints, which would have ensured that the
Complaint by Mr XXXX — Ombudsman’s report
OJC’s customer service performance targets were being met at the same time that the evidence was being collected.
17. The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have also noted my concerns that the OJC’s letter dismissing the complaints was capable of being misunderstood by complainants, leaving them with the impression that the OJC’s investigation had not been thorough. They have noted that I am satisfied that ‘sufficient and appropriate information’ was gathered by the OJC and presented to the Nominated Judge and to themselves, so there is no substantive issue as to the effectiveness of the OJC’s investigation. The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have also noted that the OJC has agreed to write to Mr XXXX with further clarification of the evidence gathered and that I have accepted that offer. They have also confirmed that they had approved the terms of the original dismissal letter but accept that it would be helpful to provide clarification if Mr xxxx does not feel satisfied by the content.
Sir John Brigstocke KCB
JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS AND CONDUCT OMBUDSMAN’S OFFICE
COMPLAINT BY MR XXXX
INVESTIGATING OFFICER’S REPORT
1. This report is prepared following a request by Mr XXXX that the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman review the investigation by the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) of his complaint against Mr Justice Davis (Davis J).
2. The Ombudsman’s remit, under section 110 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, is to consider applications from interested parties for a review of the administration of the judicial disciplinary functions. The legislation requires the Ombudsman to carry out a review if he believes that one is necessary and if the request for a review is made within twenty eight days of the investigation being completed and in a form approved by the Ombudsman. Mr XXXX’ complaint falls into that category.
3. The Ombudsman’s remit in considering this complaint is to consider, in the light of Mr XXXX’ concerns, whether there was a failure to comply with prescribed procedures or some other maladministration in the investigation of his complaint. Section 110(6) of the Constitutional Reform Act precludes the Ombudsman from reviewing the merits of decisions made by those who originally considered the complaints.
4. The Ombudsman’s powers, should he uphold a complaint, are set out in section 111 of the Constitutional Reform Act. They include the power under section 111(5) to set a determination aside if the Ombudsman concludes that the determination is unreliable because of any failure or maladministration in the original investigation.
BACKGROUND TO MR XXXX’ COMPLAINT
5. Mr XXXX complained to the OJC on 6 May 2007 that Davis J had not disclosed a conflict of interest when dealing with an appeal in respect of a decision of a Funding Review Committee (FRC) of the Legal Services Commission to remove legal aid funding for litigation being brought against a number of companies, including GlaxoSmithKline, arising in connection with allegations that the Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccination had had adverse side effects. Mr XXXX’ son was one of the parties to the appeal. The decision, in February 2004, to refuse legal aid led to the collapse of the litigation.
6. Mr XXXX stated that Davis J’s brother was appointed a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline, and was also the Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier, the company which owned The Lancet medical journal, which had around the time of the hearing made adverse comments about research conducted by Dr Andrew Wakefield suggesting that the vaccine was linked to autism.
7. Mr XXXX’ complaint was one of around 100 received by the OJC about Davis J’. It was dismissed on 16 October 2007.
MR xxxx’ COMPLAINT TO THE OMBUDSMAN
8. Mr XXXX wrote to the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman on 25 October
2007, setting out his complaint against the OJC, which can be summarised as being that the OJC:
1 These are collectively referred to as ‘the MMR complaints’.
Complaint by Mr XXXX -. report by investigating officer
• did not treat his complaint as an individual complaint; and
• did not act with transparency and independence in dealing with his complaint and did not address the substantive issues in his complaint.
9. In addition, the Ombudsman has indicated that he wishes to consider whether the OJC took adequate steps to keep Mr XXXX informed of progress in its investigation and to notify him of any reasons for delay.
10. Mr XXXX was also concerned that the OJC’s dismissal letter of 16 October 2007 did not reach him until 24 October 2007. This was possibly due to the postal strike in force at the time, but potentially reduced the time available to him to complain to the Ombudsman. He considered that it would have been prudent for the OJC to have e-mailed the letter to him, as his e-mail address was on the OJC’s file. In the event, Mr XXXX was able to lodge his complaint with the Ombudsman well within the 28 day time limit. However, the Ombudsman does have the discretion to accept complaints after this time and would have taken into account any problems caused by the postal strike when considering whether to accept Mr XXXX’ complaint out of time.
11. Mr XXXX stated that he wished the original process to be re-started. The Ombudsman can direct that all or part of a complaint should be reinvestigated if he makes a finding of maladministration and sets aside a determination as a result (see paragraph 4 above).
12. In conducting this investigation we have:
• referred Mr XXXX’ complaint to the OJC;
• raised a number of queries with OJC officials about how they handled all the complaints they had received against Davis J; and
• examined the OJC’s file on Mr XXXX’ complaint and other related papers.
13. The following documents are attached to this report:
AFI Mr XXXX’ complaint form submitted to the Ombudsman;
AF2 Mr XXXX’ complaint to the OJC;
AF3 the OJC’s letter of 16 October to Mr XXXX dismissing his complaint;
AF4 a summary of the OJC’s handling of the MMR complaints which we have
prepared following discussions with OJC officials; and
AF5 chronology of Mr XXXX’ dealings with the OJC.
The OJC’s failure to treat Mr XXXX’ complaint as an individual complaint
14. In his complaint to the Ombudsman, Mr XXXX stated that:
‘I gather from others who complained that they received the exact same letter as we did. Again I do not see any reference to my son’s personal case and again [the OJC caseworker] has not treated our complaint in an individual manner which he should have done as it was an individual complaint’.
15. As the document at AF4 shows, the OJC suggested to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice that, because of the very large volume of complaints which had been received about this issue, officials should respond on their behalf with a common letter to
Complaint by Mr XXXX — report by investigating officer
all complainants (the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice agreed to this suggestion). The document at AF4 also confirms that, as individual complaints were submitted, the OJC caseworker checked them to see whether any new issues had been raised When considering the issues raised in respect of Davis J’s conduct, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice looked at one representative complaint. I have compared Mr XXXX’ complaint to the OJC (AF2) with that representative complaint, and also the letter dismissing his complaint (AF3). I have seen that there are no issues in the former which were not raised in the latter, or vice versa. Having also looked at the OJC’s dismissal letter to Mr XXXX as compared with some of the other dismissal letters sent to the other individuals who complained about Davis J, it is clear that the only elements of this letter which are personal to Mr XXXX are the address, salutation and file reference number.
16. The issue for the Ombudsman is whether the sending of a common letter to Mr XXXX by the OJC on behalf of the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice was a reasonable approach in the circumstances.
The OJC’s failure to act with transparency and independence or to address the substantive issues in Mr XXXX’ complaint
17. In his complaint to the Ombudsman, Mr XXXX highlighted his first concern as relating to a perceived inconsistency between a press release issued by the Judicial Communications Office in May 2007 in which it was said that ‘at the date of the hearing before Davis J, the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother’s position was not raised with him and did not occur to him’ and the OJC’s dismissal letter of 16 October (AF3), which said that Davis J had stated ‘categorically that he was not aware of this at the time of the hearing in February 2004’. Mr XXXX said:
‘If [the judge] had said in May that he had simply not known (as he does now) then there would have been no basis for the complaint, but we are now left wondering which version to believe. Again [the OJC caseworker] surprisingly has not picked up on this marked difference of statement... .and cannot surely have passed it to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice.’
18. Mr XXXX’ second concern related to the reference in the OJC’s dismissal letter to an article in the 6 March 2004 issue of The Lancet. He states that:
‘There was no error regarding the publication date of the Lancet article in JABs2 Forum — the website on which the matter was debated... .1 was not that concerned about this but the much more public events immediately before the hearing (20-23) February 2004, which involved the editor of Lancet repudiating the MMR hypothesis, the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Office... . Even if the events of those days escaped him... we are perturbed and harassed by the unwarranted suggestion that the complaint was based on false information.’
19. Mr XXXX also questioned whether the QJC had acted with transparency and independence and doubted whether it had the machinery or authority to quiz a High Court Judge. He said:
‘Our complaint remains unanswered despite the reassurance Mr Justice Davis has given to [the OJC caseworker] which [he] on behalf of the OJC accepts as a very reasonable explanation and seems quite happy to accept the words without checking any of the dates.’
2 The Support Group for Vaccine Damaged Children.
Complaint by Mr XXXX — report by investigating officer
Davis J’s brother’s connection with GlaxoSmithKline
20. Attachment JC4 sets out the process by which the OJC investigated the MMR complaints. It indicates that the decision to dismiss the complaints was taken by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice (accepting the OJC’s advice) who considered Davis J’s comments on the complaints and advice from the Nominated Judge.
21. In relation to Mr XXXX’ first concern, we asked OJC officials for their comments on the potential difference between the May 2007 Press Release and the letter dismissing Mr XXXX’ complaint, and whether they checked for consistency between the two when investigating the complaints. They replied on two separate occasions:
‘it is arguable that the judge is contradicting himself here; rather he expressed himself differently on the two occasions and was at worst a little imprecise in the Press Statement. Our presentation to him of the complaint offered the opportunity for him to provide a more detailed and considered response, no doubt assisted by his case notes’;
‘in response to the accusation that Davis J had contradicted himself, it is by no means clear that he did so... . [the OJC caseworker] took the considered response contained in Davis J’s letter to us to be his official position [and] did not consider it appropriate to seek to take issue with him over any perceived contradiction with a press report.’
22. From the papers I have seen, it is clear that Davis J’s two statements were put before the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice by the QJC as part of the evidence for them to review when considering how to deal with the complaints against Davis J. However, no link between the two was made in the submission or drawn to the attention of the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice.
23. The relevant extract of the May 2007 press notice was that:
‘In 2003 Mr Justice Davis’ brother was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Glaxo SmithKline, a company which was formed as a result of a merger with Smith Kline Beecham. At the date of the hearing before Davis J, the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother’s position was not raised with him and did not occur to him. If he was wrong, any possible remedy must be sought from the Court of Appeal.’
24. In his response to the complaint, Davis J commented that most of the complaints proceeded on the basis that at the time of the hearing he knew and was consciously aware that his brother was a director of Glaxo SmithKline but decided not to disclose or reveal it and conducted the hearing without doing so. He described this as ‘completely wrong’. He stated that, to him, his brother’s occupation was with Reed Elsevier and that his brother would not contact him to inform him of any non-executive directorships (which would not have been of any significance to him). Davis J said that he did not take the Financial Times or study business appointments sections and that he could not recall any family conversation of the appointment and that, even if the matter had been raised, it had not registered with him, and had not been raised by any of the parties. Davis J stated that it had never crossed his mind that his brother had a connection with GlaxoSmithKline and that he would have declared the matter if he had appreciated it (as he had disclosed that he was known to other individuals in the case). He confirmed that he had never discussed the litigation with his brother.
Complaint by Mr XXXX — report by investigating officer
25. The OJC sought the views of the Nominated Judge3 before asking the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice to consider the matter. At this stage the options available to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice were to dismiss the complaint; impose a disciplinary sanction on Davis J or to set up a judicial investigation (ie nominate an investigating judge to ascertain the facts, whether the case is substantiated or not; and what, if any disciplinary action should be taken). The Nominated Judge indicated that he would dismiss the complaint as the Judge had not known of his brother’s connection with GlaxoSmithkline.
26. The OJC ‘s letter dismissing the complaint stated that Davis J had provided a detailed response to the complaint, including that:
‘Of his brother’s non-executive Directorship with SmithKlineBeechan, he states categorically that he was not aware of this at the time of the hearing in February 2004; furthermore he had never, at any time, discussed the MMR litigation with his brother.’
27. It is arguable that the statement in the May 2007 Press Notice can be read in different ways. Mr xxxx may have interpreted it as meaning that Davis J knew of his brother’s connection with GlaxoSmithKline, but that it did not occur to him that this presented a conflict of interest. However, the statement could also be read as meaning that, because Davis J did not know about his brother’s connection with GlaxoSmithKline, the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from this issue did not occur to him. The second interpretation is consistent with the terms of Davis J’5 response, and also the OJC’s letter dismissing the complaint. There is no evidence in the papers I have seen to contradict this version of events.
28. It is not for the Ombudsman to establish which interpretation is correct. His role is to establish whether the OJC followed appropriate procedures in gathering evidence for consideration by the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice and whether they followed an appropriate process in reaching their decision.
Mr XXXX’ concerns regarding The Lancet’s comments about the MMR hypothesis
29. In relation to Mr XXXX’ second concern, I have looked at Mr XXXX’ original complaint to the OJC, in which he had identified that Davis J’s brother was the Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier, the company which owned The Lancet medical journal, and, when listing the sequence of events concerning the links between Davis J, his brother and the litigation, stated:
‘February 20, 2004. The Lancet throws Dr Andrew Wakefield to the wolves for tenuous reasons. He is dragged through the mud by the BBC and Sunday Times for four days.’
30. The document at AF4 sets out that the OJC caseworker sought Davis J’s comments on a sample of 13 complaints. This included Mr XXXX’ complaint. In his letter to Davis J on 17 May, the OJC caseworker said:
‘The complaint in brief is that you did not declare an interest in the case, notwithstanding that your brother was a non-executive Director on the Board of one of the defendant companies; furthermore, that he was also a Director of Reed Elsevier,
The role of the Nominated Judge is set out in regulations 16-18 of the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006. It is to provide advice to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice as to whether complaints should be dismissed, whether a judicial investigation should be set up and whether disciplinary action should be taken aside from any judicial investigation.
Complaint by Mr XXXX — report by investigating officer
the owners of the Lancet Medical Journal which, shortly before the hearing, had published a critical report on Dr Andrew Wakefield.’ (my emphasis)
31. I have looked at the 13 complaints which were sent to Davis J. None of them refer to the publication of a report; they all refer to The Lancet having been critical of Dr Wakefield.
32. In response to this issue, Davis J stated that he certainly knew and appreciated that his brother was Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier but did not understand what there was to disclose. He recalled, without benefit of case papers, that some articles or studies published in The Lancet were included in the large volume of papers for his consideration and that his recollection was that some favoured the appellants’ case (he imagined that a journal such as The Lancet would periodically include articles with different viewpoints). He expressed the view that the causation issue in the litigation had to be decided by reference to experts’ reports rather than by articles and that he could not understand how a decision whether or not to continue legal aid could have any bearing on Reed Elsevier. He also pointed out that his remit in February 2004 was to assess the reasonableness and lawfulness of the FRC’s decision in September 2003 to discontinue legal aid funding and so an article of February 2004 could not have been mentioned and that, as he does not study medical publications, he would not have read it on his own initiative. Davis J also stated that he had sought the help of the Judicial Communications Office, which had told him that it could find no trace of an article written in February 2004 and that the first article of the type described appeared on 6 March 2004 — after the hearing.
33. There is no evidence in the papers I have seen to contradict this aspect of Davis J’s response.
34. The Nominated Judge’s advice on this point was that, although Davis J knew of his brother’s connection with Reed Elsevier, he had no reason to consider it to be relevant in February 2004.
35. When OJC officials put papers to the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor so that they could consider how to respond to the complaints, the submission focused on The Lancet having published various articles and that, despite the information quoted by the complainants, ‘the article in question had actually appeared in the March issue, namely after the date of the hearing’. The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor were accordingly invited to approve a draft letter to complainants which, in relation to the link between Davis J’s brother and The Lancet, cited the fact that an article had been published after the date of the hearing, together with the fact that The Lancet had published several articles on the MMR vaccination reflecting a cross-section of views, as being Davis J’s ‘main reasons’ why a conflict of interest was precluded.
36. There is no evidence that, during their investigation, OJC officials looked further into the apparent discrepancy between the complainants’ concerns about The Lancet’s comments on Dr Wakefield’s MMR research and Davis J’s difficulty in locating the material to which it appeared that the complainants were referring. However, Davis J’5 comments about the date of articles was only one aspect of his reasons for believing that his brother’s connection with Reed Elsevier did not create a conflict of interest.
37. It is not within the Ombudsman’s remit to consider Mr XXXX’ original allegations against Davis J. The issue for the Ombudsman is whether the OJC addressed fully those allegations when investigating the complaints and conveyed an answer to the complainants which accurately addressed the concerns they had raised.
Complaint by Mr XXXX — report by investigating officer
Steps taken by the OJC to keep Mr XXXX informed of progress and notify him of any reasons for delay
38. The Ombudsman has noted that it took over five months to deal with Mr XXXX’ complaint and has indicated that he wishes to consider whether the OJC kept him informed of progress during that period
39. The OJC’s information leaflet OJCI states that while it is dealing with complaints, it aims ‘at all stages’ to keep complainants ‘fully informed of progress’. We asked OJC officials what their approach was to keeping MMR complainants informed of progress. They explained to us that because of the large volume of complaints, and the limited resources available, the caseworker provided updates only if people contacted him. They did consider providing updates via the JABS website4, but recognised that this might raise confidentiality issues. The OJC officials said if they received similar multi-handed complaints in the future, they would consider a mail-merge exercise or something similar in order to provide updates.
40. The chronology at AF5 sets out the details of the correspondence between Mr XXXX and the OJC during the life of his complaint. This shows that the OJC caseworker responded promptly to Mr XXXX enquiries. It also shows that the OJC contacted Mr XXXX during the course of the investigation only in response to correspondence from Mr XXXX, despite the promises made on 9 May 2007 (to inform Mr XXXX of the cause of any delay and by when he could expect to receive a reply), 16 May 2007 (that the OJC would keep Mr XXXX ‘regularly apprised) and 22 May 2007 (that the OJC would be writing to Mr XXXX further as the investigation progressed). The OJC’s dismissal letter (AF3) included an apology for the lack of updates.
THE INVESTIGATION OF THIS COMPLAINT
41. This complaint was primarily investigated by Liz Humphreys, Senior Investigating Officer and Head of Office. I have finalised the report as Mrs Humphreys has now left the Ombudsman’s 0 e.
13 May 2008
The website of the Support Group for Vaccine Damaged Children.
MMR CASES: SUMMARY OF THE OJC’S INVESTIGATION
In May 2007, the OJC started to receive complaints about Mr Justice Davis. Davis J heard an application on 16, 17 and 18 February 2004 for judicial review of a decision of a Funding Review Committee of the Legal Services Commission. In his judgment, issued on 27 February, Davis J upheld the FRC’s decision. The complaints centred around a concern that Davis J was subject to a conflict of interest while dealing with this case because his brother was a non executive director of GlaxoSmithKline, one of the defendants in the MMR group litigation, and the Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier, the publishing company responsible for The Lancet. The complainants referred to adverse comments made around the time of the hearing in the media by The L.ancet about Dr Andrew Wakefield’s research on the effects of the MMR vaccine.
The cases were initially allocated to an officer who has since retired, so they were re-allocated to another senior caseworker. That officer kept a running list of cases, highlighting where there was a tie-in to any related correspondence from Members of Parliament. About 100 complaints were received by the end of July. The complaints all covered the same or similar points. As each new case arrived, the caseworker reviewed the complaint to check whether there were any substantively different issues that would need to be dealt with separately.
On 17 May, in accordance with the OJC’s standard practice, the caseworker sent a sample of 13 cases to Davis J inviting him to comment on the allegations. In addition, on 12 June, the OJC obtained a transcript of the hearing in question. Davis J’s reply was received on 27 June. The caseworker discussed with his manager how to progress this matter, given the sensitivity of the issues underlying the complaints and the practicalities of responding to so many letters. It was agreed that the material collected by the OJC was ready to be submitted to the Nominated Judge and the OJC wrote to Lord Justice Maurice Kay on 16.JuIy.
In their minute to Maurice Kay U, the OJC explained the background to the complaints. They then drew his attention to the fact that the complaints had been made outside of the statutory twelve months of the event or matter complained of (Regulation 4(1) of the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006), and invited him to agree that Regulation 5(1), which provides that the time limit made be extended where there is good reason to do so, should apply in the circumstances. In this instance, the good reason for accepting the complaints out of time was that the complainants had only very recently learned of the judge’s brother’s particular appointments which, they argued, cast doubt of the judge’s ability to be impartial in hearing the MMR litigation in question.
They also suggested that Davis J had provided ‘an informative, comprehensive and cogent response to the allegations that he was subject to a conflict of interest and has succeeded.. .in refuting them’. They recommended that the complaints be dismissed under the provisions of regulation 14(1 )(e) of the Regulations in that they are ‘demonstrably without substance’ and suggested that the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice be advised to accordingly. They also suggested, given the very large number of complaints, that it should be suggested to the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice that officials respond on their behalf. Maurice Kay U agreed these recommendations on 24 July.
The OJC therefore put up a submission to the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor on 1 August in which it was recommended that the complaints be dismissed under Regulation 14(1)(e) and that officials reply on their behalf with a common reply to all complainants. A draft letter was also included for their consideration. The Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor agreed this approach and the text of the response on 6 August and 10 October respectively. The dismissal letter was sent to complainants on 16 October.
|GUS THE FUSS
||Posted - 02/27/2008 : 20:59:16
Dear Mr Hockfelder
Could you please forward this onto my case worker further highlighting the high handedness in which Judge Davis promptly handled the withdrawal of my sons legal aid certificate . I draw your attention to my sons case history below and ask you to look at the glaring similarities in the case now proven and admitted by the American government backed by a scientific paper of the autism vaccine link.This further proves that if my sons case and others had been allowed to continue to trial they all would now have been proven in court backed by this scientific paper enclosed had we been given the chance stopped by a Judge with a hidden agenda.
My sons history (summery)
G – REGRESSION INTO AUTISM
13½ months Started restricting his diet. Having previously eaten wide range of food became extremely limited
Lost eating skills – stopped using spoon
Over next 6 months Started avoiding his brother – wouldn’t play or interact with brother
Noticed increasing isolation
“Distant” look on his face
Increasingly difficult to engage his attention
Increasingly difficult to get him to look at camera for photos
Lost interest in toys – became interested in strange things
Was not developing speech
Cheeks and ears red all the time
Constant ear infections
22 months Concerns raised by his nursery. Consulted Health Visitor. Brought forward 2 year check
Play skills very limited
Very little imaginative “pretend” play
Becoming quite hyperactive
Posture seemed a little strange – could be very “floppy”
Had ears checked because of history of ear infections. Found to have Glue Ear
26 months Grommets fitted.
Further terrible ear infections
No speech developed
Aged 2½ Started process of seeking diagnosis – GP/Speech and Lang Therapist/Community Paediatrician/Raeden Child Development Centre
Aged 3yrs4mths Diagnosed with autism after week long assessment
|GUS THE FUSS
||Posted - 01/22/2008 : 14:09:27
Received 19/01 2008 No doubt no breath being held Yaaawnn!!
Following the letter to you from my Casework Team Manager dated 3 December 2007,
I am writing to let you know that work has started on the investigation of your complaint.
As you may appreciate, although we aim to complete this process as quickly as possible, it can take some time. However, we will write to you each month to keep you updated on progress. In the meantime, if you have any questions about your complaint, please feel free to call me or my Senior Investigating Officer, John Critchfield, on 020 7217 4470.
phreys of Office
||Posted - 11/13/2007 : 00:00:54
Try the link without the comma at the end (it worked for me). Aasa
||Posted - 11/12/2007 : 23:01:42
The link does not work!!!
|GUS THE FUSS
||Posted - 11/11/2007 : 20:54:01
Following receipt of the OJC’s response to the complaint against Mr Justice Davis, dated 16 October 2007, please be aware that we only have days left in which to lodge a Complaint to the Judicial Ombudsman. The complaint is to be received by the Ombudsman within 28 days of the date of the decision made by the OJC and that is by Tuesday 14 November 2007.
I hope it will be helpful to remind everyone that the priority is to ensure an Official Complaint Form has been printed off from the following link http://www.judicialombudsman.gov.uk/docs/conductcomplaintformAugust2007.doc, to complete, sign in hardcopy and send to:
The Office of the Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman
London SW1 4QP
||Posted - 10/31/2007 : 14:17:11
Incidentally, there are two versions of Mr Justice Davis's May press release:
"In 2003, Mr Justice Davis's brother was appointed as a non-executive director of Glaxo SmithKline, a company which was formed as a result of a merger with SmithKline Beecham . At the date of the hearing before Davis J (February 2004), the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother's position did not occur to him. If he was wrong, any possible remedy must be sought in the court of appeal."
"In 2003, Mr Justice Davis's brother was appointed as a non-executive director of GSK. At the date of the hearing before Mr Justice Davis (February 2004), the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother's position was not raised with him and did not occur to him. If he was wrong, any possible remedy must be sought in the court of appeal."
(Private Eye and Scottish press)
||Posted - 10/31/2007 : 13:54:28
From The Sunday Times, January 11, 2004
Special Report: Has Reed’s Mr 10% lost his golden touch? Fears over growth at Crispin Davis’s empire.
Report by Andrew Porter
EVERYONE agreed: the backslapping at Reed Elsevier’s annual meeting last April was worth it.
Few companies last 100 years, but the publishing business had been around for a century and it was cause to bring out the champagne.
There were also more immediate reasons to be cheerful. Reed had achieved three years of good growth in a struggling sector. The once troubled Anglo- Dutch company had been tranformed under the guidance of its chief executive, Crispin Davis, — an unlikely media- industry darling who found the adulation slightly unsettling.
Not for Davis the flamboyance of Carlton’s Michael Green, or the larger-than-life bravado of Richard Desmond. Davis is the ultimate man in grey suit whom investors grew to love as the performance of Reed got better and better. The awards poured in, and Davis rightfully became feted as one of the UK’s most succesful managers.
Nine months on, the fizz is a bit flatter and Davis’s reputation as the great performer of the sector is under threat.
From the heights of a year ago, the shares have fallen 10.6% and the stock has underperformed the FTSE All-Share index by 24% over those 12 months.
During that time there have been high-profile, executive departures from the big American arm of Reed. And there has been another problem, also in America: the science- publication division has been hit in a revolt by academics and institutions.
Previously loyal investors and analysts are now beginning to conclude that in a market that looks like it is picking up again, maybe they can no longer afford to stick with Reed. Perhaps they are better off with media companies that are going to benefit more from the advertising upturn.
Profits continue to pour in, but Davis recently had to warn that the rate of earnings growth at Reed is slowing to single- digit speed.
For the man the City has got used to calling “Mr Ten Per Cent” — capable of achieving 10% earnings growth or more every year — it is a testing time. Investors say that Davis now faces a choice: sit tight and support what he has put in place or try to improve the climate by expanding the Reed portfolio and add a fifth leg to the four core businesses.
Reed, which has a market value of £10.5 billion, including the UK plc and the Dutch-listed business, publishes magazines such as The Lancet and Variety, plus a host of education, science and medical titles. Its science and medical leg encompasses 1,200 publications, and its legal division includes the LexisNexis online research tool, which is also used by business.
Its education operation includes Harcourt, the third- largest textbook-publisher in the US, which was acquired by Reed in 2001 for £3.1 billion. But this year few states are buying textbooks and that means less cash for Reed.
The business division is Reed’s fourth leg. It provides information and marketing solutions to companies.
Tony Lucki, president and chief executive of Harcourt, last summer announced he was leaving to run Houghton Mifflin, a competitor. That came just months after Derk Haank, head of scientific publishing, left to join one of Reed’s main rivals. Haank had been with the company for 17 years.
Both departures were clearly a blow to the seemingly impregnable Davis.
In addition, there has been unrest in the scientific community about some of Reed’s methods of doing business. In America, the Public Library of Science, a non-profit organisation, launched a drive to make scientific and medical literature more accessible. It has made its first scientific journals freely available online.
And in another move that will irritate Reed, Congressman Martin Sabo is sponsoring a bill that seeks to exclude any government-funded scientific research from having US copyright protection. At present Reed charges leading scientists, economists and academics to have their work published. Analysts believe the proposed change has the potential to disrupt Reed’s highly profitable, science-publishing franchise.
In a further worrying development, two University of California scientists have proposed a boycott of six of Reed’s biology journals, accusing the company of charging exorbitant fees, according to Citigroup analysts.
It does not add up to a crisis for Reed and Davis, but change will be needed for the love affair with the City to continue.
Jeff Meys, media analyst at UBS, said: “The market has shifted to different types of stories. Reed is still a stable deliverer, but 2004 is not the company’s year. Half the business is in America, and in education and business-to-business the market is not good. Education is cyclical and also there is the poor fiscal situation of many states. They are banking on it picking up in 2005.”
So what will Davis do? As he sits at his usual table at London’s Goring Hotel, a stone’s throw away from Victoria station, the fiercely competitive chief executive knows that more critical eyes are now trained on his performance. Action is needed.
Standing still will not suffice, and a deal could be one solution.
One analyst said: “Davis is terribly ambitious and very driven. He had a very aggressive pay structure when he came in and that did not pay out as much as it should have done, mainly because of market conditions.
“There is now another structure in place with the lowest threshold a 6% growth target. So there must be a temptation to hit those targets — 12% would have him hitting the jackpot. He has to do something,” said the analyst.
“That something could be a share buy-back or it could be an acquisition. However, he has always fought shy of adding the fifth leg, so it would take a bit of a change of mind for him to do that, but it is certainly not an impossibility.”
Paul Richards, analyst at Numis Securities, a stockbroker, said the issue of open access to scientific journals had been gaining momentum in the past year.
He added: “There has also been a change in sentiment — Reed is a defensive stock and the market is in full-on recovery mode and therefore focusing on operationally geared recovery plays such as television, radio, Reuters, and B2B rather than Reed, which has held up much better during the downturn.
“I still think Reed is a first-class company and that Davis is an outstanding chief executive. With B2B recovery gaining traction this year and a much stronger year to look forward to in US education in 2005, I think Reed will return to favour later this year.”
Reed argues that it could have gone for double-digit growth targets again if it had cut back on investment, but it rejected such a “short-term” solution. The company is still planning investment, particularly in America, and insiders say there are large amounts of money available for potential acquisitions.
Family get-togethers could become galling for Davis if he ever slips up, such is the incredible success he and his brothers have achieved. One of them, Ian, is managing director of McKinsey, the management consultancy, another, James, is a partner at the top law firm Freshfields, while a third, Nigel, is a High Court judge.
Davis’s only other City job is as a non-executive board member at Glaxo Smith Kline, a position he secured last year.
In the past he has fought hard to prove his worth. A decade ago he was forced out as a director of Guinness after a clash with its chief executive, Tony Greener. He then took up a position at Aegis, the media-buying group, where he impressed colleagues with his drive.
That drive is likely to be needed again as he faces a period that is almost certain to bring more challenges than he has faced during the good times of the past three years.
REED ELSEVIER AT A GLANCE
Reed Elsevier publishes scientific and medical journals, including The Lancet. In addition it produces education textbooks and more mainstream publications such as Variety, the showbusiness magazine. It is also behind LexisNexis, a business and legal information service. The company employs 36,000 people, mainly in North America and Europe
Crispin Davis, 53, who took over in September 1999
When Davis joined, the share price was 410p. Today it is 456p. Earnings have grown at more than 10% for three consecutive years, outperforming the sector. But Davis predicts the rate of growth will be lower this year
Contact our advertising team for advertising and sponsorship in Times Online, The Times and The Sunday Times.
© Copyright 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd.
||Posted - 10/24/2007 : 19:13:28
From Private Eye No 1196 26 October-8 November 2007
MMR LEGAL AID: Mr Justice Davis has been cleared of any wrongdoing for not disclosing that his brother was a director of Glaxo SmithKline when he sanctioned the withdrawal of legal aid from families who claim their children were damaged by the drug company's MMR vaccine.
The Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) has advised more than 100 parents who complained of the conflict of interest that the high court judge states categorically that he was not aware at the time that his brother, Sir Crispin davis, was a non-executive director of GSK, one of three defendent drug companies in the MMR controversy.
But when the Eye and others asked his office about a potential conflict five months ago, a statement was issued on his behalf which said: "In 2003, Mr Justice Davis's brother was appointed as a non-executive director of GSK. At the date of the hearing before Mr Justice (February 2004), the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother's position was not raised with him and did not occur to him. If he was wrong, any possible remedy must be sought in the court of appeal."
This is not quite the same as saying he knew nothing about it. The parents are now asking Sir John Brigstocke, the judicial ombudsman, to investigate this apparent inconsistency. They are also asking whether the OJC were right to dismiss a second complaint of a possible conflict. Sir Crispin is also Chief Executive of Reed Elsevier, publishers of the Lancet. Although the magazine published the original controversial research by Dr Andrew Wakefield and others at the royal Free Hospital, its editor Richard Horton had been widely quoted just before the legal aid hearing saying the study was flawed because of an alleged conflict of interest.
||Posted - 10/23/2007 : 23:13:36
we'll get Pharma!...pharma have way more money than we have, but we've got the fight!! It's just sad that time and time again no one listens to the ordinary, affected people that have at first hand experienced the tragedy of vaccine damage.
Never give up the fight. never.
||Posted - 10/22/2007 : 15:53:40
3 lines of attack
1) Complain about the OJC to the Judicial Ombudsman - you have to download from the web address mentioned at the end of the response.
2) Write to the OJC about Mr Justice Davis and his answer, but without direct reference to the OJC decision.
3) Go back and complain to the politicians.
||Posted - 10/21/2007 : 20:52:57
oops that will be me then!
But what happens now regarding the Judge who did not see fit to mention that his Brother was a director of the company that were being sued?
What is the next step for the people who believe that the whole situation is full off corruption? (Not thst I am implying that there is anything dodgy going on of course) but some people might feel aggrieved about the whole situation
||Posted - 10/20/2007 : 14:54:02
Please make sure that as members of this forum you comply with the rules set out at the head of the column. Please do not use language that could be construed as insulting, abusive, slanderous etc. as this could result in action being taken against the person making such posts.
Please keep to the spirit of the forum.
||Posted - 10/19/2007 : 20:46:31
Reply arrived this morning -
".....Having thus considered the matters raised by this complaint, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have concluded that they are without substance. In reaching this conclusion, they have also taken into account the evidence of the judgement itself. Mr Justice Davis has provided detailed reasons as to why he did not declare his brother's association with GSK and Reed Elsevier. He has provided assurances that he was not aware of the former; furthermore, that had he been aware of the connection he would have declared it. Of the latter, he argues that there was no onus on him to make the disclosure as there were no circumstances in which a decision on whether or not to continue Legal Aid could be said to have any effect on Reed Elsevier. A conflict of interest was, furthermore, precluded by the sequence of events I have described earlier in this letter, namely, that the article in the Lancet critical of Dr Wakefield had not been published at the time of the Court hearing.
Overall, while recognising and understanding the view that the hearing he had conducted was not impartial, Mr Justice Davis has confirmed categorically that his decision was based solely on the materials and arguments put before him and uninfluenced by any other consideration.
[Ach well - that makes it all right then.]
Accordingly, your complaint must be dismissed in accordance with regulation.............etc etc".