David Walbank KC’s ‘Crime Brief’ column for New Law Journal will in future appear fortnightly rather than monthly.

December 22, 2022

David’s articles published on 4th November 2022 and 18th November 2022 examined two recent cases illustrating the scope of the doctrine of equality before the law.

Zu-Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn v De Borbon y Borbon [2022] 1 WLR 3311 concerned a civil action in harassment brought by the ex-mistress of the former King of Spain, Juan Carlos. The High Court held that the pre-abdication misconduct alleged against the defendant could not be said to have been carried out by him as a ‘sovereign … in his public capacity’ and he would not be entitled to functional immunity in respect of those actions. To read this ‘Crime Brief’ piece, see [Crime Brief (Juan Carlos)]

In the second of these two articles, David examined another hard case which tested the limits of the principle of equality before the law. In Cojanu v Essex Partnership University NHS Trust [2022] 4 WLR 33, a prisoner serving time for the attempted murder of his wife brought a claim in clinical negligence relating to the medical treatment of injuries which he himself had suffered in the course of his attack. It reinforced the point that those convicted of the gravest of crimes (even if they then seek to conceal that conviction in subsequent civil proceedings) will not thereby be shut out from their remedies before the civil courts. For the full article, see [Crime Brief (Cojanu)]