Royal Courts of Justice & Pro Bono Advice Service

The RCJ as well as the Pro Bono ‘advice’ to F is so absurd, that it  can be   alleged  that dark forces, Hell bent on diverting the course of F’s investigation,  were involved in an informal reprehensible machinations with the RCJ and even the Pro Bono, to ensure that F’s matter was quietly  stifled. 

Both were cajoled to meander outside the Realm of Sanity and feign amnesia that personal medical information is deemed CONFIDENTIAL and must be treated as such. 

Everyone in this country relies on this principle, to keep their medical information, kept by whomever,  to be treated as CONFIDENTIAL.

However, when  details of venereal diseases  are part of this information, the matter becomes very specific and narrow in legal terms.  The fact that this specific information is CONFIDENTIAL,  was reiterated as early as 1916, in the Public Health(Venereal Diseases)Regulations 1916.  These were revised and strengthened in 1974 by the NHS(Venereal Regulations)1974 and in 2000 by the  NHS(STD)Directions 2000,  Fact the Pro Bono chose to ignore.

It can be firmly assumed that had F had been a multiple rapist, burglar, compulsive child mollester, determined fraudster  or an illegal immigrant, he  might have received  plethora of advice for free from many sources. However,   NOT where  HIV is involved, not only due to the highly  sensitive nature of the information, but also for a lack of precedent, despite the fact that a disclosure  would be  at least in breach of  Common Law of duty of Confidentiality imposed on the information holder.  It smacks of selective discrimination on the grounds of the nature of the information, and the individuals  affected by this virus and the stigma surrounding the matter..

When F realised that he was unlikely to obtain legal advice, for free or for a fee, from the commercial legal sector,  due to the nature of information involved in the matter, he considered handling the  matter by himself, representing himself,  as a Litigant in Person, LiP,  if necessary.  It appeared that he knew  quite a lot about the legislation  and the relevant guidelines and codes than all of those he sought advice from.

To ascertain whether he may be entitled to ‘Legal Aid’ should he need it, on 11th October 2016 F asked the Legal Aid Agency for advice.

The agency confirmed that the disclosure of his HIV+ status would in breach of Article 8 of the Human Rights Act and should he need Legal Aid he  could apply for it through the offices of a properly registered Legal Aid solicitor.

This presented a snag, as he could not find such a person.   He found out that should he avail himself of the little known ‘Barrister Direct Access Scheme‘,  and find a Barrister prepared to give advice, he may suggest a solicitor, through whom he may apply for this Aid.  However, he could not find a Barrister prepared to give advice, not even for a fee.

He found out that as a  ‘Litigant in Person’. LiP,   he may apply for free legal advice from a group of law students based at the Royal Courts of Justice, RCJ.

On 1st February 2017, F submitted his details  to the RCJ and  was accepted.   RCJ promptly contacted the Pro Bono Unit, to whom F submitted  his Application Form  on 6th March 2017.

On 13th April 2017 he received a reply from Pro Bono,  who advised F that the Pro Bono Unit is unable to provide free advice, because the possibility of winning a case would be slim, taking into consideration that the ICO had already  determined  his case, and that  5 years had already elapsed. 

The nameless, faceless ‘senior barrister’ seem to forget that any assessment  or ‘determination’, issued by the ICO  has no legal value;  it is unenforceable.  Should F decided to take legal action against RBKC, the Court/Judge was in no way obliged to consider anything ‘determined’ by the ICO.  He is entitled to look at the matter afresh, irrespective.

Fact that five years had already elapsed, is irrelevant. The Limitation Act 1980, provides for a period of SIX YEARS for the presentation of a case involving a breach of ‘CONFIDENTIALITY‘,  a provision the ‘senior examining barrister’ chose to ignore, most probably intentionally, as  this might be admitting that it had occurred, thus taking the matter in a different direction.

Pro Bono was fast to remind F that ‘we must emphasise that what he told F was not legal advice from the reviewing barrister or from the Unit’.

The ICO had not ‘determined‘ anything at all.  He merely issued an ASSESSMENT‘ on  23rd January 2012  which stated that ‘As such we have made as assessment that, on the evidence provided, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are likely to have complied with the DPA.’

His statement that inordinate time of volunteers would be used up, is nonsense, which was stated, wholeheartedly hoping that F would swallow it, hook, line and sinker, shut up and simply fuck off. Job done. RBKC concerns soothed.

It is unbelievable that a ‘senior barrister’ would NOT be aware of Common Law duty of Confidentiality and  the role that Article 8 of the Human Rights Act may play in   F’s matter.

Yet, all of these are clearly referred to in any law, codes of practice and guidelines governing HIV information.

O6th January 2016, the ICO reneged on his initial ‘assessment’, telling F  that  should information handling be controlled by another legislation, the NHS Statutory Restriction for example,  the matter would be OUTSIDE OF HIS REMIT and any concerns should be submitted to the NHS

Therefore, the ICO was in NO way entitled to consider F’s  request for advice, as  anything concerning HIV, of which he was  made aware, was outside of his remit.  

It can be assumed  that the ProBono, hiding behind  ICO’s questionable assessment, extricated himself  from getting involved in the matter, without  even offering  F to challenge  his statement, wholeheartedly believing that F would swallow it all, swallow it all, hook, line and sinker and go away.  The did not expect him to question it.

F replied on 24th April 2017 and eventually collected his documents from the Pro Bono.

 It can be assumed that  very little of time would have been spent on the matter, to advice F if was on the right track or not.  After all, this was all F was asking for, so that he may/may not proceed with his Litigation in Person efforts.

The ‘senior barrister’ whilst considering F’s concerns, should have asked a very simple question ‘Where is F’s explicit CONSENT?’  There is NO such a thing.

F replied  on 24th April 2017.  The Pro Bono replied on same day, offering him the opportunity to complain about the conduct of the review.  Interestingly, he failed to offer this opportunity to F in his first reply.

The whole episode of seeking impartial, independent, unbiased legal advice, was nothing nothing like it.  It all turned out to be biased in favour of RBKC,  The Two RCJ student lawyers, who should have provided practical advice on how to proceed further,  were very unhelpful during F’s second appointment.  Instead of offering advice, they were both rather officious, intimidating, trying very hard to highlight  the negative aspects of LiP,  attempting to convince F NOT to proceed any further,   saying that RBKC could provide witnesses.  Witnesses to what?  An event which had NEVER happened before?  We understand that there has never been a complaint/case brought against anyone since the recognition of the HIV virus, that this information was disclosed without explicit consent to do so.   

Examples of cases relating to the disclosure of HIV status,  are Z v Finland, I v Finland and Brent v Mr N&P.

 

 

 

 

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