Russell Jones snaps up headline cases

RUSSELL Jones & Walker hit the news this week with two high-profile and unusual cases that could make legal history.

Senior partner John Webber is acting for sacked Prison Service director Derek Lewis in his action for wrongful dismissal against Home Secretary Michael Howard.

Although acting for Lewis, the firm is instructed by the Association of First Division Civil Servants (FDA), Lewis' union and a long-standing client of the firm.

Lewis' action seeks compensation for wrongful and unlawful termination of a contract. A writ was served last week. This is thought to be the first case where a government agency director has sued his Minister.

“I'm not aware of any other previous case,” said Webber.

A principal argument in the pleading is that while Lewis was criticised for alleged mistakes in the service's operational function, Howard regularly meddled in operational work despite claiming to be responsible only for policy.

In another case, partner Rod Fletcher is acting via the Police Federation for PC Patrick Hodgson, thought to be the first police officer charged with murder arising from an incident in the line of duty. The charge will be defended vigorously,” said Fletcher.