The Supreme Court today brought to an end the long-running battle between lawyer Stephen Sugar and the BBC over whether it is obliged, under the Freedom of Information Act, to release an internal report on its coverage of Israeli/Palestinian relations (see blog). It is not.
The dispute has already had an outing in the House of Lords, two appearances in the Court of Appeal and several more in the High Court. Some lawyers suggest it could now be on its way to the European Courts.
Each side’s determination to wipe its opponent out has provided something of a bonanza for the lawyers involved, all of whom have progressed in their own careers as the case escalated.
Essex Court Chambers Tim Eicke QC, appearing for the appellants, last year took silk while Blackstone Chambers’ Monica Carss-Frisk QC, appearing for the BBC, became joint head of chambers last month (21 November 2011). Her instructing solicitor at the BBC, Sarah Jones, has been promoted from head of litigation to general counsel (17 January 2012).
Tomorrow the High Court will rule in another case that is turning out to be a bonanza for the lawyers involved. Mukhtar Ablyazov, the Kazakhstan billionaire who is alleged to have absconded from the country with funds out of its JSC BTA Bank, will learn whether he will be jailed for, his legal opponents claim, evading the courts and being in contempt (6 February 2011).