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Abuse of Process 2023

Speaker: Colin Wells
Chambers: 25 Bedford Row

Colin Wells is a barrister who is often considered to be “the go-to person” on abuse of process matters. His expertise is demonstrated through his recent publication, published by Oxford University Press this year (2023), which is a comprehensive update on procedural situations concerning abuse of process, offering insights from extensive practical knowledge.

Here Colin gives an update on abuse of process, highlighting categories of abuse whereby the court has the power to stay proceedings. He shares details of contemporary case law to illustrate the application of these categories. He then reveals the ways in which stays are an exercise of discretion, before outlining countervailing factors and considerations and demonstrating the importance of disclosure.

Key words/topics:

Categories of abuse
Maxwell [2011] 1 WLR 1837
Hamilton v Post Office Ltd [2021] EWCA Crim 577
R v AAD [2022] EWCA Crim 106.
R v AFU [2023] ECA Crim 23
Ahmed v Director General of Security Service [2020] EWHC 3458 (QB).
Hunter v Chief Constable of the West Midlands Police [1982] AC 529
D Ltd v A [2017] EWCA Crim 1172 [50]
Wednesbury unreasonableness
Paul Daly, ‘Wednesbury’s Reason and Structure’ [2011] Public Law 238
Judicial discretion
Tague v the Governor of HMP Full Sutton and the National Crime Agency [2015] EWHC 3576 (Admin) [48]
Countervailing factors and considerations
R v Downey Central Criminal Court, 21 February 2014
Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998
R v Malkinson [2023] EWCA Crim 954