LAW: Mislabeled Hearing; Huge Delay in Appeal-Court Transcript Paid for by Bloomberg; Is This Fair Justice? (1)

GoFundMe (Mega-rich Bloomberg is seeking $53,000 from me / my family)

Opinion by Mathew Carr

March 23-25, 2022 — I thought I was attending a “preliminary hearing” last Friday in my long-running legal dispute.

My litigation has been going on for about 660 days, well more than double the average 240 days for civil proceedings in the OECD.

Here’s the invitation to the March 18, 2022 hearing, which was to assess whether I should pay 40,000 pounds ($53,000) of Bloomberg’s legal costs in my unfair-dismissal / whistleblowing claim that I lost.

By email from the Central London Employment Tribunal

Halfway through the hearing, it starts to become clear that it is actually the FINAL HEARING.

A self litigant, I ask for clarity. It’s against the Central London Employment Tribunal rules to take advantage of a self litigant.

Bloomberg’s Queens Counsel agrees with me and mentions to the judge in the hearing that the notification should not have said “preliminary”.

I assumed there would be another hearing in May, 2022, as indicated by earlier correspondence between the parties. Bloomberg wants me to pay the sum, even though it has no good reason why, I contended at the hearing.

Employment Judge Klimov said it was the final hearing and I was “not prejudiced” by the fact that the hearing notice said “preliminary”.

I disagreed and this week I disagree, too.

The notification also said: “Case-management orders may be made at the conclusion of the preliminary hearing.”

Now, “case management orders” doesn’t sound like the final hearing to me. Does it to you? Comments my way to mathew@carrzee.net

So, it appears that Friday was my actual last chance to make my arguments (subject to appeals and requests for review).

____________

This mistake is part of a series of errors by the judicial system, I contend, and that happened in fact. To be clear, these mistakes are real. I’m not complaining about them because I’m losing the litigation.

It shows the employment tribunal system is in need of deep reform, I contend.

Faith in the U.K. judicial system is already surprisingly low. (This from Forbes was published in 2016 and I can’t see a more up-to-date version on the OECD website)

https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy/2016/02/11/the-countries-where-people-have-little-confidence-in-the-justice-system-infographic/?sh=7e6723c87a1b

These mistakes ARE damaging my mental health when the judicial system is specifically meant to even out the playing field when a self litigant (me) is against a gold-plated legal team (Bloomberg).

In fact, the Tribunals appear to be steepening the playing field in favor of the Respondent Bloomberg.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided on Dec. 3 last year that my 38 plus pages of detailed alleged whistleblowing — about Bloomberg’s dire coverage of the climate coverage and the solutions that are available — should be struck out.

The EAT said it didn’t want the taxpayer to pay for the written transcript of the judgement, even though I’m a self litigant. So, Bloomberg LP said it would pay.

See this email / letter I was copied into on Friday from Bloomberg to the EAT:

___________

Dear [Redacted — EAT officer]

EA-2021-000784-AT Mr M Carr v Bloomberg L.P.

We understand from Ubiqus [the company hired by Bloomberg from an official list that writes transcripts from audio recordings] that they have now received a copy of the audio of the judgment hearing and they will provide the transcript to the EAT later today. We look forward to receiving a copy of the judgment.

We have coped the Appellant to this correspondence.

Kind regards, [Redacted Bloomberg Representative]

___________________

So Bloomberg is speaking with the company writing up the transcript it is paying for.

This does not feel like a fair judicial process. I’m not making any allegations. I guess it could be worse. I could be made to pay for the transcript.

Yet, it seems, we will get the written judgement soon.

The EAT will receive the transcript and check it before publication, according to the process, which was outlined earlier to me.

I’m not sure if the EAT Justice Heather Williams has any scope to change her words.

I earlier asked for a review of the decision, which was rejected.

I’m not the only one pushing for reform. See this snip from a story published Tuesday by the Guardian:

___________

Journalists should be provided with access to documents from employment tribunal cases even in the aftermath of a judgment, it has been ruled, after a successful legal challenge by the Guardian.

In a significant victory for open justice, the employment appeal tribunal threw out a ruling from a lower court that the costs of transparency would be too burdensome, and instead ordered that the Guardian should be provided with documents it had requested.

The judge suggested the documents should be released at no cost.

The ruling builds on a series of recent judgments enhancing the rights of journalists to access documents placed before the court, particularly where they demonstrate that they are acting in the public interest.

“The press have an important role in reporting the judgments of courts and tribunals,” the judge, James Tayler, ruled. “It is in the public interest that they have the necessary information to be able to do so fairly and accurately.”

________

LAWGAZETTE also wrote a story:

Tayler said lawyers drafting skeleton arguments and witness statements should ‘remember that such documents can generally be inspected at hearings and may be provided thereafter’, and also suggested that media access to trial bundles ‘might provide a welcome spur to ensure that documentation provided in bundles is limited to that [which is] relevant’, it said.

Back to my case against Bloomberg, I have not been able to get (or to hire) legal help because I have no written EAT judgement to show prospective helpers.

Bloomberg did provide its own transcript of the judgement, but it contains errors, the EAT said … and it didn’t say what the errors were.

So it isn’t that helpful. I do thank the Respondent for trying.

There have been many other errors in my litigation (some by me, too, of course, so I’m staying humble). See this below, for another example of a Tribunal error:

Court Reverses Decision About Openness of my Bloomberg-Climate-Whistleblowing Hearing, After it Happened (3)

–Updates with further Tribunal comments (for transparency rather than enlightenment) — see note 1

Sept. 26-28, 2021 — By Mathew Carr

Friday, I wanted to notify the public that it could listen into my UK Employment Tribunal whistleblowing hearing before it got underway at 10am London time.

I asked the Tribunal for a link for the public to view the hearing. This is the response I got:

Snip of email — I redacted the name of the officer

Friday night, after the long, complicated hearing, I sent this question to the Tribunal — the judge — among some other requests, comments:

OK, I should have included a question mark — it was late.

Still — I was surprised that when I got the decision Saturday, the Tribunal said the hearing was “open”….more here.

(Updates with Law Gazette; More to come)

See this long read about my situation:

Hitting Allies: My 2019 Nord Stream Story for Bloomberg That Was Never Published Was a Peek Into Now  (5)

GoFundMe

March 18-21, 2022 (London): Opinion, by Mathew Carr (CarrZee)

It was years ago when I was still working as an energy reporter with Bloomberg in London, I thought there was an important story to tell about the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project. It was crucial enough to write, even though I officially had the day off work…

More on this story here.

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