November 09, 2013

Does Recuse offer Excuse?

Another day another FUCU post.

I've reported before that the University and College Union is seeking costs from the complainant in the case of Fraser v UCU.  According to Dr David Hirsh of the zionist Engage site, the costs are £580,000.

Lawyers for complainant, Ronnie Fraser, argued that the tribunal itself should not hear the costs claim because they so indicated their disapproval of the complaints in their judgment that they had already prejudiced the outcome should they hear the case.  The original trio who heard the case agreed to recuse, ie, absent themselves from the case.

Here's Hirsh:

The tribunal decided to recuse itself in this case.  The judge said that he did not accept that their judgment had already articulated a view on the question of costs, but he admitted that a reasonable outside observer may come to the conclusion that it had.

In this sense at least, the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment.
I know how hasbaristas work.  In future all the facts of the case will be cast to the wind in favour of the idea that "the tribunal admitted that it had over-reached itself in its substantive judgment".  This will be their excuse no matter what eventually is decided on costs.

The section of the judgment the complainants are relying on is as follows:

180 What makes this litigation doubly regrettable is its gargantuan scale. Given the case management history, the preparations of the parties and the sensitivity of the subject-matter, we thought (rightly or wrongly) that it was proper to permit the evidence to take the course mapped out for it, provided that the hearing did not overrun its allocation. But we reminded ourselves frequently that, despite appearances, we were not conducting a public inquiry into anti-Semitism but considering a legal claim for unlawful harassment. Viewed in that way, a hearing with a host of witnesses, a 20-day allocation and a trial bundle of 23 volumes can only be seen as manifestly excessive and disproportionate. The Employment Tribunals are a hard-pressed public service and it is not right that their limited resources should be squandered as they have been in this case. Nor, if (contrary to our view) it was proper to face them with any claim at all, should the Respondents have been put to the trouble and expense of defending proceedings of this order or any thing like it.
Read it over.  Hirsh says,
it is not clear what evidence the UCU can adduce to show that Fraser’s claim was vexatious, since the evidence upon which it is relying is the relevant section from the judgment in which the tribunal appeared to prejudice the hearing on costs.
 Now I don't want to leave a hostage to fortune (and what a fortune?) here but isn't that the whole point?  A tremendous amount of expense has been gone to in order to hear and defend a case that was wholly without merit.  Doesn't that in itself make the case vexatious?

But the zionists are in this for a reason.  If the UCU are saddled with the costs they will have still won the case, in spite of what Hirsh says, on the substantive points.  But that, as Asa Winstanly of Electronic Intifada has said, could deter other unions from taking a stance of international solidarity for the Palestinians.  If, on the other hand, the UCU wins its claim, then the zionists will still try to claim some kind of victory on the grounds of the nonsense Hirsh had come out with, that the tribunal somehow, over-reached itself.

Oh by the way, still no sign of Anthony Julius unless anyone knows otherwise...

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