Theodore Huckle

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Theodore Huckle QC is a Welsh barrister and the Counsel General of the Welsh Government.

Personal[edit]

Mr Huckle lives near Cardiff with his wife and four daughters.

Early life and Education[edit]

Mr Huckle was brought up in Blaenavon by his mother Sylvia (née Lewis) with his brother and two sisters. He was educated at primary and junior schools in Blaenavon and at Jones' West Monmouth Grammar School, Pontypool, before reading Law at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he took B.A., M.A. and LL.M. (International) degrees. He is a Titular Exhibitioner of Jesus College. He was admitted to Lincoln's Inn as a Hardwick Entrance Scholar and was in 1984 awarded the Megarry Major Scholarship.

Career History[edit]

Mr Huckle was called to the Bar in 1985, and has always lived and practised as a barrister in Wales. In 2008 he was instrumental in establishing Civitas Law chambers as the first specialist civil law chambers in Wales. He was appointed Queen's Counsel (QC) in 2011. With the agreement of the First Minister of Wales and the National Assembly for Wales Mr Huckle continues in private practice as a QC during his appointment as Counsel General.

As a member of Civitas Law Chambers, Mr Huckle’s practice profile included personal injury, especially occupational illness/disease litigation, spinal, head injury and clinical disputes; human rights and commercial matters including employment, fraud and professional negligence. Mr Huckle is also an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Group-accredited mediator. Mr Huckle appeared for the Claimant Miss Baker in the first case of industrial “deafness” (noise-induced hearing loss) to be considered in the Supreme Court (or its predecessor Judicial Committee of the House of Lords): Baker v Quantum Clothing [2011] UKSC 17; [2011] 1 WLR 1003; [2011] ICR 523; [2011] PIQR P14.

Counsel General for Wales[edit]

Mr Huckle was appointed Counsel General Designate by the First Minister on 27 May 2011. The National Assembly for Wales gave its approval on 8 June 2011 and the appointment as Counsel General was formally made by Her Majesty the Queen on Friday 10 June 2011.[1][2] The then Presiding Judge of the Wales Circuit, David Lloyd Jones J, undertook the swearing in ceremony on 13 June 2011.

Though not a Minister of the Welsh Government, the Counsel General for Wales is a member of Government under s45 of the Government of Wales Act 2006. The office is considered at ministerial level and the Counsel General is bound by the Ministerial Code. The Counsel General may not be removed from the position except by resolution of the National Assembly for Wales itself.

He is the first person who is not an Assembly Member to hold the office of Counsel General to the Welsh Government as a member of the Government and the first practising lawyer to hold this office.[3]

Mr. Huckle attends Cabinet at the invitation of the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.

Work as Counsel General[edit]

Axa v Lord Advocate [2011] UKSC 46; [2011] 3 W.L.R. 871

In one of his first actions as Counsel General for Wales, Mr Huckle appeared in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom in this case, which was an insurers' challenge to the validity of the Scottish Parliament’s Act which overturned the ruling in the Pleural Plaques cases (Rothwell etc.) and made pleural plaques a sufficient injury to attract compensation. There were a number of issues considered by the Supreme Court but of particular interest for the Welsh devolution settlement was the fact that the validity of the Scottish Act was questioned on common law grounds: it was argued by the appellants (insurance companies) that Acts of the Scottish Parliament are open to judicial review as an unreasonable, irrational and or arbitrary exercise of the legislative authority conferred by the Scotland Act 1998 on the Scottish Parliament.

If that contention was held to be right, then Acts of the National Assembly for Wales would similarly be open to judicial review on these grounds. Accordingly, the First Minister of Wales intervened in the appeal in the Supreme Court in order to make representations on the scope of common law challenge so far as Acts of the Assembly were concerned. Mr Huckle appeared before the Supreme Court to make oral representations on behalf of the Welsh Government. This was the first time that the Counsel General for Wales (in the Law Officer role created by the Government of Wales Act 2006) has appeared on behalf of the Welsh Government in the highest court in the land. Lord Hope warmly welcomed the Counsel General to the Supreme Court for the first time in his new office. Mr Huckle argued that the National Assembly for Wales was a democratically elected legislature and that the limits of its powers were set out in the Government of Wales Act 2006 which expressly enables the Assembly to make laws in the same way that the Westminster Parliament makes laws, so that the laws of the Assembly are to be viewed as equivalent in status to those o f Westminster provided the Assembly is otherwise acting within the scope of its devolved authority. The Courts could not therefore impose additional limitations that fell outside the scope of the Scotland Act 1998 and, by implication, also the Government of Wales Act 2006.

In their judgment, the seven Supreme Court Justices unanimously agreed with the position of the Welsh Government .Their Lordships held that Acts of the Scottish Parliament could not be subject to judicial review at common law on the grounds of irrationality, unreasonableness or arbitrariness. Acts of the Scottish Parliament would only be open to challenge at common law on the grounds that they were not compatible with the rule of law or that they infringed fundamental rights. The Supreme Court confirmed that the same must apply equally to Acts of the National Assembly for Wales. Whilst the case focused on devolved legislation, some of their Lordships restated the possibility that even Acts of Parliament could be challenged where the legislation was such as to undermine the rule of law or fundamental rights (see Lord Steyn’s observations in Jackson v AG [2005] UKHL 56), although this remains formally undecided.

Access to and rationalisation of Welsh Law

In his first formal statement to the National Assembly for Wales on 4 October 2011, Mr Huckle announced Welsh Government's project to ensure easy public access to the increasing statutory law emanating from the National Assembly, and a review of methods of rationalisation and consolidation of those laws with existing provisions of the law of England & Wales.

Separate Legal Jurisdiction

On 27 March 2012, Mr Huckle launched a public debate on whether Wales should be a separate legal jurisdiction by making a formal statement to the National Assembly for Wales and issuing a Welsh Government Consultation. He leads for Welsh Government on this issue in order to promote and facilitate the public debate.

The Reference to the Supreme Court of the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill

Mr Huckle appeared for the Welsh Government before the UK Supreme Court in response to the Reference by the Attorney General for England and Wales of the Local Government Byelaws (Wales) Bill 20, the first of the new Welsh Acts to be passed by the National Assembly (unanimously), providing for a new mechanism for creation of byelaws but without ministerial approval. The Justices unanimously agreed that the Bill was within the competence of the National Assembly.

Professional Associations[edit]

Mr Huckle is the Executive Committee Member for Wales of the Personal Injury Bar Association. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (holding the post of Secretary to the Wales section during 2008-11), the Wales Personal Injury Lawyers' Association, the Human Rights Bar Association, the Wales Public Law & Human Rights Association, the Criminal Bar Association, and the Society of Labour Lawyers.

Appointments[edit]

  • Counsel General for Wales - (2011)
  • Queen's Counsel - (2011)
  • Member of the Bar Council - (1990-2007)
  • Welsh Assembly Government Clinical Negligence Speedy Resolution Scheme Panel (2006-2008)
  • National Assembly for Wales Civil Panel (2000-2006)
  • Wales & Chester Circuit Junior 2005 (Cardiff Junior 2003-5)
  • Serious Fraud Office Panel (1999-2004)
  • Treasury Panel (1994-2004)
  • Lecturer Member of the Bar Council Human Rights Education Team (1999-2000)

Publications[edit]

Books and Practitioner reference works

  • Butterworths Personal Injury Litigation Service (Section Editor: Principles of Damages Compensation; and Future Loss)

LexisNexisButterworths (2011 edition)

  • Munkman on Employer’s Liability (Section Editor: Noise Induced Hearing Loss) LexisNexisButterworths (15th edition, 2010)
  • Occupational Illness Litigation Sweet & Maxwell (Section Editor: HAVS/VWF editor) (2005- )
  • Future Loss in Practice: Periodical Payments & Lump Sums, LexisNexisButterworths (2007)
  • Mutual Judicial Assistance and Economic Crime (Commonwealth Secretariat 1985)

Articles

  • Great Expectations [2012] New Law Journal 319 (March)
  • Baker v Quantum in the Supreme Court: Implications, PI Focus, July 2011
  • A Fair Hearing? [2010] New Law Journal 1709 (December)
  • Reasonably Practicable, Not Reasonable, PI Focus June 2009
  • Fatal Accidents: Family ties, PILJ, September 2008
  • Fatal Accidents – No Loss No Claim? PI Focus, May 2008
  • Not listening or just not hearing? JPIL, March 2007
  • The trouble with certainty, PILJ, October 2006
  • Excitations in the Court of Appeal, PILJ, November 2005
  • Good vibe, vibe, good vibrations! PI Focus, October 2005
  • Highway Maintenance: Mechanical Jurisprudence, PILJ, September 2005
  • The Not Very Noisy Sewing Machine? (with Professor Mark Lutman) Lawtel, 2004 and APIL's PIFocus, August 2004 and October 2004
  • An alternative way of calculating Smith v Manchester awards – a suggested refinement JPIL 2001 335
  • Reasonable Model or Loss of Chance, APIL, December 2003

Offices held[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
John Griffiths
Counsel General for Wales
2011 - present
Succeeded by
Incumbent

References[edit]

  1. ^ Biography on wales.gov.uk, official site of the Welsh Government
  2. ^ "Huckle appointed counsel general". BBC News. 27 May 2011. Retrieved 5 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Powys, Betsan (6 June 2011). "The new CG and some raised eyebrows". BBC News. Retrieved 5 April 2012.