POA Circulars

66 | 07.06.2010


Many of you will be aware that after our strike on 29th August 2007, a prisoner took a case of false imprisonment in the County Court in Leeds against this Union.

Judge Shaun Spencer QC allowed the claim for false imprisonment and awarded damages on 13th November 2008.

The National Executive Committee determined that we would appeal that decision.  A hearing was set in the Court of Appeal in October 2009 and we were represented by Richard Arthur of Thompsons who instructed Michael Beloff QC.  The appeal hearing outcome concluded in our favour on the 4th December 2009, that there was no false imprisonment.

The Executive determined not to parade this major victory as the Lawyers for Iqbal were seeking permission to appeal that judgement.

On the 1st June 2010, Richard Arthur informed me that Iqbal’s permission to appeal was refused by the Supreme Court.

This is truly a major success for this Trade Union and should not be under estimated in any way.  Had this decision gone against the POA, major litigation could have followed from thousands of prisoners perhaps threatening financially our very existence.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the excellent advice of Richard Arthur (Thompsons), Barry Cotter QC and last but not least Michael Beloff QC whom has been described as “one of the top three stars of the bar”.

The POA approached Mr Beloff QC to lead on this appeal and no expense was spared because of the enormity of the situation.  In our view we paid for and got the very best legal brain in the Country to protect and promote our members.

The National Executive Committee are extremely concerned that tens of thousands of pounds was approved by the Legal Services Commission to grant legal aid to this former prisoner at the tax payers expense to pursue this trade union and defend an appeal that in our view was not in the public interest.

We will of course seek an explanation from the Coalition Government as to whether this scandalous waste of tax payer’s money is going to continue in such cases, bearing in mind the enormous budget deficit.

Colleagues, this has been a major victory for the POA. The National Executive Committee made very brave and vital decisions at crucial times.

Yours sincerely


General Secretary