The Supreme Court will not be sitting next week, after the parties to Gisda Cyf v Barratt have agreed to adjourn their hearing which had been listed for Tuesday and Wednesday.  Gisda Cyf is the employment case concerning when the three month period for bringing an unfair dismissal claim starts to run: when the letter of termination was sent (as Lloyd LJ argued in a dissent in the Court of Appeal), when the letter was received, or when it was read (as the Courts below all held, finding in Miss Barratt’s favour).  We do not currently have any information as to whether the case will be re-listed.

Attentions will be turned instead to three eagerly anticipated judgments which, according to the future judgments page of the Supreme Court site, will be handed down on Wednesday; Ofcom v Information Commissioner, and the two judgments in HM Treasury v A.

The case of HM Treasury v A concerns the government’s powers to freeze the assets of individuals who have been designated as suspected terrorists under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 (“the 2006 Order”), which was brought in without any Parliamentary debate to give effect to UN Security Council Resolution 1373 (the controversial EU terrorist asset freezing regime was found by the ECJ to be unlawful in the Kadi case).  It was the Court’s first substantive appeal hearing back in October last year, especially selected by the Court for that purpose, and was previewed here by Alison Macdonald of Matrix.

The first judgment will determine whether the application by the Guardian and eight other media organisations for the lifting of the anonymity restrictions applying to the appellants has succeeded.  It will be given by a 7 judge Court (Lords Phillips, Hope, Rodger, Walker, Brown and Kerr; Lady Hale).  UKSC Blog’s Hugh Tomlinson QC appeared for the respondents.  The decision will be the latest contribution to debate concerning the “balancing” between the Article 10 right to freedom of expression and the Article 8 right to respect for private life.

The second, substantive judgment will determine whether the 2006 Order was lawfully made. The substantive judgment will also be given by a 7 judge Court alibeit with a slightly different constitution (Lord Mance instead of Lord Kerr).  The ramifications of a finding of illegality would be significant as the Government will be forced to re-think an important part of its anti-terrorism strategy.

The Ofcom case, heard on 17 November 2009 and previewed here, concerned whether information about mobile telephone masts (such as the location, ownership and technical attributes) should be disclosed to the public under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  Environmental health campaigners have sought disclosure in the public interest, particularly to further epidemiological research into the effect on humans of radiation from masts.  Ofcom have resisted disclosure, citing Regulation 12(5) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 which permits non-disclosure in the case of national security and public safety.  The UKSC will be asked to decide the appropriate test to balance the competing public interests.

The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council handed down two judgments last week – without any prior notice to the public.  These were in the cases of  Mossell (Jamaica) Ltd v Office of Utilities Regulation [2010] UKPC 1 and Capron v Government of Turks and Caicos Islands [2010] UKPC 2.  One half day hearing was listed for the Privy Council next week but on 25 January it was announced that the case had settled.  As a result, there will be no appeal hearings in the Middlesex Guildhall this week.

That leaves the following judgments still to be handed down by the Supreme Court:

Agbaje v Akinnoye-Agbaje, heard 3-4 Nov 2009
Tomlinson v Birmingham City Council, heard 23 Nov 2009
Norris v Government of United States, heard 30 Nov – 1 Dec 2009
RTS Flexible Systems v Muller, heard 2-3 Dec 2009
Allison v HM Advocate, heard 8-10 Dec 2009
Grays Timber Products v HMRC, heard 14-15 Dec 2009
R (JS Sri Lanka) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, heard 13-14 Jan 2010
R (Lewis) v Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, heard 18-19 January 2010