Failing to advise is fraud. Telling only part of the story is much the same, if misleading, especially when speaking to Judge Nichols




Formal complaint about Judge Stephen Nicholls was returned by the Office for Judicial Complaints as: "gone away"


Formal complaint about Judge Stephen Nicholls was returned by the Office for Judicial Complaints as: "gone away". This complaint was copies to the Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling, who has not yet replied. We must ask how it is that an official office such as this is returning complaints unopened and/or miss advertising the address or person concerned? It's worrying when there is no safety net to monitor our courts and the judges that sit in them!





Andy Hopkin, Browne Jacobson LLP, solicitors


District Judge (Magistrates' Court) Appointment

Friday, 14 January 2011  


HM The Queen has appointed Stephen John Nicholls to be a District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) on the advice of the Lord Chancellor, the Right Honourable Kenneth Clarke QC MP with effect from 14 January 2011.


The Right Honourable The Lord Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, has assigned him to the South Eastern Circuit, based in Sussex.


Stephen John Nicholls, aged 54, will be known as District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) Nicholls. He was admitted as a Solicitor in 1981 and was appointed as a Deputy District Judge (Magistrates’ Courts) in 2000.





The NE Board has corporate responsibility for ensuring that Natural England fulfils the aims and objectives set by the Secretary of State. The main roles of the Board are to establish Natural England’s strategy, approve direction and review performance of the organisation. As a local and national authority, they are bound by Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, being that they must not violate any of the Articles of the European Convention. In particular they must act without discrimination and fairly, such as to comply with Articles 14 and 6.


There have though been cases where bias has been a feature of case handling. We are following a live case at the moment, being handled by Cath Jackson and Sue Beale, where permissions had been agreed and a landowner at great financial cost made adjustments, but then having agreed those adjustments would be acceptable, Natural England then sought to prosecute the landowner, even where he had permission from the local council for certain works, and there was no danger to any wildlife being caused by other works, which were to protect grazing animals, that otherwise might escape and either drown, or become a danger to nearby road users.


Judge Stephen Nicholls appears to have gone out of his way to hear this case in preference to two other cases that went before him on the 23rd of September 2013. In not allowing the defendant an opportunity to be heard, Judge Nicholls accepted everything that barrister Jonathan Mitchell put before him, aided and abetted by Allan Drewitt, a so-called independent expert, actually employed by Natural England and so not independent at all to our mind.




It is well known that councils in England seek to gain high costs awards with the intention to use them to take control of land, that a private owner might otherwise develop quite lawfully. They stoop to such tactics when statute provides legislation to protect landowners and where the council concerned do not like it. These arrogant councils refuse to abide by the law of the land, using the courts to obtain costs, and then using those costs as a means to achieve what they could not achieve lawfully using statute: control of the land.


It appears to us that with such large fines and costs awards being bandied about £45,000 [fine] and £90,000 [costs] that Natural England may be working with other agencies (such as Wealden District Council) and adopting this council's strategies as to generating high costs, in the hope of obtaining land for inclusion in an SSSI, that would otherwise be a fraudulent description in terms of species that actually use the land.


Natural England appear to be ignoring the fact that farming takes precedence over areas of so-called special scientific interest. They ignore this fact then try to get farmers not to farm by telling them what kind of farming they'd like to see on land they do not own. We think you may see why then, they use the legal system to seek to generate costs equal to the value of any land they covet, such as to be able to acquire that land - with the Courts only to eager to lend a hand.


If it is that the Court is aiding and abetting such unlawful activity by Council's working with Natural England, or any other organisation, which in this area includes the Sussex Wildlife Trust, then we want to expose that unlawfulness. Where correspondence is being returned to our agents unopened - our suspicions are raised further.


The burning question is, do any members of staff or the Board have any financial interests in the Wartling area? We have written to Natural England's chief executive, David Webster, seeking assurances and clarification if necessary. We have also written to Poul Christensen, NE's chairman of the board similarly.



Birds eating a human - Legal vultures gorge on a human corpse.


Lapwings eating a human, this gourmet meal prepared with the assistance of the chef provocateur, the Brighton Magistrates Court - Ref: Pevensey Levels SSSI





FORMER solicitor has been struck off and ordered to pay £35,000 in costs for dishonestly overcharging clients.

The sanctions were made in June against Eric Donald Hunter, formerly of Blythe Liggins in Leamington, following hearings held by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. Mr Hunter, who lives in Warwick, has now lodged an appeal against the sanctions.

The tribunal found allegations made against Mr Hunter proven that during his time as a partner at Blythe Liggins he had transferred funds from the client account to the office account on probate matters, prepared bills of costs on probate matters that were excessive, failed to properly send bills of costs to entitled parties and prepared round sum bills in probate matters, all of which were contrary to the Solicitors Accounts Rules.

In one probate case given for overcharging, the bills of costs over a five-and-a-half-year period amounted to £14,695, which were judged “manifestly disproportionate to the work on the file” and the overcharge “significant” when a reasonable cost for handling the matter assessed by a law costs draftsman would have been about £4,059.

In another case, bills prepared by Mr Hunter totalling £17,725 were assessed by the law costs draftsman to be £6,896 - an over-charge of more than £10,000.

In all five probate cases cited at the hearing, the tribunal was satisfied there had been culpable over-charging and that Mr Hunter had been dishonest in rendering bills of costs on probate matters which were excessive. Mr Hunter had denied those allegations.

The tribunal cited the case of Salsbury v the Law Society in which Lord Justice Coulson said that any solicitor who overcharged in bills of costs was a danger to the public.

Richard Thornton, joint senior partner at Blythe Liggins, said a routine inspection by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) had taken place in 2006.

Mr Thornton added: “In the course of that inspection, the SRA reviewed a number of Mr Hunter’s trust/administration files dating back several years.

“They felt that eight matters relating to fees over that period required further investigation, even though no complaints of any kind were - or have been since - made by the clients or the beneficiaries involved.

“Mr Hunter left the firm at the beginning of 2009.

“Compliance with the rules of our professional body is something we take very seriously.

“That’s why, since taking over as joint senior partners four years ago, David Lester and I have introduced new governance, better supervision, new codes of practice, greater transparency and more training courses to ensure that this could not happen again.”

At the time of going to print Mr Hunter was unavailable for comment.



The Pevensey Levels have not been surveyed since at least 2009 and it is unclear as to what that survey revealed. We tried to obtain copy of the data for this area and were told:-




This is an automatically generated message from the NBN Gateway - DO NOT REPLY
The administrator of the dataset "SxBRC Full dataset for Environment Agency and Natural England use only.", held on the NBN Gateway, has not granted you access. You made a request access to this dataset on 19 Sep 2013.


Thank you for your data request via the NBN Gateway. We're unable to allow access to all species data for the whole of Sussex to you but will be more than happy to provide you with desktop biodiversity reports for the sites that you need data for.

We ask that all data requests are submitted via our information request form for the site(s) in question, the form can be found on our website: and you will need to pick 'Commercial user'.

You can see what is included in a desktop biodiversity report if you download the demo report from this webpage:

Although the data itself is free we do charge a fee to cover our administration of the data.

All best wishes, Penny








Natural England people

Jjudicial appointments






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