Following a 6 week hearing at the High Court, in a case where nearly 100 witnesses were called, the election commissioner has ruled that Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets should be removed from office and the poll declared void.
In banning Mr Rahman from standing again in the election, Richard Mawrey QC, who sat as a judge, also ordered Mr Rahman to pay costs totalling around £250,000.
Francis Hoar of Field Court Chambers, instructed under the direct access scheme, represented the four Petitioners, Andrew Erlam, who stood as a councillor and local residents Debbie Simone, Azmal Hussein and Angela Moffat throughout, as they brought a legal challenge under the 1983 Representation of the People Act.
The First Respondent Mr Rahman and The Second Respondent, John S Williams (returning officer) were represented by Mr Duncan Penny QC and Mr Timothy Straker QC respectively.
In his judgement, Richard Mawrey QC commented:
“For Mr Hoar, this has been a complete tour de force. He accepted the case on the basis of direct access. That is to say that his four clients, members of the public, could not afford to instruct and therefore did not instruct solicitors. Mr Hoar, with such assistance as his lay clients could give him, has thus single-handedly conducted the entirety of the case: pleadings, witness statements, disclosure, directions, the Scrutiny, preparation of the trial and conduct of the trial… he has carried the entire case on his back and has brought it to a successful conclusion. By any standards this was a considerable feat and worthy of the admiration of the court.”