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Exclusive: Lord Hain is paid adviser to law firm that represented The Telegraph in Sir Philip Green injunction case

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Peer with power to override courts works for Gordon Dadds LLP

Lord Hain

Lord Hain, the peer who named Sir Philip Green as the #MeToo scandal businessman, is listed as a “remunerated” adviser to Gordon Dadds, the law firm that represented The Telegraph in the Sir Philip Green injunction case.

The revelation adds a new angle to the constitutional row that Hain sparked yesterday when he used parliamentary privilege to break the injunction imposed by the Court of Appeal preventing the naming of Green.

Those observing the recent events may find it rather troubling that a peer with the power to trump the courts can at the same time hold a paid-for gig with a law firm acting in a case.

On Newsnight yesterday Hain said that he named Green because he was concerned about “wealth, power and abuse” having been contacted by somebody “intimately involved in the whole thing” who is “extremely vulnerable”.

Hain’s profile page on Gordon Dadds’ website states:

“I was appointed by Gordon Dadds in June 2016 to act as the firm’s Global and Government Adviser. As well as advising on governmental matters, I also play an active role in expanding Gordon Dadds’ international connections, with a particular focus on Africa and the Middle East.”

Hain’s entry on the parliament register of interests lists him as “Global and Governmental Adviser” at Gordon Dadds LLP London.

Legal Cheek has approached both Hain and Gordon Dadds for comment.

UPDATE: 16:07

Gordon Dadds has now issued the following comment to Legal Cheek:

“Peter Hain is a self-employed consultant who provides occasional advice to the firm relating principally to African affairs. Any suggestion that Gordon Dadds LLP has in any way acted improperly is entirely false. Peter Hain did not obtain any information from Gordon Dadds regarding this case. He has no involvement in the advice that we provide to The Telegraph newspaper, and he had no knowledge of any sensitive information regarding this case.”

UPDATE: 16:28

Hain has now released the following statement:

“I took the decision to name Sir Philip Green in my personal capacity as an independent member of the House Of Lords. I categorically state that I was completely unaware Gordon Dadds were advising the Telegraph regarding this case. Gordon Dadds, a highly respected and reputable international law firm, played absolutely no part whatsoever in either the sourcing of my information or my independent decision to name Sir Philip. They were completely unaware of my intentions until after I spoke in the House of Lords.”

53 Comments

Anonymous

Well done Legal Cheek, this is a scoop.

Anonymous

Probably the most upvotes ever on LC without a single downvote? For once I salute LC.

Anonymous

Wow. That’s crazy. What an absolute joke this can happen

Anonymous

Every self respecting defamation firm needs a man in the Lords. We’ll done old boy!

Anonymous

No doubt that Gordon Dadds leaked they have a history at least the solicitors that came from Davenport Lyons do. What a joke when they act for a Tory party supporter who got an injunction preventing disclosure of his personal sex life.

J S

This is an interesting development, but it doesn’t really detract from the fact that the CoA probably got it wrong in the first place – at least in the open judgment.

Confidence cannot be relied upon to conceal a wrongdoing whatever. Therefore, I was left scratching my head when the judges subjected a disclosure of this nature to a public interest test at all. As said elsewhere, “there are things money should not be able to buy and the law should not support”.

Critical Thinker

The fact that the MotR and two other experienced appeal judges decided the way that they did strongly suggests that the behavior complained of is not explicitly criminal, at least not clearly of a serious criminal nature.

If an NDA purported to control information concerning a murder, for example, not only would no injunctive relief be forthcoming, but the police would be involved forthwith.

J S

On the one hand, we know that Lord Hain is a paid adviser to a firm that is connected to the Telegraph. This really should not matter. Indeed why would the Telegraph want Lord Hain to air this information via parliamentary privilege? Telegraph have now lost the story, their ability to win at trial has now evaporated and their lawyers get nothing. What remains is risking allegations of conspiring to commit contempt.

On the other hand, we know what the behaviour was – sexual harassment and racial abuse. Throwing in the word “criminality” can be reduced to a side show. As said very powerfully by Professor Moorhead of UCL:

“What we have instead is a rather simple reliance on the public interest being swung by the importance of settlement agreements generally, and NDAs specifically, to the compromising of litigation…It takes us back to the basic idea that there can be no confidence in an iniquity. I would argue that, even if the court is not wrong to say that disclosing confidential information about an iniquity is also subject to a public interest test, they should take a much more balanced look at the public interest around NDAs and in particular the idea there are some things that money should not be able to buy and the law should not support.

That last sentence is a reference to Michael Sandel’s…How Markets Crowd Out Morals…There he suggests there are things that money cannot buy without dissolving the value to be ascertained. If I buy your friendship you ain’t my friend. But there are things which can be bought, where the value in the product is not degraded to those who make the purchase, but the broader system and those who use it is degraded or corrupted. A society that permits organ selling or the purchasing of babies for adoption are two of his examples. This prompts the obvious question: Is a legal system that supports the buying and selling of silence over allegations of iniquity a system that degrades itself or those who use it?

There can be no doubt that employers who use NDAs to silence victims and protect harassers degrade the systems of law and employment. And there can be no doubt too that the system creates value in allegations that are false or doubtful. Furthermore, the selling of silence inflates awards and creates mistrust in the system independently of whether the allegations made in such cases are true or false. Silence has an extra value because of the existence of NDAs and that extra value may encourage untrue allegations. It also probably makes the making of untrue allegations safer. But those making the allegations have to be able to stomach the normal consequence of making an allegation, true or false, which appears to include losing your job.

It’s true too that without NDAs an accuser has the power to damage the accused’s reputation, but they have that power anyway before they sign an NDA (subject to the possibility of various forms of retribution legal and otherwise). It is true also that NDAs create value in situations where both parties want guarantees of silence, the point which the Court of Appeal hangs its interim hat on. But that silence has an impact on others, most notably other employees who may fall victim to the same behaviours and who might benefit from knowing about the conduct of the miscreant. And any such employee making a claim would not have the benefit practically, and perhaps legally, of getting evidence from their fellow victims where they were subject to an NDA. Even if NDAs don’t chill reporting to the police (a debatable claim even with NDAs that technically permit such reporting); they do chill the collation of evidence in civil claims or other action short of litigation (something that the courts are normally fond of discouraging, quite rightly).

In sum, the public interest risks and harms must be weighed against the benefits to one group of cases: those where both sides genuinely want an NDA. I am going to wager that the size of this group is much smaller than the routine agreement of NDAs in sex harassment suggests. A court hearing the full case would need to think about whether a system that routinely silences the victims of a crime that was in the public interest as well. Nor is it much of a retort to say we don’t know if they are victims. There may be good reasons for silencing the mistaken (I’m not convinced, but let’s leave that door open); but we would also need to factor in routinely silencing and rewarding the malevolent too into this particular uncertainty.

Another part of the same chapter talks about the expressive effects of allowing markets to govern resources. The question then is what do we say about justice when we organise it this way? We can think of NDAs as a pragmatic response to the perils and failures of the civil justice system, which is effectively the court’s position, or we can see it as creating a market in silence and lies, or even as a licensing of licentiousness. But other values are, in Sandel’s words, being ‘smuggled in’. In seeing these cases as being about contracts, freely negotiated, with independent advice, the value of power is being smuggled in. Independent lawyers are not free of the systems they operate within and a system which routinises silence in this way makes a hefty tilt in favour of businesses and men when talking in these terms. It may be true that employment disputes would sometimes be harder to settle without NDAs; but it may also well be the case that more organisations would have to face up to those allegations; properly determine what has happened; and properly resolve the cases themselves and their causes. Having resisted the idea that NDAs should be banned in sexual harassment cases, I am starting to come round to the idea. But more importantly, any court taking the view that there can be confidentiality in an iniquity after all just because there’s a contract saying so has to take a harder look at what the public interest is. To be fair to the Court of Appeal here, this case was only an interim one, and their reasons are truncated because of confidentiality concerns. The next time they should do better.”

https://lawyerwatch.blog/2018/10/25/in-the-public-interest-ndas-after-abc/

Abraxas

TL;DR

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Hand it in at your student union they’ll love it

Lee

Interesting read though you would be better off adding this to a Quora question on the topic.

As seen from Italy

Reply to Critical Thinker’s posting regarding MotR and the other CoA judges. Sir Philip Green stated –

To the extent that it is suggested that I have been guilty of unlawful sexual or racist behaviour, I categorically and wholly deny these allegations.

His denial was carefully qualified and this seems to have been overlooked by many commentators in the press and elsewhere.

Sparky

It’s an interim injunction pending a speedy determination of whether the particular conduct can be disclosed despite the NDA and the obvious answer on an interim injunction is to uphold the contract pending trial – no error at all

Lord Green

Didn’t see this coming. Hope this gets picked up by the rest of the press.

Anonymous

MAD TINGS

Anonymous

A legal system in the world which is the envy of the world.

Critical Thinker

This peer ought to be ashamed of himself. Rather than referring the matter to the appropriate investigatory channels, he has launched a trial by public opinion.

Ultimately, sowing the wind in this way will lead to a reaping of the whirlwind.

John Hyde

as said the head of Bomber Command – ‘Stuffy’
Dowding

Nicholas

Fighter Command, please.

RobinT

“Bomber” Harris…

Anonymous

Didn’t he shoot himself?

Anonymous

No, you’ve got all confused between Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris and Kurt Cobain.

It’s an easy mistake to make.

Anonymous

Wow. William Hague is an adviser to Linklaters apparently.

Always helps to have the big guns in your pocket to pull a few strings for clients.

LL assoc

Far as I can tell he just turns up for the odd speech TBH.

Anonymous

Lord Hain of Gordon LADDS

Anonymous

10/10

You’re Laddington Bear

Hightrees

What is known in the business as a conflict of interest. I will be interested to see what the SRA have to say about this.

Anon

Not a lot, one suspects, as Hain is not a solicitor; but plainly if Hain does not recognise a legal conflict he should not be working in a law firm in any capacity and his employer should sack him immediately.

Anonymous

Smart.

Anonymous

This is actually quite ground breaking stuff. Well done LC.

Anonymous

monkeys and typewriters eh

Matt

Excellent spot. Congratulations to whoever found it.

John Dakin

Well done; but I am even more appalled now than I was before at Lord Hain’s action.

Anonymous

Lord Hain of Ince Gordon Ladds, top top firm.

Matt

I love that Lord Hain’s statement says that CATEGORICALLY he DID NOT KNOW that him firm was involved.

Er … it is on the title page of the ruling he was talking about in the Lords.
https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2018/2329.html

And on the Internet well before he made his statement:
https://www.law.com/legal-week/2018/10/24/gordon-dadds-and-schillings-take-headline-roles-on-telegraph-metoo-court-challenge/?slreturn=20180926110927

Hain – weapons grade plonker.

Anonymous

If Hain claims he didn’t read the judgement he is even more incompetent than anyone believed ?

W E Gladstone

First came across P Hain nearly 50 years ago at a Young Liberals conference in Hastings. He came across as South African and most keen on publicity. Some things never change.
Someone at Matrix was tweeting about this before your “Exclusive” but glad its getting a lot of publicity.

Cynic

So, he says that he was unaware of the fact that the DT was acting. Odd that because it is in bold type at the top of page one of the judgement. Or, is it remotely conceivable that he had not read the judgement, before criticising it? Can we see his timesheets please?

Gumball

This looks extremely dodgy. The timing of the disclosure and the connection between Hain and the firm cannot be a mere coincidence! Clear attempt to defeat the Court of Appeal’s order, looks like contempt proceedings might be appropriate?

trinco

What does anyone expect from a person who broke the law earlier on digging up cricket pitches.
A complete phoney.

Anonymous

Good scoop.

There is the appearance of conflict of interest here, although Hain is denying he knew that Gordon Dadds were acting for the Telegraph and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. I’m sure the SRA will investigate if they deem it necessary. Pity someone else didn’t make the disclosure – some MPs were making noises about using parliamentary privilege but this turned out to be a lot of wind.

I have to say its good to see the CoA getting a kick on the bum though – they do make some awful decisions.

Norfolk enchants

Is Schillings the next Bell Pottinger or Cambridge Analytica?

Anonymous

That’s the best article I’ve ever seen on LC. Genuine journalism. Well played.

Anonymous

On a related point, I can’t help thinking identity politics is now overriding the fundamental principle of justice for so many people, but in particular those on the left.
Innocent until proven guilty should be the hallmark of justice in any developed democracy, yet now, the mere allegation or suggestion of wrongdoing is enough for people to make a snap decision on guilt if it aligns conveniently with the politic narrative they are pressing. It’s pretty depressing.

Anonymous

Well done Lord Hain,
how is it that you can use a non disclosure agreement, if your wealthy enough, to protect yourself from being found out about racial discrimination and serial harassment, how is that good use of these disclosure agreements!!

Anonymous

Well done Lord Hain! Good job!
how is it that you can use a non disclosure agreement, if your wealthy enough, to protect yourself from being found out about racial discrimination and sexua harassment, how is that good use of these disclosure agreements!!

LeadHead

Can someone enlighten me on the facts of this case, in particular how the Telegraph has sourced the story? An interim injunction may make sense on the grounds of “better safe than sorry” pending a full case. However the Telegraph is not party to any NDA with Green so, public interest or no public interest, I can see literally zero grounds for a full injunction – at least to the extent that the Telegraph has not been reliant on sources which are party to relevant NDAs.

So is it the case that the Telegraph’s piece does not stand up without such sources, which is why the argument is about public interest?

Loosehead

Hmmm…How long has he been a paid adviser? Did it start the day before?

John Collins

I just don’t see what the big deal is here. Just a coincidence.

Anonymous

whole thing stinks.

Another Anonymous

Why have we not heard where Hain got the information from … or do Hain and his source have one of those nasty non-disclosure agreements he dislikes so much?

Anonymous

It says a lot about Lord Hain that he was categorically unaware that GD acted for the telegraph, despite it being mentioned in almost every press report I saw. And on the first page of the Judgment, which he clearly did not read before his nonsense in the House.

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