Atkin Chambers Barristers
25 May 2009
Jonathan Acton Davis QC, instructed by Nabarro, represented DEFRA in Farm Assist Limited (in liquidation) v The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs  EWHC 1102 (TCC) when a mediator unsuccessfully applied to set aside a witness summons that she attend trial to give evidence about a mediation. The dispute between the parties, arising out of the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, concerned an allegation that a settlement had been entered into under economic duress.
The mediator asserted confidentiality and privilege (which had been expressly provided in the Mediation Agreement) and sought to have the witness summons, served by DEFRA, set aside. Ramsey J held that confidentiality could be over-ridden in the interests of justice and that, in this case, the privilege belonged to the parties not the mediator.
Jonathan Acton Davis QC has, throughout his career, handled many high profile cases. Over several years, he has advised and acted for the British government in a number of mediations and trials for DEFRA against contractors arising out of the foot and mouth outbreak.