[back] MMR legal funding


It is essential that anyone who was involved in the MMR litigation gives their attention to this notice


Just three days ago I discovered while going over the records for 2004 that the judge, Mr Justice Davis (aka Sir Nigel Anthony Lamert Davis), who had dismissed the appeal over the removal of funding of the MMR litigation by the Legal Services Commission was the brother of Lancet proprietor (CEO Reed Elsevier) Crispin (Henry Lamert) Davis who at the time had also recently become a non-executive director of Glaxo SmithKline. Though this has not been reported in the media the following press announcement was issued by the judiciary yesterday afternoon:

"In 2003 Mr Justice Davis's brother was appointed as a Non-Executive Director of Glaxo SmithKline, a company which was formed as a result of a merger with Smith Kline Beecham. At the date of the hearing before Davis J, the possibility of any conflict of interest arising from his brother's position did not occur to him.

"If he was wrong, any possible remedy must be sought from the Court of Appeal."

Former litigants should complain without delay to the Office for Judicial Complaints, focussing on the GSK conflict. Clearly if the judge had said at the time that his brother was a director of GSK but he intended to hear the case anyway his decision would have been regarded with a great deal more scepticism:


They should also write without delay to their MPs, and they should contact anyone they know who was also party to the litigation, and draw their attention to this notice. It is very important that as many people do this as soon as possible.

People may like to note the sequence of events:

1) July 2003 Lancet proprietor Crispin Davis become a non-executive director of MMR manufacturer Glaxo SmithKline

2) February 20, 2004. The Lancet throws Andrew Wakefield to the wolves for tenuous reasons. He is dragged through the mud by the BBC and Sunday Times for four days.

3) February 27, 2004. Mr Justice Davis dismisses the litigants appeal for restitution of funding.

4) June 2004. Crispin Davis knighted by the Blair government.

John Stone