Vicky Pryce guilty: Judge Briscoe faces new libel battle against the mother she wrote about

Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell sued in 2008 over daughter’s misery memoir 'Ugly'

The mother of Constance Briscoe – Britain's most prominent black judge, who was arrested for allegedy lying in a police statement during the Vicky Pryce investigation – is considering reopening her legal battle against her daughter, after failing to persuade a jury five years ago that the judge had lied about her childhood in her best-selling “misery memoir”.

Carmen Briscoe-Mitchell has been told she faces being forced to sell her home to repay more than £500,000 in legal costs to the judge and the publisher of Ugly, Hodder & Stoughton, after the 79-year-old lost her libel action against her daughter in 2008.

The family said that they would consider pushing for the original libel case to be reopened, depending on the evidence in the cases against Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce.

Mrs Briscoe-Mitchell, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, was last year able to postpone demands for her to sell her house at a High Court hearing, pending the outcome of the court case against Chris Huhne and his former wife Vicky Pryce.

Mrs Briscoe-Mitchell, a fiercely independent woman who has suffered a stroke and has hearing and sight difficulties, had been told to contact social services to try to find somewhere to live. Mrs Briscoe-Mitchell said: "I'm not coming out of my house. I brought up my family there. They will have to nail it up with me in there."

Constance Briscoe's profile grew with the publication of her 2006 book – a bestseller praised as an unflinching account of domestic child abuse – in which she detailed a traumatic childhood at the hands of her mother.

The book was part of a long-running feud with her mother who in 1999 had written to the Bar Council to seek to have her daughter disbarred claiming that she was unfit to practice. The council declined to take action, saying her complaint was as a result of "inter family discord".

In the book, Briscoe claimed that her mother cut her with a knife for failing to properly clean a chicken, beat her for wetting the bed and taunted her over her looks.

Backed by other members of her family, Mrs Briscoe-Mitchell, a mother of 11, sued her daughter for libel. She took out a £30,000 loan for the legal action against her daughter for what she said were lies. She claimed that she provided for her children as best she could and treated them equally.

But Ms Briscoe told a 10-day hearing at the High Court in London that her mother beat her, called her a "dirty little whore" and drove her to attempt suicide by drinking bleach. After a jury found unanimously in the judge's favour, Ms Briscoe said: "I can quite understand why my family went into collective denial, but while child abuse may be committed behind closed doors, it should never be swept under the carpet."

Mrs Mitchell was ordered to pay the legal bills of Mrs Briscoe and the publisher, that amounted to £634,000 including interest, according to legal sources. She would have to sell the family home in south-east London, valued at £450,000, to pay £15,500 to her daughter with the bulk of the rest of the money going to the publisher.

Ms Briscoe's second book detailed a series of clashes with her own profession in the early part of her career as she rose to become one of Britain's few black judges. It also recounts the plastic surgery she said she had to counter taunts from her mother about her ugliness during childhood.

Ms Briscoe, a mother-of-two, was a regular fixture on the society pages of newspapers, in part owing to her relationship and break-up with Anthony Arlidge QC, a leading barrister, 20 years her senior.

Appointed in 1996, the 55-year-old is thought of in the legal world as a hardline part-time judge with a strict sentencing stance. She appeared on Question Time last year when she criticised a "something for nothing" attitude in Britain where too many people were subsidised for not working.

In her work at the Bar, she has focused on criminal work including murder, gang-related violence and serious sexual offences. Her legal work also gave her the material for her first novel, published last year. Its title: The Accused.

Ms Briscoe's book claimed her mother cut her with a knife over failing to clean a chicken properly

Suggested Topics
Voices
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond delivers his speech at the Scottish National Party (SNP) Spring Conference in Aberdeen, Scotland April 12, 2014.
voices
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
News
David Beckham is planning to build a stadium in Miami’s port for a new football team he will own
news... in his fight for a football stadium in Miami's port area
News
weird newsMan live-photographs cracking of mysterious locked box on Reddit
Sport
Oliver Giroud kisses the Arsenal badge after giving the Gunners the lead
sportArsenal 3 West Ham 1: Two goals from the German striker and one piece of brilliance from Giroud puts the Gunners back above Everton
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
weird news
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'
filmAs 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star James Dean perfected his moody act
News
Obesity surgery in rats has been found to change the way the body processes alcohol
news
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk
artThe Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
Life & Style
US Airways has been at the centre of a Twitter storm after it responded to customer complaints with a graphic sexual image
techUS Airways takes an interesting approach to customer service
Arts & Entertainment
Philip Arditti as Yossarian and Christopher Price as Milo Minderbinder in Northern Stage's 'Catch-22'
theatre
Arts & Entertainment
The Purple Wedding: Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell tie the knot
TV The second episode of the hit series featured a surprise for viewers
Life & Style
Back to nature: women with body issues have found naked yoga sessions therapeutic
lifeDoing poses in the altogether is already big in the US, and now it’s landed here – in mixed classes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?