Legal aid…next round begins

Wednesday 31 August 2005 at 5:25 pm | In News | Post Comment

Details of the review of legal aid were announced today. The review headed by Lord Carter of Coles will aim to achieve maximum value for money and control over spending, while ensuring quality and fairness in the criminal justice system. The review’s success depends on the ongoing engagement, input and support of the legal professions and government departments and agencies involved.

The day the review is announced saw up to 400 barristers on the North East Circuit (Yorkshire) refuse to take on criminal work from October in a row over pay cuts. They say that there are proposals to reduce fees from 5th October for legal aid cases. Barristers claim that in some instances pay, which has remained frozen since 1997, will be cut by up to 50 per cent.

Lord Carter’s page
Leeds Today Evening Post

Unlimited fines can be imposed by a Crown Court judge

Friday 26 August 2005 at 5:28 pm | In News | Post Comment

Transco PLC was today fined a total of £15m at the High Court of Justiciary in Edinburgh, under Section 3 of the Health and Safety etc Act 1974. The jury returned the guilty verdict today following a six month trial.

This is the highest fine ever imposed.

A further round in the Hunting Act saga is lost….

Sunday 7 August 2005 at 12:12 pm | In News | Post Comment

R (Countryside Alliance and others) v HM Attorney General and another (2005) AC
Pro-hunting campaigners sought to have the Hunting Act 2004 declared incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1988. Also, that the court should declare by virtue of the European Communities Act 1972 that the Hunting Act offends European Community law and disapply which they could do by virtue of Case 106/77 Simmenthal [1978].

Held: It was within the rational, proportionate and democratic competence of Parliament to enact the Hunting Act 2004 and the court should not intervene.

No order made
Comment
: Their Lordships were presented with 32 lever arch files of immaculately prepared evidence, 4 mini bundles of “essential reading”, 6 files of necessary and appropriate witness statements, one file of experts’ reports and 25 files of exhibits to witness statements, almost all of which they did not read. This is because the proceedings were by way of Judicial Review and not fact finding. They said that the court had to pick its way through a mass of dense undergrowth cultivated by human rights and European legislation and jurisprudence, it often being hard to see the overgrown wood for the trees.
Whole case here

Marks and Spencer plc v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2005] HL

Monday 1 August 2005 at 9:17 pm | In News | Post Comment

[EU Law - article 234 reference - from the Lords]
D, Marks and Spencer claim to have overpaid VAT on tea cakes possibly amounting to more than £3m. This case has already been to the ECJ on one occasion during its 10 year action.

Held: Food is in general zero-rated, but, explained Lord Hoffman, there are exceptions. One exception is confectionery. But there is an exception to that exception: cakes or biscuits are in general also zero-rated. There is however an exception to that exception to the exception, namely biscuits wholly or partly covered with chocolate. They are standard-rated. Art 28 of the Sixth Directive being relevant to the directly enforceable right of the taxpayer.

Matter referred to ECJ
Whole case here 

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