law pages of Bournemouth and Poole College.
The Lord Chancellor’s Department announced significant rises in fees charged to people who wish to use courts of civil jurisdiction. It is another move towards making the courts of England and Wales pay their way. The family proceedings courts will increase fees by 650 per cent. An order seeking contact with a child in care will now cost £150, seven times the current cost of £20. A council tax liability order in the magistrates’ court will rise for 70p to £3 and produce additional revenue of over £5 million. This fee, like many others has not risen since 1993.
Lord Woolf – the former Lord Chief Justice – is joining the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) as a special advisor and will join the panel of most senior dispute resolution experts.
The small claims procedure will be operating across all 25 states of the EU within 12 to 18 months. This will mean a French supplier of goods over the internet or a German motorist will be as easy to sue as UK defendants are now. EU justice ministers meeting in Newcastle agreed the process last week.
The scheme will apply to debts and to civil claims for faulty goods and services, as well as to personal injury claims and damage to property.
Ministers have yet to work out full details including the maximum amount that a party can claim, but Lord Falconer thought it could be “anything up to £10,000” (in euros).
A claimant would commence proceedings in the UK and then officials would translate the paperwork if necessary and forwarded to courts in the defendant’s country, where local officials would serve proceedings. As with the current procedure, parties would not need to use lawyers.
Parties would not have to attend a hearing and they might give evidence by telephone. A judge or arbitrator in defendant’s country would make an award that would be enforced under that country’s legal system. The scheme would build on existing procedures.
[Assaults – GBH – inflicting HIV is GBH, although consent should be considered by the jury]
D was convicted on a retrial because he infected a woman with HIV – so called biological GBH – (s 20). His appeal in 2004 resulted in the retrial, the Court of Appeal ruling that the original trial judge should have allowed the jury to consider consent as a defence. At the retrial the judge followed the Court of Appeal ruling at the earlier appeal.
Held: The court was bound by previous authority.
In their earlier authority they had confined themselves to reflecting that unless you were prepared to take whatever risk of sexually transmitted infection there might be, it was unlikely that you would consent to a risk of major consequent illness if you were ignorant of it.
Appeal to the House of Lords refused, but they certified a point of law of general pubic importance.
4 ½ years imprisonment was held not to be excessive.
It is reported in The Lawyer that over 10 barristers are earning more than £2m a year.
As many as 30 barristers – including at least one who is not yet a QC – earned in excess of £1m.
Most commercial sets of chambers have barristers consistently earning over £750,000
Those earning over £500,000 are easy to find.
The average income of counsel in the top 30 sets reached £332,000.
Hourly rates for commercial silks range from £350 to £2,500.
Daily rates in court can reach £10,000 but more likely to be £3,500-£6,000.
It is also believed that Lord Grabiner QC and Gordon Pollock QC earned £3m last year. £2m earners include Christopher Carr QC; Iain Milligan QC; Geoffrey Vos QC.
The figures are in stark contrast to the earnings of barristers doing legal aid work, where £40,000 is considered a good salary. It is growing evermore likely that barristers will refuse legal aid briefs because their rates of pay have been pegged for eight years.
The Government is considering whether or not relatives of murder or manslaughter victims should have the opportunity to make a personal statement in court before sentence to explain how the death affected their family. Relatives could address the court in person or through a lawyer or other representative – a victim’s advocate. The proposals do not extend to other crimes.
News item here