Miscarriages of justice – domestic tribunals

Friday 17 February 2006 at 3:32 pm | In News | Post Comment

Professor Sir Roy Meadow has successfully appealed both the General Medical Council’s decision to strike him off the medical register and their finding of serious professional misconduct.

BBC report here

Latest judicial statistics – women judges up a bit

Thursday 16 February 2006 at 6:52 am | In News | Post Comment

12 Lords of Appeal in Ordinary – Law Lords (1 woman)
37 Lords Justices of Appeal (3 women)
113 High Court Judges (11 women)

Justice sighs with relief – role of the Criminal Cases Review Commission

Wednesday 15 February 2006 at 9:40 am | In News | Post Comment

Lord Goldsmith has revealed that only 3 of the 297 cases reviewed following the Angela Cannings acquittal will be referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (and presumably thereafter to the Court of Appeal). Mrs Cannings conviction for murder of her two sons was unsafe because of unreliable evidence given by Professor Sir Roy Meadow.

How much to barristers earn?

Tuesday 14 February 2006 at 6:31 pm | In News | Post Comment

Over £500,000 it appears, and you don’t have to be a QC.
The figures are for Crown Prosecution Service lawyers who dealt with the highest profile cases. The cases dealt with by the high earners included infamous murders and rapes. This is gross earnings before tax, expenses and chambers costs.

The details were revealed in a written parliamentary answer which you can see here.

The long awaited report from Lord Carter of Coles “A Fairer Deal for Legal Aid” proposes reforms

Thursday 9 February 2006 at 1:06 pm | In News | Post Comment

There would be less money available for criminal legal aid and changes to deal with the “legal advice deserts” where the public are unable to find locally a solicitor to deal with civil cases on legal aid.

The emphasis is on value for money. The report proposes targeting resources on people who most need it, requiring those who can contribute do so and ensuring that everyone has access to justice.

To reduce court time in criminal matters some radical ideas are put forward for example prosecutors to initiate discussions with defence representatives around the point of charge. It is thought that by providing legal advice to defendants at this point will enhance the prosecutor’s capacity to charge accurately from the outset which is hoped to produce early guilty pleas  (the case of R v Goodyear [2005] CA allows a judge to indicate the sentence that might follow a guilty plea).

Competition within the market will determine the rates to be paid for services rather than relying on government to determine these rates centrally. By holding the competitions on a regional basis for volume work it will be possible to pay the rates necessary to ensure supply. In other words the legal aid work will go to the lowest bidder.

In family law it is recognised that there needs to be some changes to bring about improvements outlined in the government’s green paper “Every Child Matters”.

Lord Carter has published his report on a market based reform of criminal legal aid. Lord Carter was asked to conduct an independent review to consider the means by which to deliver the Government’s vision, set out in “A Fairer Deal for Legal Aid”, for procuring publicly funded legal services, particularly criminal defence services.

It is available on the legal aid procurement review website

The role of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC)

Thursday 9 February 2006 at 12:28 pm | In News | Post Comment

No disciplinary action will be taken against two police marksmen who shot dead Harry Stanley, a father of three from Hackney, east London, in 1999 after a table leg he was carrying in a bag was mistaken for a sawn-off shotgun.

Murder charges against Inspector Neil Sharman and Pc Kevin Fagan were ruled out by an earlier inquiry by Surrey Police.

Full details here

Attorney General to appeal unduly lenient sentences given to baby rapists

Friday 3 February 2006 at 12:05 am | In News | Post Comment

The Attorney General is to ask the Court of Appeal to increase the sentence given to the Webster (40) and French (19) who raped a 12-week-old baby and took photographs of their abuse of her.

Webster was jailed for life after he pleaded guilty to rape, indecent assault, permitting indecent images to be taken of a child and making indecent images.  French received a five year jail sentence and was given an extended licence period of five years after she admitted the same charges. 

The Attorney will ask the Court of Appeal to find the tariffs (12 years in the case of Webster) unduly lenient and to increase them.

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