With the exams so close we could not resist this news item to raise your spirits

Wednesday 24 May 2006 at 10:09 pm | In News | Post Comment

A family in Oregon wants to sue their neighbour for $1.6 million (£850,000) over the death of a dog. They are seeking compensation for the loss of the companionship of their pet, which died after being run over by a neighbour.
News report here

Sekfali v DPP [2006] Admin

Saturday 20 May 2006 at 10:00 pm | In News | Post Comment

[Police powers – although no duty to remain, running away from police amounts to obstruction]
DDD were suspected of stealing leather coats in Next. Two police officers showed their warrant cards to the men who fled each in a different direction.
Held: A citizen has no legal duty to assist the police … most people would accept that they have a moral and social duty to do so; but it is clear that no legal duty to assist exists. DDD would have been entitled to remain silent and not answer any questions put to them … but they ran off to avoid apprehension. That being a wilful act, taken so as to obstruct the police, was an act capable of constituting an offence contrary to section 89(2) Police Act 1996.

From the end of 2006 ILEX rights of audience will be extended.

Saturday 20 May 2006 at 8:12 am | In News | Post Comment

The Lord Chancellor has granted extended rights of audience to legal executives. Members of The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) will be able to appear in criminal proceedings in the magistrates and youth courts, and on bail applications in the crown court. Further enhanced are their rights in family and civil proceedings.
Information about ILEX rights of audience here

Unprecedented fine against Law Society

Friday 19 May 2006 at 9:40 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Legal Services Complaints Commissioner, Zahida Manzoor has fined the Law Society £250,000, because the society has refused to agree that complainants should receive a letter setting out the main points of their complaint within two months, rather than three. Ms Manzoor has two roles: first, as the Legal Services Complaints Commissioner sets targets and second, as the as Legal Services Ombudsman has power to levy a fine of up to £1 million.

R v Dhaliwal [2006] CA

Thursday 18 May 2006 at 9:34 pm | In News | Post Comment

[Manslaughter – suicide induced by physical or mental harm]
D abused his wife who eventually committed suicide by hanging herself. The judge at the Old Bailey dismissed the charges and ruled that psychological harm cannot, as the law currently stands, amount to bodily harm.. The prosecution appealed.

Held: The CofA rejected the appeal but held that if D harms a partner and causes them physical and mental harm and subsequently drives them to suicide, then D can be guilty of manslaughter.

Not guilty
: The prosecution used their new right to appeal Judge’s decisions under Section 58 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which came into force in April 2005. It is believed that this was one of the first appeals of its type. There is no jurisprudence anywhere in the world that has a precedent on this principle.

Will the boys at the back please pay attention?

Saturday 13 May 2006 at 11:28 pm | In News | Post Comment

Politicians are rounding on the judiciary and suggesting that the judges are responsible for the perceived debacle of the airplane hijackers.
The politicians might care to remember that in 1999 in R v Abdul-Hussain (Mustafa Shakir) [1999] CA the judges said that for the fourth time in five years the Court of Appeal emphasised the urgent need for legislation to define the defence of duress with precision. The law had evolved on a case by case basis and the scope of the defence was uncertain.
Simple arithmetic shows that the politicians have been warned time and time again for over 10 years.

ADR – international arbitration is growing

Saturday 13 May 2006 at 7:53 am | In News | Post Comment

CEDR (the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) is holding a conference to further international ADR abroad in October 2006 in London.
On 6 April 2006 in China Lord Woolf, the former Lord Chief Justice, Chair of CEDR launched a mediation centre based in Beijing.
Also, a mediation pilot in Croatia started in the Spring of 2006. 

Minimum salary levels for trainee solicitors

Wednesday 10 May 2006 at 9:08 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Law Society Regulation Board has agreed that, with effect from 1 August 2006, the minimum salary levels for trainee solicitors will be
£17,110 in central London
£15,332 elsewhere

R v G [2006] CA

Saturday 6 May 2006 at 4:22 pm | In News | Post Comment

Girl aged 12
[Mens rea – strict liability – sexual intercourse girl under 13 is rape]
D aged 15 had sex with a girl aged 12 in his room he believed her to be 15. Sex with a child under 13 irrespective of consent amounts to rape under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and so D pleaded guilty on legal advice.

Held: The offence was sexual intercourse with a person under 13, whether the victim consented or not and whether or not the defendant reasonably believed that the child was 13 or over.

Parliament could enact and enforce a crime of strict liability The Human Rights Act was not engaged.

A judge should normally be able, by an appropriate sentence, to ensure that there was no interference with the defendant’s art 8 right.  The appropriate sentence was a 12-month conditional discharge. The notification requirement would end with it and he would not thereafter be deemed to have a conviction.


R v Hendy [2006] CA

Saturday 6 May 2006 at 3:00 pm | In News | Post Comment

[Manslaughter – diminished responsibility – effect of intoxication can be disregarded]
D stabbed and killed a complete stranger. D raised diminished responsibility, there was evidence that alcohol, had played a part in the killing.  

Held: D did not have to show that if he had been sober, he would still have killed the victim to benefit from diminished responsibility. Section 2(1) of the Homicide Act 1957 meant that, if – ignoring the effect of the alcohol – D’s abnormality of mind substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts in doing the killing, the jury should find him not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.  

R v Gittens [1984] QB is correct. Dietschmann was not ‘new law’ but simply explained what the law had always been since the 1957 Act was enacted and since Gittens.

Guilty of manslaughter

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