Judges – Juries – the legal process

Wednesday 25 April 2007 at 5:28 am | In News | Post Comment

Dame Butler-Sloss
Dame Butler-Sloss
Retired judge Lady Butler-Sloss, one of the most experienced judges has stepped down from her role as coroner in the Princess Diana inquest.  It appears she has found she lacks the experience necessary to sit with a jury and will hand over to Lord Justice Scott Baker is one of Britain’s most experienced judges, in June.

Juries outside of the Crown Court hear very few cases; a case of sudden death can require a jury to decide who the deceased was and how death occurred.  Originally, Dame Elizabeth thought she would sit without a jury but she was overruled and this appears to be the start of the problems.

Full press story here.

Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) Part 36: Payments into court and offers to settle

Wednesday 11 April 2007 at 7:54 am | In News | Post Comment

As from 6 April 2007 defendants will no longer be required to make payments into court to attempt to shift the responsibility for costs to the claimant. The defendant must provided the proposal is in writing and specify that it is open for acceptance for at least 21 days.

What happens is; the defendant makes an offer, which the court is unaware of. If at trial the judge makes and award that is less than the offer the defendant pays costs from then on, if the judge makes an award less than the offer the claimant pays.

Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme good news for students

Wednesday 11 April 2007 at 7:35 am | In News | Post Comment

Students at colleges and universities (and all other tenants) are more likety to get their deposit back when they leave their accommodation. New legislation aims to stop landlords keeping deposits for alleged damage to property or unpaid bills.The enhanced protection comes under the new Government authorised Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDPS).

Yale door key
Yale door key

From this month all deposits taken by landlords and agents in England and Wales must be protected.
Tenants pay an average of £700 as a deposit on a property. In 2005/06 19% of tenants had their deposit returned in part whilst 11% did not get their deposit returned at all.
From 6 April Landlords and agents will, by law, have to sign up to one of three schemes that have been awarded contracts by the government.

Tenants will be able to check to see whether their landlord has protected their deposit in one of the schemes. If they haven’t done so within 14 days, the tenant can apply to the courts, who can direct the landlord/agent to pay three times the deposit back to the tenant. Each scheme will also include a free, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) service.

More detail here

How much do solicitors earn?

Wednesday 11 April 2007 at 7:11 am | In News | 1 Comment
Coal miner holding canary
Coal miner holding canary
Jim Beresford, 59, took home £16.75 million last year, while his only other partners, his daughter, Esta, 29, and long-term associate Doug Smith, 50, shared £3.7 million.

The family firm, based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has been a major player in settling the compensation claims of miners made ill by their years underground.

£15 victim levy on all fines

Wednesday 11 April 2007 at 6:15 am | In News | 1 Comment
Coin
Coin
Since March 207 courts have been able to impose a £15 flat-rate levy no matter how big or small the fine.
The levy goes towards a fund to help improve services for victims of crime.

The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 intended the levy to “rebalance” the criminal justice system in favour of victims.
The levy is not added to fixed penalty notices.

Some argue that it is a stealth tax which applies to, for example, motorists but not to rapists and burglars who are sent to prison.

Diversity at the Bar, Neuberger interim report

Tuesday 10 April 2007 at 6:55 am | In News | Post Comment
Barrister - diversity
Barrister - diversity
Lord Neuberger has published interim findings into what can be done to ensure that the Bar is open to all. His final report will address concerns that it is now harder to enter the Bar than ever before. Costs of university mean one in three students have debts of £20,000. The one-year Bar Vocational Course (BVC) can add another £15,000.

Times report, here.

Teachers and schools in England today have new legal powers to restrain and discipline unruly pupils

Tuesday 3 April 2007 at 5:51 pm | In News | Post Comment
Billy Bunter
Billy Bunter
The new powers are part of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, much of which came into force on 1 April 2007.
The legislation provides for teachers’ rights to break up fights and to confiscate items such as mobile phones.
The changes are intended to put an end to the “You can’t tell me what to do” culture.
Teachers will have the right to physically restrain and remove unruly pupils, and impose detention, including sessions outside school hours.
Teachers will be able to discipline pupils outside school too – if they see children behaving badly on public transport, for example.

Section 93(1)(c) allows reasonable force to be used when a pupil is “prejudicing the maintenance of good order and discipline at the school” … This sounds as though a well aimed clip round the ear is now lawful, it will be interesting to see if parents and more importantly the courts think so.

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