Don’t fall out with your relatives….

Sunday 30 September 2007 at 9:17 am | In News | Post Comment

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 comes into force on 1 October. It allows the ending of life of a patient by medical intervention. Bluntly, whilst euthanasia remains illegal it will be possible to kill patients by starving them to death or ceasing medical treatment.

“Living wills”, in which patients can set down what medical treatment they wish to be given, or not given, will be enforceable in law.

Many law students know of the House of Lords decision in Airedale NHS Trust v Bland [1993]. Anthony Bland was in persistent vegetative state from the age of 17 to 21, the hospital supported by his parents asked the court for permission to discontinue food and water, the House of Lords granted the request, and after a few weeks, he was dead.

The new Office of the Public Guardian will investigate complaints about the law. A Court of Protection has been set up to settle disputes.

If a doctor were to treat a patient against their wishes it will be an unlawful act and he/she could be prosecuted or face a claim for compensation.

The Islamic Medical Association has followed the Catholic Church’s earlier response in saying that its doctors should break the law, rather than comply with so-called ‘living wills’.

After the Bland case, Catherine Roberts was in a coma; doctors in Bournemouth were going to pull the plug of her breathing apparatus. Twenty-six-year-old Catherine blinked at her mother and poked her tongue out just one day away from her planned death.Catherine Roberts

Prison numbers reach all-time high

Saturday 29 September 2007 at 6:53 am | In News | Post Comment
Latest prison figures:
Prison Population September 2007 = 81,135
All time high, September 2007 = 81,135
Maximum capacity = 81,915

Source Ministry of Justice figures

New County Court fees from 1st October.

Wednesday 26 September 2007 at 5:33 am | In News | Post Comment
From 1st October the fees for using the small claims track in the County Court will change. For starting a very small claim, the fee goes down from £30 to £25. Although the Starting Fee is lowered overall most claimants will pay more.

If there is a hearing a new charge kicks in, minimum £25.

The maximum a claimant will have to pay will be £443, this would apply in defended cases over £3,000 in value.

Fees are made up of a Starting Fee, an Allocation Fee (when the case is defended) and a Hearing Fee (which is a new charge from 1st October).

A successful claimant will still be able to recover these fees together with the amount claimed from the defendant.

Also, on 1 October the age for buying cigarettes rises to 18, as most 16 year-olds know.

Barrister jailed for attempting to pervert the course of justice

Wednesday 19 September 2007 at 10:15 pm | In News | Post Comment

Barrister Bruce Hyman became the first barrister ever to be jailed for perverting the course of justice.   It was revealed at Bristol Crown Court that Hyman was representing a wife in a child custody battle and tried to discredit the father Dr Simon Eades, a Wall Street banker by writing a fictitious precedent. He emailed the ‘precedent’ to the father together with a fictitious note of support from the pressure group Families Need Fathers. Dr Eades then used the ‘precedent’ in court in support of his case, Hyman denounced it as a forgery, which of course it was.

The father faced jail and the loss of his child but he found that email had been sent from an internet shop in Tottenham Court Road and obtained CCTV pictures of Hyman.

New procedure; new judges

Friday 7 September 2007 at 5:15 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Judicial Appointments Commission’s (JAC) new selection procedure has resulted in the appointment of two High Court judges.

Judge Norris QC, will join the Chancery Division; Judge Maddison will join the Queen’s Bench Division.

The judges were appointed by The Queen, after the Lord Chancellor had accepted the recommendations of the JAC. The chairman of the JAC is Baroness Prashar.

The JAC’s new selection process was born through the new statutory framework set out in the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

Get Carter…

Thursday 6 September 2007 at 7:53 am | In News | Post Comment

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) announced today that the “Carter” reforms of legal aid will be put on hold.

The reason is, a court judgment (judicial review) held that contract changes that altered the “economic balance” of the contract were not lawful.

In the meantime a general criminal contract will apply.

Judgment will be appealed and so the “Carter” reforms are still on the horizon.

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