The end of Tribunal Chairmen

Friday 30 November 2007 at 5:51 pm | In News | Post Comment

Their title is being changed.

From tomorrow, employment tribunal chairmen become known as Employment Judges.

This change, which has received virtually no publicity, is contained in para. 36 of Schedule 8 to the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007.

Barristers, what people think of them

Wednesday 28 November 2007 at 12:12 am | In News | Post Comment

BarristerA new poll for the Bar Standards Board has found that barristers are not as unpopular as they think they are. Solicitors, for instance, think they provide good or excellent advice – but they’re not much good at small talk.

Times article, here

Standard powers for Police Community Support Officers

Sunday 25 November 2007 at 10:24 pm | In News | Post Comment

arms.gifThe Home Office has announced new powers that are to be given to Police Community Support Officers under the Police Reform Act 2002 (Standard Powers and Duties of Community Support Officers) Order 2007.

There are to be more consistent rules, including:

* a new minimum age of 18 years
* consistent powers in all forces across the country
* common equipment and uniforms.

A set of 20 standard powers for PCSOs will take effect in all forces on 1 December. These powers will include the right to:

* confiscate alcohol in public places
* issue fixed penalty notices for anti-social behaviour
* seize drugs

In addition, PCSOs will also be able to draw on further powers at the discretion of their chief constable.

These can include the right to:

* detain people suspected of offences
* issue fixed penalty notices for disorder, including misuse of fireworks and graffiti
* search those suspected of carrying dangerous items

10,000 prisoners have been freed

Sunday 25 November 2007 at 9:19 am | In News | 1 Comment

More than 10,000 prisoners have been freed under an early-release scheme since June. 300 have been put back because they breached the terms of their release of for re-offending.

Later this week the government will announce the recommendations of the Carter Report into the prison system. He is expected to recommend:
Scales tilt • prisoners sentenced to less than six months only serve their time if there is room for them in jail;
• a two-tier system, with “federal prisons” for high-risk offenders and “community prisons” for the rest;
• closure of 15 women’s jails, to be replaced by smaller secure units.

Last week the prison population stood at 81,454, down slightly from the record of 81,547 set the previous week. There were 197 convicts being held in police cells because jails were full.

Next week, the Ministry of Justice will disclose the number of foreign nationals in English and Welsh prisons and the average length of prison sentences handed out last year.

Telegraph article, here

Appeal Court orders judge to stand down

Friday 16 November 2007 at 8:23 pm | In News | Post Comment

A High Court judge, Mr Justice Singer was ordered to step down from a divorce case for saying a Saudi sheikh might “depart on his flying carpet”; his evidence was “gelatinous … like Turkish Delight”, and the sheikh should be available for hearings at this “relatively fast-free time of the year”, and that he should appear so that “every grain of sand is sifted”.

BBC story here.

A deadline is a deadline

Saturday 10 November 2007 at 9:36 am | In News | Post Comment

Mr Miller’s employment claim was rejected because it was received nine seconds too late.

Mr Miller wanted to bring a case of unfair dismissal against his employer, so he employed a law student, paying him £120 per hour.

Claims can be lodged online and the student did just that, pressing “send” one second before midnight of the 3 month deadline. It did not reach the tribunal’s servers until eight seconds after midnight. The Employment Tribunal ruled the claim invalid. The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the ruling.

The luckless law student could be facing charges for providing unauthorised services. He not qualified at the time of submitting the claim.

Whole case here UKEAT/0486/07

Legal Services Board, the Office for Legal Complaints (the new ombudsman) and “Tesco law” still some way away.

Friday 9 November 2007 at 10:09 am | In News | Post Comment

The Legal Services Act has received Royal Assent and heralds a revolution in how legal services will be delivered to the public.

Solicitors Regulation Authority
Solicitors Regulation Authority

The chairman of the Legal Services Board and board members are unlikely to be appointed until next year. The Office for Legal Complaints is unlikely to be empowered to handle complaints until autumn 2010.

Alternative business structures, which allow lawyers to form partnerships with outside professionals or invite outside investment, is unlikely to be until at least 2012.

So, the Legal Services Board (LSB) which will regulate the professions, the independent ombudsman, to deal with consumer complaints and new forms of legal practice (“Tesco law”) are all still a long way off.

Nude, naked and undressed

Thursday 8 November 2007 at 9:48 pm | In News | 1 Comment

The “Nake

Stephen Gough
Stephen Gough
d Rambler” has lost his appeal for contempt of court for refusing to dress for court appearances.
The Lord Justices of Appeal in Edinburgh said, “The appearance of anyone in court naked, whatever crimes that may constitute, is unquestionably a contempt.”
Stephen Gough aged 47, claimed he had rights guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights.
The decision was given while he remained in the cells, it is not recorded if he was dressed or not.
He has twice walked naked from Land’s End to John O’Groats, not without the occasional arrest.

Once a judge, always a judge

Tuesday 6 November 2007 at 7:46 pm | In News | Post Comment
The convention that prevents judges from returning to private practice will remain in place.
The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Jack Straw, said lifting the prohibition would not increase diversity in the judiciary and that the ban would therefore remain in place.
Whitehall launched a consultation paper on the subject last year, the result became known on 5 November, some 8 months later.
Only a handful of former judges have moved into consultancy roles in private practice. In 2005 Patents Court judge Sir Hugh Laddie controversially quit the bench to take up a consultancy role with a specialist intellectual property firm.

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