JusticeWatch: Legal aid is for everyone

Posted by - 10th January 2020

Struggling to cope The quality of the CPS’s handling of disclosure remained ‘unacceptably low’ with prosecutors failing to identify when police had not disclosed all the relevant evidence in more than half of cases, as reported by the Justice Gap. The new study by HM Chief Inspector Kevin McGinty followed a damning 2017 joint inspection

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JusticeWatch: Seasons greetings

Posted by - 20th December 2019

A symbol of swashbuckling womanhood Lawyers fell over themselves to pay tribute to the, er, Beyoncé of the legal profession – Lady Brenda Hale retires next month. ‘Clearly, she is a woman who cannot see a glass ceiling without breaking through it,’ said Lord Reed, the incoming Supreme Court president.  ‘All these achievements, and the personality

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JusticeWatch: Rehabilitation – not revenge

Posted by - 6th December 2019

Weapons-grade shithousery Boris Johnson was accused of plagiarism – not to mention ‘weapons-grade shithousery’ – by the Secret Barrister for having ‘basically copied and pasted my blog post’ (as reported in the Independent). Over the weekend the PM posted a 16 tweet thread on the London Bridge terror case about sentencing which bore an uncanny

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JusticeWatch: Election manifestos compared

Posted by - 29th November 2019

Manifestly awful The Conservative party manifesto delivered on its well-trailed promises of 20,000 new police officers, 10,000 more prison places and a ratcheting up of sentencing powers – reported in the Justice Gap. A raft of criminal justice policies were unveiled which would represent a clampdown on the perceived excesses of  ‘soft justice’ as identified

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JusticeWatch: Manifesto promises and perverse incentives

Posted by - 22nd November 2019

Manifesto promises ‘Whatever the intentions of politicians and commentators, this general election is destined to be the narrowest of single-issue campaigns. Brexit will push other issues such as justice to the fringes of debate and those important but perhaps technical issues that typically struggle for airspace (eg, legal aid) won’t have a look in,’ I

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JusticeWatch: Death by a thousand cuts

Posted by - 15th November 2019

Perverse incentives Conviction targets may be behind the decline in rape prosecutions which are at their lowest since 2008 – as revealed by freelance journalist Melanie Newman in an investigation for the Law Society Gazette. The CPS code of practice states that offenders must be charged if a conviction is in the public interest and is

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JusticeWatch: Courts ‘strained to breaking’

Posted by - 1st November 2019

Courts ‘strained to breaking’ MPs called for a ‘pause for breath’ on the government’s £1.2bn court modernisation programme as well as an ‘immediate moratorium’ on court closures (as reported on the Justice Gap). In a damning report that described the justice system as in ‘administrative chaos’, the House of Commons’ justice committee warned that the

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JusticeWatch: Inequality of arms

Posted by - 4th October 2019

Priti scary ‘We are coming after you,’ threatened Priti Patel last week at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester. The ‘you’ being criminals, of course (as opposed to voters in marginal seats). The home secretary, who described herself as a ‘daughter of immigrants’ who needed ‘no lectures from the north London metropolitan liberal elite’, promised

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JusticeWatch: Breaking point

Posted by - 27th September 2019

Breaking point The latest criminal court statistics ‘sparked alarm among lawyers’  over ‘appalling’ crime detection rates and a growing backlog of cases, reported Jemma Slingo for the Law Society’s Gazette (here). According to the MoJ stats, the number of Crown court receipts and disposals ‘have fallen steadily over the past three years. While receipts rose

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