Friday, 22 November 2013

S10E06 - Rallying The Troops

Listen to the show here.

This week we have ventured down South with the rest of the Bar to attend the Criminal Bar Association's conference to fight for the Criminal Justice System and for the very future of the Independent Criminal Bar.

We have plucked out some highlights of what was a lively event featuring some of the best advocates of the cause.  This episode is slightly longer than usual but we thought you might appreciate hearing what you missed if you were not able to be there.

You may have gathered that the resolutions proposed at this event were all passed unanimously which, given that there were delegates of 100% of the chambers undertaking criminal legal aid work is really saying something.

The speakers and resolutions of the day included Hannah Kinch of the Young Barristers' Association in support of the resolution that the conference resolves to support the young Bar.

The conference heard from (as will you) Jaime Hamilton and Peter Joyce in relation to the cuts in scope of legal aid and the speaking to the resolution that the conference deplores the contemptuous way in which the publically-funded Bar is treated.

Paul Harris, a solicitor representing the CLSA and LCLSA, demonstrated that the Law Society may be contemptuous of its own members' views on legal aid but the CLSA and LCLSA most definitely not.  He also talks of unity and the Criminal Lawyers United pledge which all chambers and firms should sign.

The conference heard from Michael Turner QC, Max Hill QC and Nigel Lithman QC on the politics of the battle to save legal aid and to maintain a justice system not just fit for purpose but fit for Britain.  Max Hill QC dealt with the misleading approach adopted by the Ministry of Justice over the figures and Nigel Lithman QC spoke to the resolution that VHCC work will not be accepted by the Bar or solicitors under the new proposed fee scheme.

Mark George QC (who received the only standing ovation of the day) and Russell Fraser dealt with calls for days of action when no criminal lawyers would undertake work in magistrates' courts or Crown courts.

The tanks are rolling, it seems.  Whilst we are off air, Des Hudson will find out if he will survive an historic vote of no confidence in him at the Law Society and no doubt there will be another salvo from Grayling and Co.

We will also see if the new fee scheme comes into effect on 2nd December and if anyone actually works under it.

Enjoy the next six weeks with our friends at UKCLB ad we'll be back in January.

Also, keep watching our Twitter feed for news of a possible live show in the not too distant future.

Thanks for listening!
Ben, Kirstin and Jonathan.

Friday, 15 November 2013

S10E05 - Getting Away With It

Have a listen here.

We've got everything from worship by cannabis to esoteric legal points here.

First - yes we're serious we have cannabis sacrifice -  a couple found not guilty on the basis that their cultivation crop was not for supply but for burning to honour Shiva.
2 takes on the same story:  Russian Times and Daily Mail

Then Ben explains for any Home Office flunkies listening, how the law works and relates to everybody, foreign or not.

Kirstin finds two cases for legal complexities junkies - read them yourselves they might be easier to follow!

An interesting defence that worked:

Foreign sex-offender gets damages for being held too long:
The story causing people to go nuts:
The actual decision of the court:

The importance of time on “qualifying tag”:
Two things to remember:
1. The provisions under CJA 2003 in relation to time spent on remand are mandatory - even if you have a clever argument.
2.  Time spent on tag is not automatically taken into consideration and the timetable to sort it out will be adhered to from now on.  Counsel beware.

R v Stocker

Report by NAO into MoJ reliance upon G4S and similar (or “Bears defecate in wooded areas”):
Original report and executive summary here:

So it begins. .. fraud vhcc likely to be derailed 

The Judicial Office is seeking views on the following areas:
- How the CJC/FJC functions should be delivered  Civil justice council and family JC
- Whether the bodies should be abolished
- If the functions could be moved to the Ministry of Justice
- Whether they should be delivered by the voluntary or private sector or by a new executive agency
- Should they remain arm’s length bodies
The deadline for responses is 5pm on 25 November. The email addresses are: and:

Grayling purposes an end to multiple cautions but the clue is in the word "simple" perhaps:

Thursday, 7 November 2013

S10E04 - Back-pats and Knock-backs

Listen to the show right here.

This week, we are taking a look at how the Probation Service are doing when it comes to looking after victims of crime when an offender is coming up for release. The MoJ thinks it's all pretty good but the report is not exactly a clean bill of health.

The High Court has to get stuck in to the issue of access to a solicitor when you are arrested in relation to terrorism.

Kirstin takes us through the objective and subjective elements of self-defence when the defendant believes that he was being threatened by evil spirits.

We take a whistlestop look at how finding money lying around might be a good thing but handing it in to police is unlikely to get you anywhere.

What happens when the prosecution appeals against a decision at Crown Court to kick a case out at half-time? Listen and learn.

All that in a jam-packed show this week.

We are very grateful to Ash Raveendran for her help on this week's show. She's out there looking for pupillage, you know...


Probation Service is doing just fine with Victim Contact.

Terror law suspects must have access to solicitor at any time, High Court rules.

Defendant appealing against conviction – Whether insanely held delusion on part of defendant being attacked or threatened causing him to respond violently entitling him to acquittal on basis of reasonable self-defence.

No such thing as free money.

Successful pros appeal against finding of no case to answer.

Other stuff:

What lawyers are (not) doing in their bedrooms:

NAPO announcement of intention to work to rule:

Friday, 1 November 2013

S10E03 - All Trick, No Treat

No Kirstin this week as she is being bombarded by trick or treaters but Ben’s back and Jonathan is here as always.

Have a listen to this week’s show for a pretty comprehensive round-up of the big stories that have been in the legal news this week.

Whether it’s TV cameras in the Court of Appeal, the Home Office on the fiddle (allegedly!), another bloody-nose for Failing Grayling or the Government getting a ticking-off for spending your money on pointless legal challenges, it’s all here.

In addition, we have a bit of an update on where “joint enterprise” and victim impact statements are up to.

Home Office Fixing of Asylum Figures

Grayling on the ropes - his offer to VHCC counsel and the flat rejection of it by the CBA and the Fraud Solicitors group.

Interesting cases round-up in crime
Bristow [2013] EWCA Crim 1540 - Joint enterprise - Manslaughter
Harrod [2013] EWCA Crim 1750  - drugs - supply - death - views of victims NOT decisive.
BUT victim focus might shift after 29th October’s Victims Code  - in force from December 2013

Report from unannounced visit to Yarl’s Wood IRC - to be published soon.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

S10E02 - Government, Go Home!

Listen here!

This week both Ben and Kirstin are on holiday.  Ben is not within reach of the Twitter or the Google so despite Kirstin being in the midst of building work she dusts herself off and valiantly gets on with it. For once bringing you what was promised last week.

First up is the government getting a bit of a dressing down by the ASA over it's "Go Home" van - although it could have been worse.

Then Kirstin goes through the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.  When is subletting a criminal offence?

Then regular contributor Jonathan Holt sweeps in to talk about the proposed Immigration Bill he mentioned last week.  What's it all about and what will it mean for those seeking to enter or remain here?

Ben and slightly more joined up presentation should be back next week. 

Thursday, 17 October 2013

S10E01 - It's Not Fair!

Episode one of series 10, eh?

Well life's not fair but at least you can listen here and know that your glass half empty view of the world is actually fully justifiable.

First up on the it's not fair index is having to spend forever behind bars because you can't afford to pay the ever increasing interest payments of the loan shark government.  Ben looks at unforeseen consequences of POCA legislation as discussed in the case of R v Gibson.

Then Kirstin looks at the guidelines for prosecutors of child sex abuse cases, holding her head in her hands for the most part that the prosecution need guidelines to tell them to do what they should already be doing. (Although there are some creditable bits too).

Jonathan joins us to hold his head in his hands about IPNAs and CBOs - You'll just have to listen if you don't know what these are but be afraid.

We recognise there are new offences of subletting a council house - more next week perhaps.

And finally, we salute His Honour Justice Holman and Bar Council Chairman Maura McGowan for telling it like it is.  You can read along with us here and here.

Friday, 11 October 2013

New Series Starts Next Week!

We have been off air for 6 weeks and those lovely people over at UK Criminal Law Blog have been filling your ears with interesting information on the Baby P case, politics, child abuse cases and all sorts.

Whilst we have been off-air, Kirstin has been talking to the MMU Critical Lawyers about anonymity in sex cases - our old friend  She's even been bothering the Beeb's viewers on the subject.  And BBC 5Live.  Such a media-tart!

Ben has been working and trying to keep his sanity as builders have descended on his home to replace the bathroom.  Quite probably some litigation coming there as the first builders disappeared into the sunset!  

Jonathan has been busy with all manner of interesting stuff.  He's going to tell us about some of it at the start of the new series.

We hope that you have all been keeping well and we'd like to know if you have any subjects that have arisen over the last six weeks that you think we should be covering.

Get in touch and tell us what you'd like us to talk about.

The Northpod Law bods - 11th October 2013

Monday, 9 September 2013

Whilst we are off-air....

For the six weeks when we are living the high life and not recording Northpod Law, we are really pleased to announce that those lovely people at UK Criminal Law Blog (most of whom have been on the show at some point or another) will be giving you six weeks of their take on the big crime stories in the press.

Your iTunes, Pocketcast etc feed will update automatically so don't freak out when you see a new logo appear in your podcasts!

We'll be back in six weeks so we'll leave you in their hands for now.

Ben, Kirstin and Jonathan.

Friday, 30 August 2013

S09E06 - Forced Marriages

A cake and bourbon show with no cake.  Or bourbon.  Or Ben.  Or Jonathan.

What we do have though is an in depth look at the work of the family courts of England and Wales with a particular focus on the increasingly common issue of forced marriages.

Have a listen right here.

Joining Kirstin this week (actually in Podcast Towers for a change!) is Joseph Lynch.  He is a family law specialist whose work mainly involves public law cases - where a local authority is seeking to remove the child from the custody of the parents.

Joe can be contacted via his chambers, Central Chambers.

We will be back in <cough> six weeks with a new series.  Series 10 is quite likely to end with a party.  What do you say?  Fancy joining us for a few sneaky drinks at a live show?  Let us know on the Twitter, Google+, email or on 0161 408 5037

Some other stories for which we did not have time this week:

Grayling turns on yet another “valued partner”. Serco this time.

...but refuses to back down on Legal Aid destruction.

Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Orders or Suspected sex offender restraining orders
Jonathan Rayner, writing in the Law Society Gazette, quotes Law Society criminal law committee chair Richard Atkinson told me: ‘It is a dangerous move to take away the requirement for a conviction to make a restrictive order, not least because the order will be interpreted as proof that you committed the offence and that you are indeed a paedophile.
‘Also, if you resort to litigation to resist the restrictions, you are effectively telling the prosecution in advance how you intend to conduct your defence – giving the prosecution two bites of the cherry.’

Also, keep a lookout for a new law-based podcast, coming soon on the Northpod network of podcasts.  Don't worry as we will add the new show to your podcast feed automatically when it's available so you don't miss out.

Friday, 23 August 2013

S09E05 - A Conventional Episode

Two conventions this week - the Hague and the Refugee.  You can listen here.

Jonathan Holt and Dan Bunting discuss s.31 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 which gives special criminal defences to asylum seekers.

You can follow Dan and his musings at Dan Bunting a life in the bus lane.  uk criminal law blog and of course, on the Twitter @danbunting.

The case that sparked the discussion is here

Then we go on to discuss In the Matter of an application by Her Majesty's Solicitor General for the committal to prison of Jennifer Marie Jones for alleged contempt of court.  A case which highlights the need for precision when drafting an order with a penal notice. 

It considers whether you commit a breach if you fail to do something after the time you ought to have done it, why you need to tell someone to do something by four days after you want it doing and revisits who can bring contempt proceedings.  It's a very good place to start if you ever need to research contempt!

Cake and Bourbon Show next week - don't miss it!

Friday, 16 August 2013

S09E04 - Sticky Fingers

Listen here!

This week Ben,Kirstin and Jonathan are joined by the lovely Lyndon Harris, barrister, blogger and Banks on Sentencing editor.

Our discussion is all about imaginative approaches to theft offences.  First we look at Professor Andrew Ashworth's Howard League paper which suggests that Theft should not incur a prison sentence, then Lyndon gives broad support to the idea of giving shop-lifters food vouchers.  Jonathan Holt considers proposals for making Magistrates impose more custodial sentences and worries about the demise of more and more
Magistrates' courts in which to issue those sentences.

Finally we turn away from Criminal Law and look at two Immigration Law cases implimenting the ruling in Zambrano.

Update on the so-called “sexual predator” case

No Prison for Pilferers

Stoke reward shoplifters with food vouchers

Magistrates to get a power-up - but where will they use it?

MA and SM (Zambrano: EU children outside EU) Iran [2013] UKUT 00380 (IAC)

Friday, 9 August 2013

S09E03 - Mind Your Language?

This week's show (listen here) is brought to you courtesy of predatory comments made at Snaresbrook Crown Court and via Blackstones Criminal Law July Updater.

Ben talks to Kate Hammond, former CPS Crown Advocate and to Keith Jones, both Barristers in Private Practice at Central Chambers in Manchester. They discuss the recent and much publicised use of the term "sexual predator" by Prosecuting Counsel, in relation to a 13-year-old victim.

Kirstin joins Ben then to go through some interesting cases with differing bizarreness rating.  We answer the questions:
1. Whether it matters if you thought you were indulging in sex with a girl or a boy- R v McNally
2. Whether you can do an act which intimidates without intimidating - R v ZN
3. What is the exact time the Defence are aware of a witness for the purpose of witness notification?
                                                                                                                            - Re Joseph Hill and Co
4. Whether the Jury need to know for what a SOPO was imposed. - Sheikh [2013] EWCA Crim 907
5. When is the prosecution allowed to rely on their witness being a good egg? - R v Lodge

If you'd like to view the vulnerable witness handling video please click here.

And if you're following the 13-year-old case controversy and have run out of reading matter you might find some new stuff in this lot:

News articles:

CPS guidance:

Pressure Group against “ostensible consent” as a concept:

Friday, 2 August 2013

S09E02 Causation, Contempt, Confiscation

You can listen to the episode here.  Note there is some swearing in this episode.
This week we let Jonathan Holt out of the dungeon and we discuss a host of case law.

First up is the current news favourite AG v Davey and AG v Beard 2 jurors found guilty of contempt of court via Facebook and internet research.

Then we look at who can and cannot bring committal proceedings against those in breach of Forced Marriage Prevention Orders with a recent High Court Case.

Ben runs us through some confiscation cases R v Sale and R v Morgan at whirlwind speed.

And finally Kirstin tells us about the recent Supreme Court Case R v Hughes.

If you want to look at the new practice guidence in regard to in private committals for contempt of court you can find them here and the supplement here.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

S09E01 - "Oh you can tell by the way I use my walk..."

Welcome back!  You can listen here.

Last series it was Jonathan Holt in a cell in Thailand.  This series it's Ben Knight involved in diamond smuggling - honestly is there only me left as a law abiding legal type?

We kick the series off with the topic of gait identification - if it walks like a duck is apparently enough now.  We talk about why a podiatrist is likely to qualify as an expert and give practical tips on how you challenge the evidence if you have to

We also have a bit of a row about children and pornography and what can and ought to be done to prevent them viewing it.  This is in light of government proposals leaked to the BBC to have the parental controls "default on."

In other news: the effects of cuts on the listing system and a big, "well done to Serco and G4S" for allegedly providing Chris Grayling with a real cost saving scheme.  They can just stop over-charging him according to the Lord Chancellor.

Congratulations to Tony Cross QC who will be the 1st Chair of the Criminal Bar Association to not come from a London Set and to Alison Saunders who will be the 1st DPP to be selected from the CPS's own ranks.

NorthPod Law.  It's all about firsts.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

S08 E06.02 - Marches and Meeetings Part 2

Listen Here

As promised, here is the 2nd part of our coverage from the Justice for Sale meeting in Westminster last week.  We hope it inspires you to put pen to paper and to respond to the consultation paper.  It doesn't matter whether or not you are a lawyer - this effects everyone.

If you want to listen to the edited speeches in full or to hear the wonderful questions and answers session, including an especial emphasis on Wales then you can do so at the CLSA website.  Many thanks again to them for providing us with the raw audio.

See you in 6 weeks!

p.s. - sorry about the slightly odd ending and the reference to Jo Sidhu as John Sidhu.  It was a late night.

Friday, 24 May 2013

S08E06 - Marches and Meetings

Click here to listen to the show.

The usual up-beat mood of the end of term episode is somewhat lost this series as the MoJ proposals hang over the immediate future of the Criminal Law Professions and over the medium term future of the rest of the Legal System.

This week the team go a-roving as 400 Lawyers take to the streets of Manchester to protest over the cuts to Legal Aid.  The March was organised by Parents for Real Justice in response to Chris Grayling's proposals.

On the same day, in Manchester and Liverpool, the MoJ held roadshows to put the Government's point of view to the professions and members of the general public. Jonathan Holt was dispatched to cover the Manchester version.  Speakers making points against included solicitor Robert Lizar and Pete Weatherby QC.

And finally we travelled South into the Big Smoke to witness the funeral of Lady Justice and to attend her wake at the Justice for Sale meeting in Westminster.  Thanks to the CLSA for providing us with part one of the soundtrack to the meeting - hoping part 2 is in the post as promised.

There should be a further show just to complete the highlights but in case part 2 is lost in the post you can find the unedited recording of the meeting on the CLSA website (as soon as they post it).

See you in 6 weeks, but keep an eye out on this site or on (the) twitter in case of specials.

Friday, 17 May 2013

S08E05 - Legally Speaking

On this week's show, we look into the use of interpreters in courts and police stations and find out why a Ministry of Justice contract with Applied Language Solutions Ltd (now known as Capita Translation and Interpreting Ltd) is causing concern for interpreters, courts and parties to proceedings.
We speak with Mirela Watson, a Romanian interpreter with over a decade of experience and qualifications, about what is wrong with the present system and where the dangers lie.
If you want to read the BBC article about the Snaresbrook case, it is here.
The Court of Appeal decision referred to is here.
The place to register your concerns about cases such as those discussed is here.
We will bring you Capita's response in next week's show, if we receive comment.
The "Justice for Sale" meeting in London on 22nd May 2013 is now sold out.  That's more than 1,100 people and a significant press following.  We will be covering the event (all things being equal!).  The press release from the CLSA, confirming the sell-out, is here.
There are some clues as to the details of some of the Home Secretary's plans for criminal justice, following her address at the Police Federation conference in Bournemouth.  The M.E.N. also had this to say.
We have what might be the last Abu Qatada update from Jonathan Holt.
We all do some agreeing with the Home Secretary about a couple of things.  Don't worry; normal service will be resumed by next week.
In next week's show, coverage of the London "Justice For Sale" event and the protest demo in Manchester. And maybe some cake and bourbon.

Friday, 10 May 2013

S08E04 - The Queen's Speech

Here's the show

It's all a bit political this week as Ben and Kirstin and regular contributor Jonathan Holt discuss what the Queen's Speech contained for Lawyers.

Jonathan worries about the implications of the proposed immigration bill.  Ben worries about the implications of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill and Kirstin just worries...

Thanks to the BBC for the easy-reading summary, saving us from producing one - our listeners can find it with it's helpful extra links... here.

Friday, 3 May 2013

S08E03 - The Big Round-Up

Here's the show.

On this week's show, we are back in our little group of three and all actually recording the show together for the first time this series.

As we have been rather preoccupied with matters of legal aid and criminal law, we thought we have a bit of immigration and a bit of civil law this week. Oh, and a little about legal aid and crime.

KB looks at an interesting case in the Court of Protection.

BK considers the implications of the Bash a Burglar law otherwise known as s.43 Crime and Courts Act 2013

JH gives us an update on the ongoing love affair between Theresa May and Abu Qatada and considers whether May's threat to temporary withdraw from the ECHR was even possible.  Clue: It was.  His further reading for you includes the Treaty between UK and Jordan.

All of that plus a bit of contributory negligence and a spat between the Legal Aid Agency and the High Court in a family case.

We think that'll do you until next week so, here's the show.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Maura McGowan and MoJ Consultation Paper

In a very busy week for Criminal Lawyers, Kirstin talks to Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar Council about her role, Christopher Grayling's proposals and her view on direct action.  

Ben tells us about the Meeting of the Northern Circuit and roving reporter Jonathan Holt roves once more to talk to Michael Turner QC, Chairman of the CBA .

Listen by clicking here.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

S08E01 - Northpod Law Live from MMU

Our panel of experts discussed whether the Criminal Bar and solicitors' firms as we know them have any place in the aftermath of the sweeping reforms and cost-cutting measures deployed by successive governments of England & Wales.

Students and current practitioners attended and listened live online with Twitter being the platform for discussion.

The Panel was:

Ian West (anti-QASA campaigner and barrister on the North-East Circuit)
Simon Csoka QC (Criminal Bar Association - Northern Circuit)
Franklin Sinclair (Solicitor and senior partner of Tuckers Solicitors)
Margaret MacDonald (Head of advocacy at MMU and civil counsel)

Many thanks go to those in attendance and to MMU for kindly hosting this event free of charge.

Thanks also go to Central Chambers, Manchester for assisting in this event and for assisting with CPD accreditation for those in attendance.

NB: - CPD is pending as at 18th April but those who would qualify for the hours will be notified by email. Chaired by Kirstin Beswick Produced by Ben Knight (who also did a bit of speaking!)

The show is found here.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

S07E06 - Cake and Sex

It’s the cake and er... sex as the series ends with a fabulous interview with Felicity Gerry.  She talks to Ben about sex trials, anonymity of defendants accused of rape, cross-examination of witnesses in sex trials and other related issues.

This week also saw a meeting on the Northern Circuit about the future of the Bar - and the threats to it.  As a result, all members of Circuit will be balloted over QASA.  Kirstin tells us what the questions will be and we discuss the apparent feeling on other circuits.

Then we have our second review of Blackstone’s Criminal Practice 2013 in electronic format.  Is it still very nearly the Bee’s knees?  Have any or all of the niggles we had last time been resolved?

Keep us up to date with your views during the break via Twitter (@northpodlaw), e-mail ( or leave us a voice message (0161 408 5037). 

Find the show right here.

Felicity Gerry
Blackstone’s Criminal Practice


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