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.

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