Thursday, 30 January 2014

S11E04 - Of Interest to the Public

Ben and Jonathan get to grips with some matters of public importance this week's show

First up is a look at the guidance (in force from February 2014) on the publication of decisions of the family courts and the Court of Protection.  There are some interesting questions raised about how this is going to work and who is paying for it.  

Either way, you'll have to know about this if you work in either of these areas of law and the public may well find the reality of these cases far more challenging than the abstract way in which they are reported at present.

We move on to the case of the "Iceland Three".  This story was all over social media this week.  This was the case of three men who faced prosecution for taking food from a skip at a London branch of London.  There was outrage and a change in CPS approach but, once you factor-in other information that appeared in later reports, did the CPS make the right call or were they duped by the publicity?

Then onto our favourite [redacted for legal purposes], Theresa May.  She has been calling for some powers that, if they were to be used against convicted terrorists, you might think were pretty obvious, but that's not quite what she wants.  We look at the terrible misreporting of this case by almost all UK media.  There is some very scary devil in the detail and Ben issues a personal thanks to his MP, Hazel Blears, for being one of the 297 MPs who played politics with something the UN think is fundamental to a person's very being.

As always, there is stuff that we didn't get to this week.  Please see the show notes below for the links to those stories and for all of the articles for the above.

We'll be back next week when hopefully Kirstin will be back with us and Mr Kipling will have sent us some cake.  Or Iceland might have sent us a prawn ring.  Let's hope it's the former.

You can listen to show by clicking right here but, of course, we'd prefer that you subscribed on iTunes or via Google Play Store or via any good podcatcher app on your phone/tablet.  Ben from Northpod Law particularly recommends this one for Android and iOS.
You can also find us on Stitcher and soon on TuneIn.


- The public will get to peer at the decisions of the Family courts and the Court of Protection under the new transparency guidance.
- Skipping case - in the public interest until the public gets interested.
CPS decision (as reported in Indie) PLUS the shades of grey appear:
Iceland 2nd statement:
- Theresa May and the race to the bottom on Immigration toughness leads to 11th-hour amendment to bill to include right to strip naturalised Brits of their nationality.
What does ILPA say? They say not within scope.
Not just “terrorism suspects” or “terrorists” at all.  Read the section (at page 1651):
Actual reasons for Home Sec simply to be satisfied of are:
Home Sec satisfied that it is conducive to the public good because that person has conducted himself in such a manner that is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK.  
AND if it’s a decision taken
then there will be no public information as to why the decision has been made and there will be no right of appeal.
Not just May, of course.  100 MPs support this, including Hazel Blears.
Further reading/”No time for” stories
- 17 y.o. death at YOI Wetherby
- Even those terps who scabbed and went to work for Capita are now calling for a boycott.  This is because Capita has finally scrapped Tier 2/3 terps and so the power is now in the hands of the Tier 1s.
Premier League IP case:
But, in Feb 2012

Friday, 24 January 2014

S11E03 - Dangerously Out Of Control

You can listen to show by clicking right here but, of course, we'd prefer that you subscribed on iTunes or via Google Play Store or via any good podcatcher app on your phone/tablet.  Ben from Northpod Law particularly recommends this one for Android and iOS.

The Court of Appeal recently took the opportunity to set straight a peculiarity in the law that has existed since 1991.  Most criminal lawyers will have dealt with the scenario with which the court was concerned and the Court of Appeal have used their powers of statutory interpretation to fix what most would see as a terribly unfair and poorly-drafted bit of legislation: the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

It had appeared, until recently, that s.3(1) of the 1991 Act had created an offence whereby you could go to prison for up to two years even if you did nothing wrong.  It is unlikely that this case will be overturned any time soon as it needed fixing but see what you think about it.

The case and some other reading material are below.

Then we move on to our second case of the week; in fact, it's one of Mr Knight's.

The appeal against sentence of Connor Martin was described as an exceptional case by the Court of Appeal because it dealt with the unusual scenario of a Crown Court Judge giving an express indication of what sentence would be imposed after a Newton hearing and then imposing a higher sentence.  The case was regarding legitimate expectation and gives the strongest indication that judges should never give such indications prior to the decision being taken to hold a Newton hearing.  

We do have a quick look at the QASA judicial review decision of the High Court but it contained few surprises.  We promised in the show that we would give you a link to a good set of reactions to the decision.  It is in the links below.

A very important precedent has been set in Dangerous Dogs cases.  The strict liability offence of having a dog dangerously out of control in a public place has just had a much-needed caveat added to it by the Court of Appeal.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

S11E02 - Filth, Filthy Behaviour and Filthy Lucre

You can listen to show by clicking right here but, of course, we'd prefer that you subscribed on iTunes or via Google Play Store or via any good podcatcher app on your phone/tablet.  Ben from Northpod Law particularly recommends this one for Android and iOS.
On this week's show, we take you through the details of the Sexual Offences Guidelines on sentencing.  We consider not only the mechanics of the guidelines for rape and assault by penetration but also the reasoning behind some of the changes.  The link to the guidelines is below.
Jonathan takes a look at the case that made the CPS cringe this week.  Did cost considerations really lead to the CPS binning at trial?  The full text is below.
The CBA meet with Grayling and it does not look good.
Andrew Neil meets with Grayling and makes him look a fool.  Turns out ministerial responsibility is a principle no longer appreciated by the Lord Chancellor.  Thanks to the BBC for the clip.
And a whole pile of other news stories that caught our eye but for which we had no time left.  Lots to get through in the links below.


Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics:
1. Grayling admits that the barristers’ earnings figures published out of nowhere last week were not an accurate reflection of the actual earnings but says that, even though his department published the stats, he could not be responsible for it.  This was during interview on Sunday Politics with Andrew Neil.

2. Law Society says that the drop in crime, year on year, will save £80m in legal aid by 2019 so no cuts are needed.
But it’s a bit undermined by its own preamble: Top of page 6
'The MoJ and LAA have been extremely helpful in supporting this work. However the LAA’s forecasting model draws on a number of datasets and assumptions that are not publically available. Without first-hand access to the LAA model or the confidential datasets, it has not been possible fully to recreate the LAA’s forecast for future years. The criminal Legal Aid expenditure forecast generated  by our model cannot therefore be directly compared to the LAA’s figures in any given year.'
and the MoJ told the Gazette:
‘This forecast is far less accurate than our own. Last year our forecast was correct to within 1%, whereas if we had used Oxford Economics analysis, we would have repeatedly overspent our legal aid litigation budget in the past few years.’ - interesting based upon Grayling’s view of the Ministry’s ability with figures...

3. A few days later, tory-rag the Daily Mail trumpets that that MoJ’s crime figures are wrong and that crime is not falling at all - therefore the Law Society’s argument must be wrong too.  Will May and the police get thrown on to the sacrificial bonfire by Grayling to continue his hate campaign against legal aid lawyers?  

4. 140 fewer courts but still the same costs for security?  Law Soc Gaz gets all FOI on the MoJ and reveals some odd answers:

5. What cost injustice?  This is devastating to the CPS.
JD: A summary of the highly pertinent info (yes, that’s 1.2 million):

Crown Prosecution Service


Some interesting stats on interpreters at court.  
In response to our request for comment from Geoffrey Buckingham
Chairman, APCI, he said “you may like to see the APCI FB page (link below) which has a comment;

The MoJ has published statistics for the performance of the Framework Agreement. They have done their best to dress it up, but you know that old saying about lipstick and bulldogs? Well they've gone a step further and put a dress and hat on it."
There is rather more considered comment and analysis to come on their website:

Family courts clogged

But Law Society thinks that it has spotted a problem.  Fee-charging McKenzie friends trying to make money by plugging the gap left by legal aid cuts (especially in family law):

Cops want to stop locking kids up in Greater Manchester

On the subject of locking up kids, this is often the subject of coroners’ Prevention of Future Deaths reports (or “Rule 43 reports” as they used to be known).  These have just started to be made available online.  Good news for transparency and for research.

Friday, 10 January 2014

S11E01 - The Truth vs A Good Story

Welcome to Series 11 of Northpod Law.

You can listen to show by clicking right here but, of course, we'd prefer that you subscribed on iTunes or via Google Play Store or via any good podcatcher app on your phone/tablet.  Ben from Northpod Law particularly recommends this one for Android and iOS.

This week, we talk about the statistics on sentencing and how most of what you hear about them is nonsense.  We say "told ya so" about IPNAs after the House of Lords gives the Government a bloody nose.

We look at the actual findings of the Mark Duggan inquest jury (as opposed to the claptrap spouted by many a public figure this week).

We take a look through the hits and misses of the strike action (oops we used the S word) on 6th January and call out the scabs.  We can find many positives in this though.

Last but not least, Jonathan takes us on a tour of the recent decision on Gulshan in which the wheels get a bit wobbly when free-wheeling around article 8.

Links are below, folks.

Whilst we were off air:
- thanks to UKCLBP - and see their very good piece on the sentencing statistics that have been misreported everywhere. 

- IPNAs a no-no

- Mark Duggan inquest - jury’s actual conclusions

- Vote of no confidence in Law Soc management -

- 6th Jan 2014 - a partial success - sols hang heads in shame - says Bill Waddington (CLSA)

Immigration case
Full Case: Gulshan (Article 8 – new Rules – correct approach) [2013] UKUT 640 (IAC)


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