The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 25th September 2017

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 25th September 2017

Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week.

Family Law

CPS makes commitment to male victims of sexual and domestic abuse

Reported by Anna Flaherty

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has made a public statement saying that there is a need to recognise the experiences of men who have been victims of domestic abuse, rape, harassment, stalking and child sexual abuse.

According to the CPS, men tend to avoid reporting these abuses, due to the fear that they will be deemed to be emasculated, or that others will make homophobic assumptions.

To tackle the low number of reported experiences, the CPS is taking action by introducing new measures. The CPS will be working with campaign groups to raise awareness of the problem and to encourage men to make a report, despite their fears. Prosecutors will also be educated, to help them understand the experiences of these men and the reasons for which they are hesitant to report the issue.

Hopefully these changes will help promote a society where men are not judged for such experiences, and a greater number of these offenders will be prosecuted as a result.

Read more about this news here, and here.

Criminal Law

Oxford student spared jail after stabbing boyfriend

Reported by Paige Waters

Lavinia Woodward, an Oxford student, stabbed her boyfriend earlier this year – 30th September 2016 – and has now been given a suspended sentence.

The reason for this sentence is due to the judge stating that a prison sentence could damage the prospect of Woodward becoming a heart surgeon, therefore this would potentially ruin her medical career. In the judge’s opinion, a prison sentence in this instance would have been too severe.

Woodward admitted to unlawfully wounding the Cambridge University student, whom she met on tinder. The sentence received was 10 months’ jail time, suspended for 18 months. This decision came from Judge Ian Pringle QC, who sat at Oxford Crown Court.

Woodward did not only stab her then-boyfriend in the leg, she also proceeded to punch him in the face and throw a laptop, glass and jam jar at him during the attack.

Pringle commented on the case earlier this year, hinting that Woodward would not be jailed as he stated “it seems to me that if this was a one-off, a complete one-off, to prevent this extraordinarily able young lady from now following her long-held desire to enter the profession she wishes would be a sentence which would be too severe

Comments have been made following the decision that the judge was too ‘lenient’, and basing his decision too heavily on Woodward’s academic background. However, Woodward’s defence lawyer, James Sturman QC has commented saying “the judge’s comments have been taken out of context and it was wrong to say the defendant had been given a lenient background due to her academic achievement.”

During her sentencing, Pringle said “There are many mitigating features in your case. Principally, at the age of 24, you have no previous convictions of any nature whatsoever.

Secondly, I find that you were genuinely remorseful following this event and you contacted your partner to fully confess your guilt and your deep sorrow for what happened, even though it was against your bail conditions.

Thirdly, while you are a clearly highly intelligent individual, you had an immaturity about you which was not commensurate for someone of your age.

Fourthly, as the reports from the experts make clear, you suffer from an emotionally unstable personality disorder, a serve eating disorder, and alcohol and drug dependence.”

Read more in The Guardian.

Employment Law

Number of EU workers seeking employment in the UK has nosedived

Reported by Radhika Morally

Research conducted by a leading recruitment website has revealed that the number of applicants from the EU applying for work in the UK has fallen dramatically since the UK decided to leave the European Union in June 2016.

In some member states, the percentage of applicants has fallen by nearly half. Mr Lee Biggins, the head of CV-Library, has revealed that the data “brings to light the concerns among EU workers around Brexit, with those living in other European countries clearly pulling back the reins on their UK job applications.”

Although it has been suggested that the uncertainty about what is to happen has “sparked fears among businesses”, not as much has been said about the potential responses of EU workers. A leaked Home Office memo has revealed draft proposals which could mean that low-skilled EU workers would be limited to a 2 year stay in the UK, whilst skilled workers would be permitted 5 years.

Mr Biggins has shown concern towards the potential effects of the resulting shortage of interest from some member states, stating that “we do not have enough talent in the UK to meet demand right now” leaving many organisations with ‘recruitment challenges.’

He is not alone in expressing these sentiments. A paper by the UK’s chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has expressed that the ‘important safety valve for organisations that cannot find skilled labour in the UK’ in the form of the EU is now coming to an end.

Recent survey results have shown that this trend is only going to continue. Research conducted by the professional services group, Deloitte, has revealed that 47% of the 2,000 skilled non-British workers were considering leaving the UK within the next five years.

For more information, see The Telegraph and The Financial Times

Finance Law

Britain’s credit rating downgraded

Reported by Spencer Yap

Moody’s, one of the Big Three credit ratings agencies comprising of Standard & Poor, Fitch Group and Moody’s, recently cut UK’s credit ratings from Aa1 to Aa2. This follows after the agency deprived the UK of its ‘triple A’ rating following the confirmation of Brexit in 2016.

This has happened despite Britain’s ability to cut the budget deficit from 10% to in 2010, to 2.3% in the fiscal year of 2016/17, coupled with numbers showing recovering government finances with tax receipts exceeding spending.

Moody’s ‘expects the budget deficit to remain at 3% to 3.5% of GDP in coming years against the government’s plan of a gradual reduction to below 1% in 2021/22.’ The rating agency further attributed the drop in rating to Brexit, stating that ‘fiscal pressures will be exacerbated by the erosion of the UK’s medium-term economic strength that is likely to result from the manner of its departure from the European Union, and by the increasingly apparent challenges to policy-making given the complexity of Brexit negotiations and associated domestic political dynamics.’

The Treasury has accused the ratings to be inaccurate, following Theresa May’s speech on the divorce bill which it claims that it provides more clarity on the matter, which should provide less volatility on the market. Furthermore, the Treasury mentioned that Britain has successfully reduced the budget deficit whilst simultaneously sourcing funding for the public sector.

Despite this, the shadow treasury chief secretary, Peter Dowd, criticises the government. Stating that it is the second time the Tories has caused the UK’s credit rating to be cut, he places the blame on the party’s lack of faith in their “chancellor to meet his own spending targets as a result of unfunded spending commitments such as the deal with the DUP.”

In the meantime, Liberal Democrat leader, Sir Vince Cable, warns that the downgrading should serve as a warning that, if Britain follows through with a hard Brexit, a weaker UK economy will be the likely outcome.

Read more in The Guardian here, and here.


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