The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 25th March

The Future Lawyer Weekly Update – w/c 25th March

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

Criminal Justice

Reported by Paige Waters

Young offenders stopped contact from the outside world. 

Aylesbury Young Offender Institution in Buckinghamshire has been placed into special measures following the discovering that inmates were being locking alone in their cells for up to 23 hours day. 

Furthermore, it has been discovered the institution left inmates in the segregation unit for up to 3 months at a time. 

The prison was placed into special measures by the Ministry of Justice as a precaution to help improve safety and living conditions. 

Laura Janes from The Howard League for Penal Reform has stated: “it has been inundated with calls from distressed young adults isolated in their cells for over 23 hours a day, often for weeks and sometimes months at a time.”

“They described feeling bored, frustrated and sometimes even suicidal.” 

It has been found the inmates did not know when they would be free from isolation which led to the numerous complaints and safeguarding referrals to the prison. 

This showed the prison to be in a state of crisis. 

Janes continued to state that “it is well known that locking energetic young men in their cells for excessive periods of time can cause irreversible harm. It is unfair on them and the staffed charged with their case, and does nothing to help prevent reoffending.” 

Find out more here

Gender Equality

The Centenary of Women in Law is approaching: A Call for full gender equality from Lady Hale

Reported by Emma Ducroix

Supreme Court president never dismiss the fact she is a feminist. According to her, at least half of the judiciary should be women, and it was the words of Britain’s most senior judge as well.

As reminder, Brenda Hale is the first woman as the head of the UK Supreme Court in history. At an event for the centenary, she made the call for full gender equality across the judiciary.

In accordance with Ministry of Justice figures, only 29% of court judges are currently women. 

Higher in the lower courts, the ratio of female to male judges is only 3 out of 12 in the UK’s top court. 

In the centenary’s speech, Lady Hale said that, as women made up half of the population, “we should be half of judges at least”. According to her, the 2018 increase to a quarter of judges in the supreme court was an important breakthrough.

Lady Hale has have a conversation with Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss and Teresa Doherty CBE, both belonging to the domain of law. And also 3 law professors at an event organized by the UK Association of Women Judges.

For them, Lady Hale is “the first ‘out’ feminist of the UK supreme court as well as a beacon and an icon with well-deserved rock-star status”.

At one time, at the district bench, Lady Hale was informed that there were no female judges. And that the district wanted a woman who was married with children to join the ranks of male judges.

For the women belonging to the world of law, they consider Hale as the first women to break through into the male-dominated world of the highest echelons of the judiciary. 

In order to help her for the full equality gender in the magistrature, one of them recommend “a quiet approach” to not deter those in charge of judicial appointments.

The risk is a “Part of it is that I have never hesitated to call myself a feminist,” said Hale. 

But, “It should never be a term of abuse or embarrassment. We should be equal to men and have equal rights. Everybody in this room should be a feminist. I find it quite astonishing that it took until 2004 to put a woman in the House of Lords”. Indeed, Hale became the first female law lord that year. 

In contrast to her colleagues, Doherty’s career has been spent abroad. And she noticed “many great injustices,” “Particularly women convicted by village courts.”

Doherty, who is from Northern Ireland, cited as her heroines “the women I knew who worked in factories and kept things going during the Troubles”.

Read more here.


High Court ruled £1 an hour wage at detention centres lawful

Immigration detainees launched a legal action against the Home Office. According to Skynews, immigration inmates completed almost 880,000 hours paid work being employed as cleaners, kitchen assistances, and interpreters between 2016-2017.

Duncan Lewis Solicitors, representing the detainees, states that most were paid £1 per hour rate. They put forward the case by way of judicial review against Home Office as their maximum rate policy remain unchanged since 2008.

Statements made by detainees included the horrible working conditions and that inmates felt they were “taken advantage of”.

Mr Justice Murrey, in High Court, found the wages were lawful and the case was dismissed. He said ““I have sympathy for them.” However, his reason was that the purpose of these jobs was not to provide wages but “to provide meaningful activity and alleviate boredom”. It was not compulsory for Inmates do the work.

Inmates are provided with food and accomadation. Therefore, like prisons, these centres are not within the remit of minimum wage law. He also referred to the overreaching purpose of the Immigration Act 1999 which was to provide “secure but humane accommodation”. It was not inhumane to set fixed rate for volunteer work.

Nevertheless, the detainees are seeking permission to appeal. Toufique Hossain, the director at Duncan Lewis affirmed that “The judgment is disappointing, but we will appeal. This is yet another feature of a harsh, hostile, broken immigration detention system that has to come to an end.”

Read more here and here.

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