Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:
- Justice System
Reported by Jutha Cheewat
High Court ruled the government’s consultation on legal aids cut unlawful
Following the 2017 regulations, The Law Society has brought forward a judicial review challenging the consultation put forward by the Ministry of Justice. The high court has now given a ruling that the proposal to cut criminal solicitors’ fees on evidence work up to 37% was unlawful as the consultation process was unfair.
The court was questioning the legitimacy of the plan. Lord Justice Leggatt and Mrs Justice Carr, said it was “difficult to express in the language of appropriate moderation why we consider these arguments without merit”.
The proposals specifically lowered the threshold of pages a criminal solicitor can charge for reviewing additional documents from 10,000 to 6,000 pages.
This causes many concerns as criminal trials are known to be complicated and lengthy. The outcome was, to a certain extent, as a result of the crisis occurred due to the collapse of rape trials for failure to disclose essential documents.
John Halford, who represented the Law Society, said to the Guardian
“Legal aid was established and should function as a basic, non-negotiable safeguard of fair process and individual liberty in criminal cases.
The effects of legal aids cut have already taken a toll on the number of criminal solicitors registered in England and Wales. There was also a sharp fall in numbers of criminal defuse work.
For more information, see the Guardian
- Environmental Law
Reported by Nathan Gore
Bar Council says that Gove’s environmental watchdog will be ‘useless’
Lawyers say Gove proposals for Brexit environmental watchdog are useless
According to the Bar Council, composed of the country’s top lawyers, a proposed new environmental watchdog announced by Michael Gove will lack the necessary legal ‘teeth’ to enable it to hold the government to account.
According to this group of lawyers, this body charged that will be charged with the UK’s environmental protection will not be able to take the Government to court over any environmental failures. This will mean that it will not be able to replicate the current safeguards that exist to protect things such as air and water quality.
The Bar Council wrote: “[We] consider that the new body – as currently proposed – would lack equivalent powers to those currently available to the [European] Commission and other related legal bodies. [We are] therefore concerned that there is an absence of powers that have any real force or ‘teeth’.”
These concerns have been raised due to the impending departure of the UK from the EU, the body that has been responsible for the majority of the environmental regulation for the last 20-30 years.
For more information, see the Guardian
- Criminal Law
Reported by Paige Waters
Gang members stopped before causing serious injuries during people smuggling
A surveillance operation discovered a gang of six men who are from Kent and an Albanian ‘travel agents’ who were people-smuggling migrants from near Calais to Kent.
They were trying to bring the migrants over to Kent using jet skis and inflatable boats. It has been said that the boats were dangerously overcrowded. The dangerously overcrowded inflatable got in trouble and had to be rescued. This led the gang members to try and smuggle the migrants over using a three-person jet ski. Luckily the national Crime agency who led the surveillance operation intervened stopping the use of jet skis for people smuggling. This was before anyone was seriously injured.
The men were found guilty of people smuggling. Following the conviction, the court heard that the gang members charged women and childred £6000 each to cross the channel.
NCA senior investigator Mark McCormack said the gang was dangerously incompetent as they had little knowledge of how to run a boat. He stated “we have people controlling vessels with no maritime experience, no sailing experience, who have completed very rudimentary courses of one or two days, trying to cross this busy shipping channel at night in a small vessel not utilising lights or radar. So it increases the risk of migrants coming over and it puts their lives at real risk, which is why we are the NCA were trying to stop those people.”
The date has not been set for the men to be sentenced.
For more information, see the Guardian.