Guest post: Criminalising corporate law – proposed UK fraud penalties take a leaf out of the US sentencing guidelines

Tough new proposed sentencing guidelines for bribery have been published in a consultation which closes in early October.

The proposals are contained in a document running to 130 pages which deals with proposed sentencing guidelines for fraud, bribery and money laundering offences. Continue reading “Guest post: Criminalising corporate law – proposed UK fraud penalties take a leaf out of the US sentencing guidelines”

Guest Post: Legal education review – why everyone is happy and no one is smiling

Guest Post: Legal education review – why everyone is happy and no one is smiling

So the first round of the Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) is complete. Julian Webb et al’s report is out and the dust can begin to settle. The research phase faced a number of problems. There are four I would emphasise:

  • a wide, ill-defined brief, not susceptible to original research on the resources devoted to it;
  • a long-term neglect of all interested parties to research the links between education, training, regulation and competence; and,
  • a political situation which looks a bit like the Game of Thrones, without the erotica; and,
  • a regulatory framework that owes at least as much to history and politics as it does to the public interest. Continue reading “Guest Post: Legal education review – why everyone is happy and no one is smiling”

Guest post: What does thinking like a professional mean?

Ask yourself this question: do you think of yourself as a professional? For many readers of this blog, I suspect the answer to that question is a rather straightforward, Yes. Now ask yourself this question. Does thinking of yourself as a professional make you more or less ethical?

That is the fascinating issue explored in a new paper from Maryam Kouchaki from the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. I urge all of you with an interest to read it. 
Continue reading “Guest post: What does thinking like a professional mean?”

Guest post: Legal aid reform – a fiscal realist’s view

Guest post: Legal aid reform – a fiscal realist’s view

Even I’m concerned about Chris Grayling’s proposals for criminal legal aid. When the government announced cuts to civil legal aid, I broadly backed them, in contrast to most lawyers. Now, the government’s proposing some further cuts to civil legal aid as well as major changes to the criminal legal aid system most dramatically, a move to competitive tendering of publicly-funded criminal defence work. Continue reading “Guest post: Legal aid reform – a fiscal realist’s view”

Guest post: #SAVEUKJUSTICE and whoring justice to Russian chavs – a few observations from a sardonic law blogger

Guest post: #SAVEUKJUSTICE and whoring justice to Russian chavs – a few observations from a sardonic law blogger

The #SAVEUKJUSTICE demonstration outside the Ministry of Justice yesterday (4 June) was well attended. Coverage of the event has been extensive and well dealt with in the law blogs.

A few observations…

The unified stance taken by the Bar and Law Society has been a remarkable feature of the campaign.Leading lights from the legal profession have given time and thought to putting the message across through blogs and on twitter. Many bloggers have written on the subject. Patrick Tornsey has a comprehensive listing of blogs written by lawyers and others from the legal blogging community.

 

Continue reading “Guest post: #SAVEUKJUSTICE and whoring justice to Russian chavs – a few observations from a sardonic law blogger”

Guest post: Quality in law – endlessly invoked yet never defined

Here’s a question that’s been bothering me of late – what, exactly, is a quality legal service? You’ll have noticed that this phrase has become so common that it no longer requires an adjective (unless it’s poor quality). Many seem to think that if you say often enough that you provide one, it must be true.

It has come to the fore with the debate over criminal legal aid. First there is the Quality Assurance Scheme for Advocates (QASA). This elides ‘quality’ with competence. ‘The aim of QASA,’ says the application to the Legal Services Board for approval of the scheme, ‘is to assess and assure the competence of all advocates conducting criminal advocacy in courts in England and Wales.’

Continue reading “Guest post: Quality in law – endlessly invoked yet never defined”

Guest post: The real ‘scumbag criminal’ is still free – a matter at democracy’s heart

‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ – Martin Luther King – Letter from a Birmingham Jail – 16 April 1963.

Having already successfully stripped legal aid from so many areas of civil work, the government is now bearing down on criminal legal aid. ‘Price Competitive Tendering’ (or PCT) is one of the latest ‘in phrases’ but what does it amount to?

Stripped to its essentials, it means that anyone charged with an offence and who requires legal aid – (that is, most people) – will be allocated a defence lawyer working for one of a small number of large ‘defence factory’ commercial providers.
Continue reading “Guest post: The real ‘scumbag criminal’ is still free – a matter at democracy’s heart”

Guest post: In defence of the billable hour – a contrarian perspective

Guest post: In defence of the billable hour – a contrarian perspective

I enjoyed the recent debate triggered by reports of the US lawsuit accusing DLA Piper of over billing. As expected the comments included a few laments about lawyers’ strange habit of charging clients for inputs in the form of billable hours – strange in the sense that when we buy a quart of milk we expect to pay for milk, not bushels of livestock feed and hours of dairy workers’ time. Continue reading “Guest post: In defence of the billable hour – a contrarian perspective”

Guest post: A Halsbury’s for the people and the battle against legal complexity

Guest post: A Halsbury’s for the people and the battle against legal complexity

The Cabinet Office and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel have published a very interesting report criticising the complexity and quality of legislation and suggesting a much greater willingness to do something about it through an initiative dubbed Good Law.

This section gives a flavour:

Continue reading “Guest post: A Halsbury’s for the people and the battle against legal complexity”