Unlocking the Potential of AI for English Law

  Artificial intelligence (AI) is attracting enormous hype in the media and public discourse. Well-publicised recent successes have included self-teaching board game champions and leaps towards self-driving cars. Economists see AI as a nascent general purpose technology, capable of transforming working patterns in professional sectors, including law, in a way that some liken to the…Continue Reading

Online justice: investment needed as drive for reform grows

At the end of 2018, London hosted the inaugural International Forum on Online Courts. The event was attended by around 200 legal professionals and other stakeholders from over 20 countries, with discussions focusing on the development of online courts. The launch of the Forum is indicative of how, globally, justice is moving online. Both civil…Continue Reading

Legal Aid review: welcome words, but time for action

  In February, the Ministry of Justice published its long-awaited review into the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), which aimed to cut £350m per annum from the annual Legal Aid bill from 2013. I chair the Family Law Reform Group of the national family justice organisation, Resolution. The…Continue Reading

New BSB Transparency Rules

New rules to improve transparency standards for barristers clients came into force on 1 July. The new transparency standards are designed to improve the information available to the public before they engage the services of a barrister. BSB Director of Strategy and Policy, Ewen MacLeod explains what is changing. In December 2016, the Competition and…Continue Reading

How to encourage mediation without compulsion 

Barristers are increasingly training as mediators and attending mediations on behalf of clients as advocates. Many clients are requesting barrister mediators, as they are perceived to be more knowledgeable about legal principles and authoritative. So there are a lot of opportunities for barristers to train as mediators and now the recommendations of the Civil Justice…Continue Reading

Nigel Booth, Criminal Barrister at St John’s Buildings, comments on the rise in people representing themselves at Court, and the key things people should consider when facing the prospect

In my twenty plus years at the Bar, I have seen many people representing themselves who have little idea what they are doing. Lack of experience is not their fault – how are they to know what to do? Criminal practitioners start their practice prosecuting unrepresented defendants in the Magistrates’ Courts. But unrepresented defendants in…Continue Reading

The criminal law disclosure process – why is the system failing?

  The disclosure process asks police and prosecutors to shoot themselves in the foot, by assisting the defence. They should be proud to do so. For, in so doing, they are upholding faith in the justice system itself, and helping ensure that the innocent are not wrongfully convicted. Prosecutors’ disclosure obligations arise from the fundamental…Continue Reading

So you need a Digital Forensic Expert?

As digital devices continue to embed themselves in modern life, the amount of evidence that can be gleaned from them grows at an alarming rate.  Commonplace is digital evidence from mobile phones, tablets and computers, but useful evidence is emerging from the cloud, vehicle infotainment systems, vehicle trackers, drones that store or relay location data,…Continue Reading

Criminal Justice : Years of neglect have heaped colossal pressure on the whole system including those who work hard in it, and basic legal advice is being denied to people when they need it most

. After decades of legal aid cuts by successive governments the criminal legal aid market has been placed under extreme pressure. Underfunding of the CPS and the Court system also contributes to the growth of inefficiency in the system, which in some instances is crumbling literally as well as metaphorically. The right to a fair…Continue Reading

Understanding Courts

  Something JUSTICE has been increasingly aware of in its work in recent years – but perhaps over its whole 61 year history – is that access to justice is undermined if people cannot understand the legal process that is taking place. This concern has formed the focus of our most recent report, Understanding Courts.…Continue Reading

Unlike some, I am not upset by the increases for the CPS employees

On the 12 March 2019 the news broke that the First Division Association (FDA), the trade union representing civil servants including employees of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), had won pay increases of between 8 and 10% for CPS employees with an increase of 13% in overtime pay. The news was greeted with astonishment by…Continue Reading

No-fault divorce law puts focus on fairness of financial outcome

Last month, following a 12-week government consultation, it was announced that no-fault divorce will come into effect in the UK ‘as soon a Parliamentary time allows’. The announcement of this new legislation marks a major shift in the way divorce proceedings are perceived in the UK. Under the current regime, unless they have been separated…Continue Reading

Politics and the law: Where do we draw the line?

Whilst the division of legal authority between Parliament (our primary law maker) and the courts (our interpreter of the legislation passed) and the sovereignty of Parliament is a concept familiar to the judiciary, respect for it in practice has been challenged by politicians, the press and the public who have, in recent times, asked whether…Continue Reading

Litigation funding bring level playing field in accessing justice

Litigation funding bring level playing field in accessing justice President of the Family Division of the High Court, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has recently published his views on what he refers to as the ‘unprecedented and unsustainable’ pressure currently facing the family justice system.  In the wake of cuts to legal aid, he has reported a…Continue Reading

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