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

Social Media Raising the Bar

By Clare Rodway LLB, founder and Managing Director of specialist legal PR consultancy, Kysen. What will 2019 bring for barristers’ relationships with the legal press? A strange question to be asking in the pages of one of the Bar’s leading trade magazines, you might think. But the truth is, social media has completely changed the…Continue Reading

Preventing Digital Exclusion from Online Justice

The HMCTS reform agenda, with its emphasis on digitisation of court processes has been ambitious, revolutionary and unprecedented. But as more and more court processes go online, and without the assistance that might have been available before the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, there is a risk that access to justice…Continue Reading

Improving transparency standards for clients of the Bar

Bar Standards Board (BSB) Director General, Dr Vanessa Davies, sets out the regulator’s requirements for price, service and redress transparency following the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMAs) 2016 recommendations. In December 2016, the CMA concluded that competition in legal services for individual consumers and small businesses is not working well. In particular, it found that…Continue Reading

Building rapport within mediation

Mediation is a powerful tool for resolving disputes and one of the key pillars of mediation is the trust that the mediator is able to build with and between the parties, often in a short space of time. Trust cannot be assumed, simply because all the parties have agreed to mediation, possibly the choice of…Continue Reading

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