Magna Carta, a source of influence for law and justice around the world for nearly eight centuries, is the ancestor of both the British and American legal systems. In 1957, the American Bar Association recognized the “Great Charter’s” importance by erecting a memorial at its founding site in Runnymede. We look forward to the upcoming 800th anniversary celebrations in both our countries.
There’s a lot of talk about the death of the Independent Bar; a need for change and drastic restructure that may simply be too late. The debate, however, rages on. Many believe that the financial difficulties facing the publicly funded Bar are real, but that they are not affecting the privately funded Bar. As a result, the self-employed Barrister lives on, and the Bar once again fails to change.
Much has been said about the ability of jurors to understand legal direction in criminal trials. In particular, legal direction regarding the criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt (BRD) has come under close scrutiny with questions raised as to the extent to which jurors’ correctly understand and apply the standard
The purpose of this article is to briefly examine the case for televising court proceedings based on the principle of open justice. The Crime and Courts Act 2013 provides that existing legislation, which prohibits photography, drawing in court and sound recordings, can be disapplied in certain circumstances. So far, only Court of Appeal hearings have been affected, but it is anticipated that cameras will spread gradually to other courts, including the Crown Court and, in time, perhaps even the magistrates’ court.
With the Bar Council stoking the furnace over ‘public access’ for the last 10 years, there has been constant regulatory change surrounding the initiative, suggesting either a carefully measured approach to improving competitive practices, or an ad hoc response to what may be fundamental flaws in the original idea that no amount of regulatory adjustment can resolve.
The legal profession is often seen as a static environment by those working outside it (and sometimes within it), populated by traditional partnership structures and slow to implement the different concepts embraced by other industries such as outsourcing. However, the legal workplace is also undergoing change as increasing numbers of personnel consider the alternatives to private practice or self-employment, encouraged by initiatives such as the relaxation of the Bar Standards Board’s regulatory changes allowing barristers to act as partners in a law firm.
Compelled interviews are a long-standing feature of the criminal and regulatory landscape in the UK. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has the power to compel persons to answer questions under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a similar power under section 171 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA). Answers given in such interviews are not generally admissible as evidence against the interviewee in criminal proceedings
The Dewani extradition has brought the importance of international cooperation in serious criminal cases to the fore once again. But extradition is not the only issue involved in cases of this type – sometimes establishing where a crime took place can be important. For example, in the recent case against Rimas Venclovas, the victim was abducted from Peterborough by her Lithuanian ex-husband and her body was discovered in Poland. The case raised the question of whether the suspect should be tried in the English courts. So how can the courts cope with cross-jurisdictional issues of this kind?