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James R. Silkenat shares the American Bar Association’s ideas for 2014

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.

Honesty is the Best Policy: The Public Image of the Independent Bar

By Emily Lanham,law graduate currently working as a paralegal in a London Chambers and independently with Burton Copeland solicitors

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.

The verdict on reasonable doubt

By Samantha Lundrigan, PhD Anglia Ruskin University

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

Open Justice – the principled case for televising courts

By Richard Glover. School of Law, University of Wolverhampton, co-author, Murphy on Evidence

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.

Barristers risk losing their Public Access advantage - Unless essential steps are taken

By Dr. Yuri Rapoport, Executive Director, Legal Cost Finance

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.

Transition within the legal sector – how to manage the process successfully

By Agnes Bamford of executive coaching company The Results Centre

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.

A question of compulsion: US requests for compelled FCA interviews

By Andrew Smith, Partner, Corker Binning

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

International cooperation in criminal cases

By David O’Mahony , barrister at 7 Bedford Row who acted on behalf of the prosecution in the R v. Venclovas case.

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?

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