Mental health and learning disabilities in the criminal courts
As all lawyers know only too well, high numbers of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities come into contact with the criminal justice system. However, their condition is not always recognised before they appear before the courts, often leaving magistrates and judges with insufficient information about how best they might be dealt with during court proceedings and when considering sentencing options. In 2009 Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems and learning disabilities in the criminal justice system recommended awareness training people in the criminal justice system. Working together with the Magistrates' Association, the Judicial College and Justices' Clerks' Society, Rethink Mental Illness and the Prison Reform Trust have developed a resource that should be of use to lawyers, magistrates, judges, and court staff.
The resource includes information about mental health conditions and learning disabilities, and the implications of these conditions for individuals appearing before the courts; ways in which defendants can be helped to participate effectively in court proceedings; and sentencing options. Film clips are used to help illuminate main points.
The online version of the resource can be found at: www.mhldcc.org.uk
New disqualification rules to apply to lay employees
The new Code of Conduct for barristers contains new rules that will allow the Bar Standards Board (BSB) to disqualify a lay employee working in chambers.
A successful disqualification order will make it a breach of the Handbook for any person authorised by the BSB to employ the disqualified person without prior approval from the regulator.
The rules state that all employees of BSB regulated persons will be subject to disqualification if they breach – or cause an authorised person to breach – the regulatory rules which apply to them and it is in the public interest to prevent them from working for a BSB authorised person.
Head of Professional Practice at the Bar Standards Board, Ewen Macleod said: “As a regulator, it is our primary responsibility to protect the public and these rules leave us in a better position to do this. However, we anticipate such action would only be taken relatively infrequently and in cases where it is proportionate to do so to protect the public.”
Only the Disciplinary Tribunal or Interim Panel would have the power to disqualify any non-authorised employees working in chambers.
The changes will be introduced as part of the new BSB Handbook and revised Code of Conduct, which come into force on 6 January 2014.
All chambers will be expected to appoint a member responsible for liaising with the BSB, who will help streamline communication and the flow of information between the chambers and the regulator. This replaces the current duty on heads of chambers.
For more information about the new Handbook and revised Code of Conduct visit www.barstandardsboard.org.uk/handbook.
LEADING QC ROBERT RHODES JOINS MYBARRISTER
London, 23 October 2013 -- Online find-a-barrister service myBarrister.co.uk is pleased to announce that leading business law, alternative dispute resolution, and criminal fraud specialist Robert Rhodes QC has signed-up as an associate.
Robert Rhodes QC is now available for direct access instruction from the public and businesses via the myBarrister portal. This is a significant sign-up for myBarrister, which was founded by former Shearman & Sterling litigator Ronald De Koven in April of this year.
Robert Rhodes QC has extensive experience both in the UK and internationally in the areas of commercial fraud, tax and VAT investigations, and mediation and arbitration. He has successfully defended many high profile fraud cases, including Wickes plc and Barlow Clowes, as well as being on numerous international mediation and arbitration bodies, such as the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), and the Chinese Arbitration Association.
Commenting on this new sign-up, myBarrister director Jonathan Maskew said: “As one of the UK’s foremost Silks, Robert Rhodes QC’s involvement with myBarrister means the public and businesses can now access the very highest quality of legal advice quickly and easily. We are delighted to be able to offer the level of legal expertise that Robert Rhodes QC brings to the table as we continue with our aim to become the largest single source of barristers in the country.”
Robert Rhodes QC, added: “While some cases are simply too complex to be handled by a barrister on his own, getting a specialist on board right from the start means the person making the enquiry can immediately see what his options are, and plan how to proceed. “
“From experience this can save huge amounts of time and money further down the road, and is why I see preliminary advice via direct access as an important step for those needing quick action on their case and immediate peace of mind.
“Using a barrister as a mediator or arbitrator can also help to resolve issues before they reach the courts. Equally suitable in both commercial and personal disputes this is an area of direct access instruction I particularly look forward to undertaking through the myBarrister portal.”
Notes to Editor
For more information, please contact:
Milly Marshall, Rhizome PR
T: +44 (0) 207 851 4757
myBarrister's mission is to make the skills and expertise of Britain's barristers available to people and businesses across the country. It's increasingly difficult to find good value legal advice from a skilled legal professional. myBarrister intends to put that right. myBarrister is run by a group of highly experienced professionals, with many years of experience in the legal world. You can contact us email@example.com.