Hidden in plain sight; the problems with current DNA evidence

“In short, the technology and science is so disputed, that there is insufficient consensus in the scientific community regarding the admissibility of these LRs.” [1] “The concluding lesson from the extensive testimony and complex documentary evidence presented in this case is that the specific care required for low-template, low level DNA testing has largely faded…Continue Reading

Transparency in the family courts – President issues a “route map” for those dealing with applications to vary or lift reporting restrictions

At the end of October 2019, the President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane published guidance (first published in draft in May 2019) into reporting from the family courts[1]. It sets out clear guidelines for reporters, litigants and the court when making or responding to a request to vary or lift reporting restrictions. It…Continue Reading

Practice at the Civil Bar: Some intriguing possibilities

In this article, Andrew Thornton, a barrister at Erskine Chambers and a director of FromCounsel.com, Sparqa Legal and Juriosity.com considers some of the ways in which technology may change how the civil law barristers’ practices may evolve over the next decade. Although technological advances have transformed many other professions and industries in the last ten…Continue Reading

Compelling parties to mediate

 For a long time, mediation, or as it is often known, alternative dispute resolution (“ADR”), has been the Cinderella of civil litigation.  Its merits and value have been overlooked for so long.  But that is changing and barristers need to be aware of the growing encouragement, if not to say, compulsion, that is slowly being…Continue Reading

The Times Bond Solon Expert Witness Survey 2019

The Times and Bond Solon Annual Expert Witness Survey 2019* was conducted online from 13th September 2019 to 30th September 2019. 569 experts completed the survey making it one of the largest expert witness surveys conducted in the UK. The report provides the analysis of the results from the survey. Let’s look at some of…Continue Reading

Quality Compromised is Justice Denied

  Great strides have been made in embedding international quality standards in forensic science work that is to be relied upon by investigators and the courts. But these standards alone can’t guarantee that mistakes won’t continue to be made with forensic science at the heart of them. Professor Angela Gallop explains why, and what should…Continue Reading

Crackdown on the misuse of NDAs

Commonly referred to as “gagging clauses” and described in the headlines as “bullying tactics” and “legal weapons for the rich and powerful”, the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) has been a topic of major controversy following revelations about their inappropriate use in high-profile scandals (such as the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the Presidents Club dinner). Some commentators…Continue Reading

Diversity must be put at the heart of the legal sector’s future

In 1914, the radical pamphlet ‘Sex Differentiation In Salary’ was published, arguing that women should have equal pay for equal work. Its author was Helen Normanton, who later became the first female barrister in the UK. Already a history lecturer and qualified teacher, Normanton applied to study law in 1918 at the Middle Temple. She…Continue Reading

Middle Temple Celebrates a Century of Women in Law

Sisters in Law In December 1919, the first woman was admitted to an Inn of Court, Middle Temple – just 24 hours after the Sex Discrimination (Removal) Act was passed. Who The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, commonly known simply as Middle Temple, is one of the four Inns of Court exclusively entitled to…Continue Reading

The BSB’s new Bar Qualification Rules

On 1 April 2019, our new Bar Qualification rules came into effect. They can be viewed in Part 4 of the BSB Handbook and should be read in conjunction with the Bar Qualification Manual, which sets out how the rules are applied. The changes to the rules are an evolution, not a revolution. Our aim…Continue Reading

The LASPO Post-Implementation Review and Action Plan

It’s difficult to discuss the LASPO Review without discussing LASPO itself.  But for the sake of brevity, and so that we can talk about the substance of the Review, let’s assume we all agree that LASPO was, or rather is, an unmitigated disaster.  A disaster for clients and practitioners and for the justice system generally. …Continue Reading

The importance of transparency in the disclosure process

Disclosure is a cooperative process. The principle that underlies this statement is not new and yet in the contentious world of English Litigation, parties routinely overlook its sentiment (whether by accident or, as is more likely, by design). The recent decision in Kevin Taylor v Van Dutch Marine Holding Limited and others [2019] EWHC 324…Continue Reading

Does Litigation Funding need more regulation?

Opinions towards third-party-funding or litigation funding are slowly changing; once viewed as the dark side of the market, it is now looked on more favourably as tool to create symmetry on both sides of the table. If used effectively, litigation funding provides an equal playing field for businesses who find themselves in the position of…Continue Reading

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

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