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

Online justice: investment needed as drive for reform grows

At the end of 2018, London hosted the inaugural International Forum on Online Courts. The event was attended by around 200 legal professionals and other stakeholders from over 20 countries, with discussions focusing on the development of online courts. The launch of the Forum is indicative of how, globally, justice is moving online. Both civil…Continue Reading

Legal Aid review: welcome words, but time for action

  In February, the Ministry of Justice published its long-awaited review into the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), which aimed to cut £350m per annum from the annual Legal Aid bill from 2013. I chair the Family Law Reform Group of the national family justice organisation, Resolution. The…Continue Reading

New BSB Transparency Rules

New rules to improve transparency standards for barristers clients came into force on 1 July. The new transparency standards are designed to improve the information available to the public before they engage the services of a barrister. BSB Director of Strategy and Policy, Ewen MacLeod explains what is changing. In December 2016, the Competition and…Continue Reading

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

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