Skip to main content

Weekly Round Up 07.12.12

CBA Chairman’s Update: Michael Turner QC


  • A weapon in your kit bag: A correction
  • The Low Commission
  • Juries: De-Bunking the Myths
  • LASPO: It’s Provisions start to take effect
  • Baroness Deech calls for a review of the regulation of the Legal Profession
  • The Spring Conference

1.                  A Weapon in Your Kit Bag; A Correction

In the email of 23rd Nov I brought to your attention Section 42 of the Access to Justice Act 1999 and its amendment to Sections 27 & 28 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990.  James Turner QC, who is never wrong on these things, informs me that those Sections were repealed by Schedule 23 of the Legal Services Act 2007. Of course he is right. However, fear not the overriding duty of the advocate is preserved by Section 188 of the Legal Services Act 2007 HERE.

2.                  The Low Commission

An independent commission was launched this week to examine the effect of legal aid cuts.  The commission is named after its chairman Lord Low a former cross bench peer and former chairman of the Royal National Institute of Blind People. This is a Legal Action Group initiative and its Chair Steve Hynes author of “Austerity Justice” is a member. We sincerely hope that Lord Low is not seeking to pre-judge any of the Commission’s work by announcing at the outset of its investigation “We can’t just put the clock back and call for the restoration of cuts. We need to look at innovative ways of how to get more out of less.” We will of course be seeking to give evidence before the Commission and hoping to demonstrate that what in truth is being asked of the Tax Payer is to put up with an awful lot less whilst paying a great deal more. Your help as always is needed, please give examples of the colossal waste to the tax payer in our forum HERE.  For more information and to purchase a copy of “Austerity Justice”, visit the LAG website HERE.

3.                  Juries: De-Bunking the Myths

Professor Cheryl Thomas is the first director of the UCL Jury Project working out of the UCL faculty of Laws. On Tuesday at the CBA lecture she revealed some of her findings and fascinating it was too. How many of us have bought into the oft quoted statistic that the conviction rate for Rape is as low as 10 %. As always there are statistics and then there are damn lies. The conviction rate for Rape is in fact 55%, it sits very happily with the average conviction rate of 64%. The conviction rate for GBH and attempted Murder is for instance 48% and 47% respectively. The figure of 10% is the conviction rate arising from all allegations of rape whether they are charged or not or whether they ever reach court. The Government keeps those figures for no other crime! Anecdotally, Snaresbrook has always been sated as the Court where no prosecutor can succeed, not so true it turns out. The conviction rate at Snaresbrook is 64.7 %, the conviction rate at the Bailey is 63.2%. The highest conviction rate is Harrow at 69.1 % the lowest is Preston at 53.5% .There is plenty more, she found that jurors did not avoid service, were not un-representative, not racially biased and that there was no postcode lottery. For more of her fascinating research visit the MOJ Website HERE.  She is continuing her work and you will be able to catch her latest stats at the Spring Conference.

 4.                  LASPO: It’s provisions start to take effect.

The provisions coming into effect on 3 December 2012 include:

  • ‘Two strikes’ – mandatory life sentence for people convicted of a second very serious sexual or violent offence;
  • New Extended Determinate Sentence (EDS) – new sentence for dangerous criminals convicted of serious sexual and violent crimes with no automatic release from prison halfway through their sentence. They will only be released when they have served at least two-thirds of their prison sentence  and may be kept inside prison until the end of their term;
  • Knife possession – New offences to target those who use a bladed or pointed article or offensive weapon in a public place or school to threaten and cause immediate risk of serious physical harm to another. These offences will be subject to a maximum penalty of 4 years’ imprisonment.  They will also carry a minimum six month prison sentence for adults or a four month Detention and Training Order for 16 – 17 year olds;
  • Dangerous driving – new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving with a maximum sentence of five years in prison;
  • Tough new sentences for hate crime – starting point of 30 years in prison for people convicted of murder motivated by hatred or hostility towards disability or transgender people, up from 15 years. This will bring it in line with murders aggravated by race, religion and sexual orientation;
  • Tougher community sentences – increase in the maximum length of a curfew requirement in a community sentence from 6 to 12 months, increasing the maximum period of time criminals can be subject to a curfew from 12 to 16 hours per day.  Introducing foreign travel bans; and
  • Challenge bail decisions – allow prosecutors to challenge Crown Court bail decisions where there is serious risk of harm to a member of the public.

For the commencement order click HERE, for a full copy of the Act visit their website HERE

 5.         Baroness Deech calls for a review of the regulation of the Legal Profession

Is this a dim light on the horizon? I attach for your information a copy of the Bar Council briefing note which was circulated to 53 relevant Peers and which was drawn upon by several of the speakers HERE.  A full transcript of the debate available HERE   The Government agreed (col. 532) to carry out a post-legislative assessment of the Legal Services Act. There is a piece in Legal Futures (“House of Lords gives Legal Services Board a bashing and in the Law Gazette.

6.         The Spring Conference

The Spring Conference will be held in Birmingham next year. We have judged that this is the most accessible venue for those on the Midlands and Western Circuits who are first in the firing line when it comes to QASA. We have already booked our ever accessible and user friendly Professor and Law Commissioner David Ormerod together with Cheryl Thomas on her Jury research. If any of you are craving for a particular speaker or topic let us know HERE.


2013 Diaries:

We are expecting these to reach all members by 21st December.

CBA Website:

We will be re-circulating all CBA members log on details for the website on Monday Morning.


Health Support and Advice for the Bar – Law Care:

LawCare provides an independent and confidential service which assists members of the Law Societies of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Isle of Man; the Institute of Legal Executives; the Bar Councils of England and Wales, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland; the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland; the Department of Justice; the Institute of Barristers Clerks; and the National Association of Paralegals.  This is a confidential advisory service to help lawyers, their immediate families and their support staff to deal with the health issues and related emotional difficulties that can result from a stressful career as a lawyer, or working with lawyers. LawCare is there to support and assist you, too.  LawCare offers you the opportunity to discuss problems that are interfering with, or have the potential to interfere with, your work performance and / or your family life and to seek to help in resolving these problems.  Through LawCare, help is available to those who are suffering from stress and/or depression, or who have alcohol, drug or other dependency concerns, or eating disorders.

There is a helpline which is open 365 days a year:-

9am – 7.30pm, Monday to Friday

10am – 4pm Saturday, Sunday and UK Bank Holidays

0800 018 4299

Further details can be found on the website here


Other News:   



Criminal Law Week – updates (issue 44)

Key updates from this week’s issue of Criminal Law Week:


Criminal Law Week – updates (issue 45)

Key updates from this week’s issue of Criminal Law Week:


Anonymity – whether court can make an order prohibiting identification of a defendant charged with sexual offences in order to protect the anonymity of a complainant:  Re Press Association, C.A. (CLW/12/45/1).


Jury – guidance from Court of Appeal on when it will be appropriate for counsel for the defence to object to irregularities in the balloting procedure under section 11 of the Juries Act 1974:  R. v. M. (A.) (CLW/12/45/2).


Parole – whether differences in the tests for release for those serving long-term determinate sentences and those serving indeterminate sentences violated Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (prohibition on discrimination):  R. (Foley) v. Parole Board for England and Wales, D.C. (CLW/12/45/6).


Legislation – new Road Safety Act 2006 commencement order and new regulations providing for the bringing into force of provisions relating to rehabilitation courses for those convicted of drink driving offences:  S.I. 2012 Nos 2938 & 2939 (CLW/12/45/9 & 12).


The Great British Opt Out: what does it mean, what might we gain and what might we lose?

Monday 10 December 2012, 14.00 to 18.30, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, Charles Clore House, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

Commander Alan Gibson, Association of Chief Police Officers

Lord Hannay of Chiswick, House of Lords Select Committee on the EU

Professor Steve Peers, Essex University

Jago Russell, Fair Trials International

Aled Williams, former Chairman of Eurojust

Chair: Professor John Spencer, Cambridge University


To attend, please email [email protected]

Admission Free


Other Events:   

Mauritius International Arbitration Conference – “An African Seat for the 21st Century”

10 – 11 December 2012, Intercontinental Hotel, Balaclava, Mauritius

The second biennial Mauritius International Arbitration conference will be opened by the Prime Minister of Mauritius. The conference will feature a panel formed of leading international and regional practitioners. For further information and to register, please click here.


“Secret Justice – How can it ever be fair?”

On Wednesday 12 December at 6.15pm, the former Director of Prosecutions Ken Macdonald QC, Warden of Wadham College, Oxford, will be lecturing on the topic “Secret Justice – How can it ever be fair?” The venue is the Drysdale Lecture Theatre, ELG19.

This event is a highly significant one in the life of City University. The lecture will be the first in a series which has been established in memory of Professor Martin Dockray, late Head of the Department of Law, who died in 2005, suddenly, and in his prime. It is no exaggeration to say that The City Law School would certainly not exist had it not been for Martin’s drive and skill; as the accompanying flyer states, he built it from a base of 3 staff and 90 students into the first London school to cater for all stages of legal training. His death came as an immense shock to all the colleagues who had the privilege of working with him.
Lord Macdonald’s subject, which relates to the passage of the Justice and Security Bill, is one of inherent interest to all who are concerned with civil liberties and public law. 

To book, please call +44 (0)20 7040 3309


Annual International Rule of Law lecture

18 December 2012 at 18:00 in Inner Temple Hall, London

The International Committee is delighted to announce Mark Mulholland QC, Chairman of the Bar Council of Northern Ireland as the keynote speaker at its Sixth Annual International Rule of Law Conference. Mark will speak on, “Global terrorism and the rule of law- a global problem from a Northern Ireland perspective”.


This free annual lecture aims to stimulate debate and inspire barristers to become involved in rule of law related projects. Barristers, judges and law students are welcome to attend. The lecture is free to attend but registration is required. If you are interested in attending please register with the international team secretary, Juliette Hargreave  (0207 611 1455)

The event is accredited with 1.5 CPD hours by the Bar Standard Board.


CRIMINALS OR VICTIMS? A Necessary Guide to the Non-Criminalisation of Victims of Human Trafficking



  • Peter Carter QC

18 Red Lion Court


  • Parosha Chandran

1 Pump Court


  • Pam Bowen

Head of Trafficking Policy, CPS


An expert seminar aiming to bridge gaps in knowledge concerning the criminalisation of victims of trafficking.


Principally for Judges, Barristers and Students with an interest in criminal law and public law, the seminar seeks to raise awareness of how to identify possible victims of trafficking and how to protect the legal rights of such persons (further details below).


Monday 4th February 2013

Gray’s Inn Hall

6.15pm – 8.15pm


Seminar followed by a drinks reception

(2 CPD for barristers & solicitors / 1 QS for Gray’s Inn students)

Pre-registration and payment required – form attached

£15 for Judges, Barristers and Solicitors

£10 for new practitioners up to 3 years Call

£10 for pupils and students  

For further information please call 020 7458 7900 or email [email protected]


American Bar Association (ABA) Section of International Law

7 February 2013 at Southern Methodist University (SMU), Dallas, Texas

SMU Dedman School of Law and the ABA Section of International Law are co-hosting a day-long symposium, entitled “The Arab Spring: Doing Business and the Rule of Law”. The event will include panel discussions on topics such as judicial independence and the rule of law in the Middle East and North Africa, energy matters and dispute resolution. For further information and registration, please click here.


Commonwealth Law Conference 2013

14 – 18 April 2012, Cape Town, South Africa

Registration for the 18th Commonwealth Law Conference to be held in Cape Town is now open. For further information regarding the event and registration, please click here.

The Bar Council will have a presence at this event and it would be helpful for us to known if you are attending; please email Chika Muorah at [email protected]


ABA Section of International Law Spring Meeting

23 – 27 April 2013, Hyatt Regency, Washington DC

The next International’s Spring Meeting is an excellent opportunity for barristers to meet international practitioners from other jurisdictions. There will be a keynote address by US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg. The Bar Council is a non-financial sponsor and our members will benefit from the ABA members’ rate. For further information, please click here.


Other business development news and opportunities:

The Bar Council’s international professional and legal development grant programme

The Bar Council is now accepting applications from SBAs and Circuits that would like to participate in the 2013 international professional and legal development grant programme. The grant scheme is designed to encourage junior barristers to gain an international perspective on legal issues and help them thrive in an increasingly globalised legal market. The programme encourages young barristers to participate in international events which contribute to their professional and practice development by covering two thirds of the total costs associated with attendance at the chosen event.  The costs are shared equally between the applicant, his or her SBA and the Bar Council Scholarships Trust.

SBAs and Circuits that are interested in the scheme are encouraged to contact Natalie Darby, Senior International Projects Officer at [email protected] ahead of the deadline of 7 December 2012.


Bar Council new training scheme for Korean lawyers; opportunity for chambers to host lawyers in 2013

The International Committee is seeking chambers to host Korean lawyers from 6 May to 17 May 2013. Interested chambers must be in the commercial field (in the broader sense), have an international element to their practice, and should be able to offer one or two mentors to guide the Korean lawyer through their placement. We are particularly interested in received applications from chambers that have  strong arbitration and litigation practices. Placements are similar in substance to a mini-pupillage.

This is an excellent opportunity for the host chambers to gain a unique insight into the Korean legal market and develop useful business contacts. If interested, please email Natalie Darby at [email protected] by 17:00 on 7 January 2013.


UKTI online service for small business

The UKTI have launched a free online service to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with information, advice and guidance on exporting overseas. For more information, please clickhere.


View more news