Weekly Round Up – 27.01.12
Ed Vickers and I have made further efforts with HMRC this week, meeting senior staff in relation to ‘time to pay’ ie deferment and debt management. I am again grateful for assistance from HMRC staff. The following points have emerged:
Make sure that you make contact with HMRC before 31st January. The Business Payments Support Service is there to be used. Dial 0845 302 1435.
Discuss whether you need a deferment of all or part of your tax payment, which can be arranged subject to interest at 2.5%
The alternative to deferment is a time to pay arrangement, on terms tailored to your ability to pay over coming months.
You will need to prove that you are unable to pay on time and in full. Be ready to demonstrate your personal banking arrangements, and the extent of your unpaid aged debt
Provided that you seek and are granted either deferment or time to pay, you should not have to pay either a penalty or a surcharge
Whilst each case can only be decided on merit, HMRC understands that there is a national problem created by LSC delays in payment. Individual HMRC officers should be sympathetic. If they are not, despite the merit of your case, refer them to this message and my previous emails on this topic.
You can also see the response to my letter to Exchequer Secretary David Gauke MP, which I received last night, HERE. Note, and where necessary use, the second paragraph in relation to the LSC. However, I am dissatisfied with this response, which does not address the taxation issues raised in my letter, which you have seen previously. Moreover, the Bar Council Chairman has received an identical response to his predecessors letter sent before Christmas. We continue to seek a meeting with the Exchequer Secretary.
Some progress has been made this week. I am grateful to Mark Lucraft QC, whose note of a meeting that took place this morning is here.
I have received a demand for payment of £1569.51 from the LSC, despite the fact that I have no outstanding fee claims. Although the documentation sent to me via my clerks does not contain any information as to the case or cases which have led to this demand for payment, my enquiries have revealed that it relates to my conduct of a personal injury trial in May 1991, and ancillary relief proceedings for the same client in June 1991. I was paid in 1992. Whilst under no obligation to do so, I have retained my individual work and payment records for both cases. When challenged, the LSC have told my clerks that I was paid on an interim basis, but that they regard both payments as null because my instructing solicitor subsequently failed to submit a full bill/reconciliation for all work carried out under the legal aid order. Had I not challenged their demand, the LSC would have automatically deducted £1569.51 from my next new claim for defence fees. Because, and only because, I have challenged the demand, the LSC have agreed to write it off as a bad debt.
What can we learn from this apart from the obvious, namely that the LSC have the resources to try to recoup fees for which I was legitimately paid twenty years ago, but do not have the resources to pay you on time for a case you completed three months ago? Like me, you may be at risk of losing money which should be automatically written off through passage of time, unless you notice and raise it. Please be watchful. Any repayment requested for a payment before March 2002 can be dealt with by contacting the un recouped payment team in Leeds, on 0113 390 7300 (ignore automated options and hold for operator). They can then write off the repayment amount over the phone. All cases where a recoupment is sought will in future be accompanied by form “UPOA 6”, which when completed can be used to finalise the fee position. Make sure you don’t lose money which you worked hard to earn many years ago. It almost happened to me.
I have asked Christopher Kinch QC and Michael Turner QC to look into claims of existing or proposed arrangements between practitioners/chambers and solicitors. Clear guidance is given by the PCC on the BC website here. It needs to be strictly policed. Please get in touch with CK or MT if you have concerns, email [email protected] or call the Ethical Enquiries Line on 020 7611 1307. Arrangement and referral fees (or other benefits) are contrary to the code of conduct and possibly unlawful under the Bribery Act. If we don’t clamp down on such arrangements be in no doubt that this will impact adversely on the future of the independent Bar.
CPS PANELS AND FEES
As to fees, and for the avoidance of any doubt, can I be clear that neither the Bar Council nor the CBA have ‘signed off’ the CPS proposals for amending the AGFS with effect from 1st March. You can read a preview of part of my next CBQ Chairmans Column, which is with the printers, HERE.
THE LEGAL AID BILL
As an attempt to conclude with some good news this week, I am pleased to report that our continued lobbying and briefing in Parliament as LASPO is debated in the Lords has started to pay off. Read what government minister Lord McNally said in yesterdays debate HERE.
We should take heart. In conjunction with the Bar Council, the CBA presses hard to ensure that our adherence to matters of principle defeats the governments sole interest in cost at the expense of the criminal justice system. We will fight on.
Have a good weekend
Practice Direction – Leicester Crown Court
Sentencing Council: drug offences guideline announcement
CRIMINAL LAW WEEK
CBA NEWS FEED
Criminal Law Week – updates (issue 2)
Key updates from this week’s issue of Criminal Law Week:
Sentencing guidelines – the Sentencing Council has issued new guidelines for drug offences, applying to offenders 18 or over sentenced on or after February 27, 2012 (CLW/12/04/12 & 13).
European Court of Human Rights – two violations by the United Kingdom authorities in respect of a delay in confiscation proceedings and the proposed deportation of Abu Qatada to Jordan, where there was a real risk that Jordanian courts would admit evidence obtained by torture at his retrial on charges of terrorism (CLW/12/04/2 & 4).
Kettling – the Court of Appeal reviews the Divisional Court judgment on the legality of kettling during the 2009 G20 summit demonstrations: R. (Moos and McClure) v. Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (CLW/12/04/6).
Prisoners’ access to media – whether the Secretary of State was entitled to refuse a BBC journalist a face-to-face interview with a prisoner or permission to broadcast such an interview: R. (B.B.C. and anor) v. Secretary of State for Justice, D.C. (CLW/12/04/5).
CBA Events for your Diary:
Date: Friday 20th / Saturday 21st April 2012
Title: The CBA Spring Conference, Northumbria University, Newcastle
Date: Friday 18th May 2012
Title: CBA Annual Dinner, Middle Temple Hall, Middle Temple, London
South Eastern Circuit Lecture – CPS Paperless Prosecutions
Thursday 26 January at 6pm
Middle Temple Hall
1 CPD Point
Reserve a place email: [email protected]
Seventh Dame Ann Ebsworth Memorial Lecture
‘Looking the Other Way – Have Judges Abandoned the Advocates?’ – The Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Moses
Monday 13 February 2012 at 6pm
Middle Temple Hall
1 CPD Point
Reserve a place email: [email protected]
Leslie Scarman lecture – Justice Edwin Cameron
The lecture, “What you can do with rights”, will examine South Africa’s experience – viewed over the 18 years since the end of apartheid and the creation of democracy – of constitutionalism and the rule of law, and of rights-talk. Justice Cameron will talk about the country’s constitutional achievements amid scepticism about rights, and ask: what can law and legal rights do in securing for people the benefits a decent society should promise?
Justice Cameron was first appointed a judge by President Mandela in 1994 and has been a Justice of the Constitutional Court – South Africa’s highest court – since 1 January 2009. He was a leading human rights lawyer during the apartheid era and has received many honours for his legal and human rights work, including a special award by the Bar of England and Wales in 2002 for his ‘contribution to international jurisprudence and the protection of human rights’.
Wednesday 25 January 2012. Doors open at 5.30pm. We anticipate that the lecture will start at 6.00pm and last for approximately one hour. It will attract 1 CPD point
Middle Temple Hall, London; further details can be found here
Masters Course in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management
The Institute of Criminology, University of Cambridge, offers a two-year part-time Masters Course in Applied Criminology, Penology and Management, which is highly suitable for criminal barristers interested in broad professional development. Next year’s course begins in March 2012. Further details, including course fees and dates, and testimonials from former students, can be found here: http://www.crim.cam.ac.uk/courses/penology/
Invite for CBA members to Inquest Law conference
Wednesday 28 March 2012
A discount to all CBA Members is available
For further information on the Inquest Law conference click here
The 5th ICAC Symposium – Registration
Fighting Corruption in a Changing World
For further information on the 5th ICAC Symposium click here
Assisting lawyers for justice on death row
US Death Penalty Training
Spring 2012 – London
Friday 16 (evening), Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March 2012
Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April 2012
For further information on the Amicus events click here
Event on Show Trials with Martti Koskenniemi and Jacques Verges (aka The Terror’s Advocate)
It is a debate with Martti Koskenniemi, the distinguished Finnish jurist, and Jacques Verges, also known as “The Terror’s Advocate” (because of his notorious list of clients, see: http://www.filmsdulosange.fr/terrorsadvocate/index.html)
The event is entitled “International Justice: Between Impunity and Show Trials” and will use as a springboard for the discussion the upcoming cases against Saif Gaddafi (Libya) and Laurent Gbagbo (Ivory Coast). I would greatly appreciate it if you could circulate the poster and this information among your mailing lists and encourage those who are interested to register on the website.
We purposefully scheduled the event for a Friday evening, the 3rd of February, with a reception at 5:30pm, and start of the debate at 6:30pm (so that there is space and time to come after work or travel into London if need be).View more news