Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry this morning became the latest media casualty of Labour’s attempts to justify their much-criticised attack adverts on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, in particular the tweet claiming that Mr Sunak “[doesn’t] believe that adults convicted of sexually assaulting children should go to prison”. Appearing on Radio 4’s Today programme to be interviewed…Read more
How do we force cowardly murderers to face up to what they have done?
Something must be done about the problem of convicted criminals refusing to attend court for their sentencing hearings. So both main political parties are agreed. And so, according to polls, is the public. The issue has returned to the fore this week with the refusal of Thomas Cashman to attend his sentence following his conviction…Read more
We need to talk about Gary Glitter
Yesterday, as newspapers reported that convicted sex offender Paul Gadd – formerly known as Gary Glitter – had been recalled to prison having apparently breached the conditions of his licence, the following tweet was posted by a legal commentator and practising barrister: Now, it is a matter of personal interpretation as to whether this tweet…Read more
When is human trafficking not human trafficking? When it makes a good story
The New York Times has recently carried a series of articles, offering a critical insight into the failings of the English and Welsh – or, as the NYT insists on calling it, the “British” – criminal justice system. It is fair to say that the reception has been mixed. Earlier pieces focused on case studies…Read more
The law’s broken. Here’s how to fix it.
As has been widely reported, in light of Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s refusal to implement the urgent recommendations of the government-commissioned Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid, criminal barristers have voted in record numbers in favour of an unprecedented indefinite walkout. Barristers defending in legally aided criminal cases will no longer be attending Crown Courts,…Read more
Guest post by Joanna Hardy-Susskind: Attrition
In 1999, Baz Luhrmann topped the UK charts with ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’. We used to play that song on the drive to school. I was 12. My mum drove a banger that we called Bessie. “Come on Bessie” we would cheer as she chugged up the hill. Sometimes Bessie let us down, but no one…Read more
The Criminal Bar on strike – 9 things you need to know
Today, hundreds of criminal barristers across the country will not be going into court. Images of us dressed in our traditional absurd courtroom dress and standing outside the country’s most famous court buildings will be plastered across the papers and piped into the nation’s tellyboxes. There has already been – and no doubt will continue…Read more
Nothing But The Truth: A publication day post
Today marks publication of Nothing But The Truth, my third foray into the world of publishing. It’s a different type of book to what has come before; less angry, more reflective and, hopefully, thought-provoking in its own meandering way. The book charts my own journey to the criminal Bar, and in particular the fairly radical…Read more
Guest post: You Can Tweet If You Want To (So Long As You’re Polite About It): The Current State of Regulatory Oversight Over Social Media
I am pleased to host this guest post by Vanessa Reid, a barrister at Mountford Chambers specialising in criminal and regulatory law. ********************************************************************** A controversial barrister’s successful appeal of a £500 fine imposed for a tweet found to have the potential to promote hostility towards Muslims helps clarify the extent of free speech protections for…Read more
Why are criminal barristers taking part in an “unnecessary and irresponsible strike”?
According to Justice Secretary Dominic Raab, today I, along with thousands of my fellow criminal barristers, am taking part in an “unnecessary and irresponsible strike” which will “cause delays for victims and the wider public”. This comes as something of a surprise to me. It’s an odd sort of “strike”, given that we will, today…Read more