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
Why I will not be working extended unpaid hours to dig the government out of its own mess
I have written for the Daily Mirror on the government’s plans to force criminal lawyers to work longer hours, for free, to tackle the backlog caused by chronic underfunding. The piece can be read here.Read more
The Hillsborough judgment: what just happened?
Today, at the Crown Court at Manchester (sitting in a temporary “Nightingale Court” at the Lowry theatre in Salford), the trial of three men accused of offences arising out of the Hillsborough disaster was brought to an abrupt halt, when the judge ruled at the close of the prosecution case that the defendants had “no…Read more
The delays in criminal justice were caused by government, not Covid
I wrote a piece for yesterday’s Sunday Times on the spiralling delays in the criminal justice system. It can be found here. (£)Read more
Why did the Court of Appeal refuse to change the sentences of the killers of Pc Harper?
Following the Court of Appeal handing down judgment yesterday in the appeals against sentence by the killers of Pc Andrew Harper, and the Attorney General’s application to refer the sentences as unduly lenient, I posted the below thread, looking at what the judgment means.Read more
Guest post by Mira Hammad: Covid-19 and the right to protest: an alternative view
I am pleased to host this guest blogpost by Mira Hammad, a pupil barrister at Garden Court North Chambers. It is written in response to the guest blogpost by Rebecca Penfold and Aparna Rao, published last week. _________________________________ In their blogpost Rebecca Penfold and Aparna Rao look at the amended Coronavirus Regulation 7 and…Read more
Guest post by Hannah Edwards: The clock is ticking – bail breaches and Covid-19
I am pleased to host this guest post by Hannah Edwards, who is a second-six pupil practising at Drystone Chambers. _____________________________________________ In the chaos that Covid-19 has brought to our criminal justice system it is now, more than ever, important for practitioners to remember the fundamental principles when considering breaches of bail in the magistrates’ court….Read more
Jurors packed into crowded courts: how the government defied coronavirus advice
I have written something for today’s Guardian. You can find it here. Hope you’re all staying safe. SB xRead more
Lives are being put at risk by the intransigence of the government and the courts. Jury trials must be suspended immediately.
UPDATE: At 8am on Monday 23 March 2020, the Lord Chief Justice announced a suspension of new jury trials. The details are vague, and hint at a resumption “where specific safety arrangements have been put in place”, but for now, at least, it seems as if a level of sense has prevailed. Regrettably the announcement came far…Read more
Guest post: Open Letter to Leaders of the Criminal Justice System – Call for a National Protocol
I am delighted to host this guest post by Beheshteh Engineer, a third-six pupil. The views expressed are personal and do not necessarily reflect the views of her chambers. Why is a functional Criminal Justice System important during a national crisis? During a short-term national crisis, the CJS must provide two key functions: To deal with…Read more