Guest post by Joanna Hardy: We need to talk about lunchtime

A few years ago, a poster was stuck up in the robing room at Snaresbrook Crown Court. There was to be a charity raffle. The prize? “Win lunch with the Snaresbrook Judges!”. This prompted much mirth. An unimpressed barrister scrawled beneath it “Second Prize: TWO Lunches”. Another quipped that they would rather eat their own…

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Guest Blogpost by Greg Powell: A brief history of legal aid

I am delighted to publish this guest blogpost by Greg Powell of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association (LCCSA). There is presently a lot of discussion in the media about legal aid, and in particular the rates paid to lawyers under legal aid. This analysis is vital to understanding how we have arrived where we…

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Shamima Begum may not deserve your sympathy, but she is entitled to legal aid

Another weekend, another flurry of anti-legal aid stories finding their way into the tabloids. On the criminal legal aid front, The Mirror splashed outrage at the notion of Andrew Hill, the pilot acquitted of manslaughter following the Shoreham Airshow tragedy, “getting” legal aid to mount his successful defence at his criminal trial last year. It’s…

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Peter Hitchens’ comments about Jo Cox’s killer betray a fundamental ignorance of the basic facts

A familiar sound for readers of the Mail on Sunday is the deafening cymbal-clash of Peter Hitchens colliding with reality. This last Sunday offered a particular highlight, which, although there is undoubted wisdom in leaving him alone to figuratively wander the 21stcentury in his dressing gown shouting at clouds, cannot pass without comment. Summarised by…

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Guest post by Joanna Hardy: Court closures and the cost of losing local justice

I am delighted to host this guest post by Joanna Hardy of Red Lion Chambers, articulating better than I can the appalling legacy of the Ministry of Justice’s continued selling-off of our courts.  ******************************* The idea of living in the converted entrance hall of Acton Magistrates’ Court would surprise most lawyers. It used to be a…

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Without legal aid, the rule of law collapses

The Guardian is currently running a brilliant series on the effect of the legal aid cuts turbo-charged by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Owen Bowcott and Amelia Hill have put together an in-depth investigation drawing on case studies and interviews to demonstrate the dire impact upon access to justice. One such interview,…

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A few thoughts on the “£23m extra” for legal aid

Just a few thoughts about this story on the proposed “£23m increase” in legal aid criminal defence fees, which has been making some headlines. The Ministry of Justice has loudly publicised the agreement struck with the Criminal Bar Association over legal aid rates paid to criminal defence advocates – the story was even towards the…

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