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
A thought experiment on criminal damage
Following the ongoing fallout from the trial of the Colston Four, and amid much confusion caused by the way in which the complicated issues have been presented by commentators and politicians, it may help to say a little more about criminal damage. I would like to take a hypothetical situation, wholly unrelated to the Colston…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 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 The Tartan Con: The government’s approach to our prisons is an admission of failure
I am pleased to host this guest post by The Tartan Con, a leading prison reform blogger. _____________________________ The Ministry of Justice issued a press release on the 28th of June announcing the news that they were to build 4 more prisons over the next six years. (To read this wonderful piece of self-promotion click…Read more
The UK government responded to Black Lives Matter – by protecting statues
I have written something for The Guardian about our politicians’ rush to create new criminal offences protecting statues. The piece can be found here.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
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