Archive for June, 2011

June 24, 2011

More on the Legal Aid Tornado – Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – the aftermath

Some more good links and reflections on the catchily named Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – the aftermath « UK Human Rights Blog.

June 24, 2011

Legal Aid – the tornado

There is so much comment on blogs and Twitter about the revised Legal Aid proposals.  The overwhelming message is that the Government has not heard the feedback from 5,000 (yes, 5,000) consultation responses.  I will try and get my head around what the revised document means for our work but in the meantime here is a great summary of some of the ‘feedback’ (with thanks to Charon QC):

The big story this week is about legal aid – or to be more precise, the lack of it.  Lucy Reed, best known to law bloggers as a family law barrister and author ofPink Tape writes in The Guardian:

Ignore the warnings about legal aid changes and risk meltdown in courts

The Guardian: It is easy for politicians to dismiss lawyers as self-seeking fat cats, but their concerns should be listened to.

Just like many of my clients, this government cannot see the wood for the trees and that leads to bad decision-making and greater cost to families. They should listen to legal advice and to public opinion, as they appear to have done in respect of sentencing. There may be short-term savings, but there will be long term costs.

Rather than comment on legal aid myself at this stage – let me provide a few links to some good articles from Guardian Law on the subject: Kenneth Clarke’s legal aid cuts deemed a ‘slap in the face’ for ordinary families |  So we can’t afford legal aid? Look at the costs without it | Legal aid and sentencing bill – Tuesday 21 June 2011

David Allen Green, writing in the New Statesman: Legal aid and civil justice

The Law Society is taking the matter seriously.  Catherine Baksi of The Law Society Ggazette:   We did listen on legal aid, Djanogly insists – but Law Society’s Lee vows to fight on ‘every clause’

The UK Human Rights blog: Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – the aftermath | Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill published

Obiter J: The “Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill” – A Quick Glance – a lot to look at and much unhappiness





June 22, 2011

Legal Aid – change in definition of domestic violence

The general response to the revised Legal Aid proposals has been pretty hostile yesterday. One important concession has been the inclusion of MARAC cases within the domestic violence definition which is a first step to recognising different forms of abuse other than physical violence, and acknowledging the importance of supporting high risk cases.  There are nearly 300 pages of response to read so more on the rest later….

June 7, 2011

Fall in child abuse deaths – is something working?

Fall in child abuse deaths

The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies newsletter highlighted recent research from the University of Warwick. This reveals that child deaths related to assault have fallen from an average of three a week in 1974 to one a week in 2008. Peter Sidebotham, who led the study, says that this is due to the child protection register, to the formalization of the protection of vulnerable children, to better support for vulnerable families and to a general growing public awareness of children’s needs. Click here <>  to read the research.

June 7, 2011

Policy to prevent forced marriages “arbitrary and disruptive”, says Court of Appeal

Interesting post from the UK Human Rights Blog on the recent ruling from the Court of Appeal that has held the ban on immigration of young people under 21 for the purposes of marriage to be unlawful in a case today.  The Court found the blanket ban to interfere with a couple’s right to a family life and be disproportionate.  The Home Secretary will now need to decide in what form to keep the rule- if at all.  As the post rightly points out – it is very hard to legislate against something like forced marriage without some form of blanket policy – but this by definition runs the risk of being disproportionate.  It would be interesting to hear how material you think this is to addressing forced marriage.

Policy to prevent forced marriages “arbitrary and disruptive”, says Court of Appeal « UK Human Rights Blog.

June 7, 2011

The Day of the two 4,000s


Yesterday saw a lot of coverage about the figure of 4,000 women convicted of domestic abuse and rather less on the report of the Taskforce looking at ways to divert women from crime, which noted that the female prison population is coincidentally also at 4,000.  The reporting of the latter was unsurprisingly more sympathetic and reflective – noting the powerful case for alternatives to custody but also the complexity of funding these.  However both could have benefitted from a bit more context.  4,000 women prosecuted for DV, versus more than 10 times that number of men.  4,000 women in prison and perhaps 8,000 children left without their mother.


BBC News – Women’s convictions for domestic violence ‘double’.