Cafcass slammed for delegating ‘inexperienced’ practitioner to complex case

“The judge praised IJ, who had only been in contact with his son since May 2018, for the “qualities as a man” that had enabled him to quickly form a deep bond with the child.

But he said he found it “almost inconceivable” that CD, who had initially cared for both half-siblings as his own, would overlook their needs. He added that CD’s partner, QR, was a “most impressive witness” who was “obviously keen” to develop a better understanding of what she and CD could do to meet EF’s needs.

‘Contradictory’ evidence
Turning to the Cafcass guardian’s report, which backed the local authority’s position, Justice Keehan found that while acknowledging possible harm if the children were separated, its analysis of potential consequences was much too shallow.

When it came to the guardian’s turn to give evidence, she claimed that having listened to other witnesses there was a “gap in the evidence” around this issue. The guardian called for the case to be adjourned so an independent expert could be consulted.

“I do not begin to understand the reason or reasons why the guardian identified gaps in evidence which she heard less than a week after preparing her final report,” Justice Keehan said.”

Parental Alienation

A High Court judge has severely criticised a Cafcass children’s guardian after she submitted an inadequate report and gave “woeful” evidence toa hearing in late August, and questioned managers’ decision to appoint her to the case.

Mr Justice Keehan also found fault with assessments by a Leicestershire council social worker who was handling the case, which concerned two half-siblings and where they should live after suffering abuse at their mother’s home.

Contrary to both the guardian’s and local authority’s recommendations, the judge ordered the half-brother and sister, named as ‘EF’ and ‘GH’ respectively, be placed with GH’s biological father, ‘CD’, and his partner, rather than separated.

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#UK #Austerity #AccessToJustice: A searing injustice!

JUSTICEWATCH: A searing injustice | LegalVoice | 12 Oct 2018

It was unacceptable that bereaved families were ‘forced to crowdfund’ and to ‘rely on the generosity of others’ while state parties had unlimited access to the best lawyers paid for by the public purse, said Deborah Coles, Inquest’s executive director. The Guardian reported on the plight parents of vulnerable student Natasha Abrahart who took her own life at a university where there had been a series of deaths.

The Guardian reported: ‘Margaret and Robert Abrahart believe their daughter, a physics student at the University of Bristol, did not get well-being support she needed despite expressing her desperation and asking for help.’

They were fighting for an inquest to be held but were unlikely to get legal aid. They reckoned they might need ‘more than £50,000 to pay for lawyers to match the solicitors and barristers that the university and health bodies will use’.

‘It is difficult for us as parents to accept the enormity and awfulness of what has happened. People at Natasha’s funeral asked: ‘Why has this happened?’ This is the question we’re now trying to get answered in court. If we understand what happened, we can do something about it. We want answers that will benefit new and returning students, especially vulnerable students who are at risk.’
Margaret and Robert Abrahart

Bar feeling ‘let down’
Barristers needed ‘at least another £25 million’ towards their crown court fees if they were to stay off the picket lines, according to the new chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, Chris Henley QC. Henley told The Times’ Frances Gibb that barristers were feeling angry and ‘let down’ about the £15 million extra money offered by ministers after it emerged that the final figure was closer to £8 million – see here.

Forever prisoners
Government proposals to fast-track appeals by immigration detainees risked ‘riding roughshod‘ over people’s lives. The Independent reported that the Law Society reckoned plans to limit the timeframe to determine appeals from people in detention to 25 working days would ‘not leave enough time for solicitors to effectively represent their clients’ and represented a ‘real risk’ of unjust decisions.

According to the Government figures, four in 10 deportation appeals are successful. Christina Blacklaws, the Law Society, said: ‘If people in immigration detention are forced to make appeals through a fast-track system there is a real risk of unjust decisions leading to people being removed from the UK unlawfully.’

Celia Clarke, director of Bail for Immigration Detainees, said there was ‘no justification’ for cases being heard for people in detention to be sped up. ‘Asylum and immigration cases are complex and the outcomes are life-changing,’ she said. ‘Already more than half of appeals are overturned on appeal. The current tribunal procedure rules already enable cases to be dealt with expeditiously where possible and appropriate.’

Meanwhile the Guardian has teamed up with 11 law firms and NGOs helping deportation detainees to build up a picture of the kind of people being locked up. They have provided anonymised data about a series of ‘key metrics’, including age, length of residence and family ties in the UK, length of detention and specific vulnerabilities. They were asked for data about clients on a single day, 31 August.

Partners included BID, Detention Action, Duncan Lewis, Wilson Solicitors, Women for Refugee Women and Yarl’s Wood Befrienders.

Bella Sankey, the director of Detention Action, said that the new data revealed ‘the futility and wastefulness of Theresa May’s detention system’. She said: ‘Long-term residents, parents, traumatised torture survivors, the unwell, infirm and suicidal are all turned into forever prisoners, with no hope of release for months and years on end.’

Walking the walk
‘I’ve walked the walk,’ Sir Andrew McFarlane, head of the family division,  told the LAPG conference – as reported by Catherine Baksi in the The Times’ Brief. He told delegates that he understood what it was like to be a legal aid lawyer and that he knew how the LASPO cuts have affected clients. Sir Andrew was reminded of the words of the US senator, the late John McCain after losing the 2008 presidential election. ‘I sleep like a baby. I sleep two hours, wake up, and cry.’

Extolling the virtues of the online divorce application process, Sir Andrew reported that it worked very well. ‘I got quite a long way towards divorcing my wife [and] only stopped when I had to pay some money for the fee.’

Eve was shamed
‘I just am who I am. I never think I’m being particularly radical, said Baroness Helena Kennedy QC in an interview with the Guardian about  her new book, Eve Was Shamed –  follow-up to Eve Was Framed which was published in 1992. ‘But,’ she continued, ‘people make assumptions about you because you fight your corner. When I was in my 30s and raising these issues, I went to dinner with a judge and he said: “I’m so surprised to find you as nice as you are; I always thought you must be a harridan.”’

The human rights lawyer pulled no punches. Not a fan of Brexit, Kennedy called it ‘a disaster; a disaster for the law and a disaster for women. I think this is going to take us into a really terrible place.’ ‘Most lawyers are remainers, but a very few Brexiters – I could count them on three fingers – are trawled out on the media every time,’ she said. ‘It’s a Potemkin village – it’s to give you the impression that the legal world is divided. They are fundamentalists in many ways. The mad Brexiters have common things about them, almost invariably: they don’t like homosexuals, they don’t like foreigners and they hate human rights.’

 

NEWS

Justice in a time of austerity survey #1: Experiences of civil justice

Justice in a time of austerity survey #2: Lawyer

__________________________________

Via: JUSTICEWATCH: A searing injustice | LegalVoice | 12 Oct 2018

 

 

The Killing of Saudi Journalist Khashoggi Could Spell the End for Mohammad bin Salman

“One of the last alliances that the United States has available to influence events in the Middle East risks falling apart as a result of bin Salman’s ill-advised actions. Erdogan has already challenged the Saudis by asking them to prove that the journalist is alive. There is open speculation in the Kingdom about the implications of the clash between Ankara and Riyadh and between bin Salman and Erdogan. There are those who are willing to bet that this latest reckless action could prove fatal for the ruler who, after just a year and a half, seems to have exhausted his whole store of experience as the Kingdom’s young despot.”

Astute News

The death of famous journalist Saudita Jamal Khashoggi is likely to have important repercussions, revealing the hypocrisy of the mainstream media, tensions inside the Saudi regime, and the double standards of Western countries.

On October 2nd, 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly killed inside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey. The sequence of events seems to show that the murder was premeditated. Two days before his death, Khashoggi went to the Saudi embassy in Istanbul to obtain documents pertaining to his divorce in preparation to remarry in the United States. The Saudi embassy instructed him to return on October 2nd to collect the documents, which he duly did. He entered the embassy around 1pm on October 2nd but never exited. Khashoggi’s fiancée, after waiting several hours, raised the alarm as Khashoggi had instructed her to do should he not reemerge after two hours.

It is from here that we should…

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The Electric Revolution: Move Aside Lithium, Vanadium Is the New Super-Metal for Bigger Batteries

“Vanadium is lithium on steroids—wildly bigger and the only way forward from here. We may have already reached the peak of our electric revolution through batteries with lithium.

We need bigger batteries, preferably the size of a football field—or 20.

That’s vanadium—Element 23. The answer to our issue of scale.”

Counter Information

Global Research, October 12, 2018

51644ae24d1c6115cce2838f7ec925d1-400x167The lithium ride was a great one. Cobalt, too. All they needed was their Elon Musk moment, which came in the form of the Nevada battery gigafactory. The next Elon Musk moment won’t be about lithium at all—or even cobalt. It will be for an element that takes everything electric to its revolutionary finish line: Vanadium.

The one moment that will change everything … and that moment may be near.

Vanadium is lithium on steroids—wildly bigger and the only way forward from here. We may have already reached the peak of our electric revolution through batteries with lithium.

We need bigger batteries, preferably the size of a football field—or 20.

That’s vanadium—Element 23. The answer to our issue of scale.

“It’s no longer a technological maybe,” says Matt Rhoades, president and CEO of United Battery Metals, a Colorado vanadium explorer…

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Five painful instances the #CIA deprived #Africa of its promising leaders!

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Five painful instances the CIA deprived Afrika of its promising leaders | Moorbey’z Blog | 14 Oct 2018

It is no secret that the West has had a hand in turmoils and conflicts in Africa.  From slavery to colonisation, these western countries have put African countries in dire straits in terms of economic, political, and social development.

These interference has also been seen as far back as the 1950s when most African countries were agitating for independence and later after they gained independence.

America’s Central Intelligence Agency  (CIA) has been documented to have interfered with Africa’s post-independence government formation and establishment, either by helping depose promising leaders or installing brutal dictators, or both.  In most cases, it was successful and in others, they were not

Patrice Lumumba

In the 1960s, America had made it clear that they were concerned about communism in the Congo, which would have taken root if democratically elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba ran things.

According to documents, there had been a plan by the CIA to ‘remove’ the charismatic leader, endorsed by then U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower.  Apparently, the agency wanted to poison Lumumba’s toothpaste. According to then CIA field officer in the Congo:

“Sid was Head of the Technical Services Division, which was the one that provides all kinds of special equipment. He was Q, if you will, if you’ve seen a 007 movie. He arrived with some toothpaste, which would put the man away and some other poison of some sort, which I don’t remember what form but it was there. I was supposed to find some way to use it and I didn’t. I eventually threw it in the Congo River when time of, it had expired, its usefulness had expired.

With the plan now abandoned, the U.S. turned to support the opponents of Lumumba. They did nothing as Lumumba was tortured and arrested by the leaders of the time.  They were even aware of the move by the government to take Lumumba to Katanga, the home of his sworn enemy where he met his death.

More declassified information from the U.S. also indicated that CIA gave Mobutu Sese Seko and Joseph Kasavubu money and arms to fight against Lumumba’s supporters.

Although the CIA was not directly involved in the assassination of one of Africa’s sons, it surely contributed to robbing Congo and Africa of one of the charismatic leaders it ever knew.

Kwame Nkrumah

The CIA has also come under criticism for contributing to the overthrow of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah.  They are said to have advised and supported the coup plotters ahead of the February 1966 overthrow. According to records, a group known as 303 Committee had rejected an earlier CIA request to overthrow Nkrumah’s government which had annoyed the U.S. for maintaining ties with the Soviets and China. This also tied to the Upper Volta Dam as well as the aluminium project in Ghana, which the U.S. had financed in part.

Records show that the U.S. Embassy in Ghana had prior knowledge of the coup and had been planning to induce his downfall.

(6)Although Nkrumah’s leftward progress cannot be checked or reversed, it could be slowed down by a well conceived and executed action program. Measures which we might take against Nkrumah would have to be carefully selected in order not to weaken pro-Western elements in Ghana or adversely affect our prestige and influence elsewhere on the continent.

(7)U.S. pressure, if appropriately applied, could induce a chain reaction eventually leading to Nkrumah’s downfall. Chances of success would be greatly enhanced if the British could be induced to act in concert with us.

(8)Failure to act can only result in a further deterioration of the situation to the point where we may feel compelled to leave Ghana, thereby facilitating the chance of Soviet success.

The plan also involved painting Nkrumah as a danger to other African countries and thus isolating him.

Nkrumah was successfully deposed on February 24, 1966, when he was in Vietnam for a meeting with Ho Chi Minh.  A memo was sent to President Lyndon B. Johnson to update him on the aftermath of the coup. It read:

The coup in Ghana is another example of a fortuitous windfall. Nkrumah was doing more to undermine our interests than any other black African. In reaction to his strongly pro-Communist leanings, the new military regime is almost pathetically pro-Western.

Nelson Mandela

An American diplomat recently revealed that Nelson Mandela would not have been arrested in 1962 if not for a tip-off from the Central Intelligence Agency.  The CIA was afraid of his connections with communists and thus informed the South African police of his whereabouts. Mandela would be arrested and sentenced to five years in prison.

In 1963, Mandela and three others were charged with four counts of sabotage and conspiracy to violently overthrow the government and were later sentenced to life imprisonment.

Donald Rickard, who served as the US vice-consul in Durban and was a CIA operative, revealed the agency’s involvement in the capture of Mandela just weeks before he passed away. He said:

Mandela would have welcomed a war. If the Soviets had come in force, the United States would have had to get involved, and things could have gone to hell. We were teetering on the brink here and it had to be stopped, which meant Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it.”

Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA)

In Angola, the CIA tried to stop the MPLA from taking over the country during independence in 1975 because of its affiliation with communist nations.  According to declassified information, the agency was trying to prevent a communist takeover, and thus put its weight behind the  National Front for the Liberation of Angola and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.  They were however not sure that their effort would be successful.  Throughout the civil war, the U.S. supported UNITA.

The MPLA was however successful and its leader, Agostinho Neto became the first president of Angola until his death in 1978.

Supporting Chad’s Hissene Habre

In Chad, the CIA supported one of Africa’s dictators Hissene Habre when he overthrew the government and throughout his rule in the country.

He was used as a tool by the Americans to fight against Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi under Ronald Reagan’s order. They formed a partnership with Habre and the first order of business was to put him in office.

Weapons from the U.S. found their way to Chad after a meeting between a CIA agent in Sudan and Habre and his team. Soon after, Habre made his way to N’Djamena and declared the establishment of  Chad’s “Third Republic”.

With the same weapons given to fight America’s war against Libya, Habre turned on his people.  He killed at least 40,000 people amid other human rights violations including rape and sexual assault.

According to Human Rights Watch, the extent of Habre’s atrocities was only revealed after he was deposed in 1990.  This was allegedly due to his close association with the U.S. and France, which had provided the support he needed during his tenure.

A former senior U.S. official said that the U.S. was aware of how bloodthirsty Habre was but decided to turn a blind eye to his activities.  “Habré was a remarkably able man with a brilliant sense of how to play the outside world. He was also a bloodthirsty tyrant and torturer. It is fair to say we knew who and what he was and chose to turn a blind eye,” he said.

If the CIA had not forced Habre on the people, one can only wonder which leader would have ruled Chad.

 

source: Five painful instances the CIA deprived Africa of its promising leaders

via Five painful instances the CIA deprived Afrika of its promising leaders — Moorbey’z Blog

Spent Convictions: The Foibles of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act within the Context of Internet Permanence – Samuel McCann

Inforrm's Blog

The shockwaves of a criminal conviction can be felt far beyond the conclusion of any sentence; the stigma of criminality often frustrates social interaction and employment long into the future. The prospect of being labelled a ‘criminal’ by the State can frequently be as great a source of consternation as the punishment itself.

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Mohammed Bin Salman: The Character Behind the Caricatures


The confluence of interests that the US, Russia, and China share when it comes to MBS makes him “too important” for any of them to “discredit” and risk jeopardizing their win-win partnerships with his country. The US, and perhaps maybe even Russia, might occasionally “virtue signal” opposition to some Saudi actions, though it’s “normatively disingenuous” because such statements are only made for negotiating leverage. All three countries see the character behind the caricatures that realize that MBS’ mix of noble reformer and bloody tyrant is just the way he is.”

Counter Information

Global Research, October 12, 2018
Oriental Review 11 October 2018

Mohammed-Bin-Salman_1-400x267Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman, popularly known by his initials as MBS, is either one of the world’s most admired leaders or its most reviled depending on who one asks. His friends characterize him as a noble reformer while his foes denounce him as a bloody tyrant. In reality, however, MBS is actually both, and that’s why the leaders of the US, China, and even Russia are competing to court him for their own reasons.

To get the dirt out of the way first, MBS was single-handedly responsible for ordering the ongoing Saudi-led War on Yemen that’s contributed to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, and he’s so ruthless that he even imprisoned members of his own family last year in a de-facto “deep state” coup when his allied military-intelligence services detained them on…

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#UK: Huge pay rises for judges may stave off disaster, but where will the judges come from in 10 years time?

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Huge pay rises for judges may stave off disaster, but where will the judges come from in 10 years time? | BarristerBlogger | 12 Oct 2018

The Top Salaries Review Body has announced that judges should receive a stonking pay rise. High Court judges – who sit near the pinnacle of the profession – should get an extra 32%, which works out at about another £60,000 per year, while middle-ranking, Circuit judges, who sit in most Crown and County Courts should get a smaller but still very helpful 22%, taking their salaries to a basic £165,000.

Some years ago Barristerblogger decided that he had slogged around the criminal courts long enough. He had imbibed enough of the elixir of wisdom that comes from prosecuting burglars in Bournemouth, mitigating the transgressions of sex mini-beasts in Swindon, and eating army packed-lunches in military courts from Bulford to Bielefeld. More to the point, with no pension provision beyond a mis-sold critical illness policy that would, at best, pay for 2 weeks off work if I was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, the time had come to rise above the blood and dust of the arena, to don a purple robe and to accept elevation to the judicial bench.

There were, of course, one or two preliminary details to be sorted out. The first of these was to get in some practice as a Recorder, a junior judge who is temporarily vested with most of the powers of a Circuit Judge and most of the privileges too, apart from the right to wear purple in court or, of course, the salary or (at that time) the pension.

Until not that long ago judicial appointments were done rather differently from the way they are done today. Things called “soundings” were taken, old-school ties adjusted and subtle hints dropped by friendly judges that So-and-So was a good chap (or rarely a chapess) whose time had come; and he would be quietly “sounded out.” If he showed interest – “Haha! Me? A judge? I’m sure no-one would ever think of making me a judge” – a few discrete background checks would be made, which went something like this:

Know anything about Higgins?”

He’s very sound. Wasn’t in my house, but a bloody good scrum-half.”

What’s his practice like?”

Prosecutes a lot, safe pair of hands.”

Poofter?”

No, happily married.”

Drinker?”

No more than normal.”

Then, Hey Presto, Higgins became a recorder. From there, if the presiding judge liked him and he was clever, lucky or cunning enough not to be appealed too often, a permanent appointment might follow and with it the coveted purple dressing-gown and almost complete security of tenure until it was time to close the judicial notebook for the last time and gratefully accept the solid gold pension. There was a certain amount to be said for such a system if you possessed, or at least were entitled to wear, an old school tie – if you weren’t a poofter of course, or a woman – but it can’t be denied that it had its flaws.

The modern system is certainly fairer, and on the whole I think it has produced better judges, although that may simply be that as one gets older the “old darlings” (as Rumpole called them) cease to be terrifying and start to become at first contemporaries, and then, gradually, terrifyingly brilliant young upstarts.

It begins with a form, in which you are asked to explain in excruciating detail “why I would make a brilliant judge,” although not quite in those words. It is not enough to say, diffidently, “oh, I don’t know, I think I could make a fist of it, but I would say that wouldn’t I?” Instead you have to blow your own trumpet. And it’s not enough to just blow it loudly, you have to demonstrateexamples of how “decisive,” “independent,” “authoritative” and generally Solomonaic you are in your everyday life. To adopt the metaphor slightly, you have to praise yourself not just on the loud cymbals but also on the well-tuned cymbals.

This was not so easy, not least because I find it hard to make my mind up about anything and have never held any positions of authority at all, apart from captaining the chambers cricket team to a series of defeats so heavy that the once popular annual fixture eventually had to be cancelled. This was the first hint that the application process wasn’t going to be quite such a walk in the park. Days went by, then weeks while I racked my memory to think of a single example of where I had ever been more than averagely decisive – which obviously wouldn’t be good enough – and the more I tried to think of one, the less decisive I felt. All I could think of was that I was usually very quick to select items from the menu in restaurants, but that was hardly the sort of thing they were looking for.

You had to demonstrate “independence.” What did that mean? And then there was something about working in a team. Why would a judge work in a team? Surely, when you were on the bench your word was the law, never mind what any team thought. And how did you reconcile the two qualities anyway? The more you emphasised your independence the less you seemed like a team player, and vice versa.

Anyway, you get the idea. It’s painful and embarrassing and you don’t really want to put yourself through it unless you really, really want to be a judge.

The next stage was a written exam. You didn’t need to know any law as such: instead you are given an imaginary statute and rule book, and then asked to write judgments, under time pressure, on various imaginary scenarios, applying the imaginary law.

Somehow I bumbled my way through that and a week or two later the invitation arrived to go to a smart Westminster address for a day of role playing and interviewing.

The role playing involved a company of ham actors playing litigants, lawyers and witnesses, all of whom were doing their utmost to disrupt the quiet authority of the law that us judicial candidates were told to encapsulate. My court-room swiftly became an anarchic cockpit, as actors playing a diverse crowd of dissatisfied defendants, weeping complainants and incompetent lawyers shouted and swore at each other and at me, while a Lord Justice of Appeal looked on with thinly disguised contempt as I dismally failed to “show patience and courtesy” and even less to“assert authority when challenged.” After a few minutes my patience and courtesy had evaporated along with any vestigial authority, and all I could think of was to demand that the usher arrest the key troublemakers, which of course would have been neither correct nor even legal, but by then I was beyond caring. I was like a supply teacher being tortured by Year 9. Fortunately, the Lord Justice had seen enough and intervened to spare me further punishment. The interview that followed was another horror show, but we do not need to go there.

So you will understand, that although not cut out for judicial preferment, I have nothing but the greatest respect for those who are.

Unfortunately the very best ones are increasingly refusing to do the job for the pay on offer. In the most recent round of recruitment for High Court judges about one third of the positions was left unfilled, because the Judicial Appointments Commission could not find candidates of sufficiently high calibre. What’s more, many of the judges who were appointed wouldn’t have made the grade in previous years. The Commission grades appointable candidates as A (“outstanding”), B (“strong”) or C (“acceptable”), although I don’t think they are told which category they fall into (I can guess in my case). Until 2015 all new High Court Judges had been A class; since then some Bs have been appointed. Amongst the Circuit judges, the Commission says that it has already started appointing C grade candidates: 19 in 2016, rising to 43 out of 96 in the last round of recruitment. Moreover, many of the latest Circuit Judge appointments have been from District Judges who previously sat in the Magistrates Courts, which of course has itself weakened those courts. Before long some of us Ds (“poor”) and Es (“embarrassingly bad”) might have to be appointed, simply to keep the courts open at all, and while that may be good news for long-in-the-tooth supply-grade hacks who haven’t been able to afford to fund a pension, it’s not such good news for those who want to get justice in the courts.

Judges, or most of them anyway, deserve good pay for the extremely difficult work that they do. There is also, of course, a public interest in attracting the best talent with a high salary and other rewards, otherwise those able to earn good money as barristers and solicitors will simply not bother to apply.

So it is a terrible dilemma. There is no getting away from it: 32% (for the High Court Judges) or 22% (for the Circuit Judges) is a huge increase. Politically, it could not come at a more difficult time for the Government, just after Theresa May foolishly announced the “end of austerity” and just as Esther McVey admitted that some of the poorest people in the country are about to find their income reduced with the introduction of Universal Credit.

It will split the legal profession. Some will say – without even the merest whiff of self-interest, of course – that we need to pay top dollar to attract the best candidates. Other criminal barristers and solicitors, on the other hand, many of whom struggle to get by on £20,000 or £30,000 a year with huge debts to finance, will think that giving large pay increases to already comfortably-off judges is not the best use of scarce resources.

The criminal bar and the profession of criminal solicitor is, almost literally, dying on its feet. In the whole of mid-Wales there are, for example, (or were in 2017) just 11 criminal solicitors, most of whom were over 50, and over England and Wales as a whole the mean average age of duty solicitors is 47, and increasing every year, as their income continues to decline.

While judges ponder whether they will receive the full 32% increase, few criminal barristers, who have seen a 40% reduction in income from criminal legal aid in the last decade, are likely to be very sympathetic, even as the Government continues to squabble over exactly when a proposed increase of 1% (yes, 1%, not 11% or 21% or 31%) in their fees is to be implemented.

The criminal bar and the solicitors profession will probably not die altogether. Some barristers and solicitors will continue to work for pitifully low rates of pay. A few may be able to make a reasonable living living from privately paying clients. The independently wealthy will probably continue to represent criminal clients, because it can be a fascinating job. But do we really want to go back to the days when membership of the criminal bar, and the pool from which future criminal judges are recruited, is for practical purposes only open to the rich? And although I write about the criminal law because that is the area I understand best, barristers and solicitors acting for the poor in other areas of the law have seen their own, equally catastrophic, cuts in income.

Huge pay increases for judges may stave off disaster for a year or two, but they will do nothing to attract new talent into the law. Unless the government somehow finds the money to reverse the disastrous cuts in legal aid that the profession has endured over the last ten years, the result ten years from today will be a criminal judiciary full of independently wealthy, hideously over-paid, and over-promoted, Hooray Henries and Tim Nice But Dims. I’m not sure that overall that will be a good thing.

via Huge pay rises for judges may stave off disaster, but where will the judges come from in 10 years time? — BarristerBlogger

Shaun Bailey: Not Only Islamophobic, but also Misogynist

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

On Wednesday, Mike put up a piece reporting and commenting on a story by Business Insider about the rather unpleasant attitude Shaun Bailey, the Tory candidate for mayor of London, has for girls from poor backgrounds. He has made a series of comments in an article he wrote for the Torygraph, at the Tory party conference in 2008 and in 2005, when he was a social worker, claiming that young women deliberately became pregnant to get a flat or benefits. He also said that poor people need rules to stop them from turning to crime, and that girls were more likely to start smoking than boys because they had the ‘smoker’s attitude’.

Labour’s Rosina Allin-Khan told Buzzfeed, the site that uncovered some of these comments, that it was appalling sexism and misogyny.

Mike in his article points out that Bailey’s campaign team tried to excuse him by saying they…

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Judge Likens Social Workers To Hitler’s Schutzstaffel.

Judge Moore summed up his thoughts on the girl’s treatment, at the hearing:

“Social services were like the SS of Nazi Germany. They’re literally the SS in their name, and their manner of working is somewhat draconian.”

Researching Reform

A judge sitting at Sheffield Crown Court has likened Barnsley social services to Hitler’s paramilitary organisation, the Schutzstaffel, or SS, after a young girl who had expressed what were believed to be suicidal thoughts, was forced to have a naked medical examination. The social workers also failed to get her father’s consent for the medical, and several other related courses of action.

The council’s conduct left Judge Robert Moore fuming last Friday, after social workers wrongly accused the girl’s family of child sexual abuse, leading to the vulnerable six year old having to undergo humiliating and invasive procedures, which included the collection of swabs and having to stand for extended periods of time in uncomfortable positions. She was also temporarily prevented from seeing her grandfather. Judge Moore summed up his thoughts on the girl’s treatment, at the hearing:

“Social services were like the SS of Nazi Germany. They’re literally the SS in…

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