Monday, 25 July 2011

Bloody cheek

I have just received the most extraordinary letter, which comes signed jointly by Dominic Grieve, Attorney General and member of the Government.  The letter says, "We already know that legal aid for people facing legal problems... may be cut and those who cannot afford to pay for advice are going to find it very difficult to seek free legal help."

The letter then goes on to ask for a donation to the Access to Justice Foundation so that the charity can provide free legal advice to people in need.

Not only does the Government want to cut funding and thus put me and my employees out of work but now at least one member of the Government would also like me to fund my own replacement!

Incidentally, my firm does it's share of free work.  We regularly take part in things like Will Aid (where solicitors prepare wills free of charge and the receipient makes a donation to charity in lieu of paying a fee).  Also, on the 5th August 2011 we will be hosting a free legal advice day at our offices where local people can make an appointment to come and see our solicitors completely free of charge to get some practical advice on dealing with their problems.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Police/CPS do not want to charge

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that the police and CPS are deliberately not charging people.  I have noticed a sharp decrease in charges since the credit crunch began so I can only assume that it has something to do with that.

For example, I have recently seen a case where two men were accused of robbery.  They were positively identified by one victim (a lone female whose purse and telephone were taken).  They were found in possession of the stolen property from the second robbery.  They gave an account that they just happened to chance across two robberies completely by co-incidence and that they found the stolen property from the second robbery.  Result: police NFA.

A while ago I saw a case where a boyfriend smashed his girlfriends face in, breaking her jaw and then raped her.  Result: CPS NFA.

Yesterday I saw a case where the suspect was found in possession of class A drugs while drunk in charge of a vehicle.  I can't quite believe how but, result: police NFA on drunk in charge and caution to drugs.

One man arrested at the door of his ex-partners home, seen by police to be drunk and shouting through the door as he tried to batter it down.  Police also witnessed him spit in the complainant's face.  Allegation of assault earlier in the evening.  Result: police NFA.

Over the Royal Wedding holiday we represented 33 suspects.  There was just one lonely charge.

Stratford Mags used to be one of the busiest courts about.  My first ever duty landed me with 14 clients.  At the start of this year the fewest duty clients I'd ever had there was 8.  The last few times I've acted as duty at Stratford I've not had a single punter.  Last week I had zero clients in the youth court and the courts were so quiet that they closed some court rooms and moved everything into a single court room!  Even the adult duty only had a single punter to deal with.

It seems to me that there are only three possible explanations.  First, the solicitors at my firm are of such unrivaled excellence that the prosecutors just fall down in fear at the mention of their names.  Secondly, the police are arresting a LOT of people who are completely innocent.  Or thirdly there is some edict from on high aimed at reducing the numbers of people ending up in court to reduce costs.

If any police officers or CPS staff have a view about what is happening I would be delighted to hear it.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Oh Crapita

Capita, they of the multimillion pound failed/delayed IT project (think NHS, HMRC) as well as botched staff administration services at Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust and the BBC where staff details were lost.  They also failed to provide sufficient computing systems for the Criminal Records Bureau, which caused lengthy delays.  Capita were also involved in the failure of the Individual Learning Accounts following a £60M over-spend.  These collective failings led Private Eye to rename the company Crapita.

Imagine how over-joyed I was when I discovered that the Defence Solicitor Call Centre is now indirectly owned and managed by Crapita.

On the 1st July 2011, Crapita purchased Ventura who have held the contract with the Legal Services Commission to provide advice to detainees in the police station and to allocate cases to solicitors since the 1st April 2010.

Let's see if Capita can make less of a pigs-ear of this than they seem to have made of many of their other projects.