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Showing posts from February, 2016

Set up courts in pubs and hotels says Lord Chief Justice

As Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas is the most senior judge in the country (I’m not entirely sure how that is the case since he sits in the Court of Appeal and you’d think the President of the Supreme Court would be the boss, but clearly that’s the hierarchical mess you’re left with when you appoint non-judges to the role of Lord Chancellor) and he wants to modernise the justice system. 
Lord Thomas has come up with the bright idea of judges pitching up in pubs, town halls and hotels to hear cases – I doubt it’s all his idea, I suspect that one of the 24% of alcoholic lawyers in practice may have guided him.  In fact, I’m sure I’ve heard this idea before but last time it was the Ministry of Justice who were planning to open courts in shopping centres
I must admit that I quite like the idea of a pint during trials, would make things flow well.  Could bring back smoking too, I know we’re not supposed to say or think it but I always thought smoking looked kinda cool.
How sensible are …

Defendant’s told to plead guilty in return for reduced sentences

Today the media are reporting on a consultation by the Sentencing Guidelines Council to reduce the sentences of defendants who agree to plead guilty.  The Guardian says, “[d]raft guidelines say for maximum reduction, defendants must plead guilty at first opportunity in court, with cuts dropping thereafter until trial”.
This news will come as a shock to most criminal solicitors and barristers given that in 2003 Parliament passed the Criminal Justice Act, section 144 of which requires courts to take into account the guilty plea, when it was entered and the circumstances of the plea.  The provision in the CJA 2003 wasn’t even particularly new when it was passed.  Criminal solicitors and barristers will also be aware of the Sentencing Guidelines Council’s “Reduction in Sentence for a Guilty Plea – Definitive Guideline” document, which was last revised in 2007 and gives all sorts of guidance on reducing a sentence to reflect a guilty plea.
The changes proposed by the Council amount to lit…