Our blog will be updated with interesting articles and tips over the coming weeks and months.

  • 17 Oct
    How Hard Should I Try When I Am Prosecuting?

    It may boil down to this: defending requires a measure of invention, allows space for expression, and invites passion. Prosecuting requires a large measure of tight self-discipline so as to prevent any of those things entering into the Crown's exposition of its case. Prosecuting has its art, at least to the same extent as defending, but it is an art of precision, of paring away the extraneous so that the jury is left only with fact, not opinion, with what matters to understand what happened, rather than what might have motivated it. It is more Canaletto than, say, Van Gogh. For many of us, exerting that self-discipline is at least as strenuous an activity as giving vent to the expressive artistry of defending.

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  • 12 Jul
    Exclusion Of McKenzie Friend

    The McF has been far too involved and familiar with the Children’s Services involved, which raises issues as to the impartiality of that evidence and whether it can be relied upon

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  • 25 Apr
    Some Further Thoughts On Holiday Term Time

    “There is no doubt that, before the 1944 Act, a parent was liable to conviction if his child failed to attend for a single day or half day when required to do so. Most of the case law, both before and after that Act, was concerned with the scope of the statutory exceptions or excuses. But the introduction, in 1944, of the phrase “fails to attend regularly” raised the possibility that this was no longer the law.”

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  • 21 Apr
    Damages Against The Lord Chancellor

    A High Court Judge imposed the sentence which was quashed by the Court of Appeal on the grounds of various serious procedural irregularities. A different High Court Judge dismissed his claim for damages.

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  • 13 Apr
    Some Other Substantial Reason

    This time around I have chosen a recent case on the SOSR defence. This has come in for some criticism in recent years from appellate courts especially where there have been other specific conduct issues which might have been relied upon. This has I think made practitioners wary of the SOSR perceiving it to be more difficult to establish requiring perhaps some higher level of proof or more cogent evidence.

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  • 29 Mar
    Should we legalize all drugs?

    It seems likely that those who are going to end up regularly taking drugs are going to do so irrespective of the legality of it. Similarly, those that are going to dabble and move on are going to do so, whatever the legal position. It would be impossible to deny that ready availability is hardly an issue now, when the drugs are illegal: that position won’t change if the prohibition ceases. It is the push towards the murky side of the street to obtain the drugs that would no longer be required.

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  • 28 Mar
    Deprivation of Liberty

    Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty report published by Law Commission recommends replacing DoLS with a new scheme, called the Liberty Protection Safeguards.

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  • 06 Mar
    When Down Means Up


    Most readers are no doubt aware that when a substantial compensation award including future loss of earnings is made in a personal injury case a reduction is normally made which takes into account the interest that can be earned on the lump sum payment. The Discount Rate as it is called is also applied to substantial loss calculations in the Employment Tribunal (see Brentwood Bros (Manchester) Limited v Shepherd [2003] EWCA Civ 380 @ para 16). What this has meant in practice is that the compensation payment is reduced or discounted to reflect accelerated payment.

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  • 17 Feb
    J-v-B and The Children (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism: Transgender) [2017] EWFC 4

    Father leaves the strict Jewish community and changes gender; the Court refuses him/her direct contact.

    Extracts from the Judgment:-

    165. Here, the best possible outcome would be for the children to live with their mother, grow up in the community, and enjoy a full relationship with their father by regular contact. The worst outcome, I find, would be for the mother and children to be excluded from the community. The question is whether, in striving for the best outcome, the court would instead bring about the worst.

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  • 13 Feb


    The Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in Pimlico Plumbers & Charlie Mullins v Gary Smith [2017] EWCA Civ 51 on 10th February 2017. In this case a plumber had been engaged under a series of written agreements to provide his services as an independent contractor. The question arose as to whether he was in fact a worker and/or an employee...

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  • 24 Jan

    The President of the Family Division has revised his Guidance, which was originally issued in 2014...

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  • 23 Jan

    Here is a cautionary tale for employers.

    What happens when a Claimant brings a claim and signs a COT3? End of matter parties move on. Well that is not always true. The key is what the wording of the COT3 actually covers...

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  • 09 Jan
    Abuse of Process

    I apologise in advance that this blog is a bit longer than normal as I feel a legal history lesson is needed to give the reader some context. If you want to skip to the good bit then I suggest you simply read the last paragraph for the practical part!

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  • 09 Jan

    A recent case highlights some more unusual problems about committals. This was an application in respect of a statement with a declaration of truth in which the father said he did not know where his son was, last seen six years previously in Afghanistan...

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  • 21 Dec
    Stress: A Reaction to Circumstances?

    Reactive stress is sometimes insufficient to provide an employee with the added protection for those classed as disabled under the Equality Act 2010. The case of Herry v Dudley Metropolitan Council UKEAT/0100/16 is a useful reminder of this. Those who have advised in stress cases will be aware of J v DLA Piper UK UKEAT/0263/09 which made the distinction between someone suffering from a mental impairment such as depression and someone who was reacting to circumstances...

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  • 21 Dec
    Vulnerable Witnesses

    So Britain’s oldest Defendant begins his 13 year sentence at 101 years of age. There was a need to ‘adjust’ the normal procedures during the trial, but his extreme old age was no bar to prosecution. It’s a good illustration of how the Criminal Justice System has adapted to deal with witnesses and defendants who – some years ago – wouldn’t have seen the inside of a Courtroom...

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  • 19 Dec
    • The Office for National Statistics has released figures for reported domestic violence which reveal that 1.03 million domestic abuse-related incidents were recorded by the police in the year to March 2016. In 421,000 of these incidents, a criminal offence was committed, which represents 1 in 10 of all crimes recorded...
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  • 13 Dec
    The Theatre of Forensic Enterprise

    The Rt Hon Iain Duncan-Smith, Conservative MP and a former senior member of Government, has written a widely-shared polemical in the Daily Mail in which he decries the Miller "Brexit" appeal as those "ponderous proceedings" in the Supreme Court...

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  • 12 Dec
    You reap what you sow... the impact of the legal aid changes hits home...

    On the 30th November the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas, held his annual press conference and commented on the prevalence of litigants in person (LIP) and the use of McKenzie friends in litigation...

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  • 01 Dec
    Some thoughts on guidelines & abuse of trust...

    Sentencing in historic cases of sexual abuse was considered by the CACD by Lord Judge, then Lord Chief, in October 2011 in R v H ([2011] EWCA Crim 2753, [2102] 1 WLR 1416, [2012] 2 Cr App R (S) 21, [2012] Crim LR 149). The essential principle is clear: offenders sentenced today for historic offences are to be sentenced in accordance with the regime applicable at the date of sentence, & current sentencing practice, subject to the perhaps obvious caveat that the sentence that can be passed is limited to the maximum sentence available at the time of the commission of the offence, unless the maximum has been reduced, when the lower maximum applies...

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