Posted on 27 April 2012.
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill bounced back to the House of Lords on Monday for consideration of Commons’ amendments. Members of the Lords voted eight times during the debate, and in scoreboard terms, the result for the government was played 8, won 4, lost 3, with one sort of score draw. Read the full story
Posted in Civil Law, Criminal Justice, Legal Aid
Posted on 30 March 2012.
Having already forced nine amendments during the report stage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders bill, peers inflicted further damage on the legislation at the third reading stage of the bill on Tuesday.
Baroness Grey-Thompson (Crossbench), the former paralympian, put down an amendment opposing government plans to save £6m a year by removing as many as 6,000 children from entitlement to legal support. She said: “If the Bill is left as it stands, legal aid for around 35,000 children every year will continue, but legal aid will not be available for around 6,000 children under 18 who would qualify if the current rules remained in place.” Read the full story
Posted in Civil Law, Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Law Updates, Legal Aid
Posted on 23 March 2012.
The House of Lords concluded report stage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill with three votes on Tuesday. The session on this fifth day went on until past midnight.
Lord Beecham (Labour) moved an amendment on referral fees. He said: “The amendment deals with the position of not-for-profit organisations. We are entirely at one with the Government in seeking to ban referral fees made to commercial organisations simply for the purpose of making profits. However, some organisations – be they charities or membership organisations – receive referral fees from firms of solicitors and perhaps from others…whose contributions help those organisations carry out their main purpose.” Read the full story
Posted in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Law Updates, Legal Aid
Posted on 09 March 2012.
Wednesday was the second day of Report stage for the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill in the Lords. Four divisions took place during the debate, resulting in three government defeats and one government win.
Baroness Doocey (Liberal Democrat) moved amendment 11. She said: “The amendment concerns the proposals in the Bill to remove legal aid for appeals against official decisions about entitlement to welfare benefit. These proposals will seriously inhibit claimants’ access to justice, will not deliver the savings that the Government hope for and will create very serious problems for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.” Read the full story
Posted in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, Legal Aid
Posted on 07 March 2012.
The government suffered three defeats on the first day of Report stage of its legal aid, sentencing and punishment of offenders bill in the Lords on Monday. Despite almost universal hostility during the ten days of Committee stage, ministers had hoped that it would not translate into parliamentary defeats. The bill now seems destined to endure the same difficult passage through the Lords suffered by the proposed changes to health and welfare. Read the full story
Posted in Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice
Posted on 18 January 2012.
The Lords continued their examination of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill on Monday, starting with Clause 8, which makes provisions about when civil legal services would be made available.
Amendment 21 was moved by Lord Beecham. He said that the bill sought to make legal aid provision a matter of exception rather than of course. Instead of listing only matters that would be eligible for legal aid, they exclude everything except Read the full story
Posted in Civil Law, Civil Liberties, Law Updates
Posted on 06 December 2011.
Last Wednesday Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke, made a written statement to the Commons on Competitive Tendering. The proposed timetable has yet again slipped back.
He told the Commons: “The Government believe that tendering criminal defence work for competition, alongside regulatory changes, has the potential to significantly modernise legal aid provision, improve the service provided to legal aid clients, streamline the procurement process and deliver value for money for the taxpayer.” In a thinly veiled threat he said: Read the full story
Posted in Criminal Justice, Legal Aid
Posted on 24 November 2011.
On Monday the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill came before the Lords for its second reading. In eight hours there were over fifty contributors to a high quality debate.
Part 2 (litigation funding and costs) and part 3 (sentencing and punishment of offenders) did not feature greatly in the exchanges, and were largely approved. Overwhelmingly the debate concerned part 1 of the bill – legal aid. And overwhelmingly the contributors opposed the government’s proposals. Read the full story
Posted in Civil Law, Civil Liberties, Legal Aid
Posted on 01 November 2011.
Dangerous drivers who seriously injure others could spend longer in jail thanks to a new criminal offence.
For the vast majority of dangerous driving cases the maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment provides the courts with sufficient and proportionate powers to punish offenders. The new offence of ‘causing serious injury by dangerous driving’ will carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison and allow the courts to impose tougher punishments on dangerous drivers. Read the full story
Posted in Criminal Justice, Law Updates
Posted on 28 October 2011.
Word has it that there have been some fierce knock’em down and drag’em out battles in cabinet between Theresa May and Kenneth Clarke on the subject of mandatory prison sentences. If that is the case the home secretary has triumphed. David Cameron has intervened and decided.
Clarke made clear his personal opposition to the use of mandatory sentences at a hearing of the Commons home affairs committee on Tuesday. His preference is to give judges unfettered discretion to set sentences based on the facts of the cases for nearly all crimes except murder. He also made clear his view that Read the full story
Posted in Criminal Justice, Law Updates