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Solicitors and barristers from across Wales are meeting in Cardiff to discuss possible walkouts or strike action over proposals to reform legal aid.
The UK government says the current system costs £2bn a year and is not sustainable.
From the BBC (2 May 2013): But barristers are warning the proposed changes could result in thousands of job cuts in the Welsh legal system and could leave some of the most vulnerable without access to justice.
Nick Palit reports. Visit the BBC site for more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-22389942 Video Rating: / 5
Greg Foxsmith, nominee for legal aid lawyer of the year, talks to Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi about the effect of cuts on the British justice system. He says Chris Grayling is unsuitable to be Lord Chancellor because of his views on forcing cuts on a justice system ‘already at breaking point.’ The reforms are affecting the whole system, reducing access to justice for those who no longer qualify for legal aid, and with remuneration work so low that firms are stopping legal aid work or going bankrupt. This will lead to corners being cut and miscarriages of justice ‘whether people are represented or not.’ He warns of ‘advice deserts’ where people cannot access legal funding to help in cases, and explains that with more people forced to represent themselves, this will not actually save money – trials will take longer, miscarriages of justice impact on prison budgets and lead to further litigation, so ‘it’s not even a genuine saving.’ He points out that everyone has a right to defend themselves, not just the rich – ‘if you can only afford to defend yourself in a court according to the size of your bank budget, then that’s not equal representation before the law.’ He says some of Grayling’s reforms are probably unlawful, and they are being challenged in court, but the Lord Chancellor has said he will try and force through a system with rates so low that firms will close, which ‘could take a generation to put right.’ Underneath the ‘veneer of mercenary tabloid propaganda’ that the cuts only affect rapists and terrorists, anybody could be accused of any offence at any time, and the choice is between equal justice for all, ‘or you don’t have any justice at all.’ He argues that this is a human rights issue, as if only the rich have a right to a fair trial it is no right at all – ‘you can have the right to justice but if there comes a price tag with that that you can’t afford it makes a mockery of the system.’ He wants redressing of the balance, but to date only the Green Party has come out with a commitment to overturn the cuts. Even if you buy into austerity, he points out legal aid was already cut under the previous Labour government, and has had no pay increases or cuts every year for the last 20 years, so it was already cut to the ‘very minimum survival threshold.’ If the cuts go through, ‘our judicial system… will fall into disrepute, there will be miscarriages of justice’ and an eventual backlash and scandals. The balance will be restored eventually, after campaigning, but ‘it’s a terrible shame to go through that cycle.’
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Barristers, solicitors and activists from the Justice Alliance staged a mass walkout on Monday outside of Westminster Magistrates Court in London protesting against the £220 million government cuts to legal aid, set to be implemented in England and Wales from April 2014.
Criminal case lawyers argue that the slashes to legal aid, which helps pay for legal advice, family mediation and representation in court to financially disadvantaged citizens, will jeopardise trials, including those for murder and rape cases.
They claim the cuts could see the lawyers’ fees fall by up to 30 per cent, and as a result reducing the representation available to defendants.
The Criminal Bar Association, who represent barristers in England and Wales, also organised protests on Monday in Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Winchester, Bristol and Cardiff.
Legal aid costs taxpayers about £2 billion every year. Half goes on criminal defence and the rest on civil cases.
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Video on Demand: http://www.ruptly.tv Video Rating: / 5
With unprecedented access to Britain’s busiest legal aid practice, The Briefs takes us into the cut-throat world of criminal law. The Briefs follows the skilful lawyers of Tuckers in Manchester, as they look after their clients on cases ranging from blackmail to murder. The lawyers cover everything from taking on a case where a 63 year old woman is accused of drug dealing to a poet accused of benefit fraud. This is how justice really works.
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Produced by Chameleon Television Video Rating: / 5
The presentations for the 2012 Tenth Anniversary Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALY) awards were made at a ceremony in central London on 12 June 2012 in front more than 400 lawyers and other guests.
The LALYs are a grassroots celebration of the work of publicly funded lawyers and are organised on a not-for-profit basis by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
Doreen Lawrence OBE and solicitor Imran Khan were both honoured for their contribution to justice and the pair received a standing ovation.
The full winners list for 2012 is:
10th Anniversary Special Award: Doreen Lawrence OBE
Outstanding Achievement: Imran Khan (Imran Khan & Partners)
Criminal Defence: Raj Chada (Hodge Jones & Allen)
Legal Aid Firm/Not-for-Profit: Turpin & Miller
Family Legal Aid Lawyer: Rachel Horman (Watson Ramsbottom)
Mental Health: Mike Bishop (David Gray)
Social & Welfare: Rosaleen Kilbane (Community Law Partnership)
Immigration: Liz Barratt (Bindmans)
Legal Aid Barrister: Leslie Thomas (Garden Court)
Young Legal Aid Solicitor: Jed Pennington (Bhatt Murphy)
Young Legal Aid Barrister: Shu Shin Luh (Garden Court)
All the winners were presented with their awards by Michael Mansfield QC, who chaired the judging panel.
Q&A: “Should there be a cap on law students entering vocational courses?”
Young Legal Aid Lawyers launch a new report “Social Mobility within the Legal Aid Profession” on October 30, 2013.
Raphael Rowe, Investigative Journalist
David Johnston, CEO Social Mobility Foundation
Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, Director Scott-Moncrieff and Associates Ltd
Simao Paxi-Cato, Junior Barrister, Invictus Chambers
Chris Topping, Partner, Broudie Jackson Canter Solicitors
James Wakefield, Director of the Council of the Inns of Court Video Rating: / 5
For free legal advice come and see a lawyer at a legal aid clinic Video Rating: / 5
Alberta lawyers had the opportunity to learn from some of the best and brightest in Edmonton’s legal community at the Junior Counsel Criminal Law Conference last week.
Over 50 lawyers from the Edmonton area participated in two days of panel discussions on a range of topics that helped them build on the knowledge they learned in law school with practical skills to help them build a solid foundation to step into the courtroom with confidence.
Organized by Legal Aid Alberta roster lawyers Bob Aloneissi and Deborah Hatch, with the support of the Criminal Defence Lawyers’ Association and Legal Aid Alberta, the conference was an opportunity to connect young lawyers with senior members of the legal community to provide them with the chance to network and hone their skills in the courtroom. Video Rating: / 5
Legal Aid Council on: Police not advising arrested persons of their rights … need for reforms aid support … growing demand for legal aid in tough economy Video Rating: / 5
My report from Friday’s demonstration in which legal aid lawyers, withdrawing their labour from the first time on criminal cases, demonstrated against the cuts proposed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. Please note that Gary McKinnon’s mother is Janis Sharp, not Janice McKinnon (as captioned).
Interview Questions for Lawyer Legal Aid.What makes your comforts about an Lawyer Legal Aid position?How prolonged do you plan to stay at company if offered the Lawyer Legal Aid position?What are your professional objectives for an Lawyer Legal Aid?If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?What are you expecting from this firm in the future? Video Rating: / 5
Like if you support stand up for your rights……dislike if you dislike the police that manipulate lawyers and break the rule of law …lawyers who just follow with the prosecution and do nothing or as little as possible just process serving weaklings…they did not want me to refute the witness testimony they did not want me to even know what the witnesses said they are with holding evidence to save them selves if you have ever and do you know in Saskatchewan…the legal aid lawyers do not discuss your file with you , you know this do not even think about win or lose it is how much time do you get they threaten threaten threaten if you even get to peek at the lies they will do it just to piss you off..Legal aid lawyer tries to threaten me with more charges if I do not comply …..this is common practice for legal aid they threaten you or coerce you and the judge will not be fair they do not defend they only railroad ,to a saskatchewan judge you are guilty as charged when charged.(EXCEPT when you are tried by your fishing buddies just like Gerald Stanley was.. but I am not the same status as the judge is ok with, so like any other native ,black or bum .. All they do is sentence or threaten even when they withdraw charges.4 months she warns me….they always warn ..you are going to get more charges if you make trouble….they will not let me even see the disclosure because it is lies and as well as being constantly amended to change the lies over the last couple of MONTHS it has been changed from the original file the “witness liars”have been threatening me twice since these charges were laid I DID NOTHING EXCEPT PHONE THE POLICE AND THE CHURCH Reverend to report I asked for forms to fill out statements and then the police would always go to my neighbours after a couple of days or the next day after The “witness” sobers up . as the plead or else lawyer says as long as I do not make trouble ???it is because the “witnesses are lying and THEY threatened me in FACT
so if someone lies about me ??????????????????????again ??????no I WILL NOT BE THREATENED AND FORCED TO MOVE YOU WILL NOT WIN KIETH KOSIOR YOU WILL EVENTUALLY HAVE TO ANSWER TO AN HONEST JUSTICE OFFICIAL WHO HAS BACKBONE TO STAND UP TO ALL YOU CORRUPT AND THREATENING GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES YOU ARE EMPLOYEES YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOUR JOB THE WAY YOU DO YOUR JOBS. ( the reason she can just voice you out of your mind her voice she uses her femininity to charm you typical lawyer) cc/subtitles by Lennon /McCartney the watch next video is “fired my pleagal aid liar” (Hi this is Dale”…..I am the walrus..) Video Rating: / 5