Cuts on the agenda of family justice review

first_imgThe Ministry of Justice has launched a ‘comprehensive review’ of the family justice system, appointing a panel of experts to hear evidence on how the system can improve. However, the panel chair has admitted a principal catalyst for the review is the government’s desire to make spending cuts. The review will examine both public and private law cases, looking at how the courts, along with other agencies, manage cases involving children and the public care system, and contact and resident disputes. It will consider how to improve use of mediation when couples break up, and how to provide better access rights to non-resident parents and grandparents. The review will also examine the processes involved in granting divorces and awarding ancillary relief, but it will not extend to the law as it relates to the grounds for divorce or the amounts of ancillary relief that should be awarded. The Family Justice Review Panel will be chaired by David Norgrove, who is currently chair of the pensions regulator and the Low Pay Commission. It wishes to hear from children, families, professionals and representative groups involved in the family justice system. It will then publish recommendations. Norgrove said: ‘The family justice system is vitally important, attempting to resolve some of the most difficult issues in our society. My panel colleagues and I are determined to create a better system to serve the needs of those who use it. ‘We are also being challenged to find ways of doing more with less.’ Justice minister Jonathan Djanogly said: ‘It is over 20 years since the introduction of the Children Act 1989, and while areas of child welfare and wellbeing have been the subject of reform, there has been no fundamental review of the family justice system. ‘Now more than ever we need a family justice system that supports people in need as efficiently as possible, and that is what the panel’s work will help us achieve.’last_img read more

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Sentencing

first_imgImprisonment – Length of sentence David McLachlan (assigned by the Registrar of Criminal Appeals) for the defendant. The complainant, S, was the defendant’s granddaughter. The defendant suffered from cancer and underwent surgical, chemical and radiotherapy treatment. He also suffered amputation of one of his legs. Subsequently, when S was 13 years old, she fell out with her mother and went to live with the defendant who told her that her mother did not like her. He also gave her cannabis and alcohol. Subsequent to S going to live with the defendant, he started to abuse her. He undertook a persistent course of conduct, using coercion and drugs, which involved the regular touching of S’s breasts (count 1). The defendant also undertook a persistent course of conduct, using drugs and alcohol, which involved him putting his fingers into S’s vagina (count 2). Count 3 consisted of a single act by the defendant, wherein he licked S’s vagina with his tongue. On one occasion, the defendant also attempted unsuccessfully to put his penis into S’s vagina (count 4). In addition, on one occasion S was made by the defendant to lie down naked whereupon he got a dog to try to mount her (count 5). All of the offences were committed over a period of four months when S was 13 years old. The abuse ended when S attempted to kill herself, whereupon she was taken to hospital and subsequently into care. The defendant was later convicted of two counts of sexual assault (counts 1 and 3), one count of assault by penetration (count 2), one count of attempted rape (count 4) and one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity (count 5). He was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment for count 1, eight years’ imprisonment for count 2, two years’ imprisonment for count 3 and ten years’ imprisonment for count 4, all to run concurrently. He was further sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in respect of count 5, to run consecutively. The total sentence imposed was accordingly fourteen years’ imprisonment. He contended that the sentence was manifestly excessive on the grounds, inter alia: (i) that the judge had failed to give adequate consideration to the health and age of the defendant; (ii) that the judge had failed to have adequate regard to the defendant’s lack of previous convictions; (iii) that insufficient regard was had to the short period of time over which the offences had occurred; (iv) that insufficient regard was had to the personal mitigation of the defendant; and (v) that the judge had failed to have sufficient regard to the principle of totality and, in particular, that the sentence imposed for count 5 should not have been consecutive to counts 1-4. The appeal would be dismissed. The total sentence of 14 years’ imprisonment was not manifestly excessive. The judge had taken fully into account the age and medical condition of the defendant. So serious was the nature of the offences that the absence of previous convictions was irrelevant. There was nothing in the submission that the period of time over which the offences had occurred was short, as the period of abuse came to an end only due to the fact that S took matters into her own hands and attempted to kill herself. The judge had repeatedly had regard to the matters of personal mitigation. In relation to the submission that the judge had failed to have regard to the principle of totality, it was to be observed that no representations had been made in relation to the individual sentences passed. The concurrent sentences in respect of counts 1-4 were passed in accordance with the relevant sentencing guidelines and no criticism had been made of them. The judge had decided to treat count 5 as a count apart from mainstream offending. He had gone out of his way in his sentencing remarks to refer to the offence as one of singular and grotesque depravity. Whilst that was not the only way in which he could have dealt with the matter, there was nothing wrong in him passing a consecutive sentence.center_img R v X: Court of Appeal, Criminal Division (Lord Justice Pitchford, Mr Justice Wilkie, Mr Justice Holroyde): 6 September 2011last_img read more

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No ‘hidden agenda’ in Irish legal reforms

first_imgIreland’s government has denied the existence of any ‘hidden agenda’ behind sweeping reforms to the legal system imposed following the country’s bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The minister for justice, equality and defence, Alan Shatter (pictured), was responding to growing international concerns, first reported in the Gazette on 1 December, that conditions imposed by financial institutions would undermine the profession’s independence. Bodies representing 1.4 million lawyers in Europe and North America last month warned Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s managing director, of the effect of reforms imposed on European governments following interventions by the so-called ‘troika’ of the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission. In a joint letter, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the American Bar Association (ABA) expressed ‘great concern’ about the imposition of radical reforms over the past year. The authors highlighted developments in Ireland, where the government last October approved publication of a new Legal Services Regulation Bill which, they say, ‘provides for far-reaching changes and reforms which are unprecedented in Europe and the United States’. Proposed changes include the establishment of a new regulator consisting of 11 members – all appointed by the minister for justice, equality and defence, who can remove any member at any time. The new regulator will have ‘all powers of regulation, including conduct, discipline and complaints-handling’, the letter warned. However, Shatter denied any attempt to compromise legal independence. ‘I do not accept the view that the independence of the new regulatory authority will be fettered, ministerially or otherwise,’ he said. ‘The bill specifically provides, based on precedent elsewhere in legislation, that the authority “shall be independent in the performance of its functions”. There is no hidden agenda in relation to ministerial functions or appointments under the bill.’ Law Society of England and Wales president John Wotton added his voice to concerns that ‘some of the reforms proposed by the Irish government may go too far’. The joint letter went on to refer to reforms in Greece and Portugal, also subject to economic bailouts. These reforms, the letter said, appear to have been ‘developed within a few weeks without taking account of the purpose/justification of professional regulation and without analysing the impact of such proposals on the administration of justice’. The letter closed with an appeal to Lagarde’s personal experience as a partner with international law firm Baker & McKenzie, which ‘no doubt carried important lessons regarding the need for protection of the lawyer-client relationship against intrusion by the state’. The authors, CCBE president Georges-Albert Dal and ABA president Bill Robinson, urged Lagarde to pass their concerns on to the other troika parties and request a face-to-face meeting.last_img read more

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Dirty laundry

first_img David Endicott, Spratt Endicott, Banbury I cannot be the only practising solicitor who finds the various and vastly different money laundering requirements within the financial industry to be utter nonsense. In one particular estate, I am one of three executors. The other two are my senior partner and a long-standing client. We have a grant of probate issued and sealed by the High Court. The deceased had a modest investment with Legal & General worth less than £2,000, which we are seeking to cash. To do so the three executors must sign a form and add their dates of birth, home address and time at that address. In addition, Legal & General requires identification from them in the form of a passport, bank statement, driving licence or utility bill; there is a two-page list. This is unacceptable. Perhaps the Law Society might do me and my fellow practitioners a service and get together with the financial services industry with a view to stopping this waste of time, resource and money.last_img read more

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Reach and grasp

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

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Training for the Olympics

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited accesslast_img read more

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Construction boom forecast to slump

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletterslast_img read more

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My digital life: Wei Liu

first_imgTo continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

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Ageing gracefully

first_imgSubscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Stay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

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No spring bounce in work say contractors… despite official figures showing a huge jump

first_imgStay at the forefront of thought leadership with news and analysis from award-winning journalists. Enjoy company features, CEO interviews, architectural reviews, technical project know-how and the latest innovations.Limited access to building.co.ukBreaking industry news as it happensBreaking, daily and weekly e-newsletters To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Subscribe now for unlimited access Subscribe to Building today and you will benefit from:Unlimited access to all stories including expert analysis and comment from industry leadersOur league tables, cost models and economics dataOur online archive of over 10,000 articlesBuilding magazine digital editionsBuilding magazine print editionsPrinted/digital supplementsSubscribe now for unlimited access.View our subscription options and join our community Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAYlast_img read more

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