Legal aid cuts have left family courts ‘at breaking point’ – The Guardian

‘The family courts system is at breaking point due to delays caused by unrepresented litigants and overstretched judges, according to the body that represents lawyers and professionals in divorce hearings.’

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The Guardian, 29th July 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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More women judges will improve law’: Britain’s only female Supreme Court judge calls for more diversity – The Independent

Posted July 28th, 2014 in diversity, judiciary, legal profession, news, statistics, Supreme Court, women by sally

‘Britain’s only female Supreme Court judge says there needs to be more gender equality shown across Britain’s legal system and that by appointing more female judges the quality of justice could be greatly improved.’

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The Independent, 27th July 2014

Source: www.independent.co.uk

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Lord Chief Justice speech: Dinner for Her Majesty’s Judges – CrimeLine

Posted July 15th, 2014 in judges, judiciary, speeches by tracey

‘Lord Chief Justice speech: Dinner for Her Majesty’s Judges, 9th July.’

Full speech

CrimeLine, 14th July 2014

Source: www.crimeline.info

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Scales of justice still unbalanced for female judges – The Guardian

Posted July 11th, 2014 in child abuse, diversity, equality, inquiries, judges, judiciary, news, women by sally

‘The lord chief justice admitted progress on diversity is too slow, while Chris Grayling’s offer of ‘partnership’ should be eyed warily.’

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The Guardian, 10th July 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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Serious procedural faults in the appointment of judges: an urgent matter of public interest – Halsbury’s Law Exchange

Posted July 9th, 2014 in judiciary, news, professional conduct, public interest by sally

‘As part of the current debate on identifying the best values of British culture and society, the proper workings of the British legal system, would surely have to occupy a prominent place. After all, it is the judiciary that would enhance the sense of wellbeing of its citizen every time that justice is felt to have been established.’

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Halsbury’s Law Exchange, 9th July 2014

Source: www.halsburyslawexchange.co.uk

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You cannot be serious! Peers call ‘out’ on Government’s judicial review reforms – UK Human Rights Blog

‘Last night saw the House of Lords’ first reaction to the Government’s proposed changes to judicial review as the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill had its second reading. Already dissected at some length in this blog, the proposals have been roundly criticised by both the senior judiciary and the Joint Committee on Human Rights. Consultations responses, including from JUSTICE, expressed concern that the measures appear, by design or coincidence, to undermine the rule of law, inhibit transparency and shield the Government from judicial scrutiny. Two key concerns arise from the Government proposals: restricting access for individuals without substantial means and limiting the courts’ discretion to do justice in the public interest. Yesterday’s debate was robust and eloquent, with former Law Lords joined by bishops and backbenchers alike to condemn the new measures.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 1st July 2014

Source: www.ukhumanrightsblog.com

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Unintended consequences of family justice reform – Family Law Week

‘Byron James, barrister, Fourteen considers some of the less publicised consequences of the reform of the family justice system.’

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Family Law Week, 27th June 2014

Source: www.familylawweek.co.uk

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Women in the Judiciary – Lady Hale

Posted July 1st, 2014 in diversity, judiciary, speeches, women by sally

Women in the Judiciary (PDF)

Lady Hale

Fiona Woolf Lecture for the Women Lawyers’ Division of the Law Society, 27th June 2014

Source: www.supremecourt.uk

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A Ms Justice in the high court – at last the judiciary starts to catch up – The Guardian

Posted May 23rd, 2014 in judiciary, names, news, women by sally

‘The appointment of Alison Russell QC reminds us of the legal system’s diversity deficit.’

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The Guardian, 22nd May 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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LCJ: “Once in a lifetime” chance to build proper court IT system – Litigation Futures

Posted May 21st, 2014 in budgets, computer programs, courts, internet, judiciary, news by tracey

‘The Lord Chief Justice has said the country has a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to build a proper court IT system, and failing to make a success of it would be a “disaster”. In a strongly-worded speech highly critical of previous court IT failures, Lord Thomas said that if the Courts Service and the judiciary squandered the £300-£400m promised by the Treasury, it would “not be forgotten” and “we would not be given that money again”.’

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Litigation Futures, 21st May 2014

Source: www.litigationfutures.com

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Response of the Judicial Executive Board to the Justice Committee Inquiry: Civil Legal Aid – Judiciary of England and Wales

Posted May 15th, 2014 in civil justice, judiciary, legal aid, litigants in person, news by tracey

‘Response of the Judicial Executive Board, drafted with input from the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges and the Council of Her Majesty’s Circuit Judges.’

Full text

Judiciary of England and Wales, 13th May 2014

Source: www.judiciary.gov.uk

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Leading judges in damning attack on civil aid cuts – Law Society’s Gazette

‘Senior judges have launched their most scathing attack yet on the government’s cuts to civil legal aid. In written evidence responding to the government’s consultation on the first year of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Act, the Judicial Executive Board said courts have faced an ‘unprecedented increase’ in numbers of litigants in person (LiPs).’

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Law Society’s Gazette, 14th May 2014

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

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Judges criticise impact of legal aid cuts – The Guardian

‘There has been a large increase in unrepresented claimants, outbreaks of courtroom violence, extra litigation and increased costs, according to senior judges who have criticised the impact of legal aid cuts in the family courts.’

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The Guardian, 14th May 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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What can we learn from drug courts? – Halsbury’s Law Exchange

‘Why were drug courts set up?

The introduction of drug courts in the UK has followed a slightly different trajectory to other jurisdictions, where drug courts filled an important gap in the range of community-based sanctions available to the courts to deal with drug-related crime.’

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Halsbury’s Law Exchange, 13th May 2014

Source: www.halsburyslawexchange.co.uk

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Andrew Le Sueur: Imagining judges in a written UK Constitution – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The tide of interest (among those who care about these things) in the idea of a written, codified constitution for the United Kingdom rises and falls. At the moment the tide is quite high, but certainly not high enough to flow into the estuaries of government policy making.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 14th May 2014

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

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‘Disquiet’ among judges over lawyer quality, report finds – BBC News

Posted May 8th, 2014 in criminal justice, judiciary, legal profession, reports by tracey

‘There is “disquiet” among judges about the quality of lawyers in England and Wales’s crown courts, a report says. Former civil servant Sir Bill Jeffrey’s report raises concerns about training and the “talent pipeline” for future QCs and judges, and says keeping current arrangements is not “viable”. It also says defence lawyers should get special training before working on rape and other sexual offence cases.’

Full text of report

BBC News, 7th May 2014

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

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Graham Gee and Kate Malleson: Judicial Appointments, Diversity and the Equal Merit Provision – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted May 7th, 2014 in diversity, equality, judiciary, news by sally

‘One of the changes introduced by the Crime and Courts Act 2013 was to amend section 63 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, which provides that the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) must select candidates for judicial office ‘solely on merit’. Schedule 13 of the 2013 Act clarified that making selections solely on merit does not prevent the JAC from recommending a candidate on the basis of improving diversity on the bench where there are two candidates of equal merit. This is variously known as the ‘equal merit’, ‘tie-break’ or ‘tipping point’ provision and derives from s 159 of the Equality Act 2010. After a consultation exercise last summer, the JAC last month published its policy on how it will implement the equal merit provision. In this post, we draw on research conducted as part of an AHRC-funded project on The Politics of Judicial Independence to explain why the JAC’s policy is disappointingly cautious, limits the prospect of further progress on diversity and offers further evidence of what we believe is the excessive judicial influence on judicial appointments.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 6th May 2014

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

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Juries need to be taught about the reality of rape, says DPP – The Independent

Posted May 7th, 2014 in evidence, judiciary, juries, news, rape by sally

‘Judges should warn juries about the common misconceptions people have about rape before they are allowed to hear any evidence, two of the leading figures in the fight against sex crime say today.’

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The Independent, 6th May 2014

Source: www.independent.co.uk

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Not in our name: Parliamentary committee rejects Government’s case for Judicial Review reform – UK Human Rights Blog

‘Angela Patrick, Director of Human Rights Policy at JUSTICE, summarises the important Joint Committee on Human Rights report “The implications for access to justice of the Government’s proposals to reform judicial review”.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 30th April 2014

Source: www.ukhumanrightsblog.com

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Couples should be able to divorce without going to court, says top judge – The Guardian

Posted April 30th, 2014 in cohabitation, courts, dispute resolution, divorce, judiciary, married persons, news by sally

‘Couples agreeing to divorce by consent should be able to arrange their own separations with a trip to the registrar rather than having to go to court, the most senior family judge in England and Wales says.’

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The Guardian, 29th April 2014

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

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