Illusory Open Justice: A Kafkan Attempt to Observe Magistrates Courts in the Time of COVID-19 – Transparency Project

Posted May 27th, 2020 in coronavirus, criminal justice, magistrates, news, remote hearings by sally

‘COVID-19 has taken a hammer to the already fragile transparency in our justice system. Open justice means that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done. While journalists and court reporters can bring what happens in court to houses around the country, public access to our courts ensures judges and lawyers are sufficiently scrutinised. The coronavirus pandemic and the transition to virtual courts has all but severed public access to magistrates’ courts, risking the routine occurrence of miscarriages of justice with little prospect of correction.’

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Transparency Project, 27th May 2020

Source: www.transparencyproject.org.uk

Has coronavirus changed the UK justice system for ever? – The Guardian

‘The pandemic has led to big changes in trials, many of of which are likely to be permanent.’

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The Guardian, 24th May 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

England and Wales face backlog of 40,000 criminal cases due to coronavirus – The Guardian

Posted May 26th, 2020 in coronavirus, courts, criminal justice, delay, news, remote hearings, statistics by sally

‘The criminal justice system in England and Wales is facing a backlog of 40,000 criminal cases, which will not be solved even if all crown courts are brought into service under physical distancing rules, the Criminal Bar Association has warned.’

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The Guardian, 24th May 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Unconvicted terrorism suspects face indefinite controls under UK bill – The Guardian

‘Terrorism suspects who have not been convicted of any offence face expanded and potentially never-ending measures to control their lives under proposed counter-terrorism laws unveiled by the UK government.’

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The Guardian, 20th May 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

ABE 2016/19 has gone AWOL – Counsel

‘Shortcomings and legal anachronisms: how can we achieve best evidence if current guidance is dangerously out of date on the law on special measures? asks Laura Hoyano.’

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Counsel, May 2020

Source: www.counselmagazine.co.uk

How court trials are coping with coronavirus – BBC News

Posted May 19th, 2020 in coronavirus, courts, criminal justice, juries, news, pilot schemes by sally

‘A pilot scheme has begun to restart jury trials in the UK after they were halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.’

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BBC News, 18th May 2020

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Youth courts: are we still failing our most vulnerable? – Counsel

Posted May 19th, 2020 in children, courts, criminal justice, news, young persons, youth courts by sally

‘Have the 2013 reforms improved the youth justice experience at all or were they simply good intentions, poorly executed? A walkthrough of the key issues – and ideas for change – by Tori Adams and Kirsty Day.’

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Counsel, May 2020

Source: www.counselmagazine.co.uk

Covid-19 and Suspended Sentences – A Court of Appeal Judgment: R v Christopher Manning [2020] EWCA Crim 592 – St Philips Barristers

‘While the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor have announced that jury trials will commence this month, we are far from the pandemic’s conclusion. This fear is felt all the more by defendants facing sentencing hearings. Regardless of whether an offence was committed prior to the crisis, or in the currency, it does not change the new threat that an immediate custodial sentence brings – one of health.’

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St Philips Barristers, 13th May 2020

Source: st-philips.com

The Service Justice System under question regarding the continuation of the jurisdiction to investigate and conduct trials in serious sexual assault and rape cases – Thomas More Chambers

‘The Centre for Military Justice, acting on behalf of three female service personnel has sent a pre – action protocol letter to the Ministry of Defence with regard to three cases which the service justice system (SJS) has conducted and their assertion appears to be that these victims were discriminated against. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) response is due this week. We have not seen the letter nor do we expect to see the response. The Centre for Military Justice stating publicly that by the end of the month they will issue proceedings in the High Court for Judicial Review (JR) citing action for discrimination under both the Human Rights Act and Equality Act. We await sight of the claim and then the defence.’

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Thomas More Chambers, 14th May 2020

Source: www.thomasmore.co.uk

Making defendants state nationality is ‘racialising’ UK courts – report – The Guardian

‘The impartiality of the criminal justice system is being undermined by the requirement that defendants declare their nationality at the start of proceedings, a report into the legislation has said.’

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The Guardian, 18th May 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

CPS announces review findings for first 200 cases under coronavirus laws – Crown Prosecution Service

‘Prosecutors have reviewed more than 200 finalised cases under the coronavirus legislation up to the end of April, with any incorrect charges withdrawn and overturned.’

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Crown Prosecution Service, 15th May 2020

Source: www.cps.gov.uk

Is Criminal Justice Under Lockdown Remotely Possible? – Transparency Project

‘Nothing better represents our idea of justice being not only done but seen to be done than the spectacle of trial by jury in the Crown Court. The arrangement of the physical space of the courtroom, the royal coat of arms behind the raised bench where the judge sits, robed and wigged, representing the majesty of the law; the dock where the captive defendant awaits the verdict of his or her “peers”, in the time-honoured words of Magna Carta; and those peers themselves, a dozen ordinary citizens doing their civic duty as jurors, ranged along one side in their jury box. Advocates, robed and wigged, take turns to present and test the case for the prosecution and the defence; witnesses are called and sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth (subject to the rules of evidence); and all of this may be watched by the public and reported by the press.’

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Transparency Project, 11th May 2020

Source: www.transparencyproject.org.uk

Murder trial resumes with counsel and jury swapping seats – Legal Futures

‘A jury trial resumed at the Old Bailey yesterday, with barristers in the jury and press boxes, and jurors socially distancing in counsel’s rows after being told there were no face masks for them.’

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Legal Futures, 12th May 2020

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk

Old Bailey jury trials to resume this week – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted May 11th, 2020 in coronavirus, courts, criminal justice, Crown Court, juries, news, trials by sally

‘Two jury trials will resume at the Old Bailey this week as first steps toward Crown court cases restarting around the country. However, the criminal bar warned that a resumption of normal service “remains many weeks off”.’

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Law Society's Gazette, 10th May 2020

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

Child Protocol in Criminal Cases – Garden Court Chambers

‘The impact of COVID-19 and the guidance from Government to take all precautions to avoid unnecessary contact, has seen understandable and unprecedented changes to the justice system. The Lord Chief Justice has announced that, where possible, criminal hearings should take place remotely and no new jury trials can begin, causing all future trials to be postponed.’

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Garden Court Chambers, 5th May 2020

Source: www.gardencourtchambers.co.uk

The impact of Coronavirus, part 7: the possible next steps for the jury system – 6KBW College Hill

Posted May 7th, 2020 in coronavirus, criminal justice, juries, news by sally

‘In a series of Blog posts, members of 6KBW have identified a number of ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has led to change in the administration of criminal justice, namely in relation to jury trials as presently conducted, the extension of audio/visual links and virtual hearings, through the offences created by the Coronavirus Act 2020 and in the context of extradition. As the country enters its second 3 week period of lockdown, this post seeks to look ahead to consider the possible next steps that the continued risk of infection by the virus may force on the administration of criminal justice in that most important but least socially detached component of the criminal justice system, the jury.’

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6KBW College Hill, 27th April 2020

Source: blog.6kbw.com

Video hearings “more likely to lead to convictions” – Legal Futures

‘Video hearings in certain criminal cases are more likely to lead to defendants receiving a prison sentence, a major study has found.’

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Legal Futures, 6th May 2020

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk

Court hearings running at half pre-virus level – Legal Futures

‘The courts and tribunals in England and Wales are now conducting almost half as many civil and criminal hearings as they did before the coronavirus crisis, a justice minister said yesterday.’

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Legal Futures, 5th April 2020

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk

Coronavirus: Courts must resume to deal with ‘backlog of cases’ – BBC News

‘Victims are being left in “distressing limbo” due to a growing backlog of cases during the coronavirus pandemic, a top Cardiff barrister has warned.’

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BBC News, 3rd May 2020

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Arrested children may be given legal advice automatically – Legal Futures

‘The government is considering whether children in police stations should have to opt out of receiving legal advice, rather than opt in as now, it has emerged.’

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Legal Futures, 4th May 2020

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk