Ministry of Justice figures for 2014 show that judgements were issued in a total of 829,000 cases (not including family law matters).
This represents a 25% increase in judgements passed compared to 2013. In October to December 2014, the number of judgements was 196,000, this also represents an increase of 15% on the same quarter in the previous year.
As of April 2015, court fees across the United Kingdom are set to soar by 600 per cent in some cases.
Dismay ensued across the country upon announcement of the rise, expressed by the public and legal profession alike as the reality dawns that many could be denied a chance at justice as a result of such a hike.
For the first time ever barristers across England and Wales have staged a refusal to work in the criminal courts, to raise the issue of the Government’s plans to cut legal aid fees by up to 30%.
They are being joined by solicitors, in what is also an unprecedented move, as they seek to highlight the two major issues at stake – the cutting of fees for legal aid work, and the belief that this will lead to poorer quality legal representation for those people not able to pay privately.
According to a report by the BBC, the Law Commission has begun a consultation into the effectiveness of England and Wales’ contempt of court rules.
The current law was introduced in 1981, long before the ‘information superhighway’ became a part of our day-to-day lives.
A Manchester university student has been sentenced for contempt of court after he didn’t perform his jury duty. 19-year-old Matthew Banks had tickets to a London West End show on the fifth day of the trial. In order to see the show he claimed to be ill and unable to attend the hearing. However, Banks didn’t stay at home, and instead went to see the musical Chicago with his mother.
Banks’ deception was discovered after officials visited his home to see whether he would be fit to resume jury duty after the weekend.
The Government’s main legal advisor, the Attorney General Dominic Grieve, is to address the European Court of Human Rights on two key issues in November. Firstly, he both is critical of the Court’s view on prisoners’ voting rights and also believes that the principle of subsidiarity should be further emphasised.
The principle of subsidiarity is a core principle of the European Convention of Human Rights. It ensures that the Strasbourg Court does not impose itself on national courts. Grieve believes that this principle needs to be clarified and that national Courts should have the final say on matters. (more…)
In civil claims, the court will allocate the matter to one of three tracks. Namely, the small claims track, the fast track, and the multi-track. When deciding which track to allocate a case to, the principal factor taken into account by the courts is the financial value of the claim.
The Supreme Court was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The Court replaced the House of Lords, previously the last court of appeal in the UK. The business and workings of the Court will be essentially the same as those of the House of Lords; the changes brought about by the reforms are constitutional in nature and beyond the scope of this article.
Suffice it to say that The Supreme Court operates with greater independence from Parliament than the House of Lords, and with greater transparency and openness. (more…)
Following a person’s death, it is standard practice for a doctor to examine the body to determine the cause of death. A coroner will only be used in certain situations, including: (more…)
The hierarchy of the court system has been established so that the majority of cases are heard in the lower courts, with only appeals on important points of law and public interest being heard in the higher courts. Legal advice should be obtained to ensure the right court hears any given case. (more…)