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Criminal justice system ‘institutionally sexist’

first_img The legal profession – Fawcett Society recommendations:Equal pay audits should be conducted by all top-tier law firms. Maternity leave or career breaks should not impact on career progression. Flexible working practices should be implemented and promoted among female and male employees.The Queen’s Counsel Appointments Selection Committee should work with the Judicial Appointments Commission to share best practice and methods for increasing the pool of women applicants.Equality and diversity training should be made compulsory for all barristers as part of their continuing professional development requirements. A mentoring policy, particularly for women who take maternity leave or career breaks, should be adopted by all barristers’ chambers and relevant employers.For more information see: www.fawcettsociety.org.uk Women suffer widespread discrimination at all levels of the criminal justice system, including in the legal profession and judiciary, according to a report launched at the Law Society today by equality campaigners the Fawcett Society. Following a five-year investigation by its Commission on Women and the Criminal Justice System, the charity has concluded that the criminal justice system is ‘institutionally sexist’. Its recommendations include allowing government lawyers to apply for the judiciary to help widen the pool of women applicants. The society also wants to see UK law firms increase their proportion of female partners by 50% by 2020. The society’s report, Engendering Justice – from policy to practice , identifies inequality for female victims, offenders and those who work within the criminal justice system, in the police, legal profession, judiciary, prison and probation service. It outlines a ‘vision for a gender-responsive criminal justice system’. The 110-page report said the lack of diversity in the judiciary ‘has remained a major concern’. It wants to see part-time working available at all levels. Within government legal departments, women make up a high proportion of senior lawyers because a greater emphasis is placed on flexibility, it points out. The society wants to see UK law firms, ‘particularly those in the top 10’, increase their proportion of female partners by 50% by 2020. The report said ‘the numbers of women markedly decrease in senior positions’ within the legal profession. Women make up 19.6% of partners in the top-100 firms. This is a slight increase on 2006, when 19% of partners were women. The report adds: ‘This percentage further decreases within the top-tier firms. In 2008, just over 14% of partners in the top four firms were female and 15.9% of partners in the UK’s 10 largest firms were women.’last_img read more

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New PC charges to benefit in-house lawyers

first_imgChanges to the practising certificate (PC) fee charging system will see around £16m transferred onto private practice solicitors, to the benefit of in-house and local government lawyers, under plans due to be unveiled by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Under the new charging regime, 40% of the PC costs will be paid through an individual PC fee, and 60% through a firm-based fee. This will mean less money is recouped from solicitors in the employed sector, as they will not pay the firm-based fee. This cost, which represents about 15% of total PC income, will instead be borne by lawyers in private practice. SRA consultant Alison Crawley said that lawyers in commerce and industry (C&I) and local government cost considerably less to regulate. She said: ‘The 40/60 split between the individual and firm-based fee means that 15% of the budget that is now covered by C&I and local government solicitors will be moved onto the private profession. If it’s not 40/60, we will have irate local government and in-house lawyers, who make up about 25% of the profession.’ The paper will propose that the firm-based fee is calculated according to gross turnover, with a banded approach similar to income tax. The SRA notes that there will be ‘winners and losers’ under the new rules. Sole practitioners with turnover below £30,000 will pay less, while sole practitioners who have large numbers of non-qualified staff and turnover of more than £1m will be ‘significant losers’. Richard Barnett, senior partner at volume conveyancing firm Barnetts, said the move to charge firms based on turnover could drive some firms to other regulators, potentially lowering income for the Law Society, and might be unfair on firms that had to pay out large amounts in referral fees. He said: ‘Is now the right time to do this, when alternative business structures are on the way and there might also be other regulators which might throw their hat into the ring?’ Former C&I Group chairwoman Carol Williams said the proposals were ‘excellent news’ for in-house lawyers. She said: ‘If you look at the risk to the profession of in-house solicitors, we are very low risk and very low maintenance, and that ought to be reflected.’ Law Society chief executive Des Hudson said: ‘I am confident the SRA will ensure that this consultation is as extensive and thorough as possible. These are potentially significant changes and that is why it is vital that the entire profession, from local authority solicitors, to sole practitioners and those in the commercial sector, engage with the SRA to give their views. We will be making representations to the SRA on the basis of our own consultation and examination of the proposals. A fairer fee policy for all was highlighted as a priority in the recent Hunt report of regulation of law firms. The SRA needs a full response to the consultation if it is to deliver on that.’last_img read more

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Branching out

first_imgChristmas trees, like pretty much everything else, have always been subject to the vagaries of fashion. In the 1980s, it was all coloured lights and patterned baubles (chez Obiter, at any rate), then came the more sophisticated white lights, non-twinkling. A few years ago the fashion was for fibreoptic trees, then for all-white, artificial ones. And now it’s for, erm, plywood. See the pictured tree, commissioned specially by City firm Collyer Bristow. The firm has apparently been commissioning artists to design a tree for the past 15 years, and they (the trees, not the artists) are normally ‘constructed’ from textiles, ceramics, plastics, foam or scrap metal. This year’s effort, created by London-based artists Ben Cove and Camilla Lyon, is made of plywood and painted glass and is 2.4m tall. It was unveiled at the launch of Christmas Contemporaries, the latest exhibition at the Collyer Bristow Gallery, which runs into February. All very nice, messrs Collyer and Bristow, but where do we put the tinsel?last_img read more

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Voice of experience

first_imgThat great survivor Ken Clarke, who turned 70 this month, was on characteristically ebullient form at the Law Society’s summer party at the Tate Modern. And yes, it’s official – like all jazz afficionados, the new justice secretary and erstwhile chancellor really does wear brown suede shoes. Like many people in the late-autumn of their careers, Clarke reflected, he’s a couple of rungs lower on the ladder than he used to be and his bosses were once other people’s office boys. But he’s not letting this get him down – the former barrister QC is more concerned about alienating all the chums he’s made in the law when he gets down to the hairy business of slashing the MoJ’s budget by – if you believe the reports – as much as 40%. We are sure that where he does cut, he’ll do it charmingly – something that one would never have expected of his predecessor Jack Straw. Now is also an opportune moment to make what Obiter promises will be his last allusion to the World Cup. One of Ken Clarke’s proud boasts – who knows, perhaps his proudest – is that he was present at Wembley on that far-off day 44 years ago when a ‘wag’ was a comedian and England were crowned world champions. Clarke, not long down from Cambridge, was seated immediately behind the ‘Russian linesman’ who controversially awarded Geoff Hurst the goal that did or didn’t cross the line (it didn’t, admit it) and turned the match in England’s favour. Clarke claims to have influenced Tofik Bakhramov (who was actually from Azerbaijan) by bellowing ‘goal!’ in the linesman’s right lughole from a distance of not more than a few yards. Ho hum – Frank Lampard and England could have done with Mr Clarke’s powers of projection in Bloemfontein.last_img read more

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Government cannot afford to ignore £1.3bn in uncollected fines

first_imgAmid the last fortnight’s coverage of the government’s planned legal aid cuts, one potential alternative area of savings didn’t get any column inches: the millions of pounds that remain uncollected by the courts system every year. Some £1.33bn currently floats in this pool of outstanding fines, confiscation orders, compensation orders and legal costs, compared with £920m in 2005/06. Indeed, the matter either seems to have escaped justice minister Jonathan Djanogly, or at least, finding a way to open this treasure chest isn’t on the top of his to-do list. Take this interesting exchange in the House of Commons on Tuesday: Kris Hopkins (Con, Keighley) to Djanogly: ‘What recent progress [has] his department has made in recouping outstanding financial penalties that remain uncollected by HM Courts Service?’ Djanogly: ‘We have published impact assessments and equality impact assessments alongside the legal aid consultation, and these set out in detail what we think the effects of the proposals might be. ‘We must face up to tough choices, and our proposals focus resources on those who need help most for the most serious cases in which legal advice and representation are justified.’ Hopkins: ‘I think that was the wrong answer to my question. I hope the secretary of state has made progress in collecting the money that criminals have been fined, and may I ask that once we have collected some of the money and we have made a contribution to reducing the deficit, we increase our prison capacity?’ [Shouts heard in the chamber] Speaker: ‘Order. The minister delivered his answer with admirable force and self-confidence, but I think it suffered from being the wrong answer, as he was, perhaps, not expecting to be responding to this question. If he can provide us with the right answer to the question now, we will be very grateful.’ Djanogly: ‘I think the appropriate answer in the circumstances, Mr Speaker, is that we will look into this issue and get back to the house.’ When, and whether, Hopkins gets his answer, is a moot point. But regardless, the government has known for years that the pool of unpaid penalties has been getting deeper. The £1.3bn figure appeared in a National Audit Office report in July last year, accompanied by harsh criticism of financial management at the MoJ. The Magistrates’ Association said at the time that the failure to secure such a large amount of potential income, at a time of financial constraint, bordered on negligence. Figures in the billions often look better when written in full: £1,300,000,000. This is a lot of money. Even if only half can be recovered, it would go some way to plugging the gap left by the imminent legal aid cuts. And if the MoJ can really push HMCS to get better at recovering these debts, then there would be millions more flowing into the justice system – and potentially the legal aid budget – every year.last_img read more

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Intellectual Property

first_imgMedia and entertainment – Information technology – European Union R (on the application of (1) British Telecommunications Plc (2) Talktalk Telecom Group Plc) (Claimants) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Defendant) and BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) Ltd and Nine Ors (Interested Parties) and (1) Open Rights Group (2) Article 19 and Consumer Focus (Interveners): QBD (Admin) (Mr Justice Parker): 20 April 2011 The claimant internet service providers (B) applied for judicial review of the online infringement of copyright provisions (the ‘contested provisions’) in the Digital Economy Act 2010. They also challenged the draft Copyright (Initial Obligations) (Sharing of Costs) Order 2011, which proposed to make service providers liable for 25% of the costs incurred by Ofcom in carrying out functions under the contested provisions. The 2010 act was designed to tackle unlawful file sharing. Under the contested provisions, B were obliged to send warning letters to those subscribers identified as unlawfully sharing copyright material and to compile a list of such subscribers. However, the industry code which brought those obligations into legal effect had not yet been introduced. It was B’s case that the contested provisions were incompatible with EU law. B submitted that the provisions: (1) constituted a technical regulation and/or rule on services within the meaning of Directive 98/34 and therefore should have been notified to the commission in draft; (2) were incompatible with articles 3(2), 12 and 15 of Directive 2000/31; (3) were incompatible with certain provisions of Directive 95/46 and Directive 2002/58; (4) were disproportionate in their impact on internet service providers, consumers, business subscribers and public intermediaries; (5) infringed Directive 2002/20. Held: (1) Notification allowed the commission and other member states to propose amendments that might remove or reduce any restrictions which a rule on services might create on the free movement of services or the freedom of establishment (see paragraph 60 of the judgment). However, the obligations were not yet legally enforceable against any individual and therefore did not have the ‘legal effect’ described in case law, Commission of the European Communities v Germany (C-317/92) (1994) ECR I-2039 ECJ, CIA Security International SA v Signalson SA (C194/94) (1996) All ER (EC) 557 ECJ and Sapod Audic v Eco-Emballages SA (C159/00) (2002) ECR I-5031 ECJ (5th Chamber) considered (paragraphs 64-78). It was the code that in strict legal terms would constitute the technical regulation and it was its enactment that would give legal life to the initial obligations (paragraphs 84-85, 88). (2) The provisions did not breach article 12 of Directive 2000/31 (paragraphs 99-108). Nor did they require service providers to ‘monitor’ the information they transmitted, in breach of article 15(1) (paragraph 110). Furthermore, the provisions did not fall ‘within the coordinated field’ for the purposes of article 3(2); article 3(3) and the Annex removed ‘copyright’ from the scope of article 3(1) and therefore the UK remained free to impose those provisions on internet service providers, established elsewhere in the EU, supplying the relevant services in the UK (paragraphs 119-131). (3) Under article 8(2) of Directive 95/46, processing would be necessary for the ‘establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims’. That was the precise purpose of the contested provisions: the copyright owner would be able to establish not only that there had been an infringement, but also who was responsible (paragraph 159). The fact that a copyright owner might not decide to pursue legal proceedings did not mean that the action he took under the act was not for the purposes of establishing or exercising such a claim (paragraph 160). Furthermore, if there was any doubt about the application of article 8(2)(e) to the relevant processing, the UK could, before the code came into legal effect, lay down an exemption under article 8(4), based upon a ‘substantial public interest’, namely, the better protection of the rights of copyright owners (paragraph 162). In relation to Directive 2002/58, the data processed was ‘traffic data’ for the purposes of article 2. However, it was indisputable that the contested provisions were intended to promote the protection of the right to property, namely copyright, and therefore fell within the derogation under article 15(1), as interpreted by the European Court of Justice in Productores de Musica de Espana (Promusicae) v Telefonica de Espana SAU (C-275/06) (2008) All ER (EC) 809 ECJ (Grand Chamber), Productores considered (paragraphs 163-166). (4) The contested provisions promoted the aim of judicial protection of copyright, and from the point of view of both copyright owner and subscriber, the act represented a more efficient, focused and fair system than the current arrangements (paragraphs 221, 228). There were good reasons for the court to attach substantial weight to the balance struck by parliament (paragraphs 210-212, 218). The fact that less than 40% of online copyright infringement was due to file sharing did not undermine the appropriateness of the contested provisions (paragraphs 230, 234). Furthermore, it was premature to conclude that any potential ‘chilling effect’, arising where the subscriber was not necessarily the copyright infringer, was likely to be such that the social costs of such measures plainly exceeded the likely benefits. Parliament had proceeded on the basis that existing procedures were inadequate and that legislative measures had to be specifically directed to, first, educating and, second, inhibiting unlawful copyright infringement at the level where it was occurring, namely through individuals. There was nothing disproportionate in that position. It could not be concluded from the evidence that the scale of the likely costs that would arise from the contested provisions would render disproportionate legislation aimed at substantially strengthening the protection of copyright material against unlawful file sharing (paragraphs 240-241, 262). (5) The contested provisions did not breach Directive 2002/20 (paragraphs 175-183). However, the draft cost order breached article 12 of the directive: charges to recover ‘qualifying costs’ from internet service providers would ordinarily be regarded as ‘administrative charges’ and would, in principle, appear to be administrative charges under article 12 (paragraph 195). Application granted in part. center_img Anthony White QC, Kieron Beal (instructed by in-house solicitors) for the claimants; James Eadie QC, Robert Palmer, Alan Bates (instructed by Treasury solicitor) for the defendant; Pushpinder Saini QC, James Strachan (instructed by Wiggin) for the interested parties.last_img read more

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Where lords fear to tread

first_imgThe House of Lords debate on the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill has featured a procession of eminent lawyers honing their advocacy skills. All of which has made it a formidable place for those without a legal background. Some noble lords have been at pains to find suitably parliamentary language in which to apologise for any shortcomings. Speaking during the debate, Lord Newton of Braintree feared that, as a non-lawyer, he was ‘trespassing with great trepidation into this lawyers’ paradise territory’, while justice minister Lord McNally admitted he had a ‘feeling of foreboding’ whenever he was confronted with the former lord chancellor Lord Mackay (pictured). In a splendid putdown, his Labour counterpart Lord Bach said that McNally had ‘played the role of a non-lawyer with immense skill during the debate’. But not everyone fears to tread on legal toes. Over in the Commons, speaker John Bercow declared in advance of justice questions that ‘I am not a lawyer, and I say that as a matter of some very considerable pride’.last_img read more

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Getting to know you

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Friend or foe?

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 Subscribe now for unlimited access 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 Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

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Who gets the final word?

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 Subscribe now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN Get 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-newsletterslast_img read more

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My favourites …

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 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 To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGINlast_img read more

tjsvtmwo

In safe hands

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 now for unlimited access To continue enjoying Building.co.uk, sign up for free guest accessExisting subscriber? LOGIN 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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We all have good intentions

first_imgGet your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY 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 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? LOGINlast_img read more

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Building buys a pint … for Whitelaw Turkington

first_imgSubscribe now for unlimited access 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 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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Hansom: Life coach

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 Get your free guest access  SIGN UP TODAY 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 communitylast_img read more

orcmsusk

The real big freeze

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 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