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Showing posts from August, 2011

Legal Aid

Being the duty solicitor

Last Friday and today (Monday) I am/was the duty solicitor at Stratford Magistrates' Court.  The role of the duty solicitor is to advise and represent people who are appearing at court but who do not have a solicitor; there are a few more rules about who qualifies and who doesn't, but those aren't important right now.


I am currently the custody duty solicitor, which means that I am here to advise and represent anybody arrested by the police and charged over the weekend..  I heard on the news last night that the Metropolitan Police deal with approximately 2,000 offences per day.  Stratford covers the Newham area of east London where I believe I am right in saying that Newham has a higher than average crime rate, although it's not one of the highest crime areas in London.  So, with an average of 4,000 crimes committed over the weekend plus those committed on Friday night that couldn't make it to court on Saturday morning you might expect there to be quite a bit of wo…

A-Level Results

I'm not one who usually jumps on the band wagon of slagging off modern exams as being too easy, but having just read the reports in the Times of some students results I must confess to being a bit worried.

One young lady and another young man achieved eight A* at A-Level each.  This tells me that at least one of the following things is likely to be true:
They have chosen subjects that are very easy;They have chosen difficult subjects that are hard but the content of the syllabus and exams are too easy; They are in desperate need of a life; orThey are both geniuses and will one day rule us all... or attend Comic-Con regularly.I note that the young man's haul includes "critical thinking" and "general studies" both or which are joke qualifications.  In fairness, almost everything else he studied sounds bloody difficult to me: chemistry, maths, further maths, economics and history.  The remaining one is business studies, which could be difficult or not depending…

Government ordered rioters to be gaoled

I have just read a report that a magistrate claims to have been directed by the Government to imprison all rioters.  Not sure where this was originally reported.

I cannot say whether this is true or not, but if the magistrates at Camberwell Green did accede to such a command then it would seem to be a breach of their oath as JP's as well as a breach of the Rule of Law.

Pay to prove your innocence

Riots, compensation and political nonsense

This week has seen some rioting in the streets.  I am pleased to say that despite smashing up pretty much all of our neighbours my office on Mare Street, Hackney was left untouched.  I can only assume that having the massive words "CRIMINAL DEFENCE SOLICITORS" in the front window helped.  In fact, when I showed up on Tuesday morning the windows looked as though they'd had a good clean over night, which is nice if somewhat strange.  The offices appeared on the news throughout the night and during much of Tuesday - you probably caught a glimpse although there's no reason you would have realised it was a solicitors office from the TV.  If you saw the pictures of Ladbrookes being attacked in Hackney then we are a couple of doors along, mostly just out of shot.  Although, I have been wanting to check out our roof for a while as we have a leak and the HDTV shots gave me a great chance and happily it all looks good.

Having watched the TV coverage on Monday night, I rode my …