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Showing posts from April, 2013

Claire's Law

For those who haven't heard of it, Claire's Law is the popular name for a modern law that allows police to tell potential victims of domestic violence about their partner's previous convictions.

I do not understand the purpose of this law.  I get that it is supposed to forewarn women who might be the victim of domestic violence (or where their children might be at risk of sexual offences from a new partner) but I just can't see how this is a useful law.

To receive a disclosure the woman must go to the police and apply for the information.  The police then assess the request and decide whether it is appropriate to make a disclosure.

What strikes me about this is that to trigger somebody to go to the police the partner would have to be displaying some unusual behaviour; something that makes the new partner uncomfortable or suspicious.  If somebody is making you uncomfortable then why would you want to stay with them?

We, by which I mean a cultural or national we, seem to…

Best Value Tendering

Brace yourselves because the topic today is a bit dull, but they're will be a reward for reading all the way to the end.

The Government is looking to introduce Best Value Tendering (BVT) as a new way of paying for criminal legal aid cases.  BVT is likely to mean the introduction of One Case One Fee (OCOF), but there's no reason that OCOF must follow BVT.  OCOF means that the solicitor is paid all the money and can chose how to run the case using it, so he might instruct Counsel or keep the work for his in-house advocates.  OCOF already exists in the magistrates court where fees are paid to solicitors who can chose to instruct Counsel.

At present solicitors receive one fee for handing a case, which is either a fixed fee in police stations and magistrates courts or it is a graduated fee, which is comprised of a basic fee and can go up if the case is particularly complex, this is measured by the number of pages of evidence served by the prosecutor or days that the trial takes.  B…

Police cautions

Senior people, including police officers, have been making a lot of fuss about the inappropriate use of cautioning by the police.  For those who don't know a caution is a case disposal that police officers use instead of sending somebody to court.  The caution is recorded on their criminal record, although it's not itself a conviction for any offence.  The caution will be disclosed in some circumstances, e.g. if you go to court as a defendant or witness (if it's relevant) or if you apply for a CRB check.  You may also have to disclose cautions when you apply for jobs.  A caution is more serious than a fixed penalty notice.

Suspects can only receive a caution if they ADMIT THE OFFENCE.  I've written that in capital letters because it is very important.  You must confess and show remorse, or at least an understanding that what you did was wrong, to be eligible for a caution.  You cannot receive a caution if you deny the offence in anyway, e.g. by giving an alibi or putt…