What is Legal Aid and how does it affect Criminal Law proceedings? Legal aid is designed by the government, to help those with limited means to pay for court proceedings. Although in recent years, there has been a sharp decline in the amount of legal aid distributed to those who need it, and charities like…

So far 2015 has seen a number of changes to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) including provision for a new offence of ‘assisting an organised crime group’. Restraint orders are now available pre or post-charge where there are ‘reasonable grounds to suspect’ that an alleged offender has benefitted from his or her criminal…

According to statistics released last week prison sentences given to sex offenders are at an all time high. The average sentence given to a sex offender has increased to more than 5 years in prison (an increase overall of 4.5 months in the past year). These latest statistics also show that in all offence categories,…

The Criminal Bar Association (CBA), which has approximately 4,000 members in England and Wales, voted narrowly in favour of refusing to work on new cases paid at lower legal aid rates that came into effect on 1 July. About 55% voted in favour and 45% were against. Criminal barristers will also adopt a policy of…

There is much debate as to whether there should be anonymity for individuals before they are convicted. But what about before they are even charged? There have been many high profile cases where the media has sensationalise stories. Sir Cliff Richard was one such case where the media were in situ filming the arrival of…

A McKenzie friend assists a litigant in person in a court of law in England and Wales. A McKenzie does not need to be legally qualified. The crucial point is that litigants in person are entitled to have assistance, lay or professional, unless there are exceptional circumstances. Legal aid cuts have meant that a growing…

As of Wednesday 1st of July solicitors in Liverpool are refusing to take on ALL new legal aid work. This is following cuts of 8.75% made to the fees paid by legal solicitors coming into affect on the same date. A similar situation arose in May featuring the largest law firm in Northern Ireland Kevin…

Following last weeks news regarding the largest law firm in Northern Ireland Kevin Winters and Company’s decision to quit all major cases.  Barristers in Northern Ireland have now made the decision to withdraw from all new criminal law cases. Advising that it was making the move “with deep regret”. In a statement on Tuesday mirroring…

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