Law Review: The judges lay down the law…

Judges throw out measures to freeze assets of terror suspects

The Supreme Court delivered yet another defeat for the government in their latest ruling.  The Times has the full story but this list from The Times article  is a useful reminder:.

Judicial defeats for terror laws

2004: House of Lords rules that the indefinite detention without trial of foreign terror suspects at Belmarsh jail is unlawful. 2007: Law lords rule that the most restrictive aspect of the control order regime — the 18-hour curfew — is a breach of human rights. 2008: Five men cleared by the Appeal Court of offences under Section 57 of the Terrorism Act; judges say that it is not illegal to possess extremist material unless it is used to inspire terrorism. 2008: Court of Appeal blocks the deportation to Jordan of extremist cleric Abu Qatada; he is later released on bail then re-arrested on the basis of intelligence that he was about to flee the country. 2008: Appeal Court blocks attempt to increase four-and-a-half year jail term for convicted terrorist Sohail Qureshi. 2009: Government forced to rescind some control orders after House of Lords ruled that suspects had to be told what some of the secret evidence against them said. 2010: Supreme Court declares that terrorist asset-freezing orders, introduced by the Treasury when Gordon Brown was Chancellor, are unlawful.

‘Criminal barristers feel that they have an economic gun to their heads’

Paul Mendelle, QC, chair of the Criminal Bar Association: “We are pragmatic and accept the need for cuts. But that does not have to mean these savage and unprincipled cuts to fees that have already seen their value eroded by a decade of inflation.”

The Times reports: “As chairman of the 3,600-strong Criminal Bar Association (CBA) he is organising roadshows on the latest proposals on criminal legal aid. This battle is far from won. Two sets of options are on the table: one from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) on high-cost trials and the other from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on defence fees generally. Both mean big cuts. The MoJ paper proposes either a one-off cut of 18 per cent for all hearings or a smaller 13.5 per cent decrease over three years — but with strings attached.”

To some extent, compared with other more militant sectors, the legal profession is a soft target for a government intent on cutting. Against a background of a national need to cut back on public expenditure, lawyers are going to have to take a share of the pain and the government will judge the balance finely to ensure expenditure is pitched at a level that the system can continue without mass exodus from lawyers. Lawyers can, of course, exert a fair bit of pressure – the system simply cannot work without them, but will they wish to stir the searing heat of national publicity from the tabloids – as surely they will – by being ‘too assertive’ on the fees issue in the short term. It may be a waiting game or a long game’?

Interestingly, over at the Ministry of Justice: New pilot to increase sustainability and efficiency of law centres

The Sketch: Legality is what the best lawyer says it is

I thought the opening to Simon Carr’s Sketch in the Independent was excellent…

I’ve consulted enough QCs in my litigious life to know how to find out how good your case is. You brief them with your opponent’s case as if it were your own. The advice comes back very unfavourably to your own interest. When you explain the situation, the QC then comes to “the better view” and he gets the business.

And if you want a wonderfully ethereal view of the legality of the war from Anthony Scrivener QC read this

4 thoughts on “Law Review: The judges lay down the law…

  1. Charon,

    You have cheered me up no end.

    Looking at the comment sections of both the Mandelle and Judicial support of terrorism (as some would put it) articles, I do believe defence barristers are not as hated as terrorists.

    I never thought I’d live to etc…


  2. Ah Yes…. the ravening horde have even infected the once mighty and thundering Times…. I really do wonder, sometimes, what some of the more extreme and idiotic ranters do all day…. for a living?

  3. Was Scrivener QC commenting about the legality? His comments seem to be about the process which ought to be followed when coming to a legal opinion on a matter as vitally important as the legality of a war.

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