Law Review: Legal Aid – European Arrest Warrant – and… Planking

Brian Inkster’s post on The Time Blawg continues to attract debate – with some amusing comments about the ‘flawgers’.  The post and the comments are worth a read.

The big story this week is about legal aid – or to be more precise, the lack of it.  Lucy Reed, best known to law bloggers as a family law barrister and author of Pink Tape writes in The Guardian:

Ignore the warnings about legal aid changes and risk meltdown in courts

The Guardian: It is easy for politicians to dismiss lawyers as self-seeking fat cats, but their concerns should be listened to.

Just like many of my clients, this government cannot see the wood for the trees and that leads to bad decision-making and greater cost to families. They should listen to legal advice and to public opinion, as they appear to have done in respect of sentencing. There may be short-term savings, but there will be long term costs.

Rather than comment on legal aid myself at this stage – let me provide a few links to some good articles from Guardian Law on the subject: Kenneth Clarke’s legal aid cuts deemed a ‘slap in the face’ for ordinary familiesSo we can’t afford legal aid? Look at the costs without itLegal aid and sentencing bill – Tuesday 21 June 2011

David Allen Green, writing in the New Statesman: Legal aid and civil justice

The Law Society is taking the matter seriously.  Catherine Baksi of The Law Society Ggazette:   We did listen on legal aid, Djanogly insists – but Law Society’s Lee vows to fight on ‘every clause’

The UK Human Rights blog: Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill – the aftermath | Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill published

Obiter J: The “Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill” – A Quick Glance – a lot to look at and much unhappiness

“They say ignorance is bliss.. they’re wrong”: The European arrest warrant

I am not a fan of the European arrest warrant – a device to allow politicians to ease the passage of European prosecution with little in the way of judicial oversight.  Reform, hopefully, is on the way – with, as a bare minimum (hopefully), judges in this country having to be satisfied that there is a case to answer before approving it.

Duncan Campbell, writing in The Guardian, states:  “The conclusion of the report today by the all-party joint committee on human rights (JCHR), that both the European arrest warrant (EAW) and the current US-UK extradition treaty are flawed, is extremely welcome.The EAW was first introduced at the beginning of 2004 as a way of expediting the extradition across European borders of wanted criminals and those who had fled countries rather than stand trial for serious offences. That was its intention, anyway, and it is fair to say that, on many occasions, it has been very helpful in the speedy capture of violent and dangerous people who have sought to avoid a country’s justice by hiding abroad. The British police, in particular, have found it invaluable in hoisting back some of the wide boys who have been on the run on the Spanish costas.However, as Fair Trials International (FTI) has been arguing for some years now, the EAW has turned out to be a very blunt instrument….”

Read the full article….

Politicians operate on the premise that the judicial systems of ‘Europe’ are all equal and all equally fair and just.  This may or may not be the case.  I don’t know.  I am not an expert in the legal systems of all the European states.  I am, however,  very much in favour of reform of the EAW to ensure proper judicial oversight in this country of all police (and other applications) for arrest of our nationals and others resident in the UK before extradition to another European country.  For the same reason (the Gary McKinnon case comes to mind) also in relation to our extradition arrangement with the USA et al.

A quick look at some legal blogs…

I mentioned the latest UK Blawg Roundup in a post the other day – but it is worth a second mention.  It is good to see more law bloggers in the Uk putting pen to paper – even if this indirectly enhances their ‘business’ – and there are some good posts noted in Tessa Shepperson’s very thorough review: UK Blawg Roundup #7 – and the future of legal blogging

After the serious posts above… a bit on the lighter side to end this law review post….

Magic Circle Minx asks:  Dear Doctor, Can You Help Me Find My Inner Legal Bitch?

Pic credit….and an explanation….

I rather like the new ‘craze’ for planking.  In fact, I am almost tempted to have a go at some ‘planking ‘ myself in Battersea Square to see how that goes down at my early morning breakfasts at Mazar

Babybarista picks up on the trend… Planking in court

White Rabbit – always a blog worth visiting, commented on my fairly serious post on legal education yesterday: These men will eat you for lunch?: Too many lawyers – The unrelenting march to the privatisation of legal education

For as long as I can remember – now far too bloody long – the legal profession has been howling “no room!” in the manner of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. However it is plain that young wannabe lawyers are either being sold a false prospectus as to their chances or are taking no notice or a bit of both.

The aptitude test sounds beyond parody. I look forward to setting up a course on how to pass it, thus enriching myself ;)

And.. finally…  always a pleasure to draw your attention to the amusing drawings (and sharp observations)  of fellow blogger  US lawyer and artist Charles Fincher

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