Lawyer 2B reports: Judges speaking up – and being slapped down

Since last year’s notorious “Enemies of the People” headline, there has been a fierce debate about how the judiciary should respond to public criticism. The Lord Chancellor, Liz Truss MP resisted calls to speak up on the judges’ behalf, saying that although she supported the independence of the judiciary it was not for her as a government minister to censor the tabloid press. Instead, she suggested judges should speak up on their own behalf. But that can cause problems, as recent events have shown.

The judiciary are “hopelessly bad at communicating with the press” and “simply won’t get engaged”, according to Sir Alan Moses, a former Lord Justice who is now chairman of the press regulator Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) speaking to the BBC at the time. (It’s not the first time he’s criticised the judiciary for their failure to engage with the media, as revealed in this discussion of his 2014 lecture, Wearing the Mourning Robes of our Illusions: Justice in a Spin.)

But Moses agreed with the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd that the Lord Chancellor had not gone far enough to defend the judiciary in the wake of the High Court’s decision in the Brexit ‘Article 50’ case (Regina (Miller and another) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union[2016] EWHC 2768 (Admin); [2017] 2 WLR 583, DC).

Read the rest of the article here

This is both disgraceful and sad – the Judge should have dealt with Social services rather than jail the woman

Judge jails ‘fragile and vulnerable’ woman for begging despite her having no lawyer

The Independent reports: District judge Philip Mackenzie accuses legal system of ‘conspiring against a vulnerable individual’ after woman who begged ‘for 50p’ sentenced with no legal assistance

“A judge who sentenced a “fragile and vulnerable” woman to prison for begging has blasted the legal system after the defendant was unable to access a lawyer.

Marie Baker, 38 and unable to read or write, was sentenced without legal representation to five and a half months for repeatedly breaching an anti-social behaviour injunction aimed at preventing her accosting people in the streets of Worcester and in nearby Malvern.

Sentencing Ms Baker, District judge Philip Mackenzie expressed alarm at the fact that no lawyer could be found to represent her, saying it was “regrettable” that she was unable to get legal assistance.

“I am disturbed and concerned that Ms Baker attends before me today without the assistance of any public funding or a solicitor,” Judge Mackenzie told the court.

“I am particularly concerned about that because, on any view, Ms Baker is […] a fragile and vulnerable individual and that makes it all the more regrettable that she has not got legal assistance.”

He accused the legal system of “conspiring against a vulnerable individual”, saying it was “wholly unsatisfactory” that she couldn’t access the solicitor assistance that she needed.

“I have reached the conclusion that she can have a fair hearing and that every opportunity has been afforded to her to prepare a case with assistance from a solicitor, but through no fault of her own she has not been able to secure that,” he said.

“It is wholly unsatisfactory that the system conspires against a vulnerable individual like this, so that she cannot get the legal aid and solicitor assistance that she really needs.”

Leading charity the Howard League for Penal Reform branded Ms Baker’s lack of access to legal aid a “damning indictment” of the justice system, saying it was essentially “punishing poverty”.

Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the legal campaign group, said: “This is an utterly depressing case which highlights how all too often our courts are dealing with failings in social welfare and punishing poverty and vulnerability.

“It is quite simply a damning indictment of our justice system that a woman recognised by the courts as being ‘fragile and vulnerable’, with no legal representation, can be imprisoned for 26 weeks for begging for 50p.”

Judge Mackenzie said Ms Baker’s begging was not “aggressive” or persistent and that she had “simply asked for 50p”, but said the fact that she had repeatedly breached orders meant a more “significant” penalty was necessary. ”

In my view – this judge needs to learn a bit more about the difficulties some people face and not abuse his powers to jail someone in these circumstances.  This case has annoyed me – Social Services should have been contacted, not a Prison Van.  Absurd.  Removing  the judge might be an idea? 

Rive Gauche: Labour Shadow Cabinet to be picked from a Bus queue? Inspired.

The Article is here:

“In the early hours of 9 June 2017, Jeremy Corbyn conceded defeat. For the luckless political journalists forced to cover the Labour campaign this was a rare moment. The leader of the opposition had avoided the press and public. Now, as Labour was going down to its worst defeat since 1935, Corbyn was at last prepared to take questions.

But not before he had made one of the most graceless concession speeches in British political history. He offered no apologies to the scores of Labour MPs who had lost their seats or the millions of voters who needed an alternative to conservatism. He accepted no responsibility. On the contrary, the passive-aggressive Labour leader was as close to jubilation as anyone had seen him. His eyes shone. His voice rang with an unearned self-confidence.

‘You had a responsibility to make sure that the opposition voice was heard,’ he told the journalists, as he blamed them for his failure. ‘Instead of concentrating on policies, you were obsessed, utterly obsessed, with me and a bitter and unrepresentative minority of right-wing critics in the party.

‘But despite all you and your billionaire proprietors threw at us, seven million people voted for a radical socialist alternative to the political establishment. I am not going to let those people down. We now have a Labour movement full of hope. A movement we can build on. A movement that one day will transform Britain.’

As the sense behind his ecstatic ramblings became clear, a BBC political correspondent interrupted. ‘But surely, Mr Corbyn, surely after this disaster you must resign?

You may read the rest of this enjoyable article here

My only thought for / of Mr Corbyn about his ‘tenure’ as Labour Leader (He will never be PM) is…May (no pun intended)  His ‘God’ have mercy upon his soul. Pleasant enough man.  But a modern Labour Party Leader?  Nope.

Biblio – a new Law Society magazine from East Park Communications

biblioSimon Castell, who runs East Park Communications, publishes an extensive range of Local Law Society magazines.  They are interesting, a good read and a good way of keeping up to date with your local Law Society. Biblio is a new magazine produced by East Park Communications.  You may read it online here.

You may look at all the other Law Society magazine here

US visas for business immigration

US visas for business immigration
By Davidson Morris, Solicitors

The US remains a popular destination for business immigration.

Any foreign individual (ie non-citizen of the US, Canada and Bermuda) seeking to enter the US for business or work-related purposes must first apply for a visa.

This is provided the individual is not covered by the US ‘Visa Waiver Program’.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of specified countries to visit the US for up to 90 days without a visitor visa, provided they meet certain requirements.

Eligible countries include:

United Kingdom, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan.

In addition to having status as a national of one of the specified countries, applicants must also not otherwise be ineligible for a US visa, for example due to a criminal record.

Applicants must also hold a valid e-passport.

The Visa Waiver Program cannot be used if the purpose of travel is for study, self-employment, foreign journalism or settlement.

Where non-US citizens are not eligible under the VWP, they must apply for an appropriate US visa.

Which US visa? 

US visas are issued by the US Embassy or Consulate. They entitle holders to travel to the US.

Importantly, a visa does not guarantee entry to the US. Holders remain subject to immigration control checks, exercised by immigration officials at the port of entry who will confirm or refuse admission to the country.

Each visa category carries specific eligibility criteria and application requirements.

The purpose of the intended travel and other facts will determine what type of visa category is required.

As part of the visa application process, applicants will need to establish that they meet all requirements under the specific category of visa.

Individual eligibility and capacity to meet each visa requirements will be scrutinised as part of the visa application process.

It is important therefore to select the most appropriate visa for each individual circumstances to avoid application delays, lost fees costs and potential application refusal.

Some of the more common US visa types for business purposes include:



The B1 visa allows holders to carry out business-related activity within the US during a time-limited visit.




The E-1 treaty trader visa allows foreign nationals of a ‘treaty nation’ to enter the US to engage in international trade in the US for a US organisation where more than 50 per cent of the business is trade between the US and your home country.



The E2 visa permits individuals from 80 specified treaty countries to invest in or set up a business in the US. Applicants are required to intend to make significant investment, equating to at least 50% ownership, in a US business. 



  • Short-term employee transfer – L1 visa


L 1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both the United States and abroad. The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the organisation’s US office to deliver expansion, such as opening a new office.


The most popular route to work in the US, the H1B visa allows US companies to employ workers in occupations that require specialist skills and expertise in specific fields. Importantly it must be the employer that applies for the H1B visa.


The B2 visa allows foreign nationals temporary entry to the US for tourism and pleasure related activity.

Each category has restrictions, exceptions and nuances. For example, the visa category will determine length of visit, if and how dependants may be brought with the main visa holder, as well as other factors, conditions and restrictions relating to the visit.

Tips for US business visa applications


  • Plan ahead

Visa applications should be made as far in advance as possible.


  • Select the right visa

Consider the specific circumstances of the visit and the individual applicant.


  • Get the application right

US visa application processes are stringent.


Avoid errors, omissions and oversights as these can result in delays, lost fees and even refusals. Applications must be completed fully and accurately and be accompanied by valid and relevant supporting documentation.


  • Prepare for the interview

The interview will go into detail about travel plans, reason for visit, length of stay as well as a broad range of background matters, such as dependants, travel history, personal finances, residential status in home country.


We recommend seeking specialist advice to help avoid any surprises or issues with US visa applications.


Immigration law firm DavidsonMorris has a specialist US immigration team helping businesses and individuals with US visa applications.

The unexpected General Election

I cannot and will not vote for a Labour Party led by Mr Corbyn – after 44 years of voting Labour.  I do not like Mr Corbyn’s view of the Labour Party. He won’t fall on his sword and make way for a politician who can actually do the job of leader , with sensible and effective policies – so it seems that I have to vote Lib-Dem.  There used to be some fine Liberal MPs in Scotland back in the day.

I am not a fan of the SNP.  Many up here in Perth are getting fed up with Nicola and her vision of Scotland – but will this translate into the election of non-SNP MPs?  I doubt it – we shall see soon enough.


It does, however, look like Mrs Darth Mayder will win.



Joshua Rozenberg QC on Brexit

Joshua Rozenberg QC Facebook reference


The motion that Theresa May will put to the House of Commons tomorrow will be “that there shall be an early parliamentary general election”. Under section 2 of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the election will take place before 2020 if that motion is passed by the House of Commons. The House of Lords is not involved.

A motion may be passed by the Commons with or without a vote (known as a “division”). If there is a division, the motion calling for an early parliamentary election will pass only if “the number of members who vote in favour of the motion is a number equal to or greater than two-thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats)”. That means it needs at least 434 votes in favour.

In that event, says the act, “polling day for the election is to be the day appointed by Her Majesty by proclamation on the recommendation of the Prime Minister”. We know that Theresa May will recommend 8 June.

Parliament will not be dissolved tomorrow. A few days will be needed for MPs and peers to pass essential business, such the Finance Bill. That can’t be done until the House of Lords returns from its recess next week. The Finance (No. 2) Bill is being debated in the Commons this afternoon.

Some other bills will be rushed through. But they will not include the Prisons and Courts Bill, which is nowhere near ready. It was always intended that it would be carried over to the next parliamentary session. If the Conservatives win the general election, they would be expected to reintroduce the bill.

There is no reason why they should not, since it has the support of the prime minister. A delay of two or three months should make no difference to the plans for online courts.

And who will be the bill’s sponsoring minister? I would not put any money on Elizabeth Truss keeping her job as Lord Chancellor. We can expect a Cabinet reshuffle even if the Conservatives win. It would be an ideal time to bring in a Secretary of State for Justice with more political experience. Michael Gove is sounding much more supportive of Theresa May today than she ever was of him.

Like all ministers, Truss will remain in post until a new government is formed shortly after June 8. But she will not be a MP after parliament is dissolved.

A Conservative government with a new five-year term would presumably be in a stronger position to negotiate Brexit. Not only will have more time at its disposal, it will have an electoral mandate for leaving the EU. And, if May’s calculations are correct, it will be less vulnerable to backbench rebellions over Brexit.

Another argument in favour of an early election has received rather less attention today. Last month, the Conservative Party was fined £70,000 after an investigation by the Electoral Commission into the party’s campaign spending. Some Conservative MPs may be personally vulnerable to legal challenge. A new election limits that risk — provided the party obeys the rules this time.

One unintended consequence of the early election may be to delay the introduction of the Unified Patent Court across most of the EU. The government said last year that it wanted to remain part of the court and had promised to introduce the necessary secondary legislation “in the spring”. If that’s delayed, the court may have to postpone its planned start date of December 2017.

And what about human rights? The prime minister deferred a policy decision on a “British” bill of rights to the next Conservative manifesto. That will come three years sooner than expected. I’m sure there will be some sort of pledge but I still detect no appetite at all for reform. I certainly don’t expect a commitment to leave the human rights convention.

UPDATE: I should have pointed out that, under section 3 of the 2011 act, parliament will be dissolved at the beginning of the 25th day before the date appointed for the election (excluding weekends and holidays). So the last day on which this parliament may sit is Tuesday 2 May. But it may be prorogued sooner.

President Trump seems to be a truly unpleasant man

The Independent reports: “When Donald Trump supporters asked him to sign their baseball caps at the White House Easter Egg Roll, they might not have anticipated his reaction.

Video footage shows a child reaching out to the President as he walks past with his security entourage.

“Will you sign my hat?” the child calls out.

Mr Trump takes it, signs it with a marker, and tosses it into the crowd, rather than hand it straight back to the child.

“No!” the child calls out.

But it’s too late – the signed memento of the White House annual tradition and a once-in-a-lifetime chance of meeting the Republican had been tossed into the wind.

A trip to the Museum and Art Gallery in Perth

It is a modest museum, but still has some wonderful paintings, furniture and other exhibits.

Here is a selection of the exhibits from my trip to the museum today.

Sir John Pullar – a local benefactor.

Bronze lady

Local birds


Egyptian Sarcophagus

A very old broken tree hollowed out to make a boat


Marble statue of male – Graeco-Roman.  No date no sculptor named.

Pistols and Sword

I have never seen a Police Scotland officer armed with a Cutlass !

As it happens, I have chatted to a fair number of ‘Coppers’ in Perth – interesting men and women., and happy to natter in the High Street. Not even their handcuffs are visible… They just get on with the job on the occasions when people merit ‘Police Attention’.

But I still have one samurai ‘Katana’ sword left if they need to borrow it.  Used to have several.

I am sure that the Easter Weekend will be amusing and calm in Perth….and elsewhere in Scotland…. and Britain.

The new British University ‘Scumdog Millionaires’…Dreadful

I have a feeling that some British Universities will do very little about Cheating law essays / dissertations etc …. I hope to be convinced otherwise.  I am appalled.

I am sure that even some English Universities may do something to resurrect their international reputations on this….  I really do hope so.  Sorry to be so ‘unconvinced’.

It really is tragic that British academic law standards have dropped so low.  I am sure that Scotland has not followed this unpleasing trend.  I do hope so.  if not – we may as well give up on ‘Integrity’.



Time to let your hair down?

It’s Friday, time to let your hair down and think about winding down to the weekend. But don’t relax your awareness to social engineering attacks! Perpetrators of phishing and spear phishing will try to get to you via personal as well as business accounts so it’s important to remain prudent at all times.

It seems this week’s theme for scammers is ‘impersonating’ O2 – I use quotes because the example below is particularly poor.
This one is easy to spot as a spoof given the odd greeting message used and the unsuccessfully loaded header image as well as the sender address.

To help you stay safe here are some tips to help you identify inauthentic emails:

  1. Scanthe message for obvious grammatical or spelling errors
  2. Lookat the sender email address – bear in mind that it may display as an authentic or recognisable address.
  3. Hover over the sender email address
    Often when it expands it will show something which looks dodgy.  In this example it’s: <> – nothing to do with o2!
  4. Click the reply button to see the address it is directing to – again this can often expose a dodgy sender address
  5. Examine carefully sender addresses which look authentic.
    The letters ‘rn’ looks very like the letter ‘m’ and so on
  6. Hoverover any hyperlinks
    The pop up should display the website address that you would be directed to which is likely to highlight if it’s dodgy.

It pays to slow down – before clicking links do think about what the email is instructing you to do. NEVER enter any personal details or password information – most authentic senders such as banks or companies which hold payment information about you won’t request these of you by email.

Ultimately you are your own best defence against cyber attacks; unleash your human firewall!!

To help you enable your human firewall, SproutIT offers Sprout CyberAware: a learning program which helps to fill critical knowledge and skills gaps from social engineering to password safety. Click here to read more and request a free 30 day trial.


Pembe Fehim
Business Coordinator