This Doesn’t Look Like Justice – The parlous state of criminal justice in the South West.
The Leader of the Western Circuit, Kate Brunner QC, has, alongside Anna Midgley and Holly Rust compiled a report, This Doesn’t Look Like Justice, showing how justice is being denied to victims and their families, as well as all other users of the criminal justice system. CLICK HERE FOR FULL REPORT
Their report provides evidence of a wider national problem: cuts to court sitting days have led to complainants abandoning trials, cases being delayed so they are heard years after arrests and massive upheaval to everyone whose lives are affected by the court system.
Cuts made by the Ministry of Justice to the number of days that courts are allowed to be open have led to the courts being “…more over-loaded than ever before” with “Courts never seem[ing] to have enough days for the trials they have”. Court users are finding that “trial with vulnerable witnesses are [postponed], in favour of less serious trials” with one judge observing that “It is difficult for vulnerable witnesses to understand why their case is not being heard for at least six months”.
The long term effect of witnesses refusing to co-operate with the prosecution after adjournments or of complainants having to find travel to court centres 75 miles away from where their cases were supposed to be heard demonstrate the unintended consequences cuts to the justice system are now having.
A detailed survey carried out by the authors at Gloucester Crown Court in November and December 2019 demonstrates just how poorly the criminal justice system is serving the residents of Gloucestershire. The report recommends:
- An urgent increase in the number of court sitting days;
- No reduction in available courtrooms in small court centres;
- The Ministry of Justice publish statistics showing the current delays being experienced for trials;
- Current statistics should be kept up to date and more accurately reflect the delays from the start of the court process, not just once cases reach the Crown Courts;
- The Ministry of Justice should take greater account of what resident judges, and listings officers, who work day to day in their own court centres, are saying about the effect of closed courtrooms;
- In reaching decisions about how many days for which courtrooms should be kept open, the effect on all court users, and not simply a numerical calculation of a backlog, should be taken into account.
These recommendations, and the problems that have led to them, are merely symptomatic of a wider national problem. Justice delayed is justice denied. Justice is currently being denied to many vulnerable people in our criminal courts.
LAWCARE 2019 FIGURES: MORE LAWYERS SEEKING HELP AND CALLS ABOUT BULLYING CONTINUE TO RISE
The number of legal professionals contacting the charity LawCare for emotional support continues to rise year on year, with 677 people seeking help in 2019.
The charity, which runs a helpline, webchat, email and peer support service for the legal profession received over 900 contacts in 2019 and saw an 8% rise in the number of people seeking help compared to 2018.
The most common problems cited were stress (26%) and depression (12%). The number of lawyers contacting the charity about bullying continues to increase, from 47 callers in 2018 to 80 last year – now accounting for 12% of all contacts. 66% of those who contacted LawCare about this issue said they were being bullied by a manager or superior.
The majority of callers to the helpline were women (67%). 53% of all callers were trainees/pupils, or had been qualified less than five years, and a further 5% were law students.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: ‘We spent 304 hours providing support on the phone last year, answering a call every 2 ½ hours. Last year also saw the launch of our new webchat service enabling us to provide support to more people. The biggest trend we’ve noticed is the number of people contacting us about bullying and harassment which is now one of the top three issues people contact us about, possibly because of a lot more attention on this issue in the media over the past couple of years. We will be undertaking more detailed research later this year to discover exactly how the culture of law is impacting on wellbeing and mental health, and we hope to use this to drive change in legal workplaces.’
For support call the helpline on 0800 279 6888 in the UK and 1800 991 801 in Ireland, or for more information visit www.lawcare.org.uk or www.lawcare.ie
LAWCARE AND ACADEMICS LAUNCH ‘FIT FOR LAW’ TO COMBAT STRESS IN THE LEGAL PROFESSION
Legal mental health and wellbeing charity LawCare and academics at the University of Sheffield and The Open University launch a new free online resource on emotional competency and professional resilience for the legal community today.
The interactive resource, called Fit for Law, is part of an on-going project to promote psychologically and emotionally healthier ways of working within law and was developed based on evidence from focus groups with legal professionals across the UK and Ireland. The course takes 2-4 hours in total to complete but is broken down into smaller sections, and includes videos from legal professionals discussing wellbeing issues as well as a range of interactive activities.
Elizabeth Rimmer, CEO of LawCare, said: “We know from our work in supporting lawyers for over 20 years how difficult it is for lawyers to admit they are struggling with the pressures of work – which often leads them to seek help when they are nearing crisis. We want to change this. Providing legal professionals with resources to enable them to understand and develop key emotional competencies such as emotional self-awareness, self-reflection and better strategies for emotional self-regulation will equip them more effectively for practice, enhance their wellbeing and potentially reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.”
Dr Emma Jones, Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Sheffield said: “ The course being launched focuses on ‘Managing and Understanding Yourself’ and offers legal professionals practical tips, based on sound evidence, to assist them in developing healthier working practices to enhance their wellbeing. We are also developing a further course on ‘Working with Others’ and a tool kit for employers, to encourage positive organisational and cultural change in the legal workplace.”
The resources are available to everyone studying law or working in the legal profession in the UK and Ireland and could be used as CPD in some jurisdictions. For more information visit www.fitforlaw.org.uk
• LawCare is an independent charity offering emotional support, information and training to the legal community in the UK and Ireland. We work to promote good mental health and wellbeing in legal workplaces.
• We’re here to help through our confidential helpline, email, webchat and one-to-one peer support network. The helpline number is 0800 279 6888 (1800 991 801 in Ireland) and you can access other support, information and resources at www.lawcare.org.uk (www.lawcare.ie)
• We help all branches of the legal profession: solicitors, barristers, barrister’s clerks, judges, Chartered Legal Executives, paralegals, trade mark attorneys, patent attorneys, costs lawyers, and their staff and families.
• Our support spans the legal life from student to training to practice and retirement.
Professional User Access Scheme at the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre from Wednesday 22 January 2020
From Wednesday the 22 January 2020, the entrance to the Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre will be divided into 2 lanes and those barristers who have joined the access scheme and downloaded the necessary app. will enter via the designated ‘fast’ lane , their device will be swiped by security and once recognised electronically they will be allowed access to the building without being searched although there will still be a % of random searches that take place for all court users.
For more information on the Registration process please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/professional-users-court-and-tribunal-access-scheme
Part-time lecturing at UWE
Ever fancied dipping a toe into the water of academia?
UWE Bristol occasionally has a need for “Visiting Lecturers” (also known as “Associate Lecturers”) to help with teaching a range of legal subject areas. These are usually part-time positions, often one semester at a time, where a lawyer currently in practice comes in to help the lecturing team at UWE by delivering agreed sessions (lectures, tutorials, etc) and/or assisting with marking assessments. Topics may range from legal principles for undergraduates through to specialist topics for post-graduate students.
UWE’s Built Environment team is currently looking for an Associate Lecturer for the upcoming semester, late January to early April 2020. The details are a bit flexible, but there is a desire to find someone who is available Monday afternoons to help with some “team teaching” of workshop sessions involving a range of basic legal content and commercial skills. The role would be paid on an hourly basis, with details TBC. There is no specific experience required, though some background in Construction Law or Property Law may be helpful.
If you are interested in learning more, please contact UWE’s Scott Silbereis at email@example.com (or 0117 328 3048) to arrange a brief informal discussion (confidentially, if needed). Scott is now a Senior Lecturer, having taken up an opportunity like this one some years ago; he would be happy to discuss the current opportunity or longer-term options, as appropriate.
BLS welcomes Warner McCall Resilience as new cyber security partner
Warner McCall Resilience joins Bristol Law Society as cyber security partner
Helping BLS members protect their clients, brand and reputation from the damage caused by cyber crime.
Warner McCall Resilience (WMR) has joined Bristol Law Society (BLS) to help BLS members navigate the evolving cyber threat landscape. With cyber security continuing to be an important topic for those in the legal sector, BLS were keen to work with an experienced partner to offer pro-active cyber security advice to their members.
Warner McCall Resilience are cyber security and resilience experts, entrusted by government departments to deal with threats from nation states. In recent years, they have leveraged their experience gained in defence and national intelligence, to help those in the commercial world successfully defend, respond, recover and learn from cyber attacks.
Johnny Norris, CEO of Warner McCall Resilience said “It’s well-known that the legal sector is regarded as a key target for cyber criminals, as they hold sensitive client information, handle significant funds and are a key enabler in commercial and business transactions. We are therefore excited to be working with Bristol Law Society to help their members understand what steps can be taken to build resilience to cyber threats, and to help them protect themselves from the financial and reputational damage that cyber crime can inflict.”
Ben Holt, President of Bristol Law Society said “We are looking forward to working with Warner McCall Resilience in supporting our members, and their clients. With the SRA recently reporting that “Everyone is at risk”, we felt that this was the ideal time for such a partnership. Through a series of jointly curated workshops, events and insight pieces, we will be working with WMR to help our members with this evolving and complex topic.”
Warner McCall Resilience will be running its first workshop for BLS members on 28th January, looking at the threat environment and how those in the legal sector can comply with the SRA’s risk recommendations. To find out more about the workshop, please view the website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about Warner McCall Resilience by visiting their website, and by following them on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Bristol, England, 16th December 2019
Christmas Closure dates for Bristol Civil and Family Justice Centre 2019
Christmas Closure dates 2019/2020: Click Link to open Please note earlier close of 4.30pm NOT 5pm on 24 Dec 2019
Procedure to follow if an urgent hearing/order is required on dates when the court is closed:
County Court Civil and Family- Telephone the Urgent Court Business Scheme: 07795 302944*
High Court (including Business and Property Court and Court of Protection) Telephone the RCJ Scheme: 0207 947 6000 *
*The above services are available 24 hours a day including Christmas and New Years Day
TLT’s Robert Bourns awarded City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Legal Awards
TLT’s Robert Bourns has received the City of London Law Society Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Legal Awards in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the legal profession.
The annual British Legal Awards aim to recognise achievements across the UK’s thriving business law community. Hosted by Legal Week in association with The City of London Law Society, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award is decided by the City of London Law Society Committee.
As managing partner of Trumps, Robert played a key role in the merger in 2000 with Lawrence Tucketts to create TLT, serving as its managing partner and then senior partner until 2015, when he was elected the 172nd President of The Law Society of England & Wales.
TLT has become one of the fastest growing law firms in the UK expanding from its Bristol headquarters into Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Manchester. It now employs over 1000 people across the UK with revenues of £87.6m.
As well as his leadership roles at TLT and The Law Society, Robert has been active across the legal profession and beyond. He has been a passionate advocate throughout his career of improving diversity and social mobility across the profession, which was a key component of his role as senior partner.
He is a trustee of a number of local and national charities, focusing on education and furthering the aspirations and ambitions of young people. In his home city of Bristol, Robert has a long track record of engagement with a number of projects such as the Quartet Community Foundation, Room 13 and Ablaze – a charity TLT continues to support.
Robert remains actively engaged in the debate around regulatory change in the legal profession, and is a consultant at TLT.
Chair of The City of London Law Society Edward Sparrow said:
“Robert is known for his acute sense of public interest as demonstrated by his service to the wider profession over many years. I’m delighted to have presented this Lifetime Achievement Award to Robert in recognition of all his successes in the legal profession and beyond.”
The award was presented at the annual British Legal Awards event on Thursday 21st November 2019 at The Ballroom South Bank, London.
Content courtesy of TLT Website
Robert is also a former President of BLS and ASWLS (Association of Western Law Societies)
Foot Anstey advises Future plc on acquisition
Top 100 law firm Foot Anstey has advised FTSE 250 media enterprise Future plc on its purchase of video content creator Barcroft Studios.
Future, a global multi-platform media company with offices in Bath, London and New York, acquired the production house, whose work has been shown on platforms ranging from the BBC to Netflix, for a total of £23.5 million.
The deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Future, including TI Media last month, and bookends a strong year for the company which announced in its year end results that revenue has jumped by 70 per cent, and pre-tax profits are up to £12.7 million.
The purchase of Barcroft will also allow Future to leverage the studio’s video expertise across its range of titles, which includes websites such as TechRadar and GamesRadar.
Corporate Partner Mark Millar, assisted by Chris Cook and Arron Jolliffe, led the Foot Anstey team advising on the deal. Mark said “Purchasing Barcroft Studios is a decisive move by Future, who are clearly thinking about the shape of the media landscape in years to come.”
“Acquiring this prestigious video production company, which produces content for the likes of the BBC and Netflix, will help Future to deliver that ambition.”
Sarah Hill, Head of Legal at Future said, “It was great to work with Foot Anstey on implementing a key transaction within our acquisition strategy. Under what was a very tight timetable, the Foot Anstey team’s pragmatism, commitment and drive to push matters forward was greatly appreciated, and we felt like their team was an extension of ours given the collaborative working relationship.”
Feeding Bristol – BLS President’s Charity of the Year
MISSION & VISION
Registered in March 2018, Feeding Bristol acts as an umbrella organisation for social causes in Bristol working towards alleviating food insecurity. FB aims to provided and guide targeted efforts in order to improve the overall circumstances of the general population.
Driving systemic change to increase food security across all social and cultural communities of Bristol – ultimately striving for ‘Zero Hunger’.
Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of immediate provision for those in need, and influencing long-term local economic and national policy changes that aim to improve food security of all Bristolians.
Key strategic priorities
- Improve immediate provision for those in need, with a particular emphasis on children and vulnerable adults
- Increase the local community’s enthusiasm, knowledge and capability to grow and cook food
- Significantly increase regional food production and the supply of good quality local food to the city within a sustainable economic framework
- Work with local and national government to influence policy and drive greater food supply
OUR WAYS OF WORKING
As an organisation, we believe in supporting the city to support itself. As a platform to strategically guide Bristol in decision making that is complimentary to one another, the city will be able to deliver more sustainable and effective long-term solutions to zero-hunger
Who we work with
Feeding Bristol works with a wide range of organisations and businesses across Bristol. We know that communities within Bristol can suffer from a range of different issues, so it is important that we all work together in providing a holistic level of support to those in need. Feeding Bristol will continue to catalyse and link the different industries, businesses and grassroots organisations, in an effort to more effectively deliver food solutions across the city – and build a city where no child goes hungry.
Who we work for
As one city, Bristol has a vast array of individuals and organisations focusing on helping to improve the circumstances of people who are less fortunate. Through targeting the food security needs, Feeding Bristol acts as an umbrella organisation for the city, supporting initiatives to get started, upscale or collaborate with others where relevant. By providing a central point of contact to those focusing on tackling similar issues, Bristol can act to ensure a permanent and positive step change towards zero hunger
Feeding Bristol targets the overall success of the city, and not one single project. Long-term success will be two-fold: 1) an increase in engagement and collaborative working within our communities, and 2) financially self-sustainable initiatives that support the food security needs within Bristol.