Law Society Legal News Summary 22 November 2021

Home secretary urged to withdraw Liverpool bomber lawyer claims 

The Daily MailEvening StandardMSN NewsLondon EconomicGuernsey PressBromsgrove AdvertiserExpress & Star and 283 other regional outlets reported Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce had urged Priti Patel to apologise for comments she made after the Liverpool bombing where she stoked anger against lawyers. 

It is believed bomber Emad Al Swealmeen may never have been legally represented in court during his immigration appeals process, after his asylum claim was rejected. 

Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce said: "If that's the case we urge the home secretary to withdraw her comments."

Legal aid cuts leave tenants exposed to eviction 

The Financial Times (£) speaks to caseworkers at Suffolk Law Centre who are offering free advice and representation to those in danger of eviction in Suffolk. 

It cites our data showing Suffolk is in a legal aid desert area, meaning that many people on low incomes are struggling to get the local face-to-face legal advice they're entitled to. 

Richard Miller, our head of justice, said: "There is a real concern that legal aid is given too late in the process when things have escalated."

New figures show fewer police probes lead to court action 

Coverage continues in the Winsford & Middlewich GuardianNorthwich Guardian and the Knutsford Guardian which report the latest Home Office figures on police recorded crimes.

I. Stephanie Boyce said the backlog means cases may take years rather than months to reach court. 

She added: "Because memories fade over time, there is a risk that evidence given in court will not be as good as if cases were brought promptly, which may affect the outcome."

Early legal advice pilot to launch in 2022 

According to the Gazette, the UK government will launch an early legal advice pilot next year.

Responding to the House of Commons justice select committee's report, I. Stephanie Boyce said she hoped the government's response to the reviews "results in substantive progress in tackling the problems which blight our legal aid system". 

Read our press release

Prince Philip's will 

Kieran Bowe, a member of our wills and equity committee, spoke with BBC Radio Essex (from 1:11:17) about why Prince Philip's will was sealed for 90 years and the legal action the Guardian has started against the court's decision to exclude press from the hearing.

SRA seeks to increase its fining powers 

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has opened a consultation on its approach to financial penalties of law firms and solicitors where they fall short of the expected professional standards. 

A Law Society spokesperson tells the Gazette: "We will review the SRA's consultation and respond to it in due course, following discussions with our members." 

Read the SRA's consultation

Fast-track ID scheme: Lawyers may still face court checks 

In February, we announced a scheme, developed with the London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association and Criminal Law Solicitors Association, that would give solicitors fast-track court and tribunal access. 

However, the Gazette reports that legal professionals may not be able solely to rely on their bespoke fast-track ID cards to bypass security checks in all courts.

Also worth a read: 

  • Five dead and 40 injured after car ploughs into Wisconsin parade – BBC
  • New buildings in England will have electric car charge points from 2022 – Guardian
  • MPs with second jobs may be avoiding large tax bills – Times (£)
  • Hypersonic weapon fired over South China Sea – FT (£)
  • Shamima Begum repeats plea to fight accusations in court – Independent

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