Law Society Legal News Summary 29 April 2022

Judicial review on discharging patients without testing 

Gary Rycroft, a member of our council membership committee, spoke to BBC Spotlight about the High Court judgment which found the UK government's policies on discharging patients to care homes at the start of the pandemic was unlawful. Gary also spoke with BBC Radio Stoke (from 1:41:21)

Bills get royal assent 

The Daily Mirror, the World NewsBusiness Fast and Today UK News look at a series of bills (now acts) which were given royal assent, including the Police, Crime, Courts and Sentencing Act, the Elections Act, the Health and Care Act, the Nationality and Borders Act, the Building Safety Act and the Judicial Review and Courts Act. 

These will have wide-ranging ramifications including imposing restrictions on noisy protests, requiring voters to show ID, changes to care costs, punishing asylum seekers who arrive by boat, having homeowners pay to fix cladding, and reduced ability to challenge the government when it doesn't follow the rule of law. 

We warned that limiting the retrospective effect of "quashing" orders would have a "chilling" effect on judicial review and would "weaken the discretion of judges" and "deny remedy to those affected by unlawful acts."

Criminal legal aid crisis 

The Times (£) interviews Hesham Puri, a criminal legal aid solicitor and president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association who says that criminal solicitors are a "dying breed". He claims that low pay, long hours, and increased workloads have driven many away. 

The article cites our research that from 2018 to 2021, the number of criminal duty solicitors outside of London fell by approximately 7% and the number aged below 35 dropped by almost 35%. The average age is now 49 and nearly a quarter of criminal duty solicitors are over 50.

Stronger than expected pandemic performance

Our financial benchmarking survey revealed that law firms have performed better than expected during the pandemic, reports Irish Legal News. 

Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja said: "Solicitor firms have demonstrated their resilience through 2020-21, using lifelines from government to retain staff and equipping them to support clients from outside traditional office environments. 

"This survey highlights the range of vital activity, economic and social, which solicitors have continued to facilitate through the pandemic. It also provides insights into the drivers of success as firms look towards business in the new normal." 

Read our release

Also worth a read: 

  • JR reforms become law as parliament winds down – Gazette
  • British Sign Language Bill passed by parliament on 'historic day' for Deaf community – Solicitors Journal
  • Cost of living crisis forces UK cancer patients to cut back on food and heating – Guardian
  • Black children over-policed in school, reports says – BBC
  • Patients died after catalogue of errors by Priory mental health chain – Times (£)

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