Life for expert witnesses is about to go on the up, according to a report from industry research organisation IBISWorld. The report says: “During the recession, demand for the expert witness consulting services fell due to lower corporate profits and tightened government budgets. However, as the economic downturn’s aftereffects start to dwindle away, demand for industry services will rise as budgets return to prerecessionary levels.
“In the next five years, the industry is set to benefit from an increase in per capita disposable income, government consumption and investment, corporate profit and strengthened demand from law firms.”
One thing: the report specifically refers to the US. Still, you never know.
• Once more, PM Dave’s appointment of senior officials has led him into accusations of ‘inappropriate’ choices. The latest appointee to come under fire from the Opposition is new solicitor general Robert Buckland. His opposite number Emily Thornberry described his appointment as “an insult to lawyers” after it emerged he had failed to mention the fact he had been found guilty of professional misconduct as a barrister.
The story goes back to 2011 when Mr Buckland was found guilty of “a minor breach” of the code of conduct and ordered to pay half of the costs of the hearing, but given no sanction.
Ms Thornberry was, nonetheless, convinced of his unfitness for his new job.
She is reported in the Law Society Gazette as saying: “Both the attorney general and the solicitor general are supposed to be senior lawyers of high standing who are required to give the prime minister legal advice that he may sometimes not want to hear.
“It makes a mockery of that position to have it occupied by someone who has been found guilty of professional misconduct and who also failed to disclose that to the prime minister.”
Contributors to the Gazette comments section were divided as to whether the misdemeanour was sufficient to kick up a fuss about. One thing is for certain: the silly season starts earlier and earlier.
• An odd story that is circulating among the constabulary at the moment is that Met officers are resorting to sleeping rough because the end of their shift means they miss the last train home. Apparently, they catch 40 winks near the appropriate station while waiting to catch the first morning train.
To a layman such as myself that is extraordinary. The idea that the famed London transport system is incapable of transporting its own guardians home at one or two in the morning beggars belief.
The story was reported in the online news magazine Police Oracle. The site quoted deputy general secretary of the Metropolitan Police Federation, who is reported as saying: “Officers are not allowed to sleep in police stations, so they are going to train stations and sleeping there or on benches near the station so that as soon as the first train leaves they can go home. It makes them vulnerable to being criminally assaulted; the impact on their health is extremely bad and bad weather can make it difficult.”
He went on to point out the lack of accommodation for officers.
“There used to be police section houses with accommodation for officers all over London, but now there is just one,” he said.
The report came at a time when the Metropolitan police itself has been criticised for seizing the possessions of homeless people, such as sleeping bags.
Ilford chief inspector John Fish is quoted as saying: “The public rely on police to reduce the negative impact of rough sleepers. This includes the need for us to assist in the removal of temporary structures, tents, and bedding from public spaces and other inappropriate locations.”
There are no reports of Met officers having their possessions impounded while sleeping rough.