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Law Society proposes changes to employment tribunal system

Unlawful employment practices will continue to go unpunished unless the tribunal system is overhauled, the Law Society has warned. The body representing solicitors has published proposals to transform the employment tribunal structure to benefit employees, employers and the administration of justice.

They include a new employment tribunal structure, where claims are dealt with flexibly, depending on their intricacy and the financial stakes involved, and all employment law disputes will be dealt with in a single jurisdiction consisting of four levels.

According to the proposed structure, simple cases such as handling unpaid wages claims would be dealt with on a paper basis in the lowest level, while more complex cases - such as multi-strand discrimination cases - would be heard by an experienced judge in level four.

Last Updated on Thursday, 08 October 2015 08:21

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Guidelines issued to lawyers on 'DIY justice'

A surge in the number of people representing themselves in court has prompted legal organisations to draft guidelines for lawyers who come up against people who find themselves in court without legal representation.

The guidelines have been developed by the Bar Council, Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and the Law Society in response to the rising numbers of people representing themselves in court without a lawyer as a result of cuts to legal aid, the increase in the small-claims limit and the introduction of employment tribunal fees.

The practical guidelines are relevant to the civil and family courts and tribunals where there has been an influx of people who cannot afford to instruct a lawyer, have not been able to obtain free legal advice and often have no alternative other than to embark on 'do it yourself' justice.

The guidelines discuss how far lawyers can help unrepresented people without this conflicting with their duties to their own clients. Lawyers are advised to communicate clearly and avoid technical language or legal jargon, or to explain any jargon to the unrepresented party where it cannot be avoided.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 16 June 2015 12:35

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Overhaul of Court of Protection media rules needed to prevent miscarriages of justice and improve transparency, new study finds

A group of legal experts is calling for an overhaul of the rules governing the way in which the Court of Protection (CoP) works with the media in England and Wales, to improve transparency and help protect against miscarriages of justice.

The study, funded by the Nuffield Foundation and led by researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Law, recommends changes to the rules that govern media access to CoP cases, to enhance accountability and increase public understanding of the Court’s work.

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Queen Mary University of London to offer free legal advice for victims of revenge porn

Victims of revenge porn can apply for free legal advice through a new service offered by the School of Law at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). As part of the service, victims will receive legal advice from a team of trained student advisors – under the supervision of experienced, qualified lawyers - at QMUL’s Legal Advice Centre.

According to Julie Pinborough, Director of QMUL’s Legal Advice Centre, revenge porn is a “disturbing and rapidly growing phenomenon”.

“While the alleged number of offences - 149 - is relatively small, we know that many victims never come forward. Stigma is definitely an issue; people often feel embarrassed, afraid and powerless.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 February 2015 17:10

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Expert researchers sought to undertake review of Youth Courts advocacy

Picture of Balham Youth Court for Your Expert Witness storyThe Bar Standards Board and Ilex Professional Standards are seeking expressions of interest from research organisations with the expertise to undertake an independent review of advocacy within the Youth Courts in England and Wales.

The aim of the review is to identify and examine the skills, knowledge, and attributes needed for youth court advocates to work effectively. The outcome will be an evidence base from which the two regulators can then identify any existing risks within youth court advocacy, and establish what, if any, regulatory action needs to be taken.

The review follows the publication of the final report of the Independent Parliamentarians’ Inquiry into the Operation and Effectiveness of the Youth Court, chaired by Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC.

The inquiry made a number of key recommendations, including one that “…all legal practitioners representing children at the police station and practising in youth proceedings be accredited to do so”.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 10:26

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