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Law Society warns justice system at ‘breaking point’ as it releases animated film following defendant’s ‘nightmare journey’ through courts

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‘Poor Peter’ is accused of a crime he didn’t commit

Years of government cuts and underfunding has left our criminal justice system at “absolute breaking point”, the Law Society has warned.

Speaking at the launch of a new campaign to help highlight the ongoing crisis, Law Society vice president Simon Davis said the justice system, one of the UK’s most precious assets, is in great danger at a time when the country needs it most. He said:

“Justice and the rule of law are key exports for the UK — but their integrity depends on the whole system working effectively. Years of neglect have heaped colossal pressure on the whole system and those who work hard in it.”

Stressing that the right to a fair trial is at the heart of any democratic society, Davis continued:

“In our country, people are innocent until proven guilty after a fair trial — yet those accused are forced through a frequently unfair and nightmarish journey through the criminal justice system regardless of whether they are guilty or not. This is something we should all care about because crime can affect anyone at some point in their lives.”

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Davis comments come as the solicitors’ representative body released a short, animated film about ‘Poor Peter’, a nurse accused of a crime (affray) he didn’t commit and his “nightmare journey” through the courts.

Published on YouTube, the video (embedded above) highlights a number of issues including the growing shortage of criminal duty solicitors, overly stringent means tests for legal aid, court listing problems and disclosure failings.

The video follows research which suggested criminal defence solicitors may become extinct in parts of England and Wales within five years. At the time, the Law Society warned that that government cuts to legal aid coupled with an increasingly ageing profession means the criminal justice system is facing a “cliff edge scenario”.

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50 Comments

Anonymous

I would really like to assist but unfortunately the 50000 pounds of debt doing a law degree is nothing.

As I need a 15000 LPC for a paralegal role that doesn’t lead to a training contract.

For those assholes arguing the cheaper SQE is a bad idea. Please eat shit.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

You don’t need an LPC to get a paralegal role. You don’t even need a GDL. I speak from personal experience.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Then why did Clifford Chance and Reed Smith require it?

Stephen James partnership and palms resourcingeven had adverts for it?

Please tell me who gave you your break?

(9)(1)

Anonymous

Those are the plum paralegal roles, often with chunky overtime on top of base pay if working past 7pm/weekends.

For 90% of paralegals nationwide, these roles are not available unless you have a upcoming City TC in the bag and LPC completed to Distinction level.

(6)(1)

Anonymous

But why then do firms on high street level require a LPC for a paralegal role?

McMillan Williams for example had an ad for a role paying 15000 pounds hours 7-7 Monday to Friday. It’s on Glassdoor, in case you don’t believe me.

Please no excuses.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

There’s no actual reason for high street firms need an LPC-qualified candidate. But for lack of a better explanation, the market is on their side as there’s a vast oversupply of LPC educated grads scrambling for work experience, no matter how shit the pay. Harsh and broken, but that’s how the system is

(11)(0)

Anonymous

I worked as a paralegal at Travers Smith without an LPC – only had my law degree.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

Stephen James Partnership is such a bunch of spivs. You better stay well away mate, they f*ck up everything they touch.

(12)(1)

Anonymous

Couldn’t agree more.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

We will sue you.

Rgrds,

Rory from SJP

(4)(1)

Anonymous

LMAO yeh ok

(0)(2)

Anonymous

Also the bastards at Evolution Law working in partnership with Linklaters and University of Law in providing paralegals. OFTEN WORKING LONG HOURS.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Who are the Stephen James Partnership? Genuinely curious

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Google is your friend.

(0)(0)

CrimBod

That’s part of the problem.

Those who have spent so much on their education feel that they need a return on the investment and therefore may decide to avoid criminal law as it is so low paid relative to other areas of law.

Criminal law is definitely a vocation.

(0)(1)

Anonymous

No one is helping PRO BONO?

Let me ask Bono

(6)(1)

Anonymous

Awful banter.

(5)(2)

Anonymous

Tell that to the massive number of Commercial lawyers that have done criminal law in their LPC course paid for by the firm. Where’s their commitment? Or is it just greed?

(8)(7)

bob the goat

Are you suggesting commercial practitioners should take on criminal cases pro bono? Would that not be a bit worrying as they don’t know what they are doing in criminal law because they are not criminal lawyers? Or, as long as you’re a lawyer of some sort you’ll do?

I must give my dentist a ring and see if she can give me anything for my cough.

(12)(12)

Anonymous

No you dimwit if you’ve actually done the LPC criminal law is one of the compulsory electives. Therefore they know some knowledge. Lawyers these days can do a 9 month crash course and get more opportunities than someone who’s spent 36 months doing a law degree.

(10)(11)

bob

No assboy, doing the LPC means nothing and prepares you for nothing. Being in practice and actually going to court is very very different than doing the LPC crime module. If you really think doing the LPC crime module means you can walk into a Crown Court and off you go then you are the dimwit!

(12)(14)

Anonymous

All the lawyers will do a criminal module twice in the law degree and in the LPC its THEORY AND PRACTICE!

Your choice dimwit.

(5)(9)

Anonymous

You can tell who are lawyers and who are students in this exchange!

You can do the LPC (or even BPTC – a far broader criminal evidence module) but you remain a student with exactly zero experience in that practice area.

Learning about practice is not practice.

When you go to the Magistrates Court you need to know who to talk to and how to talk to them. Getting a good rapport with the Legal Advisor might get you on quicker and knowing when to interrupt a prosecutor and what to say might get your client a deal.

But here I am trying to persuade students that experience is important when they clearly think a chapter in an LPC book is all you need because it says “Practice” on it.

If you think the LPC is all you need then good luck! But my view is experience is everything in legal practice and it doesnt come from books – even the ones with Practice on the cover.

Anonymous

There is a lot of competition for the most moronic comment on LC. But congratulations, you have just won.

Anonymous

Agreed 👍🏻

(4)(0)

Anonymous

Christ, this guy sure is bagging on students… scared of the competition?? Agree though, the lpc does very little to prepare you for practice.

Anonymous

Poor Peter should just promptly escape to the Los Angeles underground and survive as a soldier of fortune.

(8)(0)

Anonymous

Why is legal cheek deleting comments about law firms wanting paralegals with LPC on top of their Law degree debt.

Is there an unwritten policy of not mentioning a firms name?

(5)(0)

Anonymous

Only if they sponsor the site.

(2)(0)

bob the goat

The moral of the story (for law students who are Legal Cheek’s only audience) is do not get involved in criminal practice. You get paid buttons. You have to deal with an inefficient opponent making preparing for hearing more difficult and annoying. You have sit in cells with criminals (lets face it poor little Peter is the exception and even if not you will still have to shake hands with people who smell of urine).

And, if your a solicitor or lowly counsel without a Crown Court practice, you will spend your days in the Mags where no one knows the law, no is well prepared (the prosecutors get 6 trials a day to read) and certainly no one has time to look anything up.

If you do have a CC practice you can always loiter in the outside area of the court in the hope members of the publish will see you wearing a wig and think you’re cool (but it is unlikely they will ever think wearing a wig is as cool as you think it is [it looks silly to everyone who is not a barrister or wannabe]. Oh yeah and you get to make endless speeches to juries who hang on your every word. Or do should I in fact say you get to turn up at endless PCMH hearings (or whatever they are now called) and wait for ages in a room full of other wig wearers for your turn to say 4 words about 50 pages you didn’t get a chance to read (and probably didn’t need to read).

For a criminal pupillage, its that way —>

(14)(1)

Anonymous

There must be a reason you still do it…

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Second Paragraph ‘And If you’re’ *

(0)(1)

Anonymous

Why’ve you put a capital p on paragraph? The asterisk goes at the beginning to denote an edit.

Must try harder.

(0)(24)

Anonymous

I am in a non legal zee hours contract where the working conditions are horrible and I also have a law degree.

I’m not out in the cold anymore I’m in. So please try harder by being on my level. Sycophant.

(1)(1)

Anonymous

I’ve reread this post atleast 5 times but I still can’t understand it.

Be honest, is the ‘zee’ hours contract you’ve got the way you call offering blowjobs for spare change on street corners?

(0)(20)

Anonymous

No shit bird my fingers were numb from the cold so it was difficult typing. Don’t you have any bars of soap to drop in the shower Mr Mysoginist?

(21)(0)

Anonymous

the fact your fingers are cold doesn’t really prove you’re not hooking for loose change on street corners

(0)(22)

Anonymous

I’m not homophobic I already said you need to drop some bars of soap in the shower I will expand on that by saying its to smooth the insertion of a penis into your anus.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Go on, I’m rock hard.
And then what happens?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

What don’t you understand about the post and how does the word ‘zee’ lead you to believe in prostitution?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

I’m prepared to bet Poor Peter either did it, or was responsible for some other crime or misdemeanor, or has a general orientation towards criminality and deviance, as is adequately proved by his perverted hand rubbing over the crotch area in the first illustration above.

(4)(2)

Anonymous

Actually I am less worried about Poor Peter, and more worried about the obvious nasal congestion problem of the narrator of Poor Peter’s cartoon.

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Poo Peter has a fundamentally wrong orientation towards life.

He is passive and always expecting others to help him out rather than taking command of his own life.

If his nursing job does not pay enough, he needs to pack it in and find something that does. He would be surprised how liberating it is to pull away from sucking on the teat of the state.

Had he taken this approach earlier, he wife probably wouldn’t have left him.

Anyway why is Peter the only white dude in 2019 Britain according to the Law Society? Diversity is cool and there can never be enough of it. But still.

(10)(9)

Tumpole

As a criminal practitioner of 10 years experience I can tell you that Peter’s Story has occurred to many clients of mine.

The ones who society would generally regard as “scum” (repeat offenders living on benefits) get Legal Aid because they are on “passported benefits”.

Those who are more “respectable”- no criminal record, low paid job, have to meet a means test that means if they earn over £12,075 per annum (peanuts in any profession) then they will have to pay private fees in the Magistrates’ Court, or if their case goes to the Crown Court they will get Legal Aid but must pay a “contributon” if 90% of their disposable income for up to six months. They get the contributions back if acquitted, but if they can’t afford them in the meantime, Rossendales debt collection agency is on their back threatening bailiffs etc, often before the case has even started.

It should be an Interests of Justice test alone for Legal Aid, and extra costs for those found guilty.

(15)(0)

Ciaran Goggins

First of all, Peter’s best pal is “No Comment”. I stared down two 20 years stretches back to back with that. Second, plod are like playground bullies. Stand up to them.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Police is bastards.

(1)(0)

Anonymous

How’s the Pro Bobo practice, your Lardship?

(0)(0)

Anonymous

Peter didn’t do nothing! He’s a good boy!

(0)(1)

Anonymous

LC now has an algorithm that prevents the publication of a comment with the phrase

d1ndu nuff1n

Properly spelt.

Try it and see!

(2)(1)

Anonymous

I wonder how many other words or phrases are on the banned list.

Perhaps we should have a list so we know what words are acceptable and what words are going to be auto-censored, Chinese style?

(1)(1)

Comments are closed.

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