Monday morning round-up

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The top legal affairs news stories from the weekend

UK could be breaking international law over cladding, says UN [The Guardian]

Rolling Stones warn Trump not to use their songs — or face legal action [BBC News]

Why Beijing is rushing to push through Hong Kong security law [Financial Times]

Poland should get less from Covid-19 fund due to rights record, claim EU member states [The Guardian]

Blind student, 22, takes DWP to High Court over thousands denied Universal Credit [The Mirror]

Henderson Chambers has third six pupillage vacancies to start this autumn [Legal Cheek Noticeboard]

Secure your place: The UK Virtual Law Fair Series 2020

Coleen Rooney cuddles up to Jay-Z in epic Glastonbury throwbacks with husband Wayne… ahead of court battle with Rebekah Vardy [Mail Online]

93% of criminal barristers said they were against erosion of jury trials in the Crown Court [The Criminal Bar Association]

Mother, 29, launches legal action after police dog ripped her leg open when she was arrested by officers who say she was threatening violence [Mail Online]

Virtual student event: How to become a City lawyer in a post-Covid world [Legal Cheek Events]

“This is one of the things I really respect about firms like this. The quality of their work combined with the comparative modesty of their offices.” [Legal Cheek Comments]

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“93% of criminal barristers said they were against erosion of jury trials in the Crown Court”. As a general rule, I tend to support any criminal law reform that criminal barristers oppose. Cheaper and faster, please. We do not need a Rolls Royce legal system, a decent lower end model of a Ford family car will do. And we really do not want the mindset 99% of the guilty to walk so one innocent man is not wrongly convicted either – the current system is far too weighted to protect sophisticated criminals.



No thank you. Cost can’t be a major consideration please. The current system is too heavily in favour of the accuser, especially at the lower end (no Legal Aid in many cases).

Abolish mags courts and treat these matters as administrative with no criminal record.

Other matters need jury trials to be fair and avoid political interference in the courts. Those found guilty without the right to a jury and the wider public have the right to simply refuse to recognise such verdicts.



As a top rate taxpayer, I tell you costs ought to be a factor.

And trying to decriminalise large swathes of crime just encourages the criminals to commit more crime. Criminal records are important because it lets employers know who has not committed crime among sections of the community where criminality is rampant. And that is where 10:34 Guardian-reading hug-a-hoody liberalism falls to pieces. Because removing the knowledge of whether someone has committed a crime reduces the employment prospects for all minorities, not just the criminals among them. Look at the data on black and Hispanic employment rates in states in the US than introduced “ban the box” legislation – these initiatives reduced employment rates among black and Hispanic young males.



As a top rate taxpayer, I’m telling you that you should be less concerned about costs as you can afford to be.

When you over-criminalise the population you end up in a situation where almost everyone is a criminal and the only difference is those who have been caught and who has not. Much better to reduce what is classified as a crime, otherwise the system becomes increasingly irrelevant. Criminal records in the main just unnecessarily stigmatise people.



What data on ‘ban the box are you referring to?



There is lots. For a start try Jennifer Doleac’s work out of Texas A&M. That shows ban the box reduced employment for young black men by 5% and young Hispanic men by 3%. Employers self-filtered.


Interesting study. The problem wasn’t ban the box though, it was ethnic profiling on the part of employers. Ban the box itself doesn’t cause reduced employment.

Of course under my proposal which would involve decriminalising many trivial or harmless matters (or in some cases merely applying the law as intended or allowing defendants proper representation) there would be nothing to put in the bin, so no need for a ban.


Also, the studies seem to conclude that ban the box doesn’t negatively impact those with criminal records, who would be discriminated against anyway, but only those without.


The ethnic profiling arose because of the box ban though, the data indicate clear cause and effect of such regimes. So as a policy it is counterproductive.

What sort of crimes do you want to decriminalise? Every crime of violence and dishonesty needs to remain, however “minor” some consider them. So what comes out? Minor drug offences seems pretty clear candidates, but the quid pro quo would have to be that those that commit other offences while on drugs have increased sentences.


I posted a detailed reply listing types on thing that could be decriminalised but LC didn’t publish it. Minor drug offences are a good example. For dishonesty it depends on the type and degree of dishonesty. Not sure why their needs to be a quid pro quo though – by removing trivial matters from the justice system what remains would be regarded by the public as serious and there would be a return to crime meaning crime and not all manner of other things.

As for ban the box, it is the ethical profiling which needs to be tackled instead of not doing the initiative. Otherwise it would be like banning hospitals in case the ambulance was involved in an accident.

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