Law Society Legal News Summary 13 June 2022

High court challenge over Rwanda removals 

The Mail on Sunday, This is Money, GB News, MSN Australia, Stoke-on-Trent Live  Bristol Live cover the High Court bid to block next week’s planned deportation flight to Rwanda. 

Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja said: “Legal challenges are usually a safety net that ensure government is acting lawfully, following laws agreed by a democratic parliament. 

“In this instance – where the arrangement has been brought in through executive action and hasn’t been examined in detail by parliament – the court may provide the first real scrutiny of the lawfulness of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda.”

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Criminal Bar Association ballot & solicitors’ direct action 

The Guardian reports the Criminal Bar Association is balloting over 2,400 criminal barristers on options for action, such as refusing new instructions and possible walkouts. 

Law Society vice president Lubna Shuja said immediate pay increases were required to recruit and retain criminal lawyers. “There are already counties in this country which have no criminal duty solicitors under the age of 35. Solicitors are sick of promises of ‘jam tomorrow’ which never materialise.”, meanwhile, covers action being taken by London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association (LCCSA) members over criminal legal aid. Over 100 criminal defence solicitors will stop taking low-paid work in response to the UK government’s criminal legal aid reforms. 

Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said this decision came as no surprise, noting the action of criminal defence solicitors not to take on “unsustainable amounts of loss-making work” could be “a necessary element in running their businesses soundly”.  

“The number of criminal legal aid firms has almost halved in the past 15 years because the work is no longer financially viable. Duty solicitors provide a vital public service attending police stations at all hours of the day and night for incredibly low rates of pay, and they are increasingly scarce in some parts of the country. The government’s failure to properly value criminal defence lawyers is driving this dedicated profession to extinction.”

Parking tickets 

Gary Rycroft, a member of our council membership committee, gives advice on Rip off Britain on parking tickets which is picked up by the Daily Express and AutoMotoBuzz. 

Gary also gives advice to the Daily Mirror about consumers’ compensation rights for delayed flights. 

Additionally, he provides advice to a Telegraph (£) reader who found out that their stepbrothers lied to cut them out of a will and how they can challenge it.


Spike in ‘no-fault’ divorce applications 

City A.M., Family Lore and Today’s Family Lawyer cover the spike in divorce applications following the introduction of ‘no-fault’ divorce. 

Lubna Shuja said: “These figures reflect the ‘bulge’ we expected as the new law came into effect. 

“By not having to prove a fault-based fact against their ex-partner, separating couples and their children will not have to suffer unnecessary conflict and anxiety.” 

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Ask a solicitor: How to stop landlords evicting tenants 

Olivia Pulley-Crowther, a member of our housing law committee, gives advice in Birmingham Live about tenants’ rights to stop a landlord evicting them. 

“If your landlord issues you a section 21 notice but has not protected your deposit, then the notice is invalid. Thus, your landlord cannot rely on the notice to evict you,” she said.

Crown court backlog

The Gazette looks at the Crown Court backlog after April figures were released showing it was increasing. 

Lubna Shuja said: “Looking at the longer view, the backlog is decreasing at a snail’s pace – by just 286 cases in six months from November 2021 and April 2022 – but the fact the backlog has gone up again in the most recent month tells us the problem will not be resolved without a radical shift from the Ministry of Justice.” 

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Also worth a read: 

  • Rwanda migrants: Unions call for delay until legal position fully tested – Guardian
  • Corporate crime reform: Human rights offence mooted – Gazette
  • Mayer Brown tells partners to not disturb associates on holiday – Legal Cheek
  • PM confirms intent to extend ‘right to buy to housing association tenants – Today’s Conveyancer

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