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"MY LAW SOCIETY"

The Law Society has advised Kent Law Society as follows. This may be of interest to members.

"Our full practice notes are now available only to those who have registered with My Law Society. Registration is free and only takes a few minutes. Average monthly My Law Society registrations have doubled since we announced the change and total registrations now stand at well over 15,000."

GENERAL ELECTION 2017

Kent Law Society has no political affiliations and supports no political party but as we are affected by government policies we continue to take a keen interest in the democratic process and will be attempting to engage on those issues which are of direct interest to the professional lives of our members.

We attach a letter and set of questions that we have sent to all known candidates for each constituency in the county. Below are the responses we have had from candidates, by constituency.  In some constituencies we have had no replies. We also show the County's constituencies and current representatives, and their parties and majorities.

Ashford

Canterbury & Whitstable

Chatham & Aylesford

Dartford

Dover

Faversham & Mid Kent

Folkestone & Hythe

Gillingham & Rainham

Gravesham

Maidstone & The Weald

North Thanet

Rochester & Strood

Sevenoaks

Sittingbourne & Sheppey

South Thanet

Tonbridge & Malling

Tunbridge Wells

 

Kent Constituency Map2017 Kent Election Results

ALERT : MICROSOFT TECH-SUPPORT SCAMMERS USING WannaCry ATTACK TO LURE VICTIMS

from Economic Crime Unit, City of London Police

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scanners claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a 'help' number advertised on a pop-up window.  The window, which wouldn't close, said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomeware.  The victim grantered the fraudsters remote acces to their PC after being convinced there wasn't sufficient anti-virus protection.  The frausters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool which is actually free, and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft's error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally, Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Anny communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

  • Don't call numbers from pop-up messages

  • Never allow remote access to your computer

  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls.  If you're unsure of a caller's identity, hang up.

  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.

  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim:

  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed

  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.

  • Report fraud and cyber crime to Action Fraud and receive a police crime reference number.

  • Sign up for free to Action Fraud Alert to receive direct, verified, accurate information about scams and fraud in your area by email, recorded voice and text message.

    CoL-Police-PNG.pngStrategic Delivery Unit

    City of London Police

    p 0207 601 6875

    e NFIBOutputs@cityoflondon.pnn.police.uk

    w www.cityoflondon.police.uk t www.twitter.com/citypolice

EUROPEAN BARS FEDERATION - GENERAL CONGRESS

1 - 3 June 2017    The Hague

Theme: 'The Lawyer in Dialogue with the International Criminal Court'

This conference is organised by the Federation of European Bars in conjunction with the Hague Bar, and the scientific programme in partnership with the International Criminal Court Bar Association (ICCBA).  It is open to individual lawyers.

CLICK HERE for general programme of events, including the scientific programme.

The organisers have reserved a block of rooms at the Hilton Hotel, The Hague, the venue for the Welcome Reception and the General Assembly.  Numbers are limited, so book soon. Other hotels nearby include the Parkhotel, Hotel Novotel (Hague City Centre) and Hotel Ibis (Hague City Centre).

CLICK HERE for online registration.

CLICK HERE for bookings.

For more information, please contact either the Presidency Office in Barcelona (Marta Cuadrada, + 34 93 496 19 21, fbe@icab.cat) or the Commissions Office in Strasbourg (Philippe Loew, + 33.388.371.12.66  commissions@fbe-strasbourg.eu).

WITNESS SERVICE VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES

The Citizens Advice Witness Service is looking for volunteers to support witnesses through the process of giving evidence in court.

Our volunteers offer information and support to both prosecution and defence witnesses in all Kent's criminal courts, to help them achieve their best evidence.  Volunteers can either work in a court, or as part of our Outreach programme for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, where they will support a witness through the journey of giving evidence.  This can include visiting the witness in their home, as well as attending court with them on the day of the trial.

We are looking for caring, committed people with good communication skills to join our team of volunteers.  We can offer a rewarding and interesting volunteering experience, where no two days are the same, as well as full training and support.

If you are interested in becoming a court-based or Outreach volunteer, please get in touch with Emma Manwaring, Team Leader (Volunteer Development) on 07584 489294, email emma.manwaring@citizensadvice.org.uk or visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk

EDWINA MILLWARD

It is with much sadness that we announce the sudden death of retired District Judge Edwina Millward, an Honorary Member of the Kent Law Society and dear and loyal friend to our Society of many years.

Edwina's husband, David Bicker, has informed us that Edwina's funeral will be held, for those who wish to pay their respects, on 19 May at Vinters Park Crematorium at 11 am. Family flowers only please but if desired donations to the Heart of Kent Hospice c/o The Family Funeral Service, 4 Cavendish Way, Bearsted, Maidstone, Kent ME15 8PW.

HHJ Polden has asked us to notify local practitioners that there will be a tribute to Edwina on Monday 8th May at 10am in Court 9 at Maidstone.

SOLICITORS ATTITUDE TO MEDIATION - A STUDY

Ben Waters, Senior Lecturer in Law at Canterbury Christ Church University, and Abigail Howland, former LLB student, have published an updated research paper which may be of interest to members.  An earlier version of this paper was published in our Newsletter two years ago.  The data for the paper was acquired from Canterbury solicitors.  The study plots the progress in acceptance of Mediation via a somewhat winding path, and shows that some practitioners are more sanguine than others as to its general utility.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE PAPER

LAWCARE NEWS QUARTER 2 2017

25th April 2017

For the latest copy of LawCare News, click the logo.


LawCare logo

Dover Rotary Club event

OUTCOME OF KENT MAGISTRATES COURTS LISTING CONSULTATION 2017

6th March 2017

Kent Law Society has received the attached report from Stephen McAllister, the Justices' Clerk for Kent, Sussex and Surrey.  It is of significance to all Criminal Law and Family Law practitioners in Kent.  The original consultation document and call for responses is set out below.  It summarises the consultation responses and identifies the decisions made consequent upon them.

RESPONSE TO KENT JBG LISTING CONSULTATION

KENT MAGISTRATES COURTS - LISTING CONSULTATION 2017 -

URGENT ATTENTION OF KENT LAWYERS NEEDED

Deadline 28 February 2017

The Society has been contacted by Mr Stephen McAllister, the Justices' Clerk for Surrey, Sussex and Kent, announcing a listing consultation paper issued by the Kent Judicial Business Group (JBG), and requesting your earliest responses to the proposals being made.  He has said that given the potential lead-in times to implement any agreed changes it wil be very helpful to receive views early in the consultation period in order to anticipate any planning required.

We are asked to respond to the consultation by email - marking the email JBG Listing Review.  The JBG will formally consider the responses at its meeting shortly after the closure date and will publish a response to consultation paper explaining any decisions made.   In order to support this consultation process, HMCTS will be active in seeking opportunities to discuss issues with key stakeholders in the next few days.  If you would like the opportunity to discuss any points with a member of the team please let them know as soon as possible. Mr McAllister's phone number is 07795 602301.

CLICK HERE FOR THE CONSULTATION DOCUMENT

PROBATE FEES INCREASE - HAVE YOUR SAY!

9th March 2017

Probate Court fees are just about to change.  In response to the government's consultation, over 97% of those who responded were against the change.  This has been ignored.   There are numerous reasons why the new fees are a bad idea. An estate of £300K now has a fee of £1K and estates over £500K will pay £4K. The maximum fee is a whopping £20K!! The fees must be found up front and even on estates where the only asset is the family home. The government has told us that the probate court covers its own costs already but that the increased fees will now prop up the rest of the court service. So we will have a tax on death, brought in via the back door, with no reliefs for those who cannot afford it. Vulnerable people are going to be persuaded to part with assets during their life so that they don't have to go to probate.  Unregulated will writers are going to have a field day.

Solicitors for the Elderly are petitioning the government to rethink the charges.  To participate, follow this link.

PARTICIPATE IN THE PETITION

CRIMINAL SOLICITORS SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD TO ABSORB ANY FURTHER CUTS - Law Society Press Release

10 February 2017

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) plans to impose cuts of up to £30 million on criminal defence solicitors have been condemned today by the Law Society.

The cuts come less than a month after the MoJ published proposals that will see QCs' fees rise by 10% at the expense of other criminal advocates.

Under the plans published today, the MoJ will reduce payments to advocates appointed by the Court to cross-examine alleged victims of abuse from private rates to legal aid rates, and will make changes to the Litigators Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) which will slash payments for paper-heavy Crown Court cases. The reason given for this latter change is that more pages of evidence are now being served by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and therefore average costs per case are increasing.

James Parry, chair of the Law Society's Criminal Legal Aid Committee said, "These cuts are unnecessary and ill-timed, given the long term project to reform the Litigator fee scheme, which will ultimately remove reliance on the pages of evidence which are creating this problem. The Society will be working with the MoJ on this longer term project and we believe that it is unwise to impose short-term cuts on the scheme before that project has even started."

The Law Society commissioned Oxford Economics to follow up their 2014 report looking at trends in legal aid expenditure. Their new report, published today, demonstrates that the MoJ is on track to make further savings in the criminal legal aid budget without any further cuts to rates.

"The Ministry has extensive independent evidence from consultants* that demonstrates that solicitors' businesses cannot afford to absorb further cuts, and there is a substantial risk that these cuts will drive a significant number of firms into insolvency," said James Parry.

"The firms most likely to bear the brunt of these cuts are the larger firms on whom the government depends to deliver a criminal defence service. The result could be that the government fails to meet its statutory obligations to ensure everyone accused of a crime has representation where required - a fundamental aspect of the rule of law and rights of citizens.

"We recognise that the MoJ has concerns about the use of paper as a proxy for determining fees in the Crown Court. With so much evidence now being video or data evidence, we have long shared those concerns. This is why we lobbied the Legal Aid Agency to start discussions about revisions to the LGFS to reflect the reality of Crown Court cases today. It is deeply disappointing that the MoJ is making ill-considered ad hoc changes to the scheme when those discussions are ongoing and making good progress."

Parry continued: "The solicitors' profession has engaged constructively with the Better Case Management and Transforming Summary Justice programmes to try to ensure that the criminal justice system operates more efficiently, and there is clear evidence that these changes are starting to bear fruit in terms of lower legal aid costs. Our members will not understand why, when they have done everything asked of them, they are being penalised because the prosecution is requiring them to do more work.

"This is not a rational approach. The Government needs to tackle the problem at source. It cannot keep responding to every change in the criminal justice system by slashing the fees paid to lawyers."

REFORMING THE SOFT TISSUE INJURY (WHIPLASH) CLAIMS PROCESS

Kent Law Society has responded to the Ministry of Justice consultation on this issue.  To read the full response,

CLICK HERE

HIS HONOUR GILES ROOKE Q.C.

It is with great sadness that Kent HHJ RookeLaw Society has heard of the death of HH Giles Rooke at the age of 86, on 27th January.  He was the very first Resident Judge at Canterbury Court.

Giles was a great supporter of Kent Law Society and was well known and well respected by many members of Kent Law Society both past and present.

TRIAL BACKLOG

22nd December 2016

'Please be advised, that in order to assist in reducing our trial backlog at Maidstone, Woolwich Crown Court have kindly agreed to deal with some of our S.51 sendings and committals for sentence from North & Central Kent Magistrates' Courts for all defendants with a DA home postcode. This will take effect from 16th January 2017 for an initial period of 3 months. These cases will bypass Maidstone and be sent directly to Woolwich.

All class 1 offences will remain at Maidstone.

If you have any issues or concerns regarding this proposed change, please do not hesitate to contact me.'

Zoe Critchley, Operations Manager, Kent Crown Courts

Mobile: 07776 180973

email - zoe.critchley@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk

Web: www.gov.uk/hmcts

TRIAL READINESS

7th November 2016

Preface: "each party must give active assistance ot the Court in fulfilling its duty to further the overriding objective by actively managing the case" - CPR rule 3.3(2)(b).

As part of the Court's case progression procedures, the Maidstone CPO, Mrs Clare Denham, now prepares and distributes a Trial Readiness Action Monitor ('TRAM') in the form of a spreadsheet.  This is emailed out to all parties on the Monday three weeks ahead of the day fixed for trial or first day of warned list.  It is in column form and should be completed by the recipients in their respective columns and promptly returned to the Court so as to show trial readiness or otherwise.  If a certificate of readiness has already been lodged by a party then the TRAM will say as much and nothing need be inserted in the TRAM by the party who has so certified.

The TRAM will not be sent out again prior to the trial date but if there is no response from a party (and no certificate of readiness has been lodged) then the case may be listed for mention re trial readiness at the end of the penultimate week before trial.

Since this is a relatively new initiative - one which is being adopted by numerous Crown Courts - I would be most grateful if the word could be spread among criminal litigators and advocates so that we achieve as good a take-up as possible.  If it works it should reduce the number of in-court case readiness hearings and calls to and from the Court office.

HH Judge Jeremy Carey

KENT LAW SOCIETY RESPONSE TO COURTS REFORM POLICY CONSULTATION

26th October 2016

This September the Ministry of Justice went to consultation on proposals entitled 'Transforming the Justice System'.  In summary, this relates to:

  • the creation of an online court, with an associated 'simplified procedural code'

  • greater use of Case Officers to take over some of the routine tasks undertaken by Judges

  • extending the fixed recoverable costs regime

  • extra emphasis on mediation or other ADR

  • attachment of earnings orders to be available in the High Court

Kent Law Society has responded to this consultation and its comments and replies can be viewed HERE

A I : HOW NEW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING THE LEGAL PRACTICE

Monday 23rd January 2017

Kent Law School, University of Kent at Canterbury (room to be allocated)

The Critical Law Society and Kent Law School invite you to a lecture by Dr Tania Peitzker and lawyer Michael Khajeh-Noori. They will address how Artificial Intelligence and innovative software are transforming the way law graduates work now and in the future.

They will look at:

  • developments in the world of law over the last 10yrs
  • technological - AI, Bots, Automation, Legal Services Act 2007, Outsourcing
  • how cognitive computing is revolutionising the profession and at the same time enhancing the lawyer/client relationship.

Some real life examples will be explored.

The event is free, but please signify your intention to attend at this link.

Yorkshire Law Society history

'The Yorkshire Law Society 1786-2015 - A Personal Tribute' by Tony Lawton

Publication date November 2016 (Privately Published). Hardback i-xiv & 463 pp illustrated in b/w & colour

Available from Messrs Grays Solicitors, Duncombe Place York YO1 7DY (DX 61505 YORK 1) where the author may be contacted at FALawton@hotmail.com.  Author's notes.

Price £18 plus 50p to a DX address or £3.35 P&P (UK 2nd class). Specimen chapters can be browsed on the Society's website www.yorkshirelawsociety.org.uk/member-news

MARGA TUCKERMarga Tucker

13th July 2016

It is sad to report the passing of Marga Tucker.  Marga was a long and loyal supporter of Kent Law Society.  She regularly attended the Keith Tucker Memorial Lecture at the University of Kent which was established following the premature death of her husband Keith, a former Secretary and long time member of Kent Law Society. Many of our members would have met Marga at the Lecture. Marga will be sadly missed. Further details will be circulated in due course.

Roger Cruttenden, Administrator

(Marga Tucker is shown on the left in this picture, taken at the 2015 Lecture.)

MANAGING LEGACIES ON BEHALF OF CLIENTS

1st March 2016

Carol Lynch, CEO of Kent Community Foundation has provided an interesting article for KLS members on this subject.  She explains how Kent Community Foundation can help provide grant-making expertise to solicitors who are tasked with dealing with charitable legacies.

CLICK HERE to read the article.

 

 


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