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 will publish a list of all known candidates for each constituency in the county and will be sending a questionnaire to each to seek their views on key legal issues. We will then look to publish those responses on this web site. The county's constituencies and current representatives are shown below.
SURREY GROUP OF WILL WRITERS EVENT (CPD available)
Thursday 11th May 2017 - 9.30 for 10.00 am to 12.30 pm
Reigate Hill Golf Club, Gatton Bottom, Reigate, RH2 0TU
Kent Law Society has received an invitation for members to attend this event.
The venue is just over a mile from Junction 8 of the M25. There is ample parking.
Cost - £25 including tea/coffee and Danish pastries. Secure your place by transfering payment (deadline Friday 5th May) to Surrey Group of Will Writers - Sort code 60-24-28 - Account 11614250. Please ensure you quote your name followed by the reference RP as the payment reference. Please also confirm by email quoting that name to email@example.com that payment has been made. The charge is to cover costs. Any excess funds will be donated to the Alzheimer's Society.
MAIDSTONE COMBINED COURT OPEN DAY
Saturday 13th May 2017 10am to 3pm
Please keep this date free so that you can come and join us for
'YOU BE THE JUDGE'
Visit the cells
Watch how fingerprints are taken and see police search dogs in action
Learn about a career in the law or as a probation officer, a journalist or a police officer.
If you are between 11 and 18 come and enter our competition to find the best young journalist on the day.
OPEN TO EVERYONE - ALL AGES WELCOME
NOTE TO KLS MEMBERS
We have been asked to run a stall in the foyer of the court which would promote the Kent Law Society and provide information re careers in the Law. Would anyone able to help? Please contact Jon Pitt on firstname.lastname@example.org
LAWCARE NEWS QUARTER 2 2017
25th April 2017
For the latest copy of LawCare News, click the logo.
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.
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.
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.
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,
HIS HONOUR GILES ROOKE Q.C.
It is with great sadness that Kent Law 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.
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 - email@example.com
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:
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:
Some real life examples will be explored.
The event is free, but please signify your intention to attend at this link.
'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
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
TIMES OF TUNBRIDGE WELLS FEATURES KLS PRESIDENT! (copyright ToTW)
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.)
KENT LAW SOCIETY MEETS HELEN GRANT MP
26th May 2016
Following the very successful High Sheriff event in January, representatives of KLS met Helen Grant MP (Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald) on 20th May to discuss our many concerns about the changes affecting our profession and our clients. We are delighted to report that Helen now wants to arrange for us to meet other Kent MPs and Shailesh Vara to take these issues further. Please CLICK HERE for a very précised note on the topics we discussed. If you have any other concerns you would like us to raise please contact one of the Officers.
SCMA NEWSLETTER JUNE 2016
10th June 2016
For the latest newsletter from the Standing Conference of Mediation Advocates, click the logo.
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.