Those Law Society members who back the Daily Mail’s drug stance, after the Law Society opted for a new chief executive in the form of drugs reformer Janey Par-askeva. According to the outraged newspaper, Paraskeva “believes that cannabis is taken by youngsters in the way the older generation might enjoy a gin and tonic”. It remains to be seen whether the 80,000 members of the Law Society will be outraged by the appointment. The situation has signs of turning into the latest Law Society scandal following the departure of Kamlesh Bahl, who resigned after she was accused of bullying.
The Crown Prosecution Service, which has admitted to a terrible miscalculation which allowed a man who had been convicted of murder last year, to walk free. Michael Weir had his conviction for murder overturned following a Court of Appeal ruling that a DNA sample used as evidence was inadmissible. But CPS lawyers hoping to appeal against the quashing lodged papers 24 hours after the appeal date deadline for a hearing at the House of Lords, despite having “overwhelming evidence” confirming the defendant’s guilt. The CPS has expressed “deep regret” over the mistake.
Broody lifers. Gavin Mellor, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of a 71-year-old man, had his plea to be able to impregnate his wife through artificial insemination turned down. Justice Forbes ruled that Home Secretary Jack Straw’s decision to refuse the request was neither irrational nor unreasonable as he was entitled to consider the stability of the marriage before agreeing to facilitate the conception. As the couple had spent their entire courtship and romance in prison (Mellor’s wife Tracey was in the prison service) Forbes ruled that the relationship had not been tested in normal conditions. Mellor argued that he had the right to start a family under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees respect for private and family life, and Article 12 which gives the right to found a family.
Fat cat barristers. The bar’s collective pat on the back for receiving bigger pay packets than hospital consultants, head teachers and even university professors will be short-lived. The Government is to use the Lord Chancellor’s Department report to justify reducing the rates of criminal defence barristers by 10 per cent. A typical QC from a criminal chambers will be left to survive on earnings of £172,190.70 after overheads and expenses.
Old boys’ networks. A Stratford tribunal heard City analyst Julie Bower – who earned £120,000 and a £175,000 bonus last year – cry when claiming that her ex-employer Schroder Securities had given bonuses of £240,000 and £425,000 to two male colleagues in comparable jobs. Citigroup-owned Schro-ders denies the accusations. Bowers is claiming sexual discrimination, the right to equal pay and constructive dismissal. The hearing continues.
Home owners thinking of taking legal action. Plans from the Lord Chancellor’s Department revealed this week propose that anyone with more than £3,000 equity in their home should not be entitled to free legal aid in future.