Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year

My apologies for the sporadic posting, the festive season being what it is, the chances of a coherent post being published between the 24th December and today are slim, to say the least.

Still, now we've finished celebrating the incarnation of Santa Claus, and have performed the modern equivalent of ritual self-flagellation; queuing for the sales, we can look forward to 2010.

What will 2010 hold for the CPS, the criminal justice system, and indeed, more widely?

Firstly, less money for criminal lawyers, obviously. The CPS has already started gearing up for redundancies -- the compensation scheme has been changed, and it's now cheaper to fire people. Voluntary redundancies offered already, compulsory ones aren't far behind. Further legal aid cuts seem likely as the government tries to stem the flow of money.

A Tory government handing charging back to the police -- discontinuance rates will soar to start with, and then settle down.

A new government will take a dim view of recruiting highly-paid higher court advocates with massive pension liabilities in such dire times. Cutbacks ahoy!

Those who cause death with a single punch, or with a single incidence of careless driving will get longer sentences.

The Tories will have to ditch their ridiculous promise to ditch the Human Rights Act.

More generally... foreign wars over silly finite energy sources to continue, the Higgs boson discovered and supersymmetry proven, medical science will continue to advance apace, Google will move ever closer to world domination, speculation in the biscuit market will cause a shortage of those ridiculously tasty caramel digestives, the ban on hunting with hounds will be repealed, televised political debate will fail to generate interest, and fewer people will vote in the General Election than voted in the X-Factor final.

Happy New Year to you all, may 2010 find you in rude health, free from oppression, famine, disease, injustice and suffering.


  1. As I put in my blog, among my predictions for the New Year:
    I expect the figures to show a fall in crime.
    This will be because CPS, in order to meet their targets and get up their conviction rate, will downgrade most murders to manslaughter, and most manslaughter to being accidents.
    Other crimes will be similarly downgraded.
    Crime figures will fall, no new prisons will be needed.

  2. Nice summary - I think you have hit a few nails on the head. I hadn't thought of the downside of the CPS taking on so much advocacy in-house. Having been lectured over the years about the CPS' mission to offer full-career progression up to the Bench I had seen HCA staffers as a done deal, but of course there are those pensions. Perhaps there is some hope for the independent Bar after all.

  3. Its a lot of rot this independent Bar stuff- Yes, there are committed people there who will do their bit for justice, however, for most it is a nice way to make money. If your in the commercial world big sack fulls of it; in the public sector plastic carrier bags. The problem is the carrier bags are now being bought at Tesco, so the bottom regularly drops out of them.
    The Bar a bit like MP's "never really got it" and most think they have a right to be given work. The world has changed and looking into the abyss I think its fair to say the Criminal Bar will shrink, there will be more Solicitor Advocates maximising their fee potential and there will be more work done by Crown Advocates of whatever hue- whilst the pensions might be an issue, they are not at the end of the day.

    Having said that our justice system is pretty crap these days its over complicated, too slow and too expensive. Why you might ask do we send all these cases to the crown court to be dealt with by conditional discharges and Community sentences; why do we waste millions sending cases up there for people to plead guilty at enormous expense and waste of police resources, CPS and others. Its the taxpayers money that's wasted.

    Might be time to look at redrawing the line in where things are dealt with and reserve the Crown Court for genuinely serious cases where there will be a lot of porridge on offer or where there is a definite need for a jury trial. A little bit of giggling about with the jurisdiction could save millions and dare I say it do a bit of justice..

    Happy New Year!!!

  4. If your 'I'll answer any question' offer is still open ...

    Are you aware of any cases where the prosecution throws a case by, eg, building the prosecution on inadmissible evidence (see the recent Blackwater example).

  5. It's quite clear that the Election SHOULD be staged as the X-Factor - start the preliminary rounds now!

  6. I also predict that more MPs, and particularly government ministers, will be caught doing things they shouldn't. This may include financial fiddles, actions between consenting adults and more laptops/USBs will be mislaid.

    To deal with this, we will be given various distractions. The press will tell us about various distractions. There will be more "reality TV" and there will be more terrorist scares.

  7. gyg3s:

    Not entirely sure what "throws" is to mean in your question? Do you think they deliberately cocked up?