Archive for the ‘ Road Traffic Law ’ Category


MOTORING! HOW SMART IS YOUR LEGAL CHAUFFEUR?

Written by admin
March 21st, 2019

How many times do you hear lawyers refer to cases “Only motoring” or “Some motoring rubbish”? This shows the lack of regard that many practising in the Crown and Magistrates’ Courts have for cases that arise out of road traffic legislation. Only when it is themselves, a close friend, or a family member, do they suddenly realise the devastating effect that some extra points or a six month ban can actually have. Then, and sadly, only then, is it time for some lawyers to put on their thinking caps and start to look for those famous “loopholes”.

At The Johnson Partnership I am pleased to say that all our lawyers are well-versed in all aspects of road traffic law. This is easy to claim, but it is something on which we are happy to be put to the test.

Not only are there the complexities that arise when the Prosecution fail to prove the necessary elements of a particular offence, but there are also questions that surround a court not imposing any points on someone’s licence because they found “special reasons not to endorse”. On a separate level, the whole issue of being allowed to continue driving with twelve points because the court have found the loss of a licence will cause “exceptional hardship” is an area of the law that is far too easily taken for granted and actually needs to have some serious thought and preparation applied on behalf of those who want to make this claim.

Matters can get even more complicated when a driver has two potential claims for “exceptional hardship” in two separate courts at the same time, but can only advance the same mitigation once in any three year period.

Move aside of course the question of what is and isn’t worth taking to the Crown Court on appeal.

Do not assume that every lawyer must be a road traffic expert, simply because it is the sort of area of law where very few people go to prison. In some respects, the opposite is true, because there isn’t the potential clang of the prison gates to focus the lawyer’s mind.

If you have road traffic or motoring issues that are going to see you appearing before a court anywhere in England or Wales you are most welcome to get in touch with The Johnson Partnership either by phone or by email to get proper assistance with what is when all is said and done a proper problem.

WEED OR WHISKY WHAT’S YOUR POISON?

Written by Sian Hall
April 3rd, 2018

It recently came to our attention that a recent defendant had been contacted by the DVLA and advised that they had recently been convicted of a drink-driving offence with a high reading and would therefore be required to have a medical assessment before their licence was to be returned.

The reality of the situation seems to be that the client had actually been convicted of failing to provide a blood sample for analysis, when suspected of being unfit as a result of the consumption of controlled drugs.

The defendant had a choice to make as to whether or not he was to contact Swansea to correct the misunderstanding.

Strangely, the defendant decided he was going to do nothing at all. He felt on balance he would prefer to have a drink-drive conviction on his record, rather than a conviction relating to drug-driving. His reasoning was that drugs were far more frowned upon than drink and his chances of being able to travel internationally were likely to be less restricted with a conviction that related to drink rather than drugs.

It was pointed out that a medical report might take some time and cost a substantial amount of money, leading to the driver being out of pocket and potentially without his licence for a longer period. Nevertheless, he decided not to contact the DVLA on the basis that he believed that in the long run he would be better with the erroneous matter recorded against him, rather than the drug-related offence.

Interesting to see the stigma that still attaches to the use of controlled drugs as compared to a serious incidence of driving with excess alcohol.

NOTHING MEEK ABOUT THE NEW FORCE IN CHESTERFIELD

Written by Sian Hall
February 1st, 2018

On 15th January 2018, after almost ten years with the firm, Karl Meakin stepped out on his own account in the Magistrates’ Court.  An experienced prison lawyer, Karl is now strengthening the team of Chesterfield advocates comprised of Bob Sowter, Kirsty Sargent, and the inestimable John Wilford.

Karl will also be continuing to carrying on preparation and advocacy work for the Prison Law Team throughout the country.

The Chesterfield advocates are ably backed up by Richard Pell, Lucy Hooper, Yasmin James-Birch, and Lynda Gilbert.

With John’s added qualities as a regulatory specialist, the team has not only depth but considerable breadth.

Bob Sowter brings with him not only massive expertise in terms of adult and youth crime, but also a history of work carried out on behalf of the road haulage sector, which has ably equipped him to deal with a broader than average range of road traffic and vehicle related issues.

The remarkable Kirsty Sargent is the beating heart of the team, an excellent advocate and a superb organiser and administrator.

Karl could hardly be joining a finer group of lawyers who should ease him to greatness at an early stage.

LINKED-IN IN LINCOLN

Written by Will Bolam
May 2nd, 2017

Well, it’s happened! The Lincoln office is finally open for business. Phone lines installed. Desks erected. Filing cabinets primed and ready for action.

It is hard to express just how exciting it is to start a new office from scratch. The last time that The Johnson Partnership opened an office that wasn’t linked to an existing practice was July 1st 1990 when we first opened as a firm.

Taking us back to those early days of counting up how many police station cases we have dealt with and court appearances we have attended by week. Horrible disappointments of case-less days and the wild excitement of having to bring in more people to cope with the sudden influx are almost too much to bear.

The unbridled enthusiasm of Vicki Clayton and her team is a joy to behold. There can be no group of legal professionals who are as desperately dedicated to providing a class client service as The Johnson Partnership Lincoln squad.

The desire to make something work both from scratch is undoubtedly one of the most powerful drivers in any service industry.

With help available from the Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Mansfield, and Nottingham offices the Lincoln team know there is a massive reservoir of help at hand as well as a big crowd waiting to cheer their success.

EASY IN AND EASY OUT!

Written by Will Bolam
January 12th, 2017

The Johnson Partnerships new Lincoln office is beautifully positioned for ease of assess.

Situated at Unit 3, Waterside South we find ourselves matters of yards from the cities busy bus station. The railway station is no more than another 90 seconds away with services running both locally and to London.

Excellent car parking is available throughout the city, some of it no more than 2 minutes from the office.

We pride ourselves in ensuring ease of access to all of our offices, but there can be none more readily accessible and readily available than the super new Lincoln premises.

IN LINCOLN DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE!

Written by Will Bolam
January 9th, 2017

Our new Lincoln office can now be unveiled. After extensive research throughout the lovely Historic City, we are delighted to announce that our new office will be opening at Unit 3, Waterside South, Lincoln LN5 7DU.

Positioned within yards of the busy High Street, the office is beautifully positioned between Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on the High Street and Lincoln Crown Court and the Castle.

Staff will be well positioned to make rapid responsive journeys to Lincoln’s busy custody suite situated up at West Parade.

The office affords easy access for all members of the public as well private interviewing accommodation to ensure that instructions can be taken in a timely and discreet manner.

LITIGATING IN LOVELY LINCOLN

Written by Will Bolam
January 3rd, 2017

From early in the New Year The Johnson Partnership are to open offices in the Cathedral City of Lincoln. For years the Lincoln Crown Court has dealt with cases from every corner of the Shire. In recent times, the City Magistrates’ Court has expanded its reach in a not inconsiderable manner.

Many of us remember the days when a small magistrates’ court was situated close to the crown court inside the Castle Gateway. The court room was small, cramped and largely wooden with short staircases between the floor of the court, the dock, the witness box and the bench.

The new, all singing, all dancing High Street Magistrates’ Court is a very different kettle of fish. Dealing with work that would previously have been handled by the City Magistrates, Gainsborough Magistrates, Sleaford Magistrates, Grantham Magistrates, Stafford Magistrates and even Bourne Magistrates, the new super High Street Court Centre is many things to many people.

Clearly makes a lot more sense to open a defence practice in a city servicing the greater and wider population than it ever has at any time in its lustrous past.

We look forward to providing our customary service to clients from Lincoln and all its surrounding areas whether North, South, East or West.

EXCEPTIONAL HARDSHIP: HOW EXCEPTIONAL? HOW HARD?

Written by Will Bolam
October 26th, 2016

In Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Humberside, and well beyond, members of The Johnson Partnership have been engaged for years in enabling drivers, with twelve points or more on their driving licences, to keep driving.

At a recent training event, one of the most frequently asked questions by new clients was thought to be “How can I keep driving with twelve points on my licence?”

It is hoped that what follows may provide some sort of preliminary answer to this frequently asked question.

The first thing to say of course is that each case turns on its own facts and its own issues. The decision as to whether the hardship that would be caused by a driving ban is “exceptional” is one for the individual set of magistrates. On any given date, within the same building, different sets of magistrates may find that they feel that the same arguments either do or don’t persuade them that exceptional hardship would genuinely be caused to the defendant. Exceptional hardship can lie in the strangest of places!

Very often exceptional hardship will be caused to the children or relatives of the applicants. Elderly relatives will find themselves with no-one to assist in driving them to vital appointments and no-one to help with the heavy lifting of day to day life. Youngsters will find themselves unable to get to school because of the absence of public transport or their tendered years.

Exceptional hardship may be caused to a family, if the chief breadwinner is unable to carry on in employment that will enable the rent or mortgage to be paid.

Exceptional hardship may be caused to employees who will find themselves without work if the owner of the business is unable to drive to attend to the needs of clients or drum up new work.

In other cases exceptional hardship may be caused to members of sports teams, youth organisations, dance groups and the like, who have relied on a particular individual to drive the minibus to and from away fixtures or distant performance venues.

By definition, the list of things that may amount to “exceptional hardship” is limitless. All too often, defendants are reluctant to mention the sorts of difficulties that may be caused to those around them by the loss of their driving licence. Embarrassment, forgetfulness, or simple fear can mean that an exceptional hardship argument is only mooted when the decision has been made and the ban imposed.

Those who have suffered at the hands of particularly unsympathetic lower courts have of course the opportunity to pursue the argument before a higher tribunal in the Crown Court. A disqualification imposed by the magistrates can be suspended pending the hearing of the appeal.

If you even know that hardship is to be caused to those around you by the accumulation of points on your licence do not hesitate to approach us at The Johnson Partnership with a view to discussing whether such hardship might be felt, by a fair open-minded bench to be “exceptional”.

Call us at any time to discuss your thoughts and fears with one of our well-versed professionals. In recent times we have been happy to travel to mount arguments before benches all over England and Wales.

It is important, when preparing this sort of case to have more than your client’s instructions. Supporting documentation, independent confirmation of things that have been asserted, and the availability of corroborative witnesses is often crucial. Many of these cases are as much won in the preparation as in the presentation. Above all else, a defendant has to be prepared to give evidence on oath, in order that “exceptional hardship” can be found. It is important that defendants are aware of the sort of questions that they may be asked, so that they can themselves prepare to deal with any matters that might be thrown up either by the Crown Prosecution Service or the bench themselves.

This sort of personal attention to detail and painstaking preparation is what has helped us to achieve an unsurpassed success rate in mounting exceptional hardship arguments for our clients.

A BIGGER AND BETTER DIGITAL BARNSLEY

Written by Will Bolam
September 19th, 2016

We are pleased to announce that our friends at Custard Computers have totally overhauled the computer systems at the Barnsley office.

The digital changes have been brought about at the same time as additional premises have been acquired for our Barnsley operation.

We are most grateful to Custard for their speedy professional and good humoured endeavours.

The Barnsley premises now incorporate further space for fee earners and client interviewing which should enable us to keep everyone happy provided they can resist the temptations of the beauty salon and café on the way up to our Barnsley lair.

A recent audit of The Johnson Partnerships work showed that the vast majority of the firm’s clients benefit in some way from legal aid.

In spite of reductions in the scope of work covered by legal aid and reductions in the number of people who are eligible for legal aid, the scheme still helps a great many people.

The Johnson Partnership have an absolute commitment to legal aid. From our Senior Partners to our newest recruits, all our staff are involved in providing a high quality service to all our legal aid clients, although a number will also carry out work on a privately paid and indeed pro-bono basis.

We are happy to provide non-means tested legal aid cover for all The Johnson Partnership clients in police stations throughout England and Wales. From our own offices we are happy to provide legal aid solicitors for Nottinghamshire, legal aid solicitors for Derbyshire, legal aid solicitors for South Yorkshire, legal aid solicitors for Humberside, legal aid solicitors for Leicestershire, legal aid solicitors for Lincolnshire, legal aid solicitors for West Yorkshire, and legal aid solicitors for Staffordshire.  On many occasions our solicitors and clerks will also be happy to travel throughout the length and breadth of the country to look after both existing and new clients where the case demands and where undue delay can be avoided.

As far as criminal fee earners are concerned, we have the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Nottingham, the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Mansfield, the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Derby, and the highest number of legal aid solicitors in Chesterfield available to look after the firm’s clients, be it at court, at the police station, in long term custody, or wherever the case requires.

With a range of full and part time staff, The Johnson Partnership can provide a comprehensive service for those requiring legal aid solicitors in South Yorkshire, whether they be at Sheffield or Doncaster Crown Courts, Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley or Doncaster Magistrates’ Courts or at police stations in Sheffield, Ecclesfield, Barnsley, Rotherham, or Doncaster. Our South Yorkshire legal aid solicitors are able to reach out to clients detained at police stations in West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, and across the Pennines.  From the offices of The Johnson Partnership Solicitors Doncaster and The Johnson Partnership Solicitors Barnsley we are well placed to reach courts and police stations throughout the area.

The Johnson Partnership Criminal Solicitors Scunthorpe office is located close to the police station and the Magistrates’ Court. From this base we provide legal aid solicitors for Scunthorpe and Humberside.  Full and part time staff enable us to provide a flexible service for clients requiring a legal aid solicitor in Scunthorpe, a legal aid solicitor in Grimsby, a legal aid solicitor in Goole, a legal aid solicitor in Hull, a legal aid solicitor in Beverley, and all of the smaller communities in between.

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