Posts Tagged ‘ criminal law ’


AWARD FOR FRAUDS

Written by admin
August 20th, 2018

In recent years more and more firms of solicitors are claiming to have been awarded batches of excellence of tokens of recognition for the work they do for the people they employ.  Some of these are entirely proper and are well recognised Kitemarks such as the SQM (Specialist Quality Mark) or the Lexcel Accreditation.  Some awards are slightly less transparent!  The “East Midlands Best Advocate”, the “North East Best Practice Manager”, the “Most Go Ahead Medium Sized Firm in the Manchester Area” might all lead to a sceptically raised eyebrow.

The true worth, and may we say voracity of some of the claims made on a number of websites are a matter for a certain amount of speculation.

Who decided?  Who applied?  What is “The North East”?  When was the decision made?  How often is the competition run?  How rigorously monitored is the award process?  Is it all really a load of hogwash or claptrap?  How stupid do we think the public really are?

At The Johnson Partnership we reckon we prefer rewards to awards!  We reckon the best reward that we can have day in day out is a satisfied client and we hope you will agree that’s worth a bucket load of multi-coloured rosettes.

SARAH BROWN IS BACK IN TOWN!

Written by Sian Hall
February 13th, 2018

We are delighted to welcome Sarah Brown to our Sheffield office. A skilled advocate in both the Magistrates’ Court and Crown Court, Sarah has kindly agreed to augment our Sheffield office two days each week, whilst continuing to teach law and practice at Sheffield College.

The combination of practical fee-earning work and the understanding that comes with the need to impart knowledge to others, will benefit both the firm and Sarah’s students alike.

We are looking forward to the benefits that are bound to come from bringing somebody on board who has a wealth of experience and an independent and critical eye. Inevitably, benefits will not just flow to students and to members of staff, there is bound to be a real dividend for our growing Sheffield client base.

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.

A TALE OF TWO RACHELS!

Written by Sian Hall
January 30th, 2018

Clients contacting our Scunthorpe or Grimsby offices may well now face a new question: Would you like to speak to Rachel Hunter or Rachel Poma?”

Having long had the pleasure of the company of the experience, warm, caring, and ultimately capable Rachel Hunter, we now have a second Rachel in town.

In January we were fortunate enough to secure the services of Rachel Poma, nee Pullin. Rachel has previously worked on a qualified and non-qualified basis with at least two local firms, but we are delighted to say that she has agreed to join The Johnson Partnership, dividing her time between the Scunthorpe and Grimsby offices.

Rachel is an enthusiastic duty solicitor, with great ideas and a lovely court presence. We look forward to Rachel getting to know both us and our clients, as well as introducing us to many of her old friends and contacts. We count ourselves incredibly lucky to have secured Rachel’s services, in an area where there are relatively few enthusiastic, young and hardworking advocates.

OUT OF TOWN IS OUT OF MIND

Written by Sian Hall
December 12th, 2017

In a time when more and more firms of solicitors are moving to sites outside of city centres with modern facilities and parking outside the front door, The Johnson Partnership has made a conscious decision to remain true to our inner city roots.

In recent times we have had to give consideration to whether or not we could better serve our clients by moving to locations on business parks or new developments anywhere between a mile or three miles from their local town or city centre.

Although the prospect of ample parking and high speed broadband are immensely tempting, we have always been left reflecting how inaccessible such premises would be to the vast majority of our clients. Even though they could travel to offices by private car they have still expressed the opinion that they would rather tie in a trip to the solicitors with a visit to other city centre locations, rather than having to make a special trip to the middle of somewhere approaching nowhere.

The proximity to courts, police stations, Crown Prosecution Service offices, and the like gives us an unassailable advantage when it comes to looking after clients arrested on warrants, requiring quick interviews or needing urgent conferences.

While it can be true that there is relatively little passing trade for criminal solicitors, it is equally true that many clients with current cases will want to call in for a quick but urgent reassurance.

As far as staff are concerned, the prospect of palatial premises with accountants and government departments as neighbours is tempting; but never quite as tempting as the stores, bars, cafes, and restaurants of a good old town or city centre.

There is of course an argument to suggest that our slightly unusually situated Sheffield office breaks the mould. While not in a new purpose built professional palace, it does occupy the singular and characterful premises of the old Banners Department store loved by thousands!

VOICE INDENTIFICATION PARADES

Written by Sian Hall
December 9th, 2017

Digby Johnson is currently helping with a Nottingham Trent University research project into the law of evidence and the identification of the human voice.

In many cases a witness or victim will be called upon to describe a voice they overheard in the course of the commission of an offence or, perhaps someone talking about the planning of or the recent execution of such an offence. At the moment there are very few yardsticks to help measure that voice in a reasoned and logical way.

Since 2003 there has been provision for voice identification parades to take place, although as yet few, if any, have been successfully presented to a court in evidential form.

The current Trent project aims to develop questionnaires to assist witnesses in describing a voice. Further developments may include the provision of voice samples to witnesses to enable them to come up with the audible equivalent of an identikit picture.

Who knows, eventually, clips from previously taped interviews may be sampled into a databank similar to the current identification parade database to enable comparative samples to be put together to test whether a witness or victim is actually able to pick out the voice of someone in custody or a particular suspect.

WHO NEEDS AN INTERVIEW ROOM?

Written by Sian Hall
December 4th, 2017

In recent weeks Doncaster police seem to have largely given up on the old practice of interviewing detainees in the custody suites. A quick note in a policeman’s notebook or an interview on camera in the back of a police car seem to be sufficing.

Rather than arresting people, the police are warning them to attend the police station for the sort of informal chat that might see them on their way to the Crown Court before they know it.

This sort of informal interviewing, coupled with an apparently casual approach to questioning, that can have dire consequences, is something to look out for.

If you find that there is an officer wanting to ask you questions please remember that somebody from The Johnson Partnership is constantly available. Whether the police are proposing to interview you at your home, at a neighbourhood police station, or in the back of a police car, you are still entitled to have somebody present and we would recommend that you do.

Please contact our Doncaster office as a matter of urgency if you find yourself in this position on (01302) 360606.

REVELLING IN ONE ANOTHER’S SUCCESS

Written by Sian Hall
November 30th, 2017

As one of the main operators of The Johnson Partnership Twitter account it is always fascinating to see which product gets the most attention.

As far as Tweets relating to external matters are concerned the number of likes and re-Tweets varies according to the currency of the matter and to the level of interest and concern it generates

As far as Tweets that relate to internal matters are concerned, nothing, but nothing has proved more popular than Tweets relating to exam success enjoyed by members of staff from the most junior right through to supervisor level.

Any new degree results, GDL results, LPC results, Professional Skills Course passes and the like are all likely to be met with a flurry of likes, re-Tweets and congratulations.

In a world where dog eats dog and people are encouraged to crawl over one another to get to the top, it is lovely to see that we have a friendly supportive staff who can genuinely share in one another’s personal success.

BAT CLASS WITH EMMA COVERLEY

Written by Sian Hall
November 25th, 2017

A number of our Partners and colleagues have links to local higher learning institutions.

November 2017 has however seen former full time lecturer Emma Coverley make a guest appearance at Nottingham Trent University.

Emma, who previously taught law at Doncaster College, long before it was absorbed into the academic groves of the University of Huddersfield, was asked to assist with the Nottingham Trent Psychology Masters Course.

An enthusiastic group of twenty students were able to pick Emma’s brains pretty shy of a couple of hours on the practical implications of laws and regulations governing the detention and sentencing of mentally disordered clients.

With a vast body of material at her disposal, Emma was more than a match for the information-hungry post grads. Their experience was said to be truly enjoyable, but there is to be no permanent move back to the blackboard.

THE GHOST TRAIN BECOMES THE LOVE TRAIN

Written by Sian Hall
November 23rd, 2017

As another date for submission of CDS12 form disappears over the horizon we are left reflecting on how different it is now to recruit new duty solicitors.  In short, all the criteria has changed.

Under the new 2017 Contract it is no longer sufficient to have somebody who will turn up to perform the obligatory amount of court and police station appearances while primarily working as freelance on their own account or even, who knows, as Tesco shelf stacker.

The new way is to bring somebody in for two or three days a week to ensure that they have their 14 hours carefully logged and stashed away for checking.

The October submission date saw us involve ourselves in lengthy interviews with a number of people, who we all hoped would be suitable recruits.

The new system brings with it closer scrutiny and a real consideration of the strengths and weaknesses of a duty solicitor candidate.  On this occasion it would be fair and honest to say that we had interviewed and made offers to three people who decided not to join us, but stay where they were.  Equally, we interviewed another three people at considerable length, to whom we decided not to make an offer.  The time invested in the recruitment process was quite significant particularly when this entails ticking fee-earning Partners away from their day to day labours.

We are delighted to say, however, that we have been successful in recruiting two wholly new duty solicitors as well as the lovely Helen Nicholson who will be returning to the fold.  All in all, the process has been an interesting and very enlightening one on a great many levels.

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