Posts Tagged ‘ Magistrates’ court ’


TWO NEW STARS IN THE JOHNSON PARTNERSHIP SKY!

Written by admin
January 7th, 2020

If the Three Kings were starting out on their journey from the East in December 2019 they have a bit of a conundrum.  There wouldn’t just be one new star rising but two.  At The Johnson Partnership we are delighted to see both Helen Brough and Shannon Barlow burst onto the duty solicitor scene at the first time of trying.

Helen Brough qualified in March, having been with the firm for almost twenty years.  In July, she was closely followed by Shannon Barlow who was originally part of the firm’s mentoring scheme with Nottingham Trent University.  Shannon worked her way up from an admin role in the Crown Court Department, to the position of senior litigator, before branching out as a Magistrates’ Court and Prison Law advocate.

Both Shannon and Helen are products of the firm’s ongoing programme of internal recruitment, promotion, and advancement.  We could not be happier to see them both make the grade and cross the finishing line hand in hand.

Both Helen and Shannon are a credit to the firm and living proof of what can be achieved by sustained commitment and sheer hard graft.

Good luck to you both!

A NEW ARRIVAL AT THE PARTNERSHIP TABLE

Written by admin
December 12th, 2019

The Johnson Partnership could not be happier to announce the arrival of Euan Edwards among our Partnership ranks.

Euan first came to The Johnson Partnership as a sandwich course placement student from Nottingham Trent University.  Having completed his studies, he graduated with honours at the earliest opportunity and become police station accredited just as quickly, Euan made speedy progress through the Crown Court Litigator team towards a training contract.  As an enthusiastic young solicitor Euan has always combined an ongoing interest and enthusiasm for the Crown Court with real skill and aptitude in the fields of Magistrates’ Court advocacy and Prison Law advice.  At the same time Euan has continued to be our main point of contact for Nottingham Trent, supervising the firm’s mentoring scheme and coordinating with the NTU team to ensure our continuing presence at the NTU Law and Jobs fayres.

Devon and Euan were one of the first couples to meet at The Johnson Partnership and go on to be married, an event which saw Johnson’s staff both new and old coming together for a truly heart-warming celebration.

Euan’s enthusiasm and skill mean that he is undoubtedly an excellent recruit to the Partnership ranks and we look forward to him helping to move the firm not only into the next decade but the one beyond that as well.

Someone once said “If you cut Euan he will bleed Johnson Partnership”.  I really think they may have a point and I am not sure that we are truly worthy!

 

 

YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING OLDER…..

Written by admin
September 23rd, 2019

They used to say you know you’re getting older when the police officers look younger.  Then they used to say you know you’re getting older when the magistrates start looking younger.  For those of us practising in Nottingham it’s going to be a question of you know you’re getting older when the police stations start looking younger.

Back in 1995 a brand new £28m custody facility opened on the banks of the Trent Canal in Nottingham.  It was linked to the new, all-singing, all-dancing Magistrates’ Court.  The Magistrates’ Court itself was something of which the city was so proud they decided to licence its foyer for wedding ceremonies.  Concerts took place on the paved area outside the police station and it was deemed to be “the police station of the future”.

The custody sergeants were housed on a raised platform, which resembled nothing more than the deck of the Starship Enterprise.  There were more computers in the custody suite than there had been on Apollo 11 and the entire facility was watched over by a “new-fangled” CCTV system.

24 years on and it has all changed.  The talk is the closure and the building of a new “all-singing-all-dancing” not to mention “new-fangled” police station on a wasteland in a part of the city which has been calculated to be closest to most of the incidents to which officers are called.  The fact that the new police station will not link to any court buildings and will necessitate hundreds of thousands of pounds per year being spent on transporting prisoners, is a mere incidental.

For those of us who saw the police move from The Guildhall cells and the old Central Police Station to the brand new Bridewell, we can only reflect on the passing of time and the arrival of yet another generation of both police stations and criminal solicitors in Nottingham.

EAST IS EAST

Written by admin
August 22nd, 2019

As courts close and custody suites are mothballed, so firms of solicitors have to commit to one existing custody centre or another.

This has never been more starkly demonstrated than in the case of the lovely market town of Buxton.

For many years Buxton had a Magistrates’ Court which serviced the whole of the High Peak. As other courts closed in Matlock, Bakewell, Glossop and beyond, so the Buxton workload had grown.

The latest round of cuts saw the Magistrates’ Court close and its work be transferred either to Chesterfield or to Stockport.

In recent times, the custody suite has gone the same way, save for volunteers attending to be interviewed or arrests who will be dealt with in less than six hours.

Inevitably, this has forced local firms to make a decision about their futures. Firms have to look either east to Chesterfield or west to Stockport, committing particular individuals to a particular duty solicitor scheme which services a specific police station and a specific court.

Not surprisingly, a number have decided to look after clients who are going to be appearing before the magistrates of Stockport and the Crown Court in Manchester.

We are pleased to say that at The Johnson Partnership we are going to be committing ourselves wholeheartedly to service those North Derbyshire clients who will be appearing before the magistrates of Chesterfield and the Crown Court in Derby.

We believe it is important to be able to service the needs of clients at all levels and at all times. By having specialist police station advisors, Magistrates’ Court advocates and Crown Court litigators and advocates available in numbers, we believe we can provide a super service to our North Derbyshire clients, rather than spreading ourselves too thinly across the courts of North Derbyshire and South Manchester.

It goes without saying we will be happy to look after individual clients on a one-off basis, even arranging for transport, where funds are limited and clients will struggle to make it on their own. For the most part, however, our dedication is to our day to day Chesterfield clientele.

THE RISE AND RISE OF THE DEFERRED SENTENCE

Written by admin
May 27th, 2019

Some years ago both Magistrates’ and Crown Court judges were actively dissuaded from deferring sentence. A sentence that was deferred was thought to be a sentence that was taking a price as much of the court’s time as was really necessary. There was a sense that deferring was an indication of weakness or an inability to make a decision.

Happily, in recent times the deferred sentence has seen a considerable resurgence. A deferred sentence gives the courts an opportunity to see what a particular client is made of. By setting goals that the defendant can work towards over a three, four, five, or six month period, a court is able to get the true measure of an individual’s determination or present trajectory.

Sometimes the court will require that a client simply stays out of trouble, on other occasions they will look for appointments to be kept, negative drugs tests to be provided, employment to be found or opportunities to be taken up.

At the point when sentenced is passed, the court will have a very clear sense of whether a particular defendant is somebody with whom the court can work or whom the court can trust with a non-custodial sentencing option.

The return of the deferred sentence is an indication that courts are looking to reach the right decision, rather than just getting the case off their books at the earliest opportunity. There is nothing wrong with those who prefer to defer!

GOOD MORNING MA’AM

Written by admin
April 7th, 2019

The Johnson Partnership are delighted to confirm the appointment of Emma Coverley as a Deputy District Judge in the Civil Division.

Emma joined us in 2001 as a clerk in the Magistrates’ Court Department. Since then she has qualified as a solicitor, worked in our Mansfield office, qualified as a Higher Rights Advocate and gone on to enjoy many notable victories in the Crown Courts of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire as well as in the Court of Appeal.

Emma has never wanted to stand still. Developing the firm’s Higher Rights Advocacy Department was an indication that she was somebody wanting to break new ground in a positive and sustainable way.

Her application to become a Deputy District Judge is an indication that she is someone who will always look for the next horizon and try to push herself further and further in terms of her knowledge of the law and practice.

We all wish you well Emma and hope that you enjoy as much success as our only other appointment to the Bench: District Judge Gerald Chalk who has judged the people of Cumbria with a gentle, fair and even hand for the past fifteen years.

PHASED WITHDRAWAL

Written by admin
March 25th, 2019

Within the area of the country covered by The Johnson Partnership offices we have noticed an interesting if worrying phenomenon.

In the town of Buxton there used to be a thriving Magistrates’ Court and a custody suite which covered the entirety of the northwest of Derbyshire from Matlock to Glossop and from Hartington over to Baslow. This is a huge area of land and a good number of people in its radius.

In the second round of cuts, the Magistrates’ Court, which has long since served this thriving market town was closed. Work was transferred to Chesterfield stage by stage. Initially custody cases were transferred to Chesterfield and then there was a total closure leading to all matters being heard in a court over thirty miles away, with no train link between the two and a somewhat ponderous bus service.

The next step was for the custody suite to be downgraded. Increasingly, prisoners who were likely to be in custody for more than six hours, were being dealt with at Chesterfield rather than Buxton. Inevitably, it soon became a police station where a vast majority of interviewees were those attending on a voluntary basis.

The Duty Solicitor Scheme for Buxton has slowly been wound down. Solicitors have to choose their slots on either the Chesterfield or Stockport rotas.

We now therefore have a town with no court, no meaningful custody suite, no Duty Solicitor Scheme, and very very few solicitors serving that entire region.

MEAKIN MAKES GOOD

Written by admin
August 26th, 2018

There was never any doubt that Karl Meakin was going to be a true asset to the firm as a young solicitor.

Karl has had ten years’ experience with the firm in many different capacities.  In the summer of 2018 Karl is finally able to demonstrate his full potential as a Duty Solicitor.

Having been admitted to the role earlier in the year Karl has made it onto the first possible duty rota, even though it has been at some personal cost.

The limited number of occasions on which it is possible to take the Magistrates’ Court qualification examination led to some madcap chasing around for Karl.  The qualification exam coincided with the day on which he was to be attending at Chancery Lane for his admission ceremony.  Mad dashes to Liverpool and then a high speed race to London to make both appointments left Karl worn out and in need of a restorative drink or two.

We cannot thank Karl enough for all his efforts, both this year and in the past, and we wish him all the best as a rising star of the Chesterfield office.

Trouble with Trading Standards

Written by admin
July 27th, 2018

A small but significant number of prosecutions are brought by the various Trading Standards Departments of councils up and down the land. Each Trading Standards Department is responsible for its own prosecutions and many consult the relatively few Barristers who have experience in this field.

At the present time, the Digital Case System, which operates across the Crown Courts of England and Wales, is not equipped to accept Trading Standards prosecutions. All cases are prosecuted following the provision of significant amounts of written evidence in good old-fashioned paper form.

The usual case management forms, which govern the progress of almost all Crown Court cases, simply don’t apply to Trading Standards cases.

To defend successfully against prosecutions by Trading Standards Departments, it is important to have great skill and resources available to devote to those particular cases.

Where the cases relate to poor trade practices in terms of building, plumbing, electrical work or the like, the selling of products with fake brand names, the misleading of members of the public in terms of paperwork provided or any of the other realms of matters that come Trading Standard’s way, The Johnson Partnership can help.

Many cases of course can be resolved during the investigation stage of the police station by providing appropriate information and entering into fruitful negotiations. Where cases are resolved at this early stage, a great deal of heartache can be saved for both those under investigation and also those who have either been misled or wrongly charged.

Where cases do have to proceed either to the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court, our specialist teams, spread across all of our ten offices, are able to assist. They obtain the best possible results whatever the nature of the allegation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Go In Grimsby

Written by admin
July 9th, 2018

It is fair to say that the gender balance of our Grimsby and Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court operation has changed somewhat. At the start of the year we benefitted from the considerable experience of Kate Fairburn and Rachel Hunter, who were soon augmented by the arrival of the young and enthusiastic Rachel Pomer.

One offer of a job as Senior Crown Prosecutor with no overtime commitments, another offer to be a Magistrates’ Court Legal Advisor, again without overtime, and an offer to be a Fee-Earning Manager elsewhere, saw all three lured to pastures new.

The inestimable Sunny Dinser was left holding an ever growing fort, with the support of Tarryn Guest and various part time colleagues.

It is with some considerable delight that we are now able to announce the arrival of new and quite inspirational replacements.

Nigel Sloane has joined us from Roy Forman’s in Grimsby. With many years’ experience locally and further afield, Nigel is a skilled operator in the Crown Court, the Magistrates’ Court and when giving Police Station advice. He has been joined by Mark Luckett from our Derby Office, he is going to be assisting in Grimsby at least for the next five or six months. Our new hot recruit Torrel Hector is the final new team member. Torrel has shown himself to be as hungry and vigorous as anyone we have recruited for some years. Setting out his stall in Scunthorpe and Grimsby gives him a change to prove that he is indeed the real deal.

Much credit needs to go to Mark who, at a time when things looked bleak on the recruitment front, made a generous and unbelievably accommodating offer to divide his time between Derby and Grimsby and was something that we would never have dared ask, but equally something for which we are enormously grateful.

Time will tell how the new team form in the ever changing Humberside market, but early signs are more than good and we wish them all the best.

Live Chat