Posts Tagged ‘ Crown Court ’


During lockdown the Derbyshire criminal courts have run in a greatly reduced and somewhat experimental way. A lot of custody cases have been heard at Derby although prisoners have appeared via video links from Ripley police station and Chesterfield police station.

As the lockdown has eased so more work is being handled by Chesterfield magistrates court although at the moment the cases at Chesterfield are mainly for people on bail.

At the Johnson Partnership we have substantial teams of solicitors and clerks based both at our Chesterfield and Derby offices. Wherever a case is to be heard you can rest assured there will be somebody available who can take the time to get to know you and your circumstances. The person representing you will know and be known to the Magistrates before whom you are appearing. Whether it is an occasional bank holiday or Saturday court or a hearing at a newly opened weekday court centre.

THE JOHNSON PARTNERSHIP LINCOLN SOLICITORS!

Written by admin
June 27th, 2020

During the Corona epidemic our Lincoln office will remain staffed. We are available to advise on a 24 hour basis and we are available to attend the police stations either personally or by video link as well as at Magistrates’ Courts both locally and nationally.

Vicki Clayton and Kerry Close are staffing the office personally and will be able to respond to enquiries with speed and alacrity except of course when they are involved in court hearings or police station interviews. Please contact us on (01522) 306189.

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!

DON’T LET THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT BECOME A DRAMA

Written by admin
December 21st, 2019

At The Johnson Partnership we have a well experienced and highly skilled team of people ready to help with Proceeds of Crime Act applications.

Many firms are used to dealing with criminal cases from the police station to sentence.  Many fewer firms have any idea how to prepare for the sorts of applications that can follow on a guilty plea or a conviction that go way beyond sentence.

Many defendants now find that the announcement of a prison term or a community penalty does not mean that their case is at an end.  It is not just a question of serving their time or attending the appointments, the court will often have laid down a timetable to look into the extent to which someone has profited from crime and the assets that they have available that may be seized by way of redress.

Nicola Hornby, a time-served Equity Partner, heads up a team of solicitors and paralegals who are well-versed in the areas of financial crime and fraud, but who devote substantial percentages of their working lives to helping clients defend their positions against Proceeds of Crime Act applications.

Sian Barber and the excellent and highly experienced Jenny Bordley make up the core of the team who can draw on help from both the Fraud and Crown Court Litigator departments when necessary.

In-house Counsel Jimmy Beck has been involved in some of the foremost Proceeds of Crime cases before the Crown Court and the Court of Appeal.  Nicola and Jenny are both HCAs and so it is possible to avoid the disconnect that can come from trying to pass on lots of detailed and skilfully researched information to independent Counsel at short notice.

Whether the original case is being dealt with by ourselves or another firm, we are always happy to accept instructions from those facing the perils of a Proceeds of Crime Act application.

YOU NEVER KNOW UNTIL YOU TRY IT

Written by admin
December 12th, 2019

We have an opportunity in our Advocacy Department for either Junior Counsel or an aspiring HCA who would like to try working with The Johnson Partnership in-house.

The successful candidate would be able to work primarily either in the Nottingham, Derby, Lincoln, Grimsby, or Sheffield Crown Courts, according to their own location and preference.

A short term contract based on maternity cover could easily be extended for a successful and promising candidate.

Working in-house means freedom from the political rambling of Barristers’ Chambers as well as guaranteed holidays with pay and sickness and maternity entitlements.  It would incorporate however freedom rather than the strictures of a 9:00am to 5:30pm working day.

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!

 

 

NO MORE AA AT JP’S

Written by admin
August 30th, 2019

For some the letters AA will always conjure up memories of motorbiking repairmen who would salute whenever they saw a car with the Automobile Association badge.  For others AA will conjure up the mysterious world of the recovering alcoholic.  For those of us who have worked at or with the staff from The Johnson Partnership’s Barnsley office, AA will forever be Amanda Armitage.

Amanda Armitage first worked with our colleague Eric Bray over twenty years ago.  Eric took her under his wing and helped her to become one of the most respected Crown Court litigators in South Yorkshire.

Colleagues, Counsel, clients and friends have all spoken of Amanda’s sharp-eyed insight and down to earth practical skill.  No-one saw more clearly, no-one understood better.

We are sad to say that Amanda has decided to step away from the law to spend time with her family.  Our loss is their gain, but we could never begrudge the unquestionable delight of spending more time in the company of one of our favourite folk.

We wish you good luck in all that you do Amanda and hope you won’t forget us.

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.

DEATH BY ONE AND A HALF THOUSAND CUTS

Written by admin
August 17th, 2019

The latest stealthy slice to be taken out of the criminal justice system comes in the form of a reduction of Crown Court hearing days.

We all know that to run a Crown Court is expensive.  We all know that to close a Crown Court will save money.  Unfortunately, closing a Crown Court means that cases are not heard, which has very little cost in financial terms but often huge costs in terms of the effect on defendants, complainants and witnesses, their emotions and their general wellbeing. It also means of course that neither Counsel nor solicitors are in a position to submit a bill, because a hearing has been postponed and the case has not been finished.  In some courts this means that the case will have to be put off for another eight or nine months, awaiting a trial slot. This inevitably means that the expense of prosecuting the case and defending it is moved skilfully into another tax year.

How many Crown Court hearing days do you think have been cut from the next Crown Court year?  Perhaps you think 1,000, or maybe 2,000, maybe as many as 5,000 – but surely not as that would obviously be unjust.  Perhaps you think 7,500 or even 10,000, but yet again, surely both of those figures are utterly unbelievable.  If you were to think 15,000, in short, you would be right.  Yes, 15,000 Crown Court hearing days have been cut from the next judicial year.

That’s 15,000 days when cases could be concluded, when witnesses could be put out of their misery, when complainants could get closure, when defendants could move on with their lives, be it in custody or as free people.  That’s 15,000 days when rehabilitation might have started or punishment might have been meted out.  Thanks to the Ministry of Justice and arguably the Treasury, all of these things have to be put on hold, whilst money is lavished on health, police, the armed forces, and who knows what else.

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!

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