News

Mortons Solicitors welcome a social media campaign to #SaveOurStockportCourtho#SaveOurStockportCourthouseuse that appeared over the weekend on twitter, facebook and google+.

Perhaps the people of Stockport can show their support to keep Stockport Courthouse open for local justice in our community by retweeting, liking, plusone, favouriting, sharing, commenting, following etc.

We agree there has been too little coverage in the media thus far, we need to raise its profile as far too many people are unaware of the proposals.

Still not responded yet?  Read the consultation document (page 42 about Stockport Courthouse)

Congratulations to Karl Benson on qualifying as a solicitor and being admitted to the roll of solicitors.

<Presentation Picture to follow>

Karl has been working hard to finally qualify as a solicitor for the past two years as a trainee, as well as increasing his Crown Court caseload and representing clients day and night at the police station.  Since 2009 when Karl started been working for Mortons Solicitors he has strived towards qualification as a solicitor having previously completed a law degree and LPC qualification.  He has risen from administrative assistance, to police station representative and crown court clerk.

Karl is already back to work on his Crown Court case preparation and attending police stations. He will now also be representing clients in Magistrates Courts and Youth Courts across Greater Manchester & beyond.

Not one to settle at that, Karl has also been studying in London to obtain his Higher Rights of Audience, and is just waiting for the examination results!  We know that that won't be the end of it either.

Mortons Solicitors are specialist criminal solicitors with particular expertise in defending serious sexual offences. We successfully defend many cases every month across Greater Manchester, Cheshire & Lancashire. Where a case is serious & complex we instruct a specialist sexual offence barrister from the independent bar. Rachel Shenton of 18 St John Street Chambers Manchester, is a barrister who has a well-earned reputation both prosecuting and defending serious sexual offences. These include rape, grooming, indecent images, sexual offence, trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation.

Our Managing Director Simon Morton was delighted Rachel agreed to take time out from her busy schedule to be filmed recently at chambers discussing this specialist area of law.

Rachel Shenton and Simon Morton

Simon Morton and Rachel Shenton discussing our file.

The Government announced a consultation for proposals to close 91 Courts in England and Wales (and merge many more).  This would include Stockport Courthouse which serves the people of Stockport and its boroughs. The proposal suggests that Stockport criminal cases are moved to Manchester or Tameside Magistrates' Court.  County and Family Court matters would move to Manchester Civil Justice Centre.  Tribunals would need be found a new home.

Stockport-Magistrates-Court

Stockport Courthouse is one of the best run Courthouses in Greater Manchester.  The reward for the second highest usage percentage rate is the threat of closure.

Local justice is a fundamental pillar to our democracy and these proposals are another strike to the heart of our democratic country, amongst legal aid cuts denying basic access to justice.

We will support efforts to keep the court open.

Read More: Manchester Evening News
R
ead More: BBC News

 

We recommend everyone from Stockport to peruse the consultation document and respond before the 8th October 2015.

Despite the legal aid protests and threats to the criminal legal profession over unworkable 'duty contracts', a new threat to justice and the rule of law comes into effect from the 13th April 2015.  The Government has introduced a Criminal Courts Charge designed to make offenders pay for court costs.  Those are in addition to prosecution costs, victim surcharge, compensation and for Crown Court case any legal aid contributions (towards the costs of their legal defence).

On paper it sounds good policy, but in practice this risks undermining the premise of convicting the guilty and acquitting the innocent.  It isn't just criminal solicitors like us who are up in arms over the criminal courts charge, the Chairman of the Magistrates Association has already voiced his concerns.

The biggest and obvious problem is that the charge is likely to force INNOCENT people forced due to financial circumstances to plead guilty rather than risking being convicted after trial with increased criminal charge.  Defendants convicted by a magistrates' court for a summary offence on a guilty plea will be charged £150. Conviction in the magistrates' court at trial of a summary offence will incur a £520 charge.  Those convicted of an either-way offence at a magistrates' court trial will be charged £1,000.

In the Crown court, a conviction on a guilty plea will be charged £900, while those convicted at a trial on indictment will have to pay £1,200.

Read the list of charge levels.

Read BBC News Article
Read Law Gazette Article

 

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