News

From 27th October 2013 the updated Police & Criminal Evidence Act Codes of Practice come into force. One important update is that 17 year olds will be treated as youths in the police station and it will be mandatory for their interests to be represented by an Appropriate Adult.

Following the landmark High Court ruling in " HC vs. Secretary of State for the Home Department and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis" in April of this year following judicial review, it was ruled that the 17 year old suspects were were treated as adults at a police station, was unlawful. For suspects aged 16 years and under the police are obliged to contact a parent or other appropriate adult.  But not for suspects 17 years of age, unless they are considered to be vulnerable. The Police & Criminal Evidence Act Codes of practice have therefore been updated to reflect the ruling.

Mortons Solicitors have been using secure email for a while, but our secure email address was never published on our website.

The Courts, Crown Prosecution Service, Police, Hospitals, Probation, and other holders of Secure Email addresses will now be able to securely send emails and documents via our secure email address which is

admin@mortons-solicitors.co.uk.cjsm.net

Email can still be sent to us by people/organisations without a secure email address to our non-secure email admin@mortons-solicitors.co.uk

 Criminal Justice Secure eMail (CJSM) service allows people in the Criminal Justice system to send emails containing information up to an equivalent of "Restricted" (eg sensitive data) in a secure way.

Mortons Solicitors continue to provide excellance in criminal matters whether legally aided or for our client paying clients.

But firms across the UK who are authorised by the Legal Aid Agency to conduct criminal legal aid continue to come to terms with the Ministry of Justices' revised consultation proposals for 'transforming legal aid'.

The decisions made in the next few months could have a profound impact upon our criminal justice system in the UK.  The government fed by ideology appear to have disdain for the highly professionalised criminal defence lawyers, criminal defence solicitors and the criminal bar.

The profession continues to support the #saveUKjustice campaign.

 

The Government continues its onslaught to the criminal justice system with the latest and most important pillar of justice on the chopping block. Innocence until proven Guilty. Or In thousands of trial cases across the UK each year, (some of which are successfully defended by Mortons Solicitors) that once the defendant is acquitted of offences that the defendants reputation is restored.

Not content with trying to force most criminal defence solicitors firms out of business the government based on ideology, its been reported that Ministers are proposing a Sexual Risk Order. This will allow magistrates to impose a range of restrictions on sex offenders, including banning them from travelling abroad, limiting their internet use and prohibiting them from being alone with a child.  Fair enough that is until you reach the quote of Damian Green, the policing and criminal justice minister, that it can be imposed "even if they have never been convicted”.

One must repeat that to ensure one hasn't misread what he said "even if they have never been convicted”.

Mortons Solicitors have a reputation for successfully defending clients against some of the most serious sexual allegations one wouldn't wish to imagine.  But putting oneself in that position to imagine the current meaning of innocence until proven guilty for someone with no convictions after the lengthy police investigation, ones life turned upside down, very restrictive bail conditions which may even prevent contact with members of ones own family.  After the decision to charge, the first appearance at Magistrates court, the appearances at Crown Court and the lengthy trial.  The jury delivers that all important verdict aquitting the client of all charges.  The defendant is relieved and one hopes his reputation can now be restored.

Fast-forward to these proposals and the acquittal would not stop an application now or in the future for a Serious Harm Order.  Applications could even be based on the basis of evidence never substantiated in court. Regardless of conditions the stigma attached to such an order.

If these outrageous proposals become law then it will continue to be Mortons Solicitors to fight for justice in defending the innocent against them.  And where such an order may be merited to ensure any conditions are appropriate.

This morning it has been announced that Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has backed down on one of his flagship proposals which threatened to decimate the criminal legal profession and with it one of the pillars of our criminal justice system, legal aid for those who cannot afford to defend themselves.

Mortons Solicitors have been vociferous in our belief of the damage the proposed policy would have caused where a race-to-the-bottom bidding war on pricing would have led to a quantity of cases but at the expense of quality,  The plan also initially included removing the right to choose your own solicitor, and that one would be appointed for you.  Of the 1600 criminal defence firms of solicitors he proposed to cut it down to a maximum of 400.

However it is not all good news, Mr Grayling now is expected to seek a 17.5% cut in fees to solicitors which is likely to see many firms close or merge.

The Law Societys made counter-proposals which were less-damaging than those originally outlined.  But the criminal justice landscape will certainly change as a result of these changes. The key now is to keep the pressure on to ensure as the detail of changes are worked out and that Solicitors remain united.
 

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