Archive for February 17th, 2010

Law Review: Judges baffle juries

Courts overhaul planned to help juries baffled by judges

A fascinating piece in The Times this morning by Frances Gibb…

Two thirds of jurors do not understand what judges tell them about the law when they retire to consider their verdicts, according to a ground-breaking study into the secrets of the jury room. The findings will trigger an overhaul of the courts.

The investigation found that jurors frequently used the internet to read about trials on which they were sitting, risking miscarriages of justice. In 2008, juries in three Crown Court trials had to be discharged because they used the internet inappropriately.

The study, to be published today by the Ministry of Justice, found that:

• all-white juries do not discriminate against black defendants;

• juries convict more often than they acquit in rape cases;

• men sitting on juries are less likely than women to listen to arguments and change their minds;

• conviction rates in Crown Courts varied from 53 per cent to 69 per cent.

Read more….

Lord Judge, the Lord Chief Justice, did point out some time ago that he had concerns about the fact that many younger people who would serve on juries in the future were used to learning and receiving information through computers and the internet rather than listening and that the Courts, barristers and judges may well have to adapt to take account of that fact.

OUT-LAW had an interesting piece in their online magazine yesterday: MPs, Lords question human rights compatibility of Digital Economy

“The Government must provide more detail on exactly how alleged copyright infringers will be cut off from the internet before a file-sharing disconnection law is passed, according to a parliamentary committee. The Joint Committee on Human Rights has said that the Government must make the Digital Economy Bill more detailed to allow Parliament to scrutinise it properly. It said it could not rule on whether the proposed law was compatible with human rights law until those details were provided.

The Government claims that the controversial Bill complies with the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act. The Committee has said that not only will Parliament need more detail before the Committee can decide on that issue, but that the Government must better demonstrate that even the notification system it proposes in relation to alleged infringers is a proportionate response…..

People often forget that lawyers do a great deal of work for free…. from the biggest City law firms to smaller practices and individual barristers.  The Times has a useful piece on How to . . . make pro bono work for you

UPDATE: This from the  comment section is worth following up!


I have had a little swipe at this and certain other related topical matters. Having been on a murder jury myself, I’d advise His Ludship and MiniJust to steer clear.


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I’d like to INSITE you to read INCITE!

Every so often, something comes along which makes me laugh out loud – and it happened this morning  when I discovered that BPP Law School was wishing itself a Happy 34th Birthday. I happen to know, simply because I founded BPP Law School with Charlie Prior, then CEO of BPP Holdings PLC,  in the early 1990s that BPP Law School is not 34 years old today.  BPP Holdings PLC is – and they did remarkably well before selling to Apollo last year for lots of money.

BUT  then I did start laughing when I discoverd on the BPP Law School twitter account and on Facebook that BPP Law School has set up a law magazine called INCITE. Imitation is, they say, the sincerest form of flattery.  I set up INSITE LAW magazine in 2008 to have some fun covering news and provide free resources to students.  Insite is growing and well over 25,000 visitors use the site regularly…some more than others.  Students and others, pleasingly, find the free materials on Insite Law of help.

When I set up Insite Law – I wanted a name that ‘played’ on incite, site and insightful.  I came up with Insite.  I wish I hadn’t, because I have lost count of the number of times I have had to spell the name of the website or my email address to callers, prospective advertisers and friends!

I know Peter Crisp, the Dean of BPP Law School well.  In fact I have just spoken to him on the telephone – he called –  and I have assured him… as I do you, that I am delighted to see students setting up magazines and that I am just having a bit of Wednesday fun.  Peter is sending me over a copy of the magazine and I shall, happily, link to it!

One thing that the editors of the new magazine may like to look into, though, is the fact that there appears to be a European mark registered for INCITE:  Case details for Community Trade Mark E6093785 [Hat Tip @filemot ]

All good stuff…. and Bonne chance to the students who have had the insight to set up INCITE – I shall look forward to reading their magazine.

UPDATE: Peter Crisp has sent me a copy on pdf… good stuff.  I enjoyed reading it.

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