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Archive for August 2nd, 2010

My thanks to Old Holborn for this…….

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IoP backs Law Soc’s bid to create paralegal qualification

The Lawyer reports: The Institute of Paralegals (IoP) has pledged its support for a new study commissioned by The Law Society into the provision of a qualification for paralegals.

Former senior civil servant within the Ministry of Justice Nick Smedley has been commissioned to undertake a study into whether the Law Society should develop or endorse qualifications for paralegals.

IoP’s chief executive James O’Connell said: “This a very positive step for the future of paralegals in this country. They are often undertrained and underrecognised and being recognised by such a big player as the Law Society is just the type of backing the profession needs.”

Bob Heslett, the former Law Society President who commissioned the study, said the review was particularly important because there were more paralegals in the market than ever before.

I enjoyed this comment posted below the article from The Lawyer…

Anonymous | 30-Jul-2010 12:56 pm

Does anyone know the difference between the national institute of paralegals (nips?), the licensed instutute of paralegals, the national paralegal institute and the association of national paralegals? I’m getting really confused. Do they have many members? I suppose ILEx has been around for a long while and appears to be credible, so maybe they’re the people whose view should be sought.

But then things got really interesting…. when this post appeared…

Amanda Hamilton Chief Executive, NALP | 2-Aug-2010 1:30 pm

Referring to ‘Anonymous’ (30th July 12.56pm), we would like to point out that there are no such organisations as ‘The Licensed Institute of Paralegals’, ‘The National Paralegal Institute’ or the ‘Association of National Paralegals’.
There are only two professional bodies for paralegals: The NALP (The National Association of Licensed Paralegals) is the leading body and has been established for 23 years. The other is The Institute of Paralegals (IoP) formerly known as The Paralegal Association and formed around 2004.
We would also like to point out that the IOP’s ‘national framework’ is not the first ever framework for a paralegal career. The NALP has run one since 1989. It has been the forerunner for paralegal career development and its foundation qualification, the Higher Diploma in Paralegal Studies, has been (in the recent past) nationally accredited and recognised by The National Open College Network from 1995- 2002 and has been run by Further Education Colleges up and down the country.
More importantly NALP has recently gained Awarding Body accreditation and status from the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (OfQUAL), the watchdog for qualifications in England. Furthermore the NALP’s Post Graduate Diploma in Paralegal Practice (the PPC), is specifically designed for Law Graduates to enable them to obtain the necessary understanding of legal practice (because a Law Degree does not cover any of it), has been successfully running for ten years and the NALP Higher Diploma (procedural law content) been incorporated (as an option) in Sunderland University’s Law Degree Programme for the past six years. NALP will of course be working closely with The Law Society in connection with its proposed study and is already working with Skills For Justice in a similar vain. Those persons who have responded negatively, above, to the need for Paralegals to be qualified are either not in the profession or do not want to improve their careers. Qualifications are very necessary as the majority of Paralegals do virtually the same work as Solicitors. The ‘pen pushing office fodder’ referred to by some are not Paralegals but merely administrative clerks.

I don’t suppose I helped much when I added to the debate by asking in the comments section (not published at the time of writing by The Lawyer) if anyone is going to set up a National Institute for…

The ‘pen pushing office fodder’ referred to by some are not Paralegals but merely administrative clerks.”….

Sometimes I sit here at my desk and wonder why Law is important. I think Jack Straw had a point when he said, in his capacity as Lord Chancellor some time ago, that ‘The Law’ is not here for lawyers to make a business out of..

I have said this before but no-one is interested….. and why should they be? We have too many young lawyers because we have too many law schools and colleges pumping out  young people (and some not so young) with law degrees and other qualifications.   These law schools and colleges are doing just fine – for the moment.  The top universities are not to blame, nor the leading LPC/BVC providers  – we need good law students coming through – just not so many of them?

We have too many people with legal qualifications – from professional to paralegal –  coming through. The profession can’t take them all in, so a lot of young people (and some not so young)  can’t get training contracts or pupillages.  Some of these people  take on work as paralegals – not exactly or always a direct route to practice as a lawyer.  Law firms have a tendency, I am advised by those who have done  paralegal work,  to be quite happy to pay less for paralegals and do not always encourage them to ‘go further’ and qualify as solicitors or read for the Bar.

Unfortunately, there are not enough jobs for all these people with legal training at the various levels… and, I suspect, it will only get worse….. I quote from the words of a former President of The Law Society…

Bob Heslett, the former Law Society President who commissioned the study, said the review was particularly important because there were more paralegals in the market than ever before.

But…. who am I… who are ‘we’ to be critical of the new era of free markets, new universities, academies, Big Society and a land dripping with honey…after we have all taken our medicine from Nanny Doubtfire and his mate, Clegg?

I do like the smell of ranks closing, restrictive practices and hypocrisy  in the morning…..

Of course… as ever… I could have missed the point entirely.  Your thoughts would be most welcome, as always.  If I have got it wrong… I would be delighted to hear it…..

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Holidaying in Battersea – but actually doing some work.  I am looking forward to Labour actually electing a new leader so we can have a bit of Opposition.  I have no idea why I thought of Egypt today – apart from the fact that it is a wonderful place to visit for both the modern day and the history – and I was pleased to see that Tom Harris MP, at least, enjoyed my tweet by doing an RT!

My holiday continues….. such as it is… given that Table 14 is but 100 yards away from my flat!

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Campaigners try to force MoD to court over Afghan killings

Move follows last week’s disclosure of a series of civilian shootings on WikiLeaks

The Guardian reports: The prospect of a judicial review into previously covered-up civilian shootings in Afghanistan has opened up after human rights campaigners launched an attempt to take the Ministry of Defence to court.

This follows the disclosure in the Guardian that a series of unusual civilian shootings involving two British army units, are documented in last week’s WikiLeaks publication of thousands of leaked US military files.

A formal letter was sent to the defence secretary, Liam Fox, at the weekend by a lawyer, Phil Shiner, on behalf of the peace campaigner Maya Evans. Shiner said: “I am sure we will be able to get this into court.”

The campaigners say the killings “require to be investigated as suspected war crimes” under the legislation that set up the international criminal court. They call on the MoD to conduct a proper investigation of the allegations.

Since the details of civilian shootings recorded in the war logs were revealed, MoD officials have not disputed their general accuracy, but ministers have failed to give any explanation, or order any public investigation.

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