Archive for May 15th, 2013

Legal aid tendering: will it actually work?

Joshua Rozenberg in The Guardian: The MoJ’s public consultations on legal aid reforms show they are open-minded, but if the aim remains to reduce spending, what about the cost to justice?

Dr Elizabeth Gibby, head of legal aid policy at the Ministry of Justice, was answering questions at the first in a series of open meetings arranged by the department and advertised, very discreetly, on its website. This one took place at a hotel in Reading and attracted more than 100 lawyers; there are to be another 12 this month around England and Wales.

“We appreciate that the proposals [in Transforming Legal Aid] are causing deep anxiety and concern,” Gibby said, “and people have genuine worries about aspects of the [reform] model. That’s why we genuinely want to hear from people. I know people often think that responding to government consultations is a waste of time. All I would say to you is that we want to hear your views. We want to hear your suggestions.”

Dr Gibby came a ‘bit unstuck’, floundering when asked to point to the section in the consultation paper dealing with the interests of the user:

“I’m sorry; I don’t quite understand what you are saying,” Gibby replied after a pause. (She continued to flounder as Rozenberg relates)

Then it was the turn of Tim Mouseley QC who questioned her on Grayling’s assertion in the consultation:

“Where is the evidence that the public have a lack of confidence in the legal system as it currently is?” the QC asked.

Dr Gibby ‘made it clear that this line had not come from her’.

Mr Rozenberg wrote :“What struck me as I heard Gibby explain all this is that officials really cannot be sure that any of this is going to work.”


Good stuff,  Mr Rozenberg. It is good to know that our ‘political masters’ and civil servants are on the ball – not.

Some very useful reading on #saveukjustice.

A BARRISTER’S WIFE – a behind closed doors view of the justice system.  A must read!

Baroness Deech, Inner Temple Bencher, gives speech on the impact of legal aid cuts in the Lords:

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 Guide to the Drink Driving Law

Let’s start with the basics: you’re over the drink driving limit if you have 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood; 35 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath; or 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine.

Drink Drivers – A Caricature

Although some people do get behind the wheel when they can barely stand, let alone drive, most motorists who’re convicted of drink driving were convinced they were within the safe realms. Even being slightly over the limit can result in severe prosecution, including a driving ban, fine, and imprisonment. That extra half-pint may not seem much to you, but it could tip you over the edge.

After a heavy night spent drinking, many motorists consider themselves ‘fine to drive’ after sleeping off the alcohol. Unfortunately, the alcohol is likely to stay in your bloodstream overnight and through to the following evening, so driving in this condition could mean getting pulled over and arrested.

How Many Drinks Can You Have?

Unfortunately, there’s no way of telling instinctively how much your body can handle before you’re over the limit – it varies from person to person. That’s why it’s always wise to leave off the alcohol altogether, if you plan to drive.

Drinking pumps up your risk of crashing by slowing down your reaction time, giving false confidence, and reducing concentration. We may take risks we usually wouldn’t, without realising that we’re putting ourselves and others in danger. Don’t gamble with the lives of those you love or fellow motorists and their families.

But Is It Really An Issue?

One in six deaths on the road are caused by drunk drivers. Every day, 250 drivers fail their breath test. Always take a taxi, use public transport, or stay overnight, if you drink alcohol.

How Severe Is The Punishment?

For first time offenders, you can expect a fine of up to £5,000, up to 6 months imprisonment, ten points on your licence, and disqualification of your licence. If you offend again within ten years, you will have your licence taken away from you for at least 3 years.

Morning after Alcohol Guide

Weak beers and ciders take at least two hours to leave your bloodstream after you stop drinking. Stronger beers and ciders take three hours.

After four pints of strong beer, you should leave 13 hours between your last pint and getting behind the wheel. For example, if you finish at midnight, don’t drive until 1pm the next day. If you consumed more than five large beers, you must wait 16 hours before getting into the car again (4pm the next day, if you finish by midnight).

One 25ml shot is an hour drink, whereas 35ml is an hour and a half. A double is a three hour drink. Again, drink more than four shots, and you should abide by the 13 hour rule.

These are all approximate guidelines. Where possible, wait an entire day before you start driving, after drinking a lot of alcohol. You never can be too safe.


Composed for drivingoffence.com motoring solicitors, who are specialists in road incidents and want to ensure people are kept updated with information about driving safely.

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Local Law Societies often produce their own monthly journals and newsletters. Three of the latest journals are linked below


Derby & District Law Society Journal
Norfolk Law Society Journal
Herts Law Society Journal
Worcestershire Law Society The Pears

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