JusticeWatch: Industrial-scale injustice

Industrial-scale injustice
In a letter to the Times, Caspar Glyn QC complained about Theresa May ‘trumpeting’ new employment rights for workers when all rights (‘new and old’) were ‘locked up behind an unaffordable pay wall of employment tribunal fees costing between £390 and £1200’. ‘In truth these rights are almost wholly illusory,’ he argued. ‘The low pay father seeking to enforce unpaid leave to care for his sick son, the cleaner trying to recover a few hundred pounds in minimum wages and the expectant mother who is discriminated against during her maternity leave simply cannot afford these steep tribunal fees.’

‘The picture is one of industrial-scale injustice: an 80% fall in the number of workers enforcing their rights in employment tribunals. Inevitably this has led to bad bosses depriving more workers of the minimum wage, of holiday pay or of pensions – safe in the knowledge that their workforce are unable to pay the large fees to right these wrongs.’
Caspar Glyn QC

Bar wars
Junior barristers ‘cut their teeth’ in the youth courts and as a result performed far worse than experienced solicitor-advocates, reckoned Angela Rafferty QC – as reported in Solicitors Journal. ‘The Bar often aren’t very good  in the youth court – specialist solicitor-advocates are better,’ said the vice-chairman of the Criminal Bar Association. She was talking at the inaugural youth justice summit organised by the Youth Justice Legal Centre – as reported on LegalVoice here. For balance, Sue Green, a district judge, noted that there were ‘poor advocates on both sides who appear in front of me’.

Leigh Day ‘bribe’ claims
Leigh Day’s hearing before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal over its handling of Iraqi claims against the military reached day 16 this week. Apparently solicitor Sapna Malik emailed her boss Martyn Day about ‘bribes’ in relation to ‘work leave payments for Iraqi claimants.

As reported in the Law Society’s Gazette, Malik told the tribunal that she had been feeling ‘pretty frustrated’ and that ‘one can use, frustrated, phrases without attaching legal meaning to a word’. According to the Times, Malik, in an email sent to Day in October 2008, referred to a $75 a day allowance for clients that Phil Shiner, who has been struck off for dishonesty, had agreed with the lead claimant, Khuder al-Sweady. ‘Khuder has Phil, us round his little finger re money,’ she wrote. The Times continued: ‘She went on to say that the firm would probably have to pay daily allowances to “the whole group” and that “Khuder has put in a bill for $3,000 for various expenses … Again, to keep things smooth, I guess we have to agree to pay this”.’ Day pointed out he was receiving 300 or 400 emails a day and had ‘no recollection of the word bribe at all’.

LALYs shortlist
The shortlist for this year’s LALYs has been announced – as reported on legalVoice here.

Children’s Rights

  • Jennifer Twite, Just for Kids Law
  • Solange Valdez-Symonds, Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens/ Migrant Resource Centre
  • Melanie Stooks, G T Stewart

Criminal Defence

  • Zoe Gascoyne, Quinn-Melville
  • Graeme Hydari, Hodge Jones & Allen
  • Jude Lanchin, Bindmans

Family Private including Mediation

  • Mark Gilmartin, Wilson Solicitors
  • Mary Shaw, David Gray Solicitors
  • Amardeep Pattni, Sternberg Reed

Family Public

  • Sheila Donn, Philcox Gray Solicitors
  • Deborah Piccos, TV Edwards Solicitors
  • Heather Thomas, Creighton & Partners

Immigration and Asylum

  • Kaweh Beheshtizadeh, Barnes Harrild and Dyer
  • Toufique Hossain, Duncan Lewis Solicitors
  • Marcela Navarrete, Wilson Solicitors

Legal Aid Barrister

  • Brenda Campbell, Garden Court Chambers
  • Jesse Nicholls, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Philip Rule, No5 Chambers

Legal Aid Firm/Not for Profit Agency

  • Community Law Partnership
  • Harrow Law Centre
  • KRW Law

Legal Aid Newcomer

  • Jennifer Blair, No 5 Chambers
  • Paul Clark, Garden Court Chambers
  • Ravi Naik, Irvine Thanvi Natas Solicitors
  • Tom Royston, Garden Court North

Public Law

  • Dr Keith Lomax, Minton Morrill Solicitors
  • Katy Robinson, Wilsons Solicitors LLP
  • Christopher Stanley, KRW Law

Social and Welfare

  • Laura Hobey-Hamsher, Bindmans LLP
  • Manjit Mandair, Osbornes Solicitors
  • Gareth Mitchell, Deighton Pierce Glynn
  • Stuart Luke, Bhatia Best

Access to justice through IT

  • Advicelocal, Lasa
  • Law for Good, Legal Geek
  • Advicenow, Law for Life



About Jon Robins

Jon is a journalist and has written about the law and justice for the national papers and specialist press for more than 15 years. Jon is a visiting journalism lecturer at Winchester University, a visiting senior fellow in access to justice at the University of Lincoln and patron of Hackney Community Law Centre. He has won the Bar Council’s legal reporter of the year award twice (2015 and 2005). Jon is editor and co-founder of LegalVoice

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