Monday 29 July 2013

A new code of standards that came into force last week stipulates mandatory training for the 96 coroners of England and Wales and aims to ensure that most inquests are completed within six months.

The first chief coroner, Judge Peter Thornton QC, will oversee the code, which is intended to address delays and 'postcode lottery' inconsistencies. Local authorities fund coroners and there are fears budget cuts could inhibit improvements.

Employment tribunals fee system

A new fee system for employment tribunals comes into effect today to discourage vexatious or no-merit claims and encourage mediation. The system requires all claimants to make an upfront payment of £160 or £250, plus a further £230 or £950 if the claim goes to a hearing.

Judgments should be published

Judgments in family and Court of Protection cases will be published unless there are 'compelling reasons' not to do so, under new guidance issued by Lord Justice Munby, the most senior family court judge.

Legal aid cuts probe

The parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has set up an inquiry into the implications for access to justice of the government's proposed legal aid cuts. In particular it will consider the introduction of a residency test, the removal of legal aid for prison law and limits on judicial review funding. Written evidence is sought by 27 September.

Middlesex firm closed

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has closed Middlesex firm GS Law LLP, citing a suspicion of dishonesty on the part of a manager or employee. The firm, formerly PHD Law LLP, is the 23rd to be subject to intervention this year.

President is Dual-qualified

A chartered legal executive and solicitor has become the first dual-qualified president of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. Stephen Gowland started his career as an apprentice and now runs his own firm.

Asian women to inspire

The Association of Asian Women Lawyers is looking for mentors for its rebranded mentoring scheme Inspire, to be launched at an event at the Law Society on 30 October. For more information, contact Leena Savjani, vice-chair, at leena.savjani@irwinmitchell.com.

Another year for SRA chair

Charles Plant has been reappointed for a further year as chair of the SRA board. His term of office will now expire on 31 December 2014, when he will have led the board for five years.

Courts sale denied

The government has denied that it plans to sell off the courts and tribunals service.

In a letter to all judges, lord chancellor Chris Grayling, lord chief justice Lord Judge and senior president of tribunals Sir Jeremy Sullivan said: 'We are not and will not be exploring any options which will involve shareholders, the making of a profit or surplus or contracting out' in respect of plans to reform HMCTS.

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