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Expert Witness Blog

Expert Witness blog: 18/04/2012

Your Expert Witness blog
The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill is now back in the Commons, where it is expected that, of the 11 amendments made to it in the Lords, all but three will be reversed. The main target, according to the Law Society Gazette, is the restoration of Legal Aid for children.

Another amendment to be overturned is one to retain the provision of expert witness reports in clinical negligence cases. Put together, the two offer little redress for children suffering such grievances.

According to campaigning group JustRights, recently released figures show that 16% of children now receiving help with legal fees will lose out.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:38


Expert Witness blog: 05/04/2012

Your Expert Witness blogWakefield Council has no plans in place to deal with a zombie invasion, it appears. The shameful admission was made during a debate on Freedom of Information (FoI) requests at the Solicitors in Local Government weekend school on – you guessed it; no, 31 March. Close, though.

The issue arose in a presentation on frivolous requests – such as said preparations for zombie invasions. Apparently local authorities don’t have to bother responding to such requests, according to deputy information commissioner Graham Smith. He said that ‘silly and daft’ requests would be covered by existing guidance on vexatious requests.

It was left to Bernadette Livesey, director of legal and democratic services at Wakefield Council, who was one of the leaders of the session, to admit that her employers had actually responded to the zombie request.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:40


Expert Witness blog: 23/03/2012

witness blogWe’re all aware of ‘dress-down Fridays’ at work – even we homeworkers, who find that our regulation T-shirt and chinos uniform is a bit formal for the pre-weekend frenzy.

In Florida, however, dressing down in the same colour can get you fired. That is what happened to 14 workers at a law firm in Deerfield Beach in the state, according to a report in the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 14 had all taken to wearing orange on pay days, to make them stand out as a group when they went out after work they said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 11:12


Expert Witness blog: 10/03/2012

Your Expert Witness blogThere is still no end in sight to the battle between the Government and the legal profession over the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders (LASPO) Bill. The fight has been mainly carried on as a rearguard action in the Lords, only to have the numerous amendments carried there overturned upon its return to the Commons.

Last week a ‘triumvirate’ of legal organisations issued a joint set of proposals that, they hope, will act as a compromise between the Bill as it stands and the aspirations of many lawyers to keep hold of at least some form of legal aid system in this country.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 11:41


Expert Witness blog: 29/02/2012

witness blogOne issue that has been exercising both the legal profession and the expert witnesses that provide opinion in criminal cases has been that of Bayesian inference, or Bayesian statistics. Bayes, the 18th-century mathematician, produced a method for calculating the statistical probability of an event happening given more than one variable. It had been used in numerous trials to state the probability of a suspect being present at the scene based on the probability of other related events.

In 2010, however, a person convicted of murder took his case to the Court of Appeal to challenge shoe print evidence that had been used to convict him. The argument that had been used purported to show that a pair of Nike trainers owned by him must have made a shoe print at the scene of the murder.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 March 2012 11:13