* The SA Teens organisation hosted an entrepreneur breakfast at The River Club in Observatory on Saturday May 14. The aim was to speak to the youth who are part of the programme about their futures and how to become an entrepreneur. Pictured is guest speaker Delia Cupido, from Athlone.
Part of the entertainment involved a nativity play, which was performed by some of the children invited to the event. The Khoisan Indigenous Women in Action (KIWIA) hosted their second annual Christmas party for Cape Flats children at Garlandale High School in Athlone, on Sunday December 18. More than 70 children between the ages of four and 16 were treated to live music, food and Christmas gifts at a fun-filled afternoon. The programme included a nativity play performed by children from the Bonteheuwel, Manenberg, Heideveld and Kewtown communities. KIWIA chairperson, Mary Jansen, delivered a playful message of inspiration that encouraged the children to love themselves, and the history of the Khoisan, which she believes can help create more love for one another. KIWIA’s mother body, the Cochoqua Khoisan Tribal House, sponsored the event and its executive members who came as far as Paarl, also attended.
Published: August 8, 2016 1:15 PM EDT Updated: August 8, 2016 1:16 PM EDT Trump to outline economic plan as he seeks to reverse slide DETROIT (AP) – Donald Trump is focusing his economic message on boosting jobs and making America more competitive globally by cutting business taxes, reducing regulations and increasing energy production.With a speech Monday to the Detroit Economic Club, the Republican presidential nominee seeks to reset his campaign and delve into a subject – the economy – that is seen as one of his strengths. It also is aimed at showing that he is a serious candidate despite a disastrous stretch that has prompted criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike.Trump has been immersed in controversy over his repeated criticism of a Muslim-American family whose son, an Army captain, was killed in Iraq, and his refusal for days to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary. He announced his backing of Ryan on Friday.While polls have shown that voters have deep concerns about Trump’s temperament and fitness for office, he fares better on the economy. On that topic, recent polling puts him ahead of or on par with Hillary Clinton.The Democratic nominee is also focusing on the economy this week as she lays out plans for what her campaign describes as “the biggest investment in good-paying jobs since World War II.” Clinton has argued that Trump is focused only on the wealthiest Americans. She has questioned his commitment to creating U.S. jobs, given the history of outsourcing at his companies.On Monday, Clinton will visit the battleground state of Florida, where she will tour a small brewery and hold two rallies. On Thursday, she is set to deliver her own economic speech in Detroit, a city that has symbolized the nation’s manufacturing plight.When Trump speaks in Detroit, he is expected to reiterate his plan for reducing income taxes, as well as lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent from the current 35 percent in an effort to spur new investment. He is also calling for eliminating the estate tax and a temporary moratorium on new regulations.Among his specific proposals will be allowing parents to fully deduct the cost of childcare from their taxable income. The current Child and Dependent Care tax credit is capped at 35 percent of qualifying expenses or up to $3,000 for one cared-for individual or $6,000 for two or more.Child care is one of the largest expenses a family can incur, with day care costs surpassing college in many states. Trump’s proposal to allow families to avoid paying taxes on child care expenses would likely help more affluent households because more than 40 percent of taxpayers don’t make enough money to owe taxes to the federal government at the end of the year.A senior campaign aide said that the proposal would be aimed at working and middle class families and that it would include an income limit, though the person declined to say how much. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details ahead of the speech’s delivery.Government aid for child care has traditionally been a Democratic issue, and Clinton has made making childcare more affordable a centerpiece of her campaign. She has proposed capping families’ expenditures at 10 percent of a family’s income, in addition to making four-year-old preschool available to all kids and to providing 12 weeks of paid family leave to help new parents.Trump also is expected to call again for boosting domestic energy production – a plan his campaign estimates can add $6 trillion in local, state and federal revenue over four decades.An economic adviser to the campaign, Stephen Moore, who helped work on the speech, said Trump’s policies were aimed at boosting economic growth to bolster middle-class workers, whose wages have stagnated for decades. The annual growth rate of the economy was just 1.2 percent from April to June, below what economists had expected.“We need much, much faster growth if we’re going to have wages rising and salaries rising and middle-class incomes rising,” he said. “How do we get back to a healthy rate of economic growth which we haven’t had in a decade?”Trump will also revisit his opposition to current trade deals, including his plan to renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, and vow to improve intellectual property protections.Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort said Sunday on Fox News Channel that with the speech, “we’re comfortable that we can get the agenda and the narrative of the campaign back on where it belongs, which is comparing the tepid economy under Obama and Clinton, versus the kind of growth economy that Mr. Trump wants to build.”This won’t be the first time Trump lays out his economic vision. He first unveiled his tax plan last fall, framing it as a boon to the middle class. “It’s going to cost me a fortune,” the billionaire businessman told reporters as he vowed to lower taxes across the board without exploding the deficit.But a host of independent groups crunching the numbers soon concluded otherwise. The plan, they said, dramatically favored the wealthy over the middle class and would increase the debt by as much as $10 trillion over the next decade. Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. SHARE
Author: CBS News Published: September 19, 2018 11:28 AM EDT Recommended Biden national press secretary talks campaign trail, focus on Florida Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Where Trump’s new China tariffs will hit consumers SHARE President says he won’t meet with Florida judge on short list for Supreme Court American consumers may feel President Donald Trump’s trade war more keenly in their pocketbooks as soon as next week.The White House late Monday released a statement from Mr. Trump imposing new tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion in Chinese imports beginning Sept. 24 and expanding the levy to 25 percent beginning Jan. 1.China retaliated on Tuesday, announcing its own tariffs on $60 billion in U.S. goods. That could spur the Trump administration to carry through with its previous threat to tax all imports from China, the U.S.’s biggest trading partner last year.The tariffs under this new tranche include all but 300 items that were originally proposed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative before it held hearings seeking public comment about them over the summer, according to a statement from the USTR.The U.S. has already slapped $50 billion in tariffs on China, along with those on steel and aluminum. Monday morning, Mr. Trump kept up his offensive against Beijing, tweeting that his tariffs are working, something most companies and economists disagree with.The China tariffs could be a “big blow” to U.S. consumers, the Peterson Institute for International Economics outlined in a report this summer. The USTR’s Sept. 18 list includes computers, furniture, seats, lamps (lighting and parts), travel bags, agricultural and food products, vacuum cleaners, cooking appliances and refrigerators among other products.Among the 300 items left off the list are some Apple products and some consumer products, like bicycle helmets and child safety seats. Apple earlier this month appealed to the USTR to rethink putting some of its key products on the target list. Mr. Trump shot back, suggesting Apple move some plants to the U.S., but for now at least it appears Apple has avoided the hit many other companies will suffer.Here are some areas where critics of the tariffs say American consumers will see higher prices:Shampoo, dog leashes and refrigeratorsThe National Retail Federation earlier this month sent a letter objecting to the tariffs to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, saying consumers would pay higher prices on products ranging from shampoo to dog leashes and refrigerators to bicycles, fish, fruit and nuts.“These are products purchased by nearly every American household,” David French, a lobbyist for the industry group wrote in the letter. “Many are staples, and account for relatively large shares of total household spending of lower-income households (food, beverages, personal care products, appliances, for example).”Goody hair tiesGoody Products, a division of Newell Inc., said in a letter to the USTR that it’s “simply not a feasible option” to shift production of its hair ties from China. Typically retailing for between $1 to $10, the ties are sold in bundles.Tariffs could result in a 40 percent price hike if implemented at 10 percent and more than double if at 25 percent, the company wrote.That “may not seem to amount to much but every penny counts to American consumers who use this product every day,” wrote Kim Hoelting, general manager for Goody Products, in the letter.Trek bicyclesTrek, based in Waterloo, Wisconsin, is one of dozens of bicycle-related companies that wrote to object to the levies. Tariffs of 25 percent have already hit the industry, Robert Burns, Trek’s senior legal officer, wrote in a letter to the USTR earlier this month. The new tariffs would cost Trek more than $30 million each year.“Across the US economy, these costs will inevitably be borne by the American consumer who will pay more, and by those employees who will lose their jobs as a result of these punitive and ineffective tariffs,” Burns wrote.Under the final tariff list, some helmets used for safety aren’t subject to the levies, but bicycles remain targeted.Smart technology in your refrigerator, vacuum and TVThe Consumer Technology Association recently said a study it commissioned showed tariffs on printed circuit board assemblies and connected devices may mean price increases of as much as 6 percent, even for U.S.-assembled products, and cost American shoppers an extra $3.2 billion each year.“American shoppers will have to pay between $1.6 billion and $3.2 billion more for connected devices such as gateways, modems, routers, smart speakers, smartwatches and other Bluetooth enabled products,” the CTA said last month. “The price of connected devices from China will increase by between 8.5 and 22 percent. And prices for these products from all sources will rise between 3.2 and 6.2 percent.”On Monday, the CTA said in a statement it found the latest round of tariffs “legally questionable.”Your canned tuna fish sandwichThe tariffs would increase prices for canned tuna, among other seafood products, wrote Chicken of the Sea Chief Executive Valentin Ramirez in a letter to the USTR.It’s impractical to move seafood suppliers from China, and too expensive, he wrote, noting that canned and processed seafood sellers already have low margins. Chicken of the Sea “cannot absorb the costs of tariffs and must pass them on to consumers,” Ramirez wrote.That will hurt sales, no matter how small the increase appears, he said. El Segundo, California-based Chicken of the Sea is already dealing with higher prices resulting from the steel and aluminum tariffs Mr. Trump imposed earlier this year, Ramirez wrote.“This is about more than just numbers, because increasing the costs of our products harms our nation’s most vulnerable consumers. COS’s products are an essential part of an affordable and nutritious diet for millions of Americans,” Ramirez said in the letter.Some kinds of furniture for babies and toddlersDelta Enterprise, a New York-based maker of wooden baby furniture that supplies Walmart, Costco and others, would be forced to charge more because the materials to make cribs would become more expensive under the tariffs, lawyers for the company wrote in a letter to the USTR.A 25 percent tariff could boost the price a $200 crib to $250 or $300, “making it more difficult for families of modest means to afford such a crib,” the letter said.Higher prices for cribs may mean customers instead turn to cheaper or less-safe versions, Delta’s letter noted, putting infants at risk of injury or death.Some high chairs, booster seats and child lifts, including those made of wood, were among the 300 items left off the final list and aren’t subject to this round of tariffs.
Hurricane Dorian shut down some hotels in the northern Bahamas and forced some evacuations Saturday as the fierce Category 4 storm prepared to unleash torrents of rain and howling winds but was projected to spin farther away from the coast of the Southeast U.S. next week.Forecasters expect Dorian, packing 150 mph (240 kph) winds, to hit the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday before curving upward. The storm’s march north could spare the U.S. a direct hit but still threatens Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas with powerful winds and rising ocean water that causes potentially deadly flooding. The Bahamas still recovering one year after Hurricane Dorian Recommended Do you see a typo or an error? Let us know. Related Articles:Category 4 Dorian bears down on Bahamas, may skirt Florida Author: TIM AYLEN/APWriter:WINK News Published: August 31, 2019 5:39 PM EDT Investigation says NOAA leadership violated integrity policies during Trump’s Hurricane Dorian map scandal In the northern Bahamas, any remaining tourists were sent to government shelters in schools, churches and other buildings offering protection from the storm.“My home is all battened up, and I’m preparing right now to leave in a couple of minutes. … We’re not taking no chances,” said Margaret Bassett, 55, a ferry boat driver for the Deep Water Cay resort who chose to leave her home. “They said evacuate, you have to evacuate. It’s for the best interests of the people.”Over two or three days, the hurricane could dump as much as 4 feet (1 meter) of rain, unleash devastating winds and whip up an abnormal and dangerous rise in sea level called storm surge, according to private meteorologist Ryan Maue and some of the most reliable computer models.Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis warned that Dorian is a “devastating, dangerous storm.”In the northern Bahamas, small skiffs rented by authorities ran back and forth between outlying fishing communities and McLean’s Town, a settlement of a few dozen homes on the eastern end of Grand Bahama, about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Florida’s Atlantic coast.Most were coming from Sweeting Cay, a fishing town of a few hundred people that’s about 5 feet (1.5 meters) above sea level and was expected to be left completely underwater.A few fishermen planned to stay, which could put them in extreme danger.“Hoping for the best, that the storm passes and everybody is safe until we return home,” fisherman Tyrone Mitchell said.Jeffrey Allen, who lives in the city of Freeport on Grand Bahama, said he’s learned after several storms that sometimes predictions don’t materialize, but it’s wise to take precautions.“It’s almost as if you wait with anticipation, hoping that it’s never as bad as they say it will be, however, you prepare for the worst nonetheless,” he said.Fears weren’t as great in the capital of Nassau after the storm moved north, said Barbara Carey, owner of a tourist company. She said people there were stocking up on supplies.The storm-prone Bahamas on average faces a direct hit from a hurricane every four years, officials say.Construction codes require homes to have metal reinforcements for roof beams to withstand winds into the upper limits of a Category 4 hurricane, and compliance is generally tight for residents who can afford it. Poorer communities typically have wooden homes and are generally lower-lying, placing them at tremendous risk.After walloping the northern islands, forecasters said Dorian was expected to dance up the Southeast coastline, staying just off the shores of Florida and Georgia on Tuesday and Wednesday before skirting South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday.South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency Saturday, mobilizing state resources to prepare for potential storm effects. President Donald Trump already declared a state of emergency in Florida and authorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster-relief efforts.The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the risk of strong winds and rising water will increase along the shores of Georgia and the Carolinas by midweek.The center also stressed that Dorian could still hit Florida, where millions of people have been in the storm’s changing potential path. But after days of predictions that put the state in the center of expected landfalls, the hurricane’s turn northeast is significant.Carmen Segura, 32, said she had installed hurricane shutters at her house in Miami, bought extra gas and secured water and food for at least three days. She feels well prepared and less worried given the latest forecasts but still uneasy given the unpredictability of the storm.“Part of me still feels like: So, now what?” Segura said.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and federal officials warned people not to let their guard down.“Looking at these forecasts, a bump in one direction or the other could have really significant ramifications in terms of impact,” DeSantis said.David Bibo of FEMA echoed the call to stay vigilant as the storm becomes “a long-duration nail-biter for folks throughout the southeastern United States.”The storm upended some Labor Day weekend plans: Major airlines allowed travelers to change their reservations without fees, big cruise lines began rerouting their ships and Cumberland Island National Seashore off Georgia closed to visitors.Disney World and Orlando’s other resorts held off announcing any closings, with Dorian days away and its track uncertain.Sherry Atkinson, who manages a hotel on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, said the hurricane wasn’t spoiling holiday vacations for guests. She said she’s lived on the Outer Banks for 26 years and that “so far, there hasn’t even been a snippet of conversation about evacuations.”Some counties in Florida told residents of barrier islands, mobile homes and low-lying areas to expect evacuations in coming days.Dorian was centered 385 miles (625 kilometers) east of West Palm Beach and was moving west at 8 mph (13 kph).In the Bahamas, canned food and bottled water disappeared quickly from shelves and some people boarded up their homes.“We ask for God’s guidance and for God to assist us through this,” Minnis said.___Associated Press writers Seth Borenstein in Washington; Michael Weissenstein in Havana, Cuba; Adriana Gomez Licon in Miami; Brendan Farrington in Tallahassee, Florida; Julie Walker in New York, Michael Kunzelman in College Park, Maryland; and Amy Forliti in Minneapolis contributed to this report. McLEAN’S TOWN CAY, Bahamas (AP) Evacuations begin as Dorian bears down on northern Bahamas SHARE
Nicholas Davidson QC and Sian Mirchandani (instructed by Ward Hadaway) for the claimant; Michael Harvey QC and Lloyd Tamlyn (instructed by Simmons & Simmons) for the defendant. The claimant company carried out business as a distributor of perfumes and similar products. Its bank (the bank) held a debenture granted by the claimant, and a legal charge over the claimant’s premises. The charge extended to monies payable under insurances in respect of such premises. By the end of 2003, the claimant owed the bank more than £4m. The defendant solicitors’ firm was subsequently engaged by the bank. In May 2004, the bank and the defendant considered appointing administrative receivers in respect of the claimant under its debenture, with a view to selling the business and assets, including an outstanding claim which the claimant had against its insurers and an insurance brokers (the claim). As part of that process, the bank and KPMG, as prospective receivers, sought advice as to the merit of the claims. KPMG was a major client of the defendant. The defendant responded that, overall, the claims had little chance of success. In August 2004, two partners in KPMG were appointed as administrative receivers. On the same day a receivership sale of assets was entered into between the claimant, acting by its receivers, the receivers, and Imperial Ltd, a company contemplating purchase of the claimant’s business. The price apportioned to the claims was £100,000. A deed of assignment was entered into between the claimant, the receivers and Imperial Ltd to effect the absolute assignment in law of the claims which had been agreed. The claims were subsequently realised and a sum in settlement was achieved materially in excess of the £100,000 that Imperial Ltd had paid for the assignment to it of the claims. As the claimant had released the bank and the administrative receivers from any claims in relation to the administrative receivership, its only potential recourse was against the defendant. The claimant commenced proceedings against the defendant for professional negligence. The defendant applied to the court for, inter alia, an order for summary judgment under part 24 of the Civil Procedure Rules. The defendant contended that the claimant had failed to demonstrate any relationship between itself and the defendant such as to give rise to a duty of care in either contract or tort. It submitted that: (i) it had never been retained by or on behalf of the claimant, and in acting as solicitors to its administrative receivers it never became so, so there could be no substantial claim in contract; and (ii) the common law did not impose upon an adviser to administrative receivers a duty of care owed to the company (in the instant proceedings, the claimant), so there could also be no claim in tort either. The claimant submitted that: (i) a retainer between it and the defendant to advise on aspects of an intended receivership sale of the claimant’s assets was established, ratified or novated immediately upon the appointment of administrative receivers with a view to effecting that sale, so that, accordingly, it had a contractual claim; and (ii) in advising on the merits of the claims and their value the defendant had come under a duty owed to the claimant to exercise reasonable skill and care in the course of the alleged retainer. The application would be allowed. (1) Regarding the claimant’s legal case as to whether it had become party to a retainer and thereby a client of the defendant, two fundamental problems for the claimant arose. First, there was the premise that the claimant had been initially intended to be a party to or bound by the act or transaction – in the instant case, the retainer – said to have been ratified. That intention had not been pleaded. Second, ratification would normally have a retrospective effect, which meant that it would be necessary to establish that from the outset of the defendant’s instruction by the receivers, presumably in June 2004, the intention had been that the claimant was to be a party to that retainer, or some separate retainer, which had not been pleaded either. Further, there was an apparent assumption that in everything an agent did he intended to bind his principal, which was plainly incorrect (see  of the judgment). It would be extremely difficult for the claimant to establish a result which was, ultimately, counterintuitive (see  of the judgment). (2) Regarding the claimant’s factual case as to the establishment of a retainer: first, inter alia, there was nothing in the point that the defendant had done what would have been done by solicitors acting for the claimant had it been selling on its own account, if that could be demonstrated at all. The fact was that the sale had always been intended to be, and was implemented as, a receivership sale: the fact of pre-planning and pre-packaging did not alter that analysis. Second, the advice given by the defendant about the best price for the claims demonstrated that the defendant had perceived itself to be acting for the bank and the prospective receivers personally, but not for the claimant. There was nothing to suggest that the advice given by the defendant had been intended for the claimant itself. Third, it was most unlikely that the same firm could have properly represented all parties, at least without their informed consent. Fourth, the fact that, pursuant to a right of indemnity, the defendant had obtained payment of costs by the claimant did not signify or suggest a contractual relationship between the claimant and defendant. Finally, neither the fact that the receivers had been the agents of the claimant, nor the fact that the transaction had related to the charged assets of the claimant and they had implemented the sale without taking further advice and, on the basis as far as relevant, of the advice already obtained, was sufficient (see , , , , ,  of the judgment). The claimant’s legal case was unclear, and its factual assertions did not disclose any basis for concluding that the retainer was either suggested by the receivers or agreed by the defendant. The contractual claim had no sufficient prospect of success to merit a trial (see - of the judgment). (3) Regarding the issue of whether the defendant had owed a separate duty of care in tort, the evidence disclosed no sufficient prospect of establishing that the claimant had been an ‘advisee’ in any relevant sense. First, the sale had been a decision for the receivers acting in effect for the bank as mortgagee, rather than for the claimant, and it was in that role that the receivers had sought and been given advice. Second, the receivers had never conceived it to be their duty, nor had been required in law, to hand on the advice they had received from the defendant as to the viability and value of the claims. Further, the later release of claims against the receivers could not be used to justify the imposition of a duty of care on the defendant in circumstances where, but for that release, there would have been none. The claimant could not confer upon itself a claim against the receivers’ advisers by its own act in releasing the receivers themselves. Its proper complaint had always been against the receivers; it could not complain of its own act in releasing them from any liability. On the evidence, there had been no duty of care in tort (see , -,  of the judgment). The claimant could not establish a duty of care either in contract or tort, and the defendant would be entitled to summary judgment (see  of the judgment). Edenwest Ltd v CMS Cameron McKenna: ChD (Mr Justice Hildyard): 14 May 2012 Receiver – Solicitor – Negligence – Claimant company suffering losses from fire
The first UK students have enrolled on a US law school project that teaches postgraduate courses through video links.Washington University in St Louis, Missouri (pictured), is believed to be the first law school in the US to use new technology to offer the LL.M course to students who are already established in law firms.The university responded to growing demand from lawyers who wanted to add US qualifications without having to relocate, and the course was offered for the first time this year after a multi-million-pound investment in technology.Associate dean Michael Koby said law schools will have to innovate to meet demand in the future and make changes to their business model to attract students.‘You have a choice as a law firm to move ahead with something that is innovative or be stuck behind not doing anything,’ said Koby, who was promoting the course at the International Bar Association conference in Boston this week. ‘We found a large number of lawyers who had senior positions in their practice and didn’t want to leave their family but they wanted to understand the US system better.’The course, which costs $50,040, has attracted more than 50 students, the majority from BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries but two from the UK, both based in City firms.Koby said he originally had reservations about the teaching method, but experience had removed them. ‘Unlike when you have a lecture theatre of 60 students, there is nowhere to hide when you’re on screen. There are no more than 15 students and it’s far more intense.’
A hard-hitting report from the UN’s Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) catalogued widespread and systematic abuses, including a lack of due process in the entire criminal justice system.‘Suspects… are regularly held incommunicado,’ the report said. ‘In the eyes of friends, co-workers and neighbours, the person simply disappears and may never be heard of again.’ Summary executions and ‘other cruel extrajudicial punishments’ are commonplace in the country’s extensive prison camp system.
Cuts to paralegals’ guideline hourly rates (GHR), reported by the Gazette last week, will prompt an urgent review of law firms’ approach to costs and staffing, leading practitioners predicted this week.John Bramhall (pictured), president of the 1,500-member London Solicitors Litigation Association, told the Gazette that if the rates involve substantial reductions for paralegals, ‘the current drive to hire paralegals in place of more qualified staff may be brought to a swift halt’.GHRs apply to summary judgment for the purposes of recovery of costs from the losing party in civil litigation. The rates are also used much more widely because of their acceptance by the courts.‘Many use the GHR as a failsafe,’ Sue Nash, chair of the Association of Costs Lawyers, said. A change in the rates ‘should encourage firms to look more closely at expense rates’.Richard Burcher, chairman of pricing and costs consultants Burcher Jennings, was critical of the principles used to reach guideline rates. ‘I continue to be dismayed at the simplistic, clumsy, myopic and one-dimensional approach that continues to be taken to this issue,’ he said.A ‘clear articulation of the need to take a granular and nuanced approach to pricing legal work and not simply rely on time billing’ is, Burcher urged, available in the principles set out in Civil Procedure Rule 44.4 and The Solicitors (Non-Contentious Business) Remuneration Order 2009.Burcher said that both could help by ‘determining what constitutes a fair and reasonable fee from the point of view of both the client and the practitioner’.Master of the rolls Lord Dyson is expected to make a decision on the rates, based on the report of a Civil Justice Council committee, shortly.
The Ministry of Justice has said that courts ‘sat as usual’ today, the first day of a national protest against legal aid fee cuts. However lawyers reported delays and defendants being left unrepresented at courts across England and Wales.As the first day of direct action draws to a close, a spokesman for the MoJ described that the impact of today’s action as ‘negligible’. A statement timed at 5.23pm said: ‘Over 95% of cases at a police station requiring a solicitor have been picked up within an hour – little different to any other day.’ However the Gazette has received numerous accounts of problems at both police stations and magistrates’ courts.Zoe Gascoyne, chair of the Liverpool Law Society criminal practice committee, said: ‘We have been aware there have been a number of problems at a number of police stations across the country. The duty solicitor scheme has struggled to cope with the number of cases coming through without own solicitors being in place. This is indicative of how things would be under two-tier [legal aid contracts].’‘Both the Defence Solicitor Call Centre and police themselves have spent a significant amount of time ringing around trying to obtain cover,’ she added.Mike Gray, a partner at Gray and Co and a member of the Criminal Law Solicitors’ Association (CLSA), said that a rape case in Chester was passed around 17 solicitors before the case was finally accepted.He said that the court in Chester was extremely busy, with ‘irate clients’ in the court corridors. ‘Everything was moving particularly slowly,’ he said.Meanwhile in West Kent, police at one stage had to ring round solicitors asking if they would act privately for a detainee. ‘This was a person who had no money with him, no way of meeting the cost and therefore one has to worry about the police action in suggesting the person would or could meet the cost of private representation,’ Dennis Clarke, a CLSA committee member, said.Clarke suggested that the impact of the action on crown courts will start on Friday, as murder cases have to be listed within 48 hours of commital by magistrates. ‘It is therefore correct to say the impact is incremental,’ he said.In Colchester, the youth court was not able to start its business until 11.30am, with young people left ‘waiting and bewildered outside’, according to Laura Austin, a partner at Levy & Co Solicitors.And in Northumbria, David Forrester, a solicitor at Geoffrey Forrester & Co who was on duty today reported that two defendants had been sent to the Crown court without representation.