The sheer hypocrisy of legal reform Jan 14, 2013 22:33:42 GMT 1
Post by nickd on Jan 14, 2013 22:33:42 GMT 1
Legal aid fees for David Cameron's
older lawyer brother hushed up
Why didn't the legal aid campaigns
make more of this?
older lawyer brother hushed up
Why didn't the legal aid campaigns
make more of this?
Who doesn't want to say how much he got paid in legal aid fees then?
I start this article in anticipation that some may form a view it is an attack on the many hard working legal aid lawyers and barristers who struggle to earn a living out of the legal aid system; it isn't - it's a look a the hypocrisy which has surrounded the recent legal aid 'reforms' and the total lack of transparency which has emerged as government protects its 'legal friends'. I also wonder why campaign groups including the Law Society made so little mention over legal aid lawyers at the top of the tree when so much was being savagely sliced away from those in the 'lower ranks'?
A recent article in the Daily Mail exposes the government's reluctance to disclose details of the Prime Minister's brothers earnings from Legal Aid:
"The PM's brother Alex Cameron QC is a leading criminal lawyer but a request to disclose his fees under Freedom of Information laws has been blocked by the Justice Ministry
David Cameron's barrister brother is at the centre of a row over how much he has been paid in legal aid fees after Ministers blocked attempts to publish details of his public earnings.
Alex Cameron QC is a leading criminal lawyer who heads his chambers in London. But a request to disclose his fees under Freedom of Information laws has been blocked by the Justice Ministry.
Last night, Tory MP Stuart Jackson said that it was ‘inappropriate’ that 500 barristers earn more than the Prime Minister’s £142,500. A legal source said Alex Cameron, 47, earned up to £1 million a year from a mix of publicly funded and private work.
Mr Jackson said: ‘It should not be necessary to go through Freedom of Information laws to find information about barristers. I shall be taking this further to ensure it is a matter of transparency.’
Alex Cameron and other members of his chambers have written to the Ministry of Justice to raise concerns about the Prime Minister’s plans to cut the legal aid budget by £350 million."
Why I question this is why all the secrecy? This is a government which promotes itself as having 'transparency' at the heart of its reforms but whenever there's the slightest possibility it may expose them as having something to hide they go remarkably quiet - why?
not in this article...[/center]
In an article over the disgraced Cricketing scandal there's little mention of a well known queens's counsel who's not a million miles from those in positions of power....
Two Pakistani cricketers convicted of a betting scam while playing England were granted legal aid of more than a quarter of a million pounds.
Salman Butt, 27, the former captain, and bowler Mohammad Asif, 29, were allocated the taxpayers' money despite details of Butt's wealth emerging during the trial.
They were arrested after the fourth Test between Pakistan and England in August 2010 accused of arranging no-balls to be bowled at specific times in return for cash.
In total the legal aid for the two players' defence amounted to £277,000. Sitting at Southwark Crown Court, Mr Justice Cooke sentenced Butt to 30 months and Asif to 12 months. Cricket agent Mazhar Majeed was jailed for two years and eight months.
Butt was been released from prison in June after he was freed under the early removal scheme, which allows foreign nationals to be released up to nine months before their normal release date as long as they are deported. During the trial, Butt admitted earning £1.2million in seven years, saying he pocketed more than £200,000 in 2009 alone.
He revealed lucrative contracts with sponsors including Pepsi and the Indian Premier League and boasted of plans to buy an £8,000 watch.
Sentencing the men at Southwark crown court Mr Justice Cooke told them last year: “Your motive was greed, despite the high legitimate rewards available in earnings and prize money.”
The Legal Services Commission confirmed the payout in response to a Freedom of Information request by the Mirror. The final figure will be higher as a further payment is still outstanding, it said.
It did not identify the players by name but said one got £86,820 in solicitors' fees and £63,991 in barristers' costs. A second got £88,279 for solicitors and £38,475 for barristers.
Both men were suspended from international cricket when they applied for legal aid and therefore qualified because the LSC takes into account current earnings.
The Lib-Dem justice spokesman Tom Brake said: "The public will struggle to understand why, at a time when the government is cutting back on legal aid in civil cases, why these individuals' defence costs are funded by the taxpayer. If they can afford to pay they should cough up for their costs."
Jonathan Isaby, Political Director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Legal aid is supposed to be there to ensure that everyone has equal access to justice, so taxpayers will be amazed that these sportsmen qualified for the cash."
Under the crown court means test introduced in 2010 the LSC has the power to reclaim cash by seizing assets belonging to the men.
Those convicted with capital assets of £30,000 or more can be made to pay additional contributions, up to the total cost of their defence.
Asif was represented in court by Alexander Milne QC while Butt hired the services of Ali Bajwa QC. Fast bowler Mohammad Amir, 20, got just over £8,000 pounds in legal aid after pleading guilty to match fixing before the trial. Amir, and UK-based agent Mazhar Majeed, 36, had admitted offences over the Lord's Test match.
Majeed claimed to have paid Asif £65,000, Butt £10,000 and Amir £2,500.
The men were arrested after the fourth Test between Pakistan and England in August 2010 following a sting by the News of the World.
Butt was alleged by the prosecution to have been involved in arranging no-balls to be bowled at specific times.
A spokesman for the LSC said: “The LSC has a legal obligation to fund cases in the Crown Court. We apply a means test to all applicants for criminal legal aid, to ensure that convicted defendants with sufficient means have paid towards their defence costs.
“Criminal trials can cost a lot of money because they may last many weeks, can be very complex and often have thousands of pages of evidence. The LSC manages costs carefully, and legal aid payment rates are considerably less than those paid to lawyers in privately-funded cases.”
Butt and Asif were both found guilty of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments.
Amir pleaded guilty to the same charges before the trial began.
But Cameron QC was also in there batting for the defence
Alexander Cameron, three years the Prime Minister’s senior at 47, is a Queen’s Counsel with extensive criminal case experience. His most high-profile clients so far have been disgraced Conservative ministers Jonathan Aitken and Lord Archer, both of whom were convicted of perjury following trials in which he appeared in their defence.
This week he will appear behind closed doors in Doha in the most significant corruption hearing in cricket since Hansie Cronje admitted match-fixing before the King Commission in South Africa a decade ago.
The outcome of the case, scheduled to last until next Tuesday, has huge implications for the viability of Pakistan cricket, the integrity of the wider game, and the ICC’s credibility as a regulator.
If found guilty the players, who deny the charges, could face bans of between five years and life. ICC sources said this week that it will press for the harshest possible penalties, matching the life bans handed down to Cronje, Mohammad Azharuddin and Salim Malik.
Butt, Asif and Amir face a series of corruption charges arising from their implication in a spot-fixing plot allegedly orchestrated by Butt’s agent, Mazhar Majeed, and exposed by the News of the World.
Read more here...
Fred Clough, the disgraced finance director of collapsed trade finance house Versailles, lied to his board that he had cancer to cover up his false accounting, a jury heard yesterday.
Mr Clough told other directors, including Carl Cushnie, the company's founder who also faces fraud charges, that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer after they questioned him over accounts which he had neglected to sign off. The incident helped Mr Clough hide his fraud from other employees and the authorities for an extra three years, Mr Cushnie's barrister, Alexander Cameron QC, told Southwark Crown Court, as he concluded his defence of the former chairman and chief executive.
Mr Cushnie denies that he helped Mr Clough inflate turnover figures at the company, which lent money to small firms having trouble securing credit from banks.
The Serious Fraud Office say Mr Clough, who has testified in the trial against Mr Cushnie, stole around £19m from the company, although Mr Clough himself admitted that he lost count of how much money he siphoned off.
Link to Grayling's latest 21/1/2013