NewsBites

Mediation matters

Separating couples will need to consider mediation before they can divorce in future, the Ministry of Justice has announced. The new policy could potentially lower the cost of divorce for the couples involved, as well as reducing the burden on the family courts. There will be exceptions where there are domestic violence or child protection issues.


Silk appointments

It is expected that the new Silk appointments will be announced on Wednesday, 2 March 2011, according to the QC appointments website. A full list of names will appear in a forthcoming edition of Counsel.

LALYs 2011

Nominations for the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year awards (the LALYs) are due in by 27 April 2011 and the ceremony will take place in London on 28 June. The judges, chaired by Cherie Booth QC, will make ten awards. LAPG director Carol Storer said: “In the current economic climate, the work of legal aid lawyers in protecting the rights of the poor and the disadvantaged has never been more important.”

The rights business

Businesses are increasingly turning to the Human Rights Act to assert their commercial interests. In reported court cases last year, 31 businesses used the Act, compared with 19 in the previous year, according to research by Sweet & Maxwell. Examples included businesses used privacy arguments to stop the media running stories harmful to their corporate reputation.

Stress rises among lawyers

The charity, LawCare, which offers support and advice to lawyers and legal staff, has reported an increase in the number of stressed lawyers. LawCare opened 517 new case files in 2010, and handled an additional 1,000 calls relating to ongoing cases. Staff reported that last year’s calls were more complex and time-consuming than in previous years.

BPTC students

Applicants for the BPTC should note that the online system for clearing applications opened on 10 February. Offers from first round applications will be made on 8 March, and students must accept places by
7 April. 

Courtroom Tweets

Only accredited members of the press will be able to tweet from court, under new proposals from the Lord Chief Justice. However, the judge in each case will have discretion as to what is allowed and could extend the privilege to non-accredited members of the media if deemed appropriate. Members of the public as well as journalists can tweet from the Supreme Court where there is less need for confidentiality.

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