NewsBites - August 2013

Record ULS referrals
A record number of offenders were referred to the Attorney General’s Office last year, according to statistics released on unduly lenient sentences (ULS) referred to the Court of Appeal. In 2012, 435 sentences were referred as possibly unduly lenient, compared to 377 in 2011 and 342 in 2010. Of the 435 referrals, 344 were eligible for consideration. Eighty eight offenders were referred to the Court of Appeal and 82 cases heard in court. Permission was granted in 73 cases and 62 offenders saw their sentence increase.

Trust me, I’m a lawyer?
The public is less trusting of lawyers, less confident that their consumer rights will be protected and less confident to complain than they were a year ago – according to research by the Legal Services Consumer Panel. Its latest tracker survey, carried out by YouGov, showed 42% of the general public would generally trust lawyers to tell the truth; compared to 43% in 2012 and 47% in 2011. Public confidence has fallen at a similar rate across other professions, such as doctors and accountants, but contrasts with a slight increase in trust for estate agents, builders and car mechanics over the last three years. Although the survey found that women were more likely to trust lawyers than men, trust among women had fallen from 47% to 43% during the past 12 months; whereas trust among men was static.