Memory Fallibility

[Image credit: “confuse” by Tall Chris is licensed under CC BY 2.0] In the criminal courts, we are seeing an ever-increasing number of cases where the court hears evidence from witnesses recounting what apparently happened some years earlier. Of course, in many cases, some of that evidence would have been recorded at the time, by way of a witness

Hate crime – a change of emphasis

[Image credit: “Love and Hate” by Skley is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0] The Law Commission is considering proposals to reform hate crime laws. Hate crime is where a victim is targeted, perhaps for an assault, criminal damage or harassment, based on a protected characteristic. What are protected characteristics? Currently, the protected characteristics are race, religion, sexual orientation, disability

Disclosure of criminal records

[Image credit: “Forgive.” by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0] The government has recently approved a proposal to reform the disclosure of criminal records. A review of the sentencing system found that a critical element in reducing offending was having access to employment. Having unspent convictions can be a barrier to gaining employment, so the proposal is

A Smarter Approach to Sentencing?

[Image credit: “Day 165 – West Midlands Police – Arresting suspected offenders” by West Midlands Police is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] This is the name of the paper presented to Parliament that proposes changes to the sentencing and release frameworks in the criminal justice system. The paper sets out the “problems” they have identified in the system as

Recovery plan for the criminal courts

[Image credit: “Coronavirus COVID 19” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0] In March, nearly 50% of courts were closed, and jury trials were halted to reduce interaction between court users dramatically. Although 90% of courts have re-opened there is a backlog of cases. The government has announced a series of new measures to address the current delays

Indictments – The Basics

[Image credit: “The Royal Courts of Justice” by R/DV/RS is licensed under CC BY 2.0] An analysis of criminal appeals reveals that indictment errors, often undetected at the trial stage, can lead to significant injustice. However, the Court of Appeal will not quash a conviction merely because there was some unfairness in the trial process; it will only do

Secrets and spies

[Image credit: “Spies” by western4uk is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0] The Official Secrets Act protects the United Kingdom from spying and leaks. The legislation dates back to 1911, 1920, 1939 and was last updated in 1989. Since then, there have been many advances in data technology and communications affecting the nature of unauthorised disclosures and espionage. As a