Budget 2016: higher stamp duty rates confirmed

‘Significant investors’ will not be exempt from higher stamp duty land tax rates for additional properties, HM Treasury confirmed today.

The government first announced higher rates of stamp duty on the purchase of additional residential properties in last year’s autumn statement and spending review. The higher rates, which will be three percentage points above current SDLT rates, come into force from 1 April.

The government originally proposed an exemption for large-scale i ... Read More

A practising barrister who failed to declare his old criminal convictions has been disbarred

Omissions come back to haunt forgery barrister 16 years later

A barrister has been disbarred for failing to reveal a string of convictions including one for forgery back in 2001.

Martin Christie, who was an in-house barrister at Stockport high street practice Henry’s Solicitors, applied to become a student member of Gray’s Inn in 1999.
In doing so, Christie revealed two previous criminal convictions, but kept quiet about a further seven run-ins with the law, dating back a ... Read More

Police release CCTV footage of man staging Asda fall.

A Brighton man has been jailed for nine months after staging a fall in a supermarket in an attempt to claim compensation.

Louis Dempsey claimed £11,000 after saying he had fallen on a wet surface in an Asda store in June 2012.

But CCTV footage - released by Sussex Police - showed he had previously walked over the same area without any problems.

Dempsey, 35, was convicted and jailed at Lewes Crown Court on 9 October after a trial on a charge of fraud by making a false repres ... Read More

Lawyers back magistrate suspended for paying asylum seeker’s court charge

Members of the legal profession have rushed to the support of a senior magistrate who was suspended for paying £40 towards a destitute asylum seeker’s £180 court charge — and his since quit his role on the bench.

Former Leicestershire magistrate Nigel Allcoat was subjected to a judicial investigation after trying to assist the asylum seeker, who was unable to work legally in Britain.

He attempted to intervene when he discovered that the unnamed man — who is in his 20s and ... Read More

Lawyers’ ethics: who would you save first in a fire — your mum or girlfriend?

Chinese judicial ethics exam asks wannabe lawyers to decide

Aspiring lawyers in China are being forced to choose between their mothers and girlfriends in order to be admitted to practise law.

According to the BBC’s China Blog, the following question appears in this year’s national judicial examination, the test administered to China’s lawyers-to-be:

"If forced to choose, would you save your mother or your girlfriend from a burning building?"

With the ex ... Read More

Laws against ‘extremism’ risk criminalising us all

A bit late in the day, I finally caught up with Mike Bartlett’s play King Charles III at the weekend. Now on a national tour, this piece of theatrical lèse majesté looks beyond the death of the Queen to the accession of the Prince of Wales and the fate of the monarchy. Some may find the caricatured portrayal of members of the Royal Family disconcerting, but it is not really about them. Written in blank verse, much like a Shakespearean history play, it is a vehicle for exploring bigger q ... Read More

Prisoners’ legal letters opened by prison staff, admits ombudsman

Prisoners’ confidential legal letters to and from their lawyers and the courts have been wrongly opened by prison staff in half of cases investigated by the prisons ombudsman in the past year.

The prisons and probation ombudsman, Nigel Newcomen, carried out 32 official investigations into complaints about the handling of confidential correspondence with prisoners in England and Wales, and found in half of them private legal letters to and from prisoners had been in opened by mista ... Read More

Scrapping the Human Rights Act will allow the state to decide which citizens should have rights

One of the key pledges in the Conservative manifesto this year alongside commitments on the economy, the EU and housing policy, was a promise to scrap the Human Rights Act (HRA) and to replace it with a British Bill of Rights. Although this policy was in their 2010 manifesto, they were unable to get it through the coalition government. Now they are trying again.

Last week, the attorney general Jeremy Wright said that he could not guarantee the UK would not pull out of the European C ... Read More