Grayling head-hunts QCs to save fraud trials

Topics: Legal aid and access to justice,Government & politics

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (5)
  • Save

Related images

  • Chris Grayling

The lord chancellor will head-hunt advocates to join the Public Defender Service as an ‘emergency measure’ to ensure fraud trials go ahead as barristers continue to refuse the cases due to fee cuts.

The Court of Appeal last week heard a plea to reverse the stay granted by His Honour Judge Leonard in the case of five defendants charged with an alleged £4.5m land banking fraud.

Advertisement

Leonard discontinued the case as none of the five was represented, ruling there was no realistic prospect of enough advocates being available to take the case and that the PDS was ‘insufficient’ to assist.

The Financial Conduct Authority, which prosecuted the case, appealed the ruling last week before Sir Brian Leveson and lords justice Davis and Treacy.

Lord chancellor Chris Grayling (pictured) was granted leave to be represented as an interested party. The skeleton argument submitted on his behalf reveals that the ministry has retained headhunters to secure senior counsel to bolster the PDS.

It says the government will implement ‘any necessary increase’ of the PDS to ensure representation in the cases where defendants are unrepresented, and ‘consider options for obtaining advocacy services through sub-contracting from other providers’.

The document says: ‘The lord chancellor regards this as an emergency measure to address the needs of the interests of justice.’

For the FCA, Sean Larkin QC said advocates would have been available for a trial next January and the public interest demanded that the case should merely have been adjourned.

Acting pro bono for the defendants, Alex Cameron QC, the prime minister’s brother, argued that Leonard had made reasonable findings on the evidence.

The court reserved judgment.

Readers' comments (5)

  • They'll all go on long-term sick leave as soon as the first brief comes in...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As funny as it sounds Peter Piper it might actually be true...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • ‘The lord chancellor regards this as an emergency measure to address the needs of the interests of justice.’

    Justice! that's the last thing on his mind. Attempting to save face is nearer the truth

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • A measure to combat an emergency that is entirely of his own creation...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • A measure that will probably inflate his budget overall by more than a return to the status quo ante!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (5)
  • Save

Justice asplin

New judgment ‘kills’ unbundled legal services

24 May 2016By Gazette newsdesk

Ruling framed with reference to unbundled services ‘sends a signal that people should be very cautious about accepting limited retainers’.

Elisabeth Davies

Legal Services Consumer Panel warns over ‘regulator shopping’

24 May 2016By

Panel says flexibility could lead to loopholes.

Justice floyd

Dispute over £4,000 repair bill racks up £300,000 in costs

24 May 2016By

‘Disproportionate’ a ‘wholly inadequate’ adjective to describe costs incurred in dispute, judge says.

Advertisement

Sign up for email news alerts

Daily Update. Keep abreast of the latest developments that affect the profession

Legal Services

Browse the magazine

Current Issue

The Gazette offers you up-to-the-minute national and international news, opinion, features, in-depth articles plus a jobs and appointments section.

Please click the link below for a digital edition