The Practical Lawyer


Procedure – unfit to plead

An applicant unfit to plead under ss4 and 4A of the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964 would not be competent to lodge an appeal against a jury decision – they can only appeal with legal representatives.
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Sentencing – arson; criminal damage

New definitive sentencing guidelines have been published for arson and criminal damage offences and came into effect on 1 October 2019. There is guidance for both the magistrates’ court and the Crown Court. 
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POCA – restraint order

Following a money laundering investigation, an all assets restraint order was made in August 2018 against R and others connected with him. In July 2019, it was discharged under s42(7) POCA on the basis that proceedings for the alleged offence had not been started within a reasonable time. The judge stayed the discharge pending an appeal.
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Sentencing – general guideline

 A new general guideline for sentencing offences not covered by any of the 130-plus specific sentencing guidelines is now in force as of 1 October 2019. Expanded explanations of sentencing guidelines have also been published which, for instance, add additional information relating to aggravating and mitigating factors. 
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Terrorism – notice of detention

A revised notice of detention which examining officers must provide to someone detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 has been published by the government. The notice gives information to a detained person about their rights and obligations under Schedules 7 and 8 of the Act and particularly clarifies the conditions under which their fingerprints and non-intimate samples can be taken.
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Sentencing – possession

An appellant’s sentence of 18 months’ detention in a young offenders’ institution should have been suspended as the judge had adopted too rigid an approach in not suspending it.
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Procedure - private prosecutions

A Code for Private Prosecutors setting out best practice has been produced by the Private Prosecutors' Association, reflecting the reality that private prosecutions raise unique issues and challenges not present in public prosecutions. The Code is voluntary and is aimed primarily at private prosecutors and law firms acting for them.

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Offences - 'potting'

The Court of Appeal has given guidance on the sentencing of 'potting', ie where a prisoner throws or smears a prison officer with urine, faeces or both. Normally a prison discipline matter, potting may be a criminal offence under s24 Offences Against the Person Act 1861.

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Sentencing - psychological harm

The Court of Appeal has provided useful guidance on the approach a sentencing judge should take when assessing whether a victim of crime has suffered severe psychological harm, for the purposes of a relevant sentencing guideline.

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Sentencing - victim surcharge

The MoJ has published new victim surcharges which are effective for offences committed on or after 28 June 2019.

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Most-read articles

LPAs – gifts by attorneys
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Giving attorneys the power under an LPA to make gifts to others and themselves can invalidate it, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has ruled in a test case. The law limits the power of... Read more...
VAT and disbursements – Law Society guidance
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
The Law Society has issued a detailed new practice note ‘VAT Treatment of Disbursements and Expenses’ (8 October 2019) following two recent cases in which the concept of disbursements has been... Read more...
Socialising with colleagues – a thing of the past?
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
 It is not the role of The Practical Lawyer to judge. But firms would be well advised to re-visit their attitude to lawyers socialising with each other following a recent high-profile case of the... Read more...
Trial bundles – careful preparation required
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Rather like buses, one waits for judicial comment on court documents and trial bundles, and then two come along at once. An article discusses a recent case in which the court was unimpressed with the... Read more...
Infant approval hearing – top tips
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
An interesting article provides some practical advice on achieving the court’s approval in infant approval hearings. This is a mechanism by which the court considers and, hopefully, approves the... Read more...
Tenant Fees Act 2019 – fully into force
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
We have reported in our March 2019 (p27) and May 2019 (p28) editions on the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act which came into force for new tenancies and licences to occupy on 1 June 2019. The Act... Read more...
CVA – use to reduce rent
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
 If a limited company is insolvent, it can use a CVA to pay creditors over a fixed period. If creditors agree, the limited company can continue trading. The CVA has been used by companies in the... Read more...
Rectification of title – what is ‘exceptional’?
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
The HC has considered whether or not to correct a mistake on a registered title. Under Sch 4 LRA 2002 the court can order rectification but no order may be made without the proprietor’s consent in... Read more...
Paternity – best interests
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
What’s the court’s approach to paternity cases when the issue arises years after the child’s birth, and in circumstances where both child and F always believed F was the biological father, but... Read more...
Religious beliefs – not always protected
Tuesday, 12 November 2019
The ET has heard an interesting case relating to a person’s religious beliefs. The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society. It replaced... Read more...


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