ABSs still dominate much of the Legal press but here are a few different stories I noticed.

High Court dismisses union challenge to tribunal fees

Last Friday, in Law Society Gazette, here, it reported that a trade union’s legal challenge to the introduction of employment tribunal fees was today dismissed by the High Court. Giving judgment in the Unison v Lord Chancellor case Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Irwin described the union’s argument as ‘premature’ and said that ‘the evidence at this stage lacks that robustness necessary to overturn the regime’.

employment tribunal

Law Society president Nicholas Fluck said: ‘The court’s judgment does not change the fact that when the government introduced fees for taking claims to employment tribunals, it introduced a further barrier for those who need to access justice adding to the impact of legal aid cuts in other areas of the court and tribunal system. There is little objective evidence to support the assertion that the tribunal service is being swamped by weak or groundless claims. Many ordinary people who have lost their job unfairly will be deterred by these fees.’

The fight is not over yet: Unison said it intends to take the case to the Court of Appeal to consider its arguments further, in particular its claims that the fees will have a disproportionate impact on women.

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Last Friday, legalproductivity.com, here, focused on something called Shake. It was named as one of the 5 apps that are changing how business is done. Shake, is an app that lets you create and send legally binding agreements on your phone. If you are a lawyer, be aware of this and judge for yourself whether it’s good or bad for your future.

The article says that Shake is a useful app that allows you to quickly and easily draw up your own contract or use one of the built-in templates – like Freelance Agreement, Rental Agreement, Nondisclosure Agreement, Loan Money Agreement – then sign and deliver it to all parties. The entire transaction is done on your phone.

Cuts forcing guilty pleas, leading lawyer warns

On Monday, in Law Society Gazette, here, we learned that Paul Harris, president of the Criminal Law Solicitors Association says that legal aid cuts are putting solicitors under ‘powerful economic pressure’ to persuade clients to plead guilty.

Mr Harris told a meeting of over 200 barristers at the weekend that fee rates have reached an ‘irreducible minimum’.  Condemning the planned legal aid cuts, which the Ministry of Justice says are required to save £220m a year, Harris said the fees paid for advocacy are a ‘disgrace’.  ‘Each year advocates are expected to do more for less,’ he said. ‘Going to court for successive hearings for just over £40 is beyond reason,’ he said.

Martin Pollins
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