Friday, 26 August 2016

Scope of Prison Law

The area of prison law legal aid has suffered serious cuts in scope in the last few years. However, several important areas of prison law remain in scope for legal aid funding; and many other areas can be privately funded by prisoners or their families. This blog is a quick reminder of areas that remain eligible for legal aid funding, and some examples of other matters that our experienced and professional prison law department can assist with privately. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can assist with any of the matters listed below, or any other issues:

Legally Aided Matters 
- Parole reviews for life- and indeterminate-sentenced prisoners. This includes on-tariff and post-tariff reviews but not pre-tariff reviews (we can however deal with these on a private basis; see below). Both paper representations and oral hearings.
- Parole reviews for recalled prisoners: both paper representations and oral hearings.
- Independent Adjudications: this is an internal prison disciplinary matter. If a prisoner has been placed on report and his case has been referred to the Independent Adjudicator (aka the ‘Outside Judge’), we can attend the hearing to represent the prisoner. We cannot represent prisoners before the Governor except in exceptional circumstances; permission is very rarely granted.
- Appeals: we can appeal sentence or conviction or both, either directly to the Court of Appeal or via the CCRC.
- Sentence calculation: we can assist with the calculation of release dates. Clients should be more than six months post-sentence and should first have utilised the internal prison complaints system before we can take on a sentence calculation case.

Private Matters
We can assist privately with almost any other aspect of prison life. Some examples include:
- Transfer to a different prison
- Access to a particular course or qualification
- Return to open conditions after being removed to closed conditions
- Applications for Home Detention Curfew (HDC, or ‘tag’)
- Assisting clients with recategorisation, or appealing recategorisation decisions
- Removal from the ‘E-List’ of prisoners thought to be liable to escape
- Pre-tariff Parole reviews for life- and indeterminate-sentenced prisoners; both paper representations and oral hearings
- Almost any other issue experienced by serving prisoners

Testimonial for Marvin Roberts

Wainwright & Cummins were very pleased to receive a testimonial from Mr B, thanking Marvin for his hard work in getting Mr B and his colleagues released from the police station on bail on the weekend:

First of all we would like to thank you and your colleagues from the bottom of our heart for all the marathon hard work you did for us, from Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. I know you will say ‘I just did my job’ but for all of us you and your team are nothing less than life savers… getting all of us out on bail is a massive favor you have done, our site and tools worth more than £5000 were left unprotected, due to arrest (these tools are our livelihood and they put food on the table for our families). But you got all of us out on bail within 24 hours on a weekend, when we reached the site thank god everything was still there and nothing was stolen, we are very much humbled and thankful about what you did for us. I don't know what will happen to the case in future but up until now and in the future we don't wish anyone else to represent our case but only you and your team.” (edited for clarity)

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A Different Side of Brexit

The outcome of the EU referendum on 24th June has had a significant impact on British society in many ways. The value of the pound has dropped significantly; the economy has been negatively impacted, with a recession looking likely; and there has been an increase in reported hate crimes and racism.

Historically, Britain has been discreet in its disadvantaging of minorities or immigrants; for example, new rules were frequently introduced to make it harder for someone to obtain British citizenship or even a visa, and new legislation has been implemented to make it harder for people to find homes. We have yet to see the impact of the election of a new Mayor of London, who promises more affordable homes and better standards of living for working people. Meanwhile, the wealthy become wealthier and the gap between rich and poor widens.

The outcome of the referendum certainly gave those who have kept quiet during all these years an opportunity to speak out. Although many issues were discussed during the campaign, including the economy and the question of British sovereignty over our own laws, it is undoubtedly the case that for many of those who voted out of the EU, immigration was the issue that concerned them the most.
It is believed by some that the outcome of the referendum has paved the way for increases in hate crime and racial abuse – it is certainly the case that these offences are now being more widely reported, and numbers of reported cases are increasing. Whether this demonstrates a rise in hate crime or racial abuse in absolute terms is difficult to say definitively, but it is certainly persuasive evidence.

Could this just be classified as freedom of speech? To openly hate those who come from different backgrounds and different cultures – but if somebody’s “free speech” involves the act of dehumanising of others, and inciting violence against them, it is simply a hate crime. So is Britain way more divided than we thought?

If you have concerns about immigration and are unsure how leaving the European Union will affect your stay in the UK, feel free to visit or our website to get more information.

If you have any questions, our experienced team is here to answer any enquires that you may have. Please feel free to give us a call for your free consultation on: 0207 737 9330.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Testimonial for Seona White and Richard Reilly

Wainwright & Cummins were delighted to receive a testimonial today from a client relating to a recent prison law matter. Mr B commented:

‘I would like to thank Seona White for being so prompt in allocating Mr Richard Reilly to represent me at the adjudicating of the charges made against me.
Mr Reilly was very polite and clear and precise about the charges and the possible outcome... Both of the charges were dropped, to my relief.
Please give my kind regards to Seona, and thank her personally, and to Mr Reilly’.

We always enjoy representing our clients to the best of our ability, as in Mr B’s case. We have a strong track record of getting really positive outcomes, such as charges being dropped, and it is always good to hear from satisfied clients!