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National Legal Service Solicitors ensure charges are discontinued against victim of modern-day slavery
Joe Davis received instructions to deal with a case involving the transportation of drugs into prison. Offences of this nature are very serious and will most frequently result in a custodial sentence if convicted of the offence. Having pleaded guilty in Wimbledon Magistrates’ Court our client’s case was deemed too serious and was subsequently sent to Kingston Crown Court for sentencing. Experienced barristers were instructed to deal with the case and worked tirelessly alongside Joe to understand more about our client’s personal circumstances in the lead up to the alleged offence. After lengthy criminal proceedings it became very apparent that our client was a victim of modern-day slavery. We took advantage of the new National Referral Mechanism procedure, which allows cases to be referred to the National Crime Agency and other associated public bodies where there is evidence of modern-day slavery or people trafficking. As a result of this referral a report was presented to the court and the Crown Prosecution Service to advise that our client was indeed a victim of modern-day slavery. At this point the Crown Prosecution Service had the option to either drop the charges against our client, or continue with the prosecution. Initially the prosecution decided to continue with the case against our client, however after National Legal Service Solicitors made numerous representations to the prosecution that it was not in the interests of justice to proceed, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued the case. Our client having had no previous convictions before this case remains of good character. If you or someone you know may have been a victim of modern-day slavery, you can talk confidentially to a member of our team by phoning +44 (0) 20 3601 5051, or fill in our enquiry form and someone will get back to you shortly. [...]
On 30 July 1949, the Legal Aid and Advice Act received royal assent. The act ensured that people on low incomes were represented in the civil and criminal justice system. Originally, its reach was almost universal with 80% of British people eligible. But as the years went by legal aid went away, with eligibility dropping steadily, down to 29% pre-recession in 2008.
It is clearer now more than ever that #LegalAidMatters
We wouldn’t be able to support our clients without legal aid. Our Family Law team have helped more than 2,500 survivors of domestic abuse courtesy of legal aid. Across the country our solicitors are able to help our clients as well as advise on the review of safeguarding measures for their children. Additionally, our Criminal Defence team recently secured an acquittal for a young man accused of offences two years prior, who in the time between the accusation and charge had turned his life around and began working towards a better future. We have also been successful in numerous appeals against extradition on both technical grounds and human rights grounds. None of this would be possible without the benefit of legal aid.
There is no doubt that the justice system is under considerable pressure and also everyone working in it. Local Authorities are issuing more public law cases than ever before. Legal Aid solicitors are also managing heavier caseloads and working longer hours. Instructing barristers is increasingly difficult because they’re already in court balancing numerous cases.
Although the legal aid cuts are still an ongoing process, many young lawyers and paralegals have taken up the cause against them. Our strong team of 100 staff across the UK have a clear and unwavering commitment to Legal Aid. They do so out of passion for the cause, and for the people who need our help.
Head of Family, Ms Kirsty Richard comments
Legal Aid is vital to ensure access to justice and the LASPO restrictions for family cases has seen a very real and very tragic surge in public children law matters (care proceedings) and increased frustrations between parents trying to resolve “contact” disputes which often leads to desperate action, such as refusing to return children following agreed visits. Aside from that are the reduced rates that practitioners are paid for doing this type of work, which means now more than ever, as a legal aid lawyer you are working around the clock. Legal Aid is vital and should be preserved – hooray to 70 years of legal aid!”
Thank you & happy birthday Legal Aid! Here’s to the next 70 years.