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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. [...]
Paralegals are generally responsible for assisting a solicitor run their cases, without actually representing clients themselves. While they do not have to have any legal qualifications, nearly 95% of all the paralegals working at the National Legal Service have completed their GDL or LPC.
On occasion of the inaugural National Paralegal Day, we believe it is important to highlight and raise the profile of the often ‘lesser recognised’ members of the profession:
- Traditionally, paralegals were viewed as support or admin staff, but actually firms have become reliant on them to do fee earning work previously done by junior solicitors. Therefore in practice, there is often little to no difference between an experienced paralegal and a newly-qualified solicitor (NQ).
- The recent legal aid cuts has resulted in an increasing number of litigants unable to secure legal aid or able to afford solicitors. Paralegals particularly in Domestic Abuse matters have filled in this gap by taking on advocacy in legal aid cases
- Many paralegals are already as academically qualified as a trainee solicitor and have had training in advocacy.
Kirsty Richards, Head of Family, says, ‘At NLS, we have a team of paralegals trained in advocacy, who over the last one year have done over 2000 Court Applications. Some members of the team are extremely experienced advocates who have done more court appearances than junior solicitors in the firm’
Harun Matin, Head of Crime says ‘Paralegals are essential to the growth & success of our firm. As an ABS structure, we allow our paralegals the opportunity to work on cases they have never done before and to really seize this opportunity’
Here at the National Legal Service we took part in Jolly Jumper Day, helping to raise vital funds for this festive season.
By wearing our Christmas jumpers on Friday 14th December we were able to get everyone in the office together and in to the Christmasspirit whilst saving children and changing futures. By wearing a jumper we could help bring essential food, healthcare, education and protections to millions of children around the world who are missing out.
Whether it was a terribly tacky Christmas jumper, a pair of antlers or a Bah Humbag hat for the Grinch in the office, we all got involved. We collected £2 for every jumper for Save the Children to help children not just survive, but to thrive. We managed to Raise over £100 just through wearing a jumper and selling some festive cakes.
Jolly Jumper day was also a perfect way for the National Legal Service to get our London office together and partake in some festive cheer. We sold some lovely homemade cakes and donated the money to Save the Children and did our office secret Santa and our first year of NLS office awards which was a great way to get everyone in the office involved and engaged. We even had our offices out of London partake in the jolly jumper festivities.
For most of us, Christmas conjures up images of cracker jokes, mulled wine and a haze of Christmas parties and families opening presents around a Christmas tree. However, for others, Christmas is the most feared time of the whole year. Domestic violence rises significantly during the festive period. Across the country, refuges and police forces are currently preparing for a rise in domestic violence cases and referrals. Last year Sussex Police arrested 262 people in connection with domestic violence – double the previous year. What’s more, according to UK government figures from 2012, assault and domestic murders increase 25 per cent during the festive period and incidents go up by a third on Christmas Day itself.
While incidents of domestic violence rise at Christmas, calls to Domestic Violence Helplines actually decrease during the festive period. According to Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, this is because, “Many people want to keep it together for the children and so they wait until Christmas is over to call. Plus, if they are in close quarters with the perpetrator, they are probably being monitored very closely”. We at the National Legal service will be doing all that we can to help those that come to us after being effected by domestic violence this festive season.
During this time it is important to remember all those who are less fortunate then us, including those sleeping on the streets this Christmas, battling terminal illness and those spending Christmas alone or in abusive relationships. We urge that everyone take a moment to reflect and do their part in helping those less fortunate.
On behalf of the National Legal Service, we wish you all a Merry Christmas and a positive and successful New year.
Over 13,000 legal professionals, colleagues, clients and friends took part in the London Legal Walk on 21st May 2018.
So far, the walk has raised £580,000. That is ahead of the target reached this time last year and so we can hope to beat last year’s amount of £810,000.
Thirty-three individuals took part on behalf of the National Legal Service from our Moorgate and Guildford branches, and managed to hit our target to raise £1000 towards the cause. On top of this, the National Legal Service will further donate £500 making our total raised £1500. We had a fantastic day walking the 10k park route whilst enjoying the sunshine.
The National Legal Service would like to congratulate all those that took part and thank all those who sponsored us to walk!