The Legal Issues (and Criminal Justice) Discussion Thread

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
edited October 10 in General Discussion Posts: 12,215
I thought I would create a new thread on one of my interests outside of all things James Bond - the field of Law. As some of you may know I have a Masters degree in Law and from that my interest blossomed. I am sadly not a Law practitioner as yet but I retain the interest in current and historical legal issues.

So this thread is the place to discuss Legal Issues of the past or present on any area of English Law (or if you prefer US Law) and beyond.

Let's get the ball rolling...

[18 March 2016 Thread Update]


I've amended the thread title to include Criminal Justice as part of the thread so that members can give their thoughts or issue their criticisms or indeed praise of the criminal justice system in the UK. This includes the decisions of the courts in criminal cases, the penal system, criminal law legislation and case law and new proposals for reform of the criminal law by the UK Government of the day.
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Comments

  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Christmas Jonestown
    Posts: 29,097
    Is there no air in this ball? Everyone is happy with the legal system?
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 15,409
    Very well, I'll get going.

    Aren't we giving criminals too many rights? What's wrong with a more brutal system of punishment? Crime rates keep rising yet the moral orthodoxy keeps claiming our current system works far better than some of the older ones.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Christmas Jonestown
    Posts: 29,097
    You want sharia?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,215
    You want sharia?

    Or fascism? A return to law and order and capital punishment?

    I don't think personally that the threat of capital punishment ever stopped anyone committing a crime. I'm opposed to its reintroduction to the UK.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Christmas Jonestown
    Posts: 29,097
    Besides, innocent people sometimes get convicted and get out of jail after several years. Hard to get out of a coffin.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,029
    DarthDimi wrote: »
    Very well, I'll get going.

    Aren't we giving criminals too many rights? What's wrong with a more brutal system of punishment? Crime rates keep rising yet the moral orthodoxy keeps claiming our current system works far better than some of the older ones.

    I'm with you there. Being Swiss I can tell a thing or two about liberalism in general.
    Switzerland, sadly, has cultivated a legal system where the criminals get the role of the victim much too often and the victims' destroyed life counts nothing, as if the victim had it coming.
    Repeatedly the "difficult childhood" card is played and we had prominent cases in the last decade where horrible crimes got punished with next to nothing.
    There is a term that found its way into the Swiss vocabulary (Kuscheljustiz) literally translated: Kuddly Justice meaning our justice system is almost cuddling the culprits.
    No question, something like the death sentence would be unimaginable in Switzerland and rightly so. But why can a group of 18 year olds beat up an adult so badly he becomes invalid and has brain damage and our courts have ruled suspended sentences on them.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    edited August 2015 Posts: 15,409
    I'm with you @BondJasonBond006. And I don't want any of that "so you want the death penatly?" crap either.

    Point is, many verdicts are a joke, an insult to the victim or the victim's loved ones. Random acts of violence cause innocent people to die, the criminals are sentenced only 6 years imprisonment because it was "a foolish act and we'll never do it again, we promise" and they get out after 2!

    I realise our prisons are full enough as it is. I realise that keeping criminals imprisoned many more years costs us a lot of money. But I also realise that many prisons, at least in my country, are a paradise. Some criminals have a better life in prison than hard working, law-abiding citizens have at home.

    Innocent people are convicted too sometimes, I know. But will that ever change? I think we can agree that in sufficiently sophisticated countries, the chance of going to prison while innocent is pretty slim. Maybe, cruel as it sounds, we must accept those tragic cases and move on. Or better still, we must improve our research methods and our forensics tools and whatnot. But when there can be no mistake about the criminal, his motives and the tragedy that befell an innocent person because of said criminal, why so many rights and so many indulgences? Statistics also seem to indicate that recidivism is at an all-time high. It's just too easy these days. You do a bad deed. You spend some time in jail. You get out and you can start all over again. When Ra's in Batman Begins says that criminals thrive on the indulgence of society's "understanding", I am always taken out of the movie while applauding that very statement.

    And worst of all are the procedural errors or technicalities or whatever the legal term is. I'm not stupid; I know why we have measures for those. But too often criminals can evade imprisonment because some cunning lawyer found some creative 'evidence' of somebody slipping up during the arrest or during the processing of the legal documents or whatever.

    It's a complicated mess but it doesn't feel right.

    One ore thing. Death penalty? No. Lynch mobs, yes. Which could result in the same thing. Let's say you catch a terrorist after he blows up a building in the name of his faith, killing dozens of people in the process. Forget about a trial. I'd say we give this man his freedom. We announce when and where he'll be set free. In the middle of an overpopulated square in the middle of town, at noon. Nobody talks about death penalty, no sir. But perhaps we can agree that during an hour or so, we don't have to protect him either.

    I know my last paragraph is wrong for so many reasons. It's just in my nature to consider certain crimes so terrible that there can be no redemption, no second chance, no justice. Only a quick removal of the criminal element from society.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,215
    Link to an interesting article from the Oxford Royale Academy:

    "The Massively Outdated Offences Against the Person Act 1861 Shows How Well the Common Law System Works"

    https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/offences-against-the-person-act-1861-needs-reform.html
  • Posts: 215
    As I see it, the main problem is that the Law System is set up to protect the wealthy and their property. The system is set up to control the population, with heaviest punishment for those offending against the rich, and maximum protection for rich people who are accused of crimes
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,215
    Troy wrote: »
    As I see it, the main problem is that the Law System is set up to protect the wealthy and their property. The system is set up to control the population, with heaviest punishment for those offending against the rich, and maximum protection for rich people who are accused of crimes

    I'm not sure at all that I'd agree with that entirely - would you care to elaborate on that, @Troy?

    Are you referring to the UK or US legal systems or just legal system in general?
  • Posts: 215
    I'm talking about the UK system, but no reason to believe the US system is any better. I do not work in the legal system so my observations are only as an observer, but to me the big issue is cost.

    Everyone can use the law to protect their interests, but the costs of legal action has a chilling effect. Everyone is allowed legal representation in court, but the system is privatised with day rates varying widely depending upon the quality of the representation. The rich can therefore employ the best lawyers and run up the highest bills, and presumably get the best outcome - otherwise they would not pay. Usually the loser has to pay legal costs of both parties, which can be ruinous. Many people have been bankrupted not through fines, but in legal costs. Even if the poor person wins, the rich person can appeal, which increases the costs - effectively playing "double or quits", until the poorer person has to consider if they can continue. This can often be seen when people take on newspapers. Even the state can have problems trying to prosecute rich corporations - see the difficulties in prosecuting newspapers for bribing public officiaLs, when the public officials who took the bribes were found guilty.

    Near where I live, Starbucks have opened a new shop without planning permission. They remain open because Starbucks have appealed for retrospective planning permission, and the Council dare not close the shop now because they cannot afford the legal costs of fighting them, who would only appeal any Closure Notice.

    You can also see how criminal law favour the rich - such as corporations- over private individuals. When 'ordinary people' try to hack into corporate IT systems, the corporations go mad, call in the FBI and try to extradite and prosecute. But when corporations hack into our computers, they get away with it - eg a few years ago it was found that the Google Streetview cars were stealing domestic WiFi passcode but no action was taken, Google apologised and that was it. Another example - when a contestant cheated on a TVs quiz show by getting is wife to cough on the correct answer, he was jailed; but when the same TV channel was found to be cheating by running phone ins where it was impossible to win, once again no one was jailed or fined.
  • Posts: 10,203
    Bond and law suits i do not want to see ever again as it means no films!!! [-( ~X( :-t %-( X_X
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 15,409
    Don't worry, @RogueAgent. McClory is dead. The evil is no more.
  • Posts: 10,203
    Only threat i see potentially now would be another writer's strike which affected QOS as i recall.
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!
    Posts: 15,409
    Yeah, writer's strikes have often crippled film productions. I hate it when that happens.
  • Posts: 10,203
    Was their deal 10 years? If it is that's the next realistic release year for Bond 25 in 2018? Which does concern me a little?
  • WalecsWalecs On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    Posts: 1,928
    In my opinion QoS has a much stronger and better script than SPECTRE.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,215
    Interesting reading; many famous cases from English law feature:

    https://www.oxford-royale.co.uk/articles/interesting-legal-cases.html
  • BMW_with_missilesBMW_with_missiles All the usual refinements.
    Posts: 2,346
    I recently heard that a law was just passed in England that makes it copyright infringement to take pictures of things that you own without getting permission from the manufacturer. What the heck?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,215
    Justice or Just Us:

  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited March 2016 Posts: 12,215
    The UK Supreme Court overrules two previous precedents (one from thirty years ago) on the "joint enterprise" rule in the law on murder:

    http://ukscblog.com/new-judgment-r-v-jogee-ruddock-v-the-queen-jamaica-2016-uksc-8/

    Here is the judgment in full also:

    https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2015-0015-judgment.pdf
  • ForYourEyesOnlyForYourEyesOnly In the untained cradle of the heavens
    Posts: 1,984
    A judge here in Sydney currently has his job on the line after he let too many people of on brief (or no) sentence for murdering people.
  • Posts: 10,496
    I do believe many judges, because they live in an upper class safe world. They have
    No idea what some decent people living in "bad areas" have to put up with. I remember
    One UK judge saying he " Admired " a burglar.
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Christmas Jonestown
    Posts: 29,097
    Sharia is the answer.
  • BondJasonBond006BondJasonBond006 on fb and ajb
    Posts: 9,029
    Sharia is the answer.

    Sharia Twain?
  • ThunderfingerThunderfinger Christmas Jonestown
    Posts: 29,097
    Sharia Stone.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,215
    The NI 'gay cake' case reaches the UK Supreme Court:

  • Posts: 6,751
    I say if the courts do not solve this, send in the Gay Maffia (as seen in Will & Grace) ;)
  • Posts: 3,610
    Very complex case and I fear that the recent verdict has opened up a whole new can of worms regarding businesses being able to turn away work as they dont agree with the message. In many examples, refusing the message is actually tantamount to discrimination anyway
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,215
    Surely only in Northern Ireland could such a daft case arise! I was actually quite surprised by the judgment of the Supreme Court on this case as it overruled the two prior judgments. Although I am a Christian, I'm not sure that I agreed with the Ashers bakery's stance on this issue. I also think it's pretty clear that the man who wanted the cake made was merely trying his luck to see if he could prove a point and get a test case started. There have been similar cases in the US.

    In the meantime, there has been a massive legal aid bill run up that the taxpayer will have to pay. It's like the appeals in the Colin Howell murder case. All for nothing, except wasting good public money that could be used in much more worthy cases. Northern Ireland has one of the highest legal aid bills in the world. I don't think there can be any winners in these types of cases, and certainly not the hard-pressed taxpayer!
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