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Attorney General: Delivering an Excellent Public Prosecution Service3 February 2010Thank you Vice-Chancellor (Professor Michael Farthing) and Professor Stephen Shute for kindly inviting me to speak to the Law School here at the University of Sussex.I also want to take this opportunity to thank Stephen for the contribution he makes to Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate as a non-executive Board member and to the Advisory Board for Joint Criminal Justice Inspections.It's wonderful to be here, with so many of the people who ensure that justice is delivered in Sussex and I am pleased to see Mike Fuller, the designate chief inspector for HM Crown Prosecution Inspectorate.My talk this evening is about delivering an excellent public prosecution service, at this key point in the development of independent prosecution services in England and Wales. I intend to look back briefly to how things started out, in 1986, and the enormous journey of reform we have travelled between 2000 and 2010 to the service we are now, and we'll look forward to the radically different service we will need to provide in order to meet the anticipated changes in crimiogenic patterns by 2020. This is our 2020 vision.I am sure that many of you have been travelling on this same journey and that you are as committed as I am to meeting the challenges of the future.BackgroundMany of you have started on the student journey, so I want to address you as Lawyers of the future. But first a little background and some - even more ancient - history, about my role as Attorney General and how prosecutorial responsibility has changed and developed.No working day for me passes without being reminded of the history of the Office of Attorney General. Just inside the entrance to the building that houses my office is a picture of Lawrence del Brok who is often regarded as the first King's Attorney. It was in around 1247, over seven hundred years ago, and rather longer ago than 1986, that he was appointed to sue "the King's affairs of his pleas before him".The first person to be called "Attorney General" was John Herbert who was appointed as the King's principal law officer in 1461. His picture is a little further down the corridor.Beyond him hang his successors, pictures and latterly photographs of all the Law Officers winding up the stairs, Attorney and Solicitor by Attorney and Solicitor right up to the present day. Fortunately it is a tall building.Attorneys and Solicitors they may all have been, but just as the pictures and photographs show the dramatic change in fashion over the years, and the male dominance of the role, so history reveals how the role has changed, function adding to function as the times demanded, forging in the piecemeal and unplanned fashion that marks our constitutional settlement the complex office that the Attorney General is today. We do everything extremely quickly in our country and it only took a mere 700 years to have a woman Attorney General.My departments are a collective, under my superintendence or sponsorship, with a range of different functions They include three statutory prosecuting departments, the Crown Prosecution Service, Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office and the Serious Fraud Office, together with the Treasury Solicitor, my own Office, Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate; and the National Fraud Authority.As Attorney I also supervise and superintend about 2000 staff, under the umbrella of the Government Legal Service.The arrangements for my prosecuting departments have, like the Office of Attorney General, developed over time, and in the case of the prosecutors, in response to specific concerns, reviews and reports. More recently the pace and depth of reform has increased, to bring us to where we are in 2010, and the journey we have travelled helps to fill me with a degree of confidence about the further radical changes we can make to deliver the service which we will need in 2020.CPSAlmost 30 years ago the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure ("the Phillips Report) assessed the prosecution system against the criteria:1 is it fair?2 is it open and accountable? and3 is it efficient?"Subject to the overriding test of whether the system had the confidence of the public it served.The answers to those questions led to the creation of the Crown Prosecution Service - a nationally accountable but locally delivered prosecution service.SFOThe creation of the Serious Fraud Office in 1988 came hard on the heels of the Crown Prosecution Service. The 1986 Roskill Report, which led to its creation, recommended in this instance that investigators and prosecutors should operate as one team on the basis that unified control and direction, together with staff with the necessary skills, were essential features to combat the particular threat that was posed by serious fraud.The Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office was launched in April 2005, against the background of the termination of several high-profile Customs cases, and two separate reviews.The Gower/Hammond review in 2000 had identified the need for the prosecutors to be independent of the investigators; and the Butterfield report in 2003 recommended "a complete separation of the prosecuting function for HM Customs and Excise's criminal cases from the organisation itself, through the creation of a separate prosecuting authority."In the meantime, the Treasury had reviewed HM Customs and Excise and the Inland Revenue and concluded that they should be merged, so it was decided that the Inland Revenue prosecutions would join the new independent prosecuting authority, the RCPO.Since 2000 (Auld Review 2001) the role of the prosecution services and the expectations of prosecutors have expanded significantly. Lord Justice Auld explicitly recognised the vital role of strong and independent prosecutors in the delivery of more effective, fair and efficient prosecutions . By proposing an enhanced role for the Crown Prosecution Service at various stages he showed a welcome confidence in the CPS as an integral feature of his cohesive package of recommendations to improve both the quality and operation of criminal justice. The prosecutors have embraced the opportunities afforded to them by the creation of the National and Local Criminal Justice Boards as recommended by Lord Justice Auld. working with partners to agree and implement joint actions to address key criminal justice issues, such as public confidence and victim and witness careThe role of the CPS prosecutor has changed and evolved beyond recognition. It is dramatically different when I came to the Bar. Prosecutors now:engage with their communities to inform their work and address their concerns, building confidence in the criminal justice system directly and enhancing the community's understanding of law, citizenship and justice;advise the police and other investigating agencies pre-charge, working in partnership with the investigators and barristers in private practice to build the best cases;use out-of-court disposals such as conditional cautions where appropriate;decide the charge in all but the most routine cases;take the views of victims into account;ensure that witnesses, particularly the vulnerable and intimidated, are able to give their best evidence;recover assets from criminals;present their own cases in court; the very first CPS QC, Graham Reeds, was appointed last yearassist the court in the sentencing process andwhere a sentence is considered too lenient, bring those decisions to the Law Officers' attention so they can be appealed.Of the many reforms which have helped to shape the role of the modern CPS prosecutor, the introduction of statutory charging in 2004 was a defining moment. Routinely determining the charge in all but the most straightforward of cases put the prosecutor at the epicentre of the criminal justice process as the gatekeeper for cases entering the criminal justice system.Increasingly, prosecutors are now presenting their own cases in the Crown Court drawing on the experience of charging to build and present the strongest possible case in Court. They are putting the interests of victims and witnesses at the heart of the criminal justice system, providing them with information about decisions and the progress of their case, providing support through what can be a very traumatic experience, and using powers to provide alternatives to attendance at court and the support of intermediaries for the most vulnerable. Joining together with lawyers in private practice to try and ensure the best teams and skills are marshalled to present robust but fair prosecutions.Prosecutors are becoming more responsive to community concerns: working closely with neighbourhood policing teams, using a range of tools, such as conditional cautions, post-sentencing orders such as Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and confiscation orders to recover criminal assets, and working with the police, local authorities and others on a multi-Agency approach to tackle local crime concerns.What is so interesting is the completion of prosecutors has changed - they are more diverse. This means that in 2010 prosecutors are developing a higher profile and standing in their local community and prosecution authorities are being recognised and respected and are gaining public confidence for their contribution in making society a safer place.When we first started in 2003 we did a survey to see how many knew about the CPS? It was very low. Since then we have worked hard to be more visible and transparent. Since 2008, following an independent and comparative review into the way it undertakes cases the Serious Fraud Office has been pursuing a comprehensive transformation, of the Office and the systems, processes and culture that direct the prosecution of major and complex fraud cases. This enables the public and criminals to take the SFO seriously.Building on the recommendations of that report, the Serious Fraud Office has introduced a number of structural changes, a range of process and casework quality improvements, such as a system of case regular and peer case reviews to assess the viability and strategic direction and to review investigative strategies to ensure that the actions being taken are robust, legally sound but also appropriate. The SFO has also re-assessed its relationships and how it works with other agencies and investigators, such as City of London Police as the lead force on fraud, the Financial Services Authority and the Serious and Organised Crime AgencyAs part of that transformation, in 2010, the SFO is establishing an international reputation as a leader in the field of highly complex criminal investigations and prosecutions and for assisting foreign jurisdictions with fraud investigations. The assistance the SFO can now give their foreign partners has been strengthened.After its launch in 2005, the RCPO developed into a professional and capable organisation, which has secured increasing confidence on the part of the judiciary and the public that these difficult and complicated customs and tax cases can be successfully prosecuted.Since 2005, the RCPO has completed more than 5,400 cases, involving more than 7,000 defendants, with a 90% conviction rate and they have enforced confiscation orders of more than £90m from convicted offenders. Quite a feat for an organisation of fewer than 350 people!And Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, which was established in 1995, and put on the statute book in 2000, is playing an integral part in continuous scrutiny, improvement and assurance of the prosecution authorities, and in working with other inspectorates and audit bodies to report on cross-cutting criminal justice issues.National Fraud AuthorityThe youngest of my Departments is the National Fraud Authority that was established in October 2008 as an Executive Agency of the Attorney General's Office, in line with the recommendation that was made in the Fraud Review for a single organisation to co-ordinate the national counter fraud response.The National Fraud Authority has already led the publication of the National Fraud Strategy which is being delivered through a combination of strategic and practical initiatives, including a Counter Fraud Strategy Forum whose membership includes investigation and prosecution agencies. That broad church allows us to build a stronger evidence base for counter fraud performance allowing us to identify gaps and, crucially, make proposals for improvement.The National Fraud Authority is also drawing on significant expertise in the private sector and is promoting stronger collaboration on fraud investigations and recovering the proceeds of fraud - that can only be good news. If we want to attack and deter crimes we had to let criminals know about the burden.As we learned recently with the publication of the NFA's Annual Fraud Indicator Report, we now have a much improved estimate of the cost of fraud to the UK - over £30 billion. This astounding figure shows the damaging effect that fraud has on the UK economy. Individuals, businesses and public services are all victims. People think fraud is a victimless crime, it is not. Even individuals who are not direct victims of fraud pay through higher charges for goods and services or as a result of lost tax revenue to fund our public services. There is increasing cooperation right across the board - the Serious Fraud Office, the National Fraud Authority, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the police, the Financial Services Authority, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office, with each organisation bringing its particular expertise to bear. The fraud picture is complex and changing and those of us responsible for the fight against fraud need to adapt in order to tackle and target fraudsters. Being real about that, rest assured, the fraudsters themselves are constantly doing the same.Criminal Justice SystemAnd since 2000 we have also been bringing the component parts of the Criminal Justice System more closely together so that they can work more effectively together, to provide better services to victims and witnesses, reduce crime, make local communities safer and increase public confidence.An early change for closer working was in 1998 we sought to align CPS with police boundaries into 42 Areas and in 2003 to give the Home Secretary, Justice Secretary and Attorney General joint and shared responsibility for reform of criminal justice system, working through a National Criminal Justice Board; replicating arrangements for joint working locally through Local Criminal Justice Boards; establishing a new Office of Criminal Justice Reform, which became the clearinghouse, and it has really worked.We have also put in place robust systems to gather evidence to help inform improvements needed in service provision, such as the Witness and Victim Experience Survey (WAVES), which asks victims and witnesses of crime how well they thought the CJS treated them and what support they received. Your local WAVES data up to June 2009 will be available to view online on Directgov from tomorrow. The availability of this data and the sharing of best practice has helped to increase victim and witness satisfaction nationally from 71% in 2005-06 to 79% in 2008-09.Specifically from the prosecutor perspective, another significant change has been that they now work closely with policy makers in Whitehall, so that criminal justice reform and legislation are properly informed by the experience of those who work at the front line, and prosecution policies are developed through extensive consultation with community groups, the voluntary sector, government agencies, the police, and others so they are best shaped to meet their needs and concerns.Where are we todayI have been continuing this programme of reform since my appointment as Attorney General in 2007. Over the past couple of years we have made bold strides to ensure that we are fit to face the challenges of the 21st century.Protocol and ConventionWorking with the Directors, whom I supervise, we have developed a new Protocol on the role of the Attorney and the relationship with prosecuting Departments. The Protocol sets out how I and the Directors of the Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office and Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office exercise our functions in relation to one another to safeguard their independence, now and for the future and to ensure there is proper accountability to Parliament and the public. A Law Officers' Departments strategic board, under my chairmanship, was set up for the first time in 2008. That Board has given deep consideration to the requirements for fulfilling our aim of developing a modern prosecution service. I was absolutely clar that we had to plot and plan this together.I have led a strategic review considering likely future demand for prosecution and how the prosecution services can be modernised to better serve the public. The work has been driven by a real determination to ensure that we are equipped to deliver the most effective and efficient prosecution, fraud and legal services now and for the future.Last year the Strategic Board took key decisions on modernising our services, towards being more open and transparent and towards giving frontline staff the opportunity and the confidence to work in ways which meet local needs. The Board has been working together, and for the first time with investigators, to make critical assessments about future crime trends, investigative priorities and the future demand for prosecution, and at how, with increasing public expenditure pressures, we can achieve better value for money whilst maintaining the drive for professional excellence.It is clear from this examination that prosecutors face substantial challenges:Crime is more complex than ever, in part because of the rapid pace of development in technology and communicationsMore and more frequently there is an international dimension in everything that we do.The effect of economic turbulence emphasises the need to be vigilant and excellent in the protection we provide for the public.And there is an increased focus on crimes of most concern to local communities, such as gang crime, knife crime, domestic violence, hate crime, sexual assaults, rape and anti-social behaviourIt is also clear that the expectations of prosecution services have, rightly, never been higher.The Directors of my prosecuting authorities and I agree that, in the face of these challenges, we should be clear about the role of a prosecution in a modern enforcement environment and should be looking to extend the expectations of us now, and in the future.We are clear that the public's right to live in safety and to be protected from criminal conduct lies right at the heart of the criminal justice system.Within that, the duty or public prosecutors is to serve their communities, protect the public and secure justice, by prosecuting firmly and fairly, in an open, transparent and independent way.So, what have we done so far to meet those challenges and to put ourselves in the best possible place to carry on doing so?Merger of RCPO and CPSWe have - collectively - decided to merge the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office with the Crown Prosecution Service. It is because of the strong leadership and increasing professionalism of the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office - as well as significant developments in the capability and strength of the Crown Prosecution Service - that we are now in a better position to address such challenges.The merger was brought into effect on 1 January of this year, when I appointed Keir Starmer QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, to the statutory post of Director of Revenue and Customs Prosecutions.That merger of the RCPO and the CPS is bringing together two successful organisations creating a modern public prosecution service which will deliver an enhanced service to the public. The new service will provide excellence in specialist expert prosecution services built on the specialist expertise that already existed in both organisations, and will bring additional resilience to respond to new challenges in the future. It will be an organisation better placed to provide specialist advice and prosecution services for the cases investigated by the police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the new UK Border Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.The RCPO has significant expertise in prosecuting tax offences, and the merged service contains a specialist tax prosecution division under the leadership of David Green QC, working closely with the Fraud Prosecution Division and the rest of the organisation and allowing for co-ordinated prosecutions where a criminal has engaged in drugs crime, gun crime and tax crime at once. We know that criminals' activities are often very complex - they do not operate in strict silos, and therefore our prosecution response needs to be increasingly joined up.By building on the existing strengths of the RCPO and CPS in prosecuting serious, complex frauds, and in closer working with the Serious Fraud Office and the National Fraud Authority, prosecutors will have a greater capability to identify and develop effective interventions to tackle pervasive, new and emerging trends in fraud.A significant contribution to public confidence is the knowledge that criminals will not be able to enjoy their ill-gotten gains, and the merger of the RCPO and CPS brings together much expertise in using the legislation provided by Parliament to recover the proceeds of crime.Just as the RCPO has developed an expert and effective service for prosecuting complex cases, working across international borders, and confiscating the assets of criminals, the CPS has shown it is possible to run a locally-facing service across England and Wales which is increasingly effective and efficient, and which also includes highly effective specialist divisions - Specialist Crime, Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Divisions - and an International Division that works with other Whitehall partners to improve the capability of overseas jurisdictions to deal with crime before it gets to the UK.Bringing the two prosecutors together provides a comprehensive and resilient organisation, able to tackle offending and to reduce crime through effective interventions.In these straitened times it also provides excellent value for money for the taxpayer, enabling us to make annual savings in excess of £8m.Europol, Eurojust, InterpolOf course, the modern prosecutor must increasingly respond at an international level. Criminals know no borders and so our criminal justice system must be able to respond - not only in helping other nations to intervene in crime before it gets to the UK, but also to tackle international crime when it impacts on the UK. I am pleased that the Crown Prosecution Service has played a leading role in establishing the Global Prosecutors E-Crime Network which brings together prosecutors across the world to share good practice and training material.The work that our law enforcement bodies and prosecutors carry out in partnership with Europol, Eurojust and Interpol is of increasing importance. By working in partnership with these bodies we are able to track down and prosecute international criminals.Last year I went to the Hague visiting Eurojust and Europol where I was very impressed by the progress we are making working together across Europe. There is a first-class British team there. Eurojust brings prosecutors from each member state of the European Union plus representatives from other countries working together with Europol and national police forces to address cross border crime. I want to tell you about one of the cases we explored when I was thereA Belgian investigation, now at the prosecution stage, concerned credit card skimming fraud on a European wide scale running to tens of millions of Euros, with wider involvement in Australia and Canada. Present at the co-ordination meeting for this case were teams of police and prosecutors from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Romania, the United Kingdom and Canada. Europol officers were also in attendance to offer analytical support. Belgium had previously issued a Letter of Request to the UK (and an identical request to the Republic of Ireland) to trace and interview "Gerry" who may live in Northern Ireland or the Republic, who may or may not drive a black BMW, and who might use one of two unsubscribed pay-as-you-go mobile telephone numbers. The UK Police officers present advised the meeting that, despite best efforts, Gerry had not been found! At that point the Spanish delegation interrupted to say, "We know Gerry. His full name is Gerry X and his parents live at address Y. His full passport number is Z. And if I remember rightly, they said His mother's maiden name is B". The value for money and efficiency in bringing together the right people at the right time are obvious. If they had not got together, they would never have discovered the need for this information - and I am reliably informed that it is not just the Spanish helping us - we have helped them too!The QuintetNone of us know the importance of information until we bring it together. I thought there was more we could do, so together with the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Justice, we are also working to strengthen our alliances against international crime at a strategic level. Last year I held the inaugural meeting of the Quintet - a meeting with my four counterparts in the United States of America, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. We recognised the value of sharing lessons learned across common law countries and working together on the challenges that we all face in tackling international crime. We agreed to meet annually, to work together more closely to promote cooperation on legal frameworks at the international level, and to coordinate action across relevant agencies against organised crime, cybercrime, terrorism and perpetrators of genocide. But we are also going to do work on domestic violence and of youth crime.The futureWe've come a long way since 1986, and, indeed, since 2000 - but what of the future? Looking ahead, prosecutors are clear about their role and purpose in the 21st Century, right at the heart of the fight against crime.Crime reductionIn leading the fight against crime, byproviding increased prosecution involvement in the development of crime reduction strategies and policies,providing unique insight for cutting edge innovation such as "design against crime" - for example,chip and pin to reduce credit card fraudimmobilising carsreducing the ability to use stolen mobiles phones by disabling SIM cardschanging the lighting in civic spaces and making other environmental changes together with town and country planners so we design out crime from our areasidentifying hot spotsProfessor Shepherd's work in Cardiff on reducing glass available in pubs to reduce anti-social behaviour incidences, as well as his work on post-traumatic stress disorder and domestic violence means we can save lives and reduce injuries.early intervention work and Family Intervention Programmes - I just visited the FIP in Brighton, where they are working with some of the most vulnerable families and early intervention is working - Anti social behaviour levels are down by 89%setting the framework for decisions on whether it is in the public interest to commence a criminal investigation with a view to prosecution or some other outcomes falling short of prosecution to solve crime problems.where investigators or regulators have powers to use a range of civil sanctions,Setting the strategic direction for prosecuting fraud. The merger of RCPO and the CPS has enabled the prosecution of tax and other types of fraud to be brought together for the first time - after all, criminals do not draw such nice distinctions.The National Fraud Authority has recently launched Action Fraud, the National Fraud Reporting Centre which gives victims of fraud the most up-to-date information and advice that is available. Action Fraud has been operational for 12 weeks and is crucial to the success of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) .The profile of Action Fraud is increasing and the public and small businesses are becoming more aware of how to report fraud. The consequent increase in frauds being reported will enable enhanced analysis by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau leading to stronger enforcement, prevention and detection, which will be a greater deterrent to fraudsters. The NFIB is now collecting and analysing a lot of important data which will have a big impact on the investigation of fraud.The NFIB is already making a difference in the analysis and dissemination of intelligence data which will help us combat fraud.What initially seemed to be a series of low level frauds across the country is revealed to be a highly organised network. The bureau can help identify where it is being organised from and give the local police force the means to take swift and effective action.Criminals often target those that are vulnerable. This work now enables us to better protect them. It is a great example of the counter fraud community working in partnership to make the UK a more hostile environment for fraudsters.Leading improvement in the Criminal Justice SystemProsecutors will draw on their increasing status and confidence to influence and lead improvements to the criminal justice system as a whole, so it operates more as a service, and so that together they respond swiftly, efficiently and effectively to new challenges ahead.Some of those challenges are already clear:the need for out-of-court disposals to be consistently applied and publicly transparent;the need for effective listing of cases in court so that all our time and energy - and that of victims and witnesses - are effectively used; andthe need to recognise that the Crown Court is predominantly a sentencing court and therefore to ensure that its procedures are designed to deal effectively and quickly with those who plead guilty.But the focus cannot - and is not - all on the big strategic issues. As I said at the beginning, the Crown Prosecution Service is a nationally accountable but locally delivered service.Community ProsecutorsProsecutors also have a critical role to play in engaging with communities and the public and securing confidence. The Crown Prosecution Service is already a beacon in Whitehall for its approach to equality and diversity, recognised for prosecution decisions free from bias, increased public confidence and workforce diversity at all levels.Prosecutors continue to have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that their decisions and those of others in the criminal justice service are taken without bias.Last year we announced that we would be rolling out community prosecutors, who will engage with their local communities so that they know the types of crime that cause most local concern and are able to take the public's views into account in their decisions and in the information they place before the courts.Community prosecutors will learn lessons in the way they handle cases, including from local Hate Crime Panels, who comprise members of local communities and who have experience of supporting victims and witnesses of hate crime. And the community prosecutor approach will allow the public prosecution service to ensure that our criminal laws and procedures are relevant, practical and effective - and based on the real experiences of those who work in the criminal justice service and, just as importantly, to identify which offences are no longer relevant in today's society.Above all, Community Prosecutors will be an integral part of what a modern public prosecution service does. The public rightly expect a public prosecution service which is visible, accountable and responsive to community concerns. Community Prosecutors - as a natural evolution in the development of the prosecutor's role - are key to delivering that. But this isn't about creating new roles or extra burdens, its about re-defining the ethos which underpins what prosecutors do. Prosecutors are adapting to meet the demands of a changing landscape, and I am confident that they will continue to do so in the future.CPS Derbyshire Schools ProjectThis CPS Derbyshire project is a genuine example of how something which starts off small - and importantly, with those who work in a local setting - can develop. That the CPS now have an ambitious national schools project is testament to our ability to identify what works, to hone it, and to give it the opportunity to take root on a bigger scale.This project had small beginnings: in 2007, CPS Derbyshire in conjunction with Derbyshire County Council Local Authority developed 2 interactive lessons to deliver to Key Stage 3 & 4 (11-16) year pupils and has grown so much since. We are now in a position to roll this out on a national basis.This interactive session forms part of the mandatory national Citizenship Curriculum the purpose of which is to equip pupils with the knowledge and skills needed for effective and democratic participation. It helps pupils become informed, active citizens. How does it do it?:Teaching pupils about their rights, responsibilities, duties and freedoms and about laws, justice and democracy.Encouraging respect for different national, religious and ethnic identities.Enabling pupils to learn how society has changed and how it continues to change in the UK, Europe and the wider world.Helping young people to develop their decision-making and critical skills.Developing the ability to argue a case.We were able to give 13 year olds argue and act out a case of a recent visit. The first tst if evidential and second is the public interest. It taught them an important lesson. They came alive with what justice does.Core quality standardsWe have learned that transparency is key to building public confidence. The statutory prosecutors are accountable through me to Parliament for the service they provide. The other side of the coin is that the public must know what quality of service they should expect.ConclusionThe criminal justice system is underpinned by the rule of law and respect for human rights is right at the heart of modern democracy and who we are as a country. A modern public prosecution service - focused on protecting the public by reducing crime, delivering justice and supporting victims and witnesses - is at the centre of everything we do.The service I aspire us to be at 2020 will also need to be cosmopolitan. It must build alliances and work in partnership across the globe. Just as criminals and their networks know no borders, so must prosecutors build even more effective networks, collaborate with their counterparts and using our collective knowledge and skill to out-manoeuvre the criminals who are conspiring all the time.Fair, fearless and effective; open, honest and transparent; protective, supportive, networked but, above all, independent: these are the qualities that the public has a right to expect of its public prosecution service.Public prosecutors are determined to meet those expectations.Thank you. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/DeliveringanExcellentPublicProsecutionService.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP Delivering an Excellent Public Prosecution Service 03 February 2010 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: The role of the Attorney General in the 21st Century19 January 2010CHECK AGAINST DELIVERYNo working day for me passes without being reminded of the history of the Office of Attorney General. Just inside the entrance to the building that houses my office is a picture of Lawrence del Brok who is often regarded as the first King's Attorney. It was in around 1247, over seven hundred years ago, that he was appointed to sue "the King's affairs of his pleas before him".The first person to be called "Attorney General" was John Herbert who was appointed as the King's principal law officer in 1461. His picture is a little further down the corridor. Beyond him hang his successors, pictures and latterly photographs of all the Law Officers winding up the stairs, Attorney and Solicitor by Attorney and Solicitor up to the present day. Fortunately it is a tall building.Attorneys and Solicitors they may all have been, but just as the pictures and photographs show the dramatic change in fashion over the years, and the male dominance of the role, so history reveals how the role has changed, function adding to function as the times demanded, forging in the piecemeal and unplanned fashion that marks our constitutional settlement the complex office that the Attorney General is today.The pictures and photographs reveal little of what these Law Officers thought; but we know that many of them found the role difficult and burdensome. Sir John Jervis, who was Attorney in the middle of the nineteenth century, complained that only a person who had held the office could have had any conception of the labours of an Attorney General. "Nobody who has not experienced it" he said "can have a notion of the wear upon the constitution", by which, I should be clear, he meant his own health.One of my seventeenth century predecessors, Francis Bacon, described the role of Solicitor General as "one of the painfulest places in the Kingdom" and the posts of Solicitor and Attorney as "the extreme painful places wherein we serve". Yet, I should add, history also records that Bacon went to rather a lot of trouble to land the job of Attorney General, and he was a Law Officer for ten years, so he must either have quite liked the pain, or thought it worth enduring.Some Law Officers have had more reason than others to complain, of course: the most extreme perhaps was John Cooke, the first Solicitor General of the English Commonwealth, who in 1649 led for the prosecution in the trial of King of Charles I only to be rewarded with execution for high treason after the Restoration, the only Law Officer to be hanged, drawn and quartered. So far.I have to say that I was aware of none of this when I was appointed to the post of Attorney General, back in the early summer of 2007. Perhaps that is just as well though let me be clear I have no complaints.But what really struck me when I took on the role was its breadth and complexity. I had had no idea of the range and number of the Attorney's functions; and I was surprised by that as by the time of my appointment I had been a barrister for thirty years, a QC for sixteen, and a Minister for eight. If my knowledge as an insider was so limited, what hope was there for those more distant from the role?The ReviewI had only been in the post of Attorney General a few weeks when the Prime Minister launched the "Governance of Britain" Green Paper setting out a series of proposals for constitutional reform. Among those proposals was a commitment to reform the role of the Attorney General. We began the process of honouring that commitment almost straightaway, in July 2007, with the publication of a consultation document. The process continued until last summer so you will appreciate that for most of the time that I have enjoyed the extraordinary privilege of holding the office of Attorney General, I have also had the task of reviewing and reforming the role and ensuring it is fit for our times.At the outset of the Review we were very clear about three things: first of all we wanted a comprehensive public debate with the widest range of interested parties; second, we had no preferred option for reform; and third, our overriding objective was to enhance public confidence and trust in the office of Attorney General.And underlying this were two certainties: the first was that the key to the success of the review was education because in order to change something you have to understand it and in the case of the role of the Attorney General there was a lot of misunderstanding.And the second was that, while I was totally committed to the challenge of making whatever reforms were necessary to achieve our objective, I was also absolutely clear that we were not going to make change for the sake of it. As I put it at the time, "the test for any proposal for change should be whether it enhances the effective administration of justice, the maintenance of the rule of law and the protection of the public interest".We did not shy away from the issues in the consultation; indeed we embraced them with an open mind. We set out the pros and cons of the current arrangement and asked the relevant questions: should the role of Chief Legal Adviser to the Government be separated from that of a political Government Minister? And if so, who should exercise the role? What would be the possibilities for reform if the Attorney General were to remain the Government's chief legal adviser? Should the Attorney General's role in relation to criminal proceedings be changed? And what changes would be necessary to the Attorney General's public interest functions?And (I hope I am not labouring the point) we did not just leave it to people to respond to the consultation; we went looking for comments at a series of meetings and seminars with a number of groups like representatives of the prosecuting authorities, and academics with an interest in constitutional and legal issues and of course we published an analysis of the consultation responses and set out the key messages from them.Informed by that process we published a draft Bill which was subject to scrutiny by the Joint Committee on the Constitutional Reform Bill and by the House of Commons Justice Committee which, like its predecessor, always showed a keen interest in my role and was loud in its calls for fundamental change.After two years, one Green Paper, one White Paper, and two Parliamentary Committee Reports the Government reached and announced its decision in July 2009. The Government decided that the office of Attorney General is fundamentally sound and that while some significant reforms were needed these did not require any change in the law.Now that our task is complete, I am delighted to have this opportunity to explore with you how I see the role of Attorney General, and to explain the changes that we have made. Much of this is difficult and often controversial, involving as it does the management of tensions at the heart of Government, and the delicate balance we often have to strike, in order to uphold the rule of law, to ensure fairness and independence in prosecution decisions, and to protect the public interest. But for the reasons that I shall give here I am absolutely certain that settlement that we have reached is the correct one.The Outcome of the Review"The Attorney General has to give his days to law and his nights to politics which leave, in days of late parliamentary sittings, but little out of the twenty-four hours for the man himself." So wrote a nineteenth century commentator in a rare expression of sympathy for the lot of the Attorney General.The Attorney General is indeed where law and politics meet. The role, combining as it does the roles of Chief Legal Adviser to the Government, Minister, and guardian of the public interest, is a undoubtedly a constitutional oddity. The Consultation document recognised that the focus of the debate on the role of the Attorney was the tension between the various functions of the Attorney General, being a Minister and being an independent guardian of the public interest and performing superintendence functions, for example on decisions relating to sensitive prosecutions; and the tension between being a party politician and a member of Government, and the giving of independent and impartial legal advice.Were we crafting a constitution from scratch would we have designed the role like this? Perhaps not. But would we undo, shall we say, 700 years of evolution without a great deal of care? Certainly not. So we approached our task, mindful of the settlement that our constitutional history has bequeathed, mindful that the bequest is not sacrosanct, determined to test it for its suitability to our own age.And that is exactly what we did. I have no doubt that the role of Attorney General will change in the future as it has done so many times in the past. But after the analysis, the talk of tensions and of contradictions, I say simply this: for all the problems, which I acknowledge, no suggestion that an Attorney General in modern times has in fact taken a decision on the basis of political or otherwise improper considerations has been substantiated. The consultation exercise did not provide any evidence to support this sort of allegation.I suspect that many of you are thinking what about the advice on the military intervention in Iraq; what about BAE; what about cash for honours? Well those were all, in their different ways, difficult and controversial to say the least. And there are of course many more such difficult and controversial issues that have to be decided by the Attorney General that do not get any, or much, publicity. But it is the issues that are difficult and controversial; and that will be the case whoever has to take them.Which leads me to a further question to those who would seek fundamental reform of the Attorney's role: what sort of system are you going to put in place that allows those difficult and controversial decisions to be made and then ensures that they are upheld? What alternative model has been proposed that would be as good as the one we have? As I said earlier, and at the beginning of the consultation process, "the test for any proposal for change should be whether it enhances the effective administration of justice, the maintenance of the rule of law and the protection of the public interest". I have seen no proposal for change that really satisfies those tests.So let us not apply nice theoretical tests to the role of Attorney General and watch the role fail them; let us see whether the role works in practice. And if it does not need fixing, why break it?So it is that the Review has concluded with a significant but balanced series of non-statutory reforms which the Government believes will achieve the aims of the review.There is to be no change to the role of the Attorney General who will remain as Chief Legal Adviser to the Government, guardian of the public interest, and a Government Minister who is a senior lawyer. The Attorney will remain as superintendent of the main prosecuting authorities in England and Wales, though most of the changes that we are making to the role of the Attorney relate to the superintendence function, to enhance the independence of the prosecutors and clarify the relationship with the Attorney. I will say more about that later.I, the Government, make no apology for coming to this conclusion. As I have said before, it has been a real challenge to preserve all that is good, which upholds the rule of law, which makes for transparency, which delivers real integrity to the people of our country.The Rule of LawIt has become clear to me that the various functions that I discharge, that curious collection of tasks that are perhaps better described than defined, have gathered around the Attorney General because those functions are all in a real way about the rule of law and its protection, preservation and promotion.When I took office as Attorney General I swore an oath that I will "duly and truly minister The Queen's matters and sue The Queen's process after the course of the Law and after my cunning … I will duly in convenient time speed such matters as any person shall have to do in the law against the Queen as I may lawfully do, without long delay, tracting or tarrying the Party of his lawful process in that that to me belongeth. And I will be attendant to The Queen's matters when I shall be called thereto."As part of the reforms that we are to make to the office we will be amending and modernising the wording of the Oath to make the obligation to support the rule of law even more explicit. But I do not doubt that though the language of the current oath may be obscure, it was nevertheless clear to me that I was swearing to act in accordance with the law and to uphold the rule of law.I have spoken many times before on what I understand the rule of law to mean and be and so I hope you will forgive me if I do not explore that theme in detail this evening. I will however borrow from the former Attorney General, Lord Mayhew of Twysden who said "The Attorney General has a duty to ensure that the Queen's ministers who act in her name, or purport to act in her name, do act lawfully because it is his duty to help to secure the rule of law, the principle requirement of which is that the Government itself acts lawfully".Or as I like to put it, the Attorney General is asked to do is to keep the Government and its actions within the circle of justice.And I fundamentally and passionately believe that it is because the Attorney General is a senior lawyer, an independent professional, who is the Chief Legal Adviser to the Government and a senior Minister in the Government and guardian of the public interest that he or she is able to keep the circle of justice firm, to police its boundaries.It is precisely because the Attorney General is where law and politics meet that the Attorney General can discharge that role so effectively: in Government; of the Government; independent within Government.How do I think the Attorney General does that? I speak here first of all of the Attorney General as Chief Legal Adviser to the Government. Being a senior Minister puts the Attorney in a strong and secure position to provide sometimes unwelcome legal advice. My mere presence signals the importance that the Government attaches to legality and propriety, not just because I am there to give advice but because I am there to see it adhered to. I can say "no" to Ministerial colleagues knowing that they will accept that advice; and they will accept it because with my political hat on I am trusted; with my legal hat on I am an independent professional. I will not tell them what they want to hear because they want to hear it, but I will seek to give advice which will enable them to do what they want to do if it can properly be done within the rule of law. These are not contradictions; they are complements.All of this is derived from my position of strength within the Government. Would any alternative model be able to ensure that the rule of law was guarded in the same way? Giving advice is not about "yes" or "no"; it is a complex business; anyone with complete freedom to shop for advice could simply go from adviser to adviser until he or she heard what they wanted to hear. If the adviser is sufficiently secure to be able to work to meet the needs of the client while being able ultimately to say "this far and no further", how much better the rule of law, and notions of legality and propriety are protected.Of course I cannot and do not do this on my own. Another important and perhaps overlooked way in which I as Attorney General police the boundaries of the circle of justice is through the Government lawyers. Inevitably as the Government's Chief Legal Adviser I do not get to see all the legal issues with which the Government has to deal. I get involved with difficult or high profile cases, or arbitrate between Government Departments when they disagree on a point of law. But as these are the tip of the mound of legal issues that confront the Government, so I sit at the apex of a structure that deals with most of them that never come near me; that enable all the decisions, all the litigation, and the policies with which the Government is concerned to be measured against our domestic and international obligations and fall within the circle of justice. And I passionately believe that as leader of the Bar, as a member of the Bar Council, as a senior member of the profession I serve as a reminder to the 2000 lawyers in the Government Legal Service whom I oversee that I and they are lawyers first and that we are all the guardians of the rule of law.And this makes justice and the rule of law real. For the rule of law can only have any real, that is to say practical, meaning where all the organs of the state, and in particular the executive, are mindful of their obligation to respect it, and do respect it. And in the first instance it is government lawyers who achieve that by telling their clients what they need to know rather than what they want to hear; and government lawyers are able to do that because they know that they are supported by a Government Minister who is doing the same thing and wants, demands, that they do the same thing.Let me say some more about my role as guardian of the circle of justice. My guarding role is not just discharged as legal adviser: I have an important role in relation to legislation, ensuring compatibility with Convention rights, checking for legal and constitutional propriety, supporting the work of the Parliamentary Counsel and making myself available to them to raise concerns about the legality or propriety of the legislation that they are being asked to draft. I consider questions of devolved competence, of EC issues, of the proper allocation of power. Much of this is conducted in private so does not get much talked about. A necessary safeguard of course but perhaps an unfortunate obstruction to a wider understanding of the role of the Attorney and the safeguard of the rule of law.The Attorney General's role in relation to criminal prosecutions is similarly about upholding the rule of law, and it is the Attorney's position as a senior lawyer and Government Minister that enables the role to be discharged effectively.The Attorney General superintends the main prosecuting authorities, that is to say the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office. Now no one seriously suggests that the Government should have no role at all in relation to prosecutions - prosecution policy is a fundamental responsibility of the Government, and we have to ensure that prosecution decisions are made properly and fairly by a service which has the capability and calibre to undertake these critical functions on behalf of the public, and we have to account to Parliament and the public for the effective provision of this vital public service.So within Government, which Minister is best placed to discharge the role? Should it be, as some have suggested, a Minister in the Ministry of Justice, which already has responsibility for the courts, sentencing policy, prisons and probation? I believe the advantage of giving this responsibility to the Attorney General as currently configured is that, by virtue of having also a role in giving robust and independent legal advice to colleagues in Government, the Attorney is already exercising within Government an independence and legal probity, which will further enhance the protection of the independence of prosecution decisions, while at the same time being able to work closely with Cabinet colleagues to ensure that prosecution policy and the provision of an effective prosecution service retains a high priority within Government.But some reform was required and has now been instituted.To help to clarify and explain how we manage a relationship with the prosecutors which safeguards independence but also provides effective accountability, we have as part of our programme of reform agreed and now published a Protocol, which sets out when, and in which circumstances the Attorney will or will not be consulted, and how we engage with each other. The Protocol serves as a reminder that the Directors of the prosecuting authorities exercise their statutory functions subject to the superintendence of the Attorney General, who is accountable to Parliament for the Directors' functions in relation to prosecutions and for their work and the work of their departments. The Attorney in turn is responsible for safeguarding the independence of prosecutors in taking prosecution decisions. The Attorney General is not told about nor has any involvement in the conduct of the vast majority of individual cases around the country, and prosecution decisions are taken entirely by the prosecutors save in exceptional circumstances.Those exceptional circumstances are where my consent is required to bring a prosecution. When I do that I act independently of Government applying well established prosecution principles of evidential sufficiency and public interests.I might also very exceptionally exercise the power to give a direction in an individual case where necessary to safeguard national security. Successive Attorney Generals have proceeded on the basis that the superintendence relationship entails a power of direction in individual cases, though no recent Attorney has in fact sought to give a direction in relation to an individual case. Under changes reflected in the Protocol, I will no longer have the power to give a direction in an individual case. This marks a significant shift from the current arrangement. But I have decided that I should be able to give a direction in relation to cases which threaten national security, because Ministers are in the end responsible for protecting the nation and so Minister have the expertise that prosecutors will not necessarily have. I think it extremely unlikely that I will ever have to exercise the power, but if I do that I will be required under the Protocol to report to Parliament so far as compatible with national security.Other reforms to my role will will be made when time allows. I am thinking here in particular about the consent function that I currently exercise. The current hotchpotch of offences which can be prosecuted only with my consent is incoherent; for some the need to consent at all is long gone; for others the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions provides sufficient safeguard. But for a few offences, the Government believes that there is still a need for the consent of the Attorney General, for more serious offences where there is a greater public interest consideration which the Attorney is best placed to protect.I should say something here about my public interest role, though that is perhaps the least controversial and the one that has been least touched by the review of the role.My role as Guardian of the public interest covers such matters as my role as protector of charity, functions in relation to contempt of court; a power to take part in or instruct the Queen's proctor to intervene in certain family law proceedings relating to marriage. I may take decisions under the Freedom of Information Act in relation to papers of a previous administration; I may bring or intervene in legal proceedings in the public interest. I have the power to bring contempt proceedings to protect criminal trails and the administration of justice. It is a long and eccentric list, linked by the fact that in each case what I am required to do is to act in the public interest and independently of Government. It makes me think, if I have not already done so when considering my other roles, that if there were no Attorney General you would need to invent one; the general factotum of our constitutional settlement.I have already mentioned reform to the oath of office. In addition I will lay before Parliament an annual report concerning the exercise of my functions. For full accountability of my role is essential, and I want to do everything I can to help Parliament more effectively to call me to account.I do not underestimate the need to enhance public confidence in the role of Attorney General; nor do I underestimate the size of the task. But it is not a task that is completed simply by a change in the law, or the drafting of a protocol. It is hard and it takes time; it can be created slowly over time and lost in a moment. It is won by honest and transparent dealing and kept in the same way. It is not the taking of difficult or controversial decisions that loses confidence; that after all is what Government is for; it is when those decisions are taken for the wrong reasons or when the public fear that the decision maker is not being straight with them that the confidence is lost.Over the coming weeks and months I hope to be able to make a number of speeches looking more closely at aspects of my work as Attorney General and the issues for which I am responsible; at the prosecution service, at criminal justice, at the rule of law. And as I do I will be drawing on all the varied aspects of my role assisted by the tensions within that I consider to be creative rather than destructive. Now that the Government has reached a settled position on my role, I look forward to making the significant reforms to my role work in practice, so that we can achieve the enhancement of the effective administration of justice, the maintenance of the rule of law and the protection of the public interest that we sought all along and continue to seek. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneral.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP The role of the Attorney General in the 21st Century 19 January 2010 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General Speech: "Lawfare - Time for Rules of Engagement?"5 January 2010To the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Faculty of LawThe Lionel Cohen Lecture seriesCheck against deliveryFirst let me say that I regard it as a great honour and a privilege to be asked to give this year's Lionel Cohen Lecture. I am very grateful to Professor Menahem Ben-Sasson as President and Professor Barak Medina as Dean of the Faculty for hosting this event here at Hebrew University. It is a pleasure to be giving this lecture in a city of such central importance to three great religions; a city steeped in historical significance; but also a city which - through institutions such as Hebrew University - is preparing today's youth for a bright future. Whilst I recognise and celebrate the University's distinguished heritage, it is particularly gratifying to find an institution not resting on the past but actively preparing for the future through its outreach projects such as those of the Clinical Legal Education Center for Human Rights and Social Responsibility. I am very interested in the work being done through the clinics on domestic violence and on youth justice through initiatives such as the "Street Law" programme. This work chimes with many of my own priorities and concerns and I was therefore very grateful to learn more about this work from Sharon Sionov Arad yesterday. I confess that I will steal every good idea I heard - but I also promise that I will give every credit where it is due for those that I do!I know that many of you will have been disappointed by the late postponement of this lecture early last summer. As I said at the Annual Dinner of the British Friends of the University a few weeks ago, David's anguished "No!" on hearing that news is still echoing around my office. As I was preparing for this rescheduled lecture I looked again at Jonathan Cohen's letter of invitation and noticed his remarkable gift of foresight, and I quote: "We fully understand that a political emergency might upset any plans that you might make". It is often thought that as a Politician it must be the case that you are in control of the Politics, but I can say in my experience that it is the other way round - you are always at the mercy of "events". So your collective patience and understanding is greatly appreciated.The lecture is a sign of the close relations between our respective legal professions and the shared common law tradition of our two countries. It is named in honour of a most distinguished judge. And indeed I am humbled to be following such a distinguished list of academics, advocates and jurists who have given this lecture in the past. From the first lecture by Arthur - later Lord - Goodheart through to lectures by Lords Bingham, Hope, Woolf and Pannick, Baronesses Deech and Hale in more recent years, and the President of the Family Division last year, this lecture has always brought the best of the British legal talent here to Hebrew University. I am grateful to David and Jonathan for thinking I am fit to join them - but this truly is a tough act to follow. As much as anything though, and distinct from the personalities involved, the lectures are a continuing testament to the strength of the bond between our legal communities and our appreciation and affection for a great university. The British Friends of Hebrew University are committed to supporting and promoting the work of the university and I pay tribute to them - and to the university - here tonight.I was particularly interested to see that last year's lecture - given by Sir Mark Potter - was the first on family law, a subject upon which I first cut my teeth as a lawyer and about which I still take a close interest today. In many respects it is family ties that bring nations together. In today's world we marry across different nationalities, different races and different faiths. Globalisation shrinks the world. It makes people who were strangers into neighbours. How those new neighbours get on will depend on the understanding and respect they can show each other. Fear and misunderstanding are fertile ground for hostility and conflict. Barack Obama said it last year in his speech in Cairo: we have to end the cycle of suspicion and discord. He hasn't put on rose-tinted spectacles - but the need is urgent and practical and real. My parents taught me that you should always look at what you have in common with others, not at what separates you. Our family lived next door to the synagogue and actually I was one of the very few non-Orthodox members of the Jewish youth club. I was also the Shabbat Goy. We have much in common. With understanding we can celebrate our differences and welcome our neighbours as family, just as I was made welcome. It is therefore no surprise to me that many of the tools of resolving disputes within families - negotiation, mediation, arbitration - are the same tools used at the international level to resolve disputes within the family of nations."Lawfare"As ever the challenge in a lecture such as this is to be thought provoking enough to be interesting, without being so provocative as to cause offence. It is a delicate balancing act, particularly for a serving Government Minister. But I am fortunate in that regard in that the office of the Attorney General is uniquely a series of balancing acts between separate and distinct roles - as a criminal justice minister with superintendence of independent prosecuting authorities; as chief legal adviser to the government; and as guardian of the public interest. I am well used to juggling these responsibilities and interests - and also well used to the fact that inevitably one cannot please all people at all times.When first considering the subject matter and title for this lecture last spring I little realised the prospect of its having such added topicality in light of recent events, as regards private applications for arrest warrants. I shall not tonight be talking about the rights and wrongs of any individual case. But you will know that the Foreign Secretary has stated clearly that the Government is looking urgently at ways in which the UK system might be changed to avoid this situation arising again and is determined that Israel's leaders should always be able to travel freely to the UK.When thinking about the theme of the lecture I wanted to focus on challenges which our two countries face, and indeed which to an extent all countries now face. Increasingly every aspect of the work of government, of its agencies and of its military are the subject of legal challenge - both domestically and internationally - often in areas where traditionally courts have hesitated from rushing in, preferring to leave matters within the prerogative of the executive. It is right and proper that the executive should be held to account; where wrongs are done they are put right; and where damage is done it is compensated. But we also need to be alert to misuse and abuse of recourse to law - where legal action may be taken not just to secure a legal response, but also as a tactic in what is essentially a political campaign where any tool may be engaged as the ends are considered to justify the means. It is that which I have termed "Lawfare" for the purpose of this lecture.I wanted to set out at the outset what I would be referring to by the term "Lawfare" this evening as with any new or emerging term there can be some debate over exactly what is in issue. Others have used it in a different sense. Writing in the Wall Street Journal David B Rivkin Jr and Lee A Casey referred to the term "lawfare" as describing "the growing use of international law claims, usually factually or legally meritless, as a tool of war. The goal is to gain a moral advantage over your enemy in the court of world opinion, and potentially a legal advantage in national and international tribunals." Major General Charles J. Dunlap Jr, commenting on "Lawfare Today" in last Winter's Yale Journal of International Affairs, wrote "I now define "lawfare" as the strategy of using - or misusing - law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve an operational objective. As such I view law in this context much the same as a weapon. It is a means that can be used for good and bad purposes."I recognise this specific application to the military context - and shall be returning to that. But I will be discussing lawfare in a broader sense to cover the range of challenges recourse to law can present both to individuals and governments, and the respective roles and responsibilities of lawyers involved - including my own role as Attorney General. The issue can manifest itself in a variety of ways - it is not just a question of seeking a military objective or politicising of arrest warrants. It is also the impact of a low threshold for the bringing of applications for judicial review; the litigating of the battlefield; the bringing of actions in the UK for the alleged wrongdoing of other states; the application of a disclosure regime to national security information collated for a different purpose; and the diversion of increasingly scarce government resources from frontline tasks to meet the relentless pace of litigation. It would be all to easy to throw ones hands up in horror at the consequences of all this. An allegation can take a moment to make and a lifetime to disprove, but I defend absolutely an individual's right to make it. Ultimately - whatever challenges we face - we are duty bound to uphold the Rule of Law and all lawyers have a role in achieving this.Warfare: Rules of EngagementRegardless of the justification or legality of the decision to use force, it is well understood that armed forces must act in accordance with the Law of Armed Conflict. This detailed set of rules governing the conduct of hostilities aims to protect combatants and non-combatants from unnecessary suffering and to safeguard the fundamental human rights of persons who are not, or are no longer, taking part in the conflict. By preventing the degeneration of conflicts into brutality and savagery, the Law of Armed Conflict aids the restoration of peace and the resumption of friendly relations between the belligerents.Although it was not always so, the conduct of armed conflict today has law at its heart - indeed Article 82 of the First Protocol to the Geneva Conventions specifically requires that legal advisers are made available to military commanders to advise on the application of the Conventions and on the appropriate instruction to be given to members of the armed forces.I do not aim tonight to cover the Law of Armed Conflict in detail, but rather to consider if any the fundamental principles underpinning the rules of engagement in warfare may have any parallel to a set of rules of engagement for "lawfare".There are four fundamental principles which run through the whole of the Law of Armed Conflict:1. Military necessityThis principle requires a State engaged in armed conflict to use only that degree and kind of force, not otherwise prohibited by the Law of Armed Conflict, that is required in order to achieve the legitimate purpose of the conflict, namely the complete or partial submission of the enemy at the earliest possible moment with the minimum expenditure of life and resources.2. HumanityThis forbids the infliction of suffering, injury or destruction not actually necessary for the accomplishment of legitimate military purposes. It confirms the immunity of civilians and civilian objects from attack. This does not mean that unavoidable incidental civilian casualties and damage resulting from legitimate attacks upon military objectives are unlawful - provided such casualties and damage are not excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage contemplated.3. ProportionalityThe principle of proportionality is set out specifically in Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention. It is a link between the principles of military necessity and humanity. The application of the principle can be far from straightforward. The method of attack that minimises the risk to civilians may mean an increased risk to the armed forces. The principle does not require that the attacker accept the increased risk. The obligation, however, is to refrain from attacks that would cause excessive collateral damage.4. DistinctionThere must be a clear distinction between the armed forces and civilians. Only combatants are permitted to take direct part in hostilities and, for so long as they refrain from doing so, civilians are protected from attack. Equally a distinction has to be made between military targets and civilian objects.Lawfare: Rules of engagement?One can see scope for parallels between the principles governing the laws of warfare and a nascent set of principles that might be applicable for "lawfare":For "military necessity" one might consider a "principle of necessity". That you go to law as a last resort, not a first one, and that you genuinely engage with alternatives. That if your disagreement is one of policy, you engage in political debate not play out your disagreements through the courts. That the main purpose of recourse to law is to seek legal redress, whilst recognising that a legal ruling may strengthen the case for a particular course of action.For "humanity" one might speak of "a principle of integrity" in the sense which we as professional lawyers understand from the letter and spirit of the Bar Council Code of Conduct or that for the Law Society. That we are honest with each other and that we treat each other, the clients and the courts, with respect. That we approach cases acutely conscious of the duty of candour, and that cases are not brought where there is no realist foundation for success.For "proportionality" we might have - again - a "principle of proportionality". Not just in the sense that the bringing a case should a proportionate response to the perceived wrong. But also in the sense that in dealing with cases we as lawyers, and the courts too are focused on the issue in question and are alert to the dangers of unintended consequences flowing from any particular approach or decision.And for "distinction" we perhaps need to reverse the principle and have a "principle of non-discrimination". That all are equal before the law. But also that those that uphold the law are reflective of the diversity of the society in which they work.But I believe to continue down this road would be a flawed approach. There may be parallels between rules for warfare and rules for "lawfare", but I do not think that treating recourse to law as if it were tantamount to taking up arms is the right approach. If the charge is that those who would wage war on us through terror are now seeking to achieve similar ends through use and misuse of law, I am conscious that those who might do so are no more likely to respect rules of engagement for "lawfare" than they do rules of engagement for warfare. What is not needed is a new set of principles to deal with a new threat, but rather a reaffirmation of existing principles underpinning our legal system. And there you do not need a pocket card to remind you of the rules of engagement on the battlefield. For there is only one rule of engagement and that is the Rule of Law.The Rule of LawBut what is this 'rule of law' we so often talk about? In the narrow sense, it is those ideas expressed by Dicey. The idea that the exercise of power needs to be authorised in particular and consistent ways; that iIt must not be arbitrary. But it's essentially a procedural demand - a Rule of Recognition, as the theorists call it. It says little about the substance of the law - it just says there's got to be a law. So there is more to it than that. Access to the law and to justice should not be impeded. In the ancient words of the Magna Carta, "to no-one will we deny or delay right or justice." But there's more still. The rule of law means striking a fair balance between individual and public interest. This is the language of the European Convention of course and the Human Rights Act. But it's pervasive - the protection of private rights and the protection of community rights, and how to accommodate them. And it means the proper observance of constitutional boundaries between judge, Parliamentarian and Minister.So I think there are four important principles. They are:1. Rule of recognition2. Access to the law3. Striking a fair balance4. Constitutional boundariesPrimo Levi, the Italian chemist and writer who survived Auschwitz, told a chilling story. Of the time when he asked one of the camp guards the question 'why?' - it was the one thing he needed to know. The guard pushed him aside and said simply, 'there's no 'why' here.' So I also see the rule of law as being the right to ask the question 'why?' and the right to receive a proper answer.We have always separated power between different bodies, the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary. I firmly believe these bodies exist in a type of 'creative tension' with each other. They will not always agree. Very often they will not. It is not always comfortable for Parliament, the Government and the judges to work together. The press will not always support the Government, as you may have noticed. NGOs will intervene. People will protest. They will all want their say. They may be right. And they may be wrong. The Attorney's roles - my roles - are all about promoting and protecting these principles. So you will hopefully forgive me for telling you how I see myself as Attorney doing that, by mentioning and discussing just some of the roles I perform, as an activist for the rule of law.As Attorney General I have a role in the superintendence and the provision of accountability for the work of Crown Prosecution Service and other prosecutorial bodies. But as Attorney I am also a member of the Government I advise. For my part, I have long considered that my position in Government does not weaken my role protecting the rule of law. My work as legal adviser to the Government strengthens it in the following ways.As to the rule of recognition, it is my role to test and challenge the practical effectiveness and necessity of legislation.Access to the law. The Attorney demands propriety and transparency in law-making, and guards the right of individuals to go to court to seek redress.Fair balance. The Attorney demands law and policy are fair and compatible with the Convention rights.Constitutional boundaries. The Attorney considers questions of devolved competence, European Union issues, the proper allocation of power.Being in Government, the Attorney is able to advise and counsel with sympathy and creativity, to be entirely objective, to speak frankly and freely. To decline when declining is called for. Protecting the rule of law is to promote the interests of the Government, and it is to protect the public interest. We are not called to see these as irreconcilable.In speaking about the Attorney's different roles I inevitably speak about myself. But of course it's not just me who does this work. Nor just the lawyers who work in my office. As Attorney, I am the Minister with responsibility for the Government Legal Service and for the panels of counsel who work for the Government. It is vital that we who work for Government imbue it with these principles. Rule of recognition, access to the law, fair balance, constitutional boundaries. Whatever the perception of "lawfare" many rules are made nowadays which are never challenged in the courts. In many cases Government lawyers are the rule of law. It will be they who test, challenge and if necessary correct flaws which would otherwise inaccurately express policy, in a way which is inconsistent with these principles.If we are to promote access to the law we must not stop at the gate. I could not stand here and say, not without risk of hypocrisy, that 'to no-one will we deny or delay justice' unless I encourage others, those with legal expertise, to help those who need help. We have done great work on a Pro Bono Toolkit. The aspiration is that, with shared best practices from other Commonwealth countries, it will help provide guidance or a blueprint for how best to undertake pro bono work. With our shared common law tradition there is no reason to think that Israel could not share in that too. With my fellow Attorneys from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA meeting last autumn as a Quintet and affirming their commitment to pro bono, this is clearly not the preserve of the Commonwealth alone. We are deeply involved in using pro bono to encourage access to the law. No-one now suggests that pro bono could or should ever be viewed as a substitute for legal aid, but it is an additional resource which can be invaluable in delivering justice to those who would otherwise have little access to it.And it is the same principle which gives the Attorney a role in encouraging young people to join the profession. We must endue young people with a belief in the law's importance - in the hope of their contribution to it. To this end I have established a Youth Network, designed to coordinate initiatives aimed at encouraging understanding of and respect for the rule of law, de-mystifying the legal profession and building pathways into it. It will help children understand they will one day own the law, and they should feel empowered by this.The Attorney's functions are varied and miscellaneous. But the fundamental coherent principle governing and directing them is the rule of law. Rule of recognition, access to the law, fair balance, constitutional boundaries. And there is a kind of positive feedback at work here, for the fact that they are all performed by the Attorney, who is supremely concerned with the rule of law, is the thing which gives them a coherent shape and colour. Keeping people safe is a fundamental part of the rule of law, and it follows that delivering justice to those who would threaten our society is a necessity if we are to protect that society.The roles of the judiciary and the executiveWhat though are the proper respective roles of the executive and the courts in responding to the challenges society faces today, particularly the threat from terrorism? Administrative law is fundamentally about the relationship between the executive and judicial arms of the state - between "the Government" and the courts. The relationship is not a static one. It is shifting all the time - in response to social, economic, cultural and of course legislative changes. I am clear that the primary function of a state must be to protect its citizens. I am equally clear that, in responding to the terrorist threat, it is more, not less, important that we maintain scrupulously our respect for the rule of law and for the values which underlie it.Working out how to protect society within the rule of law is not the exclusive responsibility of any one branch of the state. It is a task which all the branches share - the legislature, the executive and the courts. Getting the right balance between ensuring the collective security of society, whilst protecting the fundamental rights of individuals, is far from straightforward. Nor is it straightforward to work out precisely what the roles of the executive and the courts should be in getting that balance right.In the UK the relationship between the executive and the courts was given a particular focus by the Human Rights Act 1998. The Act was the method by which the European Convention on Human Rights was "incorporated" into UK law. It gave our domestic courts a new and very particular role. On the one hand, the Act preserved the sovereignty of Parliamentary, so that the courts cannot strike down an Act of Parliament on the ground that it offends the Convention rights. On the other hand, the courts can, if they take the view that an Act of Parliament is incompatible, make a declaration to that effect. Other provisions allow the courts to strike down secondary legislation, such as rules and regulations made by Ministers. In addition, the Act provides that legislation must, as far as possible, be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights. The role of the courts under the Human Rights Act is of particular importance because so many of the rights under the European Convention contain within themselves an element of balance - balance between the rights of individuals and the collective interests of societyOne concept which has been used to define the boundary between the courts and the executive is that of judicial "deference". The idea is essentially that some issues are so fundamentally within the province or expertise of the executive that the courts should "defer" to the executive on those issues. In other words the courts should respect the judgment of the executive in those areas and not interfere.The classic example is national security. But it would be too simplistic to conclude that national security is simply a "no-go area" for the courts. When the government acts to protect national security, it must still do so within the rule of law. And ultimately it is still answerable to the courts for the action it takes. Indeed, deciding how to respond to protect their citizens from the modern terrorist threat has presented democratic governments around the world with legal and jurisprudential problems of the most acute difficulty, on which they have repeatedly been held to account by the courts.Sometimes I believe governments have gone too far. I believe the former US administration went too far with Guantanamo Bay. In that case, the search for a pragmatic solution to the terror threat failed to demonstrate respect for the rule of law and consequently lacked legitimacy. In the UK we have sought to find solutions within the rule of law, not outside it. That means our solutions have been subject to the close scrutiny of the courts. Sometimes the courts have told us that we have got it wrong.However, traditionally the courts have nonetheless been prepared to accept that the executive has a special responsibility and a special expertise in the field of national security. That does not equate to immunity from review, or anything like it. What it means is that, where the executive reaches specific judgments on national security issues, and those judgments can be shown to be carefully reasoned and based on sound evidence, the judges should be slow to substitute their own views. The courts will still perform their review function. But in performing that function they should respect the expert judgments of the executive on matters of fact and policy in the national security field. That balance may continue to be subject to challenge and review, but I still think that it is the right one.It is my view that the judiciary and the government have a shared responsibility to ensure that responses to the very real terrorist threat we face is both principled and pragmatic. Without question adherence to the rule of law means that the Courts should and must, when asked, inquire into the actions of the executive. It is their duty to uphold the law. The Courts play the vital role of telling us so. But, it is clear from recent judgements that the Courts do not find these matters easy. The Courts have asked themselves some searching question as to their role when matters of national security are at stake. The Courts should not and must not defer from their responsibility to rigorously inquire when they are requested to do so. It is a different question though when the Courts legitimately decide that another arm of government is best placed to make a subjective decision that has resulted in the challenged course of action.I expect that jurists will continue to grapple with these questions just as governments will have to in devising strategies to keep their citizens safe from harm. Adopting pragmatic approaches to protecting ourselves from the terrorist threat whilst observing the principles of the rule of law is a shared endeavour of all three arms of government. Bearing our respective burdens in this regard and recognising where those burdens lie are crucial to ensuring that the rule of law remains at the centre of any solutions we may devise. We would all do well to remember Mark Twain's advice -"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest".ConclusionThe rule of law forms the principled framework that enables us to take a pragmatic approach in dealing with national security issues in today's world. It does not bind us to using the mechanisms that have traditionally been utilised. But it does ensure that our core values are not disregarded. If we are pragmatic without principle we risk rejecting the rule of law as a core foundation of our society. We lose our legitimacy. Whatever the challenges of litigation, "lawfare" style or otherwise it is important to stay true to the rule of law and that is the only rule of engagement with which we need be truly concerned: because at the end of the day "See you in Court" is always better than "See you outside"But I shall leave the last word to Aharon Barak - who I had the pleasure of meeting earlier - from his opinion written for a September 6, 1999 decision of the Supreme Court of Israel:"This is the destiny of democracy, as not all means are acceptable to it and not all practices employed by its enemies are open before it. Although a democracy must often fight with one hand tied behind its back, it nonetheless has the upper hand. Preserving the rule of law and recognition of an individual's liberty constitutes an important component in its understanding of security. At the end of the day they strengthen its spirit and allow it to overcome its difficulties."I could not agree more. Thank you very much.[5131 words] None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/%E2%80%9CLawfare%E2%80%93TimeforRulesofEngagement%E2%80%9D.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP Speech: "Lawfare - Time for Rules of Engagement?" 05 January 2010 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: Speech to Lovell's Women's Network event8 December 2009I am delighted to be here tonight, in a room full of inspiring lawyers dedicated to increasing diversity at senior levels within the legal profession.You have demonstrated this through networking and through your support and promotion of equal opportunities.As the first female and black Attorney General in over 700 years we have come a long way from where we were, and are moving towards a better future for the coming generations. It will take each of us to individually and collectively make a difference. I hope that by the time each of you leave tonight you will each aspire to deliver three things that you can do to help address this important issue.Importance of increasing diversity at senior levelThe latest Legal Week Big Question survey found more than 2/3 of respondents (67%) felt representation of women at a senior level was either 'poor' or 'could be better'. [July 2009]General representation of women in the legal profession was felt to be improving, however according to 65% of the 216 partners responding to the survey, [including 31% who thought it was 'good' and 10% who judged it to be excellent']-there is still some way to go.The finding reflects the fact that more women than men are now entering the legal profession, though partnerships at major City firms remain dominated by men.BarriersWe know that one of the key barriers is the lack of attainability of partnership as women struggle to combine family commitments with the demands made of senior lawyers.What difference have women lawyers made?Women Lawyers as policy makers have helped shape the course of history & improve the legal landscape; examples include Harriet Harman and her role as Leader for the House of Commons and Minister for Women & Equality, the Solicitor General who is a Law Officer and Minister on Equality, Brenda Hale-female judge on the new Supreme Court.What has been achieved in government?Integrated cross government work on equality, violence against women, children's services including improving access to child care, the Children's Act, to name a few.Lady Hale as example-brings a knowledge rare among judges of the workings of Whitehall and the ins and outs of the legislative process from her 10 years on the Law Commission, including five years working on the gestation of the ground-breaking Children Act.What needs to be done to help address disparity in the legal profession/politics?There must be transparency and the eradication of elitism.There must be local level dialogue with schools and universities to engage in youth who in the future may decide to take law/politics as a career pathway.Workshops and shadowing as well as some form of mentoring scheme to encourage women and other minorities should be used. [AG Youth Network example]The UK Government recently launched a campaign for achieving a healthy work-life balance.Key areas highlighted by the government for action by employers are:knowing that both employers and employees benefit from work-life balanceunderstanding that part time does not mean half heartedencouraging staff to work from home when appropriateenabling employees to share jobs and adopt flexible hours in school holidaysallowing their employees paid paternity and maternity leave.And the benefits can be felt in 3 areas:employees can reduce stress, and become more productive and motivated, and happier, as they achieve a better work-life balancecompanies can boost staff morale, and introduce practices which are more efficient and effectivesocially excluded groups who of necessity have to prioritise home life (e.g. because of caring responsibilities) may gain access to employment opportunities with companies which allow a better balanceWhere we were-how far we have comeLooking around the room tonight at the number of women lawyers, it is worth remembering how far we have come;Four women passed the Law Society's examinations in 1922, and on December 18 that year the first woman solicitor was admitted.• In 1913 the Law Society refused to allow four women to sit the Law Society examinations.• The women took the case to the Court of Appeal. But in a famous case, Bebb v The Law Society, the Court of Appeal upheld the Law Society's decision. The Judge, Mr Justice Joyce, ruled that women were not "persons" within the meaning of the Solicitors Act of 1843.• It was not until 1919, when the Sex Disqualification Act was passed, that women were allowed to practice law. The first women to pass their examination were Maud Crofts, Carrie Morrison, Mary Pickup and Mary Sykes in 1922.Women trailblazers-making a difference• Carrie Morrison finished her articles first out of the four women, and was the first woman to be admitted to the role of solicitor. She and Maud Crofts were already no strangers to sex discrimination.• When they graduated from Girton College, Cambridge with First Class Honours, the university authorities refused to award them their degrees because they were women. Although they were allowed to study, attend lectures and sit exams, women could not hold degrees.• Maud Crofts, who was involved in the 1913 Court of Appeal case, was a prominent suffragette. When she went into practice with her father and brother, her clientele included wealthy and influential members of the women's suffrage movement. Although these women were breaking new ground in Britain, their American counterparts had already pioneered the way. The first woman lawyer in the English-speaking world was Arabella Mansfield, who was admitted to the Iowa state bar in June 1869.• But in Britain, it continued to be an uphill struggle for women even after 1922. If women did not have fathers or husbands who were lawyers, it was often financially impossible for them to get articles, for which there was a yearly premium of something between 300-500 guineas (1 guinea = 1 pound and one shilling, so in pounds £330-550, equivalent in 2009 money to about £60,000 - £110,000).• Although wealthy parents may have been willing to invest in their sons, paying this amount for daughters was rare. In 1931, nine years after Carrie Morrison had been admitted, only about 100 women had qualified as solicitors.• The numbers continued to rise relatively slowly until the last decade or so. As recently as 1967, only 2.7% of solicitors holding certificates were women....% Women UK lawyers-we have come a long way1957 1.94%1967 2.7%1971 3%1977 7.33%1985 13%1987 16%1997 32.75%1999 35%2010 40% (est) [1]More recently the number of women holding practising certificates has increased by 100% in the last 10 years. Women now make up 60% of admissions to the Law Society;Only 23% of partners in private law firms are women, however;9% of solicitors in private practice come from a BME background;Yet 30% of first year law students are from a BME background. Where have they gone?Lawyers are driven individuals, hard working people who really want to succeed and make a difference, that the culture around being a lawyer, especially in private practice (but a number of us in the Government Legal Service have to consider it as well) is often focused on the number of hours spent working, in order to do business and to do it successfully.We have to recognise these in order to really recognise where the challenges lie for creating a healthy work-life balance for lawyers.You know as well as I do, the great rewards (and I don't merely mean financial) that a legal career can provide - the important, close, detailed work, the satisfaction of a job being done well, the thrill of being on one's feet and being able to answer the judge's questions and knowing that you have made a real difference in actually making justice happen.But I don't want to speak of the challenges without at least giving you an idea of where the solutions may also lie. There are a number of ways in which a better work-life balance may be achievable for lawyers. This includes adapting working practice to increase "smart working".What are we doing in Government to address?We in the Government Legal Service know this as "smarter working", but it is absolutely the same concept and it is a notion firmly embedded in Government Legal Service thinking. It involves effort by the lawyers and by their employers to identify flexible and better fitting ways of getting work done - for example, having meetings to cover ground and obtain instructions where lawyers might previously have insisted on receiving instructions in writing, weeks before they had to advise.It means greater collaboration between lawyers - both in terms of effectively sharing workloads so that one lawyer isn't over-burdened, but also a greater dialogue with and the level of understanding between employee and manager.The Government has taken a number of steps to try to help improve work-life balance through the Work and Families Act 2006 (which received Royal Assent on 21st June 2006). The Act allows for changes to maternity leave and adoption leave and pay benefits for parents of children born or to be placed for adoption on or after 1st April 2007. It has extended statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay and maternity allowance entitlement from 26 weeks to 39 weeks.Furthermore, the right to request flexible working was extended to carers of adults from 6 April 2007 (a development I consider to be particularly important).The Crown Prosecution Service, which I superintend, and which is the largest employer in this country in terms of legal staff, is a very good example of a Department that has adopted flexible working and I am very pleased to say that this has proven very successful.The Crown Prosecution Service as an employer, tries to arrange flexible working arrangements to suit employees wherever this can be met within the requirements of its business needs. The same attitude is taken by other Government Departments. We recognise that the benefits provided by allowing flexible working are very significant and more than justify taking this approach.If you feel I need to "prove" my case to you about the successes we have had within the Government Legal Service, I should mention the statistics (from the Government Legal Service end of year report for 2007, reported in February 2008):There are over 1,900 lawyers within the Government Legal Service. Of these 61% are women. That's the same percentage as the number of women admitted to the Law Society;At the Senior Civil Service level, 40% of these lawyers are women and at the most senior Senior Civil Service levels, 40% are women. This compares with the 23% of partners in law firms who are women.Now after a period of 700 years, we have a female Attorney General and, notably, both Law Officers are female.So how has the Government Legal Service achieved these figures? We offer excellent quality, high profile work, of great variety. So do you. We have a very positive approach towards career development and talent management and I am confident you do as well.We also, however, take a positive approach towards diversity and flexible working. We offer the chance to do high-quality work but with flexible working arrangements including full-time, part-time, home working and job-sharing. I think this is the lynch-pin of our success. We've been doing it for some time - I know, for example, of a member of the Senior Civil Service who agreed with her Department (the then Department for Social Security) in 1990, when she returned to work from maternity leave, that she would work part-time (3 days per week). This may not seem that surprising but the next point perhaps is: it was her employers who suggested that to make this arrangement more workable, she should work partially at home so that she could manage her work and family life commitments in a non-traditional way. I should also emphasise that this was done for a business reason. She was an excellent asset of a lawyer that no-one wanted to lose, so her employer changed their procedures to accommodate her.It is important to recognise within all of this that flexible working and a better-work life balance does not mean failing to meet a client's needs and expectations.Pro bono Publico-'for the good of the public'I have a great interest in pro bono and corporate social responsibility work because what they demonstrate to the lawyer engaged in them is a reminder of the reasons for being a lawyer. It helps them to be a voice for voices that cannot be heard. When a lawyer is engaged in what can seem like hard-edged work, it helps to revive some of the optimism and belief in a justice system that led them to become a lawyer in the first place.ConclusionWhat I believe we see with pro bono lawyers is that a light goes on when they do pro bono work and it makes it a bit easier to do that hard edged work they must carry out. So many lawyers have told me that with pro bono they get back far more than they give. I commend it to you as another way to achieve the work-life balance.Women lawyers are making great gains in the legal and political sphere.History is the work of our own hands. If we take this opportunity to make future history, and we make it with reason and with principle, we will leave the finest legacy for future generations. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/LOVELL%E2%80%99SWOMEN%E2%80%99SNETWORKEVENT.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP Speech to Lovell's Women's Network event 08 December 2009 Attorney General's Office
Solicitor General: overview of Government DV strategies19 November 2009Vera Baird QC MP, Solicitor GeneralThank you for inviting me to speak today on this important subject, and very timely as we mark International Elimination of Violence Against Women Day next week. The Government is resolutely committed to improving the response to Violence Against Women including domestic violence. We want to increase reporting and conviction rates; ensuring that victims are supported adequately, that the criminal justice response is improved and that prevention is maximised.Each of you in this room has an important role to play and I hope to hear from you later about some of the challenges you face and where you feel things are going well.I hope that you will be able to go away from today's event with a renewed sense of purpose, and perhaps most importantly, with a clear idea of the important function that each of you have in ensuring that we improve the response to domestic violence for victims and their children.Role as Solicitor GeneralBefore I share my vision, as Solicitor General, for the CJS, it may be helpful if I set out the key elements of my role currently.The Attorney General and I are accountable to Parliament under statute for the superintendence of the CPS and share responsibility with the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary for criminal justice policy.What does this mean in practice?We answer parliamentary questions and represent the Government in debates on prosecution policy or on occasion, particular prosecutionsWe are consulted on the development of criminal justice policy and legislation; have seats on the National Criminal Justice Board; andWe are the voice of prosecutors within government.In addition, because we have a role as guardians of the public interest, we necessarily have a role in relation to certain individual criminal cases, for instance:Cases requiring consent to prosecute;Referring potential unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal; andDecisions on whether to institute proceedings for contempt of court (to name but some).This means that in practice we have a much more direct involvement in individual cases than Ministers usually have, even where their department has a power to prosecute.What are my immediate areas of focus for the CJS? Let me list a few of them:engaging more with the community it serves;improving public confidence;being more effective;doing so with greater efficiency; andproviding better support to vulnerable victims.Setting out the context-Domestic ViolenceWe have been on a journey, from dysfunction to function, from poorly coordinated support of agencies to co-ordinated community support.Addressing domestic violence has been one of our government's key achievements. I welcome the opportunity to share our learning and some of the positive outcomes, including a reduction in domestic homicides.We have further to go, and our success in improving the landscape on domestic violence will not occur without the valuable specialist skills and expertise of the voluntary sector, along with effective multi-agency working.I commend Women's Aid and others here today for the important and often life-saving work that you do.Shocking statisticsWe know that a child born into the most disadvantaged 5 per cent of families is 100 times more likely to have multiple problems at age 15 than a child from the 50 per cent best-off families.One-third of child protection cases show a history of domestic violence to the mother.For thirty per cent of domestic violence cases, domestic violence starts or escalates in pregnancy.Approximately 750,000 children in the UK witness domestic violence in their homes.Sadly, around half of the children in such families have themselves been beaten, and many are at risk of serious harm including homicide. Sexual and emotional abuse are also more likely to happen in these families.In the NSPCC survey (2007), one in four children said that they had witnessed domestic violence between adult family members. Around half of incidents (47%) involved physical assaults and 13% the use of an object or weapon.To make a difference for these families we need a programme with power, a programme of sufficient intensity and depth to change what can be a spiral disadvantage for life. After all, how we are parented is the most important influence in anyone's life. The safety and empowerment of women is the most effective form of child protection.The cornerstone for our ambition for young people is our 'Every Child Matters' approach. This cuts across all areas, with the aims that children:Be healthy;Stay safe;Enjoy and achieve;Make a positive contribution; and,Achieve economic well-being.It is right that in the Criminal Justice System we are behind these aims. They are at the heart of our aims to build safer communities.We know that witnessing domestic violence can have devastating impacts on children, in their development and educational attainment. In one study, in 75% of cases, children had delayed cognitive development and 86% had delayed speech development.I am pleased that you will hear more later about the NSPCC West Sussex pilot and their role in providing recovery work for women and children.Legislative and other measuresWe provided the legal framework to address domestic violence through the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, which ensures that all victims have coherent, appropriate and effective legal protection.We have also been improving services on the ground. Through these combined measures, domestic homicides are lower than they have been in ten years.Domestic violence training has been rolled out to all police and Crown Prosecution Service prosecutors.Every police force and CPS area now has a domestic violence co-ordinator. Every police force also has a domestic violence champion.There are over 600 specially trained Independent Domestic Violence Advisors nationally (IDVAs) to support victims.Domestic violence advocacy is founded on an understanding that a co-ordinated multi-agency response to those at high risk is the best way to deliver safety, reduce repeat victimisation and increase awareness of children at risk of harm.There are over 200 Multi Agency Risk Conferences nationally, to help protect high risk victims and their children.There are over 125 Specialist Domestic Violence Courts, which are a fundamental part of the government's efforts to improve the support and care provided for victims of domestic violence.The Specialist Domestic Violence Court programme promotes a combined approach to tackling domestic violence by the police, the Crown prosecutors, magistrates, courts and probation together with specialist support services for victims, which situates the court and the Criminal Justice System as part of a community-wide response to domestic violence.Prosecution rates have nearly doubled since the introduction of SDVC's, to an average of 72.5 per cent and continue to rise.Routine enquiry about domestic violence has been rolled out to all pregnant women and in adult mental health services.The Children and Domestic Violence toolkit for frontline professionals was published in September, and includes risk assessments and safety planning tools for vulnerable children and young people.The Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV) was formed and is holding an annual event this month to highlight the work collectively and individually to reduce the impact of domestic violence on the workplace.Family approach'Think Family' practice - making sure that the support provided by child and adult services is coordinated and focused on problems affecting the whole family is the most effective way of working with families experiencing the most significant problems.This is why the Government is committed to a national programme of reform and culture change which involve all schools and children services, the NHS, Job Centres, Police, Probation and prisons:to improve the identification and support of adults experiencing problems who are parents or carersto co-ordinate the support that is provided by different agencies to each family, especially those experiencing significant problemsSince 2007 we have been testing the Family Nurse Partnership across England, with the family nurses working with young, vulnerable first time parents and ensuring that they are linked into their Children's Centres and support.This programme is supported by a research and development programme to help build our evidence base on effective interventions in England.Along with the Family Nurse Partnerships, the Family Intervention Projects is a good example of effective partnership working to reach the most vulnerable families with multiple problems.These projects gain the agreement of the family to a range of behavioural changes and engagement in interventions. Accredited parenting programmes are delivered and services such as health are brought in and coordinated around the families needs, based on a model from Scotland. A key worker 'grips' the family and builds on strengths. There will be a FIP in every area in England by next year.In one of the evaluation studies, over eighty per cent of FIP families experienced poor parental mental health and substance misuse, and over fifty per cent were affected by domestic violence.Significant outcomes achieved through FIPs includes a reduction in the number of children going into care, domestic violence reduced by two thirds in some areas, and over eighty per cent of children back in school. For families with serious levels of anti-social behaviour a reduction from sixty one per cent to just seven per cent.Rape and sexual assaultAs you are aware, there are many barriers to overcome in improving rape investigations and prosecutions.We are seeking to challenge many of the myths that surround cases of rape and hinder successful prosecutions.Government responseThere is much work across Government to improve the response to rape. The Tackling Violence Action Plan drives forward work on sexual violence, with a particular focus on improving the investigation and prosecution of rape and the protection of children from sex offenders.We are going to be more than doubling the size of the Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) by March 2011, ensuring that there is at least one in each of the 43 police force areas in England and Wales. SARCs bring together all of the different legal and medical agencies and departments in one place, which helps both the victims and those investigating the crimes.SARCs offer victims of sexual crime an integrated service where victims can receive medical care, psychological counseling, legal advice and other support, all in one place from professionally trained staff.Helping the investigationWe are also aiming to ensure that all victims should have access to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor by March 2011. We have recently announced funding of £1.6million for new and existing SARCs and new funding will be available for Sexual Violence Advisors.We have established a cross-Criminal Justice System Rape performance Group to monitor the work of all police forces and CPS Areas against a series of indicators. In addition, the government has introduced sexual offences training for police officers and advocates prosecuting rape cases.Under the cross-government Tackling Sexual Violence and Abuse Action Plan, we have set ourselves further targets on improving access to health and support services for victims, on improving the criminal justice response and on maximising protection.We are continuing to fund the invaluable work of the sexual violence voluntary sector. In the last year, £1.25 million of funding has been provided and this year we will be spending around £3 million to increase the capacity and stability of the sector. Last year we announced an emergency fund of over £1 million to prevent immediate closures of those rape crisis centres most at risk.VAWG StrategyThe Violence Against Women & Girls consultation was launched by the former Home Secretary in March. Home Office officials analysed over 10,000 responses that have been received to inform the publication of a Cross Government VAWG strategy later this month.Analysis of the consultation responses identified that in relation to sexual violence, and particularly the effective handling of complaints about rape, there is a gap in the consultation which we have agreed needs to be addressed.Although a series of measures to improve the investigation and prosecution of rape to ensure victims received a consistent, high-quality service were announced by the Home Office in April we believe that we need to complement this work by taking a closer and broader look at the barriers preventing full implementation of current policy and to consider further what we can do to ensure the effective handing of rape by authorities.We are providing a review on rape to supplement the consultation. It will:Examine the response of the public authorities to rape complaints and examine how more victims can be encouraged to report;Explore ways in which the attrition rate in criminal cases can be reduced and, how to fairly increase the conviction rate;Identify how to increase victim and witness satisfaction and confidence in the CJS in addressing rape;Explore public and professional attitudes to rape and how they impact on outcomes;Utilise findings and information available from other relevant work, including the work on victims' experience being led by Sara Payne and the Health Taskforce Review led by Professor Alberti.Make recommendations, with particular reference to improving the implementation of current policies and procedures.The review is independently chaired By Baroness Stern and focuses on the systems and processes for handling rape complaints, from when the complaint is first made to when a court outcome is reached. The review will focus on gathering evidence from the wide range of public bodies responsible for providing effective frontline responses to rape complaints. The findings from the Review will be published early next year.CPS-the Violence Against Women StrategyI would now like to talk to you briefly about how the CPS has risen to the challenge of tackling violence against women crimes in a truly integrated fashion.I think it can be said that the CPS is a pioneer in tackling violence against women. It is, we believe, the first public prosecution service to integrate all forms of violence against women under the UN definition into a strategy and action plan which relates work in this area to a wider gender equality agenda. It is through this type of work that the CPS is achieving its vision of becoming a world class prosecution service.The CPS Violence Against Women strategy and action plan is aimed at integrating, coordinating and improving prosecutions and support for victims in a range of crimes, including but not limited to; domestic violence; rape and sexual offences, honour-based violence; prostitution; and human trafficking.Examples of CPS workIn the next three years, the CPS is focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system, through bringing more offenders of violence against women crimes to justice.It will seek to achieve this through:Improving prosecution performance with a new violence against women indicator, including targets for increasing successful outcomes in domestic violence, rape and sexual offences;We have already met the April 2009 target of successful rape prosecutions of 59% and exceeded the target of 72% for domestic violence and sexual offences;the development of specific guidance for prosecutors on Violence against Women;the coordination and strengthening of Area coordinators and specialist prosecutors;annually measuring the satisfaction of stakeholders andimproving training across a range of VAWG work.In addition, the CPS is targeting improved victim and witness support, safety and satisfaction. This will be achieved through;support systems for victims and outcome monitoring; andthe development of a system to measure the support for and satisfaction of women victims of violence, across the criminal justice system.Finally, the CPS is also seeking to address any disproportionality across the equality strands through:examining the equality profiles of defendants and victims; andensuring Witness Care Units have support systems and information on support for victims and witnesses from all communities.ConclusionI hope that I have been able to outline to you just some of the good work going on in this area, and some of the challenges that we face. The Government has done, and continues to focus attention on these important issues. We are seeking to properly equip front line practitioners to tackle the problem and are putting into place arrangements that will protect victims.But there must be a committed and collaborative working at both a national and local level if full advantage is to be taken of these strategies. Events like this are so very important to achieving these aims.I am so pleased that many of you here today will be able to take up this challenge and directly influence for the better the lives of victims and their families. I would like to commend you all on your efforts so far.The message that we need to send out is that we are committed to working together effectively and sympathetically with victims and to protect them, enforce their rights and uphold the law.By providing an effective multi-agency response and approach to victims and survivors we are implementing an ambitious programme to make our community a safer place for all. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SolicitorGeneralDacorumdforum.aspx Edward Garnier QC MP overview of Government DV strategies 19 November 2009 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: speech to CPS Crown Advocates conference5 November 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCFirst, I want to thank you for the passion and commitment to justice that you bring to your work as Crown Advocates conducting criminal prosecutions on behalf of the public and in the public interest.This has been a long, difficult and perhaps tortuous journey and I have watched your commitment and courage with admiration.I know that your role is not an easy one. You bear heavy responsibilities in your casework and in court. Your role and competency are very much in the glare of public scrutiny and subject to comment within the profession. I know that can be an uncomfortable place to be, and that there has been unfairness in that public discussion.The Director will be talking to you later about the future for Crown Advocates, and indeed the future for the internal and external advocacy services as a whole. His interest in parity of treatment for the employed and self-employed Bar cannot be over-emphasised.His careful and fair-minded approach towards the advocacy question, his interest in parity of treatment for employed and self-employed advocates and his belief in high-quality, cost effective advocacy services being provided are the important core principles guiding him.I have seen at close quarters also his fierce commitment to Crown Advocates, his insistence that you are shown respect and that your professionalism should be properly recognised.My own purpose today is to play my part in helping you go away from this conference with enthusiasm, and with a renewed sense of achievement, purpose and direction.And most importantly, that you renew your sense of pride in the role you play in making the Crown Prosecution Service a high performing and highly respected prosecuting authority. There are people in this room who have been on this journey with me.A service that excellent lawyers and advocates should aspire to join, and whose staff display an expertise and professionalism that inspires public confidence. One of the joys has been to witness people from the self-employed Bar join us because they think it has become a challenging profession to join.This is my first opportunity to speak to and meet you as a group, so you might want to know something about my background. I started at the Bar in 1977, specialising in family law, children's law, mental health and housing law, as well as public law.I was made Queen's Counsel in 1991 and became a founder member and Head of chambers at 1, Gray's Inn Square - so I have personal experience of the pressures of setting up a new practice and having to attract and keep new clients.My professional experience, including in public inquiries into the circumstances in which children have been abused or murdered, such as the North Wales Child Abuse Inquiry, and inquiries into the deaths of Tyre Henry and Kimberley Carlisle, have given me a visceral commitment to seeing justice done, especially for those who are vulnerable to cynical exploitation and physical abuse.I have an equally visceral commitment to ensuring that the Crown Prosecution Service stands up for those vulnerable people, if the worst happens.I have my own battle-scars from the front-line of professional practice; and I fully understand the pressures, anxieties and fine judgements as well as the rewards that go with taking difficult casework decisions.There is no doubt that the criminal justice system has changed greatly during my years in practice. But perhaps the pace of change, particularly in relation to the role of the prosecutor, has been greatest in the last five years or so.The powers of prosecutors are now massively enhanced. Prosecutors play a much greater proactive role alongside investigators in building better cases; and they are increasingly responsible for victims and witnesses, helping them to feel guided through, and cared for throughout the criminal justice system.Prosecutors have a much more central role in the justice system acting on behalf of the public and in the public interest than they have ever had before. And that places great responsibility on our shoulders as individuals and as a Service. You are now the gatekeepers to the criminal justice system and the effective minister of justice in each case.If the public are to have confidence that the system of justice is effective and fair, prosecutors must be seen to be enforcing the law competently, objectively and with sound judgement.They must be seen to use the full range of powers that Parliament has given you to do justice.Victims and witnesses must be helped by you to give their best evidence.And those affected by your decisions must see you willing to explain and be as open as you can be about the factors that led you to make those decisions.If you do all that, then - whether you decide to prosecute or not, whether a defendant is convicted or not and whether others agree with you or not - you will deserve to command public confidence.In performing this difficult role, you are accountable to the Director as Head of the Crown Prosecution Service. He in turn has a statutory relationship with the Attorney General. That statutory relationship means that as Attorney General I am accountable to Parliament for the work of the Crown Prosecution Service. Therefore I am personally accountable for each and every thing you do.The Solicitor General and I take very seriously our role in protecting your ability to take independent decisions according to the law and the Code for Crown Prosecutors, so that your judgement is not compromised by improper or partisan pressures, whether these come from MPs, members of the public, single issue interest groups or from within government. Or sometimes all of them.When we are consulted and give advice on cases, we do so as Law Officers of the Crown - like Crown Prosecutors - independently of Government.But independent decision making has to be properly informed by all the relevant factors.To maintain the public's respect for your independence, your decisions must display good judgement and intellectual rigour. Case management must show the kind of grip that ensures that issues and risks are foreseen, faced up to and well managed; and that decisions are reached as quickly as possible.On a regular basis - through written and oral Parliamentary Questions, through correspondence and meetings with Members of Parliament raising cases on behalf of constituents, and through Select Committees - the Attorney General is called upon to answer for the CPS's policies and practices and the handling of individual cases big or small anywhere in the country.I answer for the decisions you take and for your approach to specific issues.In difficult circumstances - such as a spectacular case failure, especially where it raises wider issues of prosecution practice, policy or competence; or when there is a very controversial decision to prosecute or not to prosecute - Parliament may call the Attorney General to account on the floor of the House very quickly indeed. Nothing concentrates the mind more.Usually the Solicitor General and I are called upon to - and do - robustly defend the propriety and correctness of prosecution decisions or actions against this kind of criticism. We try to help Parliament and the public understand the principles on which you made your decisions.The usual complaint is that the problem could and should have been foreseen and guarded against or managed better, and it is very tempting for others to apply the perfect vision of hindsight to judge harshly the actions of prosecutors.Though for obvious reasons the detail we as Law Officers can give to Parliament about individual cases is sometimes limited, MPs and Peers can be confident that we know the full facts; and that we will have probed and scrutinised the decision or policy or practice before answering.We need to be clear, though. Where something has gone wrong; where risks and problems should genuinely have been identified or should have been managed better, we expect to be able to admit it quickly and ensure that steps are taken for future cases, to learn the lessons. And learn them once.The Law Officers will often have been consulted or kept informed about issues arising in particular cases: those which raise particularly difficult public interest considerations or which raise wider issues of prosecution policy or practice. In that way we can offer advice and give the Director our backing.With our foot in Parliament as Ministers, and with our roles as Law Officers of the Crown protecting the rule of law and guarding the wider public interest, we are in a good position to help the CPS to ensure that prosecution policies, practices and priorities are informed by a sound understanding of the context in which you operate on behalf of the public.Part of the picture of prosecutorial competence that I wish to promote and highlight is a more joined up approach to the wider cross-cutting impact of cases. Where the issues in your case may have an impact on the effectiveness of the law, or on wider prosecution policy or practice, whether within the CPS or across other prosecuting authorities such as the SFO, RCPO and the wider prosecutorial family, we expect this to be spotted and the links made, so that the right degree of co-ordination can take place.My relationship with you is a two way thing. I will always support you in taking difficult decisions.In return, what I expect from you is to adhere in your casework to the principles of good judgement, intellectual and legal rigour and competent case management, alerting, warning and briefing your Chief Crown Prosecutors and the Director, appropriately.I want to focus on one particular area of practice in which as Attorney General I am personally heavily involved, and that is unduly lenient sentence cases.I want to talk about ULSs generally, but also to highlight an aspect of casework decision making that I see daily in my ULS practice, namely decisions by the CPS to accept pleas.In broad terms the purpose of making a ULS reference is to enable the Court of Appeal to increase a sentence which is so lenient that it damages public confidence because it falls outside the range of sentences that the judge could reasonably have considered appropriate.We are not looking to the Court of Appeal to tweak a sentence or make a marginal difference. We are looking at cases where the sentence is unjust or wrong in principle and needs to be corrected.Sentencing is not a mathematical calculation. It requires judgements to be made about the weight to be attached to all the relevant considerations, including how sentencing guidelines and the law should be applied.It may be reasonable to pass a sentence which is lenient - or which is harsher than the guidelines might suggest - on the particular facts of an individual case. An experienced judge who has heard all the evidence is usually well placed to evaluate the competing considerations and - in comparison with the large numbers of sentences passed in the Crown Court every year - very few sentences indeed are held to be unduly lenient.In 2008 the Law Officers were asked by the CPS or by victims, MPs or members of the public to consider the sentences imposed on 274 offenders.Of these, 248 fell within the scheme and each one of these cases was considered personally either by me or by the Solicitor General within the absolute time limit of 28 days that the law allows.That means we personally reviewed on average between 4 and 5 cases each and every week.In 2008 we decided that the sentences imposed on eighty defendants appeared to us to be unduly lenient and we referred these to the Court of Appeal for review. Of these, nine references were subsequently withdrawn because additional information was drawn to our attention after referral which affected our assessment of the case. This left seventy one sentences to be considered by the Court.The Court found that the sentences imposed on fifty seven or 80% of these offenders were unduly lenient, and went on to increase the sentences in fifty one cases or 72%.While the Court of Appeal may wish that we referred fewer cases, as you can see from these figures we do turn down many cases that are referred to us. We are proud of the high rate of success in those cases we do refer. I want you to know that the Lord Chief Justice has said how appreciative he is of the excellent standard of work that he sees in the cases which are referred to the Court of Appeal.This is a tribute to the whole team, from Treasury Counsel to the lawyers in the Attorney General's Office to the ULS team in Special Crime Division and Chief Crown Prosecutors who are personally accountable to the Director for decisions within the CPS to refer these cases for my consideration.One essential component of any evaluation of whether a sentence is unduly lenient or not, is whether there is a clear articulation of the facts on which the sentence has been passed. The importance of this arises most of all where pleas have been accepted.The basis of plea can make a big difference to the sentencing bracket that applies under sentencing guidelines or case-law. Prosecuting counsel, whether a Crown Advocate or not, should not accept a basis of plea which is different from the case originally advanced by the prosecution without considering the impact on the likely sentence.Where the basis of plea is fudged, or where it is significantly different from the known facts, or where no record has been kept and prosecuting and defence counsel have different understandings of what was agreed at court, it can have a profound impact on whether it is realistic or possible to challenge the sentence that is then passed.You may think that the sentence is unduly lenient compared with the sentence that would have been passed on the prosecution case originally put forward, but that sentence may no longer be reasonable, or may not even be open to the judge, on the basis of plea accepted by the prosecution.An audit by HMCPSI published in November 2008 found that the Attorney General's Guidelines on the Acceptance of Pleas and the Prosecutor's Role in Sentencing were not always being complied with.The required written analysis of sentencing considerations was not being undertaken in all Crown Court cases and the quality of the documents that were being produced was highly variable.I have reviewed the Attorney General's Guidelines in light of the HMCPSI's findings, in close consultation with the CPS and prosecutors outside the CPS such as the Department for Work and Pensions and Business Innovation and Skills; and with the benefit of input from the judiciary.My top priority is to secure the quality of decisions to accept pleas, and to ensure that prosecutors consider and appreciate the potential impact on the likely sentence. This is of critical importance if we are to support the courts in passing just sentences that fully reflect the harm to individuals and to society that has been caused by the offending.I therefore attach special importance to the fulfillment by prosecutors of this aspect of the Guidelines. The revised Guidelines, which I am publishing at the beginning of December, now require a written basis of plea to be prepared in every case except where the prosecution case as it stands is accepted.On the other hand, I am somewhat relaxing the requirement to prepare a written document setting out sentencing considerations and relevant case law or guidelines in every case. I have changed that part of the Guidelines to allow discretion to be exercised, so that such documents will be prepared where the prosecutor considers that it would assist the court or where the judge asks for it. The CPS has revised its internal guidance and the special form used for this purpose, and these are also being published today.This change does not alter your responsibility to be ready to assist the court in every case during the sentencing process, in line with case law. All it alters is the requirement to produce a written document in every case. This is an opportunity for us when we take charging decisions to look at what the guidelines and authorities may say. It may also save time looking up the most recent pronouncements before you go to court.Equally the change does not prevent other prosecuting authorities such as DWP, the Health and Safety Executive or the Department for Business from producing such a document in every one of their cases. They do so because it assists the court to be provided with a package of sentencing case law and considerations in relation to relatively less familiar offences.I recognise that many of you would welcome support in knowing how and when to challenge bases of plea that are illogical or significantly affect the likely sentence, and fulfilling your role in the sentencing process generally. The HMCPSI audit highlighted that there had not been sufficient focus on training or information to equip prosecutors fulfill this part of your role.The Director and I have discussed some of the cases that I have seen over the last few months, and I know that he is committed to an active programme of mentoring and training for CPS advocates and prosecutors to enhance the Service's confidence and ability to play the role that case law delineates for you in the sentencing process.I hope also, that this renewed focus on the prosecutor's role in the sentencing process will also provide a springboard for CPS advocates helping to ensure that victims and families - and police liaison officers too - fully understand what a sentence means in practice.For example, indeterminate sentences for public protection are not always well understood. Sometimes the minimum period of imprisonment is interpreted as being the whole sentence, and that the time actually served with be half that period.The fact that the sentence is in fact indeterminate just like a life sentence, and that the minimum period is just that - the minimum period - to be served before parole can be considered, and that parole is only granted if the Parole Board is satisfied that it is no longer necessary to detain the offender for the public's protection, is sometimes overlooked.No doubt the lengthy calculation that the judge has to announce as to how he reached the minimum sentence does not help.It is an important part of prosecuting counsel's role to ensure that families are not unnecessarily upset by a sentence because of misunderstandings of this kind. So the HCA's role is very clear. Do please explain sentences to families, and ensure that Family Liaison Officers also understand what the sentence means.I very much welcome the Director's, Peter Lewis's and Alison Levitt's commitment to actively supporting the CPS to fulfill its important role in the sentencing process.And I know how seriously you take this role. In my ULS practice I see many difficult cases that have been handled with exemplary care and attention.I started my talk by thanking you for all your hard work, passion and commitment to the highest professional standards. I reiterate my thanks to you again.Your professionalism is critical to the ability of the CPS to offer an excellent service to the public in the interests of fairness and in the interests of justice. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneralspeechtoCPSCrownAdvocatesconeference.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP speech to CPS Crown Advocates conference 05 November 2009 Attorney General's Office
Solicitor General: welcome speech for new Government Legal Service trainee lawyers29 October 2009Solicitor General, Vera Baird QC MPI am very pleased to welcome you to your new role as legal trainees in the Government Legal Service. The Law Officers are enthusiastic supporters of the GLS. You offer the pool of talent from which the top Government lawyers of the future will be drawn.Firstly, I would like to congratulate you for having won your place within the legal trainees scheme. You should feel very proud of yourselves. It was a fierce competition and you beat off some excellent candidates in winning your places. The figures speak for themselves. There were 535 applications for 27 places in the year in which most of you applied. The standard of applicants was consistently very high. So out of a group of top quality candidates, all of you have demonstrated the very best skills and potential for a career as a GLS lawyer. That in itself is a matter for congratulation.I would also, however, like to congratulate you on choosing to join the GLS legal trainee scheme. It is a very wise choice to make. The scheme is focused on excellence, both in terms of the quality of lawyers within Government and also the opportunities offered to those lawyers. The GLS takes the trainees scheme very seriously. You are valuable assets and the GLS will invest in you as lawyers - you will see this in the coming months, through the formal training and support you will receive.Another way in which the GLS will invest in you is in the work you will be offered. This will be of the highest quality. If you compare yourselves to other trainee lawyers such as those in private practice, we believe that you will be offered high level, high quality work at an earlier stage in your careers. You will be asked to work on areas of law that are novel, stimulating, and legally challenging. You will become involved in the sort of law that appears in the daily newspapers or which is reported on television. You may well be given substantial responsibility for your own litigation or prosecution work. You might even be asked to brief Ministers face to face, or to work on legislation such as Parliamentary Bills or regulations.Just to illustrate this, we often have GLS trainees working in my Office, and our present trainee has been working, under supervision, on important, complicated matters that need the Law Officers' attention. He has already been given responsibility for specific matters and has sent us submissions in his own name, despite having been working in my Office for less than two months.The Attorney General and I are very proud of the Government Legal Service. We know that it leads the private legal profession by its example. As Law Officers, we deal first hand with GLS lawyers, both those seconded to our Office, and lawyers across all the Whitehall departments. The Law Officers might be asked to advise on any area of Government policy, wherever it involves complicated legal issues. What we see is that for every area of Government policy, there are dedicated, specialist GLS lawyers, with the responsibility for these areas, who know the detail of the law. This specifically acquired expertise is invaluable in supporting us in our work as the most senior Legal Advisers to Government.And what we learn from this day to day contact with GLS lawyers is that they are all focused and dedicated individuals, who believe in public service and who guard their independence fiercely. They offer first-class legal advice and representation to Ministers and Government departments in almost every area including the most complicated, controversial and sensitive areas of law. Where we do advise, the advice is confidential. There is also a rule, contained in the Ministerial Code, which prevents not only the content of our advice as Law Officers being published to the public but even the fact that we have advised at all.Consequently, while I will not go into the details of matters on which we have advised recently, I will say that "hot topics" for the Law Officers include human rights questions of all description, in proposed legislation as well the implementation of existing legislation. I have been taking the Equality Bill through the House of Commons. Law Officers do assist with Bill advocacy. The Equality Bill has involved a wide range of issues, from the best way lawfully to scrap pay secrecy clauses to how narrow an exception can be to the obligation to adapt public service vehicles for disabled access, whilst fulfilling its purpose of ensuring that there are taxis available even in rural areas where the profits cannot support adaptation and the need is small.We have also considered recently questions of Constitutional renewal (an issue that very much interests us as Law Officers as it affects our role for the future).The Attorney General and I are guardians of the public interest as well as legal advisers to Parliament and to the Government. This work includes looking at whether sentences are unduly lenient, and if so, should be referred to the Court of Appeal for consideration. We also appoint special advocates in national security cases and advocates to the court where the court is wrestling with complicated areas of law and seeks some neutral advice or assistance in the public interest.As Law Officers, the Attorney General and I also work closely with the main prosecuting authorities, such as the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office. Superintending the prosecutorial departments means that we have a very close association with them; we pay close attention to their work and we meet with them frequently.In the time available, I offer you only a flavour of what we do. Bearing in mind that we ourselves see only some of the areas of law covered by the Government, imagine how much more variety is out there and may be offered to you for your work?Work you will see during your GLS career will be varied and it will be interesting. You will have the opportunity to move to different Departments during your career and you will develop expertise in many different types of law. We encourage this and we commend it. The GLS takes very seriously its commitment to its lawyers, and how your careers will be shaped and fostered.You will also benefit from joining a network of lawyers, larger and more diverse than any offered in private practice. The numbers speak for themselves; there are just over 2,000 Government lawyers. You will meet many of them over your career. You will be asked advise some of them; others will provide you with advice. The networks you create and the friendships you forge will be really important. Now you have joined the GLS, you are very much part of its family. We are a joined up Government and we aspire to being even more joined up in the future. That means that when a tricky or novel legal question arises, it is likely to have a wide impact and may affect more than just one department. You will work with your "siblings", sharing knowledge and coordinating a joined-up response from Government.You will have an opportunity to start networking today, when you meet your fellow trainees at the reception. I encourage you to do so.I also encourage you to use the web resource of LiON. It provides you with information about shared knowledge on issue such as human rights and European law. It helps you with guidance on drafting and Parliamentary Bill work. It tells you about the different GLS networks. Importantly, it also gives you a directory of all the GLS lawyers and their area of work, so that if you have a question and you don't know the answer, you can find someone who does.Over and above our pride in the excellence of the GLS and the legal advice it provides, the Attorney General and I are also pleased that the GLS is leading the private legal profession in terms of retention of lawyers and how it achieves an appropriate work-life balance. The GLS is committed to lawyers having the proper work-life balance of their choice, wherever this is practical. This may include flexible working, job-sharing, working from outside the office and many other ways in which lawyers' working patterns are accommodated.We believe that the quality of work given to lawyers should not be reduced if they are working part-time or from home. A number of lawyers at the senior civil service level work on a job-share basis and they make it work incredibly well. This arrangement is unheard of in many large law firms and it is a real success story for the GLS.We are also very pleased with our healthy statistics on diversity. The GLS has set itself targets for the numbers of senior civil servant lawyers it expects to come from black and ethnic minority backgrounds and to be female. These targets can be found on LiON. The GLS has already exceeded its 2011 targets, both for the numbers of female lawyers in the senior civil service and the numbers of lawyers from an ethnic minority background.61% of the GLS is female. While this figure is broadly similar to the percentage (60%) of solicitors admitted to the Law Society who are female, many female solicitors in private practice leave at some stage, often when they acquire caring responsibilities and find their work demands in conflict with their parenting role. Through flexibility, we do far better and this flexibility is available for you.We believe that "smarter working" is a large part of why the GLS retains lawyers. "Smarter working" means lawyers and their employers work together to identify what work is required, where, and how it is best delivered. A specific example might be a decision to offer a flexible working pattern if that allows a lawyer to focus their time most effectively. Alternatively, it might involve deciding that rather than ask a single lawyer to take on sole responsibility for a large project, it is better to have a number of lawyers take on shared responsibility for it. Where this happens, all the lawyers are still able to take on high quality work, which helps to develop their skills and their careers, but the workload is made more manageable. Our commitment to smarter working may be at least part of the reason why 41% of the lawyers in the Senior Civil Service are female. Of these, 40% of the lawyers at the most senior levels of the Civil Service are women. The Law Society report that only 23% of partners in law firms are female. So we are significantly ahead of the private profession.So in closing, I would like to congratulate you again on becoming GLS trainees. I believe you have made an excellent decision. I look forward to having dealings with you over the forthcoming months and years and I wish each one of you every success in the future. Welcome. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SolicitorGeneralwelcomespeechfornewGovernmentLegalService.aspx Edward Garnier QC MP welcome speech for new Government Legal Service trainee lawyers 29 October 2009 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: Victim Support - Witness Service 20th Anniversary Concert22 October 2009I would like to thank the Witness Service for inviting me to attend and to speak here this evening at this wonderful venue. My thanks also go to the Rivlin Piano Trio for providing such an enjoyable recital. Coincidentally, I was hoping that they would play Handel as he initially studied law but quickly gave it up to pursue music. I don't know what that says about the law, but listening again to his music, I think it is fair to say that he made the right choice.While we all believe in looking forward, and building on achievement, I think it is important that we also take time to acknowledge and celebrate that achievement.I'm therefore honoured this evening to have the opportunity to celebrate 20 years of the Witness Service in London and to thank each and every Witness Service volunteer for the selfless commitment you have shown to your work, without which the Criminal Justice Service would not be where it is today. Lord Judge took us through some of that history.Looking back from where we are in 2009, where the Witness Service is an integral part of the Criminal Justice Service, it is hard to believe that there was a time when the Witness Service did not exist. 1989 seems a long time ago. But things were so different then than they are today. In terms of the changes we have seen in victim and witness care it was.Back then, before the London Witness Service was founded, witnesses were expected to turn up at court, make themselves known to the usher and wait to see a prosecution or defence representative. There was little or no formal witness care. Sometimes I wonder if witnesses ever received a thank you for giving up their time during a case.So the decision by Victim Support to pilot, in London, a new Witness Service to support witnesses attending at court was really quite revolutionary. That it has grown to be the national success it is today is testament to the vision of those who set up and those who were involved in those first pilots. They and their successors can be very proud, very proud indeed, of the fact that in 2008 the London Witness Service supported over 34000 victims and witnesses.Today, we in the Criminal Justice Service recognise the need to provide victims and witnesses with needs-based support. My predecessor, Peter Goldsmith, introduced the Prosecutors Pledge which sets out the services victims can expect from prosecutors. The Government has introduced the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime; "Special Measures" have been introduced for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses; and Police/CPS witness care units have been established and provide tailored support for witnesses. It is important that we remember a time when the prosecutor wasn't able to talk to victims or witnesses. They weren't allowed to talk to them in case they appeared tarnished. But now prosecutors give support directly; they talk and walk a victim through a case right to the end,So we have come a long way since 1989. In great part I think that is because of the unstinting work that Victim Support has done, as powerful voice for victims of crime, to persuade - sometimes, dare I say it, pressure - Government departments, the police and the prosecutors that they needed to do more, much more, for victims and witnesses of crime.We have all learned a great deal from Victim Support and the Witness Service and that is why we decided in 2004, during my time as criminal justice minister, to extend the witness care model to provide pre-court support through the "No Witness No Justice" programme. As a result of close cooperation between the CPS and the police there is now a witness care unit available to every victim and witness going through the trial process.I know that in many Areas the CPS/police witness care units and the Witness Service have a close and effective working relationship and we know from feedback from victims and witness the difference it makes and the huge benefits they gain from receiving this coordinated support. This is a great example of how the public sector and the voluntary sector can work together successfully. If either of us tried to do it slowly we wouldn't have succeeded, but together we can. We've delivered something together that we wouldn't have been if we were working alone.I particularly want to express my admiration for the work of the Witness Service staff. Consider the work that Witness Service volunteers undertake on a daily basis to support witnesses at court: providing information about court and legal processes, introducing witnesses to the prosecutor, conducting pre-trial court familiarisation visits, providing an enhanced service for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses, such as providing support in the video-link room and extended court visits. I've spoken to a number of victims that have said without help , support care and they love they get from the Witness Service, some of them wouldn't have made it.I cannot emphasise how important this support is. It has a positive impact on the witness, for whom the experience of attending court is that much less daunting if they have someone else to walk with them. It is beneficial for the prosecutor, who knows that his or her witnesses will be better prepared for the experience of giving evidence, and it benefits the court, particularly in cases where support is required in the video-link room.I would like to conclude if I may, by saying how the Witness Service is hugely valuable and I know it is greatly appreciated not just by victims and witnesses but also by practitioners in the criminal justice service. Therefore I ask that, this evening, if you have not already done so, you show your appreciation and support for the Witness Service by making whatever contribution you feel able to their funds or otherwise, to help them build on the success of the first 20 years.Your commitment is the most precious thing of all. Your willingness to volunteer is so important - so please keep volunteering and showing your commitment.Thank you. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneralVictimSupport%E2%80%93WitnessService20thAnniversaryConcert.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP Victim Support - Witness Service 20th Anniversary Concert 22 October 2009 Attorney General's Office
Solicitor General: speech to the Sexual Violence National Support Team Conference21 October 2009Solicitor General, Vera Baird QC MPI am delighted to speak today at this key point in the development and further roll-out of Sexual Assault Referral Centres. As someone who has been nagging, at least the legal establishment, for twenty years about rape I find it inspiring to be here, in a room filled with people dedicated to supporting the needs of those affected by sexual violence.Three million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, human trafficking or another form of violence every year. The total annual cost of violence against women is estimated to be £40.1billion per year .Violence against women is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality and the Government is committed to tackling gender inequality.We know that crimes of violence against women can have a devastating effect on victims; their families and friends who hear about it and see its impact.Historically, male domination has led to this issue being neglected. This is not a criticism of men but something that does not happen to an individual is not going to be at the top of their agenda. It was the advent of about 100 Labour women MPs in 1997 that put this at the top of the Government's agenda, where it remains. When this influx of women occurred, there were in the House of Commons All Party Groups to campaign on issues such as whisky, beer, cider and for every Indian Ocean Island it would be nice to visit. There was nothing about violence against women so the new women set one up, campaigned and made progress. Now men in government have understood it and have taken it up. It is as much Alan Johnson as Harriet Harman who drive it forward.All of us, men and women together, including the Government, have a responsibility to address violence against women: within our communities, at our places of work and within our society at large.As a government, over the last few months we have consulted on a cross-government strategy on violence against women which we will be launching shortly. This strategy will explicitly address ways to improve all our work, across all departments and, of course, it depends on getting engagement with committed people like you.As a government we are resolutely committed to improving performance on rape prosecutions and the response to sexual violence - one of the most traumatic crimes that a victim can experience. We want to increase reporting and conviction rates; ensuring that victims are supported adequately, that the criminal justice response is improved and that prevention is maximised.Earlier today you heard about the role of the National Support team, who are instrumental in rolling out SARCs more widely and ensuring the delivery model is sound.We know that there are challenges to delivering effectively on the ground across agencies, which is why the National Support team visits and problem solving work through a range of experts is so vital.I find it very encouraging to hear about all the work that the Department of Health is now doing in partnership across Government and other agencies. I want to pay homage to the work done by my colleague Ann Keen from whom you heard earlier today.I look forward to the results of the Deparrtment of Health Taskforce on the health aspects of violence against women chaired by Sir George Alberti, to see what more the NHS can do.Let me mention a strong reason why this is not only a criminal justice system matter. Sexual violence can have a profound impact on victims. As well as causing physical injury, sometimes immediate and sometimes long-lasting, its impact on mental health can be serious and may be equally long lasting.So if Health is not involved to provide support at an early stage serious repercussions can follow for victims and their families.For example, the Fawcett Commission report on women and the criminal justice system looked at both victims and defendant women in the CJS. We found that all the evidence that came from women as victims was about domestic violence and rape. For defendants, we found that at least 50% of women in prison have experienced domestic violence - twice as many as in the population at large. About a third of women offenders have been raped, higher than in the general population. In effect we were talking about the same people. Experiences of violence and abuse can be a key factor in women's pathways to crime; if the issue is not addressed early enough by health services, we can do little to support women to stop offending.Let us look at the Criminal Justice system, where my experience lies.The multiple rape - Reid and Worboys - cases (Worboys was the taxi driver case ) show a need to address attitudes which surround rape. The problem with these two cases was not getting victims to report - they reported - but the public authorities didn't take the appropriate action.Many of the women had been given a drink at the time and so were perceived as likely to be poor and unsympathetic witnesses. Of course, he gave them a drink. We make too little of the fact that much rape is serial offending. We make too little of the fact that serial rapists target women who have had a drink or to whom they can give drink or women with vulnerabilities, all of which they know will cause the criminal justice system to think that they will not carry the day in court and so perhaps the statutory authorities, with low expectation of a good outcome, will not drive the case forward strongly enough.The problem was not public confidence in the way in which rape complaints are handled but the response of public authorities. It wasn't long ago that we had a similar problem with domestic violence and we have started make headway there, we can do the same with rape if we go about it in the right way.We know that the police special units on sexual assault and ACPO guidance have been very beneficial in improving the response to rape. However there is more still to do.There must be skilled, committed, collaborative working at local level. We know that none of this is achievable without the contributions to addressing these issues from the voluntary sector. I am pleased that more is being done to improve the commissioning process of vital third sector services.Let me highlight two strands of work in the criminal justice system.The first is an attempt to neutralise myths that can interfere with jury deliberations in trials. There is a myth that if someone is raped they will complain of it immediately. If someone does not, the defence will often suggest that she was happy with sex at the time but something must have made her change her mind later.In other words, the defence say that a late complaint is a false complaint. Of course we know that it is common for women who have been raped not to report the matter at once because they are traumatised, full of guilt and shame, questioning their own judgement about being with the man in the first place.In a case called Doody the Court of Appeal said that trial judges should say in that kind of case that although a late complaint may be untrue, often people do complain late because of those factors. It can redress the otherwise unfair assumption a jury might make. Such a direction impacts backwards because if the statutory agencies think that a late complaint can be attacked as untrue, they may not hold out much hope of trial but if there is an antidote to the myth at trial, police and CPS may feel that the prospects are stronger.We have got a panel of experts to work out all the myths they believe may have an effect and we got Treasury Counsel to draft possible direction for judges to use to bust these myths. It is entirely up to the judges but they may feel able to take on some or all of these myth busting directions and thus provide what I would describe as a fairer framework for juries. And again these will impact backwards, as it were, into the investigation and prosecution.An example of a myth that may travel in the reverse direction is that rape victims will always suffer physical injury - sexual injury. Forensic medical examiners can explain that absence of injury is not necessarily inconsistent with an allegation of rape. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don't, leaving the defence to comment that rape was unlikely because the evidence is that she was not injured. If that myth is busted by making the evidence clear, it will impact forward onto the trial.Baroness Stern ReviewAlthough a series of measures to improve the investigation and prosecution of rape to ensure victims received a consistent, high-quality service were announced by the Home Office in April, we believe that we need to complement this work by taking a closer and broader look at the barriers preventing full implementation of current policy and to consider further what we can do to ensure the effective handing of rape by authorities.As I mentioned,we consulted on violence against women this summer but we received most evidence about domestic violence and less about rape. So we think we need more evidence and have asked Baroness Stern, an independent cross-bench peer to hold an inquiry into rape and to:-Examine the response of the public authorities to rape complaints and examine how more victims can be encouraged to report;Explore ways in which the attrition rate in criminal cases can be reduced and, how to fairly increase the conviction rate;Identify how to increase victim and witness satisfaction and confidence in the CJS in addressing rape;Explore public and professional attitudes to rape and how they impact on outcomes; and make recommendations.Let me mention the CPS, which is my particular ministerial responsibility.The CPS is a pioneer in tackling violence against women. It is, we believe, the first public prosecution service to integrate all forms of violence against women under the UN definition into a strategy and action plan which relates work in this area to a wider gender equality agenda.The CPS Violence Against Women strategy and action plan is aimed at integrating, coordinating and improving prosecutions and support for victims in a range of crimes, including but not limited to: domestic violence; rape and sexual offences, honour-based violence, prostitution and human trafficking. Its key role is to bring more offenders of violence against women crimes to justice.It has a new violence against women indicator, including targets for increasing successful outcomes in domestic violence, rape and sexual offences:Last April the 2009 target of 59% successful rape prosecutions was nearly met at 58% during so this year it goes up to 61%The target of 72% for domestic violence was met and so it goes up this year to 74%;There is specific guidance for prosecutors on Violence against Women disseminated across all Areas - because there are still postcode issues.There has been coordination and strengthening of Area coordinators and specialist prosecutors; we have got over the conundrum of who will train rape prosecutors when we haven't been prosecuting very much rape - that has gone.Annual measurement of the satisfaction of stakeholders has been introduced and there are constant improvements to training.In addition, the CPS intends to measure victim and other stakeholders satisfaction. This is not easy. The criminal justice system generally measures satisfaction by a survey called WAVES which depends on a phone call questionnaire. This cannot be used with such sensitive cases, so the CPS is developing a system to measure the support for and satisfaction of women victims of violence, across the criminal justice system.It will ensure that Witness Care Units have support systems and information on specialist support for victims and witnesses and for all communities.ConclusionI hope that I have been able to outline to you just some of the good work going on in this area, and some of the challenges that we still face. The Government has done, and continues to focus attention on these important issues. We are seeking to properly equip front line practitioners to tackle the problem and are putting into place arrangements that will protect victims.But there must be a committed and collaborative working at both a national and local level if full advantage is to be taken of these strategies. Events like this are so very important to achieving these aims.I am so pleased that many of you here today are in positions where you will be able to take up this challenge and directly influence for the better. I would like to commend you all on your efforts so far. We must prevent cases like Worboys and Reid from occurring, devastating so many victims'lives.Because though women had the confidence to report somewhere the system failed them and, almost, by neglect allowed this awful repeated victimisation.Now I look forward to the feedback from your workshops but let us all remember those horrible cases and that they will recur if we do not get this right.Let us go forward together with determination in the most ambitious possible anti-violence against women programmes to ensure that instead of such cases, we contribute to making the community a safer place for all. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SolicitorGeneral.aspx Edward Garnier QC MP speech to the Sexual Violence National Support Team Conference 21 October 2009 Attorney General's Office
Solicitor General: opening speech to North Eastern Prison After Care Society8 October 2009Vera Baird QC MPNEPACS (North Eastern Prison After Care Society) Annual LectureThank you for inviting me to speak this evening at your annual meeting. I am delighted to be here, in a room filled with people dedicated to supporting the needs of vulnerable families and their relatives in prison. I find it inspiring that you have put in place a range of activities and support for some of the most at risk.We know that there is a strong association between parental imprisonment and adverse outcomes for children. Compared to their peers, children of prisoners have about three times the risk of antisocial or delinquent behaviour, mental health problems, and other adverse outcomes.Research has found that for most offenders a number of complex issues including drug and alcohol misuse, financial exclusion, temporary accommodation, homelessness, chaotic lifestyle, separation from children and families, domestic violence and abuse were contributing factors to their re-offending.Whilst offenders' families can be affected by the offender's behaviour, and punishment, it can also be a source of support and stability.That is why providing children and young people with a place of support and activities as you are doing through NEPACS are so important. And for the offender, who may be isolated from family and friends, offering services to help maintain a relationship with their family may help to reduce re-offending and strengthen family bonds.Shocking statisticsIt is shocking to learn that a child born into the most disadvantaged 5 per cent of families is 100 times more likely to have multiple problems at age 15 than a child from the 50 per cent best-off families.One-third of child protection cases show a history of domestic violence to the mother.Families of 3 or more children with complex problems can cost the state between £250,000 to £350,000 pounds each.To make a difference for these families we need a programme with power, a programme of sufficient intensity and depth to change what can be a spiral disadvantage for life. After all, the influence of a parent is the most important influence in anyone's life.Government achievementsThe Government is committed to implementing innovative measures including the legislative framework and early intensive interventions to create safety and well-being in relationships and communities, which is something that I feel very strongly about.We now have the:Youth Crime Action PlanViolent Crime Action PlanOver £90m is being allocated to Local Authorities each year to provide targeted parenting and 'Think Families' programmesThe cornerstone for our ambition for young people is our 'Every Child Matters' approach. This cuts across all areas, with the aims that children:Be healthy;Stay safe;Enjoy and achieve;Make a positive contribution; andAchieve economic well-being.It is right that in the Criminal Justice System we are behind these aims. They are at the heart of our aims to build safer communities. I firmly believe that young people with the right opportunities to achieve and contribute, and are protected from the very worst levels of deprivation and violence, are less likely to offend.Addressing domestic violence has been one of our government's key achievements. We provided the legal framework to address domestic violence through the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, which ensures that all victims have coherent, appropriate and effective legal protection. We have also been improving services on the ground. Through these combined measures, domestic homicides are lower than they have been in twenty years. We now have a range of programmes to help reach priority and excluded families including those families of prisoners. Together for Children has produced guidance for Sure Start Children's Centres on working with the families of prisoners. By 2010, every community will be served by a children's centre.The National Academy of Parenting Practitioners has produced a webpage 'Focus on Parents in Prison' which looks at the latest research and examines what the Government has been doing to address the needs of prisoners and their families. It also provides practitioners working with such families with a range of resources, including training. [www.parentingacademy.org]Family approach'Think Family' practice - making sure that the support provided by child and adult services is coordinated and focused on problems affecting the whole family is the only effective way of working with families experiencing the most significant problems.This is why the Government is committed to a national programme of reform and culture change which involve all schools and children services, the NHS, Job Centres, Police, Probation and prisons:to improve the identification and support of adults experiencing problems who are parents or carersto co-ordinate the support that is provided by different agencies to each family, especially those experiencing significant problemsSince 2007 we have been testing the Family Nurse Partnership across England, with family nurses working with young, vulnerable first time parents and ensuring that they are linked into their Children's Centres and support.This programme is supported by a research and development programme to help build our evidence base on effective interventions in England. As part of the Respect Action Plan, launched in January 2006, the government set up a national network of Family Intervention Projects (FIPs) to challenge and change the behaviour of the most difficult families.In the past, local authorities, support services and enforcement agencies have struggled when confronted by challenging families whose behaviour blights their local communities and reduces their own life-chances.These failures have often been rooted in services targeting adults or children within one family without working together, sharing information or thinking about the family as a whole.Family Intervention Projects support and challenge families to help them address the causes of their anti-social behaviour, reduce homelessness, reduce child poverty, prevent youth crime and achieve improved outcomes for children.FIPs gain the agreement of the family to a range of behavioural changes and engagement in interventions. Accredited parenting programmes are delivered and services such as health are brought in and coordinated around the families needs.A key worker 'grips' the family and builds on strengths. There are over 164 FIPs operational now, and by next year there will be a FIP in every area in England. This will benefit over 50,000 families with over 100,000 children.Barnsley, Teesside, Middleborough and other areas of the NE have already rolled out FIPs and are starting to realise the benefits of partnership working in this way.Some of the outcomes following FIP interventions are remarkable. In one of the evaluation studies, over eighty per cent of FIP families experienced poor mental health and substance misuse, and over fifty per cent were affected by domestic violence. Some of the FIP families have family members in prison.Typically FIPs work with families for six to twelve months. Significant early outcomes includes a reduction in the number of children going into care, reduction in domestic violence, and a high proportion of children back in school.For families with serious levels of anti-social behaviour a reduction from sixty one per cent to just seven per cent when they left the project.A good example of how FIPs work is a family initially referred to South Tyneside Family Intervention Project (FIP) by the police as a result of the anti-social behaviour of the eldest child, K.K, aged 14, regularly drank alcohol and smoked cannabis and had been permanently excluded from school. He was in breach of his 12 month Supervision Order with the Youth Offending Service and the local magistrates Court had imposed a 2 year CRASBO following his involvement in a series of racially motivated public order offences.The state of the living conditions, as well as concerns about poor parenting and parental substance misuse, saw all three children made subject to Child Protection Plans. Repeated attempts to engage with the family had failed. K was destined for custody, the younger two siblings for care.After initially struggling to engage with the family, the persistent approach of the FIP key worker eventually paid dividends. She carried out a whole family assessment, brokered a structured programme of support from all involved agencies, and set out the consequences for the family of failing to make the significant changes outlined in the bespoke FIP agreement.Six months after engaging with the FIP, a suitable school placement has been identified for K, and his most recent report showed 100% attendance, and greatly improved behaviour and attainment. The attendance and behaviour of his younger siblings has also improved significantly and they now engage in positive activities. K has not re-offended or breached his order.The family's living conditions are also much improved, and K and his siblings now benefit from more appropriate levels of supervision, daily structure and boundary-setting. Both parents have benefited from intensive one-to-one parenting support, and mother continues to attend weekly drug rehabilitation sessions and with ongoing support is now clean from the drugs which once impacted so heavily on the quality of family life. She is also attending courses to help improve her self-esteem and confidence and ultimately her employability.We have been on a journey, from dysfunction to function, from poorly coordinated support of agencies to co-ordinated community support, as Family Intervention projects demonstrate.Women offendersThe Government is aiming to reduce the number of vulnerable women in prison; enable access to improved community provision for women at risk of offending and offenders who do not pose a serious risk to the public. And I highlight this programme of work as it will help improve support to the children of these women.The rise in the female prison population is an issue of major concern and the Government's approach is integrated across all relevant departments, to implement key recommendations of the 2007 report by Baroness Corston into Women in the Criminal Justice System with Particular Vulnerabilities.The work is led by Maria Eagle, the Ministerial Champion for Women and Criminal Justice Matters and chair of the Inter-Ministerial Subgroup and as part of that group I can stress that oversee the plans that include not just the criminal justice system but partners who can provide the support needed for women and their families.We know that women offenders are some of the most disadvantaged members of our society. When we began looking at women as defendants in the CJS, we found that at least 50% of women in prison have experienced domestic violence - compared to 25% of all women in their lifetime. About a third of women offenders have been raped. These figures show DV and sexual abuse at far higher rates than in the general population. Experiences of violence and abuse can be a key factor in women's pathways to crime; if this link is not addressed, we can do little to support women to stop offending.As part of our shared plan across Government the Ministry of Justice has provided £15.6 million of new funding for additional services in the community for women at risk of offending and offenders. This funding is aimed at building the capacity of one stop shop services at women's centres and other specialist provision in the community and including improving bail provision.Children of offendersWe also want to do far more to support the children of all offenders. The facts are stark:160,000 children with a parent in prison a year rising to 200,000 if population projections prove accurateOver a half of women prisoners have a child under 16 and 1 in 3 a child under 51 in 4 men in YOIs are or are about to become fathers1 in 3 prisoners children suffer from mental health problemsAnd we know that 65% of boys with a convicted parent go on to offend and that children with mothers who have been in trouble with the law are at greater risk of poor outcomes such as poor parental interactions, anti-social behaviour and emotional problems.Therefore all NOMS regions and Wales have Children and Family partnership plans as part of their Reducing Re-offending partnership plans. Priorities focus on promoting and maintaining positive family relationships.Visitor Centres and play areas have been established in most prisons supported by Third Sector partnerships, and many hold dedicated children and family visit days.NOMS and DCSF have a joint development programme including;Hidden Sentence-an awareness training programme for those working with families in custodial settings;Family Support Workers in 3 prison pilot sites;The Families Do Matter project that has been extended from the West Midlands to include London and the South West where partnership models are being tested.We also need to equip frontline practitioners with the necessary tools to improve service provision. We have good practice programmes and 'toolkits', plus improved information in courts, and have provided guidance for those working with the children and families of offenders.We are working with DCSF and other partners to ensure women offenders are recognised as a priority for action to support families at risk through the national roll out of 'Think Family'. This includes a strong focus on early intervention and tackling child poverty which are both part of our vision for working with women offenders.A joint MoJ/DCSF Conference on 3 November will provide an opportunity to spell out just what is needed to support children whose parents are offenders and to highlight the support that is being provided and as part of wider developments.There are some challenges we face, which include strengthening partnership arrangements and joint commissioning in the context of tightened financial constraints.We are however developing better information on the size and nature of the problems and on what works.The value for money is being demonstrated, with Family Intervention Projects as example. We are building the evidence base that early interventions work, are cost effective and can reduce the harm to those most vulnerable.ConclusionWe have done, and continue to do a lot to focus attention on these important areas, to equip practitioners to tackle the problem effectively, to improve services for vulnerable families and to reduce re-offending and cycles of dysfunction.There must be skilled, committed, collaborative working at local level if full advantage is to be taken of a co-ordinated community response.We know that none of this is achievable without the excellent contributions to addressing these issues from the voluntary sector. Much good work has already been done, including the valuable work that NEPACS has done and will do to make a difference to prisoners and their families. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SolicitorGeneralspeechto.aspx Edward Garnier QC MP opening speech to North Eastern Prison After Care Society 08 October 2009 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: opening speech to ACPO Fraud Forum7 October 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCI would like to thank the Association of Chief Police Officers, in particular Commissioner Bowron, for inviting me to attend this important conference. It is a real pleasure to have an opportunity to speak to you, the counter-fraud community at this very important conference. By your individual and combined efforts, you are really delivering the commitments the Government has made to tackling fraud - and making it a reality. We are now six months on from the launch of the National Fraud Strategy and it is good to reflect on the progress we have made, but also to focus our attention and our minds on what we need to do next.I want to thank each and every one of you for the commitment and the passion which has made this journey so far possible - and for the effort you will make which will ensure successful completion of the objectives we've set together so that we will be able to create an environment which is truly hostile to fraud; productive and effective for business and especially small businesses; and safe for all the people for whom we care.I know we have much to cover so in this introductory session I'd just like to focus on two issues within the strategy. Firstly, stepping up the enforcement response to fraud, and secondly, improving the support we provide to victims of fraud. These are areas where we need to be really hard-headed and perhaps self-critical in assessment of our performance. We've started and need to continue. Effective collaboration between law enforcement and law and policy makers will be key to success. I speak to you today in that spirit of collaboration. We've tried doing this on our own before. We all know we need a conjoined effort.The challengeI don't need to tell you of the harm that fraud causes to our citizens, to our communities and to our country's economic well-being. Organised criminals involved in drugs and human trafficking use fraud to fund their crimes. Criminals have also made massive profits from individual frauds. But we should also not underestimate the impact of high volume but lower value frauds. These can have a great impact on our communities. Housing tenancy fraud was recently conservatively estimated to have reduced available social housing for allocation in England by nearly 50,000 properties - and if we think of the families and individuals that would have benefited from those properties, the loss is very palpable; false claims for single person discounts on council tax, are estimated at £90 million each year. Every pound stolen by fraudsters is money that is not available to fund public services. We all know how vital these public services are. In the challenging economic circumstances we face it is even more important to strengthen our fight against fraud.ProgressSince the launch of the national fraud strategy, there have been some notable operational successes. It is important that we celebrate this. Metropolitan Police led operations, working with international partners, have led to the arrests across the globe of criminals perpetrating identity-related crime over the internet. The City of London Police should be especially congratulated. They led investigations that resulted in the successful prosecutions of a number of company directors, as well as gangs undertaking credit card fraud. Operation Maxim continues to disrupt factories in London producing false identity documents and credit cards. Over the past 10 years, we have cut benefit fraud by 60%. I really want to congratulate everyone, especially those here in this room, who have contributed to these notable successes.Multi-agency efforts to tackle some of the biggest areas of fraud are also now better developed. We've got a programme of work to tackle mortgage fraud and multi-agency efforts to tackle mass marketing fraud and identity fraud. They are all now underway. These are supported by the National Fraud Authority's efforts to develop better knowledge of the impact of fraud, to improve information sharing and to raise the public's awareness of the threat of fraud and how they can protect themselves. Engaging the public in this way is key.The Government is committed to placing victims at the heart of the criminal justice system and victims of fraud are no exception. The joint ACPO/NFA led research on fraud victims has drawn on the experiences of 800 victims, the largest group of fraud victims surveyed in the UK to date. The group surveyed covered the range of fraud victims ranging from the young, educated and professional, through to the elderly and most vulnerable. It provides an authoritative assessment of current support arrangements. The research confirms that what victims most want is to understand what fraud they have suffered, where they can report it and what steps they need to take to reduce the likelihood of becoming victims again. One particularly telling statistic is that 40 per cent of the sample group did not even know they had been victims until they had been contacted by an official body.This is why delivery of the National Fraud Reporting Centre is so crucial to the work we have to do together. It will be the clearly-signposted place to report fraud and will give victims the most up-to-date information and advice that is available. This will help us to reduce the repeat victimization that fraudsters are getting away with all too often.Improving our support for victims also yields other benefits in terms of fraud and crime interdiction. The more reports the Centre receives, the richer will be our intelligence picture about the extent of fraud and fraud trends. This will also help to target enforcement resources in a more effective way.Despite what you may have read in the press, the National Fraud Reporting Centre is on track. TheNational Fraud Authority is set to launch the new National Fraud Reporting Centre on 26 October 2009. The NFRC will be rolled out initially as a pilot in the West Midlands area, followed by a progressive roll out across the country over the following three to six months.Bernard Herdan will say more about this and the practicalities later in the conference.But the Reporting Centre is not the whole story in terms of our efforts to support victims. Victims of fraud deserve the same treatment as that provided for victims of other crimes and I am committed to achieving this. Our research shows that we need to work with a number of the counter-fraud agencies so that they get closer to the service levels of the City of London Police which came top in terms of victims' satisfaction with the Police. That is something to aspire to. I hope this conference is one way that ACPO can come together, help other Forces and organisations to deliver this high quality service. We will also continue to ask victims that come into contact with any counter-fraud agency, including those in my own Law Officers' Departments, about the treatment they have received. This feedback will be scrutinised at the most senior level and will be a regular item on the agenda for the Ministerial Group on Fraud that I chair.International engagementBut we should not just look within our country. British citizens are affected by fraud which is often perpetrated outside our borders. Overcoming blockages to effective international cooperation is not easy but remains a high priority for us all. New initiatives such as the International Prosecutors Group that met recently in Kiev and the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative of the UN are promoting operational cooperation. I am also aware that the NFA has had fruitful meetings with US, Canadian and Australian counterparts recently. We need to develop internationally focused strategies with like-minded partners to be effective in tackling fraud.European coordinationYesterday I was in the Hague visiting Eurojust and Europol where I was very impressed by the progress we are making working together across Europe. There is a first-class British team there. Eurojust brings prosecutors from each member state of the European Union plus representatives from other countries working together with Europol and national police forces to address cross border crime. I want to tell you about one of the cases we explored when I was there yesterday.One such Belgian-led investigation, now at the prosecution stage, concerned credit card skimming fraud on a European wide scale running to tens of millions of Euros, with wider involvement in Australia and Canada. Present at the co-ordination meeting for this case were teams of police and prosecutors from Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Ireland, Italy, Romania, the United Kingdom and Canada. Europol officers were also in attendance to offer analytical support. Belgium had previously issued a Letter of Request to the UK (and an identical request to the Republic of Ireland) to trace and interview "Gerry" who may live in Northern Ireland or the Republic, who may or may not drive a black BMW, and who might use one of two unsubscribed pay-as-you-go mobile telephone numbers. The UK Police officers present advised the meeting that, despite best efforts, Gerry had not been found! At that point the Spanish delegation interrupted to say, "We know Gerry. His full name is Gerry X and his parents live in Y. His full passport number is Z". The value for money and efficiency in bringing together the right people at the right time are obvious. If they had not got together, they would never have discovered the need for this information - and I am reliably informed that it is not just the Spanish helping us - we have helped them too!This large scale fraud is typical of the often complex cases dealt with at Eurojust. 2008 saw 1193 new cases opened at Eurojust and added to the existing case work. Financial crime and associated offences made up the greatest proportion of the workload, with 912 new cases covering money laundering, VAT fraud, tax fraud, other fraud, swindling, and crimes against property or public goods. It's big business. Along with drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, the smuggling of illegal immigrants, and terrorism, these crime types are the most significant risk in Europe's future. Eurojust has dedicated teams with members drawn from different National Desks to develop expertise in these crime areas and to provide advice at a policy and strategic level. In addition to this, Eurojust works closely with Europol, utilising Europol's intelligence analysis to identify together these priorities. Just recently, Eurojust and Europol issued a protocol which will be really helpful in improving joint working.Greater priority on fraudThe Fraud Review, the National Fraud Strategy and the resources the Government has provided for the NFA and for the Lead Force demonstrate our commitment to work together to tackle fraud. More recently the Government's strategy for tackling organised crime, titled "Extending our Reach", emphasized that tackling fraud is part of the wider effort in this area. This gives the counter-fraud community the opportunity to make the case that disrupting and convicting fraudsters protects our communities not just against financial losses but also from the wider miseries that organised crime inflicts on them. It also means - quite rightly - that we will be more accountable for delivering what we have undertaken to do. This is now mainstream activity, it is not an optional extra.Making a difference, changing attitudesWe will ensure that you, the law enforcement community, have the tools you need to perform your roles to full effect - whether these are strategic, legislative or more practical. We will listen to you when you are facing challenges and work with you. When you see solutions, we will be there to help make them happen. Please do seize opportunities like this conference to influence our thinking and priorities and to share your experiences and learn from your colleagues. There's an incredible wealth of experience in this room.I cannot under-state the importance of this work. The consequences of failure are horrendous. The integrity of global markets depends on the strength of national and international protection against fraud and insider dealing. But it is equally important that we support victims at an individual level and help communities and individuals to better protect themselves. It is just as devastating for a pensioner robbed of their life savings, regardless whether this was by a by ruthless organized criminal gang or an individual conman. The pain for that individual is the same.We must tackle this at an international, national, local and individual level. So we face a big challenge - it won't go away and it won't be easy. But I do believe profoundly that by working together, in partnership we can make a difference at every level. I am buoyed by the attendance of you all today which demonstrates that our collective commitment is strong and that we can make our nation the most hostile place for fraud. I want to thank you for your efforts to date and those you will make in the future to help protect your country. For yesterday, today and tomorrow, we need your passion and hard work.Thank you for your time. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneralopeningspeechtoACPOFraudForum.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP opening speech to ACPO Fraud Forum 07 October 2009 Attorney General's Office
Solicitor General: speech to rape and sexual assault conference23 September 2009Solicitor General Vera Baird QC, MPThank you for inviting me to speak today on this important subject. The Government is resolutely committed to improving performance on rape prosecutions and the response to rape, one of the most traumatic crimes that a victim can experience. We want to increase reporting and conviction rates; ensuring that victims are supported adequately, that the criminal justice response is improved and that prevention is maximised.Each of you in this room has an important role to play, as the police role in investigating rape critically accounts for the success in prosecutions through the CPS.I hope that you will be able to go away from today's event with a renewed sense of purpose, and perhaps most importantly, with a clear idea of the important function that each of you has in ensuring that we improve rape investigations and prosecutions.Role as Solicitor GeneralBefore I share my vision, as Solicitor General, for the CJS and the response to rape, it may be helpful if I set out the key elements of my role currently.The Attorney General and I are accountable to Parliament under statute for the superintendence of the CPS and share responsibility with the Home Secretary and Justice Secretary for criminal justice policy.We answer parliamentary questions and represent the Government in debates on prosecution policy or on occasion, particular prosecutionsWe are consulted on the development of criminal justice policy and legislation; we are part of the National Criminal Justice Board, which gathers local input and sends out cross-discipline policy to local Criminal Justice Boards.We are the voice of prosecutors within government. In addition, because we have a role as guardians of the public interest, we have a role in relation to certain individual criminal cases, for instance:Cases requiring consent to prosecute;Referring potential unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal; andDecisions on whether to institute proceedings for contempt of court (to name but some).This means that in practice we have a much more direct involvement in individual cases than Ministers usually have, even where their department has a power to prosecute.My view of the current CJS is that, notwithstanding the great developments that have taken place in recent memory, and particularly in the role of the prosecutor, the CJS remains:too remote;too arcane; andIt often does not sufficiently demonstrate that it is there to serve people, and society, not the reverse.What then are my immediate areas of focus for the Criminal Justice Service - as I have been calling the CJS for some time now as it's designed to serve the public?engaging far more with the community it serves;improving public confidence;being more effective; andproviding proper support so vulnerable victims can be empowered to obtain justice.Setting out the context of rape prosecutionsAs you are aware, there are many barriers to overcome in improving rape investigations and prosecutions.We are seeking to challenge many of the myths that surround cases of rape and hinder successful prosecutions. Recently there have been two important decisions in prosecuting such cases which exemplify the problem.The first, is the case of Bree, where it was established, contrary to the decision at trial in the first instance, that an intoxicated woman can lose the capacity to give consent, a stage that can be reached well before she becomes unconscious. The second, is the case of Regina-v-D (JA) or otherwise known as Doody, where I appeared in court in my capacity as Solicitor General, established that judges should direct juries that a late complaint does not necessarily mean that it is a false complaint. Both of these are groundbreaking decisions.But there is still more to do. There is a myth that rape victims will always suffer physical injury. Forensic medical examiners could help dispel this myth if, in appropriate cases, they explained that absence of injury is not necessarily inconsistent with an allegation of rape.Government responseThere is much work across Government to improve the response to rape. The Tackling Violence Action Plan drives forward work on sexual violence.We are going to be more than doubling the number of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) by March 2011, ensuring that there is at least one in each of the 43 police force areas in England and Wales. SARCs are designed to bring together all of the different forensic, medical and specialist support services and departments in one place, which helps both the victims and those investigating the crimes.SARCs should also offer victims of sexual crime an integrated service where victims can receive medical care, psychological counseling, and other support, all in one place from professionally trained staff, or be signposted via clear pathways to appropriate services that meet their needs.Helping the investigationSARC's can relieve some of the pressure on police service resources by providing centralised facilities where they can meet with the victim, conduct forensic examinations and gather evidence.We are also aiming to ensure that all victims should have access to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor by March 2011. We have recently announced funding of £1.6million for new and existing SARCs and new funding will be available for Independent Sexual Violence Advisors. These people act as befrienders to the victim and support from the start of the process to the end. And they are independent and are not linked to either CPS or police targets.We are continuing to fund the invaluable work of the sexual violence voluntary sector. In the last year, £1.25 million of funding has been provided and this year we will be spending around £3 million to increase the capacity and stability of the sector. Last year we announced an emergency fund of over £1 million to prevent immediate closures of those rape crisis centres most at risk.The Violence Against Women & Girls consultation was launched by the former Home Secretary in March. That consultation has now closed and Home Office officials are in the process of analysing over 10,000 responses that have been received to inform the publication of a Cross Government VAWG strategy later this year.Analysis of the consultation responses so far has identified that in relation to sexual violence, and particularly the effective handling of complaints about rape, there is a gap in the consultation which we have agreed needs to be addressed.Although a series of measures to improve the investigation and prosecution of rape to ensure victims received a consistent, high-quality service were announced by the Home Office in April we believe that we need to complement this work by taking a closer and broader look at the barriers preventing full implementation of current policy and to consider further what we can do to ensure the effective handing of rape by authorities.We also recognise that we need to look more closely at recent cases including the Worboys and Reid cases, and the significant learning outcomes. It is important to point out that these cases are still being looked at by the IPCC.The Worboys and Reid casesYou may be familiar with the following cases.John Worboys, was a taxi driver, and in March was found guilty of 19 charges of drugging and sexually assaulting 12 female passengers in his black cab. In one case he raped his victim. Worboys kept his "tool kit", which included powerful prescribed and over-the-counter sedatives, a bag of cash, alcoholic drinks, including champagne, wine, whisky, gin and vodka, condoms and gloves. He would crush the pills before putting them in the drinks and then drive around waiting for the drugs to take effect.Worboys would persuade them to have a drink, which he had spiked with a powerful sedative drug and then assault them on the back seat of his cab before taking them home.This case shares similarities with the Reid case, in that there were multiple victims and the sexual assaults occurred over a period of time.In August 2001 an investigation was launched into an indecent assault in Battersea, in the London borough of Wandsworth. Two weeks later, there was another attack in the same area. The perpetrator left traces of DNA and a profile was obtained, though it did not match any DNA records held on the national database. Several more indecent assaults followed before an attack in December 2001 yielded the same DNA result as the first profile. By September the following year, police had linked 26 sexual offences in Wandsworth. All were so-called "stranger" attacks on women walking alone, late at night. The victims, who aged from their late teens to their early 60s, were usually on their way home, having taken the bus or Tube, or after being dropped off by taxi. The attacks were frightening. The women were approached from behind and forced to the ground.Rape ReviewWhat do these tragic cases tell us? That there is a pressing need to identify, investigate and prosecute at the earliest possible stage and that training is crucial for frontline staff. We know that the police special units on sexual assault and ACPO guidance have been very beneficial in improving the response to rape. However there is more still to do.Yesterday, I announced the commencement of an independent rape review, to be conducted by Baroness Stern, that will supplement the VAWG consultation and look at the problems these two cases raise. It will:Examine the response of the public authorities to rape complaints and examine how more victims can be encouraged to report;Explore ways in which the attrition rate in criminal cases can be reduced and, how to fairly increase the conviction rate;Identify how to increase victim and witness satisfaction and confidence in the CJS in addressing rape;Explore public and professional attitudes to rape and how they impact on outcomes;Utilise findings and information available from other relevant work, particularly the work on victims' experience being led by Sara Payne and the DH Taskforce led by Professor Alberti, avoiding unnecessary duplicationMake recommendations, with particular reference to improving the implementation of current policies and procedures.The review will be independently chaired by Baroness Stern and will examine the response of public authorities to rape complaints and examine how more victims can be encouraged to report; it will identify how to increase victim and witness satisfaction and confidence in the CJS in addressing rape and will make recommendations with particular reference to improving the implementation of current policies.The Review will begin immediately and will report early in New Year.We will ensure that the emerging findings from the Stern Review will be fed into the VAWG document and will reference the forthcoming report and the fact it will make specific recommendations on rape.CPS: the Violence Against Women StrategyI would now like to talk to you briefly about how the CPS has risen to the challenge of tackling violence against women crimes in a truly integrated fashion.I think it can be said that the CPS is a pioneer in tackling violence against women. It is, we believe, the first public prosecution service to integrate all forms of violence against women under the UN definition into a strategy and action plan which relates work in this area to a wider gender equality agenda. It is through this type of work that the CPS is achieving its vision of becoming a world class prosecution service.The CPS Violence Against Women strategy and action plan is aimed at integrating, coordinating and improving prosecutions and support for victims in a range of crimes, including but not limited to; domestic violence; rape and sexual offences, honour-based violence; prostitution; and human trafficking.Examples of CPS workIn the next three years, the CPS is focused on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system, through bringing more offenders of violence against women crimes to justice.It will seek to achieve this through:Improving prosecution performance with a new violence against women indicator, including targets for increasing successful outcomes in domestic violence, rape and sexual offences - In the rolling year to end of March 2009 we achieved a 58% rate of successful rape prosecutions, 72% in cases of domestic violence and 75% for sexual offences other than rape;the development of specific guidance for prosecutors on Violence against Women;the coordination and strengthening of Area coordinators and specialist prosecutors;annually measuring the satisfaction of stakeholders andimproving training across a range of VAWG work.In addition, the CPS is targeting improved victim and witness support, safety and satisfaction. This will be achieved through;support systems for victims and outcome monitoring; andthe development of a system to measure the support for and satisfaction of women victims of violence, across the criminal justice system.Finally, the CPS is also seeking to address any disproportionality across the equality strands through:examining the equality profiles of defendants and victims; andensuring Witness Care Units have support systems and information on support for victims and witnesses from all communities.I hope that I have been able to outline to you just some of the good work going on in this area, and some of the challenges that we face. The Government has done, and continues to focus attention on these important issues. We are seeking to properly equip front line practitioners to tackle the problem and are putting into place arrangements that will protect victims.But there must be a committed and collaborative working at both a national and local level if full advantage is to be taken of these strategies. That is the only way to deal sensitively and effectively with those subjected to or at risk of rape. Events like this are so very important to achieving these aims.I am so pleased that many of you here today will be able to take up this challenge and directly influence for the better the lives of victims and their families. I would like to commend you all on your efforts so far.The message that we need to send out is that we are committed to working together effectively and sympathetically with victims and to protect them, enforce their rights and uphold the law.We must prevent cases like Worboys and Reid from occurring, devastating so many victims lives.By providing an effective multi-agency response and approach to victims and survivors we are implementing an ambitious programme to make our community a safer place for all. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/Solicitor.aspx Edward Garnier QC MP speech to rape and sexual assault conference 23 September 2009 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: West Midlands CPS Group Community Prosecutor launch16 September 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney General Keynote SpeechWest Midlands CPS Group Community Prosecutor Launch - 16 September 2009Good morning. I am delighted to be able to join you to celebrate our entry into the delivery phase of the Community Prosecutor Approach, something I know you will agree represents an important and significant step in the further development of the Crown Prosecution Service into a modern prosecution service. The sort of service we applaud and the sort we care about.I know that everyone in the room is committed and passionate about delivering a better prosecution service, and I am extremely pleased to be here with you today to speak about the work focussing upon the next logical step in further increasing our impact in providing criminal justice effectively for local communities.Now, more than ever, it is really important that we really listen to communities, and listen to the people we are serving which will be crucial as we work through the programme to bring the CPS together with the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office to form a new public prosecution service.Our aim in this new service builds upon the strengths and successes of previous initiatives in becoming more responsive to victims, more responsive to witnesses and more responsive to the public. It will be a key part of our work to deliver a more effective service response to the variety of crime challenges that we now face.When the Government launched the Engaging Communities in Criminal Justice Green Paper back in April, a whole range of proposals were designed to open up the Criminal justice System to local communities so that services are much more transparent, responsive and more accountable to local people. In short, to highlight that the Criminal Justice System belongs to the people it serves. I remember when we were first talking about this - what was the contribution we, the CPS, could make. We were working with the Police and the Office for Criminal Justice Reform - but what was the added value we could bring? Out of that, the community prosecutor was born.Alongside the consultation, we are working to introduce a package of measures in 30 Pathfinder areas across England & Wales during 2009. A major plank of this package will include: Community Prosecutors, which we will be speaking about in some detail today. If you look at the Green Paper - the community prosecutor is the most important element.Community Impact Statements which has been developed into a national framework by the Court Service; Community Justice Teams, and Citizen Panels. We are the bit that is really new.We put forward proposals which we believe will strengthen the connections between communities and their prosecution and court services, as well as to ensure that justice outcomes are much more responsive and much more visible. And we also outlined proposals aimed at keeping communities informed, getting people involved and really empowering them to keep communities safe.As a package, those measures will really help us to respond to one of our biggest challenges - that is, demonstrating to the public that criminal justice services are working for them and are truly on their side. There's been a perception for a while that the system leans 99% on the side of the perpetrator and only 1% for victims. Gee Walker, Antony Walker's mother, after the successful prosecution of his killers said that she was really encouraged by the transparency of the system, but that the perception of the criminal justice system needed to be addressed.Public confidence in the fairness of the Criminal justice System has been increasing year on year on year and for that the nation owes a huge debt of gratitude to the thousands of criminal justice workers and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to improve our ability to serve the public interest. If you go back and look at the figures of 2003 - we should have a sense of pride when we compare them to the excellent figures we have today. A real sense of pride, when we see how far we have come.I believe a structured approach to better community inclusion, and ultimately problem solving, is a natural step for the Crown Prosecution Service to take in our commitment to effective prosecutions and ensuring the confidence of the public.In England & Wales, Public Confidence in the Criminal Justice System is measured using the British Crime Survey. We started with a headline figure of 39% of the public feeling confident that the Criminal Justice System was effective in bringing offenders to justice back in 2003. That meant that the majority of people didn't think we were much cop. Through your hard work this has risen to 44% by March of 2008. This is a major achievement when one reflects upon how far we have had to come in order to get there.Although we have met the Government target up to 2008, we have not stopped - neither have we rested. The British Crime Survey now includes measures of public confidence in both the fairness and the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System as a whole. Our work in engaging with the public meant that in the period from October 2007 to March 2008, 56% of people were confident that the Criminal Justice System as a whole was fair. So now we only just tip the balance. But the difference is, more people believe in this - but there is still more to do.Beyond this, that the public are aware of how effective the Criminal Justice system can be with their support and involvement.I am so proud of the work you have done to reach this position. It speaks volumes about the real added value that all of you bring, that the momentum has been maintained. We have kept getting stronger and stronger. It is only because of your ceaseless effort that I am able to stand here today to launch the Community Prosecutor Approach, something I am confident will achieve real improvement in the public perception about our effectiveness in delivering criminal justice at the local level. I have to emphasize that this will take all of us to adopt this approach.A number of factors contribute to people's perception of the Criminal Justice System. We know that the more people understand about the system, the more likely they are to have confidence in it. This is why I started the Inside Justice Awards in 2004. Some of that work begins at home, because each one of the 400,000 as part of the Criminal Justice Staff is a potential advocate for the changing system. If our own staff truly believe in the work they are doing, we place ourselves in a powerful position to convince the public that the approach we are taking is right. If we don't believe it is right - how do we convince others. We need to make sure we are self-critical so we can improve on what we are doing.We share a responsibility to deliver the right message on community involvement to the public so that the public understands what we deliver, and values the achievements we make together. It has to be real.I want to be clear, community inclusion does not weaken the independence of the Crown Prosecution Service. It ensures we are better informed about the local realities which will be taken into account when considering the public interest.Nationally, crime is down by nearly a third since 1997, and we have reduced re-offending by nearly a quarter, whilst at the same time also bringing 44% more offences to justice in 2007/08 than we did in 2001/02.These are real results, of which our staff and our volunteers can really be very proud, but we know we need to do more to ensure that the public know that justice is being done where it matters most that's in their communities. That's what it matters most. They need to understand why we are doing what we're doing and how we're doing it.We have to be clear that although we have accomplished so much, people don't always accept these improvements - we need to be better at communicating our achievements.Of course, I would not be standing here speaking to you if it were not for the hard work performed by volunteers dealing with local initiatives. You bring real value in helping us to plan service delivery at a local level, to properly consider local victim and witness issues and in providing objective scrutiny of the way in which we handle some of our most sensitive and difficult cases. It's not what we do, but how we do it that is important to the people we're serving.As the Minister responsible for superintending the Crown Prosecution Service I am pleased that we have such a good working relationship with our partner agencies. We all have a genuine desire to continually improve and to deliver what the public rightly expects from us.I know that a large part of today will focus on how we can build on that and learn from each others' experiences. I hope that you find today beneficial in helping you to continue helping us to improve what we do, within the context of building our new public prosecution service. You have to be brutal - you need to know where we are going right but also you need to understand where we're going wrong so that we can improve and avoid the same mistakes.Your work is of course a critical part of our wider framework for community engagement right across the criminal justice system. The Green Paper, which I have already mentioned, provides for a strengthening of that framework. A centrepiece of the Green Paper is our Community Prosecutor approach which has been built upon the hard won results made real by the Crown Prosecution Service as well as the local delivery partners and volunteers. This is a collaborative approach, it is an approach which will involve problem solving aimed at the specific problems a community faces. When I have spoken to local groups they raise that they have no real understanding of what they consider important and what they would like to see in their own community.In recent years we have forged effective and productive partnerships between prosecutors and other local delivery partners. It will see local prosecution teams, under the direction of their Community Prosecutor lead, working increasingly closely with local partners including Neighbourhood Policing Teams, probation officers and the Court Service to obtain better information on local concerns and to provide feedback to communities. This is not just for the community prosecutor. It is an approach for the whole team. The Code for Crown Prosecutors requires for the public interest to be understood - and it is important that we do this.Importantly, this approach will see prosecution teams draw on a range of information sources, butparticularly signal offences and offenders of concern to the community, to ensure that courts are made aware of the impact which those offences have on the local community.Community Prosecutors will also contribute to local problem-solving. They will provide continuity of advice to the police on the range of options available to tackle local priority problems; on the evidential issues related to them; and on any ancillary orders or out-of-court disposals which may be available and absolutely suitable in the circumstances.We have begun to test the approach in approximately 50 pathfinder areas. We have Staffordshire, West Mercia, Warwickshire, and the West Midlands that are all included, so we can learn more about how to get it right and so we can pass on lessons we can craft and cull before it goes nationwide. If you see anything that is going wrong - see it as a good thing. We can only learn from it and improve.Your critical comments on how we do this are therefore really significant. My vision is that all Crown Prosecution Service staff can make the Community Prosecutor approach second nature. I believe that the Community Prosecutor approach is a natural extension to what prosecutors already do in considering the public interest as part of their decision-making.The Public Interest stage of the Code for Crown Prosecutors has long been a cornerstone of prosecution decisions. Once the evidential test of the Code is met, it makes specific provision for prosecutors to take into account the impact of a crime on a community. But how can we hope to make effective judgements unless we understand what is in the public interest without speaking to communities themselves and learning what will affect them?We need to ensure that as we build our 21st century prosecution service, we work together to ensure it is one which is responsive to the concerns local people and what they really think about crime in their area.Whilst this process improves visibility, and therefore public confidence, it is also about the vital discourse between the prosecutors and the people we act for in the public interest.While our prosecutors appear in courtrooms and attend police stations to advise officers on a daily basis (an important part of their work), much of their work in tackling crime goes unseen. That is something I am clear we need to change.As you will already know, Prosecutors play a vital role behind-the-scenes, but one that is at the sharp end of dealing with local crime. But, their profile is far less obvious than that of the police with whom they work so closely; but they are the effective gate-keepers to our local criminal justice systems. They are immersed on an hour-by-hour basis in decision- making that helps take criminals off our streets, strives to get justice for victims and impacts directly on the safety of local communities. We need to help people understand who we are and how we do our work.The Community Prosecutor approach will mean that staff will have more information about local concerns. They will understand well how a particular type of crime is impacting on the community and can take this information into account when making casework decisions. And you will be able to see the impact of your decisions.There are many types of prohibition orders available and, with the right information from the community, the prosecutor will be able to decide on what is appropriate, in order to better protect those who are adversely affected.Of course, the CPS is an independent prosecuting service but if there is enough evidence they can then take information about the community into consideration when reviewing and applying the public interest test of the Code for Crown Prosecutors.This is already starting to produce results in Stoke-on- Trent where Community Prosecutors are listening to local concerns about the need for a targeted approach to tackling a local problems, they started with "kerb crawling" and prostitution. This is a problem that can blight neighbourhoods. As a result of this I am confident public awareness will improve along with confidence. We know that many Chief Crown Prosecutors and other staff already attend community meetings and liaise with partners in the criminal justice system and beyond. In Thames Valley, taxi cab drivers were experiencing significant levels of racial abuse. The CPS action was one of outreach - they started a dialogue with them, and have instilled in the drivers a sense of confidence in the CJS as a result. They would have felt let down if they weren't able to have this dialogue, but prosecutors have worked hard to listen to the voices within their community and take action to build confidence.Importantly, the Community Prosecutor approach will greatly enhance our capacity to provide feedback to communities. This could mean prosecutors attending Neighbourhood Meetings with police officers, for example, to explain what action can be, or has been taken in a particular circumstance.It will also enhance the support which we already provide to victims, and in so doing help us to build a greater degree of resilience to crime. Adequate support for victims at the time of need will reap benefits long term for allowing for healing, and the possibility of reducing the risk of the victim turning to crime at a later stage.By working harder through the Community Prosecutor approach to support them and address their needs better it is important for us to recognise the strength of what has gone before. There is a range of existing activity - of which Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels and Community Involvement Panels are part - on which the Green Paper, and particularly the Community Prosecutor approach seeks to build.These lessons form part of the Citizenship curriculum and explain the role of the CPS, its purpose within the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and the assistance that the CJS provides to young witnesses of crime.Community Prosecutors sit within the wider Criminal Justice Framework including Pro Bono and other voluntary work, giving us an active and visible presence in our communities. I was delighted last June to be able to launch the CPS Pro Bono and Volunteers Network which will help to give greater focus, co-ordination and support to this valuable addition to our work.I believe there is a wealth of evidence to support stronger and more far reaching community engagement right across the Criminal Justice System. I particularly love the Schools Project that CPS Derbyshire are running where teachers are going into schools to teach young people about the criminal justice system.My ambition is that our prosecution service will play a leading role in a combined approach relying upon the local police services and that you will continue to help us to do so. I can't emphasise enough how much we need your whole hearted engagement to make the CPS the best prosecution service possible.Finally, I would like to thank you all. Thank you for all the work you have done so far, but also thank you in advance for the work you are yet to do. Remember, your work is valued and will make a difference. As Home Office Minister in 2003 I was a keen advocate of joint working - the CPS, the Police and the Courts all working together. I believed in the strength of partnerships and how together we could deliver better confidence in the criminal justice system. I knew that the only way to do that is to take people with us. We have to show people how we do what we do, but also remember to explain our mistakes. I want to thank you all for taking up that joint working methodology, and I can believe that together we can make a difference.Thank you None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneralWestMidlandsCPSGroupCommunityProsecutorlaunch.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP West Midlands CPS Group Community Prosecutor launch 16 September 2009 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: keynote speech Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture10 September 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCI'd like to thank you all for inviting me to give a speech at the 9th Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture. I would also like to thank Brenda for my introduction.This year is of course the 10th anniversary of the publication of Stephen Lawrence Inquiry report into the events of Stephen's murder. It is a time to reflect on how far we have come and to identify what more we need to do to achieve a fairer society, and in so doing promote and secure a quality of justice for all our citizens, whatever their background.During the last 10 years the Government has led what can be described as an ambitious programme to transform our performance on race equality across the public sector and the criminal justice system. Much has been done but there is still a long way to go yet.The transformation over the last 10 years has shown us that we have the ability to differentiate between what works and what does not, and to use that knowledge to bring about real and visible change. This is a really complex area. There is no single solution. The Government cannot do it on its own; but together as a society we can speed up the pace of change.I'd like to echo the Equality and Human Rights Commission when I say that equality is not a minority interest: a fairer society benefits everyone in terms of economic prosperity, quality of life and good relations within and amongst communities. The responsibility for building a successful society rests with all of us. And I want to tell you how we are I think doing our bit to achieve this.If I may, I would like to take you all and, in particular the students here today, back in time to what I see is the foundation stone towards building a stronger community: The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report.1993- Stephen Lawrence murderThe racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 was a horrendous attack on a young man, who aspired to become an architect. His murder had a devastating impact not only on his family and friends, but it really rocked the wider community too.The shock and horror of his murder was felt in every home. Families of all complexions, religions and social background identified with the pain and suffering which was written large on Stephen's family's faces. The emotions felt by so many irrespective of their background were: "this could have been my son," or "what if this had been my son?" This was not a dysfunctional family, this was a good, honest, decent British family which had been ripped apart by racism. Here, in London, on our streets, in 1993 and with one voice the people of London said no; not in this day and not in this time. Their voices found their echo in every corner of our nation.Denial was from asunder, there was nowhere to hide, racism was here and we as a whole community had to stand united against it.The publication of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report in 1999 was really a watershed. It provided an insight on how we were tackling racist hate crime at that point in time. It set out a huge challenge to the Criminal Justice System and the wider public sector. It contained 70 specific recommendations, with an overarching message to the public sector institutions that it was incumbent upon them to examine their policies to guard against disadvantaging any sections of the community. It was like a lightning rod - it was real, it was here and it had to be dealt with.Looking back, in the late '90s there was:o significant workforce under representation, especially at senior levels across the public sector institutions;o No concerted prosecution leadership on the approach to hate crime as a whole;o No witness care units, no direct communication with victims and no victim and witness care strategy;o Very little contact or engagement with communities that we serve;o There was no systematic equalities monitoring or monitoring to check for potential bias or disproportionality in the prosecution process or employment.It is really important therefore that we remember how it was.Where are we now?Where are we now? What building blocks have we placed towards ensuring effective prosecution of racist hate crime, ensuring a workforce that is representative of the communities we serve and demonstrating beyond any previous power, that we monitor and tackle evidence of race disproportionality in our prosecution decisions?The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 10 years ago set out the roadmap to achieve the improvements in policy and practice that we need and which we have striven to put in place ever since.The report led directly to the creation of the Race Relations Amendment Act 2001, a crucial piece of legislation that placed obligations on every public body in England and Wales to scrutinise how they tackle racism and to take action against it. This resulted in a framework for taking sustained action. For example, many police forces and CPS areas appointed Equality and Diversity Champions right across the country. I want to pay tribute tonight to the Rt Honorable Paul Boateng who is here today - he is a standard bearer who made people take note - we need our leaders to challenge.In preparation for today, I had another look at the Macpherson report and was struck again by its sheer breadth. Many of you will know that the recommendations from that report have shaped the fundamental changes this government has put in place to support victims and witnesses in playing their part in our criminal justice service. Some might say that we have made too much of the role of the victims, but perhaps it is easy to forget that in the 1990s victims were barely acknowledged. Now we are fully recognising the vital work victims and witnesses play. Prosecutors can now speak to victims and witnesses directly; something unheard of and indeed prohibited in 1993. In April 2006 the first Code of Practice for Victims of Crime was introduced. This Code sets out standards of service that the police and other criminal justice agencies are legally obliged to provide to witnesses and victims of crime. An equivalent non-statutory Witness Charter for witnesses has been developed and was rolled out earlier this year.In 2003, witness care units, jointly staffed by the police and CPS were set up right across the country. Now fully established Witness Care Officers provide a single point of contact and individually tailored support for each witness to help them give their best evidence. So, if you are a victim of crime a Witness Care Officer will manage your care from the point of charge until the conclusion of the case.One of the proudest things I have been entrusted with as Home Office Minister was putting the victims and witness units in place. They have and continue to do a tremendous job.More recently the CPS and Victim and Witness Care Delivery Unit developed best practice advice on monitoring victim and witness care commitments to ensure appropriate and effective delivery.Many of these victim and witness developments have their origins in the Lawrence Inquiry report. It is a testament to the Inquiry's impact that it has helped transform victim and witness care services for all witnesses.In the fight against hate crime there have been significant developments. As a direct result of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry the Government introduced racially aggravated offences in the Crime and Disorder Act 1999 and enhanced sentencing provisions in the 2003 Criminal Justice Act.I lead a cross-governmental hate crime programme, called Race for Justice; this brings government, CJS agencies, academics and victims groups together to ensure we move forward in a coherent way. Race for Justice has already delivered significant improvements including a common definition of hate crime which is shared by now all agencies. This has allowed us to set in place improvements to data collection which has significantly improve our understanding of the nature of hate crime that helps to inform local decisions to reduce the incidence of such crimes.Race for Justice has now expanded to include representation from other strands of Government. We work with the Department of Health to ensure we effectively serve victims of disability hate crime which remains one of our greatest challenges when we compare recorded crime to what research tells us is the actual experience of people with a disability. Another example of the cooperation across Whitehall is our work with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to facilitate work with other States to counter the significant threats presented from, for example, the expansion of Neo-Nazi groups and the use of the internet to promulgate illegal hate material. We are using the influence of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in international organisations to seek cooperation to ensure these threats do not lead to any increase in hate crime.We have commenced work to examine how Criminal Justice agencies protect people from hate crime. Race for Justice has carried out a widespread audit of responses from all agencies and has created a toolkit to allow Local Criminal Justice Boards to examine their own local performance.This audit complements the ground breaking CPS Area Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels which I hope many of you have heard about. What they are doing is opening up our performance to community scrutiny. For the first time hate crime cases are jointly reviewed with the community, identifying lessons learnt that are then disseminated. Recently the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has spoken of the benefits which have already been harvested from this bold first engagement. I for one think that is a good thing. We are learning new lessons every day and we are implementing change.As a consequence of all these changes, our handling of racist and hate crimes has improved since the Stephen Lawrence murder. In the four years ending March 2009, over 45,200 defendants were prosecuted for crimes involving racist or religious crime. Convictions rose from 74% in 2005-06 to 82% in 2008-09. So we're getting better at it. We're making a difference and we are protecting people.After the racist murder of another young black man, Anthony Walker, in Liverpool in 2005, Anthony's mother Gee was interviewed by my Race for Justice Independent Advisory Group. She commented on the way the Criminal Justice Service helped her deal with the tragedy. She singled out the comments of the sentencing Judge where he gave a ringing condemnation of the murder but importantly he clearly set out how he had calculated the offenders' sentencing, and that they were enhanced because the crime was motivated by racism. Gee Walker and I feel that this sends a clear message to communities and importantly racist offenders that the State will not tolerate such racist crime. I was also really touched by her total support of prosecutorial and investigation teams. She said whatever happens I know that everything that could have been done has been. This is a great testament to Doreen and the work she has done to try and make sure no-one else goes through the same experience as she and her family have done.The improvements in service we saw in this case, from all strands of the Justice system, were a stark contrast to the experience of Doreen and Neville Lawrence in 1993. But it is a testament to their perseverance and our determination to ensure no other family has that same experience, has enabled us to change and change radically.Whilst we can be rightly proud of our progress we must not be complacent - we still do get it wrong on occasions. We know that many hate crimes go un-reported, particularly if the victim is from an isolated part of the community such as an asylum and refugee communities or from Gypsy or Traveller communities. We face similar challenges where we do not respond in a way that is sensitive. We need to address the sensitivity appropriate to the victim , including sensitivities which address when the victim is transgender or disabled. It is vital that we do not create any hierarchy of hate. Protection from bigoted abuse is a fundamental human right in any free and just society and one which is shared by every citizen regardless of their origins and lifestyle.But it does not end there. With regard to tackling equality in employment we have set targets to secure more representative workforces in the criminal justice system and wider public sector.Again, the CPS recognises that race equality in the prosecution process and race equality in employment are firmly linked. They know that if they are to have the confidence of all communities they need a skilled talented workforce whose diverse contributions are valued and a workforce which reflects the communities it seeks to serve.The under-representation of Black and Ethnic Minority staff outside London and the impact this has had on community confidence remains a challenge.Some of you may know that Anthony Walker aspired to become a lawyer before he was murdered. Last year the CPS launched the Anthony Walker Law Scholarship Scheme. Its aims are to assist Black and Minority Ethnic students to further their legal studies and gain experience of the CPS. I am proud to say that the first award was made in July 2008 and the recipient of this year's award is due to be announced very soon.We have to and are dealing with race disproportionality. This is one of the key messages from the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry - unjustified race disproportionality can be the systematic effect of earlier unfair treatment and undoubtedly adversely impacts on the confidence of Black and Minority Ethnic communities.Our Government will tackle unjustified disproportionality in the Criminal Justice System. We have a new public service agreement which requires Local Criminal Justice Boards:'to better able to identify and explain race disproportionality at key points within the Criminal Justice System and will have strategies in place to address racial disparities which cannot be explained or objectively justified'.This may seem a wordy way of expressing it but it is important. What it is saying is that we must identify where service is not equitable and we must take action to put it right. The work is producing real results:• The representation of BME groups working for Criminal Justice System agencies is improving. In 2006/7 the Police, Prison, Probation, Magistracy, Judiciary, Independent Monitoring Boards, Victim support, Youth Offending Teams, and Legal Profession all recorded an increase in the number of BME staff.• Perceptions of fair treatment by the Criminal Justice System and its agencies amongst Black and Minority Ethnic communities (as measured by the Citizenship Survey) continues to improve, with 28% of people from those communities perceiving worse treatment by the CJS than white counterparts in the year to March 2008, compared to 33% in 2001. So it is going in the right direction.We have introduced the Minimum Data Set (MDS) to ensure that consistent and comprehensive ethnicity data is available to Local Criminal Justice Boards and all criminal justice agencies. This enables them to performance manage their local CJS, identify issues of concern and work with communities to develop local solutionsWe recognise that disproportionality can arise from a number of factors. And that agencies need help to determine the causes of that disproportionality, those that can be justified and those which cannot. To do this we have developed a series of diagnostic tools. These tools we believe will enable LCJBs to:o deal with the issues and take ownership at the local level;o to critically analyse local ethnicity data in order to identify unfair disproportionality and;o to develop evidence-based responses to address the issues locally.The CPS affords the highest priority to delivering prosecution decisions free from bias, including racial bias. Ensuring fair treatment of suspects and appropriate prosecutorial decisions is amongst the most important prosecution roles. As a consequence the CPS has commissioned a series of equality and diversity impact assessments to prosecutors charging decisions going back to 2004-05. The CPS is bound by the Race Relations Amendment Act to ensure that it monitors its decision making for evidence of race disproportionality and takes action where necessary. CPS charging decisions are core to its service and that is why it prioritises research to ensure that the question of disproportionality is monitored and guarded against.However there are also some enduring challenges. Public confidence is not at a level we would want. Racist crime outcomes, whilst improved, need to improve further. We do not have fully representative workforces yet across the whole country. There is still disproportionality in the system. We cannot be complacent when the Walker family, in the aftermath of their son's murder and the subsequent successful trial, said they experience the system as still '99% for the defendant and 1% for the victim'.Nothing is perfect, nothing will ever be perfect. There is still a lot of work to do but we are in a vastly different place to where we were before. So where next?Where are we going?Well, the Government has introduced a new Equality Bill. This Bill will strengthen the law as well as create a new single Public Sector Equality Duty. This new duty will continue to cover race, gender and disability but will be extended to cover for example age, sexual orientation religion or belief. Unless and until there is equality, we have not taken it far enough. We will do all we can to take it as far as we can.For the first time a Charter for the Bereaved will be introduced. This Charter will describe services that bereaved persons can expect to receive from the coroner service and sets out the rights of redress if those services are not delivered.The Home Office will soon be publishing a cross governmental hate crime action plan. This programme of work brings together various government departments ranging from the Department of Health, Department of Children, Schools and Families to the Home Office and CPS. The Action Plan will demonstrate the Government's commitment to tackling the life cycle of hate crime in various stages; that's prevention, reporting, victim support, prosecution, sentencing and probation. I am really delighted to say that Race for Justice and the CPS contributed to it in a really fine way.However, the Government cannot bring about all the necessary changes on its own. Changing the just the law is not enough. As individuals and as members of the communities we need to continue to work together to bring about change more quickly.Many of us in this room, including myself, are in a position where we can make a real difference. We are in a position where we can inspire others to achieve what they want to achieve. As a community we can work together by building a fairer society.As Attorney General, as well as being Chief Legal Adviser to the Government I am both guardian of Public Interest and a Minster for Criminal Justice. It is with this in mind that I will be launching the Attorney General's Youth Network, to help and promote youth aspirations and potential. Part of its potential will be to inspire the children to feel that they can become lawyers if they want to, whatever their backgrounds. But my aspirations go further. Through the Network I want all children to become aware of and be able to defend their rights. Children must know they have a voice and that they are entitled to form and express their own views about the society in which they live. I want them to know that the Rule of Law and the right to Justice is theirs to own. And they will own it, whether or not they choose to become lawyers.That is what I have done. However I want each and every one of us here today to think 'what can I do to help speed up and bring about the change that is required to build a fairer society?' I want each and every one of us here today to think how can I as an individual and as a member of the community inspire and help others and then take action on it.ConclusionWe are here today to remember a young man who had dreams. He dreamed of becoming an architect. Architects design houses and structures that individuals and communities want to live and work in and be proud of. Stephen Lawrence's dream made me think about what it takes to build that vision that I have talked to you about today.When designing homes and structures there are always challenges to overcome. It could be the environment or the sheer ambition/difficulty of designing and building it. Or it could quite simply be opposition from neighbours or the local community.As every architect knows, to build a home requires teamwork. Every individual in the project: architect, builder, carpenter, project manager, engineer, planning officer, utility companies, lawyer, fulfils their role working together. These individuals and communities are diverse both in their background, skill, experience, and the knowledge they bring. Together they harness those differences to overcome all those challenges, to build homes and structures that we as a community are proud to live and work in.Well it is no different for us. If we want to build our dream home of a fairer society then we must work together as a diverse team to build it. We have already built the frame and the brick walls are slowly but surely going up. But we still need to complete the house. The roof needs to be tiled. The windows need to be installed. We still have a long way to go before our dream house is finished and we can enjoy living in it.Stephen Lawrence's death made us look at what we were doing, how we were tackling race and hate and dealing with it and acknowledging it as a crime. Doreen and Neville Lawrence's tireless campaign led to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. This provided a positive foundation and roadmap to achieve the improvements in policy and practice that we need and have been able to put in place since. What better way for us to celebrate his memory.He has been an architect but one of an entirely superior nature. His architecture will benefit the rest of society, far beyond that, that he will ever know.Thank you Doreen for your tireless efforts over these last 9 years to bring this important issue to such prominence.Thank you None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneral-KeynoteSpeech%E2%80%93StephenMemorialLecture.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP keynote speech Stephen Lawrence Memorial Lecture 10 September 2009 Attorney General's Office
Keynote Speech - CPS Community Conference9 July 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralGood morning. I am delighted to be able to join you for what I think is an important event. I say important, because opportunities such as this are really valuable. Being able to talk with and hear from those who represent the communities that we serve really does help us in our efforts to shape and deliver a better prosecution service for the public. I know that everyone in the room is committed and passionate about delivering a better prosecution service. And I am extremely pleased to be working with Keir and others to take forward this agenda.Now, more than ever, it is important that we really listen to communities, as we see through the programme of work which will bring the CPS together with the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office to form a new public prosecution service.Our aim is that this new service builds upon the strengths and successes of both organisations and is increasingly responsive to victims, witnesses and the public. It will be a key part of our work to deliver a more effective service and to provide an ever more effective response to the variety of crime challenges that we now face.We face a significant threat from serious organised crime. One element of that crime is fraud, and the new public prosecution service will form an important part of the National Fraud Authority's developing framework for managing a costly and damaging crime which we know has real impacts on everyday life, particularly in the current economic climate.When the Government launched the Engaging Communities in Criminal Justice Green Paper back in April it sought to emphasise our belief that the Criminal Justice System belongs to the people it serves.We put forward proposals which we believe will strengthen the connections between communities and their prosecution and court services, as well as to ensure that justice outcomes are much more responsive and more visible. And we also outlined proposals aimed at keeping communities informed, getting people involved and empowering communitiesAs a package, those measures will really help us to respond to one of our biggest challenges - that is, demonstrating to the public that criminal justice services are working for them and are truly on their side.Crime is down by nearly a third since 1997 and we have reduced re-offending by nearly a quarter. We also brought 44% more offences to justice in 2007/08 than we did in 2001/02.These are real results, in which our staff and our volunteers can really be very proud, but we know we need to do much more to ensure that the public know that justice is being done where it matters most - in their own communities. We have to be clear that although we've done so much, people don't always accept these improvements - we need to better at communicating our achievements.The work which with which you are already involved - through our Community Involvement Panels and Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels - is a key part of that. You bring real value in helping us to plan service delivery at a local level, to properly consider local victim and witness issues and in providing objective scrutiny of how we handle some of our most sensitive and difficult cases.As the Minister responsible for superintending the Crown Prosecution Service I am pleased that we have been brave enough to open ourselves out to such scrutiny. It is the mark of a confident organisation - and a modern public prosecution service - when it can be prepared to ask for the truth, however uncomfortable that might be. But I know that we do so out of a genuine desire tocontinually improve and to deliver what the public rightly expects from us.I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for the time you have given to us voluntarily and so generously. Community engagement has always been a strong passion of mine and I was pleased when the first Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel in West Yorkshire received a Justice Award in 2007. I was so proud of the work they had done, and continue to do. It speaks volumes about the real added value that you bring that the momentum has been maintained and that we are having this event today.I also know that across the CPS we now have 11 community involvement panels fully operational, with others on the way. Together, I hope both the scrutiny panels and the involvement panels send a clear message about our determination to be open and transparent about the workings of our prosecution business.I know that a large part of today will focus on how we build on this and learn from each others' experiences. I hope that you find today beneficial in helping you to continue helping us to improve what we do, within the context of building our new public prosecution service.Your work is of course a critical part of our wider framework for community engagement right across the criminal justice system. The Green Paper, which I have already mentioned, provides for a strengthening of that framework. A centrepiece of the Green Paper is our Community Prosecutor approach.This approach builds on our successive improvements and our successes in recent years in forging effective and productive partnerships between prosecutors and other local delivery partners. It will see local prosecution teams, under the direction of their Community Prosecutor lead, working increasingly closely with local partners including Neighbourhood Policing Teams and probation officers to obtain better information on local concerns and to provide feedback to communities.Importantly, this approach will see prosecution teams draw on a range of information sources, butparticularly signal offences and offenders of concern to the community, to ensure that courts are made aware of the impact which those offences have locally.Community Prosecutors will also contribute to local problem-solving. They will provide continuity of advice to the police on the range of options available to tackle local priority problems; on the evidential issues related to them; and on any ancillary orders or out-of-court disposals which may be available and suitable in the circumstances.We have begun to test the approach in approximately 50 pathfinder locations so we can learn more about how to get it right and pass on lessons before it goes nationwide. Your criticalcomments on how we do this are therefore really significant. My ambition is that all CPS staff can make the community prosecutor approach second nature.I believe that the Community Prosecutor approach is a natural extension to what prosecutors already do in considering the public interest as part of their decision-making.The Public Interest stage of the Code for Crown Prosecutors has long been a cornerstone of prosecution decisions. Once the evidential test of the Code is met, it makes specific provision for prosecutors to take into account the impact of a crime on a community. But how can we hope to make effective judgements about what is in the public interest without speaking to them? We needto ensure that as we build our 21st century prosecution service it is one which is responsive to the concerns local people have about crime.Overall, it's about visibility. While our prosecutors appear in courtrooms and attend police stations to advise officers on a daily basis, much of their work in tackling crime goes quite unseen. That is something I am clear we need to change.As you will already know, Prosecutors play a vital behind-the-scenes role at the sharp end of dealing with local crime. Their profile is far less obvious than that of the police with whom they work so closely; but they are the effective gate-keepers to our local criminal justice systems. They are immersed on an hour-by-hour basis in decision-making that helps take criminals off our streets, strives to get justice for victims and impacts directly on the safety of local communities.I want to be clear that the Community Prosecutor approach is not a job title. It is not an add on - it is an integral part of what we do. It is a much more powerful tool than that. It is an ethos; a way of working that I hope will become fully embedded in the culture of our new public prosecution service as we move forward. It is important that we demonstrate that freshness and enthusiasm to those with whom we work. My vision is that it will be adopted by all members of our staff, whether they are lawyers, receptionists or witness care officers.The Community Prosecutor approach will mean that staff will have more information about local concerns. They will understand well how a particular type of crime is impacting on the community and can take this information into account when making casework decisions.For example, there are many types of prohibition orders available and with the right information from the community the prosecutor will be able to decide on what is appropriate, in order to better protect those who are adversely affected.Of course, the CPS is an independent prosecuting service but if there is enough evidence they can then take information about the community intoconsideration when reviewing and applying the public interest test of the Code for Crown Prosecutors.Importantly, the Community Prosecutor approach will greatly enhance our capacity to provide feedback to communities. This could mean prosecutors attending Neighbourhood Meetings with police officers, to explain what action can be, or has been taken.It will also enhance the support which we already provide to victims, and in so doing help us to build a greater degree of resilience to crime. We know that many of the defendants who we deal with were at one time victims. So by working harder through the Community Prosecutor approach to support them and address their needs we will be able to make a real contribution to our efforts to further reduce crime going forward.It is important for us to recognise the strength of what has gone before, and to not seek unnecessarily to reinvent the wheel. There is a range of existing activity - of which Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels and Community Involvement Panels are part - on which the Green Paper, and particularly the Community Prosecutor approach seeks to build.We know that many Chief Crown Prosecutors and other staff already attend community meetings and liaise with partners in the criminal justice system and beyond.The CPS in Thames Valley is working ever more closely with the police and other agencies to make communities safer. For example, The CPS is a member of the Cherwell Neighbourhood Action Group which aims to identify specific issues of local concern. The CPS also leads the Oxfordshire Confidence Action Team which carries out community engagement work and includes charities such as the Young Victims of Crime Project.Also in Thames Valley a CPS District Crown Prosecutor leads a project which consults the Muslim community in High Wycombe and in particular concentrates on enabling the voices of Muslim women and young people to be heard.In Merseyside the CPS has been working with the North West Ambulance Service to try to tackle the increasingly frequent of assaults on ambulance crews by members of the public. The Recorder of Liverpool has this month agreed that CPS prosecutors can read a prepared community impact statement to the court, which will explain that such attacks on staff resulted in the ambulance service losing 1,740 working hours in 2008, leading to fewer crews being available to serve the public.And, in Derbyshire the CPS have successfully worked in conjunction with Derbyshire County Council Local Authority to develop two interactive lessons for 11 to 16 year olds.These lessons form part of the Citizenship curriculum and explain the role of the CPS, its purpose within the Criminal Justice System (CJS) and the assistance that the CJS provides to young witnesses of crime.I had the privilege of seeing this project at first hand and am really pleased that it is preparing for a wider pilot across the East Midlands and possible further roll-out after that. It was stunning to listen to 13 year olds discussing the evidential test and the public interest test. Those children understood the processes of the CJS and that if they didn't participate that they would not be involved in justice. They also understood why the CPS cannot always prosecute. Building resilience and bringing aboutchange is already being carried out by these children and we need to build on this.Many CPS staff are also engaged in a wide range Pro Bono and other voluntary work, giving us an active and visible presence in our communities. I was delighted last month to be able to launch the CPS Pro Bono and Volunteers Network which will help to give greater focus, co-ordination and support to this valuable addition to our work.I believe there is a wealth of evidence to support stronger and more far reaching community engagement right across the Criminal Justice System. I know that the Director of Public Prosecutions and I share an ambition that our prosecution service will play a leading role, and that you will continue to help us to do so.I can't emphasise enough how much we need your whole hearted engagement to make the CPS the best prosecution service possible. I want this conference not just to be an opportunity to talk, but one that will deliver action. We need to keep talking and keep delivering. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/KeynoteSpeech%E2%80%93CPSCommunityConference.aspx ? Keynote Speech - CPS Community Conference 09 July 2009 Attorney General's Office
Churches' Media Conference, Faith In The Public Space - The New Enlightenment8 June 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralChurches' Media Conference8 June 2009Faith in the Public Space - The New EnlightenmentIntroductionThank you for inviting me to speak.It is an honour to address you - and to speak immediately after our former Prime Minister.Perhaps I should begin by saying how grateful I am that anyone is sitting in the audience today.It was an act of faith on my part to come, given what some people tell me about our God-less media.Apparently:none of those working in the media believes, or is remotely interested in religion;journalism is a faith-free zone, andfaith is anachronistic, irrelevant to modern life.Perhaps you are all figments of my extravagantly vivid imagination.According to media myth, like God, you do not exist.Perhaps I should say "probably do not exist" like the bus adverts1.The godless move in mysterious ways!But there you are, and here I am, and I am delighted to be tackling with you the very pertinent question you have raised: is Faith becoming marginalised and pushed out of the Public Space in this country?At the end of the day I can only give an opinion based on my own life as a woman of faith.I could answer as a lawyer.I could demonstrate how the multiplicity of religion and belief in this country is better protected now than ever in the past.That's the effect of our Human Rights Act2, our equalities legislation3, anti-religious hatred laws and our repeal of outmoded limitations on religious freedoms4.Yes, we do have freedom to believe what you choose - and not to be discriminated against, bad-mouthed or badly treated because of it.And yes, we do all have freedom to manifest our beliefs, subject only to necessary and proportionate limitations, based on the rights and freedoms of others.But I am not here to give a legal lecture.And Faith flourishes when respect for it is freely given, not just when public authorities will defend it.So I just want to give three simple reasons why Faith is ever more central in public policy.Reasons which matter to me both as a woman of Faith and as a Member of Government.My message is for the 70 per cent plus of our population who say they believe in something5- and to everyone of good will.And by 70% plus, I am just referring to this country.The Faith story may look like decline viewed from some parts of Europe, but it absolutely doesn't if we take a global view.The proportion of people across the globe attached to the big four faiths, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the Hindu faith, increased over the last century.In the fastest developing countries of the world, faith is going up.I Globalisation and the need for inter-faith understandingThe first reason why Faith is so crucial to all our futures has just been referred to by Tony.Globalisation, in a word.Tony isn't on a religious recruitment drive.The message is for all people of faith and for those of no faith at all.It chimes with what Gordon Brown said on the eve of the G20 summit earlier in the year6.Globalisation shrinks the world.It makes people who were strangers into neighbours.How those new neighbours get on will depend on the understanding and respect they can show each other.If that overlooks faith, it isn't understanding - and it won't be respect.It won't work.That is the big point Tony's Faith Foundation has been making ever since it was launched a year ago.Globalisation is the first simple reason why Faith matters in the Public Space.And it's the reason why we need to do more to encourage mutual respect.Religion isn't dying out and actually it is going to make or break our modern world.The pollsters have worrying messages7about the perceptions and anxieties we are getting as cultures and faiths rub up against each other.There is fear. There is misunderstanding.Fertile ground for hostility and conflict.Religion will play a part, either as a force for good, or a force for ill.If we want faiths to be a force for good we must all learn to live with faiths and to celebrate them in their diversity - and, crucially, in their many areas of convergence.Each community of belief proud of its own values and heritage, but open and respectful towards those who differ.A bias towards positive regard.This is the New Enlightenment.As Tony says, the peace and security of our planet depends on it.Barack Obama said it last Thursday in that wonderful speech he gave in Cairo: we have to end the cycle of suspicion and discord8.He hasn't put on rose-tinted spectacles.This is urgent and practical and real.Idealism is the new realism.Yes we can.Yes we must.ExtremismI believe that there is a real job of work for all of us in the faith communities to cultivate that respectful and positive regard between faith communities.The media can help a lot with this task.Every religion has extremists.Even if it's not hate speech and hate actions there's the idea that if you don't share my exact beliefs you must be cast out as an inferior human being.I have always thought that idea diminishes God.It seems to turn Him into the God of a group not the God of all - as if His action can be limited to just one group.I am reminded of the fire some Christian churches light up outside the church building for the ceremony of light at the start of the Great and Holy Easter Vigil.The fire seems to symbolise the power of God.It is too great to be confined in a building.It does not fail to warm anyone who draws close to it.Tony spoke of the negative face that people of faith sometimes show to the world - and I regret that too.What I regret even more is that those people are often the ones who know the least about the faiths they criticise.That makes them risk being false priests and false prophets.And that's a pity because the great truths of the great religions are a lot easier to understand than people seem to think.And they are not about exclusion and hate, far from it.I'm thinking first about my own religion where Jesus was asked by someone in my profession - the law - what is the greatest commandment of the law.'Jesus said to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as you love yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'9The two commandments Jesus gives were not new. He deliberately quoted the central tenets of another religion, namely Judaism.You can find the first commandment in the Book of Deuteronomy10. And the second in the Book of Leviticus11The commandment to love your neighbour is the commandment of the Torah.Furthermore, much the same spirituality of compassion can be found in the words of the Buddha and in the Sikh and Hindu faiths.It's also in the Holy Quran, which states: "if anyone saves a person it will be as if he has saved the whole of humanity".The Holy Quran also states, "We have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."Don't get me wrong. I am not saying that there is no difference between the faiths.I don't "do" assimilation.I practice a religion that teaches that it is the true faith.But the interesting question I get asked is "Which religion is that?" and I am tempted to reply "All of them".That would certainly illustrate how much I feel my faith has in common, not only with other Christian denominations but also with the other major faith communities.My parents taught me that you should always look at what you have in common with others, not at what separates you.Look at biology. Over 98% of your DNA doesn't separate you, for example.I am a child of a mixed marriage - my mother was a devout Dominican Catholic who said the Angelus four times every day of her life and my father was an ardent Antiguan Methodist who read the Bible every day of his life.They met and married in Dominica in 1947. Their full nuptial mass needed a special dispensation from Rome, believe it or not.Our family lived next door to the synagogue and actually I was one of the very few non-Orthodox members of the Jewish youth club.I was also the Shabbat Goy12.Some of my brothers became members of the Church of England.Most of my friends are people of Faith, but different ones.Jewish, Sikh, Hindu, Moslem, Brethren, Anglican, Baptist, Methodists.Radically different?That's not what I find.Look at their fruits. By their fruits shall you know them13.Look at what the churches, mosques, synagogues and temples do for the sick elderly and the socially excluded.Humanitarian work - the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, World Jewish Relief, Aid to the Church in Need, Hindu Aid.They're all versions of the same Good Samaritan story14, aren't they?Is it too naive to hope that the media could tell that story -and that we can celebrate it together as a sign of common bonds and teaching?This isn't an area where it is appropriate for the Government to intervene.It isn't for Ministers or Governments to tell us what we believe and what not to believe15.But the Government does have a clear interest and responsibility to help build a cohesive society.One whose members value and respect each other and are not at each other's throats.That's why we are providing financial support to help faith leaders shed the disinfectant of light on the myths and misconceptions that religious extremists promote.It's good to hear that the first group of more than 40 faith leaders - including Christians and Sikhs as well as Muslims - has completed a Continuous Professional Development programme, learning new skills to communicate effectively with the people they serve.We now have a new Faith community development qualification which can be taken up by colleges across the country.The Government is also responding to faith leaders calls for help to make inter-faith activity genuine "side by side" shared activities - people gathering around a common purpose and a concrete outcome.The Face to Face and Side by Side partnership framework is supported by a three-year programme of investment worth over seven and a half million poundsSupport is being targeted through a new local Faiths in Action fund to support local activities and initiatives, and Regional Faith Forums to support and build their capacity in relation to local interfaith activity.Have you heard of the Operation Eden project in Merseyside?Over a thousand volunteers are working on over 50 projects in Merseyside.Projects to improve local neighborhoods and bring together those who care about the welfare of their environment.Work that shows more eloquently than words can how people of different faiths can work together - for the same community, and for the same motives.II Faith and worksThis leads me to the focus on my second reason why faith has a continuing and salutary role in public life.The reason is the impetus and the sustenance faith gives to public service for so many.I am proud to have been brought up to believe that through God all things are possible.My parents said that God had given each and every person a talent and that it was our individual duty to find out what that talent is, to hone it and then use it for the benefit of other people.That was our purpose.You couldn't waste the talent that God gave you.This idea of service - to God, your neighbour and to your community - was very much part of my upbringing.It is my life.Faith isn't an optional extra or something you put on like a hat on Sundays and take off for the rest of the week. It goes through you like writing in a stick of rock. It is reflected in what you are and what you do.Faith is the reason many are out there volunteering and making a difference.Tackling local problems whether they are drugs, crime, violence or pollution.Working to build a better tomorrow.Showing steadfast commitment when others might despair.You don't need to believe in God to do this, but my goodness it does seem to help!It's a life-time commitment to the desire to show God's selfless love to the world.In this context "the world" means just that.There is no east or west. No exclusion.God is everyone's Father and so I recognise you as my sister or my brother.I feel that I have a head start in that department because I am the tenth of twelve brothers and sisters, so I do have some idea what extended families are about!I've seen so many examples where it's people of faith who are there for the most marginalised and most disadvantaged in our society.Examples where Faith made the difference and somehow kept its workers' eyes from tears and their feet from stumbling16.The faith-based alliance to reduce re-offending. Prison chaplains. Support for communities in other parts of the world, for people we are never likely to meet.The desire to do good can't be reduced to a series of projects to be measured in terms of concrete outcomes.The fact is that faith-based values of altruism, respect, care for the vulnerable and marginalised, solidarity and responsibility towards others, are being lived out through practical acts of social concern all over our country.They make a huge difference to the quality and meaning of life for innumerable people.Of course these are the very acts of good citizenship that governments need to foster and encourage.If you read the speeches that my colleagues in the Communities Department make and examine their policies you will find that harnessing the energy and practical contribution that faith communities bring to our society is a big priority.Consultative bodies such as the Faith Communities Consultative Council also help.The Government encourages joint leadership on issues of common concern.We challenge all government departments to understand and expand the opportunities for faith inspired organisations as service providers.The Government knows that faith is a basic fact of life for most people.We know that a public space which turns its back on faith is a public space which turns its back on the public.We discourage and alienate if we fail to acknowledge and respect the reason why folk are engaging.Religion isn't the icing on the cake - it is the cake itself.If you tell the faithful there is no room for faith, they will tell you there is no room for them.And we would all be the poorer.The Government also appreciates that faith communities are about a lot more than helping to deliver public services.They are uniquely well placed to deliver those pearls of great price, community cohesion and social capital.I know that there is a concern that religious groups have not always got their fair share of public money.Specifically that some local authorities have shown reluctance to work with faith groups or commission services from them.No place in the public space at local level, so to speak.I believe that is changing and that the guidance and training measures the Government is now working on will help a lot.I know that Churches Together in England is working with other Faiths to help local council staff understand faith better.The Government Offices have also been working in this field.Closer to home, I was struck by Tower Hamlets' recently published 'Religion/Belief Equality Scheme' which declares a clear aim - I quote -"To recognise the role of the faith communities in contributing to the wellbeing of people in borough and support them to fulfil this role".Amen to that.A key Government development is the "charter of excellence" which is a way of assuring people that working with faith groups doesn't mean signing up to their beliefs.The principle is that bodies paid public money to provide services provide those services to everyone, regardless of their background.This should help give local authorities everywhere the confidence to work with faith groups, overcoming any fear and reluctance they might once have had.Please, this development isn't about trying to stop people being open about their faith if people ask what motivates them.It is about making sure that services funded by public money don't have any strings attached. That's not wrong.III Faith and ideasThe third and last reason I want to give why we need to hear more not less from the Faiths is because we still have much to learn.The current global and domestic crises prove it.What did Gordon Brown say: "The unsupervised globalization of our financial markets did not only cross national boundaries; it crossed moral boundaries too."17I also think I know exactly what he means when he speaks of his Presbyterian conscience in the context of the expenses scandal.Politics, like banking depends on something it cannot create - honour.That's a law that needs to be written in our hearts, not just in the rule book.Jeremiah18said it and so does the Holy Quran. I quote "Be conscious of God and speak always the truth".The values we want to see - trust, integrity, stewardship, sustainability, responsibility to a common good don't belong exclusively to religion but my goodness the great religions have much wisdom and teaching to offer.Isn't there a way to bring these together?People of faith want that for the glory of God.We also want it for the common good.I think of the Shared Act of Reflection developed by faith communities for the millennium.So many inspiring values and ideals shared by all the main faith groups:Our society is one which likes to say that its values are increasingly not drawn from religion.But if you look below the surface, you can see a different story.Francesca Klug talks of Human Rights as "Values for a Godless Age19" but where do the central concepts of individual human dignity and equality come from?Why should we give everyone a say and a right to respect?What makes the individual human being worth so much?Humane liberalism, human rights, democracy, owe much to the Judaeo-Christian high doctrine of human dignity.Their heart and soul, actually.A recent report for the Church of England General Synod warned against Human Rights as, I quote, a "tool of secular liberalism"20, pointing out that the church should "never allow itself to be domesticated by the administration of the day".Who is domesticating whom, I wonder.The truth is that people of faith, specifically people of the Christian faith have had a massive influence in shaping our society.I would go further and say that they have supplied these so-called godless creeds with the basic notions of individual dignity and equality which give them their essential appeal.There is more to be done.Concluding remarksSo there are my three arguments for Faith in the Public Space.Don't misunderstand me. I'm not advocating a takeover by any or all the Faiths.The relationship with Government should be consultative and collaborative.And it should be adult and challenging, recognising that we have diverse roots and many faiths and beliefs in our society.Faith groups need to understand where the Government is coming from when it tries to end unacceptable behaviour.I mean forced marriage, female genital mutilation, violence against women, or hatred of particular groups in our society.And some parts of officialdom need a bit more common sense before they dance around imagined religious sensitivities.For heaven's sake, haven't they proper jobs to do?This kind of rigid separation of religion and society isn't part of this country's tradition.It is not at all obvious to me why anyone thinks such limitations are called for or appropriate.As I said earlier, an important part of the problem seems to be a lack of understanding about the meaning and purpose of these religious customs and gestures.I am glad that work is underway to tackle that and I hope that the media will play its full part in this fantastically important endeavour.Because, when you look at it, the true objective of all religion and faith is very simple and always the same.It is to answer a very deep thirst in the human person, namely the thirst for holiness.To be good, yes, but more important than that to kneel before God and humbly acknowledge the great mystery that there is something bigger and more important in our lives.That the good Lord is the Father of all and that he wants us to be closer to him.And as far as I am concerned that's the New Enlightenment yesterday, today and tomorrow.Thank you for listening to me. I wish you a great Conference.Attorney General's Office20 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0NF1See e.g.http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/oct/21/religion-advertising2See Human Rights Act sections 6 and 7, and Schedule 1, Article 9 and Article 2 of Protocol 1.3See e.g. Part 2 of the Equality Act 2006; Racial and Religious Hatred Act 20064See Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008,s795Data from the 2001 Census see e.g.http://www.statistics.gov.uk/focuson/religion/6Speech in St Paul's Cathedral on 31 March 2008 -http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page188587See e.g.http://www.gallup.com/poll/118273/Canada-Show-Interfaith-Cohesion-Europe.aspx8http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gkyWk2MK7xeDw2b1jPhFS6KsvPegD98K2EOG09Matt 22:37-4010Deut 6:511Leviticus 19:1812Gentile employed to undertake certain tasks on the Sabbath, see e.g.http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=518&letter=S13Matt 7:114Luke 10:25-3715C.f. Kokkinakis v Greece and Manoussakis v Greece, which appear to establish the principle that the State should not pass a value judgement on beliefs.16c.f. Psalm 11617See footnote 518C.f. Jeremiah 31:3319Penguin Books, London 2000 ISBN 0-14-026678-X20seehttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/4279103/Church-raises-fears-over-Human-Rights-Act.html None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/Churches%E2%80%99MediaConference,FaithInThePublicSpace%E2%80%93TheNewEnlightenment.aspx ? Churches' Media Conference, Faith In The Public Space - The New Enlightenment 08 June 2009 Attorney General's Office
Keynote address at Law Society of Scotland Conference - The Rule of Law8 May 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralIt gives me the greatest pleasure to speak to you today at the opening of this 60th anniversary conference of the Law Society of Scotland, and to share the platform with Lord Cullen and my honourable colleague, the Lord Advocate, who is of course the first female Lord Advocate. As the first female Attorney it is only proper that I should also be named Scotland. So for me it truly is like coming home, being the great great granddaughter of a Scot from Kinross. I know that the work of the Law Society of Scotland represents the very best traditions of the Scottish legal community, and I congratulate you on your 60th anniversary. Long may you flourish.I have been asked to make some brief remarks about that most nebulous of subjects - the "rule of law", and, on slightly more defined ground, to give an account of the role of the Attorney General.In my office (a mostly rather mundane and functional building, I must confess!) the staircase is lined with portraits of the Attorneys and Solicitors, from William de Bonneville in 1277 onwards. When I pass the portraits I'm often moved to ask myself how things looked when they were running the show. What were the issues they grappled with? Who were they up against? Which of their powersdid they most prize and privilege? If I could turn to them and ask them how they saw the role, what would they say to me?Because of the way the Office has developed over the years, it is true that the roles it involves can seem to sit oddly together. Indeed, because of this I was asked to undertake a review of the role of the Attorney General by the Prime Minister, and the Government's position has been clearly stated in the White Paper on Constitutional Renewal in March 2008.While I was thinking about what makes the role, it became clear to me that the cluster of functions I now undertake has gathered around the Attorney because those functions are all in some real, urgent way, about the rule of law. Its protection, its preservation and its promotion. And I think the fact the Attorney performs them acts to gives them back a certain shape and colour.In everything the Attorney does she is obliged to act in service of the rule of law. I and my predecessors swore an oath "to duly and truly minister the Queen's matters and sue … after the course of the law." An explicit reference to the rule of law may in time be added, and that would be a very fine thing. But it would be a re- statement of obligations which are already there.In the opening speech at a conference of lawyers, a conference taking the rule of law as a central theme, it is worth taking a few minutes to ask what is this 'rule of law' we so often talk about?In the narrow sense, it is those ideas expressed by Dicey. The idea that the exercise of power needs to be authorised in particular and consistent ways. It must not be arbitrary. That's a powerful idea, but any student of jurisprudence will know it's essentially a procedural demand. A demand for a Rule of Recognition, as the theorists call it. It says little about the substance of the law - it just says there's got to be a law.So there's more to it than that. Access to the law and to justice should not be impeded. In the ancient words of the Magna Carta, "to no-one will we deny or delay right or justice." And, in the words of my oath, "… without long delay, tracting or tarrying the party of his lawful process."But there's more still. The rule of law means striking a fair balance between individual and public interest. This is the language of the European Convention, of course, and the Human Rights Act. But it's pervasive - the protection of private rights and the protection of community rights, and how to accommodate them.And it means the proper observance of constitutional boundaries between judge, Parliamentarian and Minister, and between UK and devolved Government.So I think there are four important principles. They are:Rule of recognition.Access to the law.Striking a fair balance.Constitutional boundaries.And I also want us to think about the rule of law as being the right to ask of an authority the question 'why are you doing what you are doing?' and to get a proper answer.We have always separated power between different bodies, the Executive, the Legislature, the Judiciary. I firmly believe these bodies exist in a type of 'creative tension' with each other. They will not always agree. Very often they will not. It is not always comfortable for Parliament, the Government and the judges to work together. The press will not always support the Government, as you may have noticed. NGOs will intervene. People will protest. They will all want their say.They may be right. And they may be wrong. But they have the right to ask the question 'why?' and get a proper answer. If we are to continue living in a democratic society, living in a United Kingdom where people see themselves as free and at peace, we need it, far more than we necessarily appreciate when we are used to taking them for granted.Primo Levi, the Italian chemist and writer who survived Auschwitz, told a chilling story. Of the time when he asked one of the camp guards the question 'why?' He just blurted it out because it was the one thing he needed to know. The guard pushed him aside and said simply, 'there's no 'why' here.'So yes. The rule of law is the right to ask the question 'why?' and the right to receive a proper answer.The Attorney's roles - my roles - are all about promoting and protecting theseprinciples. So you will hopefully forgive me for being a bit grand and telling youhow I see myself as Attorney doing that, by mentioning and discussing just someof the roles I perform, as an activist for the rule of law.It's important to mention at the outset my Ministerial role in relation to the Crown Prosecution Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, and other prosecuting authorities. The role is one of superintendence and the provision of accountability for the work of those bodies.As Attorney General I am also a member of the Government I advise. This is no longer 'just so.' It must be debated, pondered and justified. For my part, I have long considered that my position in Government does not weaken my role protecting the rule of law. My work as legal adviser to the Government strengthens it in the following ways.As to the rule of recognition, it is my role to test and challenge the practical effectiveness and necessity of legislation. The Attorney supports the Parliamentary Counsel.Access to the law. The Attorney demands propriety and transparency in law-making, and guards the right of individuals to go to court to seek redress.Fair balance. The Attorney demands law and policy are fair and compatible withthe Convention rights.Constitutional boundaries. The Attorney considers questions of devolved competence, EC issues,the proper allocation of power.Being in Government, the Attorney is able to advise and counsel with sympathy and creativity, to be entirely objective, to speak frankly and freely. To decline when declining is called for. Protecting the rule of law is to promote the interests of the Government, and it is to protect the public interest. We are not called to see these as irreconcilable. This is why I have recommended that I remain aMinister, and why the Lord Advocate too occupies such an important position.In speaking about the Attorney's different roles I inevitably speak about myself. But of course it's not just me who does this work. Nor just the lawyers who work in my office. As Attorney, I am the Minister with responsibility for the Government Legal Service and for the panels of counsel who work for the Government. It is vital that we who work for Government imbue it with theseprinciples. Rule of recognition, access to the law, fair balance, constitutional boundaries. Many rules are made nowadays which are never challenged in the courts. In many cases Government lawyers are the rule of law. It will be they who test, challenge and if necessary correct flaws which would otherwise inaccurately express policy, in a way which is inconsistent with these principles. As lawyers we all understand that context can be of critical importance and thus emotional and cultural intelligence can be as important as academic acumen.And that leads me to make a crucial point. How can we do any of this if we in the GLS are not as diverse as the country whose laws we make, debate and assess? For me it is one of my core functions as Attorney - and one which is absolutely grounded in the rule of law - to encourage diversity in the GLS and in the legal profession.Because an important part of doing right by those we stand for is that we should ourselves reflect the diversity of the communities we seek to serve.And for me that function stretches out beyond the GLS. If we are to promote access to the law we must not stop at the gate. I could not stand here and say, not without risk of hypocrisy, that 'to no-one will we deny or delay justice' unless I encourage others, those with legal expertise, to help those who need help. As many of you will know I believe that pro bono is part of every good lawyer's DNA. Sadly there is no database at the moment, but I'm sure that if there was, all the good lawyers in this room would be on it.We have done great work on a Pro Bono Toolkit. The aspiration is that, with shared best practices from other Commonwealth countries, it will help provide guidance or a blueprint for how best to undertake pro bono work. We are deeply involved in using pro bono to encourage access to the law.No-one now suggests that pro bono could or should ever be viewed as a substitute for legal aid, but it is an additional resource which can be invaluable in delivering justice to those who would otherwise have little access to it.In those old words of my oath, to 'speed such matters as any person shall have to do in the Law.' I know you share our passionate belief in pro bono. It is of significance that in the first year that Scottish law students were able to compete in the Attorney's pro bono awards, Strathclyde University won the 'best contribution by a law school' award, which was presented by Lord Hope, their chancellor. I want today to offer you our help in your development of the culture of pro bono advice in Scotland. This is just the beginning.It is this idea of access to justice. It's the same principle which informs my work protecting the courts and the public from vexatious litigants, protecting charitable interests and consenting to various prosecutions.And it's the same principle which gives the Attorney a role in encouraging young people to join the profession. We must endue young people with a belief in the law's importance. In the hope of their contribution to it. That they might nurture the profession into what it needs to be in the future if the rule of law is to be protected in times to come. If not, our endeavour will surely fail. To this end Ihave held the first working meeting of a Youth Network, designed to coordinate initiatives aimed at encouraging understanding of and respect for the rule of law, de-mystifying the legal profession and building pathways into it. It will help children understand they will one day own the law, and they should feel empowered by this.We will be working hard on this and will have more to say and progress to report before the end of the summer.Access to justice motivates me and Vera Baird, the Solicitor General, as the first all woman team, in an absolute and unwavering commitment to the right of women to justice. Especially in areas with a history of women being let down by systems which do not support them well enough. We share a commitment to working to secure more rape convictions, to get better treatment for rape victims.And I chair the Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence, which aims to raise awareness of and take action to reduce the social and economic impact of domestic violence in the workplace, by bringing together employers and agencies offering help to victims, both women and men. I would be delighted to help in any way I can in taking similar work forward in Scotland.Standing in Edinburgh, it is right that I should say a few words about devolution, that great and still fairly recent change to our constitutional order, and about the role of the Law Officers. Devolution put in place whole new legislatures and governments, new locations of power and responsibility, and it imposed a kind of self-denying ordinance on the UK Parliament, which it has not yet had cause to lift. And devolution gives us the puzzle so familiar in Canada, in the USA, familiar in many places. That is the puzzle of powers at state level and at national level. And how to cooperate, how to decide who can do what, what goes into which box. If it's even ever as simple as that.For those in power in the various parts of the UK there are new rule of law challenges, because if we are to function effectively as a Union, we need to be frank about where we differ, but also work together. The concordats, memorandums of understanding, and the important collaborative work of the refreshed Joint Ministerial Committee, are the clothing which the devolution settlements wear. Because our shared interest in working collaboratively strengthens us in our fight against terrorists, enables our fishing industry to function and our energy supplies to be maintained.And devolution also gives us particularly, me and Elish, and the Advocate General for Scotland, and the Counsel General for Wales, and - excitingly - the new proposed Attorney General for Northern Ireland, new rule of law challenges too. Because we all have the role of referring to the Privy Council - soon the Supreme Court - questions about the proper observance of those boundaries.For me the role is very much alive, and speaking as a Law Officer, and standing alongside a fellow Law Officer, I say it is vital for the rule of law across the UK that those boundaries should be observed properly. The Law Officers have this role because we are all responsible for ensuring that those in power observe the rule of law.So, to return to my central idea. The Attorney's functions are varied and miscellaneous. But the fundamental coherent principle governing and directing them is the rule of law. Rule of recognition, access to the law, fair balance, constitutional boundaries. And there is a kind of positive feedback at work here, for the fact that they are all performed by the Attorney, who is supremely concerned with the rule of law, is the thing which gives them a coherent shape and colour.I said that the Law Officers across the various parts of the UK have a responsibility to work together, and that that loyal cooperation, if I may call it that, acts in itself to support the rule of law. Keeping people safe is a fundamental part of the rule of law, and it follows that delivering justice to those who would threaten our society is a necessity if we are to protect that society.The Counter Terrorism Act 2008 has extended the idea of concurrent jurisdiction to terrorism offences. A UK-wide jurisdiction recognises that in terrorism cases with cross-border elements there may be real benefit to the public interest in trying co-conspirators together in a single court, wherever that court may be.This is why I am very proud that today the Lord Advocate and I are announcing a joint Statement of Purpose, a Protocol, on how to work together on prosecuting terrorism cases, where jurisdiction is shared by prosecuting authorities across the UK - and even further afield.This arises from my Ministerial role in relation to the Crown Prosecution Service and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, and Elish's criminal prosecution role as Lord Advocate.The Statement of Purpose confirms the absolute centrality of a fair and objective basis for decisions on matters arising from concurrent jurisdiction, including those affecting the venue for any subsequent prosecution being taken on. Each case is to be considered impartially on its own facts and on the evidence, applying relevant law; and in the overall public interest.Prosecutors will continue to give advice and conduct prosecutions impartially and independently, in line with their legal, professional and ethical duties and duties to the court. The statement sets out how we will work together in these cases to ensure that we maximise the chances of a successful investigation and prosecution.I know I speak for both myself and Elish when I say that this joint statement is a bright example of that cooperation between us all, and of the insistence on uniform and proper justice in relation to terrorist offences, those most serious threats to our common wellbeing.Thank you very much.Ends None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/KeynoteAddressAtLawSocietyOfScotlandConference-TheRuleOfLaw.aspx ? Keynote address at Law Society of Scotland Conference - The Rule of Law 08 May 2009 Attorney General's Office
Creating A Modern Public Prosecution Service: Our New Contract With The Community6 May 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralIt is a pleasure and a privilege for me to make the keynote speech at this conference, organised by the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office, at this key point in the development of independent prosecution services in England and Wales.As this audience will know, the role of the prosecutor has changed and evolved over time, and expectations of prosecution services have, rightly, never been higher. Crime is more complex than ever and crosses organisational and functional boundaries. More and more frequently there is an international dimension.The question of when and how we should prosecute has become an increasingly vexed question. As prosecutors seek to become part of prevention as well as interdiction, the need to understand the context in which we work, and the role played by other regulators and prosecutors from other disciplines become ever more acute and no more so than in the field of economic and fiscal crime. The effect of economic turbulence enhances the need to be vigilant and excellent in the protection we provide for the public.The Directors and I share a vision that, in the face of these challenges, we should be clear about the role of a prosecution in a modern regulatory environment and be looking to extend the expectations of us now, and in the future. There are several important steps we are taking to enable us to do so - including the merger of the RCPO and CPS.The merger of the CPS and RCPO will enable us to deliver enhanced specialist services for the most complex and demanding cases, investigated by the police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the new UK Border Agency and HM Revenue and Customs. It will allow us to be more flexible in response to crimes which may cut across or involve cooperation between these investigators. This enhanced public prosecution service will also, through our community prosecutor approach, be ever more responsive to community concerns, working closely with neighbourhood policing teams, using a range of tools to solve local crime problems and increase public confidence and responding flexibly to their differing identified needs.First, a little background, and some history. My departments are a collective, under my superintendence or sponsorship, with a range of different functions but with some common golden threads- threads of independence, guarding the rule of law and protecting the public interest. My departments include three statutory prosecuting departments, the CPS, RCPO and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), together with the Treasury Solicitor, my own Office, HMCPS Inspectorate; and the newly formed National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA), a small executive agency set up in 2008 following the 2006 Fraud Review to coordinate counter-fraud activity. As Attorney I also exercise non-statutory superintendence and support to a range of departments and agencies which prosecute offences.These arrangements, especially those for prosecuting offences, have developed over time, and in response to specific concerns, reviews and reports.Almost 30 years ago the Royal Commission on Criminal Procedure ("the Phillips Report") recommended the creation of a locally based but nationally accountable prosecution service. The report assessed the prosecution system against the criteria:-is it fair?-is it open and accountable? and-is it efficient?"Subject to an overriding test of whether the system had the confidence of the public it served. A central feature of the Phillips proposals was that there should be a division of function between police and prosecutor. The CPS was set up by statute, commencing in 1986.The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) commenced operations in April 1988. The 1986 Roskill Report, which led to its creation, recommended that investigators and prosecutors should operate as one team on the basis that unified control and direction, together with staff with the necessary skills, were essential features to combat the threat posed by serious fraud.The RCPO was launched on 18 April 2005, against the background of the termination of several high-profile Customs cases, and two separate reviews. The Gower/Hammond review in 2000 had identified the need for the prosecutors to be independent of the investigators; and the Butterfield report in 2003 recommended "a complete separation of the prosecuting function for HM Customs and Excise's (HMCE) criminal cases from the organisation itself, through the creation of a separate prosecuting authority." In the meantime the Treasury had reviewed HMCE and the Inland Revenue and concluded that they should be merged, so it was decided that the Inland Revenue prosecutions would join the new independent prosecuting authority, the RCPO.And that decision has been proved to have been right. Under David Green's strong and effective leadership, the RCPO has developed into a professional and capable organization, which has secured increasing confidence on the part of the judiciary and the public that these difficult and complicated customs and tax cases can be successfully prosecuted. Since 2005 RCPO has completed more than 5,400 cases, involving more than 7,000 defendants, with a 90% conviction rate, and has enforced confiscation orders of more than £90m from convicted offenders. Today you will hear from David about some of these cases, and I am delighted to be able to set out some case studies myself - and pay my own personal tribute to David and to all his staff in the RCPO- to illustrate both the progress he has made and to exemplify what we can and should be expecting from a modern public prosecution service. As I have said, based on these achievements we have now been able to analyse how we could be even stronger to face today's challenges, as well as able to get ahead of what is around the corner.Criminals are increasingly multi-faceted, operating across both functional and national boundaries. A modern public prosecution service needs to be capable of working collaboratively and internationally. You will be hearing later today from colleagues in Europe with whom RCPO are working As an example of such successful cooperation, in May 2008, 12 men, part of a major UK drugs network, were found guilty of smuggling large quantities of heroin and cocaine into Britain from the continent. The operation had spanned three countries with investigations and evidence taken in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. The men were sentenced to 125 years behind bars following the conclusion of a case marked by successful co-operation between RCPO, the Serious Organised Crime Unit of Lancashire Police, and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.This case was complicated due to the number of defendants, one of whom at the time of the investigation was in hiding in Belgium from a separate money laundering charge. Lawyers in RCPO's International, Policy and Advisory Division applied for a European arrest warrant to bring him back to the UK to force him to answer both sets of charges. This involved close co-operation between RCPO and law enforcement agencies in the UK and Belgium to ensure that his arrest and property search happened at the same time as the arrests and searches of his co-conspirators in the UK, so that none of them were forewarned of the intentions of the investigators. In a series of co-ordinated early morning raids, more than 200 police, including dog handlers and firearms officers, swooped on 22 addresses in Hyndburn, Merseyside and Belgium, and the whole gang was successfully arrested, and subsequently prosecuted.Bringing together RCPO's international capability and skills with those in the CPS will provide an enhanced international capability across the piece. Both services have invested in the skills of their staff and in developing capability.RCPO has also developed significant expertise in prosecuting tax offences.In February 2009, the specialist direct tax division secured the conviction and sentencing of a businessman who had misappropriated more than £220,000 of his customer's money into offshore bank accounts in order to avoid paying tax.This man, who ran two security systems firms in Worcester, pleaded guilty to two counts of cheating the public revenue and two further charges relating to VAT payments. Over many years, he had diverted company income into his own personal off-shore bank account in Jersey. He would ask customers to make cheques payable to him personally rather than to his business, and these sums would not pass through the books and records of the company. Although individual sums were relatively small, over the course of six years of trading, he had siphoned money away amounting to a very significant tax loss of over £98,000.Tax evasion deprives the exchequer of revenue that would otherwise go into funding public services, such as paying the salaries of teachers and nurses and funding hospitals and care homes. This tax criminal was sentenced to 18 months in jail, and .confiscation proceedings will be brought against him to ensure that the money lost is returned to the public purse. RCPO lawyers also applied to the court and were successful in having him disqualified from acting as a company director for five years from March, in order to ensure the offence is not repeated.So looking forward the merged service will contain a specialist tax prosecution service, ring-fenced for a transitional period but working closely with the rest of the organisation, allowing as necessary for joined up prosecutions where a criminal has engaged in drugs crime, gun crime and tax crime at once.The new organisation will also allow for a joint prosecution approach to border crime, which may involve the smuggling of goods as well as illegal entry of people.As HMRC staff here will know, protecting the border can be a public health issue as well as a crime or immigration issue. It is illegal to smuggle meat, animal products and some plants into the UK from a non-EU country, and all meat imported from outside Europe should be checked by a vet at the point of entry into the country and certified as safe. There is evidence that some of the health epidemics of recent years may have been caused by poor quality meat coming illegally into the UK.In September 2008, RCPO secured a conviction against a woman for illegally importing bush meat in the form of smoked cane rats.In January 2008, a consignment of synthetic hair was intercepted at Tilbury docks. When HMRC officers opened the non-refrigerated container to examine the contents, they discovered boxes of synthetic hair at the front of the load, but behind these they found more boxes containing hundreds ofillegally imported cane rats from Ghana. The headless carcasses, individually wrapped in newspaper, amounted to 340kg of meat with a street value of around £25,000.This was an unusual case for RCPO and the largest they have ever prosecuted under these regulations. Such cases are rare, and the lawyer and case manager put in many hours of research into this case, including going through DEFRA papers on the microbiological hazards of bush meat, doctorates on the bush meat trade and an officer visited London Zoo to talk to veterinary scientists in order to find out about the health implications of illegally imported meat.Alongside the evidence gathered at the port of entry, detailed analysis of telephone evidence confirmed communication between the defendant and importing agent, and cemented the defendant's guilt.As these and other cases show, the role of the prosecution services in supporting investigators and ensuring offenders are brought to justice has expanded significantly. The introduction of statutory charging in 2004 puts the prosecutor at the centre of the criminal justice process, routinelyproviding face to face charging services to the police and other investigators. Prosecutors routinely advise on and guide investigations, and advise on investigation strategy and deployment of resources. They have an increasing set of powers to divert from prosecution and can deploy an increasing range of tools for solving crime problems. This provides the basis for increasing prosecution involvement in the development of crime reduction strategies and policies, including setting the framework for decisions whether it is in the public interest to commence a criminal investigation with a view to prosecution, particularly where investigators or regulators have powers to use a range of civil sanctions, or other outcomes falling short of prosecution.Later in the conference you'll be hearing from Ian Milne of the Serious Organised Crime Agency and from Mike Eland of HM Revenue and Customs about the use of civil orders.As an example of their potential, in June 2008, RCPO made the first ever use of a Serious Crime Prevention Order in England and Wales in the prosecution of three individuals for money laundering. The three offenders received a total of 17 years imprisonment for their part in laundering cash fororganised crime networks. Three Serious Crime Prevention Orders were secured against them at Isleworth Crown Court in the first ever use of this new legislation.Serious Crime Prevention Orders were created by the Serious Crime Act 2007 which came into force in April 2008. They allow SOCA and other law enforcement agencies to apply to a judge to place conditions, restrictions or requirements on those involved in serious crime. The purpose of an order is to protect the public by preventing, restricting or deterring those involved in serious crime from continuing their involvement. Breach of a Serious Crime Prevention Order is punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine. A Serious Crime Prevention Order can last for up to five years from the date on which it commences.The Serious Crime Prevention Orders secured in this case mean that for five years from the day these three offenders are released from prison, they will be at risk of an additional five years in prison if they breach the terms of their orders, which are designed to stop them carrying out activities related to the possession and movement of money.As well as growing in expertise and professionalism, operating across international boundaries, working ever more closely with investigators and using an expanded toolbox, prosecutors are increasingly engaged with the people they serve, routinely engaging with victims and witnesses in person, and explaining decisions to communities and the wider public to increase public confidence that the criminal justice services are on their side.A significant contribution to public confidence is the knowledge that criminals will not be able to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. The RCPO has developed much expertise in using the legislation provided by Parliament to recover the proceeds of crime. An example is a recent case of a VAT fraudster ordered to repay £26 millionOn 20 November 2008, RCPO sought and was granted a confiscation order for £26,060,383.17 against a man who had been convicted earlier for his part in a major VAT fraud. This was the second largest confiscation order obtained by RCPO against a single defendant.The order was intended to strip the offender of the profits he gained from his part in a crime perpetrated by a gang who fraudulently manipulated the VAT system through the import and export of mobile phones.The fraud finally came to an end when RCPO successfully prosecuted this man, who was sentenced to a total of 12 and a half years imprisonment in 2006, alongside other members of his criminal gang.Among his assets in the UK were an impressive portfolio of properties, including a stately home, Meaford Hall in Staffordshire worth about £2.5 million, a helicopter, a pleasure craft known as the 'Liquidator' and items of jewellery worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. If he fails to pay up in full he will be liable to serve a further 10 years' in custody.I know that today's audience includes eminent and expert members of the Bar who are on the Unified List of Standing Counsel, and who play a very significant part in these and other successful outcomes. I am aware that there may be some concern amongst you about the future of the List. No final decision has yet been made for the long term. But we are very keen to retain the expert knowledge and the very good progress that has been made by RCPO in controlling and owning the flow of work to Counsel- not just on behalf of RCPO but a number of other authorities. We are working on the basis that, at least for the transitional period, the Unified List will remain available to the HMRC function within the merged organization.Just as the RCPO has developed an expert and effective service for prosecuting complex cases, working across international borders, and confiscating the assets of criminals, over the last few years the CPS has shown it is possible to run a country-wide locally-facing service which is increasingly effective and efficient, and which also includes highly effective specialist divisions, such as their Specialist Crime and Counter Terrorism Divisions, both positively reviewed recently by HMCPSI, and an Organised Crime Division.Under the recently appointed Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, the CPS has recently announced a new development which will build on its pioneering work with victims and witnesses, its hate crime scrutiny panels and its community engagement work. This is the launch of a community prosecutor approach, which will be piloted in more than 50 areas across the country from the beginning of next month. Community prosecutors will work with the police, courts and others to ensure that they know what the public's priorities are and take them into account. They will know their patch, and will ensure that prosecution decisions are informed by community concerns, and that they (and their outcomes) are both communicated and explained to the public. This is a very significant step forward in the development of a modern public prosecution service, and in our new contract with the community.So we have two strong healthy departments, providing excellent prosecution services, developing and improving.Why change?The strong leadership and increasing professionalism of the RCPO, and significant developments in the capability and strength of the Crown Prosecution Service, have not only enabled us to deal effectively with the challenges of the last few years, resulting in many successes, but have also enabled us to analyse what we need to do to make us strong enough to tackle the new challenges we now face, and have enabled us now to make an important decision to merge these two healthy organisations into an even stronger, more flexible and resilient service for the future.And it will be based primarily on the strengths of the people already working in both organisations, including many people in this room. I know that both Directors, together with Peter Lewis and David Richardson, who are overseeing the transition, have now made a strong commitment that•on a date to be agreed soon, all RCPO and CPS staff will become members of a combined organisation. They will be part of either a ring-fenced HMRC function, to be led by David Green on a transitional basis, or part of the merged work areas that are most closely aligned with their existing function.•any organisational changes resulting from the merger will apply to RCPO and CPS staff equally, from within the combined organisation. We want to assure all staff that any necessary changes will be approached from the perspective of the combined organisation.•as an immediate step towards the merger, from 3 May 2009, all vacancies arising in either organisation are now open to all RCPO and CPS staff, and applications will be treated as if they were internal. Arrangements are being put in place so that the RCPO and CPS intranets allow access to information about advertised vacancies in both organisationsI don't believe in change for change's sake. I do believe in continuous scrutiny and improving the services we provide. I have been leading a programme of reform since my appointment as Attorney General in 2007. The role of the Attorney General has been reviewed, and is being and will be reformed, including through legislation in due course. As part of this programme of reform we are introducing a new protocol between the Attorney and the Directors, to safeguard their independence, now and for the future and at the same time to ensure proper accountability to Parliament and the public.An important step for us over the last year has been the setting up of a new Strategic Board, chaired by the Attorney, and including all the Directors. The Board has been looking not just at where we are now, but at where we need to be in the future. With the investigators we have been looking (together, for the first time) at the challenges ahead, including the changing nature of crime, the ever-changing landscape of investigation, for instance the creation this year of the UK Border Agency, and the increasing complexity of cases. We have been taking into account the need to provide excellent services in increasingly efficient ways for the foreseeable future.And it is on the back of that examination, and building firmly on the successes of the RCPO and of the CPS, that we have- collectively- decided to merge RCPO with the CPS to form a modern public prosecution service which will provide both excellence in specialist expert prosecution services, and the new community prosecutor approach, and which has the resilience to respond to new challenges in the future. There will be a chance for further discussion of the merger with an expert panel including the Solicitor General later on in the day.Again I must pay tribute to David Green, and all the staff of the RCPO, whose achievements in taking forward the RCPO from the concerns which led to its inception to the successful organization of today - what David has described as "mission accomplished"- are what has made this new beginning possible, and to Keir Starmer who has contributed to our collective endeavours since his arrival and who will, working closely with David, provide strong and inspirational leadership to the merged organization.Our new prosecution service will play a significant part in the Law Officers' Departments' contribution to enhanced public services for the future. It won't be the whole contribution. We shall continue to manage our contribution as a collective, overseen by our Strategic Board, including developing improvements to the arrangements for tackling serious fraud, and looking for more opportunities to increase efficiency savings by shared corporate services such as HR, facilities management, finance and IT. But the merger will provide huge opportunities- opportunities for staff, for the investigators and others we work with, and most of all for the public we serve- for improvements, delivery and effectiveness. I am grateful to David Green and Keir Starmer for making this far sighted decision, and to the staff in RCPO and the CPS whose hard work makes it possible, and I am optimistic for the future. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/CreatingAModernPublicProsecutionServiceOurNewContractWithTheCommunity.aspx ? Creating A Modern Public Prosecution Service: Our New Contract With The Community 06 May 2009 Attorney General's Office
Keynote Address at Minority Lawyers' Conference 2009: Less Talk, More Action.25 April 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralThank you for inviting me to address you today. I would also like to thank, on your behalf, the Lord Chief Justice for his speech. Igor Judge is the Head of the Judiciary, but he is also an inspiration for the whole profession. His speech today combined insight and pragmatism, but I think most of all his fierce commitment to achieving the very best justice for all. Not only is he an inspiration to me, he is also an extremely hard act to follow.At the outset, I would like to acknowledge all of the excellent work you carry out as the legal profession. Ours is a proud profession and one which luckily attracts some of the very best and the most gifted people in our country.I also want to acknowledge that the legal profession is facing difficult times at the moment. My experience over the last 36 years has been that the legal profession has always experienced difficult times. I do not say this lightly, or to soften the bruising the profession is experiencing right now. You may feel that it is hard to contemplate taking action to improve diversity when there are such great uncertainties. I would say that now, more than ever, is the time for action.Being a lawyer means having a hard and, at times, lonely occupation. It means being competent, tough and courageous. It means having integrity; we must often give difficult, distressing and unpalatable advice, advice that people would rather not hear and advice that they may sometimes refuse to accept.This means that lawyers must always live in difficult times. We must always stand up on behalf of others. We must always embody all that we believe in; protecting rights, defending freedom of expression, or safeguarding life and liberty. This makes us visible, and it can also make us unpopular.In Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part 2, when trying to stir up anarchy and to depose the King, Dick the Butcher said: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers". Now Shakespeare knew that lawyers were fundamental to maintaining order and a fair society. They were dangerous to those who wanted chaos. Shakespeare spoke an eternal truth; lawyers remain crucial to maintaining a fair society that protects the individual. This makes us dangerous and it can also make us unpopular.Putting it in more modern terms, we are the salt that flavours the meal. Salt is an inherent part of virtually every sustainable piece of food we eat and therefore crucial. Because we are the salt, we must provide more flavour than others might. We must be the embodiment of all that we wish to see in others. And it is sometimes painful and bruising to have to hold ourselves up against such rigorous standards. But if any profession can achieve them, it is ours.What does this mean for the diversity of the legal profession? We are fortunate enough to live in a diverse society, one that is valued precisely because it is multi-cultural and precisely because it is multi-talented. The legal profession and the judiciary need to be as diverse and as visibly diverse as all the people they might be called on to represent.The title of this Conference is "Less Talk, More Action". It is time that we really prove ourselves to be the salt that flavours the meal. Talk is no longer enough. History will judge us, ultimately, not on our intentions, but on our actions and the impact of those actions. And before history judges us, we must judge ourselves. What better time to assess our performance than at the end of the first decade of the 21st century? We know of all the richness, goodness and value that a diverse legal profession brings. We have taken some action already. What we must now ask ourselves is: "Is it really enough?" and "What must we do next?".So let's congratulate ourselves for a brief moment on being the trail-blazing profession, the challenging profession and the profession that holds a mirror up to society and scrutinises it. But I assure you that the moment can only be brief. For there is much more for us to do and we simply cannot allow ourselves to get too comfortable.We have already come a long way. In 1973, when I started my degree as a law student, the legal world could never have imagined an Attorney General who was a woman, never mind one who also came from a Black and Minority Ethnic background. We have waited 700 years. I don't think the legal world in 1973 also contemplated that in 2009, both the US Attorney General and the UK Attorney General would be of Afro-Caribbean origins and that the President of the United States and his wife, the First Lady, would be the same. Imagine the bookmaker asked to calculate those odds in 1973. They would have been astronomical. Sometimes I wish I had laid a bet. Now, of course, no sensible bookmaker worth his salt would even take that bet.We have undergone a huge change of culture to reach the point where a lawyer from a BME background could be appointed as Attorney General. To put that change in context, we should think about the Acts of Parliament passed over the last 40 years. When my parents came to this country in the late 1950s / early 1960s, it was still possible to see signs that said: "No Dogs, No Irish and No Blacks". 8 years before I went to university, the Race Relations Act 1965 dealt with what was known as the "colour bar"; the fact that people with a Black and Minority Ethnicbackground were banned from using public services or entering certain public places. 3 years later, the Race Relations Act 1968 made it illegal to refuse housing, employment or public services to people because of their ethnic background. And it was only in 1976, the year I finished my degree and joined Middle Temple, one year before I was called to the Bar, that the Race Relations Act 1976 banned indirect racial discrimination. It is hard to remember that such a dramatic change has taken place within the lifetime of a number of the people in this room, although thankfully not for some of the students present here today.This legislative framework outlawed, systematically, discrimination against people on grounds of ethnicity. It extracted the negative, giving us space within which we could build the positive. By positive, I mean the steps towards positively welcoming a more diverse legal profession.We now debate, for example, "Positive Action", meaning legitimate steps taken to encourage greater numbers of under-represented groups, with selection always being made on the basis of merit. I do not, however, believe that we should look for positive quotas of Black and Minority Ethnic background lawyers in order to find the bedrock of talent on which we build our legal profession and judiciary. Excellence must always determine who is appointed.It is clear that we have come a very long way. It is also clear that we must debate the wide issue of what merit and excellence means. Can we say our efforts are having the right effect? A good sign is the increase in people from a Black and Minority Ethnic background qualifying as lawyers. In 2007/08, 22% of those admitted to the Law Society Roll of Solicitors came from a BME background. In 2008, 39% of all Calls to the Bar were BME barristers. This compares favourably with the total economically active population of England and Wales that is BME, which is 10.1% (Office National Statistics, Labour Force Survey).Given this, are enough lawyers from BME backgrounds staying within the legal profession? The evidence here is less encouraging:• In 2008, 10.7% of solicitors holding a practising certificate came from a Black and Minority Ethnic background; and• The equivalent figure for the Bar was 11% self-employed and 15% employed.Now we know that some lawyers qualify but never intend to practice. Others change their mind about whether being a lawyer is really their calling. Inevitably the legal profession isoversubscribed, packed full to the rafters with talented lawyers. In this context, therefore, am I still troubled by these statistics? Unfortunately I am.The difficulty is that even allowing that some lawyers of all descriptions decide not to stay in the profession after they qualify, the gap between the numbers of BME lawyers who qualify and the numbers who stay in the profession is too large for my liking.Nor does this pattern reflect how the work of the legal profession has developed. I believe that we are a world-class legal profession. If we are to retain that excellence and that pole position, we must be a world-class legal profession performing on a global stage.When thinking about the way we now have an international approach towards law, it struck me that I could not easilyidentify any area of law that remains inward looking. We are now governed by international laws as well as domestic ones. The European Convention on Human Rights has committed us all to protecting the same types of rights and reflecting the same types of responsibilities. We negotiate contracts abroad and we claim losses suffered in other countries (and also even in cyber-space). Even crime and family law, areas that when I started practice, were firmly based in England and Wales, now operate internationally. Now, lawyers must address issues in crime such as extradition, people-trafficking, asset recovery, fraud, and in family such as forced marriages, international child abduction or even disputes about residence and contact for children, all of which may range across different continents.What does this mean in terms of diversity? As we all know, in law context is everything. The context for our legal profession is now international; it knows no geographical boundaries. I said earlier that the very best legal profession should be as diverse as the people it might be called on to represent. Not only are the clients we might find in our own country now more diverse, we may also have international clients, operating beyond our borders and equally diverse. These clients want lawyers whose talents match or complement their own. They want lawyers skilled in different languages. They want lawyers skilled in cultural understanding and awareness.It certainly will not be food enough if our profession does not reflect that balance. This country contains all of the potential needed for those skills. We possess a very talented, hard-working and diverse nation. We are sitting on a veritable vein of gold. If we want (and I think we must want) our legal profession to flourish and to remain a world leader, we must mine that gold. We must seek out talent wherever it can be found.Now the title of "Attorney General" does not contain the word "General" for nothing. I have never invoked this part before but I speak today as a General. I know I am your General. I am asking for your help and commitment. I am issuing a call for action. I go further; this is my Call to Arms. I call each and every one of you to "report to me" for active duty in improving the diversity of the legal profession. I want to see evidence that we are taking appropriate steps and that this work is succeeding. A modest degree of success will not be enough.I am invoking the role of "General" from my title, but as I hope you will find, I am a benevolent General. I am going to help you by identifying a three point plan for action.My First Point: inspiration and aspiration - we must do even more to encourage a career in the law;My Second Point: providing a flexible legal profession to accommodate the different lawyers that come into it. We must welcome talent wherever it can be found in all of its diversity; andMy Third and final Point: we must ensure equal opportunities for advancement and career progression - and encourage talented lawyers from diverse backgrounds to take the next step.The plan of action requires a degree of commitment both from you and from me in order to succeed. I can assure you, however, of my fierce commitment to this plan. I am going to ask each and every one of you here today to give me your commitment as well. Because if we work together, I am certain we will succeed.We need to encourage more people from non-traditional backgrounds to aspire to become lawyers. Many of these students will be:• the first in their families to go to university;• students without pre-existing knowledge of what lawyers do or who they are; and• students whose aspirations to be professionals have already been limited.Two days ago I hosted the first working meeting of the Attorney General's Youth Network, to help promote youth aspirations and potential. I hope to launch the Network formally before the end of the summer. I want the Network to help de-mystify the legal profession and Government for young people. Part of its potential will be to inspire children to feel they can become lawyers if they want to, whatever their backgrounds. But my aspirations go further. Through the Network, I want all children to become aware of and be able to defend their rights. Children must know that they have a voice and that they are entitled to form and express their own views about the world. I want them to know the Rule of Law is theirs to own. And they will own it, whether or not they choose to become lawyers.We have an acute need to equip our young people to face a future that may be far more challenging than our own. Teaching them critical thinking, encouraging them to debate, to speak up over what they think is right and wrong, will help. A person trained in these skills will succeed, whichever career path they choose.The Youth Network will complement the existing work of my Law in Schools sub-committee, which encourages lawyers to visit schools in order to teach students about their rights and responsibilities. I know that many lawyers already get involved with Law in Schools work through different routes such as their employers, through the Bar Council or through the voluntary sector. This is really wonderful work.I also know of excellent work such as the Pathways to Law programme, which is being run across five universities in England and Wales. This programme identifies talented Year 12 state school students with little or no family history of higher education, who are interested in Law. A student on the programme will study at their host university, receive one to one mentoring and will be offered a short work placement at a Law Firm. The programme is supported and facilitated through the College of Law, and I know that the Sutton Trust and a number of leading City Law Firms also support it. Congratulations to all of the organisations involved; it's an initiative that delivers to students, right where it is needed. I was delighted to talk to Eversheds last night about the fantastic support they give to that programme.I am certain that we all agree that if more lawyers supported this initiative and it could be extended to other universities, it would be an even greater success.Another example: in 2008 the City Solicitors' Educational Trust ("C-SET") ran its first summer school, focusing on university students from non-traditional universities. The event included equipping these students with skills and confidence, introducing them to law recruiters and helping to overcome any perceived disadvantage of their choice of university. I say "perceived", because apparently law recruiters are less likely to search out students who study at a non-traditional university. That's a big mistake on the part of the law recruiters; I can assure them they are missing out on some really talented lawyers. I can say this because when I was 17, I didn't know much about the law at all and I applied to the Mid-Essex Technical College to take an external degree at the University of London. I didn't see any significance in which university I attended. And I took silk and am now the Attorney General. And in case you think that's a fluke, someone from the year above me at my College is now a senior Partner in a very smart City Law Firm. There are many of us about. I encourage you not to miss out on talent that is packaged a little differently.But I applaud C-SET in working to overcome those misconceptions. I invite everyone here in this room to become involved in this project or set up something equivalent.In terms of the commitment I am asking you to make, I am asking everyone here, and I am asking all members of the legal profession, to go out to at least one school or college, find at least one diverse, talented student, and explain to them why they should think seriously about becoming alawyer. I promise you that it will be a very good use of your time.I have acknowledged that retention of diverse lawyers is a problem. How do we retain more of them? I believe we need to foster and maintain an environment that includes (and indeed welcomes) lawyers of all different types.To be a lawyer, a person needs talent, professionalism and intellectual curiosity. Must a lawyer with these skills also fit into a "traditional" mould of lawyer? I would argue "No". I say that if they don't fit the traditional mould, the mould needs to change to fit them.Again, I want to share with you how I have committed myself to addressing this. As many of you know, I launched two initiatives in July 2008. One is the Equality and DiversityStrategy, the other my Expectations Statement for Civil and Criminal Panel Counsel.The Equality and Diversity Strategy provides my promises to the legal profession, which I have promised to keep by 2012. By then, I want the applications to my various Panels of Civil and Criminal Counsel to reflect, as closely as possible, the diversity of the pool of Counsel available to apply. If not, I will review why not and what I need to do differently.The Expectations Statement contains the promises I have asked the Bar to meet when they undertake Government work. As a major purchaser of legal services, it is my duty to insist that Chambers with barristers undertaking government work support, maintain and promote diversity and equality. I am deploying my responsibility (and what clout I may have) to use organisations that respect diversity and equality principles.I am asking Chambers to take a number of steps. These include publishing and implementing policy statements and action plans on their commitments to equality and diversity. Chambers must also have a policy on equal access to and fair allocation of work, which they will monitor and enforce.Where required, Chambers may need to consider positive action to encourage (lawfully) applications from under-represented groups. Chambers will, of course, make any appointments solely on merit.I have asked all Chambers with Panel Counsel members to report on their progress by 1st October 2009. The Bar Council has joined me in that request. They share my view that Chambers can and must put diversity and equality at the heart of their practices. I want to take this opportunity tothank Desmond Browne QC, Chairman of the Bar, personally, for his support.Placing equality and diversity right at the heart of our work will leave us transformed, energised and inspired to become even better lawyers. The Crown Prosecution Service, which I superintend, provides an excellent example of this. In December 2008, the CPS won an award for its commitment to diversity and equality at the Annual Civil Service Diversity and Equality Awards Ceremony. Not only did the judges recognise the significant steps that the CPS had undertaken on equality and diversity, they were also particularly impressed by the CPS' track record of consulting with community groups before forming policies affecting them. Promoting equality and diversity is absolutely central to the work of the CPS and they are leading the field as a result. I superintend and supervise them with the same energy and commitment I will apply to the Expectations Statement and the Diversity and Equality Strategy and it gives me great pleasure to speak of their successes here.In terms of the commitments I am asking you to make here, I ask you to make similar promises to mine and to share my expectations of others. For example, if you purchase legal services, do you purchase them from organisations with clear and well-maintained equality and diversity policies?Equally, is diversity and equality at the heart of your firm, set of chambers or company? Do you have a clear, defensible policy on equality that you publish and you apply? Are you allocating work equally and fairly? Do you have effective diversity and equality training?And, crucially; are you really welcoming every lawyer who comes through your door simply oozing talent, no matter how diverse they are?So, invoking the "General" in my "Attorney General", this is the second part of my three part plan. If you aren't saying yes to all of these questions, then you need to ask yourselves why not and what to change so that you can say yes.The third point in my three point plan concerns the need to encourage and support effective career progression for talented lawyers from diverse backgrounds.It goes without saying that a lawyer's talent must always be the deciding factor in determining who becomes a Partner in a Law Firm, who takes Silk and who becomes a Judge. But do all talented lawyers feel able and encouraged to apply for senior positions for which they may be qualified?The reality, sadly, is that some are daunted because they feel too different and too non-traditional. In the 21st century, there can be no excuse for a person's differences holding back his or her career.We have the power and the responsibility to change such misconceptions. Role models are an excellent solution. The best advert for a particular job or appointment is frequently the person currently occupying it. People are far more likely to believe they could obtain a senior role if they see others who have already made that attempt and have succeeded.We are all role models, whether we like it or not and in what we say, what we do and how we do it. Inevitably, all of us are the measure by which others judge the legal profession.For some, the most inspiring role model will be the law student a few years ahead, for others, it will be the senior lawyer or the judge who is being visible and being visibly diverse.That is my third and final part of my three point action plan. In my Call to Arms, I really do want every one of you to acknowledge that you are role models. You demonstrate the legal profession in all of its diversity. Be visible to others; show them precisely why a wide and vibrant legal profession is such an important one. I ask you to share this message with other lawyers; please inspire them to accept that they are role models as well.I want you to be my senior officers, my Lieutenants-Colonel. I want you to lead by example and to help me prove that talent, howsoever it is packaged or wheresoever it appears, is what is important to the legal profession.As your Attorney General, I hope you will take up my rallying cry. I hope you will make yourselves available for active duty. In 2011, when we are back at the next Biennial Minority Lawyers' Conference, I want to hear, "through despatches", of the success of a campaign that is vital to the future of the legal profession. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/KeynoteAddressatMinorityLawyers%E2%80%99Conference2009LessTalk,MoreAction.aspx ? Keynote Address at Minority Lawyers' Conference 2009: Less Talk, More Action. 25 April 2009 Attorney General's Office
The National Fraud Strategy19 March 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralI'm delighted to welcome you this evening to the launch of the first National Fraud Strategy.This is the next critical step forwards towards a goal we all share: a UK where individuals, businesses and taxpayers are safe from the harm caused by fraud.A shared endeavourIt's a pleasure to see organisations here from across the economy - from retailing to telecommunications, technology to financial services. We're joined by people who help make the law and by those who enforce it.What unites all of us is the commitment time, investment and talent to stop one of the most costly and corrosive criminal threats facing the UK today.Just think for a moment about the livelihoods saved and the damage avoided by the efforts of many organisations in this room. I congratulate you all for this.But there is an important message in the diversity of tonight's event. It says that everyone has a role in tackling fraud, but also that we have a stake in each other's success.Two years ago, after a root and branch review of its approach to fraud, the Government asked the private sector, the judiciary and many others what they thought should be done.Here's what the British Bankers Association said:"The most important recommendation in the Fraud Review, crucial to achieving any long term impact on levels of fraud, is the development of an overarching national strategy which is ownedby a National Fraud Strategic Authority"I have to tell you that there has never been a stronger case for this common approach - where the efforts of individual organisations are shaped so that they can deliver something more than the sumof their parts.Some of the biggest frauds in corporate history have come to light in the last year alone - including the $50bn expected in the case of Bernard Madoff.The misery caused by fraud can't be calculated; it's ruined so many lives and businesses - it's tragic.But fraud isn't a story about so-called gentlemen thieves. The role of serious criminals is increasing.Professional gangs perpetrated nearly three quarters of the large frauds that came to court in 2008 (that's £806 million).We know from police and from businesses that their sophistication and international reach is growing apace.Individuals and businesses cannot afford avoidable losses from fraud, least of all in today's difficult economic climate.And as a society we cannot afford - and we will not accept - the proceeds of fraud are enriching serious criminals who inflict major damage on our society.The fight against fraud isn't just about the money. The glue that binds a society together is trust. Trust is the fair dealing of others. Trust that the people around us will play honestly by the rules.At a time when families and businesses are making real sacrifices, the public are right to expect us to stop and punish those who exploit the system. That is why we will give no quarter to fraudsters.Building on progressThis event shows just how fast the tide is turning.As Attorney General, I've seen how new investment in the investigation and prosecution of fraud is already holding more, and more serious, fraudsters to account.The establishment of the National Lead Force is already helping to build capability nationwide and pursue specialist investigations.In addition, specialist capabilities such as the• SFO's digital forensic service;• the SOCA ecrime unit• the Specialist Crime Division of the Metropolitan Police• the Dedicated Cheque and Plastic Card Unit- all of these are helping to ensure that there is no hiding place for serious fraudsters.The landscape for fraud prosecution has changed radically in recent years.• The new Fraud Act has cut swathes through previous legislation, bring it up to date to deal with modern threats such as phishing.• Last year, an independent review confirmed the success of the Fraud Prosecution Service. Under new management, the Serious Fraud Office is today investigating cases worth nearly£5 billion.• Today, we announced new powers to help the criminal justice system deliver swifter justice.This is just the tip of the iceberg. Everyday, professionals in the public and private sector act to detect and stop fraud. Their investment in the prevention and deterrence of fraud is vital.The Strategy: going further, fasterThe direction of travel is clear.But the launch of the National Fraud Strategy shows that, as a community, we are determined to go further, faster.Whatever any of us do individually, our impact will be greater if we have the support and collaboration of others. If the system works with us, not against us.Too often in the past, arrangements to support this critical partnership have been loose and ad-hoc.The Strategy launched today is a platform for a new kind of collaboration - one based on a shared commitment to root-out fraud more aggressively than ever before.So this isn't a shopping list of new initiatives: it's a call to arms.The goals set out in the Strategy add up to a radical agenda for change. It includes:- an intense programme to identify and tackle the most serious risks of fraud;- a step-change in both the risks we pose to fraudsters and the support we give to victims;- a coordinated approach to build up the intelligence base and share data more effectively;- a commitment to build up our ability to prevent fraud, with each partnership playing its full part.This isn't business and usual. All of us will need to be ready to challenge our old ways of working so that we can confront the threat of fraud comprehensively.This isn't going to be comfortable for any of us, but it's something we have to do.So, thank you to all of you, for your support and commitment to help develop one of the most integrated, most ambitious, campaigns to combat fraud in the world. I don't know anyone elsethat is doing this.There is a huge challenge ahead. But I know from the extraordinary collaboration, firstly on the Fraud Review and now the delivery of one of its key recommendations: we are really readyfor this.Thank you. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/TheNationalFraudStrategy.aspx ? The National Fraud Strategy 19 March 2009 Attorney General's Office
Keynote Speech - Inner London Youth Conference12 March 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralIntroductionI would first like to thank you all for inviting me to make a key note speech today. As some of you may know I am passionate about young people and all that we need to do to improve the lives of our young people in London.The problems that we faceYoung people are our greatest assets. They are the future of UK plc and I firmly believe that we should invest in them. The sad fact is that our society portrays them in a way where they are perceived as our greatest assets but sometimes as our greatest burden. Surveys have shown that interestingly and worryingly adults think that 47% of all crimes are committed by young people when the reality is between 10% and 20%.We know that most young people just want to get on with growing up. They don't get involved in crime. It is important during today's discussions that we remember that, and we do not simply concentrate on the few who go wrong. Otherwise we risk pushing more and more young people into believing that they are a problem just because they are young.Yet this conference recognises that there is still more for us to do and achieve. Even though total crime has fallen by 42% since the mid 1990s, with a substantial fall in violent crime, the number of young people killed (using knives and other means) has increased year on year. In 2008 there were 28 teenage victims in 2007 there were 27.While teenage homicide is by no means unique to large cities within the UK, it does appear to be more prevalent in London. There were 32 teenage murders in the UK between January and July 2008, 18 of which were in London, 56% of the British total. This is disproportionately high when considering London only accounts for 11% of the UK teenage population.Further ethnic disproportionately is most evident amongst teenage homicide victims. Of the 27 teenage murder victims in London in 2007, 22 were identified as being Afro-Caribbean. During 2008, 25 of the 30 victims were BME (83%). For comparison, 44% of murder victims over 19 years of age were BME in origin.This conference recognises that youth crime is not uniform - differences do exists between cities. The solution of one size fits all does not apply to what is a complex a challenging issue. It is important to discuss London centric issues of tackling crime hotspots, knife, gun crimes and prevalent offending and to look together at the strategies and proposals for the near future of tackling these issues amongst young people.Our successes to dateWhilst recognising the scale of the challenge I would like us to pause and reflect on the successesthat we have achieved to date in tackling youth crime. One such success has been Persistent Young Offenders Pledge ("the pledge"). It has been an excellent catalyst in bringing criminal justice agencies together to ensure that persistent young offenders are dealt with expeditiously.The pledge has succeeded in demonstrating to persistent young offenders that their behaviour has consequences and those consequences follow quickly.As a result of the pledge we have halved the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders from 142 days in 1997 to 58 days in April 2008. We should acknowledge oursuccesses. We are not impotent and should build on the changes that have been made.We are now building on this success and concentrating on the highest risk youth offenders. We do not want to wait until a young offender receives multiple convictions before deciding they are priority. By acting earlier we will reduce crime and the impact that the offending behaviour has on communities.Another success that sets out the way forward is the Youth Crime Action Plan. It is a cross governmental plan for dealing with a full range of issues around youth crime from enforcement to better targeted support to early intervention. It will deliver an extensive and comprehensive package of measures for children, young people and families which will be backed by £100 million worth of extra funding over the next three years to prevent young people from getting involved in crime. Because we have successfully sold the idea of early intervention we can see that a 'stitch in time' has indeed saved nine.This Plan about reducing crime and the number of people who become victim of crimes. Our ultimate aim is to keep young people and communities safe by preventing crime and reducing re-offending.This is achieved by focusing on three key areas:oThe first is tough enforcement where behaviour is unacceptable or illegal.oThe second is more non-negotiable support to address the underlying causes of poor behaviour, including more parenting orders and the new Youth Referral Order requiring young people to for example attend education, or go to an attendance centre for group work, or undertake treatment for drug and substance abuse.oEarly intervention to tackle problems before they become serious or entrenched.The Action Plan builds on existing investment to support children, young people and families which have been proven to work such as the Family Intervention Projects (FIPS). I am a particular fan of Family Intervention Projects because they have been shown to work. They help parents andfamilies who can do most to support young people and set them on the right track.The data we now have under FIPs shows how successful they have been; we have for example:oHalved the proportion of families reported to exhibit poor parenting (60 % to 32%)oHalved the number of families facing one or more enforcement action (eg, ABCs, pre court juvenile specific orders such as verbal reprimand and final warning) (45% to 23 %). We're talking about anti-social behaviour contracts, verbal reprimands and how successful they have been.As before, we are making a lot of progress but there is more to do.Young people as victimsSo far we have focused on the small proportion of young people who are offenders. Perhaps more important to recognise is that young people are victims of crime. The Offending Crime and Justice Survey (OCJS) 2006 reported that young people (and in particular 10 -15 year olds) are more likely to have been victims of crime and less likely to report a crime. Those who were 10 -15 were likely to know their perpetrators, who were likely to be other pupils or friends. The survey showed that only 4 % of thefts from young people had come to the attention of the police.Half of all offenders (50%) (who have committed an offence in the previous 12 months) are themselves victims of crime compared to 19% of those who have not committed any offence at all (OCJS 2005).Young people may react to having their belongings stolen or being attacked by stealing someone else's belongings or attacking someone else. Young people frequently tell us that they carry knives to protect themselves because they are scared.This means we have much to do to encourage vulnerable young witnesses to report crimes, support them as vulnerable witnesses and build their confidence in the criminal justice system. Wehave made some significant improvements in that regard.Since the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 a number of major advances have been made to help young vulnerable witnesses give the best evidence with a range of special measures consisting of for example video recording evidence in chief, and giving evidence with the assistance of an intermediary.The recent publication of the Government Response to the Improving the Criminal Trial Process for Young Witnesses Consultation Plans aims to give young, vulnerable witnesses better support and encourage more witnesses to come forward with evidence of crimes. These plans recognise that all young people are different and must be treated as such.It does not stop there. There are a number of responses that the London Criminal Justice Board's Youth Justice Strategy has adopted to address these challenges. I will not mention them all here but I will highlight two of them as examples.The first such response isTriage. This is being piloted at the London Boroughs of Lewisham and Greenwich.Triage takes place at the point that a young person enters police custody following arrest. Its aim is to act as a 'gateway' whereby all young people entering custody can be rapidly assessed to ensure that they are dealt with swiftly and effectively.Where appropriate, triage will fast track young people committing more serious offences into the CJS. It provides a new option of early diversion for young offenders involved in low level criminality which can free up court time to free up court time to focus on more persistent and serious offenders.In the autumn of this year an evaluation report on the pilots is expected to be published. This willinform wider roll out. I'm very hopeful that the outcome of triaging will be as successful as FIPs.The second LCJB response is to counter increased gang related youth violence. The Metropolitan Police and its partners are developing thePathways Programme. This is a multi-agency, community led, programme focused on disrupting the group dynamics that promote violence.Under this Programme clear messages of support (if an exit from a gang lifestyle is requested) and deterrence (if violence continues) are delivered to the key influencers of violence as identified by intelligence sources.The Pathway Programme will be tested in 3 London boroughs - Lambeth, Southwark and Croydon with an evaluation programme in place. Learning from the pilots will again inform wider roll out.The AG's Youth NetworkIn today discussions we should remember that most young people want to achieve positive lives. And with the right opportunities and support, they will. The challenge for us is to harness that desire and match it with our commitment to providing the right opportunities and support for these young people.We need to involve young people themselves in the solution. They too are experts in youth issues and have a stake in trying to address these issues.It is with this belief in mind that I will be setting up the Attorney General's Youth Network to bring together groups and individuals who are committed to making a difference in the outcomes which we produce for our young people, and which young people can produce for themselves.The Youth Network will build on the principles which my office has so successfully embedded in co-ordinating Pro Bono legal activity in recent years and will draw together existing and new partnerships. My particular aims for the Network are that it will contribute to and compliment existing youth-focussed work across Government, linking to the Every Child Matters principles of Stay Safe, Enjoy and Achieve, and Make a Positive Contribution.This Network is not about creating new policies; it is about recognising and strengthening existing work which is going on in various forms across all sectors, including charities and private companies through their corporate social responsibility activities. It is not about seeking to reinvent the wheel when it is already turning, but we are helping it to turn better.The Youth Network will provide a forum where best practice and ideas can be shared, creative and strategic partnerships can be formed, and new approaches explored. I have been warmed by the number of people who want to be involved with this.In my role as Guardian of the Public Interest I will provide co-ordination and support, but it is intended that the Network will be much like my Pro Bono Committee and will be largely self-driven, defining its own direction and priorities. Importantly, it is hope that this Network will include representatives of young people themselves, to ensure that its output is genuinely responsive to young people's needsConclusionAlthough a lot has been achieved there is still scope to do. This is even more challenging in today's global economic climate. But such challenges are not insurmountable. It is important that when we discuss strategies' and proposals of tackling youth crime in London we build upon the experiences of existing programmes as well as our own experiences both as professionals and as members of the community.By bringing together all the interested parties in tackling youth crime and working together in partnership, we can successfully tackle the challenges that youth crime poses to the young people, the community and to UK PLC.I think we have started to find the essential tools to make this happen - the question is how we can apply these tools to enable us to work together.The passion to help our youth hasn't ebbed, in fact it continues to grow. So it's important we stick together.It's about the old Obama line (which we had first) - 'together we can'!! None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/KeynoteSpeech%E2%80%93InnerLondonYouthConference.aspx ? Keynote Speech - Inner London Youth Conference 12 March 2009 Attorney General's Office
Keynote Speech to CPS London 'In The Public Interest'12 March 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralGood afternoon. I am really pleased to be able to join you this afternoon and speak to you at this exciting time for the CPS in London. I am also delighted that there are so many representatives here today from the CPS' partners in London.I would first of all like to reinforce what the Director of Public Prosecutions said earlier today about the importance of the CPS being a much more locally responsive prosecution service. It is essential that the CPS and criminal justice agencies engage with local communities. As the DPP said, the concept of the Community Prosecutor and Community Prosecution should be an essential part of the CPS as a modern world class prosecution service.The CPS staff here will know the enormous strides that the CPS has made in the last 10 years. It is a transformed organisation that now has the confidence to engage with its partners and communities in the way that it is doing at the conference today. However, it is worth repeating the journey that the CPS has made in recent years. Its milestones include:• Taking a far larger role in respect of supporting victims & witnesses through initiatives including the creation of Witness Care Units and the Prosecutors Pledge;• Assuming responsibility for charging in serious cases, and increasingly being involved by the police to provide advice during the investigative phase;• Taking the statutory power to issue conditional cautions to offenders;• Delivering its Single Equality Scheme setting out how the CPS delivers fair and just decisions irrespective of race, disability, gender, sexuality and gender identity, religion or belief and age;• Encouraging prosecutors to become far more visible and accountable for the decisions taken;• Developing a role in assisting the courts when sentencing;• Working with its criminal justice partners to reduce bureaucracy, streamline the process and reduce delay in the magistrates' courts;• Developing the CPS' skill and knowledge to prosecute terrorism and organised crime successfully; and• providing a more attractive career structure for CPS staff through developing the roles of Higher Court Advocates, AssociateProsecutors, specialist prosecutors, and the role of Business Managers.This is significant progress that the CPS has made. However, we are not complacent and the CPS still has a huge amount of work to do. The next step the CPS must take is to become much more engaged with local communities through its Community Prosecutor approach.Other criminal justice agencies are taking similar action. It is therefore important we work together if we are going to make communities safer and raise public confidence in the services we provide.Partnership is at the heart of the themes and approaches we are discussing here today, whichmake this a challenging time for everyone, but also one that is genuinely exciting for the wider Criminal Justice System and offers real opportunities.The development of Community Prosecution, supported by the appointment of Community Prosecution Co-ordinators across the London boroughs is a natural extension of the partnership arrangements we have worked so hard to embed in recent years. I often say that so much of what we have achieved in reforming the criminal justice system, reducing re-offending and making our communities safer has been done through the strength of partnerships.We need to look across agency boundaries and build system-wide approaches. In this sense thewhole is very much greater than the sum of its parts.I was Criminal Justice Minister at the Home Office when Local Criminal Justice Boards were set up to develop partnerships at a strategic level and continue, both as Attorney General and as sponsor for the London Board, to pay a close interest.Since that time we have continued to build the partnership approach. The London Board has established Borough Criminal Justice Groups and, importantly, we are increasingly transferring our partnership building approach to the operational level.The Community Prosecutor approach is an extension of that, and a development that should be particularly welcomed. It is a key part of mine and the DPP's ambition to build a modern prosecution service for 21st century communities.What we - or rather you - are doing here makes sense. It is about being responsive to the needs of the communities you, as public servants, work to serve.It is about modernising our services, being open and transparent and giving our frontline staff the opportunity and confidence to work in ways which meet particular local needs.London is one of the largest and most diverse cities in the world. We have over 8 million people across the metropolitan area and - although we are making progress all the time - there are complex problems in terms of crime and anti-social behaviour. What works in Enfield will not necessarily work the same way in Camden. This is recognised by the Community Prosecutor approach, which recognises that one size does not fit all. It must be adaptable to local circumstances if it is to make sense and really add value to the community.There is enormous potential in closer working between the CPS and other agencies at a local level. But this potential can only be realised when it is driven according to local need.I am enthusiastic about what can be achieved through a more joined up approach with the 600 plus neighbourhood panels across the city, and by locating integrated prosecution teams in police stations in every borough.Better sharing of information and improved understanding of the community will mean better informed casework decisions. It will mean better working together to solve problems. And, by building effective mechanisms for receiving and acting upon feedback from communities we should be able to further drive up public confidence in the work of prosecutors and of the CJS more widely.Of course, there are already many examples of good practice of partners working together. Wewant to build on these through Community Prosecution and make community engagement an integral part of what a modern prosecutor does.For example in Sutton - and for those here today from Sutton I hope I have got this right - the vast majority of overnight remands at the court on Mondays centred around a particular nightclub. Rather than just keep prosecuting the symptom. The CPS discussed with the police what evidence they required to challenge the licensing arrangements at the venue.The Borough Council were keen to find a good, unchallengeable reason, to revoke the licence, and the CPS and police are assisting that process. The venue knows that a powerful group, the police,community representatives, and now the CPS are focussed on them. In the meantime, it has reduced offending because the club has enhanced security, but the venue knows that its licence is in jeopardy. That is one example. But I know there will be many similar examples across London.I hope that this afternoon's session proves to be useful and builds a framework in which Community Prosecution will make a real difference, and I hope this day is a successful start to the work in London. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/KeynoteSpeech%E2%80%93%E2%80%98InthePublicInterest%E2%80%99.aspx ? Keynote Speech to CPS London 'In The Public Interest' 12 March 2009 Attorney General's Office
Government Office For The East Of England - Violence Against Women6 March 2009Vera Baird QC MPSolicitor GeneralIntroductionI am very pleased that you have invited me here today - two days before International Women's Day on March 8th - to talk to you about how the Government is tackling this most important of subjects.Three million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, human trafficking or another form of violence every year. The total annual cost of violence against women is estimated to be £40.1billion per year.Violence against women is both a consequence and a cause of gender inequalityWe know that crimes of violence against women can have a devastating effect on victims, their friends and families. The way these crimes are dealt with is, understandably, a matter of great public concern. We are all here today because we care about the issues affecting women in society.I am glad to see so many people here from such a range of organisations working in this field. I want to outline today some of the work we are doing across Government on violence against women, to give you an idea of the broader context for your efforts.I hope that you will be able to go away from today's event with enthusiasm, a sense of purpose, and perhaps most importantly, with a clear idea of the role that each of you can play in ensuring that we all offer the best possible service to women.The Government has already started to integrate work across the Violence against Women strands. We have aligned the Inter-Ministerial Groups on domestic violence, rape, sexual violence and prostitution. We now work closely together in the Inter-Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking and through addressing the Corston report on women offenders.I am also pleased to be able to tell you that the Home Secretary will shortly be launching a national consultation on Violence against Women and women's safety. We see this as the beginning of integrating this work and moving towards a national cross-government strategy on Violence against WomenWe are conscious that service provision is not what it could be in all areas of the country. We are tackling this by implementing national standards, improving the criminal justice response and strengthening and funding the voluntary sector where it is most needed.I would like to start by highlighting to you specific work within the different strands of the Violence against Women strategy, across government, and then move onto work within the Crown Prosecution Service CPS Violence against Women strategy.Although I will cover each strand individually, I recognise that many of these issues are not separate, but are mutually supportive of each other within the overall concept of the Violence Against Women strategy. They can only succeed together and not in isolation.Domestic violenceThe Government has a national domestic violence delivery plan, through which we intend to ensure that tackling domestic violence is mainstreamed in all public services.We've set ourselves four main goals to achieve. In this way we hope we will be better able to equip practitioners to tackle the problem and to put in place arrangements that protect victims.First, our goal is to increase early identification and intervention with victims of domestic violence. To this end:• the Department of Health has produced a handbook for health professionals; is working preventatively through Family Intervention Panels and has produced a toolkit on children and domestic violence jointly with the Department of Children, Schools and Families.• domestic violence work is now incorporated in Local Authority Area Agreements; and• domestic violence risk assessments are being linked to child protection risk assessments.The second goal is to build capacity within the domestic violence sector to provide effective advice and support to victims. We are therefore:• setting national standards with the domestic violence voluntary sector; and• funding a number of helplines, including:• the 24 hour national domestic violence freephone helpline; and• Broken Rainbow, a service for those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities;• The Men's Advice Line;• A specific national helpline for victims of forced marriage and so-called honour crime; and• Respect - a helpline for perpetrators.On 10 February, the Home Secretary launched a new leaflet with information on how to support a friend or relative who is in a violent relationship. The "Supporting A Friend Or Relative" leaflet explains how you can recognise if someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, and what practical support is available in order to help them.Our third goal is to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence.We have made great progress over the last few years - increasing successful prosecution outcomes in domestic violence cases from 46% in 2003 to 72.5% by December of last year.Some of your Areas within the Eastern Region are some of the highest performing CPS Areas in England and Wales. By December 2008, Norfolk and Suffolk had achieved 83% successful outcomes, from charge to conviction, which is to be highly commended.And how has this been achieved?• firstly, we have trained all our prosecutors and associate prosecutors in dealing with domestic violence;• secondly, we are continually revising our policies and guidance for prosecutors to ensure we learn and develop - we will be launching our revised versions of our domestic violence policy and guidance later this month, to ensure that we deliver the best possible service to victims; and• thirdly, we have developed Specialist Domestic Violence Courts, which takes us on to:Our fourth goal in the delivery plan - to support victims through the criminal justice system and manage perpetrators to reduce levels of risk.Specialist Domestic Violence Courts - SDVCs - are essential if we are to improve the support we provide to domestic violence victims.The SDVCs require a multi-agency approach. They bring the police; the CPS; courts and probation; together with voluntary sector support organisations to improve our collective response to cases of domestic violence. Working together cooperatively at a local operational level means that more offenders are brought to justice, victims are protected and better supported, and further violence is prevented.The Specialist Domestic Violence Courts have been very successful in improving the outcomes of domestic violence cases and improving the support and satisfaction levels of victims and witnesses. As you may know, we now have 104 Specialist DV courts across England and Wales, of which seven are in this region. We are currently completing another round of accreditation of new courts and aim to have 128 by 2011.As part of our efforts to support and protect victims of violence against women, the Government has guaranteed £3 million per year seed funding for at least three years for Independent Domestic Violence Advisers. IDVAs have, in my view, played a key role in the success of Specialist Domestic Violence Courts. In your Region, all Areas have IDVAs supporting victims and we commend work across Local Criminal Justice Boards and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, including Local Authorities that are providing mainstreaming funding and support to these roles.We also now have Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences - or MARACs - for high-risk victims of domestic violence operating in 200 areas. Again your region is to be commended in ensuring all your Areas have MARACs established. We will continue to roll out MARACs around the country.Role of employers and trade unionsThe importance of the role of businesses in tackling domestic violence should also not be overlooked. Home and work issues cannot always easily be separated and domestic violence can have a huge impact on working life. Initiatives like the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence - which is a group of companies and organisations working together to address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace - are hugely valuable in this area.Trade Unions, too, must, and do, play a role in challenging domestic violence and tackling fundamental issues of inequality of power, both within the workplace and the home.Many public sector and private sector organisations now have employee domestic violence policies to deal with things like abuse and stalking. In fact, the CPS has led the way with this kind of initiative and its policy has been used as a model across Government.Addressing offendingHowever, as well as providing support to victims and challenging domestic violence, we must seek to address the behaviour of offending more specifically. The Sentencing Guidelines Council issued principles for cases of domestic violence in December 2006. This guideline makes clear that offences committed in a domestic context should not be regarded as less serious than offences committed in a non-domestic context.In addition, in order to manage perpetrators to reduce risk, all probation areas now run either the Integrated Domestic Abuse Programme or the Community Domestic Violence Programme. We are now better able to protect victims through the imaginative use of conditions in the sentencing court, including prohibited activities and exclusion orders.This is not simply an issue of men being the offender in the majority of cases. Some men are victims of domestic violence of course, but also men have a very important role in challenging offending behaviour in other men.In this respect, I would like to mention the work of the Men's Coalition, which was launched in November 2007. The Coalition aims to put issues of concern to men and boys including relationships, education and crime firmly on the public policy agenda. It is supported by the counseling service Relate; the Fatherhood Institute; and children's charity NCH.Rape & sexual offencesThe Government is resolutely committed to improving performance on tackling rape, one of the most traumatic crimes that a victim can experience. We want to increase reporting and conviction rates and ensure that victims are supported, the criminal justice response is improved and that prevention is maximised.We are seeking to challenge many of the myths that surround cases of rape and hinder successful prosecutions. Recently there have been two important decisions in prosecuting such cases.The first, in the case of Bree, established that an intoxicated woman can lose the capacity to give consent, a stage that can be reached well before she becomes unconscious. The second, in the case of Regina-v-D (JA), established that judges are entitled to direct juries that a late complaint does not necessarily mean that it is a false complaint. Both of these are groundbreaking decisions.But there is still more to do. There is a myth that rape victims will always suffer physical injury. Forensic medical examiners could help dispel this myth if, in appropriate cases, they explained that absence of injury is not necessarily inconsistent with an allegation of rape.The Tackling Violence Action Plan drives forward work on sexual violence, with a particular focus on improving the investigation and prosecution of rape and the protection of children from sex offenders.We are going to be more than doubling the size of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre network by March 2011, ensuring that there is at least one in each of the 43 police force areas in England and Wales. The first SARC in this Region was approved in January 2009 and we hope more will follow. We are also aiming to ensure that all victims should have access to an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor by March 2011. We have recently announced a bidding round of £1.6 million for new and existing Sexual Assault Referral Centres and new funding will be available for Independent Sexual Violence Advisors from 2009. You will hear more on SARCs from the speakers later today.We have also established a cross-Criminal Justice System Rape Performance Group to monitor the work of all police forces and CPS Areas against a series of indicators. In addition, the government has introduced sexual offences training for police officers and advocates prosecuting rape cases.Under the cross-government Tackling Sexual Violence and Abuse Action Plan, we have set ourselves further targets on improving access to health and support services for victims, on improving the criminal justice response and on maximising prevention.We are continuing to fund the invaluable work of the sexual violence voluntary sector. In the last year, £1.25 million of funding has been provided and this year we will be spending around £3 million to increase the capacity and stability of the sector. Last year we also announced an emergency fund of over £1 million to prevent immediate closures of those rape crisis centres most at risk.Human traffickingThe Government is also responding to the challenges presented by human trafficking, drawing on the good practice and experiences we have had in tackling other forms of violence against women.Representatives of all relevant Government departments and Non-Governmental Organisations liaise on a regular basis, to contribute to joint plans and initiatives and share best practice and developments. To ensure that progress in the UK response is monitored and maintained there is regular meeting of an Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on human trafficking.On 17 December 2008 we ratified the Council of Europe Convention on trafficking. This will be implemented in April 2009. Although the UK was largely compliant with the Convention, there were a number of additional victim provisions we needed to introduce.These provisions were piloted during Operation Pentameter 2, a UK-wide, police-led anti-trafficking operation, which began last year, and Operation Tolerance - a pilot on trafficking for forced labour. The provisions should improve our ability to identify victims and bring more cases to justice. They include mechanisms for early identification of victims, national referral schemes, and the granting of recovery and reflection periods and renewable residence permits to victims.The UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking was published in March 2007. It set out a multi-faceted strategy covering the areas of prevention; investigation, prosecution; providing protection and assistance to adult victims of trafficking; and child victims. We gave our commitment to keep it a 'living document' and published the Update to the UK Action Plan in July last year.In supporting trafficked victims who have been recovered from their ordeal, the Government funds the POPPY project which provides bespoke, high level, supported accommodation. This year we are investing a further £1.3 million into the POPPY project. Between March 2003 and May 2008 353 victims have been supported by POPPY.We also fund the UK Human Trafficking Centre, a multi agency task force, to tackle organised immigration crime. The UKHTC has a key role to play in coordinating work across stakeholders as well as with its partners, to deliver a diverse set of programmes. These include targeted campaigns to prevent and reduce trafficking, conducting research, delivering training and collecting and analysing information on all forms of trafficking.We are also learning more about the phenomenon of internal trafficking of young British girls within the UK. British girls as young as 12 and 13 years of age are being groomed and trafficked within the UK for sexual exploitation by men who are either British citizens or organised crime gangs from other countries. The process of procuring and transferring girls is done in a similar fashion to organised international networks.ProstitutionIn terms of tackling the demand for trafficked victims - particularly those who are brought to the UK to be sold or exploited in prostitution, the Government began The Tackling Demand for Prostitution Review in January 2008. The Review focussed on how current policy can be strengthened to ensure that the demand for prostitution, and the impact this has on trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation, is robustly tackled. The Review also considered options for legislative reform and the impact of alternative approaches adopted in other jurisdictions.The findings were published in November 2008 and the Home Secretary has announced a range of measures we intend to introduce:• Creating a new criminal offence of paying for sex with someone controlled for another person's gain. This means that it will be illegal to pay for sex with someone who has been trafficked or exploited through other means, for example those who remain involved for fear of violence from a partner or a pimp• Taking tougher action to tackle kerb-crawlers by amending the law to allow police to arrest them for a first offence - and tougher action against kerb-crawlers, for example, by encouraging the naming and shaming of those convicted for kerb-crawling;• Removal of the term "common" and introduction of "persistent element" for those who loiter or solicit for prostitution;• Introducing tougher measures to crack down on brothels to tackle exploitation in the off-street market by creating closure powers to allow police to close down premises where sexual exploitation has taken place; and• Revising licensing schemes for lap dancing clubs to enable them to be redefined as sex encounter establishments, rather than entertainment establishments.The legislative measures are included in the Policing and Crime Bill which is currently going through Commons Committee stage.No doubt, speakers from the Ipswich Prostitution Strategy will provide local details on your work this afternoon.Forced Marriage & Honour-based violenceWe are also focussing our attention on the issues of forced marriage and honour-based violence. Again our experience in tackling domestic violence and sexual offences has been invaluable in improving our response to these crimes.The Government has established the Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This Unit is working with the Department of Health, the Department for Children, Families and Schools and the Ministry of Justice amongst others. The Unit now helps around 500 victims and potential victims in this area each year.We have funded a new national helpline - the Honour Network - run by the charity Karma Nirvana, for victims of forced marriage and so-called honour based violence. We have also written to all schools and local authorities in relation to forced marriage and made available awareness raising materials.In December 2008, CPS published a report of a pilot within four CPS Areas, that selected specialist prosecutors to deal with these crimes, provided them with guidance and training and monitored the cases for nine months. From this pilot we have identified the patterns of cases and ways to help improve prosecutions and support victims. We now plan to roll this out across the CPS nationally.LegislationThe Government has also passed legislation to ensure that violence against women is taken seriously and to ensure that it can be tackled effectively.The 2003 Sexual Offences Act strengthened and updated the law on sexual offences. In 2004 the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act modernised the approach to domestic violence, making it a criminal offence to breach a non-molestation order.The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 has created a new offence of possessing violent and extreme pornographic material. The maximum penalty for possession of extreme pornographic images for an act which threatens a person's life; or an act which results in or is likely to result in serious injury is three years' imprisonment. For possession of other extreme images the maximum penalty is two years' imprisonment.The Home Office carried out a consultation on the possession of non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse. As a result, the Government has proposed a new criminal offence of possessing drawings and computer-generated images of children under the age of 18 engaging in sexual activity. Under these proposals offenders will be liable to up to three years imprisonment.We have also legislated to improve our ability to prosecute trafficking cases, and the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act will provide civil protection for people at risk of forced marriage.CPS - the Violence Against Women strategyI would now like to talk to you briefly about how the CPS has risen to the challenge of tackling violence against women crimes in a truly integrated fashion.I think it can be said that the CPS is a pioneer in tackling violence against women. It is, we believe, the first public prosecution service to integrate all forms of violence against women under the UN definition into a strategy and action plan which relates work in this area to a wider gender equality agenda. It is through this type of work that the CPS is achieving its vision of becoming a world class prosecution service.The CPS Violence Against Women strategy and action plan is aimed at integrating, coordinating and improving prosecutions and support for victims in a range of crimes, including but not limited to; domestic violence; rape and sexual offences, honour-based violence; prostitution; and human trafficking.Examples of CPS workIn the next three years, the CPS is focussed on improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system, through bringing more offenders of violence against women crimes to justice.It will seek to achieve this through:• improving prosecution performance with a new violence against women indicator, including targets for increasing successful outcomes in domestic violence, rape and sexual offences;• we have already met the April 2009 target of successful rape prosecutions of 59% and exceeded the target of 72% for domestic violence and sexual offences;• the development of specific guidance for prosecutors on Violence against Women;• the coordination and strengthening of Area coordinators and specialist prosecutors;• annually measuring the satisfaction of stakeholders and• improving training across a range of VAW work.In addition, the CPS is targeting improved victim and witness support, safety and satisfaction. This will be achieved through:• support systems for victims and outcome monitoring; and• the development of a system to measure the support for and satisfaction of women victims of violence, across the criminal justice system.Finally, the CPS is also seeking to address any disproportionality across the equality strands through:• examining the equality profiles of defendants and victims; and• ensuring Witness Care Units have support systems and information on support for victims and witnesses from all communities.A Violence against Women Crime Report, highlighting CPS performance on prosecuting a range of these crimes, including domestic violence and rape, was published in December 2008 and will be produced annually.ConclusionI hope that I have been able to outline to you just some of the good work going on in this area. The Government has done, and is doing, much to focus attention on the issues that women are facing. We are seeking to properly equip practitioners to tackle the problem and putting into place arrangements that will protect victims.But, there must be committed and collaborative working at both a national and local level if full advantage is to be taken of these strategies. This is the only way that we will be able to deal sensitively and effectively with those subjected to or at risk from these types of violence. Events like this are so very important to achieving these aims.I am pleased that so many of you here today will be able to take up this challenge and directly influence for the better the lives of victims and those of their families. I would like to commend you all on your efforts so far.The message we need to send out is that we understand the problem. We must show that we are committed to working effectively and sympathetically with victims to protect them and their children, and to enforce their rights and uphold the law.By providing an effective multi-agency response and approach to victims and survivors we are implementing an ambitious programme to make our community a safer place for all. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/GovernmentOfficeForTheEastOfEnglandViolenceagainstwomen.aspx ? Government Office For The East Of England - Violence Against Women 06 March 2009 Attorney General's Office
Stopping Traffick '09 Conference4 March 2009Vera Baird QC MPSolicitor GeneralI am very pleased that you have invited me here today to the Stopping Traffick '09 conference to talk to you about recent developments in how the Government is tackling human trafficking.The Government's response to trafficking is part of a range of work we are doing across Government on violence against women and I also want to outline to you today how trafficking fits in with the broader context of this work.I will talk to you shortly in a little more detail about the implications of the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention and how it is intended the new provisions will work. I will also cover other ongoing initiatives in trafficking and the range of measures it is intended to introduce to tackle those who exploit and create the demand for trafficked women.Context of other VAW workWe know that crimes of violence against women can have a devastating effect on victims and their friends and families.Since the early 1990s the United Nations, European Union and Council of Europe have all identified violence against women within a human rights framework and have recommended that governments develop national strategies and action plans.Protection for women is additionally guaranteed under a number of European Conventions, including the European Convention on Human Rights; the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and more recently, the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings.Over the last 10 years or so, the Government has seriously sought to address these issues. We recognised, in doing so, that we needed the input of everyone including practitioners and the voluntary sector. This partnership approach has been fundamental to our work.As a Government, we are aligning and integrating work on Violence against Women through the implementation of the Gender Equality Legislation and have set Public Service Agreements to address such violence.As Ministers, we now have cross-government action plans or strategies for:• domestic violence;• sexual violence and abuse;• prostitution;linked together through one Inter Ministerial Group;In addition we work across government with integrated strategies on:• human trafficking; and• tackling violent crime overall.One of the three main priorities of the Minister for Women and Equality is "to tackle violence against women, and improve the way we deal with women who commit crimes".The introduction of the Gender Equality Duty and the first cross-Government Equality Public Service Agreement are encouraging many Government Departments to look more closely at how gender - and specifically violence against women - impacts on their work.And in Public Service Agreements, we now have one that specifically covers violence against women - "to reduce the most serious violence, including tackling serious sexual offences and domestic violence".I am also pleased to be able to tell you that the Home Secretary will shortly be launching a national consultation on Violence against Women and women's safety. We see this as the beginning of integrating this work and moving towards a national strategy on Violence against Women.Today, however, we are focusing on two aspects of violence against women - human trafficking and prostitution. We recognise, that Violence against Women crimes are primarily, although not exclusively, perpetrated by men against women. And by including the phrase "although not exclusively", we recognise that there are also some men victims, and some female perpetrators, and we will deal fairly and equitably with all perpetrators and victims of crime, both men and womenHuman traffickingHuman trafficking is a very serious crime that can often have tragic consequences for all its victims. Traffickers often target the most vulnerable of victims - women and children, those living in poverty, those who lack good education and skills to obtain employment, or live in places where employment is difficult to find. They are recruited in countries where the economic situation is poor and where there may be corruption within their authorities which makes it easy to exploit their legislation and controls.The establishment of effective organised crime networks across transit countries and within destination countries provide the means to facilitate their travel and to exploit their victims.The most effective means of combating organised human trafficking is disruption. And this includes successful prosecution. This has been recognised and is a critical part of the Government's overall Organised Crime Strategy.Challenges presented in trafficking casesHowever, this vile crime presents us with significant challenges:• It is a crime that is clandestine; victims are "imprisoned" in either residential properties or places offering sauna and massage services. They are not visible.• Trafficked victims don't always wish, or are not always able to, co-operate with the authorities as they often fear the consequences of giving evidence against their traffickers.• Human trafficking cases nearly always cross borders and jurisdictions, requiring investigations and evidence to be obtained from the source and transit countries.At a strategic level it is important for all those involved in human trafficking - representatives of all relevant Government Departments and NGOs - to liaise on a regular basis, to contribute to joint plans and initiatives and to share best practice and developments. To achieve this there is regular meeting of an Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on human trafficking, which I attend. 14 Government Departments who have a strong interest are represented and the team works to ensure progress in the UK response is monitored and maintained.The Council of Europe Convention on Trafficking.On 17 December 2008 we ratified the Council of Europe Convention on trafficking. This will be implemented in April 2009. Although the UK was largely compliant with the Convention, there were a number of important additional victim provisions we needed to introduce.The provisions should improve our ability to identify victims and bring more cases to justice. They include mechanisms for early identification of victims, national referral schemes, and the granting of recovery and reflection periods and renewable residence permits to victims.What is the National Referral Mechanism?Development of a national referral mechanism is not a specific requirement of the Convention, but recommended best practice. States have the discretion to develop their own systems, but the key components are guidance and procedures on identification, referral onto appropriate support, repatriation and resettlement and co-operation between agencies. Although the UK already abides by the basic principles, this will be enhanced by a more formal identification and referral process. Front line officers will use indicators to consider whether an individual could be a victim of trafficking before referring them to a competent authority for decision.The Competent AuthorityFrom the time that a potential victim comes into contact with a first responder, we expect a referral to a competent authority to be made as soon as possible and a "reasonable grounds" decision to take on average 5 days.Where the competent authority has confirmed "reasonable grounds", victims will be eligible for a reflection period of 45 days, which will be extendable in some circumstances, for example extreme trauma. Following the Reflection period, victims may be eligible for a residence permit, which will be granted for a minimum of one year. This will be granted where a victim is co-operating with an investigation or criminal proceedings, or it is deemed necessary owing to their personal circumstances.The improved identification of victims by front line responders should lead to greater intelligence gathered to investigate and charge their perpetrators with trafficking and other related charges and which should lead to an increase in the number of prosecutions we can bring.Operation Pentameter 2These provisions were piloted last year during Operation Pentameter 2, a UK-wide, police-led anti-trafficking operation, and Operation Tolerance - a pilot on trafficking for forced labour.During Operation Pentameter 2, 822 premises were visited, 528 arrests were made and 167 victims were identified (13 of which were children aged between 14 and 17 years of age). Over £500K in cash was seized and in excess of £3m assets is held under restraint.The UK Action Plan on Tackling Human TraffickingThe UK Action Plan on Tackling Human Trafficking was published in March 2007. It set out a multi-faceted strategy covering the areas of prevention; investigation, prosecution; providing protection and assistance to adult victims of trafficking; and child victims. We gave our commitment to keep it a 'living document' and published the Update to the UK Action Plan in July this year. This contained an additional 23 key measures for future action.The POPPY ProjectIn supporting trafficked victims who have been recovered from their ordeal, the Government funds the POPPY project which provides bespoke, high level, supported accommodation. This year we are investing a further £1.3 million into the POPPY project. Between March 2003 and May 2008 353 victims have been supported by POPPY.The UK Human Trafficking CentreWe also fund the UK Human Trafficking Centre, a UK multi agency task force, to tackle organised immigration crime. The UKHTC has a key role to play in coordinating work across stakeholders as well as with its partners, to deliver a diverse set of programmes. These include targeted campaigns to prevent and reduce trafficking, conducting research, delivering training and collecting and analysing information on all forms of trafficking.Internal traffickingWe are also learning more about the phenomenon of internal trafficking of young British girls within the UK. British girls as young as 12 and 13 years of age are being groomed and trafficked within the UK for sexual exploitation by men who are either British citizens or organised crime gangs from other countries. The process of procuring and transferring girls is done in a similar fashion to organised international networks.There are a number of ongoing projects and research to improve our knowledge and understanding of this crime. It is important to raise awareness and develop guidance to first responders to alert them to this.ProstitutionIn terms of tackling the demand for trafficked victims - particularly those who are brought to the UK to be sold or exploited in prostitution, the Government began The Tackling Demand for Prostitution Review in January 2008. The growth in human trafficking for sexual exploitation is currently fuelling the market for prostitution.The review focussed on how current policy can be strengthened to ensure that the demand for prostitution, and the impact this has on trafficking into the UK for sexual exploitation, is robustly tackled. The review also considered options for legislative reform and the impact of alternative approaches adopted in other jurisdictions.The findings were published in November 2008 and the Home Secretary announced a range of measures we intend to introduce:• Creating a new criminal offence of paying for sex with someone controlled for another person's gain. This means that it will be illegal to pay for sex with someone who has been trafficked or exploited through other means, for example those who remain involved for fear of violence from a partner or a pimp.• Raise awareness amongst sex buyers about the realities of trafficking.• Taking tougher action to tackle kerb-crawlers by amending the law to allow police to arrest them for a first offence - and tougher action against kerb-crawlers, for example, by encouraging the naming and shaming of those convicted for kerb-crawling.• Introducing tougher measures to crack down on brothels to tackle exploitation in the off-street market by creating closure powers to allow police to close down premises where sexual exploitation has taken place.• Revising licensing schemes for lap dancing clubs to enable them to be redefined as sex encounter establishments, rather than entertainment establishments.The legislative measures are included in the Policing and Crime Bill which is currently going through Commons Committee stage.ConclusionI hope that I have been able to outline to you today some of the ongoing work and initiatives to address not just human trafficking but also to focus attention on the issues that women are facing. By working across Government departments and agencies to tackle the problem and putting into place strategies and arrangements that will protect victims from all forms of violence, we will be able to deal sensitively and more effectively with those subjected to or at risk from these types of violence. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/StoppingTraffick%E2%80%9909Conference.aspx ? Stopping Traffick '09 Conference 04 March 2009 Attorney General's Office
4th Annual No Witness No Justice Conference3 March 2009Vera Baird QC MPSolicitor GeneralGood morning ladies and gentlemen and what a pleasure it is to be here again at this year's No Witness No Justice conference. You kindly agreed to attend early in the morning last year to accommodate my need to return to London so I am pleased that I don't have to rush around quite so much this year. In this lovely venue I would also love to be able to say that my journey here has been on the back of a vintage Norton motor bike, but reading Ministerial papers and keeping them safe might have been a touch tricky, so the usual car had to do. On a serious note though, I am genuinely delighted to be here again, as I always feel I am amongst like minded people, people dedicated to supporting victims and witnesses. I find that inspiring and I thank you for being the cause of that inspiration.It seems a long time ago now since bold and brave decisions were made by my colleagues in Government to dramatically change the standing of victims and witnesses in the Criminal Justice System. For some, that decision seemed foolhardy and far-fetched. We did after all have long standing criminal justice processes; criminal justice agencies with clear areas of responsibility and fiercely protected boundaries around their individual jurisdiction; and a proper focus on the protection of the defendant's rights. To deliver against the Government's pledge these significant issues had to be properly and carefully accommodated. I stand here today delighted by the skilled handling that has brought us to where we are today and whilst I am keen to acknowledge a job very well done, I consider that to be the finding of the mid term report and I will explain why later.I'm sure you all know this, but I still think it's worthwhile taking a small step down memory lane as a reminder of why change was needed and to fully capture the extent of the improvement. Before NWNJ victims and witnesses had little interaction with the criminal justice system and by and large were seen as people who could and should attend court to give their evidence. There was little in the way of knowledge and understanding of their personal circumstances, their fears or their expectations. We had a well established criminal justice system and if victims and witnesses couldn't fit in with our rigid processes that was their problem. There were some exceptions, but they were few are far between. It is no wonder that victims and witnesses were increasingly turning their backs on the criminal justice process, with 22,000 cases estimated to have failed due to non attendance of a victim or witness in 2002/2003. Did the system have to change, you bet it did.In my view the vision for change was right in 2003 and with some of the additional steps we are taking, it remains right now. I am told that for some of you it feels as though witness care was yesterday's news. Well let me make it clear, whilst the vision for change was set out in 2003 and much has been done since to deliver against that agenda, this is not yesterday's news, it remains a key Government objective today and I am confident that it will remain as a priority going forward. I'm confident about that because this is fundamentally about doing the right thing.An illustration of the continued Government prioritisation of victim and witness services was announced by the Prime Minister at the last Labour Party Conference, when he talked about the role of an independent Victims' Champion. I am delighted to say that Sara Payne has now taken up that position and I am even more delighted to see her here at this conference and that she is due to talk later this morning. Sara's role is a significantly important one and we all look forward to working with her to make further improvements.I know that some of you have been involved with NWNJ since the start, but there are also others in the audience who are new to their roles. Let me then take this opportunity to set out what NWNJ brought to the table. This is not me with rose tinted glasses, this is what an independent evaluation had to say during national roll - out:- NWNJ supports an increase in the rate of witness attendance. We know that over 87% witnesses now attend when needed, compared to 77% when NWNJ first started.- NWNJ supports a reduction in the number of cracked and ineffective trials. We know that there has been over a 60% reduction in the number of cracked and ineffective trials in the Crown Courts.- NWNJ delivers an improved pre-trial service for victims and witnesses. We know that the majority of victims and witnesses appreciate getting more information, more support and better consideration.- NWNJ helps to increase levels of satisfaction with the Criminal Justice System. An important issue given the adoption of a national target to improve victim and witness satisfaction with the CJS.- NWNJ helps to deliver change within local criminal justice agencies. It wasn't just about new units it was about working more effectively from front line policing through to the conclusion of the case.- NWNJ improves the offer and take up rate for Victim Personal Statements, an important issue to ensure victims can exercise their right to tell the court about the impact of the crime upon them.- NWNJ helps improve the offer and take up of referrals to the Witness Service for pre-trial familiarisation visits and we know how much victims and witnesses value this opportunity.- NWNJ helps us to respond to people as individuals because we bother to ask about them and their needs.These are significant improvements, and I am proud of you for the work you do in bringing about these benefits.However, what is even more important is the effect these changes have on individuals and individual cases. Whilst these do not play out in any meaningful way into national statistics, for the individuals involved the service provided means everything.Special measures provisions have been in place since 2001 but it is only since witness care units were put in place that the provisions have started to be used to the extent that they are now in respect of the use of remote live links. Cases such as one involving an elderly and frail lady who was resident in a care home are testament to the value of the information obtained by witness care staff. With proper consideration and effective planning a remote live link was set up in the home and the lady was able to give her evidence from the relative safety and comfort of her own bed in the care home. Would that lady have ever got to a court room, I doubt it.Developing strong relations, trust and confidence with victims and witnesses has also underpinned much of the success of witness care units. In a different case involving multiple sexual assaults witness care staff worked tirelessly in a case that was listed for trial on 5 separate occasions, each short notice adjournment driven by the defendant's unavailability or inability to attend court. The first listed trial was in February 2007 and the case finally went ahead in March 2008 when the accused was found guilty. That brief background masks the amount of effort that went into supporting all 17 victims and witnesses through every step of the way, dealing with their reluctance, anger and helplessness at having been asked to put their lives on hold for a fortnight at a time for each listed trial. I have no doubt that the dedication of the witness care officers in that case made all the difference and I am certain that case would have failed in the past.We also know that victims in sexual offences require a lot more support and that these cases tend to be more difficult to bring to a successful conclusion. Where witness care staff are involved in these cases the amount of time they can spend supporting the victim can be the difference between a successful trial and a victim withdrawing their allegation. One such case involved an allegation of multiple serious historical sexual offences against six victims. Whilst the witness care officer maintained a strong relationship with the police investigator, it was the witness care officer who maintained most of the contact, even when the victims became very anxious as the trial date approached. As well as maintaining contact the witness care officer arranged special measures for 4 of the victims and had to arrange extensive travel arrangements because the victims had moved to different locations around the country. The benefit of the witness care officer's work in this case and the appreciation these victims felt from her contact was expressed in real terms through personal thanks, telephone calls and letters from the victims who thanked the witness care officer 'for the support and kindness they felt they had received during, what for them, proved to be a very testing and emotional time'. The offender was sentenced to 18 years.In a very similar case, the witness care officer went to the court to listen to the summing up of the case and met the victims involved. The 3 victims expressed their heartfelt thanks for all the help the witness care officer had given them, and told her how much it had meant to them having her there to talk to whenever they needed her. In this case one of the victims said she was unsure if she would have been able to go through with it had the witness care officer not been there for her. The defendant was found guilty of 22 counts and sentenced to 16 years.If you think these are exceptional cases, handpicked for the purposes of this conference, they are not. I know that they are amongst many other excellent examples of cases where witness care officers literally have made the difference for victims and witnesses in all sorts of cases.These cases demonstrate to me and my colleagues that witness care works. Victims and witnesses have also been voting with their feet in support of our assessment of witness care. If we need anyfurther endorsement we just need to look at this from a national perspective where Simon and Pauline along with their team have been advising criminal justice agencies in other countries on their development of witness care in their areas, including the launch of the NWNJ Witness Care Unit in Bermuda late last year. The NWNJ model of witness care is not just a success here, it is also becoming a success elsewhere, a success you can all take some credit for.But let me now return to the point I made at the outset, that all of this good news comes as part of a mid - term report. The reason you are here today is so that witness care can be taken to another level. I support that ambition. I support it because I know that not every victim or witness gets the same level of service as the ones involved in the cases I have talked about. In spite of the setting of the NWNJ minimum requirements, designed to ensure a minimum standard of service for all victims and witnesses across England and Wales, we know that those standards are not being met in all areas, in all cases. I know some of the difficulties behind that, and I know that delivery of those standards will never be easy. I know that decisions have been made to risk manage the undertaking of the detailed needs assessment and that some units send out their needs assessment by post. I know that case outcomes are sometimes given to victims but not witnesses. I know that some units are struggling to understand their responsibility and response to intimidation, even when it is happening at the time of the call to the victim.The agenda today and the work you will do will help you explore some of the most important issues that underpin witness care.Your work is important so that we can move to a position where we can start to consider what the end of term report might look like. There is fantastic potential but hard work is still necessary to realise the full potential.Let me tell you briefly what I think some of the hard work is.Firstly we need staff in witness care units, particularly the witness care managers who are tireless in their pursuit of solutions to problems. I know that it is easy to fall into the trap of just accepting the problem, but when a manager does that they become part of the problem, not part of the solution.We need senior managers locally to support witness care in everyday business, both in respect of staffing levels and supporting the effectiveness of the processes into and out of the unit. We know that in many units witness care staff still have to do a lot of work just to make effective contact. We also know that they have to use precious time chasing some of the information they need to let a victim or witness know what is going on. Better local processes and greater day to day involvement of senior managers would improve that.My final plea is about consistency of service. Some of the cases I have talked about today are exemplary. When I hear them I feel proud, very proud indeed. The witness care officers themselves must feel ten times better than I do. What we need to work to is consistency of that consideration in all cases followed by the appropriate level of service. If we don't make the right consideration we still don't know to what extent we are letting some people down. For some of you this means a small change, an adaptation of what you do, for others it might require more fundamental work.What I am sure about is that comprehensive delivery of the NWNJ minimum requirements in the way intended when they were first set, represents an excellent framework of support and consideration from report through to sentence. A focus on meeting those minimum requirements at a local level is still the means by which my aspiration for NWNJ can still be realised. I remain as enthused today about witness care as I ever did, the cases I have spoken about ensure that. I know that you do to. Today marks a further opportunity to take stock of where you are and to take away further ideas about what each of you can do to reach that next rung of performance.I am confident that with hard work and commitment more and more areas will move towards achieving the NWNJ minimum requirements. When that happens we will all know of many more cases like the ones I have mentioned that have truly made a significant and profound difference. NWNJ has been instrumental in the step change in service delivery that has happened already, and I firmly believe that it can continue to take a leading role in moving towards our overall vision. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/4thAnnualNoWitnessNoJusticeConference.aspx ? 4th Annual No Witness No Justice Conference 03 March 2009 Attorney General's Office
South Eastern Circuit Of The Bar Diversity Event ("Against The Odds")20 January 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney General6.30-7.30pmMiddle Temple HallIt is an enormous privilege and pleasure to be addressing you in this Hall. As many of you may know, this is my Inn. I am particularly pleased to be able to take the opportunity to speak to speak to you all this evening. I congratulate Stephen Leslie QC, who has succeeded David Spens QC as Leader of this Circuit. I would also like to thank David for introducing me tonight and for his speech.This event rejoices under the title of Against All Odds, and it may be apposite that I have been asked to give the keynote speech. If I look back to 1977, when I was called to the Bar, very few people were thinking then that there would be the first female and first black Attorney General in 700 years. So, if I may say: "If I can do this, what is your excuse"?Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that when judges first suggested to me that I think about applying for silk, I remained respectful but personally thought they must be mad. That feeling finally dissipated when more than one judge said it to me. I therefore ask the judges among you to identify and to encourage able advocates who appear before you and impress you, to apply for judicial office. Barristers, although fearless advocates for their clients, can sometimes be timorous in terms of recognising their own abilities and talents. Having the support of judges and colleagues in helping barristers to recognise they have those skills can be invaluable. In my case, I think that some years ago the odds on getting a black woman Attorney General would have been fairly long, and possibly lucrative and attractive ones from my point of view if I'd ever had the foresight to trouble Ladbrokes with that particular piece of business!I congratulate the South Eastern Circuit for putting on this event. The key message tonight for me is that change is possible. If there is any doubt about that, I urge you to consider the lawyer that was today appointed and inaugurated as President of the United States of America. It is clear that there are significant opportunities available to lawyers of great skill and intellect.The Crown Prosecution ServiceI have said that change is possible. In terms of change, I would like to talk briefly about the Crown Prosecution Service, an organisation that I superintend. The CPS embarked on its own accelerated process of change following the Denman report. To its credit, the response of the CPS and of its then director David Calvert-Smith, to the conclusions in the Denman Report, was immediate and positive. The CPS has continued on that journey, through successive Directors: under Sir Ken Macdonald Q.C., and, most recently, Keir Starmer Q.C.The overall workforce profile of the modern CPS is very diverse with 67% women, 12% BME employees, and 4% who are disabled. Some 16% of the Chief Crown Prosecutors who run the CPS Areas are of BME origin, and the BME profile at senior levels of the organisation is unmatched in either the wider CJS or public sector, more generally. There really is a very good minority representation too and women head key national positions including the Head of Counter Terrorism and Head of Serious Organised Crime, and in a recent staff survey, 67 per cent of staff considered the Service was seriously committed to equality and diversity.This was also backed up by a report by HMCPSI. Change here has been radical and comprehensive and it has been genuine.The Law Officers and the BarI want to tell you that change is possible and that it has occurred. I can tell you that as Law Officers, Vera Baird Q.C. and I are committed to the principles of equality and diversity. We are therefore determined to ensure that all instructing departments and agencies for which we have responsibilities continue to meet their legal obligations to promote equality and diversity in the procurement of legal services from the Bar and to mainstream best practice in that regard. One of my great pleasures is to be able to review all of the data received from Government departments who instruct counsel to make sure that their commitment to diversity and equality is real.Last year I launched a Diversity Strategy which extends the scope of this work. The new arrangements apply in respect of the Panels of counsel approved to act on behalf of Government Departments and Agencies, to the Standing Counsel appointed to particular Government Departments, to counsel retained pursuant to the CPS London's External Advocates Scheme and criminal Treasury Counsel.My current aim is that by 2012 the diversity in all ways of the range of applications for external counsel positions will reflect as closely as possible the diversity of the available pool and that where this has not been achieved, there is a clear understanding of the reasons for the discrepancy and of the strategies that need to be put in place to address it. The strategies we need to make sure that diversity is being met are clear and we need to follow them.The Government Legal ServiceI am sure it is the right way forward. It is clearly the case that the Government and the Law Officers' departments should be as conscious of the need for diversity in respect of those they instruct, as in relation to those they directly employ. The present Government Legal Service is increasingly diverse. A range of policies have helped to secure this, including flexible working which enables us to retain the very best of a talented workforce. 61% of our recruits are women, and women account for 41% of the Senior Civil Service, including 39% of the most senior Senior Civil Service posts.This compares very well with the private sector, although there is more to be done, I think, on ethnic minority representation. At present, 13% of the Government Legal Service are recorded as being from an ethnic minority background, and in lawyers below Senior Civil Service level, the figure is 14.8%. This compares favourably with national workforce representation.Hate Crime and the Race for JusticeI want to make a real difference with cases like hate crime. I believe that it is completely unacceptable these days for hate crimes to be taking place and for someone to be targeted on the basis of their race or religion.My predecessor as Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, put together a special Taskforce to investigate these concerns, which reported and made recommendations in 2006. This resulted in the launch of Race for Justice, of which I am the responsible minister, which is directed not only at raising the CPS's game on hate crime - but doing so across the Criminal Justice System.It therefore takes in the reporting, recording and monitoring of hate crime and incidents, the need to have clear and agreed common definitions throughout the CJS, the need for minimum occupational standards for all of those who handle these cases throughout the system, and the necessity for all those who engage in the process to have appropriate training.Judges can also benefit from specialist training because the message needs to go out loud and clear that crimes of hate will not be tolerated and that the judge will, in speaking for justice in these cases, speak in unequivocal terms for the community - echoing its revulsion at these threats to community cohesion.The modern JudiciaryJudges have a very special place in the modern world, but it is important that they represent the community in all respects: in particular, as regards their diversity. The arrangements for appointment of judges have been revolutionised in recent years, in order to modernise the process and to ensure that it meets with the standards of transparency and fairness that apply in other aspects of public life.The Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) assumed responsibility for selection of judicial office holders in April 2006, and selections are now made on the basis of merit as evidenced by specific criteria. The JAC has, in pursuance of its remit, and in accordance with its equality duties, undertaken a major programme of work. The JAC does, however, need all the help and assistance we can give it. The Lord Chief Justice supported its work in October 2008 and the talent that will come out of the JAC's appointments.It is appropriate that as we stand approaching the end of the first decade of the 21st Century we are in the position where we have a surfeit of talent of which we can take advantage.My office has accordingly been engaged with the JAC and others - the Ministry of Justice, the Bar, the Law Society, the Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX), to name but a few - through a special Diversity Forum to support its aims. We all want to work towards a legal profession and judiciary which is truly representative and, by virtue of that, truly credible.But we all know that creating a fair system for selection and appointment is only the start. We have to make sure that a fair system translates into fair outcomes, and all of those who have been engaged in this process are very much aware that while progress has been made, there is much more to do.I do not seek to brush aside the fact there have been some encouraging signs: for instance, the number of women in the High Court has increased from 10 in April 2008 to 14 now, with three more due to be appointed soon. The total of 17 will be the highest number ever.In terms of applications for both non-legal and legal appointments in 2007/8, 328 candidates who put themselves forwards were of black and minority ethnic origin (13% of all applicants), and 37 were selected (8% of the total number selected). This bears comparison with the BME proportion of the national workforce.For fee paid (or part-time) appointments, which are traditionally seen as an entry-level for the judiciary - in 2007/8 46% of the selections were for women. A majority (51%) of the selections were in fact solicitors and 9% were black or minority ethnic candidates.That progress overall is still far too slow. My ministerial colleague, Bridget Prentice, also speaking in October at the RCJ, noted that the body charged since October 2007 with enforcing equalities legislation - the Commission for Equality and Human Rights - had estimated it would take 55 years for women to achieve equality in the judiciary. This is, frankly, unattractive as we approach the institution of our own Supreme Court.In the meantime, and as we approach any further change, I can only give you the greatest possible encouragement in putting yourself forward in the JAC's selection exercises. This is the time where merit and merit alone will be the single determinant of who is appointed. We are changing and we are changing comprehensively, but not enough. I want to say to you that not only should you apply if you are interested in judicial office and have not previously applied but you should also encourage other able and talented barristers to apply. So often we need the support of colleagues and friends before we are able to take significant steps and your encouragement to friends and colleagues will make a tremendous difference.The Equality BillIn the Equality Bill, the Government will change the law to enable political parties, as part of their process of selecting candidates, to take positive measures to bring on candidates from under-represented groups, including black and Asian people.The House of Commons has agreed (with all party support) to set up a committee to be known as the Speaker's Conference, to consist of the Speaker, as Chairman, and up to 17 other Members. It will amongst other things consider and make recommendations for rectifying the disparity between the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons and their representation in the UK population at large.ConclusionsWe need to make sure that the future complexion of the profession is significantly different; a complexion that is fuller and more richly representative of this country. I can tell you that this is the total commitment of the law Officers and the senior judiciary. All of us have made this commitment to turn our aspirations into reality. I think we can do this. We have changed significantly over the past 30 years. I just think that we can change so very much more. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SouthEasternCircuitOfTheBarDiversityEvent(%E2%80%9CAgainstTheOdds%E2%80%9D).aspx ? South Eastern Circuit Of The Bar Diversity Event ("Against The Odds") 20 January 2009 Attorney General's Office
Speech To K&L Gates Legal Firm: 'Pro Bono: The Finest Eloquence Is That Which Gets Things Done'13 January 2009The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralI would like to start by thanking you for inviting me here today to address you. I am delighted to be here today, and thank you to Piers Coleman for the invitation. When we attended university together Piers was always very energetic and we promised each other we would keep in touch… Well, here I am! I am going to talk to you about pro bono work, which I often think is like a disease - once you've caught the bug, you can't shake it!I am delighted to see that K&L Gates have 'caught the bug' and are enthusiastic supporters of pro bono. I have seen some of your annual reports, especially, "For the Public Good", which give some details of the work you carry out. They make impressive reading. I was very pleased to see the diversity of your firm's pro bono work. Not only that, an outstanding statistic was the 47.7% increase in the total number of pro bono hours recorded in this London Office since 2005. This is a tremendous increase and a matter for congratulation.I know that a number of people have drawn parallels between the chilly weather we have experienced recently and the chilly financial outlook we are all presently contemplating.Some would say that this is not the time, the moment, for pro bono work. I fundamentally disagree. I believe this is precisely the time to keep up our commitment to pro bono work.I am reminded of the mid 1970s, when there were similarly difficult economic times. It was then that the Free Representation Unit was set up by young lawyers who wanted to make a difference, and it continues to do excellent work today. Now more than ever, there is both the need for pro bono work but also an even greater sense of achievement for the lawyer who provides assistance pro bono.I make no apologies for my belief that pro bono work is part of every good lawyer's DNA.Pro bono lets us reach out to help those who need it. Many of us became lawyers because we wanted to make a difference, and while that may fade over time as other pressures take over - and in this economic environment it can be particularly difficult - pro bono work can refresh that part of us.I believe that lawyers should be encouraged to start their pro bono work at the beginning of their careers. That is the time when the lawyer is absolutely focused on why they want to be a lawyer;• to make a difference,• to provide access to justice, and• to actually help people.This is the ideal time to start undertaking pro bono work. If the pro bono commitment starts then, pro bono becomes part of who the lawyer is and is at the heart of what the lawyer does. Pro bono is not new, it has been with us since time immemorial.The Lord Chief Justice captured this very eloquently when he commented, at the opening of National Pro Bono Week 2008 that:"The spirit and ethos of the legal profession, which is so often overlooked, is that they act pro bono as champions for people who cannot act for themselves."I was struck, during pro-bono week, that we had such a range of ages and lawyers of different experiences supporting pro-bono work.It is carried out by dedicated and talented lawyers, who are unstinting in the level of legal advice and assistance they provide to all their clients, whether funded or otherwise.I firmly believe that the lawyer who undertakes pro bono work also benefits greatly from the work he or she carries out. I speak with many lawyers (who are all at different stages in their careers) about their pro bono work. Both senior and junior lawyers tell me that when they undertake pro bono work, it gives them a real sense of achievement and satisfaction. In short, they tell me they receive more than they give.In a legal landscape where so much advice one must give is hard-edged, based on business principles and weighing up financial options, pro bono work allows us all to cut away economic constraints and focus, absolutely, on making justice happen.I believe there is much value in this type of work. It feeds our spirit and reminds a weary lawyer of the importance of what he or she does.I am fortified in this by the content of the Queen's Christmas Message 2008. The Queen spoke of the more sombre Christmas many people were experiencing and the search to find a new perspective and lasting happiness. She remarked that the people who seemed to her to be most happy, contented and fulfilled, were the people who live the most outgoing and unselfish lives. These are the people who are generous with their talents or their time, helping those who are less fortunate. The Queen described their work as service to the wider community or to the nation.It seems to me that pro bono work falls full square within what the Queen described. The fact that the she chose, last December, to remind this nation of what we can do in difficult times, is a testament to the timeliness of pro bono work in a difficult economic climate. In so doing, we will reap the rewards of happiness, satisfaction and fulfilment.With this in mind, I would like to commend the work that K&L Gates has been carrying out in terms of pro bono and corporate social responsibility. There are three main aspects of your work I would like to address:• Your work with children from under-privileged backgrounds to help them improve their future prospects;• Your international pro bono work to help promote the Rule of Law; and• Your pro bono work in the UKI am particularly interested in citizenship, improving children's expectations and aspirations for the future and helping them feel included in society. I was really delighted to read of your work with Success for Life, an initiative is designed to help young people develop their skills. Success for Life provides life changing opportunities to charismatic students aged about 14 or 15, who come from under-privileged backgrounds and who are students that other students look up to and mimic.I cannot emphasise enough the importance of being role models for students and giving them the self-belief that they are entitled to believe they can be successful and to achieve more than their difficult background offers.I have seen the dramatic effects of these sorts of programmes. Debatemate is a case in point. It offers anyone involved ways to improve their public speaking and debating skills and to create for themselves a more hopeful future. I saw,first hand, the impact of the Debatemate programme in November last year. After watching one of their debates, I met one young man. Six years ago he was illiterate and innumerate, but since being involved with Debatemate, he has been offered a full scholarship to Harvard. The change Debatemate has made to his life is incredible. Equally, I met another young man whose involvement in Debatemate has led to him being the first black president of the Oxford University Student Union. Many people might have told him his life could never amount to anything. Debatemate has allowed him to believe that he could prove them wrong. And he has proven them wrong.If any of you question why you do pro bono work, can I just say thank you. You don't know may many lives you will change. By providing role models for children and students from disadvantaged backgrounds, your firm will help them prove generally that they can be successful. Most importantly, these children will prove it to themselves. I encourage you to carry on with this tremendous work.I have also noted your work on a project internationally to advance the Rule of Law. BillNeukom, the President of the American Bar Association and one of your American partners, has been taking this project forward. The idea of the project is to provide international solidarity for the Rule of Law, as defined by four universal principles:• government accountability under the law,• clear, public, stable and fair laws protecting fundamental rights;• Law-making, administration and enforcement must be accessible, fair and efficient; and• The legal process must have competent, independent, ethical and diverse advocates and adjudicators.The purpose of these principles is to support countries where there is the greatest need for the Rule of Law.I was very pleased to see that the project has been developing support across different disciplines and different countries to help advance the rule of law. You have worked with organisations representing business, education, engineering and public health to sponsor the project.I note that the project has also been developing new knowledge and tools to advance the rule of law. By using the "Rule of Law Index", it will measure countries' adherence to the rule of law and to help governments decide where reform is needed.I also noted that in October last year your Office here in London hosted an international reception for 30 Sudanese lawyers committed to representing people in need in Sudan. It allowed your firm to show its support for the Rule of Law around the world.This work is of particular interest to me. I chair a Committee co-ordinating the efforts of international pro bono work. I am consistently reminded of their enthusiasm, talent and collaboration, which has produced some excellent results in 2008. I am delighted to tell you that last November my co-ordinating committee launched a database of international pro bono projects. The purpose of the database is to help inform and coordinate international pro bono work. It will allow lawyers to share their expertise and best practice.This database is still being developed but once it is in its main phase of development, it will be housed within the pro bono websitewww.probonouk.net. Probonouk.net is a central point of information for pro bono providers and those looking for help. I commend this website to you for future reference.In November, my committee also launched a statement of principles for international pro bono work (endorsed by all three legal professions as well as the International Bar Association). It provides, if you like, a best practice guide of what all of these organisations consider international pro bono work should involve and achieve.I can also give you a personal example of how successful international pro bono projects can be, if best practice is shared across different countries. I attended a meeting of Commonwealth Law Ministers in July last year. In my role as Attorney General I was able to impress on all of the Law Ministers present just how important international pro bono work.I am very pleased to tell you that they agreed with me on this. In fact they agreed with me so much on the importance of pro bono that this was recorded in the communiqué produced on behalf of all of the Commonwealth Law Ministers.It didn't stop here. The Law Ministers agreed with me so much on the importance of pro bono that they committed themselves to promoting pro bono activities in their own countries.When I now go and visit these Law Ministers in their countries, I am able to remind them of their promise to support pro bono work. They have to tell me all what steps they've taken to develop and promote pro bono work.Finally, I wanted to address your work on pro bono in this country. I am very pleased to tell you that I had the privilege of declaring Robert Hadley of your firm to be one of my pro bono heroes in November 2008. It is unfashionable to congratulate lawyers for their generosity and their interests in seeing justice done. I wanted to reverse that trend. I congratulated Robert then and, if he is here, I congratulate him now, for the pro bono work he carries out. LawWorks, who nominated Robert to be one of my pro bono heroes, said that the pro bono team at your firm is always hugely efficient and have shown a real commitment to pro bono. Those are very pleasing words to hear.Nor is Robert your only pro bono hero. I was really pleased to see that Dan Lopez, one of your London assistant lawyers, was named a "Star Volunteer" for his work on behalf of the Battersea Legal Advice Centre. Dan has been part of the K&L Gates team at the advice centre for over 5 years, offering advice pro bono. It is very gratifying to see that pro bono heroes are finally being recognized for their efforts and achievements.In terms of what your firm has done in this country, I am delighted to see that you have provided advice to BLISS, the national charity for premature babies and you have worked with the British Heart Foundation. You have also, among other projects, supported the St Giles Trust, an organization providing employment opportunities for ex-convicts upon their release from prison.My final acknowledgment today (which is not exhaustive of your work - this would not be possible) is for the work your firm carried out pro bono to help erect a statue of David Lloyd George, former Prime Minister, in Parliament Square. It is a good example of interesting and collaborative pro bono work; Piers Coleman of your firm led the pro bono team and advised on the very ancient statutory consents needed to erect the statue. Kevin Greene and Edward Banyard Smith of your firm negotiated the contract with the sculptor of the statue. The results of their work are plain for all to see if they go to Parliament Square.In recognition of this, the title of my speech is drawn from a quote of David Lloyd George,given in a speech at the Peace Conference in Paris in 1919. It reads:"The finest eloquence is that which gets things done"I can think of no better way to describe pro bono than as this finest eloquence. I thank you for your "eloquence" and for all that your pro bono work has achieved and will achieve in the future. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SpeechToKLGatesLegalFirm%E2%80%98ProBonoTheFinestEloquenceIsThatWhichGetsThingsDone%E2%80%99.aspx ? Speech To K&L Gates Legal Firm: 'Pro Bono: The Finest Eloquence Is That Which Gets Things Done' 13 January 2009 Attorney General's Office
Key Note Speech For The GLS Prosecutors' Conference8 December 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralThank you for inviting me to speak to you today. This is the first time that I have had the pleasure of speaking at the annual GLS conference for prosecutors. I am delighted to be here and to see such a large gathering. Prosecutors are not given the applause they should be merited with and my thanks to you is profound.As some of you know, I very much see us as a family of prosecuting teams. We may have our moments of tension from time to time. But we are also bound together by very strong bonds:a common purpose in bringing effective prosecutions in the public interest; common values of integrity and fairness; our shared commitment to fulfilling our duties to the court; and the pressures and rewards that our role brings with it.The rewards are worth the pressures. Bringing a well prepared case to court to allow justice to be done and to be seen to be done, is an achievement we can be proud of.In aiming for professional excellence as prosecutors, and in your developing role as gatekeeper to the criminal justice system, you play your important part in protecting the community, maintaining the rule of law, contributing to public confidence in our system of justice and ensuring fairness to suspects and the accused - including the part you can play in helping the criminal justice system to identify and explain race disproportionality at key points in the criminal process to enable strategies to be developed to tackle it. I think this is the biggest change in the way in which a prosecutor is viewed. We have a creative decision-making role to play and an important role to progress cases through court.So I am very pleased to be with you at the annual family reunion this year: an event which demonstrates the value of coming together, learning together and sharing experience to the common benefit.I should hastily add that I do not see myself in this context as your mother: my unlined brow should tell you immediately that I am far too young for that. So I don't want to take the family analogy too far.As Attorney General, my role is• To be your champion within Government, while acting independently of government in the public interest in my casework role is very important to me.• To explain the purpose and value of bringing prosecutions in response to the harm done by criminal wrongdoing, to ensure that prosecutors have their proper role at national and local level in shaping the way the criminal justice system operates and that they are recognised for the important role they play; and, as the constitutional guardian of the public interest, to ensure that the public interest is served in individual cases.• To tell Government about trends and changes that we see on the frontline to indicate that prosecutors - or indeed investigators - need new powers or other changes in the criminal process or the law to do your jobs more effectively.• To press the GLS and CPS to develop and equip their people so that you can provide a high quality, responsive and flexible prosecution service.• Now if we can do that we can ensure that we have the capability and the will to look over the horizon and work strategically together - rather than from our own narrow perspectives - to ensure that we are able to truly respond in the most efficient and effective way to what is going to be needed from us in future. That ability to analyse, identify gaps and promote the work that we do is important. We need to plot and plan and work together to achieve this.I recently held a workshop attended by a variety of prosecuting authorities and police and other investigators which, I think for the first time, pooled our collective insights and priorities for the future. This enabled us to start formulating a common understanding of the strategies we need to adopt going forward. The "convening power" of the Attorney General is, I have discovered, very considerable. Often people will do things for the Attorney General or for my office that they might not do, or think of doing, otherwise. But I had to ask myself why this was the first time such an event had taken place, since it was so obviously of immeasurable value. This workshop has clearly shown that we, GLS prosecutors, need to meet like this more often.The need to embed ways of working that harness our collective knowledge and insights about the future landscape of crime, and which enable us to work coherently, both in individual cases and at a strategic leadership level, is something that has been and will remain a strong theme of what we have to do together during my tenure as Attorney General. Ensuring that our fragmented structure and overlapping remits do not lead to duplication, inefficiency, delay or unjust outcomes is my personal mission. This is all the more necessary in the current economic climate when resources are under so much pressure.I gather that the subject of this year's conference is career development. I welcome this excellent idea. Career development is of course partly about career progression - about seeing that talent is recognised and honed and that the best people reach the top leadership positions. If we have the qualities of the Director of Public Prosecutions or of the Lord Advocate - like Elish Angiolini, a former prosecutor in Scotland - it should be possible for us to follow a career path that enables us to acquire the depth and breadth of experience and the demonstrable track record to make a credible application. But not all of us can expect to be promoted to the very top or indeed want to try. Each and every prosecutor has the right to decide where they want to be.Career development is for all of us because - perhaps more importantly in some ways than moving up the ranks - it is about committing ourselves to continuous learning and self challenge in order to keep getting better, more confident, more knowledgeable, wiser, quicker, more flexible, more creative and more strategic - something we know every lawyer is anyway!But equally, this is not about ticking boxes. We all want jobs that make us want to get up in the morning and go to work. That may mean that we show a preference for particular types of law or types of job in our career choices. If so, we need to understand the potential implications of these choices for our future careers - for example we might find certain doors closing or we may not be able to demonstrate all the skills required to reach the next grade.We all need advice along the way to help us decide how we can go about building the portfolio of skills and experience that equip us to keep moving forward by getting better at our current role, or with a view to moving sideways or upwards. That is the purpose of today's conference and I hope that you get a huge amount out of it. I am particularly concerned we do this as a Civil Service and look at these skills to see who can and cannot be promoted. I am confident that our lawyers can shine.I should imagine that everyone in top positions within the GLS has had someone they have looked up to, who has inspired them, encouraged them or said insightful things that they have remembered. Or whose advice or bad example they have gone to the ends of the earth to prove wrong or to avoid. Like the careers adviser who told me I could confidently aspire to become a supervisor at Sainsbury's. I wonder where he is now.Every leader needs to bear in mind that there is probably someone somewhere who is modelling themselves on you. We need to realise we are someone's role model. Each and everyone of you will be somebody's role model - you could be a light in their darkness. It is a big responsibility to give others the guidance and helping hand that you have yourself almost certainly received from colleagues to whom you owe a debt of gratitude. I know that as a I look through my career whom I owe a tremendous debt to.Britain is facing very tough times. Legitimate businesses and individuals alike are under huge pressure.At times like this crime increases, and more crimes already committed come to light. People may be more likely to cut corners, to take risks with tax or other legal obligations that affect their solvency, or to succumb to corruption, as opportunities to scrutinise become more liquid. Predators may be more successful at taking in the desperate, the greedy and the naïve.This affects prosecutors in three main ways.(1) We have to respond to increasing crime with no more resources to do it. That demands excellent professional teams within, as well as across prosecuting authorities; efficient systems, flexibility, innovation and more than anything else, real ENERGY. The new LION website for prosecutors is an important new tool in this context, as is the refreshment of the Prosecutors' Convention, now underway, which sets out your commitments to joint working where you have an interest in the same case.(2) We have to have a sound understanding of where the public interest lies when taking all our prosecution decisions. At a human level we can understand the pressures that people may be under. In some cases there may be circumstances that might justify not prosecuting in favour of some other outcome, but that very much depends on the seriousness of the offence, the harm done and the degree of criminality involved. We must not lose sight of the bigger picture. We must still take the bad guys out.(3) Thirdly, and something we are perhaps less used to doing as prosecutors, we need to focus more on how we can advise and help communities to protect themselves to try to keep the level of new crime down. What more can your Department do proactively to help to keep crime down in your sector, and what insights and ideas can you offer as prosecutors?With those challenges I leave you to carry on with your workshop. I very much see career development as something that we must all do to meet the kinds of challenges we are currently facing. It is not just for our own personal benefit or advancement, although hopefully that too.I hope that something I have said will help you to go away from today's event with enthusiasm, a renewed sense of achievement, purpose and direction; and with a strong sense of the value I attach to your professionalism, sound judgement and expertise, knowing that the Law Officers are here to support prosecutors and to proclaim and protect their independent role in serving the public interest.When prosecutors are seen to be enforcing the law competently, fairly and firmly it sends out a firm message that with sound judgement using the full range of powers that Parliament has given you to do justice; when victims and witnesses are helped to give their best evidence; when those affected by your decisions see you willing to explain and be as open as you can be about the factors that lead you to your decisions, then - whether you decide to prosecute or not, whether a defendant is convicted or not and whether others agree with you or not - the public can and should have confidence that the system of justice is effective and fair in the public interest, and that it is respectful of the legitimate interests and rights of individuals.There is no greater task entrusted to us than to determine whether an individual should be prosecuted or not. It has become our day job - it is on our shoulders to provide the Criminal Justice System upon which the public depends. As a result, you have become the arbiters of law.Thank you for your acuity, ingenuity, integrity and staying with a job where you are not always given the attention you deserve. We have some real challenges coming our way especially with work on the European front - and we will need to hone our skills to meet those challenges. So I thank you in advance for your co-operation and collaboration with each other. I thank you for the skills you will bring to those challenges. And finally, I thank you for making this country a little bit safer and making me so proud to be a lawyer, and your Attorney General, where I can say that there has been no moment when I have not been proud of the GLS. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/KeyNoteSpeechForTheGLSProsecutors%E2%80%99Conference.aspx ? Key Note Speech For The GLS Prosecutors' Conference 08 December 2008 Attorney General's Office
All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism26 November 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralAnnual General MeetingIntroductory RemarksThank you for inviting me to speak to you at your annual general meeting. This has been an important year of achievement for the members of the Group, given the publication in May of the "One Year On" progress report, highlighting the activity inspired across Government in response to the Inquiry report of 2006. The Report was clearly a very important piece of work indeed.It is clear to me that the work inspired by the Report is ongoing, and necessarily so, and while this is not in any sense the end of a journey, this occasion is an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved along the way and to celebrate substantial success.IntroductionAntisemitism, as you have been saying today, is an enduring evil. It has not been expunged, as the Community Security Trust's recent survey of Antisemitic Discourse makes clear, describing it as "the Longest Hatred". It has sought platforms in religion, in nationalism, in economics, even pseudo-scientific racial-biological 'studies'. We therefore need to be vigilant in exposing these attitudes and in confronting and addressing them.As Attorney General, my principle responsibility is for such discourse when it gives rise to (or actually amounts in itself to) antisemitic crime. Like all hate crime, it is abhorrent not only because of the effects on those who are its victims, but also because it attacks the very foundations of a modern, pluralistic society.I would want to stress the importance of seeing this as a generic issue affecting victims of hatred. Doing so gives us a stronger voice, but it also enables us to understand this sort of phenomenon more clearly.I would like to say how impressed I have been by the work that you have been doing in this Group, and what a pleasure it has been for me to take up this part of my duties from my predecessor, Peter Goldsmith, and to run with it.Last year, I launched my Race for Justice Declaration, as a means of providing a platform for the crucial expression of community solidarity. I am delighted to say that it has gained many adherents since its launch. Those who sign it are really indicating that they are making an important statement: you will never divide us with your hatred.It is important for us all to give as much support as we can to the general struggle against divisive hatred. I speak today of antisemitism, but it is important for us to use our own voices to join with all victims of hate crime, as hate crime affects all of us.Background to the CPS ReportThe All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry against Antisemitism published its Report in September 2006. The Inquiry itself - fully supported by Peter Goldsmith - came about through the sterling efforts of this Group's Chairman, John Mann MP. John's personal achievement in this respect, I think, is only matched by his unflagging tenacity in pressing forwards the concerns of this Group, and a transparently genuine modesty about his own contribution. I know he never wants to be flattered, but I think it is important for us to applaud our heroes.[Applause for the Chair]There are a number of real heroes in this room. Without your courage and your dedication, we would not be as far ahead as we are. It is very warming for all of those who are struggling at the coalface with these issues to know that you are here, doing this important work.The Inquiry's Report considered the police and CPS response to anti-Semitic incidents and crimes. It was timely - it came at exactly the right moment. It coincided with a more general focus on the handling of racist crimes, driven forward by my own Office: the Race for Justice Taskforce, which Peter Goldsmith set up, issued its own Report which was published in June 2006.Peter, as members of this Group will know, met with a delegation from the Board of British Deputies as long ago March 2002 to share their concerns about anti-Semitic incidents in Birmingham, Manchester and London.It was of course Manchester and London that were the focus of the CPS report in May this year. That report responded to two recommendations by the All-Party Inquiry: firstly (Recommendation 8) that the CPS investigate the reasons for the apparently low number of prosecutions in this area and report back to Parliament and secondly (Recommendation 9) that the CPS review incitement to racial hatred prosecutions, to see what lessons could be learned.The CPS accepted these recommendations with alacrity and in March 2007 as part of the Government-wide response to the Inquiry report and set about complying with them in the thorough, conscientious manner which I think has rightly attracted praise.The most important thing was that the CPS consulted with Jewish community groups first, before obtaining police data on antisemitic incidents in Manchester and London 2006/7. They listened. So often, consultation is seen as a one way process, but that was not the case here. The CPS then studied the police data and the progress of each incident was tracked from the initial report right down to the conclusion of the case in order to establish, wherever possible, the reasons behind the final outcome.In addition, a review was conducted into the incitement to racial hatred cases registered on CPS Counter Terrorism Division during 2006/07 in order to see what lessons could be learnt there too. I of course have a particular interest in these cases, given that my consent is required for each of these prosecutions to go ahead. This has given my Office an important opportunity, as we have been able to use this information to better manage the handling of these cases.The CPS report following this work was published in May of this year, and launched here at the House of Commons by the then DPP, Sir Ken MacDonald QC. John [Mann], on behalf of this Group, was there and he really warmly welcomed the report and the initiative the CPS had taken in tackling this issue.That was very encouraging for the CPS. It is so helpful when good work is acknowledged as such, because it enables those doing it to know that they are on the right track. I want to thank you for that encouragement.The report, following a detailed analysis of the material, identified the need to look at the level of support provided to the victims of antisemitic crime and for further work on internal CPS communications concerning handling of incitement to racial hatred cases. The report, importantly, also underlined the importance of continued community engagement, which remains a priority for the CPS. It is not a one-off - go in, go out, engage, then disengage - process.The CPS has, since the publication of its report, developed an Action Plan in respect of antisemitic crime. The Action Plan has been circulated to key stakeholders, particularly this Group, but also the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust. I understand everyone has welcomed it and we have also got good feedback, which is equally important.The Action Plan identified the need for better guidance for prosecutors to help them identify and refer, when appropriate, cases to CPS Counter Terrorism Division. That link or nexus has to be there, and it needs to be effectively policed. Accordingly, the CPS Legal Guidance on Prosecuting Cases of Racist and Religious Crime has been refreshed and revised.It clearly set the criteria and procedure for referrals to the Counter Terrorism Division and this guidance is also available to the general public on the CPS website.The Action Plan also called for development of a proactive approach when working with the police to ensure that the strongest possible cases are built. The CPS is developing a specialist training programme on racially and religiously aggravated crime. This is part of the national Proactive Prosecutor Programme, designed to focus on case building, closer working relationships with the investigators, and robust decision making.It is also supported by other initiatives within the CPS, where prosecutors are working with the police, other agencies and community representatives to enhance the effectiveness of the prosecution team approach to hate crime. Probably the most important of all of the things we have done is the national roll-out of Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels, following the successful pilot in West Yorkshire. Every CPS area has case files scrutinised by such a panel four times a year.As an initiative, it may yet reap very rich dividends for the community approach that has informed policy-making in the CPS in recent years and which is now being adapted successfully to casework. Getting the community engaged in this is crucial if we are to build on the progress we have made.The recently published first annual report from the West Yorkshire panel already sets out some interesting lessons, not least a very clear message that only the strongest prosecutions - those where the evidential test in the Code for Crown prosecutors is fully met - are capable of enhancing community confidence. When we have put forward weak cases, it has been wholly counter-productive.The CPS have agreed with my proposal that a national review of lessons emerging from the Area Panels will be conducted within the next twelve months, in order to see whether these can be distilled into a "tool kit" for prosecutors tackling hate crimes. I consider that such a toolkit will further enhance the success-rate of prosecutors working in this field. It can tell us what to do, and just as importantly, what not to do as well.The CPS Action Plan also called for increased support for victims of antisemitic crime. The revised CPS Racist and Religious Crimes Guidance clearly sets out the prosecutors' obligation and duties in respect of victims and witnesses and makes it crystal clear the standards of service that members of the public can expect.Leaflets referring to the CPS Policy are being produced and will be given to victims of antisemitic crime. These leaflets will include contact details for relevant agencies. They will be an important resource for victims who need support in the aftermath of such crimes.One of the difficulties we have had to face is the victim's reluctance to come forward, if they are not confident they will be supported through the process.Finally it was identified that there was a need for increased and improved community engagement. This is something I have already highlighted as a priority for the CPS and I am particularly pleased that Jewish community representatives are joining the Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels. We need to give confidence to people that this is worth doing, because it really makes a difference, and getting representatives of different communities to look at these cases together will be very interesting as well.It is through such valuable community engagement that the CPS is staking its claim to be recognised as a truly world class prosecution service, really focused on delivering justice to the community, and it also informs the second part of the test in the Code for Crown prosecutors - what is in the public interest.Race Hatred casesI want to say a word if I may about race hatred prosecutions. I, as you know, have a special interest here, and I know they are of interest to members of this Group. My Office has contributed to the revision of the CPS Policy on Racist and Religious Crimes in this respect and to the section of the CPS Report which sets out the a approach to these cases. Our statutory supervision and superintendence role is really helpful here, as well as the requirement for my consent to prosecutions.The revised Guidance makes the important point that when people hate others because of race, this hatred may take the form of crimes motivated by hate, or in abuse, or discrimination or prejudice. The specific reaction of the person influenced by such hatred will obviously vary from person to person, but all hatred - as I have already said - has a detrimental impact on its victims and society in general.In race hatred cases, and in accordance with article 10 of the European Convention, one has of course to balance the rights of the individual to freedom of expression against the duty of the State, and we have done a lot of work which has helped us to look at how that applies to these cases.Out of the 87 separate individuals prosecuted under this legislation since 1988, 62 have been convicted, a conviction rate of around 71.2%, which given the difficulty of a lot of these cases compares, I think, really very favourably with rates of convictions in, for instance, hate crime cases generally. If you look at hate crime cases generally, it probably goes up about another 10%.I said at the beginning that work is ongoing in other Government Departments, in Communities and Local Government, the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice.The internetMy own office continues to be keenly engaged, and will shortly be taking part in discussions between officials, community representatives and the Society of Editors to try to develop helpful guidance for moderators of online newspaper 'blogs' so that we can work together in partnership to deal with the issues around them more effectively. This was an issue highlighted in the CST report on Antisemitic Discourse.The internet of course makes possible a truly global forum for discourse on all sorts of issues, but getting parity of treatment between different countries is not easy. What can be said with impunity will vary whether you are in, say, China, the United States, the United Kingdom or Germany. Working on this situation globally is therefore very important.I went to the 13th Annual Conference of the International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) in Singapore, where it was recognised that that e-crime is one of the most rapidly expanding forms of criminality. You will be aware that the CPS has recently set up the Global Prosecutors' E-Crime Network (GPEN).We launched this at the Conference and it got a really good reception. GPEN recognises the fact that prosecutors play a very significant role in combating all forms of e-crime, including hate crime on the internet, and that their knowledge and advice at an early stage of police investigations can be fundamental to success.ConclusionI think I have probably spoken for too long, but I think this reflects our shared concerns, and the importance of the activity directed towards addressing these issues.A great deal of it clearly derives from the efforts of your Group, and I can promise you all that my foot will stay hard on the pedal and that I will continue to bring my influence to bear as regards these issues. The Scrutiny Panels are the way forward. I think we can build on initiatives such as that, and that if we can, we have got a very good future. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AllPartyParliamentaryGroupAgainstAntisemitism.aspx ? All Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism 26 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
Speech To Black Solicitors' Network Dinner21 November 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralFirstly can I say what a great privilege it is for me to be here tonight. The association has been in existence since 2003. It is a wonderful thing to see all of you - and to see such a packed room!We have had the most amazing year, looking back; no one could have believed that a part Kenyan, Muslim, Christian lawyer would be waiting to become the next President of the United States of America.The fact that Barack Obama, former civil rights attorney and lecturer in constitutional law, is due to take up the burdens of office in the United States is surely an event of the first magnitude in black history.For all of us who are inspired and indeed humbled by his example, President-elect Obama's message is simple and clear. It has captured the imagination of the world and can be reduced to just three words."Yes we can."These words tell us that it is all somehow possible, that you, me we - all of us - can and will get there in the end.As Nelson Mandela once said that our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."President Kennedy believed that forty years ago, the United States would have a black man as president. Barak Obama has brought people hope- this isn't fiction, he has proved that individuals can overcome.When it came to politics, young people were told that politics were dead outside the political arena. What was fantastic about the US elections was that all people voted in their millions democrats and republicans, and this was an incredible moment for all people who believe in change.(People think that lawyers are slimy, money hungry individuals, in fact they are attractive, clever, and good hearted with supreme integrity.The real opposition for us is to do incredible things- there is a huge value in law and those who make a difference.)Overnight I have become an international personality. Earlier today I was interviewed by a Spanish magazine, who commented that we do things very quickly in this country- first female attorney general in seven hundred years! They informed me that I am in fact the British Barak Obama, the latter day British Oprah Winfrey!It is very interesting they had picked this up- how likely in 2007 that as attorney general I did not have a private education, go to Oxford or practice in any private chambers.I came from a really small family of twelve children, if my brothers were here today they would have said that the brains started to run out when they came to me!It's been quite a journey for me, if I can end up as HM attorney general, what's your excuse?On the 5th of November I attended a police dependent's trust reception in the House of Lords, where I spoke to three elderly widows who said they were happy to be in the House of Commons. They pointed out to me: "isn't this a lovely day?" And I replied "why?" They responded by saying "because Mr Obama grandmother was part Irish, southern of course"!They went on to indicate that if Obama can breakthrough barriers there is hope for them, and for peace in Northern Ireland.The fact that there is still room for proper debate on these matters, though, should not obscure for one moment the fact that black people are clearly ready to accept the challenge of leadership on a very broad front.This Government is committed to equality. It is not an 'extra', or something to make you feel good about your principles. The greater participation of all ethnic minorities in society is a social and economic imperative, just as it is an imperative inherent in the concept of justice itself.At the launch of the special Speaker's Conference just over a week ago, my ministerial colleague Harriet Harman, outlined various steps this Government is taking. In particular, in the Equality Bill, we will change the law to enable political parties, as part of their process of selecting candidates, to take positive measures to bring on candidates from under-represented groups, including black and Asian people.The House agreed (with all party support) to set up a committee to be known as the Speaker's Conference, to consist of the Speaker, as Chairman, and up to 17 other Members. It will amongst other things consider and make recommendations for rectifying the disparity between the representation of women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons and their representation in the UK population at large.This shows that Westminster is now facing up to the challenge of democracy, and this very welcome development should gain from the inspirational wind that is blowing here from across the Atlantic.For if anything, the American experience shows that you can inspire people by placing before them candidates they can truly relate to and commit themselves to, and in doing so, you can renew, reinvigorate democracy. There can have been little more humbling than the television coverage of all those voters who turned out early to ensure they had their say in the outcome of the US election. The cynicism that so often infects perceptions of the political process withered in the face of the sheer power of hope.This Government is committed as part of its Comprehensive Spending Review to address under representation of women and ethnic minorities in public life, and we have announced an intention to set gender, race and disability targets in terms of public appointments.The Government has, as you will know, already put in place the most comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Europe, with duties on all public bodies to promote and address race equality. The Equality and Human Rights Commission under Trevor Phillips has been set up to enforce this.The Government is in fact legislating in the Equality Bill to simplify the existing, complex equality legislation to impose a new single equality duty on public bodies, bringing together disparate duties in respect of gender, race and disability, and extending the duty to cover gender reassignment, age, sexual orientation and faith.Individual Government departments have also put in place targeted programmes to address race equality issues. The Department for Children, Schools and Families is seeking to raise educational attainment through schemes such as the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant and Black Pupils' Achievement Programme.The Department of Work and Pensions has set up a taskforce to oversee a coordinated strategy to break down barriers faced by ethnic minorities in the workplace.The Office for Criminal Justice Reform has a programme of work to identify and address the disproportionate representation of some ethnic minorities in the Criminal Justice System.Amongst other initiatives, and one dear to my heart, the Ministry of Justice, working in partnership with others including the Judicial Appointments Commission, is seeking to improve diversity in the magistracy and judiciary.For all of us here, success in education was the first step. That is why this sort of trend is particularly encouraging for me.However, it is in relation to certain aspects of our justice system that there are particular concerns. Many of you here this evening will be aware of the ongoing debate about addressing the disproportionality issues in the judiciary, particularly when one comes to the profile of the senior judiciary.I want to start by saying that a great deal of thought and effort is going into addressing under-representation of certain groups, including BME groups, in the judiciary. The JAC under Baroness Prashar is publicly committed to increasing the diversity of candidates putting themselves forward for judicial office, and is undertaking a range of activities to achieve that.My Office is in fact working with the JAC and other bodies, including representatives from the senior judiciary, the Bar Council and the Law Society, towards this objective, though a special Diversity Forum.I am acutely aware myself that the allocation of Government litigation work, for which I have a heavy responsibility, is particularly important for the careers of the individuals concerned. The individuals who do such work have an opportunity to progress in seniority, and are likely to provide the face of the judiciary in future years.That is why in July this year I launched the Law Officers' strategy for ensuring diversity in the appointment of counsel to do such work, and an accompanying expectations statement setting out what is required of chambers. The statement includes requirements that chambers will have a written policy statement of their commitments to equality and diversity, that they will have an action plan to implement this policy, that they will implement the policy and that they will report back to us to show just how the policy has been implemented.It is a system which I consider will provide for both transparency and accountability.I hope that everyone will become a beacon of hope in this room. Each person is a role model for somebody, I want us all to be the present day Obama and that we can achieve anything we want.I thank you for allowing me to speak to you all tonight, and wish all of you - those of you who receive Awards tonight, and those of you who are just here to have some fun - the very greatest success in the future, thank you all very much. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SpeechToBlackSolicitors%E2%80%99NetworkDinner.aspx ? Speech To Black Solicitors' Network Dinner 21 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
"Justice For All - Closing The Gap For Fraud Victims" at the Bar Council Law Reform Lecture20 November 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralIntroduction - shared commitment to reformMr Chairman, I was reminded when looking at the General Council's invitation to give this lecture that your motto is "Justice for All".I'd like to begin by congratulating you on that pithy and inspiring strap-line, the true excellence and pertinence of which may perhaps be judged by the fact that it is - word for word - my strap-line too!I am referring to Public Service Agreement 24, which is the high level contract between the Treasury and the Criminal Justice Departments. It sets out what we plan to achieve and when."Justice for All" is what it says right at the top of the target.So Justice for All is what we are both about. It is a commitment to reform.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 2 of 38We should take strap-lines seriously. They have real power. Who wasn't stirred by Barack Obama's fabulously energising "yes we can" message for change?Some own up to being stirred by that very British take on the Obama strap-line given by the young hip-hop artist, Mr Dizzee Rascal. It was memorably delivered to [curly-lipped] Jeremy Paxton on Newsnight's post US election special. What did he say: "If you believe, you can achieve, innit?" And I think he might be right!That's why most of us went into law - yes to earn a crust, but also to change things in a way which is decent and inures to the advantage of the people of this country in a real and powerful way. That's why I went into law and why I went into politics. It's a shared vision and a shared responsibility, as your motto - and mine - makes clear.The difficulty is that people see our justice system as needing reform - and quite often unfairly, they see lawyers not as reformers but as diehard opponents of change.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 3 of 38There have been, and are, many great reforming lawyers but the law not surprisingly develops slowly. Our profession is largely conservative. People often say "Not more reform - aren't things bad enough already?" Unkind critics say we are wedded to the status quo and to self interest. Self service rather than public service.They forget that our justice system is the product of centuries of evolution, wisdom and hard won liberties.It is a great achievement, and one of which we should be justly proud. We, its practitioners, are not wrong to feel a sense of pride.But I sometimes feel that the pride we justly have leads us to talk about proposals for legal change almost as if the system belonged to us - as if the law was our plaything for lawyers rather than an instrument of social utility.As a profession we could do more to show the understanding that I know we all have of the end user - and to evince a bit more of the "yes we can" attitude when it comes to challenging and then closing the justice gaps we have together identified?Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 4 of 38Heritage can be a curse as well as a blessing. It leads to complacency and stagnation.The social revolution of the 1960s, immigration, globalisation, the 24 hour news culture.They've all transformed Britain. Whether we know it or not, we live in a markedly different world than the 1960s.When we came to power in 1997, there was real disbelief in the ability of our system of criminal justice to cope with the heavy demands being asked of it.Crime rates and long delays in the courts had undermined public confidence. The law seemed stuck on an adversarial course, with the victim sidelined, if considered at all. There was little thought about how to tackle the drivers of crime in society - economic conditions, low educational standards, drugs and poor parenting.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 5 of 38Everybody knew we had to do better. People felt cut off from the institutions of law and order."Justice for All" was an aspiration. But not how many people saw it, l fear. For the incoming Government, reform was not a choice it was an absolute necessity.The then Lord Chancellor, Attorney General and Home Secretary signed "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead"1.There followed Lord Justice Auld's proposed overhaul of the criminal justice system2, and in turn the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and all those other reforms. I think it is very important that someone of Lord Justice Auld's sagacity was chosen for that review. I think you needed someone who was the best to undertake it.1 Cm 5074 February 20012 A Review of the Criminal Courts of England and Wales by The Right Honourable Lord Justice Auld, September 2001 (http://www.criminal-courts-review.org.uk)Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 6 of 38I am not going to list the reforms he recommended this evening.Instead I want to talk about what we have learned and how that informs our next steps, with particular reference to an often overlooked aspect of the justice gap, namely fraud.It is an especially important topic, given the economic downturn which we now anticipate.I shall discuss the fraud justice gap, as I call it, in the context of the need for us to work together to focus more on the victim and to build public confidence in criminal justice.I want to say, too, something on our recent proposals to move forward on plea negotiation as regards the powers of the Crown Court, and with reference to our policies on asset recovery.Along the way I'd like to offer some reflections on the use of criminal prosecution, the balance between that and civilBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 7 of 38and regulatory sanctions and the role of the Agency I have just established, the National Fraud Strategic Authority.On lessons and principles, I think that first and foremost we have learned that "together we can". We can achieve so much if we work in partnership. If the services that need to work together are joined up. And I mean all of them - CPS, Police, probation, courts.Before 1997, the criminal justice system worked as if it comprised separate hermetically sealed compartments. Each part performing wonders in its own right - but not together.People may have had pride in the system as a whole, but few insiders seemed to behave with a sense of collective responsibility. This was one of the biggest causes of inefficiency and waste in our justice system.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 8 of 38For example, consultation between police and prosecutor was often very weak. Not surprising perhaps that so many charges came forward that were inadequately prepared. Cases were frequently held up because no one had asked for vital reports in advance. Too many trials failed to proceed on the day because the victim or witnesses did not turn up, or the case papers were not ready. Not a few of the "no show" witnesses were police witnesses. Had any part of the system asked any other part what was going on?We looked - and were - "serially dysfunctional". The public did not understand it. I am not sure many insiders did either. Our system was supposed to be the best. If this was the best, what were we supposed to do?We determined to get criminal justice organisations to work together. Different roles and responsibilities did not mean people could not share plans and co-ordinate operations.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 9 of 38The bodies that existed before 1997 had a purely consultative role. All this has changed.We've strengthened leadership on criminal justice by the establishment of a National Criminal Justice Board with all criminal justice department and agency leaders. We benefited hugely from having the advantage of the Judges' voices in the NCJB. We all work together to set and monitor real targets. That makes a real difference to how the system operates.We also set up Boards at local level in each of the 42 criminal justice areas of England and Wales. These are also making a real difference:• helping to reduce the number of cracked and ineffective trials• bringing down the waiting times for young offenders• addressing the concerns of victims and witnesses.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 10 of 38Local Criminal Justice Boards offer local communities better accountability for the service they receive.We also removed the artificial administrative boundaries that existed between Crown and County Courts and the Magistrates Courts.All this closer working has begun to pay off. It's about change. We are demonstrating, and have had demonstrated to us that "together we can."Prosecutors now work within police stations to get the right charge right from the start.Initiatives such as the Charging Programme and the CPS Direct service are reducing court delays and improving case management.The Simple, Speedy Summary Justice initiative is showing a 25% improvement in timeliness from charge to completion in the magistrate's courts, as at this June.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 11 of 38And we are introducing new technology to support our business:• more digital evidence• faster input of court results onto the Police National Computer, leading to rapid sharing of data on dangerous individuals• helping criminal justice organisations access, share and exchange information electronically and securely over the internetWe have learned that partnership needs to reach out beyond public servants to include local community groups, non-profit making organisations and private sector bodies:• reaching out to sports and leisure services who can keep young people from drifting into crimeBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 12 of 38• working with housing and job providers so people leaving prison can avoid re-offending.None of these changes would have helped us succeed, if we hadn't worked together. We have also learned that though partnership begins at home, it needs an international dimension.Just as no man is an island, so no jurisdiction is an island as far as law is concerned.Increasingly we live in an interconnected world. This brings huge benefits: travel, exchange of ideas, cultural and commercial interchange. But it can also bring problems:environmental damage, organised crime, people trafficking and drug smuggling - none of these recognise borders. Cross border crime needs a cross border response.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 13 of 38The second major principle I want to mention is the centrality of the victim and how he or she is treated by the system.The importance of this principle was neatly summarised in the title of the "No Witness No Justice" campaign. It was a campaign predicated on the fact that right across the CJS we are embedding quality of service standards and obligations for meeting the needs of victims and witnesses. For example:• victims and witnesses are increasingly being given the right information at every stage of the criminal justice process - about how the CJS works and about their own case• victims and their families now have a voice. They can express the impact of the crime on their lives through initiatives such as the Victim Personal Statement.We continue to work closely with Victim Support, a key partner in delivering tailor-made support quicker and better.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 14 of 38And we continue to work with the Victims Advisory Panel we set up to ensure that our policies are better informed by the views and experiences of victims themselves.Listening to what victims have been telling us has been a key theme in the legal reforms we have taken through Parliament. For example:• reforms on bad character and hearsay evidence. Controversial at the time but I think more now see the value in opening up the rules of evidence in these ways• prosecution appeals against terminating rulings• retrials in cases where there is a tainted acquittal• fewer restrictions on jury service• more on helping young, vulnerable and intimidated witnesses to give their best evidence in court.They are all reforms with a purpose. Reforms to improve the service that people experience from us. And they are real - I have sent them make a difference to real people as I have travelled round the country.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 15 of 38So there has been a lot done but, from the end user's perspective, a lot still to do.I want to talk about public confidence.When I was Criminal Justice Minister at the Home Office, I was appointed champion of confidence in the Criminal Justice System.Boosting public confidence is very close to my heart. It is my "yes we can" issue - and this evening I am asking for it to be yours too. "Together we can."We have come a long way in reforming and improving the criminal justice system. The results are there for all to see:• we have vastly improved services to victims and witnesses• more joined up workingBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 16 of 38• almost one-and-a half million offences brought to justice in the year to March 2008 - over 45% up on the figures five years previously• recorded crime was down by 9% for the last year - and crimes that affect most people down by 44% since 1995• risk of becoming a victim lowest since 1981But the number of people who agree with the statement that "the CJS is effective in bringing people who commit crimes to justice" has gone up from just under 39% in March 2003 to only just over 44% in March this year - still under 50%.The figures are better, but a majority still don't really believe in the system we are operating.Research tells us that key drivers for public confidence are personal experience, word of mouth and the media - what IBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 17 of 38and my neighbours experienced - as well as what I read about and saw on the television or in the papers.It's about how they feel treated as system users - and how they feel they are regarded by the system.This is not just about neighbours chatting over the back fence.The evidence is that the word of criminal justice professionals, particularly lawyers, has a disproportionate impact on public confidence.Views we express carry weight. Negative views - cynical comments, running down the service and its efforts - carry real potential to undermine confidence.We can start as practitioners by putting ourselves in the end-user's shoes.Why is it that some users still say we treat them insufficiently well?Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 18 of 38Why do they still see us as the last great un-reconstructed public service?Irrespective of their status as victims, witnesses, jurors, suspects, defendants, or offenders, we should want everyone to see us as a service, not just a system.It's a question of attitude and approach.We made a huge step forward when we started thinking and managing criminal justice as a single holistic system.I say that it is time to take another big step forward.We need to hold on to the idea of a criminal justice system, but we all now need to start seeing and talking about that system as a service.An end-to-end Criminal Justice Service- a public service which understands that if it loses public confidence it has lost its way.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 19 of 38- a public service whose staff - and I include you and me - genuinely perceives itself as here to serve.Respect for the end user is a big part of bringing public beliefs about criminal justice closer to the reality of crime and justice in this country. Letting people in and letting them see what we do is a part of the process.Part of that means acknowledging - publicly, wherever possible - the successes achieved and building on them by sharing good practice with colleagues. We're all pretty diffident and don't go around blowing our trumpets. So I will! We all work exceptionally hard and I want to thank everyone, in particular the Judiciary, for their constant hard work.People need to start feeling that they have some traction over what is done, and if that isn't possible that we understand and are trying to meet their concernsBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 20 of 38Fraud - not a victimless crimeFraud is a case in point.Far too often I hear professional people who ought to know better, including lawyers, say that fraud is a victimless crime.Fraud is not a victimless crime. Reported fraud costs this country at least £14 billion a year and is probably second only to drug trafficking in its impact.The truth is that fraud frequently hits the most vulnerable hardest- the elderly- the trusting- those weakened in judgement by personal or family crisis.Investment frauds, boiler-room share sales and the like, deprive individuals of their homes, pension funds and savings.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 21 of 38Fraudulent timeshare, lottery and other bogus prize schemes deliberately target the vulnerable.The typical victim of frauds like these is middle-aged, saving or drawing a pension and with their life savings at risk.There are about 100 reports of such fraud to the police every week and about 3,000 victims contacting the Financial Services Authority.Nearly all involve devastating personal loss. Some people are driven to suicide.Some will qualify for compensation, some do not.Regulatory compensation schemes do not pay out 100% and every award reduces the pot for others.And of course we are all victims of fraud through payment of higher taxes and insurance premiums than would otherwise need to be levied.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 22 of 38So let's hear no more talk from people who ought to know better about fraud being a victimless crime.Let's listen instead to what the victims are saying to us.We pledged to do that when we were returned to Office in 2005 and that's what the Fraud Review and the Fraud Act where about.It's also another "yes, together we can" role for me in Government - because I am leading the work with Home Office. Ministry of Justice and a small team of other interested Ministers, working together to help put things right.The Fraud Review saw that this area of anti-criminal activity struggles for space on a crowded agenda of law enforcement priorities - from counter terrorism and the growth of knife and gun crime through to car theft and anti-social behaviour.Of course they are all important too, but fraud hasn't been helped by the victimless crime myth.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 23 of 38The point is not that we have to down-grade other priorities - robbing Peter to pay Paul.What we need to do is to make sure that the efforts of individual organizations are not undermined by an overall approach which is piecemeal and underpowered.The various different agencies have been struggling with fraud for a while. The big difference since the fraud review is we're now doing it together. It's the "yes, together we can" message again.The Government is investing 29 million pounds of new, ring-fenced money over the next three years to develop - and start delivering - a break with the past in the form of the first national fraud strategy.Last month I formally launched a new Agency of my office, the National Fraud Strategic Authority, to develop and deliver this work going forward.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 24 of 38The Fraud Review asked fraud victims about their perceptions and priorities. The results are illuminating.There was a strong preference (63%) for prevention; underlining the expectation that the criminal process will deliver an element of public protection from future offences.Somewhat less than this proportion emphasised punishment of the offender. Few expected the offender to reform, though as one put it: "sentences should be severe enough to make the offender want to reform and rehabilitate"The short point is that while people wanted the fraudster punished, more wanted the public protected against future frauds and victims to get their money back.The current system can achieve those outcomes, but not easily. Adroit articulation of mechanisms in the regulatory, disciplinary and criminal justice systems is required and, I regret to say, a measure of serendipity as well.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 25 of 38Small wonder that even experienced practitioners are sometimes delayed or defeated.Even smaller wonder that that the public find themselves in a "confused-dot-com." position - totally bemused by the Byzantine complexity of our arrangements and sadly often without any satisfactory outcome.The point is that fraud nearly always generates regulatory action and satellite proceedings in the civil courts.Regulatory enquiries may start first and provoke a later criminal investigation. Or vice versa.There is little consistency or predictability about priority between civil, criminal regulatory hearings.Urgent regulatory action may need to be taken before prosecution simply because of the terrible slowness of the proceedings, involving as they often do international co-operation and detailed technical analysisIn many cases there are different factual hearings, with witnesses being recalled on more than one occasion andBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 26 of 38different counsel and judges spending long hours "reading in" to the written evidence.From the public's point of view it would be difficult to imagine anything further from the concept of a one-stop shop.Doesn't it make sense to give the court a wider range of tools?The justice gap is actually at its worst in Crown Court fraud cases below the biggest and costliest - and it is here where the choice of remedies is so confined.This is also the area where criminal investigation resources are most stretched.The text books tell us that English law has no concept of the "partie civile" and so victim compensation and other forms of restitution are traditionally provided outside the criminal courts.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 27 of 38Is that what we are going to say to the victims? I don't think we can say "we can't assist you" - it's not an option.Lord Justice Auld was right to call for change in his 2001 report on the criminal courts.The Fraud Review was right to build on those recommendations.The most obvious problem is in relation to compensation orders, which are obtainable only following conviction, only for specific individual losses and only for victims of offences actually charged and convicted, or formally taken into consideration on sentence.The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority does not cover fraud offences, so the criminal courts' ability to compensate fraud victims is the only restorative element in criminal sentences.Where, as if often the situation in fraud cases, there are multiple victims, most will be managed out by the pre trial management decisions.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 28 of 38So the only recourse is to the civil courts in separate, possibly individual action.The cost of these actions is of course increased by the need to get Court orders so prosecutors or the police can supply evidence to civil litigantsI'd like to quote what some victims told the Fraud Review what they felt about all this:"Considering it was my life savings and I was not compensated in any way… Ifeel that [the offender] should work off the outstanding money he owes"."I am not entirely happy with the conviction as I did not receive anycompensation, as the police could not find any assets...""The law needs to address the victim's needs fairly… the money recovered in my case was paid out to the Crown, accountant, solicitors and two victims onBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 29 of 38preferential grounds. The rest of us got nothing..."I appreciate of course that the court must consider the availability in fact of assets. The ill-gotten gains may already have been spent or perhaps were illusory.I also acknowledge that the competing claims of confiscation and costs awards are proper objects of the court's attention. But I do not regard those considerations as conclusive and I hope you don't either.The value of enhanced sentencing powers becomes even more compelling when prosecution is viewed as part of an overall national strategy for fraud. Disqualification and company winding-up can be powerful fraud preventive tools. Professionals feature heavily in many fraud offences, offenders and dupes whose professional standing provides part of the platform for the cheat.Eliminating such opportunities for fraud offending is an effective deterrent, alongside confiscation and asset recovery.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 30 of 38For all these reasons, during the summer of this year we put forward a consultation on Crown Court powers.We want, where possible, to reduce separate, full facts hearings with all that entails for recall of witnesses and for extra strain on the defendant and his or her family.We want the Crown Court to be able to say "yes we can" to compensation when a fraud-ridden business collapses leaving large numbers of victims, many of whom may not be mentioned in the proceedings.None of the powers is new - they are all already available to the civil courts and to regulatory bodies. The Government does not propose any changes to the nature of the proceedings or the remedies.We simply want to rationalise their use and the fora in which they are deployed.I am very grateful to all those who responded to our consultation exercise on this proposal and pleased to see that many of the responses were positive.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 31 of 38We will shortly publish a formal response to what consultees said.Our consultation wasn't an empty exercise and I do assure you that we have taken on board what people have said and will modify our proposals to take account of them.This is dialogue, not diktat.I have in mind in particular the proposals about action before trial and after acquittal.I don't want to steal my own thunder tonight, but I would like to mention one objection voiced by some respondents, which I do not share. It is that these enhanced powers could mean some extra effort by practitioners - and that this is too much to ask for the relatively small number of cases likely to be involved.I fear I detect a little of the "no we wont" tendency. The voice of those who are not listening to the victim. Who are unwilling to go the extra mile" to make the difference forBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 32 of 38users of the system. The voice of those who speak as if the system exists for their benefit and not for the public's.Please don't misunderstand me. The policy is to make proceedings overall more efficient, not less so.And we intend to ensure that the new powers are only used in clear and straightforward cases - and to continue to provide legal aid where that is necessary in the interests of justice.We think that perhaps only a couple of hundred cases a year will be suitable. Yes the numbers are relatively low in pure numerical terms but such cases can involve huge sums of money and many victims.Even more to the point, our reforms will add to the confidence victims and the wider public have in the criminal justice system.And that's a pearl of very great price indeed.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 33 of 38I am planning to publish the Government response to our consultation on plea negotiation together with our response on the Crown Court powers exercise.One important reason for this is that people have been a bit slow to make connections between these two policies which are, of course, linked criminal justice aspects of a single cohesive strategy on fraud.Both are designed to help prosecutors deal with fraud more effectively and efficiently, to the benefit of the public and all parties involved.A plea negotiation means discussion between prosecution and defence about both a guilty admission to a particular charge or charges and a submission on sentence to the court.It is axiomatic that the submission could be refused by the judge, it if it were considered to be inappropriate.The interests of justice, public protection and restitution for the victim may be better met by a speedy disposition of aBar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 34 of 38case rather than the long march of criminal proceedings, where the only certain outcomes are expense for the public purse and stress for witnesses.The discussions are also likely to be more involved in these cases than in others.Of course, informal plea negotiation has similarities to Goodyear. Our proposals would enable earlier and more regulated discussion to take place.I think it relevant to mention their Lordships' judgment in the recent case of McKinnon3 which acknowledged that there is a current prosecutorial plea negotiation process. Lord Brown of Eaton-Under-Heywood also emphasised that the Goodyear authority rules out judicial, not prosecutorial, indications of sentence. He said this:"In my view there is little difference between the prosecutor informing the court at a sentence hearing of the facts and relevant legislation and the prosecutor informing the court3 McKinnon (Appellant) v Government of the United States of America (Respondents) and another ([2008] UKHL 59) the House of Lords - decision given 30 July 2008Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 35 of 38of the facts, the relevant legislation and that the defence and prosecution consider that a community penalty is the appropriate sentence in this case. Or that 3 years is the appropriate sentence. There is no binding the judiciary and it is simply part of the information provided to the court'My aim is simply to put these discussions on a clearer footing in fraud cases, and to introduce some transparency and orderI am heartened that many people now seem to be saying "yes we can" to that.Actually, and without wanting to give away too much in advance of our response to the consultation, the responses which expressed reservations about the Framework seemed divided between those that considered that the proposals go too far, and those that considered that they do not go far enough.People now see that our plea negotiation reform isn't an exercise in copying the Americans.Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 36 of 38It is a very British approach, tailored to our particular system and reflecting what already happens.I am also determined that the views of the victim or the family inform the prosecutor's decision whether it is the public interest, as defined by the Code for Crown Prosecutors, to accept or reject the plea.Keeping the victim and the family in the picture is not just a matter of courtesy and public service mentality. It is in the interests of justice because these are the people who can help ensure that a guilty plea is not agreed on a misleading or untrue set of facts or one which fails to take proper account of the victim's interests.That would be damaging to public confidence in criminal justice.There are three Golden Rules which I want prosecutors to have uppermost in their minds:Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 37 of 38Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 2008 - Page 38 of 38• first, the prosecutor must ensure that the case put before the court reflects the true facts and the full gravity of the offending• second, the defendant must not be put under any improper pressure to plead guilty• third, the court must have an unfettered discretion to pass the right sentence in all the circumstances of the case.I am confident that the Framework we are putting forward safeguards these rules. As I have said, it has been designed to complement the legal system that we enjoy, rather than being copied from another jurisdiction where different considerations may arise.I believe my time is drawing to a close, so I will cease at this point, though I am also happy to take questions. We've come a long way, together, and have further to go. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/JusticeForAll%E2%80%93ClosingTheGapForFraudVictimsattheBarCouncilLawReformLecture.aspx ? "Justice For All - Closing The Gap For Fraud Victims" at the Bar Council Law Reform Lecture 20 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
European Law & Human Rights12 November 2008Vera Baird QC MPSolicitor GeneralGovernment Legal Service - Northern IrelandI am very pleased to be with you this morning at this, the second annual conference of the Government Legal Service of Northern Ireland. The GLS has an important function - it brings together individual lawyers with a broad wealth of experience and knowledge and links them in a unity of direction and purpose.The employed lawyer is often seen as the Cinderella of the legal profession - particularly by our independent colleagues - always cleaning the grate and never getting to go the Ball.It would probably be unwise to develop that particular analogy as not all would welcome the attentions of a Prince Charming, but the truth is that Government lawyers can have a professional career that is unmatched by the solicitor or barrister in private practice.The litigator may not often appear in court but may deal with a range of work that no individual barrister may match. The litigator is also key to the preparation of a case - dealing with client departments and getting to understand how they work. And whisper it quietly, but the employed lawyer may often know a great deal more about a case and the law it is based on than the barrister he or she employs.The advisory lawyer deals on a daily basis of the very matter of Government - the development and implementation of policy. They get the inside story. They get to deal with the decision makers and often have to pre-digest the advice of counsel so that it is meaningful to the non lawyer in its application to the day to day problems of running a department.The GLS gives a voice to the disparate skills of the Government lawyer and should promote their interests. These are early days for the GLS in Northern Ireland but it is also a fascinating time for the Government lawyer as work is done preparing for, and ones hopes, delivering devolved Government.The theme of this conference is European Union law and Human Rights law - which by any measure is a wide enough field. The theme I would like to develop this morning is the idea that Human Rights in this country did not only begin with the passage of the Human Rights Act or, indeed, the our ratification of the European Convention. The roots of the protection of individual rights stretch far further back.As the European Court of Human Rights said in the case of Soering v United Kingdom in 1989:"Inherent in the whole of the European Convention on Human Rights is a search for the fair balance between the demands of the general interest of the community and the requirements of the protection of the individual's rights."1Even a cursory glance at some of our national newspapers suggests that many people hold a rather different idea of human rights, one in which there is only protection for "the bad" and nothing for the law-abiding.1 (1989) 11 EHRR 439, para 89"Only the killers seem to have human rights"says one headline2; another"No human rights for the elderly in our care homes, but it's ok for crooks"3;and one more:"human rights is merely a sweetener for rapists, murderers and violent criminals"4In a headline to an article bemoaning the failure of immigration judges to order the return of a criminal to his home country because of his right to respect for family life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights we are told:2 Daily Express 21 August 20073 Daily Express4 Daily Mail 6 November 2007"The country that invented liberty needs no lessons from Europe on how to behave decently … Human rights can make a wrong".It seems to me that these few examples illustrate perfectly the difficult position that those of us who passionately believe in the incorporation of the Convention into UK law find ourselves in at the moment: that there is a widely held belief that our ancient liberties are enough, and that the Convention is some foreign import that is simply there to give an advantage to the bad at the expense of the good.There will always be some people who just do not like the values which the Convention seeks to protect. Naturally, I think those people are wrong. I also happen to believe that most people - the vast majority of people - think they are wrong too, and in fact hold those values very dear. But the doubters need to be reassured that those values, and the rights in the Convention, are there to protect everybody.In October 1997 the United Kingdom Government issued its White Paper on the Human Rights Bill, called "Rights Brought Home". The paper argued that one of the effects of not incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law would be that the rights contained in it would not be seen as native rights that we had grown with and part of our national heritage. Back then, of course, enforcement of Convention rights was possible only in the European Court of Human Rights and then only after the exhaustion of all domestic remedies - a process that was both time consuming and expensive. By bringing rights home, the British people would be able to argue for their rights in the British courts.Incorporation, so the argument went, would also mean that rights would be brought much more fully into the jurisprudence of the courts throughout the United Kingdom so that their interpretation would be far more subtly and powerfully woven into our law.Yet despite this repatriation of human rights, the public's reluctance to embrace them, still less love them, in that guise continues. Only recently a newspaper column condemned the Human Rights Act for elevating the rights of criminals above the rights of the law-abiding:"It has become a charter for offenders and a battering ram against the pillars of civilisation" wrote the columnist before going on to say, in language which eerily echoes the language of the White Paper, that such injustices are now "woven into the fabric of British life".It is indeed a sad situation when the popular perception is that Human Rights have woven not justice but injustice into our law. It seems that arguing against human rights becomes the vote winner.This is of course all the sadder given the long history of the recognition of rights in our common law, and the very active role that the United Kingdom played in the development of the new international order that started during the Second World War.It was Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill who in August 1941 "met at sea" and from the USS Augusta issued the Atlantic Charter. This enunciated the notion of internationally recognised freedoms, highlighting in particular freedom of life, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear. In the aftermath of the Second World War when the failure of national and international means of protecting the rights of individuals and unpopular minorities became so starkly revealed, human rights was given a central position in the creation of the new international order: the United Nations Charter, signed in June 1945, recited in its preamble the determination by the "peoples of the United Nations … to reaffirm faith in fundamental rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person." Out of this came the United Nations Commission of Human Rights which, under the formidable and inspirational chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, produced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations 60 years ago this December.The Universal Declaration did not, indeed was not intended, to create legal rights; rather it was an aspirational text that would be translated into legally binding treaties over the following decades at global and regional levels. And of course for us in the United Kingdom it is the European Convention on Human Rights that is the Declaration's most important child, a child indeed whom we helped to deliver.One international law specialist has described the Universal Declaration as the "Magna Carta of mankind" which serves to remind us of the long history of the development of rights in our country. If in 1215 the bad King John granted the rights in Magna Carta because of his need for cash rather than because of his sudden conversion to the idea of the rule of law, and if the charter itself was not the first such limitation on the powers of the monarch, it nevertheless firmly established two principles: that the power of the sovereign could be limited and that those limits were to be policed by the rule of law. And a look at a translation of chapter 29 surely brings to mind the provisions of article 5 of the Convention:"No free man shall in future be arrested or imprisoned or dispossessed of his freehold, liberties or free customs, or outlawed or exiled or victimised in any other way, nor will we attack him or send anyone to attack him, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right of justice."As Sellar and Yeatman put it in their comic Memorable History of England, 1066 and All That, "Magna Charter was therefore the chief cause of Democracy in England and thus a Good Thing for everyone" - though as they say it was not a good thing for the Common People and the long struggle for rights and liberty so tentatively secured for the Barons in 1215 was only just beginning.Magna Carta became the rallying point for many of the constitutional struggles over the intervening centuries. The next document of comparable constitutional significance in relation to rights is the Bill of Rights of 1689, another document which in its statements of freedom from cruel and unusual punishments and freedom from fines and forfeitures without trial has the ring of modernity about it.And from here we have the development of the idea, which reached its apotheosis in the nineteenth century, that under the common law individuals could say or do whatever they liked provided that whatever they said or did did not break the substantive law or infringe the legal rights of others. This residual right could only be interfered with if such interference was authorised under the common law or by statute.Hand in hand with that went the key constitutional principal of Parliamentary sovereignty, the idea, as Dicey put it, that Parliament could do anything but change a man into a woman. And as we now know, following the enactment of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act it can even do that.The Privy Council in the case of Madzimbamuto v Lardner-Burke, in which the consequences of the unilateral declaration of independence by Rhodesia were in issue, noted that:"It is often said that it would be unconstitutional for the United Kingdom Parliament to do certain things, meaning that the moral, political and other reasons against doing them are so strong that most people would regard it as highly improper if Parliament did these things. But that does not mean that it is beyond the power of Parliament to do these things. If Parliament chose to do any of them the courts could not hold the Act of Parliament invalid."But what if the omnipotent Parliament and the individual's freedom to do anything that was not unlawful could not provide sufficient safeguards for individual rights? As the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, said in his Second reading speech during the passage of the Human Rights Bill:"The traditional freedom of the individual under an unwritten constitution to do himself that which is not prohibited by law gives no protection from misuse of power by the state, nor any protection from acts or omissions of public bodies which harm individuals in a way that is incompatible with their human rights under the convention. Our legal system has been unable to protect people in the 50 cases in which the European Court has found a violation of the convention by the United Kingdom. That is more than any other country except Italy."Time then for the constitution to be further modified. As William Gladstone said of our constitution, it is "the most subtle organism which has proceeded from the womb and the long gestation of progressive history." It is still gestating.The Second World War and the determination to see that the atrocities that were committed during that time should never be repeated, led to the ambition to create a new international order. Lawyers from the United Kingdom played a significant role in shaping this order, particularly in the drafting of the Convention itself. At the time there was broad agreement between the major political parties in Britain about the need for the Convention, and the drafting was led by a Conservative, David Maxwell Fyfe QC - once Solicitor General and Attorney General and who, as Lord Kilmuir, later became Lord Chancellor. The Labour Foreign Minister, Kenneth Younger, stated in July 1950 that the European Convention contained "a definition of the rights and limitations thereto which follows almost word for word the actual texts proposed by the United Kingdom representatives." How ironic then that many in our country should now regard the Convention as foreign.The concern at the time appears to have been not so much the substantive rights provided for in the Convention, but the means of enforcement through individual petition. So although the United Kingdom was the first country to ratify the Convention in 1951 we did not accept the right of individual petition to the European Court of Human Rights until January 1966. And it was not until 1998 that the Convention was incorporated into UK law.The result of this was that for some 50 years, without the United Kingdom being as engaged as it might have been, the Convention began nonetheless to have an impact on our laws: our domestic courts were turning to the Convention, not to apply it directly, but to aid in the construction of legislation in cases of ambiguity; to establish the scope of the Common law in cases of uncertainty; and to inform judicial discretion.Further, during the period between ratification and June 2000 the United Kingdom came before the European Court in 115 admissible cases. In 72 of those cases we were found in violation of rights under the Convention and as a result made a number of changes to domestic primary legislation to ensure compliance.As Lord Bingham put it in a 1993 article arguing in favour of incorporation of the Convention, " … rights claimed under the Convention should , in the first place, be ruled upon by judges here before, if regrettably necessary, appeal is made to Strasbourg. The choice is … whether all matches in this field must be played away."5The illogicality was concisely set out by one constitutional expert from Australia6 who commented:"Outsiders see Britain in practical terms having something in the nature of a Bill of Rights that is interpreted and applied by foreigners. It passes my understanding why the British do not see the virtue of having such questions determined by their own courts, at least initially."Well we eventually saw the light in 1998 with the passing of the Human Rights Act, a provision whose short title reminds us that it was an Act to give further effect to rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention of Human Rights. What the Human Rights Act does is not 5 "The European Convention on Human rights: Time to incorporate - the Law Quarterly review July 1993, 390 6 Professor Leslie Zines simply to give our courts the power to determine questions of rights, but also to set about the creation of a human rights culture of rights-based thinking within society guaranteeing minimum standards in order to ensure respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of every person.Again to quote from Lord Irving's second reading speech: "This Bill will bring human rights home. People will be able to argue for their rights and claim their remedies under the convention in any court or tribunal in the United Kingdom. Our courts will develop human rights throughout society. A culture of awareness of human rights will develop."The Human Rights Act 1998, a work of considerable subtlety was ingeniously drafted in such a way as to work within our existing constitutional framework. In creating this model we learned from the experience of other countries, such as Canada and New Zealand. A key provision is that Parliamentary sovereignty is preserved: the courts cannot strike down an Act of Parliament on the ground that it offends the Convention rights. What they can do, if they are of the view that the Act is incompatible, is make a declaration to that effect, but which does not invalidate the Act or any step taken under it. So a person could still be convicted and go to prison for offending a provision of a law held to be incompatible.But this declaration of course would have a powerful effect on political and public opinion and the HRA provides a fast-track method for remedying the incompatibility in Parliament without having to go through the full process of a new Act of Parliament. Though Government and Parliament might take the view, as they did when part of our 2001 terrorism laws were declared incompatible, to re-legislate in full rather than attempt to rectify the position with the fast-track procedure of a remedial order.Parliamentary sovereignty is also underlined by the obligations in section 19 of the Act. This requires a Minister who introduces a Bill to Parliament to certify whether, in his or her opinion, it is compatible with the Convention rights. Section 19 has been an important mechanism in embedding human rights at the heart of Government. It means that the level of scrutiny given to human rights in drawing up legislation is strengthened. It gives an added dimension to my role as a Law Officer in relation to the rule of law, since the Minister's judgment on compatibility with the ECHR must of course be made on the basis of legal advice.Section 19 does not require the provisions of a Bill to be compatible with Convention rights, but the Minister does have to share with Parliament his or her view on compatibility. Parliament can then decide as it will. As Lord Hoffman said in a case on the right of serving prisoners to talk to journalists7:"Parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament can, if it chooses, legislate contrary to fundamental principles of human right. The Human Rights Act will not detract from this power …. But the principle of legality means that Parliament has to squarely confront what it is doing and accept the political cost."R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Simms [1999] All ER (D) 751The Human Rights Act also works to embed respect for human rights on the part of those who take decisions and make policy through the requirement imposed by section 6 of the Act on public authorities such as Government departments, local authorities, the police and the health service, as well as charities and private bodies that are carrying out functions of a public nature, not to act in ways that are incompatible with the Convention rights.Section 7 of the Act provides that a person who claims that a public authority has acted or proposes to act in a way which is made unlawful by section 6 may bring proceedings against that authority.So if, as Lord Woolf has said8, "The observance of human rights is a hallmark of a democratic society because it demonstrates that that society values each member as an individual", why then has there been such an apparent distrust of and antagonism towards human rights since the Human Rights Act came into force? Such antagonism indeed that in8 Lord Woolf, Human Rights: have the Public Benefited? British Academy 2002 2006 the then Prime Minister called for a review to look specifically at problems with its implementation and whether indeed it needed to be amended?Well, for a start, as the review found out, there was simply a lot of nonsense written and spoken about human rights: for example, the story got about that the convicted multiple murderer, Dennis Nielsen, had been able to obtain hard-core pornography while in prison by citing his rights under the Human Rights Act. There was predictable outrage in the media.In fact, the true story was that the Governor had refused the request and Nielsen's legal challenge was, equally predictably, thrown out by the court at the preliminary permission stage.There have also been cases where those involved in a situation have believed that human rights are engaged when they do not apply at all. One such is the now notorious case of the fleeing burglar besieged on a roof by police who was given Kentucky Fried Chicken to sustain him as otherwise his human rights would have been breached. Nonsense.And then there have been cases where a public authority has got the balance of human rights wrong: the terrible case of Anthony Rice, who was released from a life sentence and tragically went on to murder Naomi Bryant nine months later, is such a case. The responsible officials in the Parole Board and Probation Service did not ask all the right questions, gave too much weight to arguments about Rice's human rights and the risk of being sued by him, and not enough to the need to protect the wider public.Of course none of the problems that have been encountered are due to any failing of the Human Rights Act itself, or in the European Convention. Most of the rights in the Act and the Convention provide for a balance to be struck between the rights of the individual and the interests of the community. In Anthony Rice's case, officials simply struck the wrong balance.This has to be tackled through raising awareness about the benefits of the Act while challenging the myths and misrepresentations of the sort I have mentioned. And, as it was always intended when the Convention was incorporated, there have been positive benefits resulting from the dialogue between our judges and the judges of the European Court of Human Rights, changing the way in which the European Court approaches our cases to one of increased respect.The incorporation of the Convention has come at a challenging time for the United Kingdom as we seek to respond to the modern threat of terrorism. How, for instance, does one deal with a foreign national in the UK who has no immigration right to remain, but is believed to pose a threat to national security. Under immigration laws, such a person would normally be deported. But our obligations under the Convention - following the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Chahal - have stopped us from deporting to a country where there was a risk that they would face death, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment. This issue arises from the United Kingdom's international obligations under the Convention itself and was not created by the Human Rights Act and would not go away if the Act were repealed. That would happen only if the UK were to withdraw from the Convention altogether - which is not an option. I do not say that the challenges presented by respecting human rights are easy or straightforward, but the good of society requires that we seek solutions within the framework of rights rather than to seek answers which suspend those rights. This can be so very difficult when many who call upon the protection of the courts are those whose words or deeds we may not like very much. But it is how society deals with extremes that identifies the sort of society we are. In the words of the American politician, Adlai Stevenson, "A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular".Human rights are here for all of us, and we are all served, everyday, by adherence to them. As Lord Steyn has said, "observance of human rights is instrumentally valuable. Ittends to promote the conditions in which democratic systems can flourish for the benefit of people generally."And in that he is referring not to some foreign notion that is alien to our ancient heritage, but rather to a system of common national and international values that we helped to create and which through the European Convention on Human Rights we can collectively seek to protect. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/EuropeanLawHumanRights.aspx ? European Law & Human Rights 12 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
National Pro Bono Week 200811 November 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralMPs' Reception16.00-18.00pmMembers' Dining Room, The House of CommonsI would like to welcome you to the reception today, which marks recognition for and celebration of National Pro Bono Week 2008. Vera is also here today to welcome you as well, which is a great indication of her support for pro bono work and the importance she attaches to it, as she is actually meant to be in Belfast today and has delayed flying out so she can be here. I am very pleased you have been able to join us here on Armistice Day, when you will have been busy with events to mark the bravery of those who served and those who died in the two World Wars.I am here today in a personal capacity, rather than a ministerial one. Pro Bono is a time honoured tradition of the legal profession, rather than a government initiative. It is also something I hold very dear. I am gratified that so many of you have attended here today to celebrate how much is achieved by pro bono. A number of you are here as exemplars of pro bono or what I would term "pro bono heroes" and I will return to this point a little later.I was delighted to launch National Pro Bono Week 2008 yesterday with the kind permission of the Lord Chief Justice, who loaned us his court, courtroom number 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice. I can report back to you that the court saw a very enthusiastic mock trial staged by BPP Law School with the assistance of the National Centre for Citizenship and Learning.The trial was "judged" by a jury of students from the Behaviour Support Service resource Base in Camden. It covered a topical subject matter, that of guns and knives.I am pleased to say that BPP Law School and Streetlaw are running the same trial with different students on various days this week at the Royal Courts of Justice. The purpose of the Streetlaw trials is to teach people about rights and responsibilities in relation to the law.I would also like to tell you about a very interesting event I attended last night, which was a debate run by Debate Mate. Debate Mate offers ways for children and students to develop their public speaking and debating skills and has led to very significant improvements for the people who have participated. We saw one young man who six years ago was illiterate, but has now been offered a full scholarship to Harvard. Another student who is the first black Student Union President at Oxford University spoke last night about the importance of developing debating skills and how they help children and students increase their expectations for what they can achieve in the future.Today is a day to celebrate what pro bono provides and what it achieves. I have always been struck by how pro bono work brings out the very best in the lawyers who are carrying it out. Those of you who know me well know I make no apologies for my belief that lawyers should start pro bono early in their careers and that if they do, they will find they become hard-wired to do it and it becomes second nature for them. As you may have heard me say before, doing pro bono work is part of what every good lawyer does; it is in their DNA.I am delighted to tell you that we have present at the Reception a number of those very good lawyers (and some very good non-lawyers too), who quite clearly have pro bono running through their veins as well as patterned into their DNA. We have described these people as pro bono heroes, because that is what they are. Far too many of them carry out their pro bono work without recognition or applause for what they do.I can tell you that they are modest about their achievements and do not look to be celebrated. But their achievements are very significant and they make a huge difference to the people who are in great need of legal assistance but cannot afford to pay for legal representation. The heroes here today represent an excellent selection of the people who are quietly giving up their time across the country. By giving up their time, they help to make justice happen for people to whom it would otherwise be denied.There is an increasing awareness that many people in the legal and other professions are carrying out pro bono work without broadcasting what they are doing, and without it being known about generally. It is unfashionable to congratulate lawyers for their generosity and their interests in seeing justice done. This fact is recognized at the highest levels. I can, for example, tell you that the Lord Chief Justice, in his welcome speech at the launch event yesterday morning commented that:"The spirit and ethos of the legal profession, which is so often overlooked, is that they act pro bono as champions for people who cannot act for themselves. It is not that this is not appreciated, it is that it is not even known about."I am acutely aware of this, just as the Lord Chief Justice is aware of it and I would like to take some steps to reverse this trend. It is with that in mind that I welcome to this Reception the pro bono heroes. They are champions for those unable to act for themselves. I am aware of what they have done and will continue to do. I want them to know how much they are appreciated. I give them my thanks, not only for what they have done already (and it is a significant amount) but for all the pro bono work they have yet to carry out. They are inspirational; they have inspired me and I hope they will inspire you as well.The heroes have been nominated for their achievements by members of my domestic Pro Bono Committee, including Mike Napier QC, my Pro Bono Envoy (whom I thank for his continued support), representatives from the Law Society, LawWorks, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, A4ID (Advocates for International Development), FRU, ILEX, AMICUS, BPP Law School, the College of Law, the Government Legal Service, ProHelp and the International Lawyers' Project. The heroes work with these organisations on a weekly and in some cases, daily basis, and help to support the delivery of pro bono where it is most needed.There is a roll call of honour in this room, standing right in front of me. It lists all of the heroes invited to attend today. Sadly not all of them have been able to attend, but I hope you will look at the roll call in any event and familiarise yourselves with modern day pro bono champions. Moreover, I encourage you to familiarise yourselves with what a modern day pro bono champion looks and sounds like. I hope that each of you will have an opportunity to speak with at least one hero, and to find out more about their pro bono work. I know that you will be impressed with what they do. You may find that they offer valuable services and that you know of people who might benefit from those services.As you will have seen, the strap line for this year's National Pro Bono Week is "Giving Time, Making a Difference". The special guests here today provide some very tangible examples of what this actually means in practice. It would be wrong to single out one hero over another, not least because they are all too modest to give us a full account of their work.I can, however, tell you that their work is very diverse and ranges from those who volunteer their time at law centres every week, to those who have set up specific projects to support, for example, victims of domestic violence, or people affected by murder and manslaughter. We have people who deliver pro bono in person as well as those who have adopted "virtual" means to provide it. We also have people here today who provide international pro bono, including people who have offered their time to support and train lawyers in foreign jurisdictions, where the legal systems are developing and need support and assistance to ensure they will be models of excellence for the future.What I can tell you about every hero here, is that they have given up their time in order to assist those who cannot pay for the help they so desperately need. If you were to speak to the people their actions have helped, you would be certain that the time given has definitely made a difference.You will also have seen exhibitors' stands around the room. The exhibitors come from organisations that help to facilitate and coordinate pro bono services. If you haven't already met them, I encourage you to meet these lawyers and pro bono providers. Just like the pro bono heroes, they provide invaluable work across many different constituencies. For those of you here who are MPs, I would say that when you hold your constituency surgeries and meet constituents with legal problems, it may be that these organisations can help.Please keep in mind these organisations and how much assistance they can provide.I would like to talk to you about some interesting and important developments in pro bono this year. In addition to my domestic committee, I also chair an International Pro Bono Co-ordinating committee. Last week it launched a database of international pro bono projects, to help inform and coordinate what is being done in international pro bono. Once this database enters its main phase of development, it will be housed within the pro bono websitewww.probonouk.net. Probonouk.net was chosen to host the database because it is recognised as a central point of information for pro bono providers and those looking for help. It is a national website, maintained by key pro bono providers and it helps to broadcast and support their work and provide a first port of call for people seeking information about pro bono. I encourage you to go and look it up on the internet when you next have a suitable opportunity.This has been a very good year for pro bono. I have mentioned the launch last week of the International pro bono database. The Committee also launched a statement of principles for international pro bono work (endorsed by all three legal professions as well as the International Bar Association) at the Reception - a best practice guide, if you like, of what international pro bono work should involve, and what it should achieve.This year has also seen the launch of the Access to Justice Foundation, on 7th October. It is a very important charity, set up in order to receive monies ordered to be paid under section 194 of the Legal Services Act 2007. The purpose of section 194 is to make sure that where a party wins a court case but is assisted pro bono, the losing party will be ordered to pay costs to a charity (now the Access to Justice Foundation) and those costs will be used to help coordinate and facilitate pro bono elsewhere. The Foundation will distribute the monies it receives on a strategic basis.The enactment of section 194 of the 2007 Act and the creation of the Access to Justice Foundation have also led to the creation of the Regional Legal Support Trusts (established so far in Wales, the North West and the Midlands but more are in development), which are modelled on the London Legal Support Trust.The London Legal Support Trust helps local law centres, with funding and support and the Regional Legal Support Trusts will act in a similar way, providing assistance for law centres in the regions. In addition, they will help co-ordinate pro bono delivery,identifying where pro bono is most needed on a regional basis and how it will best be delivered.We live in exciting times for pro bono work and I am so very pleased to be able to report back to you on all the marvellous developments that are underway. Finally it remains for me to say that I hope you enjoy today's Reception. I am delighted to see all of you here. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/NationalProBonoWeek2008.aspx ? National Pro Bono Week 2008 11 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
FSA International Boiler Room Conference10 November 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralSpeech held at Merchant Taylors' Hall, 30 Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8JBThank you for that kind introduction Sally.Ladies and gentlemen, let me start by saying that I'm extremely pleased to be here with you all today, for what, I consider, is a very important event. Events such as this where colleagues in the counter-fraud campaign can meet, share information and explore solutions are crucial if we are to take the fight back to the fraudsters successfully.Because the simple fact is that the cost of fraud is devastating and impacts on each and every one of us. Directly or indirectly, we're all victims of fraud, be it businesses, government or individuals - fraud affect economies and communities. It's a message I cannot say enough times or to enough people - fraud is a real threat to the ordinary people of this country and to the economy.Fraudsters, who, on conservative estimates, are siphoning £14 billion out of our economy each and every year. £14 billion that could fund essential services for those who need them most. £14 billion that can help expand our economy as investment for businesses to prosper.£14 billion that can support people in their retirement!And its this last point that is particularly relevant in the case of boiler room fraud.Because I think that a no of people didn't realise that the typical victim of investment fraud is likely to be in their fifties and beyond, often saving for their pension or may already be drawing on it. These are vulnerable people. If people are defrauded of their long-term savings at that stage of their lives, they may not have the opportunity to recover. Their life savings - and any legacy they may plan for their children - is all put at risk.In the UK on average around 100 new victims of boiler room fraud contact the police each week, reporting losses ranging from around three thousand pounds to more than million. The Financial Services Authority reports that around 5,000 consumers contact it about boiler rooms each year, of which 3,000 are victims. Those victims have a reported average losses per person of £20,000.These are substantial sums of money that are being taken on a regular basis. But the cost is often much more than financial. Reports from the City of London Police on the human cost of boiler room frauds are achingly sad.Officers have described how one woman called to say her husband had been driven to suicide as a result of losing his life savings amounting to more than £200,000 to a boiler room fraud.Another victim simply sobbed down the phone and was unable to actually give any details to the officer on the other end of the line.These are the depths to which fraudsters will take their victims. Because boiler rooms clearly illustrate the fact that while often cunning in their approach fraudsters' methods may be highly complex and internationally organised, their motive is that of simple criminal profit, unchecked by any sense of compassion for victims. They prey on the victim's innate vulnerability.And we can take little solace in the current volatility of the stock markets to curb this pernicious activity. Because we know fraudsters are fiercely entrepreneurial. They are effective criminals who will be forensically analysing their opportunities and looking for new opportunities to convince potential victims that as the market bottoms out, now is the time to invest in those sure-fire investment winners.But action is being taken to raise the risks associated with undertaking boiler room fraud with agencies and organisations across the economy taking the fight back to the fraudster.One of the most cohesive responses is being delivered through Operation Archway. Co-ordinated by the City of London Police, this Operation has brought together key agencies such as Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and the FSA.This taskforce has provided a contact point for victims to report incidents to a concentrated pool of boiler room experts who turn this information into national intelligence; intelligence that's being used to construct a strong and emphatic response to the fraudster.I am pleased to report that, since its inception, every single UK police force has called on Archway's team for advice and support, which has spread knowledge and expertise, and in turn has strengthened and expanded the UK's capacity to tackle these crimes.And let's be clear this effort to shut down boiler rooms is not just national - it is also international, involving partners in the United States, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore and Gibraltar.From media reports of highly successful operations in Florida and Berlin earlier this year to close down boiler rooms, it is clear this approach is generating some real successes. In both of these instances, UK authorities worked with colleagues in both the US and Germany to shut down these operations which were deliberately targeting UK citizens.The UK's framework of financial regulation, backed by tough supervision, is also helping to root out fraudsters from the financial system.The FSA is using its powers to shut down firms in the UK that help boiler rooms thrive. In 2007, seven firms were shut down, with two arrests being made. Other enforcement action saw a solicitor that authorised adverts promoting boiler rooms being fined £150,000. These tough actions send a clear signal to fraudsters that actions have clear and often long-standing implications.The FSA is building productive coalitions against the fraudster with similar agencies overseas. For instance, co-operation between the FSA and their counterparts in Ontario and British Columbia earlier this year recovered over one million pounds of UK victims' funds.So concrete action is being taken to hold to account fraudsters who prey on British victims- wherever they try to hide. And this only one part of a broader approach that focuses on prevention and deterrence as much as it does on detection and disruption.In recent years and months, the key agencies responsible have taken new steps to make boiler room fraud harder to commit successfully in the first place.The FSA effectively shares its intelligence with the public by listing suspected boiler-rooms to forewarn potential victims. But around 18 new firms are listed each month, which means we can't rely on consumer awareness alone to provide effective prevention.So the Authority also works with Internet service providers to shut down sites run by suspected boiler rooms as these are key to their operations by cultivating an veneer of legitimacy and professionalism on their operations.And it works with share registrar companies to include preventative advice as part of the annual reports of legitimate companies - because the common victims are already shareholders.The list of police and FSA media activities to spread the word about boiler room frauds and methods of prevention is extensive and continues to grow.But shutting down a boiler room operation per se, does not remove the enablers of this kind of fraud or prevent such criminal activity continuing.To remove the menace of boiler rooms, it is also essential that the funding required to establish such boiler rooms is cut off. To this end, parallel efforts are helping to remove fraudster's rewards by tracing, freezing and seizing their stolen assets around the world. I am very keen to see the ill gotten gains of criminals removed at every opportunity! There are two things that will deter fraudsters - first, a likelihood of being caught; and second, removing the benefit of their activity. The second is a vital as the first.For example, again, the City of London Police - as the police force that is very much leading in the detection and detention of boiler room fraudsters - has found and secured fraudster's assets in USA, Canada, Belize, Nevis, Cyprus, Tanzania, Lebanon, Spain and Latvia.Our approach, though, is to take the challenge to boiler room fraudsters beyond the operational front line.For example, the Serious Organised Crime Agency is developing a new control strategy on boiler room investment fraud in partnership with the Office of Fair Trading and their mutual stakeholders.And we will use all tools in our power to protect the public and acquire new ones where necessary - like the Fraud Act, which represents a major modernisation and simplification of legislation on fraud that is now helping to bring boiler room fraudsters to swifter justice.Earlier this year, I held a consultation on proposals to introduce a plea negotiation framework in order to enhance the ability of prosecutors to bring an early settlement to lengthy and complex fraud trials. The timing of our response to this consultation is being revised to incorporate our response on a second consultation that presented a range of proposals to extend the powers of the Crown Court to prevent fraud and compensate victims.These consultations were derived from the Government's 2007 response to the Fraud Review; a response that has seen the government investing upfront in the country's capability to combat fraud over the long-term.Part of this investment has been the establishment of a new National Fraud Strategic Authority as an executive agency of my Office at the beginning of last month. I am very proud this has been set up. The NFSA is designed to deliver the leadership and national coordination needed for anti-fraud efforts to be as effective and efficient as possible.The backbone of the Authority's work over the next three years will be the development and delivery of the UK's first National Fraud Strategy. This strategy will focus and structure counter-fraud activity on a series of collectively agreed priorities with the clear aim to removing the widest enablers in our economy that facilitate the greatest amount of fraud.However I must stress that the responsibility for delivering the National Fraud Strategy will not be the sole preserve of the Authority. It is the collective responsibility of all the players involved in the economy, both private and public, myself included. If we are to close the "gaps in the fence" that protects UK plc then we must all play our part, from Minister and CEO downwards, from large government department or multi-national company to small one-person business and each and every person in the economy. Fraudsters are fierce in their entrepreneurial drive to exploit our weaknesses and we need to be equally ardent in our response.Part of Authority's operational remit is to co-ordinate multi-agency on specific fraud threats and issues. This multi-agency coordination work, will take the form task groups established to tackle specific operational issues where it has been identified that the Authority can add value. So we're absolutely not asking people to abrogate their responsibilities - far from it, we are asking them to do more together to combat fraud.And today I can announce that the NFSA is initiating some multi-agency coordination on fighting boiler rooms tomorrow afternoon, immediately after this conference. That activity will be focusing specifically on further improving the speed and accuracy of detecting and disrupting boiler room fraud activity through targeted interventions.This co-ordination work will also focus on how to protect boiler room fraud victims more robustly from being defrauded again. Sadly, at present, the average boiler room fraud victim is defrauded four times. We want to stop people being targeted once, let alone four times, and this activity will look to remove the enablers and severely limit the ongoing damage to victims.This is not the only work underway to support victims. The City of London Police has launched a new victims strategy - and the NFSA are, and will be, major contributors to that work.Finally, I am pleased to announce that work on measuring the size of boiler room activity - and on enhancing the profiling its victims is to be undertaken jointly by the NFSA, the City of London Police and the Financial Services Authority.To ensure that knowledge drives more effective interventions, the government has announced proposals for radical reform to the way fraud is reported and intelligence is extracted to drive detections and policy, situated in a National Fraud Reporting Centre.As I said at the start of my speech, it's a real pleasure to be able to join you today. Events such as this are an ideal opportunity to us all to share insights and information and cohesively plan activity that will strengthen the response to fraudsters.I hope people will take this opportunity presented by the FSA to talk openly and frankly about the issues that may be reducing the effectiveness of our response. True co-operation is one of the strongest tools we have to fight back on fraud.Because, it's through a co-ordinated combination of tackling key threats - like boiler room fraud - and addressing longer-term challenges that we will make this country a far more hostile environment for fraudsters. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/FSAInternationalBoilerRoomConference.aspx ? FSA International Boiler Room Conference 10 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
The Launch Of National Pro Bono Week 200810 November 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney General8.15-09:30The Royal Courts of JusticeIt is a great pleasure that the Lord Chief Justice and the Master of the Rolls are here today. To have two such fantastic leaders of the profession attend this launch is very significant; both of them, by their presence today, are demonstrating how really important they consider pro bono to be.I would like to thank the Lord Chief Justice. He has quite properly emphasised the importance of pro bono and the work that is done, all year round, to ensure legal need is met, even if people cannot afford legal representation. The fact that the Lord Chief Justice has given us his own courtroom and has so warmly welcomed us is also a good illustration of his support.Pro bono is an opportunity to come together and develop a collaborative and coordinated way to help the people we care about. This week we are celebrating the partnership enjoyed between the legal sector and the voluntary sector, and volunteering by the legal profession alongside (and in collaboration with) other professions. It is really important to note that pro bono has grown step by step since we started to coordinate it.As Attorney General, I chair the National Pro Bono Co-ordinating Committee, as well as an equivalent International Pro Bono committee. National Pro Bono Week is one of the initiatives championed by my committee and I am really grateful, as always, for their assistance and support.They have applied their wisdom to this week, organising the events through the National Pro Bono Week organising committee. I would like to thank them. I want to particularly thank Kate Walmsley, the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at the Law Society. She has worked tirelessly and enthusiastically to make National Pro Bono Week happen.I would also like to thank the many local and regional organising groups across the country for arranging the wide range of regional events that will take place. There is not a place in the country that is not covered.I have the wonderful role and opportunity to formally announce that National Pro Bono Week is launched. I hope you will enjoy it. We are going to see a mock trial, which will help take you through how the courts work.The mock trial you are about to experience is one of the ways in which public legal education is delivered and it is very effective. It has been devised by the National Centre for Citizenship and Learning ("NCCL"), which has built up close working relationships with children and schools in the Nottinghamshire area.I have witnessed this work myself first hand in a visit to the Galleries of Justice in Nottingham. I am pleased to hear of NCCL's ambition to extend their work right the way across the country. Their intention is to share nationally the expertise they have created on a regional basis. I will give them my whole-hearted support.The trial will be led by Katy Archer, Director of NCCL. Law students at BPP Law School will take on the roles of counsel and witnesses and bring the trial to life. I am also very pleased indeed to welcome young people from the Behaviour Support Service Resource Base in Camden. They will be an informal jury, asked to comment on issues arising from the trial. I know everyone is going to be really awake and give us the best decision they possibly can.I would like to thank NCCL, BPP and the Camden Behaviour Support Service Resource Base for their work and personal collaboration in making this happen. I would also like to thank Katy, the students from BPP and the young people here from Camden, for the parts they are about to play. I am looking forward to what we will see and hear.It has not escaped my attention that the strap line for National Pro Bono Week this year is "Giving Time, Making a Difference".Giving time and making a difference is illustrated by the Lord Chief Justice's generous gift of his courtroom and his time this morning and is particularly exemplified by the Master of the Rolls giving us his time as well.The Royal Courts of Justice have also very generously offered up the use of a courtroom to Streetlaw to repeat this trial on other days this week, but with different participants. This is a tremendous display of support for public legal education and I would like to thank Bob Musgrove and Chloe Smythe of the Civil Justice Council and Norman Muller of the Royal Courts of Justice for their work in organising this.Finally, it remains for me to say that the people here this morning (and I do mean all of you present) are the first people in National Pro Bono Week to be demonstrating this year's strap line. You have given up your time to be here and to make a difference by helping us learn more about pro bono work and public legal education. I thank you all very much indeed.I hope what you do will be an inspiration to others to emulate you. You are all an inspiration to me. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/TheLaunchOfNationalProBonoWeek2008.aspx ? The Launch Of National Pro Bono Week 2008 10 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
The launch Of The International Pro Bono Database And The Statement Of Principles For International Pro Bono3 November 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QC - Attorney General at the Attorney General's International Pro Bono Coordinating Committee Reception18:00-20:00The Reading Room, the Law SocietyThe reason I am so delighted to address you at this reception is that this is the first reception to be hosted by the International Pro Bono Committee. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here tonight to hear about the work of the International Pro Bono Committee, which I chair.International pro bono work concerns the deployment of UK legal expertise to assist those in need in other countries, but especially in the developing world. There has been a long, proud and valued tradition of providing legal expertise in this area.Those involved in international pro bono include lawyers, judges, academics and students. The lawyers are drawn from across the profession, and include those in private practice, those in private sector or voluntary sector employment, and those in government service.There is a vital partnership involved, which sometimes takes the form of working with NGOs, charities and development organisations, and sometimes of working with lawyers, judges, academics and agencies from other countries.The AG International CommitteeThe International Pro Bono Committee exists to help the coordination and collaboration of all this effort.The Committee was established by Lord Goldsmith while he was Attorney General and we owe him a debt of considerable thanks for his work in setting up the Committee and in developing such a closely focused and passionate group of members. All of these members work incredibly hard to coordinate and collaborate in relation to international pro bono work.It is my privilege to chair this Committee, and its membership is really very broadly drawn. That membership includes the 3 professional bodies as you've heard, the International Bar Association, the Advocacy Training Council and the lead pro bono organisations, together with representatives of the judiciary, the academic sector, and the public sector.It is also supported and led, as with work in the UK, by my Pro Bono Envoy Mike Napier.From my Office, Simon Jeal and with Rebecca Hilsenrath (during her time at my Office) have also played an important and valued part. Rebecca's role has now fallen to Judith Butler of my Office.I pay tribute to all the Committee members, whose individual work on international pro bono is greatly distinguished, but whose collective involvement and support for international pro bono work is really invaluable. I give them all my unrequited thanks.Coordination and collaboration are fundamental to the effective delivery of international pro bono work. In addition to the considerations attached to pro bono work generally, the international dimension can sometimes bring with it particular cultural, organisational and other challenges. It also, as has been seen in Columbia, can bring challenges to security that we in the UK do not have to face on a daily basis or at all.The combined expertise around the Committee table can help to ensure a strategic approach is taken, which is particularly important in this field. A strategic approach includes focusing on some really important elements, such as project management, sustainability, andbuilding capacity.A strategic approach also helps to identify whether problems are better addressed from looking at them from various different angles, rather than simply taking one single, sectorial approach. This can often ensure that the pro bono services provide more effective answers for the need for legal assistance. It offers a problem-solving approach that has often worked highly effectively.The Committee is well placed to continue an important dialogue with the Justice Assistance Network (the network designed to help coordinate the overseas development effort, directed to access to justice and to upholding the rule of law, of different government departments). That nexus is something we greatly value.This evening is about highlighting two developments that the Committee has brought forward and I am very pleased to be able to share these with you. I hope you have had the opportunity to test this work as you have gone around the tables here at the Reception.The Statement of PrinciplesThe first development is a Statement of Principles for International Pro Bono Work. This will play its part in international work, just as the Pro Bono Protocol does in our national work. It sets standards, and it recognizes and respects the breadth of contributions that may be made in this area.The Statement of Principles has been endorsed on behalf of the entire UK legal profession by the Law Society, the Bar Council and the Institute of Legal Executives.I was fortunate to meet a number of members of the International Bar Association in India; I gave them the opportunity of endorsing the principles, which they did. That means that the statement has been endorsed not just for UK members of the IBA but for the IBA worldwide.Copies of it are available tonight, endorsed with the logos of the three legal professions and the IBA. I encourage you to take copies of the Statement away with you.The DatabaseThe second development, which is a really important opportunity to share expertise, is a Database for International Pro Bono Work.The Database allows organizations to log a summary of the international pro bono projects they have undertaken or are undertaking, identifying in the case of each project its nature, its duration, and its location.In due course, and subject to proper safeguards to ensure confidentiality, it is envisaged that access to the summaries of who is doing what and where will become open access.The database has been developed with valuable, and greatly appreciated, technical help from Clifford Chance. In particular, I would like to say a special thank you to Mark Giles of Clifford Chance, who has worked extensively on developing the database. He is here tonight and you will see some laptops to the side of the room, on which Mark will be able to demonstrate to you how the database will work.In due course the website that carries this database will bewww.probonoUK.net, the umbrella website created under the auspices of the Attorney General's Pro Bono Coordinating Committee and run by the professional bodies in conjunction with the College of Law.There is also the potential for the website and database to be a point of access not just for project summaries but also for full project materials, with levels of access to the material tailored to the nature of the project. We recognise that some projects may require more restricted access than others and will try to manage that.I am so very pleased to inform you of all the promise wrapped up in this database. I would also like to talk to you, however, about two specific areas where the Committee has already been able to have a very visible impact on developing international pro bono work and there are already visible, identifiable outcomes from the Committee's work.I attended a meeting of Commonwealth Law Ministers in July this year and I am pleased to be able to tell you that in my role as Attorney General, with the help of the very important people gathered around the discussion table, I was able to talk with the Law Ministers about the importance of international pro bono. I am very pleased to tell you that they agreed with me about the importance of pro bono services. Not only that, but this is recorded in the communiqué produced on behalf of all the Commonwealth Law Ministers.Nor did it stop there. Because I am also delighted to be able to report that the Law Ministers, and each of them, committed themselves to promoting pro bono activities in their own countries. This is a really powerful demonstration of the way in which coordination and collaboration can achieve significant outcomes in helping to develop international pro bono. I am fortunate that whenever I meet each Commonwealth Law Minister, I am able to receive updates from them about how they are succeeding in their efforts to develop pro bono.Finally, the Committee has an international pro bono project underway at the moment in Tanzania, working closely with International Lawyers Project. So far, this project has involved presenting modules on Alternative Dispute Resolution and Advocacy skills in May 2008. 40 Tanzanian lawyers, representing a good cross-section of the profession, attended a week of interactive learning sessions.The training received extremely positive and enthusiastic feedback from these lawyers. Just as importantly, it received real enthusiasm and passion from the lawyers who were undertaking the training with them. They provided a hugely important contribution and I am delighted to hear that it has led to calls for a future, long term partnership with the Tanganyika Law Society.The Committee is not only undertaking the Tanzania project but it undertaking other projects too. It has really given me an opportunity to consider how far the work all of you in this room have done in taking forward the pro bono agenda. It comes as no surprise that the lawyers who undertook that work are so enthusiastic and passionate. It reminds us of why most of us came into law in the first place. We did so because we wanted to right wrongs and to make sure justiciable claims were properly adjudicated. I make no apologies about being as passionate about these issues as I was in 1973 when I first studied law. If anything, I am more passionate about them.As I look around this room, I see many people who started this particular journey with pro bono before me, some with me and some who are coming after me. All of you share my passion to make justice a reality. I thank you for that passion, not only for what you have done but for what you will do to inspire others to do that work. When I am asked why I promote and do this pro bono work, my answer is always "because I have an opportunity to do this with people like you". It is a real privilege we have to change things, not for ourselves, but to create a paradigm for others who need change.I will continue to thank you, for you continue to give me cause to thank you all the time. Your passion and commitment help to inspire me in my passion. Thank you for the inspiration you create in me and in others with the work you do. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/ThelaunchoftheInternationalProBonoDatabaseandtheStatementofPrinciplesforInternationalProBono.aspx ? The launch Of The International Pro Bono Database And The Statement Of Principles For International Pro Bono 03 November 2008 Attorney General's Office
Sussex Specialist Domestic Violence Courts Launch24 October 2008IntroductionI am very pleased that you invited me here today to celebrate the positive work you are all contributing to here in Sussex. You should be superbly proud of what you started, persevered with, conquered the obstacles too and are now celebrating.Domestic violence affects people from all sections of our society. It cuts across ethnicity, religion, age, social class, disability, gender and sexuality. It usually occurs behind closed doors with victims often feeling powerless to stop the physical and emotional pain and abuse.The British Crime Survey in 2006-07 showed that one in four women will be affected by domestic violence during their lifetime.It is not a 'one-off' crime. It represents a pattern of controlling and coercive behaviour, which leads to high repeat victimisation rates. According to the most recent British Crime Survey, the repeat victimisation rate for domestic violence is 70%. No other crime has a rate as high.We are all here today because we care about domestic violence and we appreciate the importance of working together to tackle it. I am pleased to see people here from such a wide range of organisations, both statutory and voluntary sector, criminal justice and non-criminal justice.Government response to domestic violenceThe Government is continuing to focus attention on domestic violence. We have a national domestic violence delivery plan with four main goals.Firstly, our goal is granted the difficulties about self reporting to increase early identification and intervention with victims of domestic violence. To this end:• the Department of Health has produced a handbook for health professionals and IDVA's that occurs throughout IDVA - IDVA's are working with health professionals:• domestic violence work is now incorporated in Local Authority Area Agreements;• domestic violence risk assessments are being linked to child protection risk assessments; and• many government departments, as well as private sector organisations, now have employee domestic violence policies - the importance of the role of work place in tackling domestic violence should not be overlooked.The second goal is to build the domestic violence sector to provide effective advice and support to victims. We are therefore:• setting national standards with the domestic violence voluntary sector; and• funding a number of helplines: the 24 hour national domestic violence freephone helpline; the men's advice line for male victims; Broken Rainbow, a service for those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities; and the RESPECT phone line for perpetrators. A specific national helpline has also been established for victims of forced marriage and so-called honour crime.Our third goal is to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence. To give just a couple of the highlights, we are:• training criminal justice staff-by the end of November the CPS will have completed training all its prosecutors, associate prosecutors and caseworkers.And our fourth goal is to support victims through the criminal justice system and manage perpetrators to reduce levels of risk.This brings me on to the centrepiece of the national domestic violence delivery plan: the specialist domestic violence court programme.Many of you may remember what it was like before we had these specialist courts:• there were few links between the Criminal Justice agencies, never mind the agencies supporting victims;• specialist support systems for victims were patchy; consider the position of someone trying to complain, they married someone they loved who started to treat them very badly and beat them, their total confidence undermined. If they leave they will make their children. Those who are one parent families will be economically disadvantaged, they may need to change schools, they won't have a secure home, and they may have difficulties in childcare, a whole abundance of things. It is easier just to put up with another thump and now worth nothing to help a woman out of that predicament historically.• in particular, Criminal Justice agencies had little awareness of the dynamics behind any of the kind of cases which I have referred to. The Criminal Justice System is used to dealing with single event offences and was often de-motivated in dealing with domestic violence.Today, a victim will typically contact the police, who will attend and investigate the crime with the principles of 'golden hour policing' in mind - that is to say they will investigate rather than say it's his word against hers. Photographs maybe taken; injuries noted; and any corroborative evidence such as witness statements, 999 calls and medical evidence seized.The Police will then risk asses the victim and where appropriate make a referrals to the IDVA; any outreach domestic violence services or to victim support depending on the victim's level of risk and need. In very high risk cases the matter will be referred through to Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference or MARAC which I will go on to talk about in more detail later.The IDVA will meet victims. IDVA's are at the heart of the SDVC process.IDVAs work from the point of crisis with a high or very high risk victim and offer intensive support to help assure both their short term and long term safety. They effectively 'walk' beside the victim through the process, providing one point of contact both inside and outside the criminal justice system for the duration of a case and beyond.The Ministry of Justice has funded IDVAs to the sum £3 million this year. And, it is committed to providing £3 million annually at least until 2010 for this purpose.It is important that IDVAs are independent. They are from the third sector and that is imperative. Victims feel confident that they can share what is often very complicated and intimate information without it affecting the criminal justice process. They in turn know that they can trust the advice they are receiving for the IDVA. That it is impartial and independent allowing, the victim to make the best possible decision for her future.Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs)Another key component of specialist courts are multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs). MARACs usually focus on high-risk victims of domestic violence by sharing information and developing responses or safety plans which are tailored to the needs of individual victims and their children. These conferences are the cornerstone of our approach to securing the safety of domestic violence victims.Multi-agency risk assessment conferences were initially funded by the Home Office with £1.85 million being allocated between 2006 and 2008. Plans have been made for the national roll-out of MARACs by 2010-11 with funding to support it.I know that all areas of Sussex have MARAC coverage. These are working. We are guaranteeing the safety of women and men.The SDVC system arose out of the work the CPS conducted from 2003 to 2005, which saw the establishment of:• two pilot courts at Croydon and Caerphilly;• the first National CPS training programme;they very quickly showed success.From this, a cross government national SDVC programme was established to roll out SDVCs across England and Wales. This developed from 7 courts in 2005 to 98 in April 2008 - which included those we are here today to celebrate, and we have just announced that we will increase the overall number to 104.The characteristics of these courts are not magic they are pioneering but simple features within the courts. They are:• cases listed on a particular day or fast-tracked through the system, limiting the likelihood of further incidents, separate entrances and waiting areas so that perpetrators and victims didn't meet.• tailored support and advice from independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs);• magistrates, prosecutors and court staff that are specially trained in dealing with domestic violence. The understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence - which are not obvious - is imperative. It is a tribute to the magistracy that though they see themselves as generalists they have been prepared to understand that they need to be trained into this hard to follow kind of crime. It is a further tribute to them that they have gone through that training and no one ever questioned their ability none the less to do fair fact finding. The whole episode is a tribute to the magistracy being adaptable to the needs of these victims.This is all about focussing on the issue tackling the problems of an oppressed and therefore weak complainant and a formally de-motivated Criminal Justice System.Joint Thematic Review - how is it been going so far?The Crown Prosecution Service, Home Office and Ministry of Justice conducted a joint review of the first 25 SDVCs in March 2008. The Criminal Justice Service Public Service Agreement targets were used as measures of success.These were:• bringing more perpetrators to justice;• improving the support, safety and satisfaction of victims; and• increasing public confidence in the criminal justice system.The report of the review - called Justice with Safety - is very interesting.In assessing the first success measure of bringing more perpetrators to justice, there were some excellent results across the specialist courts:• over 80% of DV defendants were arrested;• of the 25 SDVC systems, ten achieved over 70% successful prosecutions;• this was generally better than the non-SDVCs within their wider CPS Areas - these only reached 64%; that of course is also an increase brought about by the extra focus on domestic violence impacting on the other courts into which of course trained magistrates and staff also go.On improving the support, safety and satisfaction of victims, the review found that:• just under 6000 victim referrals were made to Independent Domestic Violence Advisers;• this represents an average of 269 referrals per IDVA service;• around three-quarters (74%) of clients involved in the court process were supported by IDVAs at court;• the number of cases that went to MARACs was equivalent to 84% of the number of Very High Risk (VHR) clients referred to the IDVA projects, indicating the attention given to victim safety; and• 87% of those seeking civil injunctions in associated civil proceedings were granted them.One of the main findings of the review was that the best SDVCs addressed both justice and safety measures. Data from these courts indicated improved prosecutions, engagement and support for victims both in and outside of the criminal justice system.Specialist domestic violence courts are clearly proving successful in bringing perpetrators of domestic violence to justice and protecting and supporting victims. I know that these principles of good practise have been firmly embedded here.Partnership working and awareness-raisingThe specialist domestic violence court programme is an excellent example of partnership working at both a national and local level and was commended in November 2006 in the 'Whitehall and Westminster World' awards for joined-up working across government.ConclusionI believe that we are sending a strong message through cross agency work that tackling domestic violence must be a national and local priority. Through a co-ordinated approach with our stakeholders that's all of those who have input and our delivery partner's i.e. those who are with us have taken a central role, we are committed.This work together with the legislative changes that have occurred, for example;• to enable greater and easier provision of special measures such as screens and video link for vulnerable and intimidated witnesses;• the capacity of the court to have before it any previous offending history under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 provisions;• and the criminalisation of non molestation orders under the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, have altered the Criminal Justice landscape to one that it more hospitable to victims who are often at their lowest and most vulnerable when they turn to it.The Sussex SDVC is an excellent example of multi-agency working at a local level. The close working between organisations including the local government; the Police; Probation; Health; Social Services; and Victim Support has been vital in the success that you are now delivering. Critically you are now able to ensure that• support is available to victims of domestic violence;• you are reducing the impact of domestic violence on victims and their children;• identifying gaps in service provision; and• raising awareness of domestic violence within agencies and the general public.Events like this are also essential to achieving this kind of coordinated, 'joined-up' response.• Ideas and best practise can be exchanged;• Awareness is raised within organisations; and• Cooperation and information sharing between agencies will be improved.Stepping back what we are doing is better understanding of more complex problems than simply public straightforward public crimes. We are ensuring that we adapt the Criminal Justice System so it can protect a broader range of complainants and tackle all crime whatever and wherever it may be.I would like to congratulate you all on your success so far. By providing an effective multi-agency response and approach to victims and survivors you and we are implementing simply an ambitious programme to make our community a safer place to live for all. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SussexSpecialistDomesticViolenceCourtsLaunch.aspx ? Sussex Specialist Domestic Violence Courts Launch 24 October 2008 Attorney General's Office
Retaining Talent Through A Balanced Culture14 October 2008Event: Legal Lives ConferenceVenue: London Stock ExchangeI am delighted to be able to attend today and would like to thank the organizers, Working Families, whom I know have done a tremendous job over the years, and in particular Rebecca Christie, who is an exemplar in her work. I am grateful for the invitation to speak today.It also gives me great pleasure to be here at a time when this research is publicised and discussed. This is an extremely important issue. Talent and talent in the legal profession in particular is a very important concept to me; I am a champion of talent. I see it in the lawyers who work in the Government Legal Service and I see it in the lawyers who provide services to me through my panels of civil and criminal counsel. I am pleased to be able to say that I am surrounded by talent. My committees, which help to facilitate and coordinate pro bono work undertaken by lawyers, bring me into close contact with highly skilled, very focused and very committed lawyers who are donating time and expertise in order to help others gain access to justice, justice that they would otherwise be denied.We are all, however, aware that while the legal profession recruits incredibly talented individuals, there is a difficulty in retaining that talent and ability. We face a war of attrition as people with great skills ultimately feel disillusioned and look for other careers.It's fair to say that this conundrum of work-life balance, why it might not be present and how best to achieve it, is something that has been under discussion for some time.I note that as long ago as 2001, Working Families (who were then called Parents at Work) researched barriers and solutions to better work-life balance in the City of London for their report "Quality of Life in the City". At that time Parents at Work identified that City organisations were on the brink of moving from having Flexible Working Policies (meaning they had an incorporated notion of work-life balance into their human resources policies) towards actually being able to win over hearts and minds so that these policies became fully part of what they were doing - completely embedded in the organisation and how it would move from a theoretical to an operational reality.This led to some research Working Families published on work-life balance in 2006 (entitled Moving Mountains; the culture change challenge). That research looked at the perspective of employees in 10 City firms, three of which I note were City Law firms (Allen and Overy, Linklaters and Simmons and Simmons). Two very important points came out of that research and informed the research you have come to hear about today:• The recognition that employee lifestyles and expectations have changed. To attract and retain talented employees, employers are having to provide increasing opportunities for work-life balance;• The recognition that the legal profession in particular faced difficulties with retaining employees; while over 50% of entrants were female, attrition rates were acknowledged to be unacceptably high.And so we come to the research you have already heard discussed this morning. It is innovative and focused on the specific considerations and demands that being in the legal profession entails. I go back to where I started this speech - we all know the legal profession is very talented. You know this; you are all here because you have a close involvement with the legal profession.So why aren't people staying? Alternatively, of all of those who enter, why don't more of them reach the top of the profession? The statistics published in the Legal Lives report are really quite startling. I make no apology for mentioning them, even though you may well hear other people talk about them today:• The number of women holding practising certificates has increased by 100% in the last 10 years. Women now make up 60% of admissions to the Law Society;• Only 23% of partners in private law firms are women, however;• 9% of solicitors in private practice come from a BME background;• Yet 30% of first year law students are from a BME background. So where do they go?The report and today's conference I think really focus on work-life balance (or the lack of it) as a reason for these losses of people who were inspired to come to the legal profession in the first instance. I noted with great interest the report from Legal Week's 2008 Annual Employee Satisfaction Survey that the path to a stable and productive workforce lies in:"Creating a supportive and fulfilling working environment, one in which lawyers feel valued and enjoy a healthy balance between their working and personal lives and that the old carrots of money, partnership and prestige are moving past their sell by dates."What I found particularly valuable about the Legal Lives report was the acknowledgment that lawyers are driven individuals, hard working people who really want to succeed and make a difference, that the culture around being a lawyer, especially in private practice (but a number of us in the Government Legal Service have to consider it as well) is often focused on the number of hours spent working, in order to do business and to do it successfully. We have to recognise these in order to really recognise where the challenges lie for creating a healthy work-life balance for lawyers.I have been asked to speak to you about the challenges I feel the legal profession faces in managing to get the right kind of work-life balance.You know as well as I do, the great rewards (and I don't merely mean financial) that a legal career can provide - the important, close, detailed work, the satisfaction of a job being done well, the thrill of being on one's feet and being able to answer the judge's questions and knowing that you have made a real difference in actually making justice happen.You also know that the job comes with great demands. You will be acutely aware of the challenges we, as lawyers, face. It can be hard to keep within set working hours; I don't actually believe the idea of a 9 to 5 job for a lawyer really exists. We face urgent deadlines and we may not know what crisis (or, perhaps more likely, how many crises) will develop in a day. Sometimes it may feel that the only way to be successful is to be the person who is working the longest hours or billing the most hours. From my perspective in private practice, that was often demonstrated by having to stay up late at night to really crack that brief and get the answers needed to be able to present it in court.But I don't want to speak of the challenges without at least giving you an idea of where the solutions may also lie. This report, I think, underlines and identifies a number of ways in which a better work-life balance may be achievable for lawyers. I commend to you its reference to adapting working practice to increase "smart working". We in the Government Legal Service know this as "smarter working", but it is absolutely the same concept and it is a notion firmly embedded in Government Legal Service thinking. It involves effort by the lawyers and by their employers to identify flexible and better fitting ways of getting work done - for example, having meetings to cover ground and obtain instructions where lawyers might previously have insisted on receiving instructions in writing, weeks before they had to advise. It means greater collaboration between lawyers - both in terms of effectively sharing workloads so that one lawyer isn't over-burdened, but also a greater dialogue with and the level of understanding between employee and manager.I also commend to you the point made about presenteeism and the fact that in some quarters it may still be thought that in order to be working effectively, a lawyer must be (and must be seen to be) physically present in the office. This, quite frankly, isn't the case - and given the great advances we now have in technology, I don't see why we should even continue to entertain the notion that the person the client wants to speak to down the telephone must be sitting in a large office for the advice given to be high quality and accurate.The Government has taken a number of steps to try to help improve work-life balance through the Work and Families Act 2006 (which received Royal Assent on 21st June 2006). The Act allows for changes to maternity leave and adoption leave and pay benefits for parents of children born or to be placed for adoption on or after 1st April 2007. It has extended statutory maternity pay, statutory adoption pay and maternity allowance entitlement from 26 weeks to 39 weeks. Furthermore, the right to request flexible working was extended to carers of adults from 6 April 2007 (a development I consider to be particularly important).Further changes to maternity and adoption leave will benefit parents of children due to be born on or after 5 October 2008 (because the right to non-contractual pay benefits has been extended so that they apply in the same way during additional maternity leave as they did during ordinary maternity leave).The Government intends to extend the right to request flexible working to parents of children up to the age of 16 and are consulting on implementing these proposals. The consultation closes on 18 November 2008. The Government plans to amend the current regulations by April 2009.I imagine you may want to ask about whether the initiatives identified in this report really can work. I would also like to talk to you about the situation in the Government Legal Service, which I believe is an excellent example of some of these initiatives being operated with great success.The Crown Prosecution Service, which I superintend, and which is the largest employer in this country in terms of legal staff, is a very good example of a Department that has adopted flexible working and I am very pleased to say that this has proven very successful.The Crown Prosecution Service as an employer, tries to arrange flexible working arrangements to suit employees wherever this can be met within the requirements of its business needs. The same attitude is taken by other Government Departments. We recognise that the benefits provided by allowing flexible working are very significant and more than justify taking this approach.If you feel I need to "prove" my case to you about the successes we have had within the Government Legal Service, I should mention the statistics (from the Government Legal Service end of year report for 2007, reported in February 2008):• There are over 1,900 lawyers within the Government Legal Service. Of these 61% are women. That's the same percentage as the number of women admitted to the Law Society;• At the Senior Civil Service level, 40% of these lawyers are women and at the most senior Senior Civil Service levels, 40% are women. This compares with the 23% of partners in law firms who are women.• Now after a period of 700 years, we have a female Attorney General and, notably, both Law Officers are female.So how has the Government Legal Service achieved these figures? We offer excellent quality, high profile work, of great variety. So do you. We have a very positive approach towards career development and talent management and I am confident you do as well.We also, however, take a positive approach towards diversity and flexible working. We offer the chance to do high-quality work but with flexible working arrangements including full-time, part-time, home working and job-sharing. I think this is the lynch-pin of our success. We've been doing it for some time - I know, for example, of a member of the Senior Civil Service who agreed with her Department (the then Department for Social Security) in 1990, when she returned to work from maternity leave, that she would work part-time (3 days per week). This may not seem that surprising but the next point perhaps is: it was her employers who suggested that to make this arrangement more workable, she should work partially at home so that she could manage her work and family life commitments in a non-traditional way. I should also emphasise that this was done for a business reason. She was an excellent asset of a lawyer that no-one wanted to lose, so her employer changed their procedures to accommodate her.I know of other lawyers within the Government Legal Service who are senior civil service level lawyers and who are able to do their work by job-sharing. They continue to progress their careers and they continue to be given the very best quality of work to do, but they are able to do this and still work part-time, meeting their family commitments. We accommodate this because we recognise that it's more important to have talented individuals who want to work for us and offer us part of a week's work than just to lose them completely.We also offer flexible working arrangements to lawyers where the situation is appropriate, such as working from home a certain number of days per week so that they can meet caring commitments (both for men and women and very importantly not just caring commitments for children either). In some cases, it works to offer compressed hours so that people can fit a full week into less than five days. This reflects what the Legal Lives report recommends in terms of increased autonomy for deciding where and when hours are worked.In considering offering flexible working arrangements, the Legal Lives report has, quite accurately, identified the need for some very important considerations, which are transparency and consistency of arrangements. I think there needs to be a conversation between lawyer and manager and there needs to be trust on both sides; so the lawyer knows they are trusted to work effectively, even if working outside the office and the manager trusts the lawyer to get that work done.It is important to recognise within all of this that flexible working and a better-work life balance does not mean failing to meet a client's needs and expectations. I think the report makes an important point - clients themselves often work flexibly and, if their deadlines are explored and properly assessed, flexible working arrangements can in many if not in all cases, still meet those deadlines and meet them comfortably.I just want to finish, if I may, on the note of Pro Bono. I want to use it to illustrate to you another way to meet work-life balance and to make sure that lawyers feel their work and their lives are meaningful. The Legal Lives report comments that:"people experiencing better balance are likely to be more motivated and more engaged with their employers and their work. Busy managers will find them easier to manage and they will stay longer, feeding the future talent pipeline".I have a great interest in pro bono and corporate social responsibility work because what they demonstrate to the lawyer engaged in them is a reminder of the reasons for being a lawyer. It helps them to be a voice for voices that cannot be heard. When a lawyer is engaged in what can seem like hard-edged work, it helps to revive some of the optimism and belief in a justice system that led them to become a lawyer in the first place. What I believe we see with pro bono lawyers is that a light goes on when they do pro bono work and it makes it a bit easier to do that hard edged work they must carry out. So many lawyers have told me that with pro bono they get back far more than they give. This year's strapline for National Pro Bono Week in November is "Giving time, making a difference" and that is what I think really rewards. I commend it to you as another way to achieve the work-life balance. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/RetainingTalentThroughABalancedCulture.aspx ? Retaining Talent Through A Balanced Culture 14 October 2008 Attorney General's Office
Building Trust And Confidence Through Effective Justice7 October 2008Good afternoon.I was determined to be here today as I believe the topic of confidence is just so critical. It is about the journey we have been on since 2003. You have already heard from an illustrious group of speakers about some key reforms to the Criminal Justice System. I hope you found the presentations as informative, as stimulating and as thought provoking as the one I have just listened to from Assistant Commissioner Tim Godwin. I hope they prompted you to think about what more we can do together, and I just want to tell Tim, that now I am looking more like him, perhaps sharing a diet might be a good idea - we can lose weight for justice. I think we do need to make the CJS more efficient and effective in tackling crime and delivering justice and more responsive to the needs of victims and the public.I think we really do have a shared agenda. It's enshrined in the new criminal justice PSA target (Justice for All). I should put my hands up, as one of the architects of that agreement which can be achieved if we work better than we were together and with the public. Together we have been able to• improve the quality and consistency of the services we provide;• improve the experience of all those who use and work in - or with - the criminal justice system;• be able to respond effectively and proportionately to the concerns of the communities we serve; and• as a result we've improved criminal justice outcomes for all.Ultimately, our collective goal is to raise public awareness and confidence in the criminal justice system. Tim Godwin absolutely put his finger on it. It is fitting, therefore, for today's event to discuss the theme of public confidence and how we can work together to increase it. I'm sorry to have displaced Jonathan Slater, but I know he will have such cutting edge things to tell you, he will be worth the wait, like a good wine. When I was Criminal Justice Minister at the Home Offce, the Championship of confidence in the Criminal Justice System was given to me, and I have managed to keep it ever since. So as you can imagine, this issue is very close to my heart.The Criminal Justice System belongs to the people it serves. If people understand and trust the system, they will feel increasingly free to get on with their lives without fear of crime, secure in the knowledge that there are opportunities for those who play by the rules to get what they justly deserve, which is a fair system.The system also relies on the public to report crime and be willing to provide evidence as witnesses. And we depend on volunteers to support victims; to serve as magistrates and jurors or to get involved as members of independent advisory groups and scrutiny panels and if people don't have confidence, don't think it is worthwhile making a contribution therefore it doesn't matter, the system will fail.The Criminal Justice System must be transparent and accountable to help the public understand how it is performing. This must be done in ways which build the confidence of all sections of the community that the system is fair and effective. If one part of our community does not believe that the Criminal Justice System is there for them, then we don't have an effective system.It is also vital that the Criminal Justice System has the trust and confidence of those we rely on to deliver services and that really is our staff and our wider delivery partners in the voluntary and community sector. Because, tf our staff aren't confident that the system is the best it can be, if they don't take pride in their work and don't trust other partners to "do their bit", it will colour their interactions with the public and when we did some tests a while ago we found that the best indicator of confidence is what all of you in the system think of it. It is hugely important that we work as a team and trust each other Working together has real benefits.We have come a long way in reforming the criminal justice system and have achieved a great deal through better and closer joint-working between the criminal justice agencies and better work through our local delivery partnerships. I believe we have much to be proud of and I want to reflect some of the very many achievements we have delivered together. It's easy to forget how far we've come in terms of partnership working and co-operation. Even in 2003 some people thought it would be unrealistic to expect the level of co-operation that we have managed to achieve. I have absolute confidence that we do work together, and our work has been rewarded.The system is more effective at bringing offences to justice.• Recorded crime is significantly down - by nine per cent for the year to March 2008 compared to the previous year• There are fewer cases failing to reach court due to preparation or witness issues.• We brought almost one-and-a half million offences to justice in the year to March 2008 - an increase of over forty-five per cent compared to five years previously• The risk of becoming a victim is at its lowest level its ever been since 1981, although I know a number of people don't seem to accept that.• We are improving the investigation and prosecution of sexual violence offences and giving victims confidence that they will be supported if they have the courage to come forward• We are building on our success in tackling persistent offending, through closer, more effective working with health and local authorities to address drug, alcohol misuse and mental health issues.• We are implementing a more comprehensive approach to dealing with youth crime, from early intervention right the way through to reducing re-offending, using targeted initiatives to tackle the scourge of guns, gangs and knife crime and the fact that the education and health departments are doing this with us has made a difference.• And we are using the full powers available to the CJS to take away criminals' ill-gotten gains, sending a clear message that crime does not pay. I will say more a little later about the power of asset recovery as a tool to increase public confidence.Communities are increasingly being informed, consulted and engaged• Every community in England and Wales has a visible and accountable Neighbourhood Policing team. My expectation is that they should be supported in due course by community prosecutors• We are extending the successful community justice approach, which supports the courts and other criminal justice delivery partners in engaging with the local community, working in a really intense way to drive down crime and reduce re-offending through a problem-solving approach.• We have invested half-a-million pounds over two years through the Race and Confidence Challenge Fund to support innovative and practical local initiatives to improve engagement with local communities, front-line staff and to increase volunteer engagement with the CJS because the Third Sector is really important to us.• We are improving the CJS response to victims of hate crime:o Implementing the Race for Justice Action plano Introducing national standards for justice and arrangements across the CJS around the handling of hate crimeo Providing targeted training for CJS colleagues. I really just want to underline how important I think it is for CJS colleagues to work together across disciplines.• This summer, we held the first ever national conference for Independent Advisory Group members, who are working alongside Local Criminal Justice Boards and strengthening links between the criminal justice organisations and the communities they serve.• I think we really are raising awareness and understanding of the criminal justice system through national campaigns such as Inside Justice and celebrating the achievements of staff and volunteers through the Justice Awards, which are just around the corner now, something we all greatly look forward to. I am delighted to say that we have had over seven hundred nominations for those awards this year and the Awards Ceremony for the finalists on 21 October should prove, once again, to be an inspirational event. I think it's turning into the CJS Oscars.We have vastly improved services to victims and witnesses• We have set, and continue to embed across the CJS, the quality of service standards and obligations for meeting the needs of victims and witnesses• Victims and witnesses are given the right information at every stage of the criminal justice process, about how the CJS works and about their own case• We are dealing with young, vulnerable and intimidated witnesses are being helped to give their best evidence in court and are being supported through the criminal justice process;• And we continue to work with the Victims Advisory Panel to ensure that our policies are better informed by the views and experiences of victims themselves.We are cutting bureaucracy and introducing simpler, more efficient processes• We are reducing delays in court and improving the way cases are managed through initiatives such as the Charging Programme and the CPS Direct service. I think London, if I may say so, is developing a number of extremely interesting models others may want to adopt.• You have already heard about the transformation being achieved through Simple, Speedy Summary Justice.• We are reforming Legal Aid to reduce delay and make it fairer to victims and to defendants• And we are introducing new technology to support the business:o Making greater use of digital evidenceo Speeding up the entry of court results onto the Police National Computer, leading to faster sharing of datao Developing the CJS Exchange as the hub around which we join up IT across the CJS, enabling criminal justice agencies and organisations to access, share and exchange information electronically and securely over the internet We can celebrate the achievements made in increasing public confidence. But there are also challenges that we must recognise.I know that this is no easy task, especially when so many of the people in the country rate law and order as one of their biggest worries and the national media consistently churn out bad news stories. It is made more difficult by the fact that perceptions of crime and justice issues are particularly difficult to shift and are subject to a huge range of influences, some of which are outside of the system.So, there are no magic answers. But the good news, and there is good news, is that confidence is rising. Not as quickly as we'd like to see it change, but it is rising. The percentage of people who say they are confident that "the CJS is effective in bringing people who commit crimes to justice" went up from just under thirty-nine per cent in March 2003 to just over forty-four per cent in March this year. I celebrate the forty-eight point five per cent in London, but I won't be happy until it is well over fifty per cent.Another way of expressing this very positive achievement is that in 2003, 39 people out of every 100 were confident in the CJS. Over the last three years a further 6 out of every hundred were convinced and this represents a relative increase of fifteen per cent. I think we can be proud and all of you can be proud of the part you played in delivering that improvement.The less good news is that there are very many people in this country that we have yet to convince that our criminal justice system is effective. Let me just give you a couple of examples:• There is a persistent belief that crime levels are much higher than they actually are and that they are rising.• There is also a belief that sentencing is insufficiently tough - yet, when given the opportunity through engagement activity, as in Inside Justice Week when the public will get some of those opportunities, to decide levels of sentencing, the public tends to be more lenient in sentencing than the trial judge.We are all working tremendously hard to improve the delivery of justice for all but the inescapable fact remains that less than half of the population is confident that the criminal justice system is achieving its aim of bringing those who commit crime to justice.So what are the major challenges aheadWe need to close the perceptions gap, bringing public beliefs about the system closer to the reality of crime and justice in this country. We have to get better at opening up justice, and communicating our successes jointly in ways that people will actually hear us and are much more visible to the public.We know that perceptions are subject to multiple and varied influences so we have to focus on the key drivers for public confidence, and there are three main ones:The first is personal experience: We have to ensure that we work together to provide a consistent and high quality service right across the CJS to all users of the system, and ensure that regardless of their "user status" (whether they are victims, witnesses, jurors, suspects, defendants, or offenders) they have a good experience of our system.The second is word of mouth: We know that what people say about the criminal justice system matters. So loose words from CJS "Insiders" who criticise the system and each other openly and without prompting (as some do), can undermine the hard work and successes that we achieve together.We also need to turn our internal critics into advocates for the system. That means getting to the root of their dissatisfaction:• Acknowledging and addressing genuine system problems which cut across each other and prevent them doing the best possible job• Raising awareness of the role of each agency as a critical part of a wider system which can only deliver justice in partnership and• Restoring a strong sense of pride in every individual and ensuring that pride is reflected outwards to communities.And the third main driver is communication through local and national media: We have so many good things to say about our criminal justice system but we're not telling the story very convincingly to our communities. We have a particularly good opportunity with local media to tell that story. People know the local concerns and can recognise when we are addressing their needs.I have already talked about the importance of working in partnership right across the CJS, our golden thread running through our biggest achievements. Effective partnership working at every level is also fundamental to our plans for the future. Equally important is ensuring that we are engaging ever more effectively with communities, opening up the criminal justice system and involving local people so they feel they have some traction over what is done, and that it meets their concerns.I just want to give a couple of good examples of partnership working which delivers tangible results for local communities. In Leicestershire, the CPS and the Police have been working closely with each other using the Proceeds of Crime legislation to promote community confidence. Working together, the Prosecution Team has targeted drug dealers and other high profile local criminals. They have very publicly seized the assets of these individuals to reinforce the message that crime does not pay. They used some particularly memorable local advertising to support the campaign: "Too much bling? …Give us a ring" said the adverts. They had quite a lot of support for that one. And the local community responded, playing its part in the process by helping to identify problem individuals to the police.I remember another example from Kent, where a recovered Mercedes was driven around town with the slogan 'donated by the drug dealers of Kent to the police' painted on the side, which was really quite effective.The foundations for really effective joint working are in place and are at the heart of every single CJS success story.And we should not forget the valuable tools we already have to deliver justice and boost confidence. I said earlier that I would return to the issue of Asset Recovery and how it can be used effectively to increase confidence that we are tackling crime.Asset Recovery serves a number of purposes:• It disrupts the criminal economy• It deters criminals.• It enables better detection of criminals. It shows the public that criminal s do not get to keep the fruits of their illicit activity.Asset recovery is one of the few aspects of the criminal justice system that generates a positive story every time it is successful. We should be doing more to mainstream the activity and promote the results. Asset recovery is a key tool in building confidence and should not be an afterthought.In conclusion:I hope I have made clear that I think you all do a tremendous job. Whether as police officers, prosecutors, court staff, members of the judiciary, prison and probation officers; or members of youth justice services, the voluntary sector and other delivery partners or as volunteers: I thank you for the work you do every day and for your energy and commitment to this subject. Without that, none of the success stories would have happened.So I do want to end by thanking you all very much indeed. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/BuildingTrustAndConfidenceThroughEffectiveJustice.aspx ? Building Trust And Confidence Through Effective Justice 07 October 2008 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General's Panels Of Civil Counsel "Widening The Pool" Event30 September 2008Speech at "widening the pool" pre- recruitment round publicity eventI am very pleased to be here with you this evening. The purpose of this event is to encourage applications from a wide range of counsel; those who come from different backgrounds, bringing with them valuable experiences garnered from different sets of chambers.I would like to speak about Panel Counsel, who are the barristers appointed to appear on behalf of the Government. We, as the Law Officers, are responsible for all Crown litigation.All panel counsel, civil and criminal, are appointed by the Attorney General and by me. They must embody the Law Officers' highest standards of public service and excellence.You have come here tonight because you are interested in the competition to be appointed to the London civil panels for the next 5 years. There are three London panels - the A Panel, for senior juniors with ten years' experience or more; the B Panel, for middle juniors with five to ten years' experience; and the C Panel, for junior juniors with between two and five years' experience.Panel Counsel are appointed in fair and open competition, in accordance with the published criteria.The Law Officers play an ongoing role in monitoring both the panel counsel system and also those who appear on our panels, receiving feedback from Treasury Solicitor's Department about their performance. We encourage Departments to allocate a fair spread of instructions. We deal robustly with off-panel nominations. If you have been through the selection process to carry out our work, then you deserve to be instructed.We have a responsibility to "grow" the talent of our panels, to encourage and support them in developing their skills and to build on those skills. This progression could be by moving up through the panels and many A panel counsel go on to become QCs. Some may go on to become First Treasury Counsel. Everyone who is appointed to the civil panels has demonstrated skill and ability, but also has the potential to become even more skilful in time.We have taken steps to ensure diversity and equality of opportunity in relation to panel counsel. We ask all applicants to complete ethnic and gender monitoring forms. The Attorney General meets regularly with the Bar Council to discuss ways of improving the diversity of the panels. Importantly, on 3rd July 2008 we launched two initiatives in relation to promoting diversity and equality. The Attorney General's Diversity and Equality Strategy sets out what we are looking for in terms of achieving diversity and equality from barristers instructed on behalf of the Government. It sets out our aspirations that by 2012 those appointed to the various panels of counsel we approve to act on behalf of the Government will be as diverse as the overall pool of counsel who can apply.The other initiative launched in July is the Attorney General's Equality and Diversity Expectations Statement for Criminal and Civil Counsel and their Chambers. This statement sets out our expectations for Chambers in terms of promoting diversity and equality.Chambers have an obligation in providing support to the work undertaken by panel counsel; they have much to add in ensuring diversity and equality in the work given to panel counsel. The statement includes requirements that Chambers will have a written policy statement of their commitments to equality and diversity, that they will have an action plan to implement this policy, that they will implement the policy and that they will report back to us to show just how the policy has been implemented.The diversity and equality strategy and the expectation statement reflect our belief that the panels of counsel we use can and should be made more diverse, and should properly reflect the variety of different barristers who are at the Bar today. Furthermore, we believe that the excellent quality and interesting legal work from the Government should be given equally to all panel counsel. These strategies will help us take forward these beliefs and we will be monitoring them on an ongoing basis to ensure they are being delivered effectively.The message I want you to leave this event with is that we expect applications from the widest possible range of candidates to work for a modern Government in the 21st Century. The qualities needed in panel counsel of excellence and integrity are obviously shared by barristers from very different backgrounds, who have very different characteristics. That is why I have come here tonight in order to speak to you.I have mentioned our commitment to growing the talent and potential of our panels. How might we best do this? It is about giving possible applicants the information and support they need to be comfortable enough to know that they could be on our panels. We set up a mentoring scheme to achieve exactly this. It is a way to tell counsel what life is really like on the panels and to encourage everyone to appear on our panels, whether they have a traditional chambers' background or not, and irrespective of their gender or ethnic status.We know how it works when you face something new or different and you aren't sure what is required. You will want advice about what it is, what it involves, whether it is worth considering. Applying to the panel counsel system is no different. We believe that our mentoring scheme provides those answers. For some of you, it may be possible to find out these answers by talking to a colleague in chambers who already appears on a panel. But what about those of you who don't have a colleague in chambers with that information and experience? We want to level the playing field so that all possible applicants have access to the same information and assistance in deciding whether to make an application.Our mentoring scheme provides you with a way to access that information and experience. It was set up three years ago and has proven very successful. It is designed to encourage and to support applications from those candidates who are talented but may be completely new to the idea of panel counsel work and who are tenants in chambers where none of the other barristers are panel members. If you are the first person in your chambers to apply, don't let that hold you back. There may have been days when that would have held you back but not any more. We are most effectively represented by a wide pool of barristers, all united by their commitment to public law work, their enthusiasm and their ability. I can tell you that the spread of chambers represented by counsel on the panel is very wide.This year, for the first time, we have extended the mentoring scheme and mentoring will go beyond the application process. This means that barristers appointed to the C panel will be offered a mentor during their first six months after appointment, in order to help them adapt to their work. Again, it offers barristers who are the first in their chambers to be appointed to the panels, the opportunity to have assistance and support from someone who is already undertaking Government work. We are interested in appointing on merit and merit only, from chambers wherever you may be.I hope that you have been encouraged to take the next step and download an application pack from the Treasury Solicitor's Department website. It will be available on 2nd October. If you are interested in the mentoring scheme, please contact the Treasury Solicitor's Department. They will provide you with the name of a current member of the panels who will be able to talk you through the application process. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneral%E2%80%99sPanelsOfCivilCounsel%E2%80%9CWideningThePool%E2%80%9DEvent.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP s Panels Of Civil Counsel "Widening The Pool" Event 30 September 2008 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General: Speech For Seminar For LCJBS On Asset Recovery18 September 2008Good morning.I am delighted to be here today. All of you sitting at these tables are going to be the powerhouse to deliver change. I would like to say thank you - for all the work you have done, and for all the work you will be doing. And I will keep on saying thank you as long as you keep on working!I am the Government champion for confidence in the criminal justice system and confiscation enforcement. These issues are close to my heart. I am pleased that this seminar has been organised to bring together members of Local Criminal Justice Boards and others to focus on how we can improve outcomes for the communities we serve through the effective use of asset recovery, and increase public confidence that we are tackling crime.Those at the centre, like me, can set out a vision: those on the frontline, like you, are the people who know what works. I might add that those at the centre also need to be particularly aware of the need to minimise burdens on the frontline. We need to think hard, for example, about a system of incentivisation that enables delivery rather than distracting from it. We've come a long way since 2004 in how we work together and the best ways to achieve our aims.I'm aware that to some extent I am preaching to the converted today. I hope everyone here recognises the importance of asset recovery, and the need to look at what we can do collectively to improve on current performance. I want to see everyone involved in the criminal justice system recognise the importance of asset recovery. To achieve this we will need to reach a lot of people, and think carefully about how we get our messages across, and get them across effectively.The amount of money recovered from criminals has increased markedly over the last few years, but there is still scope to do much more. Indeed, this year's disappointing performance so far reinforces that message and makes events like today's all the more important. Sometimes, perhaps, asset recovery is regarded as an 'add-on' when it needs to be a vital element of our core business.So why does asset recovery really matter?Asset recovery disrupts the criminal economy. It makes life difficult for those who like to turn a dishonest penny. Criminals find their working capital disappearing, their fellow crooks lose confidence in them, and they have to dream up new ways of hiding their loot from investigators. There are two reasons people go into crime. Because they are not afraid of being caught; and because if they are caught then they are comfortable in the knowledge that their ill gotten gains are secure.Asset recovery deters criminals. Criminals used to think of prison as an occupational hazard - when caught for the crime, do the time - but secure in the knowledge that when they emerged through the prison gates, they could carry on where they left off and return to their comfortable lifestyles. Not so, if their dishonest business crumbles and their standing in the community falls. (A recent survey indicated that those who think they have paid their dues by going to prison are thoroughly disconcerted by having their assets confiscated too.)Asset recovery enables better detection of criminals. Tracing stolen money often leads to people whose involvement in crime was previously unsuspected. Seizing cash at the border has led to the identification of individuals engaged in crime.Asset recovery enables the public to see that criminals do not get to keep the fruits of their illicit activity. Louise Casey's recent review stressed the importance to the law-abiding public of seeing that criminals pay for their crimes. One survey suggests that 80% of people think that sending criminals to prison and confiscating their wealth are equally important goals of the criminal justice system.It is dismaying for decent hard-working people who earn their money legitimately to see the local crooks swanning around with assets beyond the pockets of the law-abiding. I was delighted to read about Sussex Police seizing a convicted drug dealer's convertible BMW. It is apparently a silver number, with burgundy leather interior, and is now emblazoned with the words 'Car seized from local drug dealer' on its doors and, on the bonnet, 'Operation Payback. Making drug dealers pay'.That must bring a smile to the faces of the law-abiding people of Sussex.And as the word 'Payback' on the BMW bonnet suggests, asset recovery is also about allowing reparation and redress to society. Ensuring compensation for the victims of crime from those who made them victims.So what can you, as members of LCJBs, do to promote asset recovery? How can you build on what has been achieved in previous years and boost this year's far less impressive performance? I am very worried about this year's performance.First, I think, you can emphasise, to your staff and within your organisations, how important it is - how it should be central to decision-making, at the point of charging and, crucially, on conviction. You need to remember that, as I was saying earlier, in the public mind it is as important as locking up wrongdoers.Second, you can use asset recovery as a central element in building public confidence. Asset recovery is one of the few aspects of the criminal justice system that generates a positive story every time it is done successfully. Unlike some of the more abstract processes of the CJS, it is easy to communicate to the public the notion that a criminal has been stripped of his assets. We should all do more to reassure the public that crime doesn't pay. And you will hear examples from some of the speakers today, demonstrating where local areas have done exactly that.Third, quite apart from the eloquence of a seized silver BMW, there is more to do strategically and structurally. The guidance that has recently been issued to LCJBs should form the basis of a very valuable toolkit for practitioners. LCJBs can provide leadership, encourage joint working and facilitate multi-agency performance management - one of those mouthfuls that conceals an important and productive activity.At the National Criminal Justice Board earlier this year we heard from Kate Carty and Chris Eyre of Leicestershire LCJB. They gave us a really good example of how to deliver change in the context of the Beacon Approach. I think there are lessons to be learned for the delivery of asset recovery. I am delighted that Kate, the Chief Crown Prosecutor for Leicestershire, is here again today to share some of Leicestershire's experiences with you.Key elements in Leicestershire's success included a clear understanding of linkages at the local level. Criminal economies, for want of a different phrase, differ across the country: the asset recovery tools we use need to be flexible to tackle those differences.Leicestershire were good - as others are - at publicising successes in asset recovery. To build public confidence, we need not only to recover assets but ensure that local communities know about it.The North Wales LCJB has a good tale to tell. They made the point in a press release celebrating achievement of their £1 million confiscation enforcement target that if criminals don't cough up the proceeds of their crimes, they can be sent back to jail.The Board has helped the various criminal justice agencies in North Wales work more closely.The result is a record number of 52 confiscation orders made under the Proceeds of Crime Act.Mike Mullis, the Business Manager of North Wales Criminal Justice Board, remarked in a recent press release:"The Criminal Justice Board is here to coordinate the actions and facilitate more effective working relations."The agencies concerned have really worked hard on this and they are now seeing the rewards - to the tune of £1 million."Mike added that the work the police have done in setting up financial investigation teams and the work the CPS have done in identifying cases coming through enabled the LCJB to hit a range of offenders, from basic criminals up to major criminals.Mike referred to a recent example at Mold Crown Court where a drug dealer was ordered to pay back almost £97,000 of his ill-gotten gains - or spend an extra two years in jail.As Mike observed, "The delicious irony is that the proceeds of crime are helping to finance local police, courts and CPS activities. They're actually paying to improve our criminal justice system, so it's a double whammy."So, to close, to make genuine advances on the confidence agenda, asset recovery needs to be mainstreamed. It needs to become part of the mindset of front-line police officers and charging lawyers. It should not be an afterthought.If we start to ask the question with every case - what assets are there? How can they be recovered? How can we publicise that recovery to increase public confidence? Then we will make the quantum leap forward in performance.Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. Finally, I would like to say that this seminar offers a great opportunity for us to share good ideas.I trust that today's gathering is a very worthwhile and fruitful one, and that you can return to your Areas keen to spread the word and to make asset recovery work for you and for the public you serve. If there are things we can learn, or things we need to do differently, then this is our opportunity to brainstorm. Each area has an opportunity to help other areas solve their problems. Let's use the opportunity and make a difference.Thank you. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneralSpeechForSeminarForLCJBSOnAssetRecovery.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP Speech For Seminar For LCJBS On Asset Recovery 18 September 2008 Attorney General's Office
Launch Of Conditional Cautions For Women Pilot Scheme - Leeds22 August 2008Launch Of Conditional Cautions For Women Pilot Scheme - LeedsI am pleased to be here today to launch the pilots of a new disposal which will give women offenders a chance to change their lives.You will all be aware of the report by Baroness Corston on women with particular vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system. Her findings starkly demonstrate the harsh realities of many women offenders' lives. In prison, about one half of women prisoners have suffered from domestic violence, about a third from sexual abuse. That's twice as high as in the general population. About 80% have addiction of drink or drugs problems and high numbers have mental health difficulties. Twice as many women as men prisoners are sole carers with children and 80% of women in custody have dependents aged under 18. They are overwhelmingly in custody for non violent non dangerous offences, mostly stealing, and this is a profile which suggests people's lives in chaos rather than career criminals. Nothing is changed via the short prison sentences with which such women ultimately end up. About 80% are less than 6 months. They are simply warehoused and in that period of time no constructive input can really take place. They are likely to lose their homes and their families are likely to be broken up. When the key is turned to unlock them they will go back with the same problems but now with even more disruptive lives. No one blames the Courts, we have to offer alternatives for them and in our broader response to Corston we will do more of that - today's initiative perhaps comes earlier. It may be less of an attempt to offer a direct alternative immediately to imprisonment though it may sometimes fit that bill. It is intended to head off such women from repetitive low level crime which will mean that they end up there by tackling the causes of their offending as quickly as possible.As Ministerial champion for out of court penalty initiatives, it struck me very forcibly when I reflected on Jean Corston's report that there were steps we could take out of court in this situation.Since conditional cautions were brought in by the Criminal Justice Act 2003 they've played a role in our overall aim of ensuring that we have a criminal justice system tailored to meet the requirements of victims and communities for reparation for low level crime and in tackling the causes of offending, thus having a rehabilitative effect on offenders in everybody's interest.Conditional cautions are a quick and flexible approach which builds on the principles underlying Penalty Notices for Disorder and Simple Cautions by allowing low level, straightforward cases to be dealt with outside of court.Obviously cautions have got to be well judged to ensure that the right people are diverted from court and those who need the court's attention go there.But diverting people from the criminal justice system which has a sort of glue effect, it's hard to get people out once they're in, who don't yet need to be in it and for whom a tailored solution can be made available here is a good thing.Most people receiving conditional cautions if prosecuted would probably have received a fine, compensation or a conditional discharge. Instead, by accepting a caution an offender has to face their criminality and is offered the opportunity to get help with whatever is causing their crime.We've now seen the chance to build on that experience with this new condition addressing the specific needs of women involved and the reasons behind their offending behaviour.As Baroness Corston's report shows many women offenders have a range of interlinked problems, not just individually the ones society sets out. As the Sentencing Advisory Panel acknowledges in its current consultation paper, women tend to have more complex needs involving their vulnerabilities more than men. The point is that one sentences for a result and at this level rehabilitation is a big part. How to tackle rehabilitating men is reasonably well known and has certainly been on the agenda for many years. Of the 84000 people in prison 80000 are men and they commit 90 odd per cent of all crimes. So rehabilitating them is not unexplored; schemes tend to be modelled not surprisingly for men and less for women, who can be something of an afterthought, with schemes adapted from those for men to meet their needs. Since Baroness Corston bought this issue to the fore, this is now starting to change. We must look specifically at addressing the factors that make women get into crime if we are to be good at getting them out of it.By referring women to a holistic women's centre at an early stage in their offending career, giving them an opportunity to sit down with a trained and sympathetic member of staff to carry out a full assessment of their needs will, we hope, help them start to sort their lives out and tackle the causes of their offending which it can be desperately difficult for them to tackle alone.We arranged for this launch to take place at one of the Together Women centres so that those who had not previously visited such a centre could experience for themselves what a welcoming and inspirational atmosphere has been created here.The Together Women centres aim to offer a "one stop shop" service for women to provide them with holistic, individual support packages targeted on their specific needs. No-one coming to this centre can fail to recognise that this is a safe environment too.At the core of the Together Women approach is the assessment of need which the centre helps her to carry out. This underpins the range of services which she is encouraged to access - which can include help with accessing or keeping accommodation; skills training in basic English or Maths, or developing IT skills; debt counselling and financial awareness training; parenting courses; in cookery and how to prepare nutritious meals - particularly important for the many women who are primary or sole carers for small children and it can include personal counselling such as anxiety management, assertiveness training, anger management and the restoration of self worth as a base for moving forward.This needs assessment will be the requirement of the conditional caution. Eligible women offenders who admit their offence, and accept the conditional caution, will be required to attend their local Together Women centre - in Leeds, Bradford or Liverpool - for a full needs assessment. For some, this will be completed during their first visit to the centre.For those with more complex problems, or who find it more difficult to communicate, it may take several visits.Although it will not be a requirement of the conditional caution that a woman continues to come to the centre, we confidently expect that they will want to take advantage of the range of courses and support services the centre can provide. It would be counter-intuitive for a woman who has seen herself slide down into trouble having an assessment of her needs and the offer of help to decline it. And it is the experience of TWP that most women who come across their doors to be assessed stay to take on their services.TWP has been around three years now and it has a bedrock of experience on which we build this condition and I want to thank TWP for being prepared to be the anchor for this scheme.I also want to thank the Crown Prosecution Service and the Police who will play an equally important role in selecting the right people to be put onto this conditional caution. There is very obviously from the people here today a strong culture of partnership working here, it's great to see the probation service magistrates and magistrates' clerks and defence solicitors here and all of their wisdom will help feed in to ensuring that the right people are chosen, and not the wrong people, on this scheme. So let me thank all of those of groups in advance.We will be putting in place a full evaluation of the impact which the pilots have - looking at which women are given the conditional caution, whether they comply with it, whether they follow it up and get services and what impact it has on their lives and on their propensity to re-offend. The results of this evaluation will inform our consideration of whether this type of condition might be more widely applied - not just to women, but potentially to other vulnerable groups.Baroness Corston wanted to come to help me launch this caution but unfortunately has to be at a funeral today but she spoke to me and wanted to have this said on her behalf:'This is a great government initiative it gives women who would otherwise face a revolving door of short sentences the opportunity to turn their lives around, develop self esteem and self confidence and do what most women want to do - make a good job of bringing up a family'. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/LaunchOfConditionalCautionsForWomenPilotScheme-Leeds.aspx ? Launch Of Conditional Cautions For Women Pilot Scheme - Leeds 22 August 2008 Attorney General's Office
CPS Crimes Against Older People - Prosecution Policy15 July 2008Victoria Park PlazaI am very grateful to the CPS for inviting me to this launch event. It is the fourth such event I have attended since being appointed Solicitor General last year, as I have spoken previously at the launch of the extremely good violence against women policy, the first that has yet been produced by any government agency, the revised Homophobic and Transphobic policy event and the Racist and Religious Crimes policy and guidance documents.DiversityThe CPS is clearly and very properly endeavouring to deal comprehensively with the six diversity strands - race, faith, gender, sexuality, disability and now age - in so far as they impact upon prosecution policy and performance.It is only right that the considerations applicable to each diversity strand are dealt with in this way, in separate Policy statements, but this cannot mask the true complexity of the situation.In real life, the strands are interconnected, and as individuals, we do not live in an "either/or" world, certainly in this respect. The victim of crime may be at the same time old, female, lesbian, disabled and Jewish, thereby potentially experiencing issues in relation to each diversity strand.The new CPS Policy wisely recognises this.As prosecution experience of applying these policies deepens, though, it is likely to be enriched and even on occasion challenged by real life, by 'real time' diversity. The full appreciation of the inter-contextual nature of diversity is, I think, some way in the future, but I think it is right to say that its importance is becoming ever more apparent.Because prosecution policy is most effective, and applied most sensitively, when it is informed and guided by reality and not by stereotypes.The 'older' complainant may, frankly, be vigorous, alert, extrovert and resolute in the face of adversity. They may have been not limited by age but liberated by it, living far from sedentary lives as active members of the community, the bedrock of extended families.A prosecutor proceeding to analyse the evidence or devise a case strategy on the basis of preconceptions about older people will not do justice to the case. Indeed, the complainant may end up feeling alienated, even insulted by ill-informed assumptions. Age discrimination of that kind, not particularly in the CPS, is endemic as Helped the Aged, Age Concern and the other pressure groups make clear. They can support their assertions with examples from their membership.It is therefore important that the development of this Policy has taken into account the contributions of those best placed to give sound advice - older people themselves, those working with older people and academics working in the field of gerontology. To all those who have given their expertise in this way, please accept the grateful thanks of myself and the Attorney General.Support for vulnerable witnessesBut of course there will be occasions where vulnerable older people need to be properly supported during the prosecution process. If they are denied the support they need, then they may doubly suffer injustice.Not only may they have been targeted because of their vulnerability, but the criminal justice system will have failed to step up to the plate. At the extreme, the offender may go unconvicted, going on to offend again - perhaps given a positive incentive to target other vulnerable older people because of a failed prosecution.That is why I am pleased to see that the Guidance to prosecutors that supports the Policy highlights the need to fully address all issues arising from the potential vulnerability of an older person who is giving evidence. In propagating these policies you do two things.Firstly, you get away from the assumption, all too easy, all to prevalent and all too ageist, that an older vulnerable person wont hold up, will be a witness with weaknesses, wont be robust enough to sustain a prosecution at all. Secondly, you ensure that the criminal justice service (as I like to call it) does not do what the criminal justice system used to do - that is to be something remote, over there, only able to help you to justice if you fit into its mould. Now you are playing a role in ensuring that the criminal justice service reaches out to serve its community and adapts itself to all the people that need it, so that all kinds can have the chance to get justice.This extends from making a full, early, informed assessment (in cases where this appears necessary) of the competence of the witness to give evidence, which may be the subject of challenge in the proceedings.In cases where there may be some deterioration or fluctuation in the older person's ability to give clear evidence about an incident, when there is likely be substantial delay before the matter is tried, it may be appropriate to video record the evidence at an early stage, with a view to admitting it in this form.Consideration may also be given to a pre-trial interview with the prosecutor, and to having a Special Measures Meeting to discuss what particular measures or combination of them would best assist the witness in giving evidence.Crucially, in terms of case building, consideration ought to be given to obtaining other evidence which may support the evidence of the older person - in a case where abuse is alleged, from instance in the domestic context, this may emerge from health care records.The CPS and the CJS more generally should be able to step up to the plate to ensure that vulnerable victims of crime, or vulnerable witnesses, are able to provide the evidence which will ensure that the matter is fairly tried - and not unfairly tried, or not tried at all, because the proper steps have not been seen let alone taken.Human RightsIt is important, I think, to stress that this focus on diversity by the Crown Prosecution Service comes against the background of much greater Governmental focus on this issue over the past ten years.The passage of the Human Rights Act in 1998 was an important step in recognising in law the essential dignity of the individual and the need to create a society which supports that dignity.The Act was passed ten years ago, but its roots go back to the very early days of the Second World War, when the author H.G. Wells - some of whose books I am just re-reading not having read them since school - wrote a letter to the Times newspaper, urging a statement of war aims that could declare to the rest of the free world and to occupied Europe in unequivocal terms exactly what Britain was fighting for.Used as Wells was to peering into the uncharted future, he could see that worth fighting for was a new national and international settlement based upon acceptance of basic human rights, democracy and the rule of law.It was a clarion call to rally those who were young then. Remember, that first human rights generation is itself now old.Government initiatives - employmentThe Government has not been content, though, to erect a structure of formal human rights, even rights that are enforceable in our courts, without taking positive steps to ensure that the fundamental equality of each of us as people is fully supported by other means.The number of people aged over 85 is set to double by 2028, so it is increasingly important to ensure that older people are treated fairly, that they can live fulfilled lives and can continue to play their full part in the community.It is extraordinary that we are so short-sighted that we have allowed, indeed indulged in, ageism - the one characteristic that we all have in a world of diversity is that we will all be old. At least we all hope that we will be old. As someone else about the same time, but not H. G. Wells, once said "old age is not so bad when you consider the alternative".The Government has implemented the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, in October 2006, providing protection against age discrimination in employment, self-employment, adult education and for job applicants as well as for those in work.As with other discrimination legislation it covers harassment as well. It introduces a right for employees to request working beyond what's probably an increasingly irrelevant 'retirement age'. The employer now has a legal duty to consider such a request and must follow particular procedures. Most request are, I understand, allowed.To support working beyond 65, the age limit on the payment of Statutory Sick Pay was also removed.The Department of Work & Pensions' "Opportunity Age" strategy is designed to:• end the perception of older people as dependent;• ensure that longer life is healthy and fulfilling; and• enable older people to remain full participants in society.Over 1.4million employers and individuals have been given practical help and guidance on age discrimination issues through DWP's "Age Positive" campaign, which seeks to promote the benefits of employing a mixed-age workforce, encouraging employers to make decisions about recruitment, training and retention that do not discriminate because of their age.There is some evidence that initiatives like this may have contributed to increasing employment rates. The rate for people aged 50 to 65 has improved from 66% to 70% over the last decade. That's quite important for the economy that there should not be increasing numbers of pensioners being funded by diminishing numbers of people in work, it is also about opportunity. Any prospect that the criminal justice service could have carried on not taking account of the needs of older people was likely to be short lived in the face of older people who are increasingly being encouraged to see themselves as still an opportunity generation.Government initiatives - healthThe 2006 legislation covered working and learning, but it did not extend to discrimination experienced in the provision of goods and services. This is particularly important as, for example, there may be age penalties that render the costs of obtaining travel insurance prohibitive. Often a premium increase arises as soon as someone reaches the age of 65.Sometimes they are banded at 65 to 75 years old so that the risk attached to a 75 year old play-back on the premium of a 65 year old who is just as well as he was on the day before when he was 64. Older people can therefore be discriminated against in the insurance market.There may also be problems in obtaining access to particular forms of medical treatment.The Government has already sought to address age discrimination in the provision of health services on a non-legislative basis. In 2001, the Department of Health's National Service Framework for Older People (England) was put in place with an explicit focus on tackling age discrimination in service delivery, whether the older person is at home, in care, or in hospital.However, it is clearly necessary for the Government to legislate and it intends to legislate with the new Equality Bill. That will consolidate all the existing equality legislation in one act instead of the 9 statutes, 100 statutory instruments and thousands of pages of guidance which are current. It will create a single public sector duty extended to cover age.The Bill will also provide a basis for legislation prohibiting unjustifiable age discrimination that blocks access to goods, facilities and services, while allowing for a transitional period to permit affected organisations and businesses to make the necessary adjustments.The Government fully recognises that the adjustments are likely to be more substantial in the health and social care sectors. The approach to tackling discrimination there clearly needs to be sensitive and long-term, using a combination of legislation and other measures.The Government will therefore work with health and care providers to allow them to make changes in a phased and proportionate way.Age discrimination in the provision of services, for instance in relation to insurance or other financial services, would have to be actuarially based.It will not prohibit discrimination where this is fully justified - for instance, in provision of free bus passes or priority flu vaccinations for the over 60s.ConclusionThis Government is therefore committed to public services which meet the needs of all people and help individuals achieve their aspirations for better later lives and committed to a society that celebrates diversity and supports the fundamental equality of treatment that such a society requires.You are, if I may say so, a shining example of public service that is getting their first, before there is any legislative need to do so. The modern CPS which reaches out to the communities it serves and develops an approach to prosecution policy based on full appreciation of the diversity in society is, as I said at the start of these words to you, a CPS of which the Attorney General and I are proud.So congratulations on what is at least your fourth diversity policy. You and we now have an imperative - a continuing job to do - namely to implement all of this. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/CPSCrimesAgainstOlderPeople%E2%80%93ProsecutionPolicy.aspx ? CPS Crimes Against Older People - Prosecution Policy 15 July 2008 Attorney General's Office
World Bar Conference 200830 June 2008Speech By HM Attorney General To The World Bar Conference"The European Convention on Human Rights"Thank you Roy Martin.I welcome the opportunity to speak this morning. If as a law officer of the United Kingdom my speech inevitably covers the effect of the European Convention within these islands, I believe the experience we have had in applying human rights is one which every country has faced in one way or another.IntroductionAs the European Court of Human Rights said in the case of Soering v United Kingdom in 1989: "Inherent in the whole of the European Convention on Human Rights is a search for the fair balance between the demands of the general interest of the community and the requirements of the protection of the individual's rights."1Yet even a cursory glance at some of our national newspapers suggests that many people may hold a rather different idea of human rights, one in which there is only protection for "the bad" and nothing for the law-abiding. "Only the killers seem to have human rights" says one headline2; another "No human rights for the elderly in our care homes, but it's ok for crooks"3; "human rights is merely a sweetener for rapists, murderers and violent criminals"4 is yet another headline to an article bemoaning the failure of immigration judges to order the return of a criminal to his home country because of his right to respect for family life under article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. "The country that invented liberty needs no lessons from Europe on how to behave decently," it says before concluding, "Human rights can make a wrong".1 (1989) 11 EHRR 439, para 892 Daily Express 21 August 20073 Daily Express4 Daily Mail 6 November 2007It seems to me that these few examples illustrate perfectly the difficult position that the Convention, and those of us who passionately believe in it and in its incorporation into UK law, find ourselves in at the moment: that widely held belief that our ancient liberties are enough, and that the Convention is some foreign import that is simply there to give an advantage to the bad at the expense of the good.Now there will be some people who just do not like the values which the Convention seeks to protect. I of course think those people are wrong. I also happen to believe that most people, the vast majority of people, think they are wrong too, and in fact hold those values very dear. But they also need to be reassured that those values, and the rights in the Convention, are there to protect them as well.So today I want to look briefly at the history of rights, both at home and internationally, to show how fundamentally nativethe rights under the Convention really are; I will then consider how the incorporation of the Convention was achieved so as, as Lord Hoffman has put it, to strengthen the rule of law without inaugurating the rule of lawyers. And finally I want to think about how over time we might challenge the negative attitudes towards the Convention and the human rights that it seeks to protect.In October 1997 the United Kingdom Government issued its White Paper on the Human Rights Bill, called "Rights Brought Home". The paper argued that one of the effects of not incorporating the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law was that the rights contained in it were not seen as the native rights we had grown with and part of our national heritage. Back then, of course, enforcement of Convention rights was possible only in the European Court of Human Rights and then only after the exhaustion of all domestic remedies, a process that was both time consuming and expensive. By bringing rights home, the British people would be able to argue for their rights in the British courts.Incorporation, so the argument went, would also mean that rights would be brought much more fully into the jurisprudence of the courts throughout the United Kingdom so that their interpretation would be far more subtly and powerfully woven into our law.Yet despite this repatriation of human rights, the public's reluctance to embrace them, still less love them, in that guise continues. Only last week a newspaper column condemned the Human Rights Act for elevating the rights of criminals above the rights of the law-abiding. "It has become a charter for offenders and a battering ram against the pillars of civilisation" wrote the columnist before going on to say, in language which eerily echoes the language of the White Paper, that such injustices are now "woven into the fabric of British life".It is indeed a sad situation when the popular perception is that Human Rights have woven not justice but injustice into our law and way of life and when arguing against human rights becomes the vote winner.This is of course all the sadder given the long history of the recognition of rights in our common law, and the very active role that the United Kingdom played in the development of the new international order that started during the Second World War.It was Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill who in August 1941 "met at sea" and from the USS Augusta issued the Atlantic Charter. This enunciated the notion of internationally recognised freedoms, highlighting in particular freedom of life, freedom of religion, freedom from want and freedom from fear. In the aftermath of the Second World War when the failure of national and international means of protecting the rights of individuals and unpopular minorities became so starkly revealed, human rights was given a central position in the creation of the new international order: the United Nations Charter, signed in June 1945, recited in its preamble the determination by the "peoples of the United Nations … to reaffirm faith in fundamental rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person." Out of this came the United Nations Commission of Human Rights which under the formidable and inspirational chairmanship of Eleanor Roosevelt, carrying on the work begun by her late husband in 1941, produced the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations 60 years ago this December.The Universal Declaration did not, indeed was not intended, to create legal rights; rather it was an aspirational text that would be translated into legally binding treaties over the following decades at global and regional levels. And of course for us in the United Kingdom it is the European Convention on Human Rights that is the Declaration's most important child, a child indeed whom we helped to deliver.One international law specialist has described the Universal Declaration as the "Magna Carta of mankind" which serves to remind us of the long history of the development of rights in our country. If in 1215 the bad King John granted the rights in Magna Carta because of his need for cash rather than because of his sudden conversion to the idea of the rule of law, and if the charter itself was not the first such limitation on the powers of the monarch, it nevertheless firmly established two principles: that the power of the sovereign could be limited and that those limits were to be policed by the rule of law. And a look at a translation of chapter 29 surely brings to mind the provisions of article 5 of the Convention: "No free man shall in future be arrested or imprisoned or dispossessed of his freehold, liberties or free customs, or outlawed or exiled or victimised in any other way, nor will we attack him or send anyone to attack him, except by the lawful judgement of his peers or by the law of the land. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay right of justice."As Sellar and Yeatman put it in their comic Memorable History of England, 1066 and All That, "Magna Charter was therefore the chief cause of Democracy in England and thus a Good Thing for everyone" - though as they say it was not a good thing for the Common People and the long struggle for rights and liberty so tentatively secured for the Barons in 1215 was only just beginning.Magna Carta became the rallying point for many of the constitutional struggles over the intervening centuries. The next document of comparable constitutional significance in relation to rights is the Bill of Rights of 1689, another document which in its statements of freedom from cruel and unusual punishments and freedom from fines and forfeitures without trial has the ring of modernity about it.And from here we have the development of the idea, which reached its apotheosis in the nineteenth century, that under the common law individuals could say or do whatever they liked provided that whatever they said or did did not break the substantive law or infringe the legal rights of others. This residual right could only be interfered with if such interference was authorised under the common law or by statute.Hand in hand with that went the key constitutional principal of Parliamentary sovereignty, the idea, as Dicey put it, that Parliament could do anything but change a man into a woman.And as we now know, following the enactment of the 2004 Gender Recognition Act it can even do that.The Privy Council in the case of Madzimbamuto v Lardner-Burke, in which the consequences of the unilateral declaration of independence by Rhodesia were in issue, noted that:"It is often said that it would be unconstitutional for the United Kingdom Parliament to do certain things, meaning that the moral, political and other reasons against doing them are so strong that most people would regard it as highly improper if Parliament did these things. But that does not mean that it is beyond the power of Parliament to do these things. If Parliament chose to do any of them the courts could not hold the Act of Parliament invalid."But what if the omnipotent Parliament and the individual's freedom to do anything that was not unlawful could not provide sufficient safeguards for individual rights? As the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, said in his Second reading speech during the passage of the Human Rights Bill:"The traditional freedom of the individual under an unwritten constitution to do himself that which is not prohibited by law gives no protection from misuse of power by the state, nor any protection from acts or omissions of public bodies which harm individuals in a way that is incompatible with their human rights under the convention. Our legal system has been unable to protect people in the 50 cases in which the European Court has found a violation of the convention by the United Kingdom. That is more than any other country except Italy."Time then for the constitution to be further modified. As William Gladstone said of our constitution, it is "the most subtle organism which has proceeded from the womb and the long gestation of progressive history." And of course it is still gestating.The second world war and the determination to see that the atrocities that were committed during that time should never be repeated, led to the ambition to create a new international order. Lawyers from the United Kingdom played a significant role in shaping this order, particularly in the drafting of the Convention itself. At the time there was broad agreement between the major political parties in Britain about the need for the Convention, and the drafting was led by a Conservative, David Maxwell Fyfe QC who as Lord Kilmuir, later became Lord Chancellor. The Labour Foreign Minister, Kenneth Younger, stated in July 1950 that the European Convention contained "a definition of the rights and limitations thereto which follows almost word for word the actual texts proposed by the United Kingdom representatives." How strange then that many in our country should now regard the Convention as foreign.The concern at the time appears to have been not so much the substantive rights provided for in the Convention, but the means of enforcement through individual petition. So although the United Kingdom was the first country to ratify the Convention in 1951 we did not accept the right of individual petition to the European Court of Human Rights until January 1966. And of course it was not until 1998 that the Convention was incorporated into UK law.The result of this was that for some 50 years, without the United Kingdom being as engaged as it might have been, the Convention began nonetheless to have an impact on our laws: our domestic courts were turning to the Convention, not of course to apply it, but to aid the construction of legislation in cases of ambiguity; to establish the scope of the Common law in cases of uncertainty; and to inform judicial discretion. And up to June 2000 the United Kingdom came before the European Court in 115 admissible cases. In 72 of those cases we were found in violation of rights under the Convention and as a result made a number of changes to domestic primary legislation to ensure compliance.As Lord Bingham put it in a 1993 article arguing in favour of incorporation of the Convention, " … rights claimed under the Convention should , in the first place, be ruled upon by judges here before, if regrettably necessary, appeal is made to Strasbourg. The choice is … whether all matches in this field must be played away."5While one constitutional expert from Australia6 was able to comment: "Outsiders see Britain in practical terms having something in the nature of a Bill of Rights that is interpreted and applied by foreigners. It passes my understanding why the British do not see the virtue of having such questions determined by their own courts, at least initially."Well of course the virtue was seen in 1998 with the passing of the Human Rights Act, a provision whose short title reminds5 "The European Convention on Human rights: Time to incorporate - the Law Quarterly review July 1993, 3906 Professor Leslie Zines 15us that it was an Act to give further effect to rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention of Human Rights. What the Human Rights Act does is not simply to give our courts the power to determine questions of rights, but also to set about the creation of a human rights culture of rights-based thinking within society guaranteeing minimum standards in order to ensure respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of every person.Again to quote from Lord Irving's second reading speech: "This Bill will bring human rights home. People will be able to argue for their rights and claim their remedies under the convention in any court or tribunal in the United Kingdom. Our courts will develop human rights throughout society. A culture of awareness of human rights will develop."The Human Rights Act 1998, a work of considerable subtlety was ingeniously drafted in such a way as to work within our existing constitutional framework. In creating this model we learned from the experience of other countries, such as Canada and New Zealand. A key provision is that Parliamentary sovereignty is preserved: the courts cannot strike down an Act of Parliament on the ground that it offends the Convention rights but they can, if they are of the view that the Act is incompatible, make a declaration to that effect, but that does not invalidate the Act or any step taken under it. A person could still be convicted and go to prison for offending a provision of a law held to be incompatible. But this declaration of course would have a powerful effect on political and public opinion and the HRA provides a fast-track method for remedying the incompatibility in Parliament without having to go through the full process of a new Act of Parliament. Though Government and Parliament might take the view, as they did when part of our 2001 terrorism laws were declared incompatible, to re-legislate in full rather than attempt to rectify the position with the fast-track procedure of a remedial order.Parliamentary sovereignty is also underlined by the obligations in section 19 of the Act. This requires a Minister who introduces a Bill to Parliament to certify whether, in his or her opinion, it is compatible with the Convention rights. Section 19 has been an important mechanism in embedding human rights at the heart of Government. It means that the level of scrutiny given to human rights in drawing up legislation is strengthened. It gives an added dimension to my role as Attorney General in relation to the rule of law, since the Minister's judgment on compatibility with the ECHR must of course be made on the basis of legal advice.Now of course section 19 does not require the provisions of a Bill to be compatible with Convention rights, but the Minister does have to share with Parliament his or her view on compatibility. Parliament can then decide as it will. As Lord Hoffman said in a case on the right of serving prisoners to talk to journalists7: "Parliamentary sovereignty means that Parliament can, if it chooses, legislate contrary to fundamental principles of human right.The Human Rights Act will not detract from this power …. But the principle of legality means that Parliament has to squarely confront what it is doing and accept the political cost."7 R v Secretary of State for the Home Department, ex parte Simms [1999] All ER (D) 751 18As Professor Conor Gearty put it in his 2005 Hamlyn Lectures, the genius of the Human Rights Act model invites "the political back in to control the legal at just the moment when the supremacy of the legal discourse seems assured."8The Human Rights Act also works to embed respect for human rights on the part of those who take decisions and make policy through the requirement imposed by section 6 of the Act on public authorities such as Government departments, local authorities, the police and the health service, as well as charities and private bodies that are carrying out functions of a public nature, not to act in ways that are incompatible with the Convention rights. And section 7 of the Act provides that a person who claims that a public authority has acted or proposes to act in a way which is made unlawful by section 6 may bring proceedings against that authority.8 C Gearty, Can Rights Survive? (Cambridge University Press 2006) 95 19So if, as Lord Woolf has said9, "The observance of human rights is a hallmark of a democratic society because it demonstrates that that society values each member as an individual", why then has there been such an apparent distrust of and antagonism towards human rights since the Human Rights Act came into force? Such antagonism indeed that in 2006 the then Prime Minister called for a review to look specifically at problems with its implementation and whether indeed it needed to be amended?Well, for a start, as the review found out, there was simply a lot of nonsense written and spoken about human rights: for example the story got about that the convicted multiple murderer, Dennis Nielsen, had been able, while in prison, to obtain hard-core pornography by citing his rights under the Human Rights Act. There was outrage in the media. In fact, Nielsen's challenge to the prison governor's refusal to give him access to pornography was, rightly, thrown out by the court at the preliminary permission stage.9 Lord Woolf, Human Rights: have the Public Benefited? British Academy 2002 20Then there have been cases where those involved in a situation have believed that human rights are engaged when they do not apply at all - one such is the notorious case of the fleeing burglar besieged by police on a roof who, as the police put it, was given Kentucky Fried Chicken because the police had to protect his human rights.And then there have been cases where a public authority has got the balance of human rights wrong: the terrible case of Anthony Rice, who was released from a life sentence and tragically went on to murder Naomi Bryant nine months later, is such a case. The responsible officials in the Parole Board and Probation Service did not ask all the right questions, gave too much weight to arguments about Rice's human rights and the risk of being sued by him, and not enough to the need to protect the wider public.Of course none of the problems that have been encountered have been inherent in the Human Rights Act itself, nor in the European Convention. Most of the rights in the Act and the Convention provide for a balance to be struck between the rights of the individual and the interests of the community. In Anthony Rice's case, officials simply struck the wrong balance.This has to be tackled through raising awareness about the benefits of the Act while challenging the myths and misrepresentations of the sort I have mentioned.And of course even if the Human Rights Act were repealed tomorrow, the UK would still be bound by the Convention in any event, at least so long as the UK remained a party to the Convention. And, as it was always intended when the Convention was incorporated, there have been positive benefits resulting from the dialogue between our judges and the judges of the European Court of Human Rights, changing the way in which the European Court approaches our cases from a position of respect.Now the incorporation of the Convention has come at a challenging time for the United Kingdom as we seek to respond to the modern threat of terrorism: how to deal with certain foreign nationals in the UK who had no immigration right to remain, but were believed to pose a threat to national security. Under immigration laws, such people would normally have been deported. But our obligations under the Convention - following the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Chahal - have meant that we could not deport them to a country where there was a risk that they would face death, torture or inhuman or degrading treatment.But of course this issue arises from the United Kingdom's international obligations under the Convention itself and was not created by the Human Rights Act and would not go away if the Act were repealed. That would happen only if the UK were to withdraw from the Convention altogether - which is not an option.Now I do not say that the challenges presented by respecting human rights are easy or straightforward, the more so when many who call upon the protection of the courts are those whose words or deeds we may not like very much. But it is of course at that extreme that we identify what sort of society we are: in the words of the American politician, Adlai Stevenson, "A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular".But human rights go much wider than that and I do believe that we need to remind ourselves that human rights are here for all of us, and that we are all served, everyday, by adherence to them. As Lord Steyn has said, "observance of human rights is instrumentally valuable. It tends to promote the conditions in which democratic systems and flourish for the benefit of people generally."And in that he is referring not to some foreign notion that is alien to our ancient heritage, but rather to a system of common national and international values that we helped to create and which through the European Convention on Human Rights we can collectively seek to protect. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/WorldBarConference2008.aspx ? World Bar Conference 2008 30 June 2008 Attorney General's Office
ACPO Family Liaison Conference23 June 2008Good morning ladies and gentlemen, and thank you Commander Foy for that kind introduction. I am very pleased to be here today, and only sorry that I can't stay longer. I am here, however, to adequately express how much in Government we appreciate the difficult and sensitive work that you do, and how vitally important it is. You are the core element in our work to improve the criminal justice experience of the families of homicide victims which until a few years ago, was not well managed, indeed it was hardly managed at all.Because they were not players in the trial, they were irrelevant to the prosecution, to the defence and to the judge. How remote the criminal justice system was then from the real work in which crime causes its victims injury and pain and that should be the pass card into the centre of our concern, despite their lack of a role in the technical process.Of course, nothing we can do will reduce the anguish felt by people who have lost a loved one in this terrible way. But with your help we can ensure that their pain is not made worse allowing them to feel ignored or at best sidelined by a court process which is hard to understand without an interpreter. Undoubtedly, I dare say that as we in Government have seen the need for change, youth have been the main agents for change.We in the Attorney General's Department superintend the Crown Prosecution Service and so I know best the role the Family Liaison Officers play, a key role in the CPS Victim Focus scheme, which was introduced throughout England and Wales on 1st October last year for homicide and fatal road traffic cases. Launching the scheme, the Attorney General said: "This represents a huge breakthrough in how we, the prosecutors, can work with victims' families.As you know, in cases which fall within Victim Focus, the FLO acts as the contact point which makes the system flow and the prosecutor rightly does not approach the family direct.The CPS recognises that the FLO will have established a rapport with the bereaved family and created a relationship of mutual trust and that families may look to the FLO for advice on whether to attend a meeting with the prosecutor, and what they might get out of it.Likewise, while the CPS welcomes contact with the bereaved family, it will also look to the FLO to advise on whether such a meeting should take place. There may be good reasons why one should not be held, for example, where some family members may blame the authorities in some way or are unco-operative. This situation is very difficult for you too. And as a general rule, if the bereaved family have indicated that they do not wish the services of the FLO, there will not be a meeting with the prosecutor.One expects though that many families will in the near future be advised of the nature of the charge and how a decision is made and how the court process will unfold and to have an opportunity to make a victim personal statement. A better understanding of what is going on from a central player in the process and an opportunity to talk about the victim, again to a central figure, in the way the State deals with a death causing crime and to tell how the loss has affected them can be somewhat restorative for the relatives of homicide victims, and I would ask all Family Liaison Officers to encourage bereaved families to take up the offer of a meeting with the CPS prosecutor.Nick Hawkins, as Chief Crown Prosecutor has read some of the statements out in court. He agrees the told us that "Being able to ensure that members of a family are not left as outsiders in the courtroom cannot be underestimated. I believe that this way of working goes some way to help them cope with the tragedy that has befallen them."The FLOs in Merseyside, Northumbria and South Wales will know that the CPS is currently piloting meetings with bereaved families when there is an acquittal in Victim Focus cases or a conviction on a lesser charge - for example from murder to manslaughter and which can often be seen as an acquittal or some way of downgrading their loss - the prosecutor will offer to meet the bereaved family to explain, as far as is possible, the court decision.Meetings take place at least three weeks after the verdict to give the bereaved family the opportunity to reflect on the proceedings and formulate any questions which they may wish to ask. Once again, contact that is making the practice flow is made via the FLO. The pilots will be evaluated later this year and we will consider, no doubt in the case of the FLO, whether to roll-out further the system as it is or perhaps in an adapted way.I would also like to mention the Victim Advocate Pilots which were held in five Crown Court centres from April 2006 to April 2008 - the Old Bailey, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Winchester - a broader range of support than that offered by the CPS was available here. I want to thank you for your work on these. The pilots have now concluded and have been evaluated, although a few eligible cases are still going on. Obviously, the positive feedback received from bereaved families from the Victim Advocate Scheme about contact with the CPS was a decisive factor in the decision just to get on and roll-out the CPS Victim Focus Scheme nationally from October last year. I am very glad that the close liaison between the FLOs and the CPS contributed to the success of the Victim Advocate pilots.One outstanding issue is that the Government is currently considering how to ensure that the small number of relatives who took up the offer of access to legal advice for personal matters arising out of the death (such as advice on probate, child custody, or welfare advice) - for which we made provision in the Victims Advocates Pilots - are given appropriate support and access to solicitors and we hope to be able to give you further advice on this soon.Government colleagues responsible for working with Victim Support have also raised concerns that in all areas there is not always a clear understanding amongst all FLOs of the role Victim Support can play in assessing the wider needs and providing support for bereaved relatives. So let me encourage you to consider offering relatives timely referral to Victim Support and I know that following the national roll out of their Victim Support Plus operating model they will be seeking to raise greater local awareness and build stronger partnerships with the police.I would also encourage FLOs - and indeed all police investigating officers - to ensure that victims of crime and bereaved families have the opportunity to make a victim personal statement, or VPS, setting out the impact the crime has had on them. Prosecutors will ensure that a VPS is placed before the court before the offender is sentenced. You will know better than we can how much difference it can make to a victim, or a victim's family, to feel that their voice has been heard, and that the court has been able to take account of their feelings and the impact a crime has had on them.This is all part of the greater focus on victims and witnesses which has been a major part of recent criminal justice policy. Even looking just at the past couple of years, we have brought in some very significant changes, among them our commitment in October 2005 to the Prosecutors' Pledge, which states that the prosecutor will:• Take into account the impact on the victim or their family when making a Charging decision• Inform the victim where the charge is withdrawn, discontinued or substantially altered.• When practical seek a victim's view or that of the family when considering the acceptability of a plea.• Address the specific needs of a victim and where justified seek to protect their identity by making an appropriate application to the court. I should mention the case of Davis which has already been mentioned in the House of Lords. Lord Phillips said that there is little authority to justify the amount of anonymity that is currently being made available in the criminal justice system. We will have to legislate quickly to deal with this because there are cases in which anonymous witnesses are currently testifying. There is some probability that the model used will be the New Zealand model and it will probably have to be done retrospectively so as to ensure that there aren't unnecessary appeals. However, it is extremely important that there should be a balance in the use of anonymous witnesses and this is an opportunity for us to look at the issue again.• Assist victims at court to refresh their memory from their written or video statement and answer their questions on court procedure and processes.• Promote and encourage two-way communication between victim and prosecutor at court.• Protect victims from unwarranted or irrelevant attacks on their character and may seek the court's intervention where cross-examination is considered to be inappropriate or oppressive.• On conviction, robustly challenge defence mitigation which is derogatory to a victim's character.• On conviction, apply for appropriate order for compensation, restitution or future protection of the victim; and• Keep victims informed of the progress of any appeal, and explain the effect of the court's judgment.In April 2006, we introduced the Code or Practice for Victims of Crime, which for the first time gives victims a statutory right to a high level of service from criminal justice agencies. The Code entitles victims to tailored support and regular information about the progress of their case. Victims also have a right of complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman if their rights are not met.Following the success of the £1m Victim Care Unit pilots, Victim Support received an additional £5.6m grant this year to roll out an enhanced services business model. This will expand and improve the services to victims - it will make them faster, more consistent and practical, and more tailored to victims' needs.Some needs are for specialist help and support. With regard to victims of Domestic Violence and Rape our current strategy is to provide improved support by other mechanisms. We have invested £3 million pounds in independent domestic violence advisors, to befriend the complainers and to network into all public services and can provide support and information from offence to attending court and even afterwards. We are currently piloting independent sexual violence advisors to provide these victims with specific tailored support in sex crimes. There is a difficult issue around the lower conviction rates in rape trials.Looking to the future, as you will know, we are committed to a series of Public Service Agreements, including, under PSA 24, a commitment to increase the proportion of victims and witnesses who are satisfied with the way they are treated by the criminal justice system. I know that ACPO and the others in the criminal justice system are working closely together to ensure that we deliver on this commitment, and I am certain that you will all play your part in this, and continue to give the excellent service and support that you do to the families of those who have died in tragic circumstances.Having moved from the situation I outlined at the start where victims could feel really victimised by the neglect of the criminal justice system to having as one of the Government's main targets - there are few PSAs and they are centre stage - shows how far our real understanding of the needs of victims has come and how clearer we now see that the criminal justice system will not work without the confidence of the people who unwillingly are brought into it as victims. We have come a long way. But the PSA is a major commitment which is still to be achieved.Let me end where I started. We in Government are immensely grateful for the sensitive job you do and we say to you please keep up the good work. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/ACPOFamilyLiaisonConference.aspx ? ACPO Family Liaison Conference 23 June 2008 Attorney General's Office
The Role Of The United Kingdom In The International Fight Against Fraud17 June 2008Solicitor GeneralFraud Advisory Panel 10th Anniversary Conference"Prevention is better than cure"(Chairman Ros Wright CB, QC. Audience: FAP members)Closing speech:16:15 - 17:00 (45 mins)I am delighted to be here and to celebrate with you ten years of the FAP. Over those years, I know that my colleague Baroness Scotland, the Attorney General, has worked closely with the FAP and its members and has personal cause to value the commitment and energy that you have brought to combating fraud.In particular, I want to pay tribute to Ros Wright and Jonathon Fisher, who have been tireless contributors to the national effort against fraud - both respectively as members of the steering group and working parties of the original Government Fraud Review and as forceful and effective public spokespersons for fraud prevention.As you all know now, combating financial crime is now very firmly a Government priority. We have demonstrated our commitment to the fight by investing nearly £29 million over the next 3 years in the new National Counter-Fraud Programme. In this I believe the UK Government is leading the way and will be carving a new role internationally as well as domestically and I have been asked to give you a flavour of this today.The cornerstone of the Programme is to provide a Government-led and co-ordinated approach to combating fraud - in short, a National Fraud Strategy. Indeed, this will be the first co-ordinated response through business and across Government and is very much in the public interest to tackle what is becoming a growing concern. This is not just a piece of paper.We will be harnessing the efforts and co-ordinating the activities of both the public and private sectors - and this is absolutely essential if we are to make a significant impact on curbing the fraud economy.Fraud has a significant impact on people and business. One buy-to-let fraud in the North East cost individual investors £25,000 each, but resulted in 130 innocent staff from the fraudulent company being made unemployed and some 5-10 sole traders and creditors being put into liquidation. In another example, a banking fraud of £7m resulted in the offices of the bank being closed and 100 staff being made unemployed. And again, a fraud against a charitable foundation making grants to terminally ill children, defrauded donors of a quarter of a million pounds but let down a number of children and their families, the burden of resolving this falling onto a local hospice which itself relieves the hospital sector.The original Review recommended that we shift our current efforts from reactive to proactive approaches to combating fraud and this is precisely what we are doing now. Work has begun in earnest on an ambitious programme of work, designed to harness the collaborative enthusiasm - and I can assure you there is a lot of enthusiasm, resources, authority and power contained in the public and private sectors efforts to fight fraud across the whole gamut of counter-fraud activity - from prevention and deterrence through to detection, investigation, prosecution and sanctioning - to redress for victims.The Attorney General is pleased to be leading and championing this work.Recently, more colleagues have joined in leading the fight-back against fraudsters, through an inter-Ministerial group convened in March, co-chaired by the Attorney and my colleague Vernon Coaker, Minster of State at the Home Office. Ministers from the Treasury, Cabinet Office, BERR, the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Work and Pensions are also committed to working across the economy to make this country the world's hardest target for fraud in all its forms. I was pleased to be part of this process myself, and I look forward to a continuing involvement in the fight against fraud and in working closely with the NFSA in the future. Parliamentary interest in fraud is high, reflected by my recent involvement in an Adjournment Debate that highlighted the plight of victims of 'boiler-room' fraud and efforts underway to tackle it.While this inter-Ministerial Group is a clear indication of public sector interest in this issue, I cannot stress enough that the National Fraud Programme is a public/private partnership. It means that Government departments and agencies, organisations such as the British Bankers' Association, Regulators, the Association of British Insurers, professional organisations such as the FAP, Local Authorities, Prosecutors, the Courts and the Police, can all work together in stepping up the fight.Not that this sort of inter-disciplinary partnership is brand new. But the difference now is that we will have a new national umbrella to strengthen the co-ordination and enable us to work to an agreed set of national priorities.The national effort needs to include the international dimension. The Fraud Review made contact with a host of overseas bodies working against fraud - the network is already there and as more countries wake up to the threat, we will be able to encourage and co-ordinate more international action, too.An international strategy is essential. Fraud is a cross-border problem. It requires cross-border action if it is to be tackled effectively and its perpetrators brought to justice. Globalisation of markets, internet trading and the free circulation of goods, services, persons and capital all mean that the UK cannot counter fraud in isolation. Key suspects and evidence - and key victims - may be anywhere in the world. The boundaries of national jurisdictions offer shields, not barriers, to the determined fraudster.In Europe, we have Europol, Eurojust and the European Judicial network in place and they are already proving their worth in facilitating just the kind of co-ordinated investigations and searches that we know hit criminals - especially fraud criminals - hardest.For example: 'Boiler-room' share selling operations are one of the priorities for the national fraud programme and the City of London Police and the SFO has already had successes working with European partners in this area. We have set up a task force to add action by SOCA, the BBA and the FSA to the work of the COLP and SFO.And in relation to the SFO, you will be aware that a significant, recent event was the publication by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Attorney General of a review of the working practices of the SFO. The review was commissioned in March last year by the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, and the former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Robert Wardle. The review was conducted by Jessica De Grazia, a former senior prosecutor in the United States. Ms de Grazia examined both the internal workings of the SFO and also the external factors which she saw as having an effect on the SFO's effectiveness. Tackling fraud effectively is a matter of the highest priority to government. The report, I am sure, will be of great use to the new Director of the SFO, Richard Alderman, who is taking forward a programme of significant reforms to the SFO.Here in the UK, we are establishing the three principal institutions that together will devise, support and deliver the anti Fraud Programme, across the country. These organisations are:• The National Fraud Strategic Authority, with its measurement unit;• The National Fraud Reporting Centre, with its Intelligence unit; and the• National Lead Force for Fraud.Working collaboratively, these bodies will be responsible:• for developing and delivering the national counter-fraud strategy;• for the knowledge management that will drive it; and,• for the co-ordinated public and private sector activity that will co-ordinate all the counter-fraud efforts in operation across our economy into a single, informed response to the fraud menace.Let me bring you up-to-date with where we have got to in establishing these organisations.The National Fraud Strategic Authority, or NFSA, is designed to do exactly as its title suggests: act nationally to counter fraud through a strategic and authoritative approach.The Authority will act as a co-ordinating body, providing a national and international focus for the anti-fraud policies or activities already in place within the public and private sectors, with the overall aim of making the UK a hostile environment for fraudsters.The Authority will also co-ordinate national counter-fraud activity, with a clear focus on reducing overlaps, removing conflicts and closing gaps in counter-fraud activity. It's not all about correcting problems. The Authority will also share intelligence and spread best practice in detection and prevention. All this will be done with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of fraud deterrence, which will, in turn, reduce our reliance on more expensive criminal investigations and prosecutions.From its strategic position, the Authority will be best-placed to inform and propose our development of policy and legislation - and other changes, that will be necessary to further toughen the tools available to combat fraud.The Authority will also be responsible for raising public awareness of fraud techniques and promoting simple counter-fraud methods.While the Authority is still very much in development at the moment, our inter-Ministerial group has already given the Development Team some priorities to work on to actively test their models and structures before they go operational towards the end of this year.The NFSA Development Team has been reviewing the UK's current responses to some early priority fraud threats, particularly e-crime and mortgage fraud. These reviews have involved significant amounts of stakeholder consultation across both the public and private sectors. Analysis has been conducted to identify the areas where improvements are required to address vulnerabilities and make the UK more resilient to these forms of fraud. I should say here that the co-operation we have received from players across the economy has been excellent. Stakeholder organisations have been particularly willing to look at these problems in new ways and to contribute to the reviews with their time, their experience, and their views on potential reforms. The levels of engagement bode well for the future success of the NFSA.We all know there is a wide range of law enforcement priorities and last year the Home Office undertook a consultation on their new Assessments of Policing and Community Safety performance indicators, otherwise known as APACS. A basic objective of our fraud strategy will be to increase the fraudsters' perception that the risks of fraud outweigh the benefits. Private sector victims accept that police resources will always be limited but argue strongly that the priority that law enforcement agencies give to fraud has never been lower - as reflected in limited case acceptance, low availability of specialist investigators and actual performance.By working with Ministers, departments, regulators and private sector organisations, the NFSA Development Team made a submission to the Home Office to include fraud in these performance indicators. As a result, the Home Office has confirmed that they're looking at introducing the fraud performance indicator in the 2009-2010 APACS. There is more to do, and the NFSA will continue to work with stakeholders to develop this indicator, but this is clearly an example where leadership enabled a united counter-fraud voice to be heard.I should make it clear at this stage that establishing the NFSA - or its multi agency task forces - will not require any legislation or statutory powers. The NFSA simply harnesses the existing powers and responsibilities of all the organisations in the task force and co-ordinates actions that would probably have taken alone by these organisations previously.Consequently the Authority won't be usurping individual organisations' current counter-fraud policies or replacing them with central direction.Collaboration increases the power of individual efforts and co-ordination ensures we act together, learn from one another - and collectively agree our priorities for action.There is now increasing awareness across the financial crime agenda of the power of modern intelligence sharing and analysis. Recent announcements by the Audit Commission on the findings being generated by the National Fraud Initiative illustrate this.The National Fraud Reporting Centre, or NFRC, and its Intelligence Bureau will provide the analytical hub for fraud information, receiving and managing both information and intelligence on fraud that is currently fragmented within both the public and private sectors AND increasingly available internationally.Managed by the City of London Police, the NFRC will be staffed by both civilian intelligence analysts and law enforcement officers, to provide:• tactical intelligence to help law enforcement bring perpetrators to justice;• strategic intelligence for decision makers in both the public and private sectors;• effective translation of reports of fraud, which span geographic borders and involve multiple victims into intelligence packages that can drive a more effective enforcement response; and• better knowledge of the threat of fraud to drive the NFSA's strategy and public warnings.The Centre is also going to provide a much-needed central point of contact for individual victims' reports of fraud. Every fraud report received in the NFRC will:• contribute to building a more accurate picture of fraud,• improve the effectiveness of the wider anti-fraud response, and• inform the development of the National Fraud Strategy.Because of the amount and variety of information we aim to capture and analyse in the Centre, it is being designed with the help of the Information Commissioner's Office. In this way we aim to ensure we capture and use information to the fullest possible extent for crime prevention and investigation purposes, within the parameters of the law.Now I must emphasise that not every report made to the NFRC can be investigated by the police, SFO or SOCA. But each and every report will build up a richer, more useful picture of fraud; strengthen the value of our analysis and highlight trends. Harnessing the detail of fraud activity is essential to understanding the issue better; so that we can act more intelligently and effectively. The vital thing is to ensure that no information or victim's complaint is wasted.Good intelligence can support a range of less traditional measures - preventive and deterrent - to be undertaken by the state and private industry, regulators and individual victims. So, alongside criminal investigations and prosecutions, we can utilise civil proceedings, judicial declarations, negative publicity, disciplinary fines, asset recovery, system re-design, sacking an individual or closing down a Web site. All these tools are available to us when we act together.Testing the effectiveness of this work will be the NFSA's measurement and analysis unit, which will record and analyse which interventions and actions are making make the most impact on fraud and reducing the harm caused by fraud.The NFRC will be producing threat assessments from analysed complaints - so informing the next collective, pre-emptive strike.This brings me to the National Lead Force for fraud; which is starting to operate now within the City of London Police. This new responsibility builds on its existing and very successful role as the Lead Force for London and the South East.Through funding provided by Treasury and the Corporation of the City of London the force has been able to start recruiting three new teams of fraud investigators which will work closely with the SFO and the CPS Fraud Prosecution Service.Let me be clear that the Lead Force will not replace regional fraud squads, but will increase our national fraud investigation capacity by providing:• support for regional forces' fraud investigations,• officers to work on public private sector taskforces and multi-agency co-ordination groups,• specialist investigation resources for major, intelligence-led cases identified by the NFRC;• a centre of excellence for fraud investigation - for both public and private sector law enforcement agencies - and• support and frontline experience to the NFSA, to inform strategy.New priorities and more officers are all welcome and useful; but we also need to ensure that after detection and arrest has been successfully completed, the criminal justice system can provide effective, efficient sanctions and redress for victims.Last month I issued a consultation paper on our proposed framework for plea negotiations in England and Wales.This framework of principle has been drafted by a working group of senior court practitioners led by Stephen Hockman, QC - a former Chairman of the Bar. Quite simply, the object of the framework is to encourage the prosecution and defence - traditionally constrained from working together by our adversarial system - to discuss the practicalities of a guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity, before charges are even brought, in some cases.I cannot pre-judge the outcome of this public consultation, but we have in mind to provide Attorney General's Guidelines to complement the Framework, to ensure that prosecution, defence and vitally victims and witnesses too - are provided with an open and transparent "code" for arriving at an agreed plea and sentence package to present to the Court.We all know the larger and more complex fraud cases are expensive to investigate, prosecute and present in court. They impose a heavy burden on the police, law enforcement agencies, witnesses, victims and defendants as well as the court itself. These cases can consume a disproportionate share of legal aid resources. If we can save investigation and trial time in even a few cases a year, it will be a considerable achievement.Linked to this consultation (which closes on July 3rd), we are currently drafting a second paper, which will propose new powers for the Crown Court in dealing with fraud. The Fraud Review recommended that the Crown Court should be equipped to make more preventive and deterrent orders. Some of those outlined are only available to the civil courts or in regulatory proceedings currently. For example:• powers to wind up companies used in fraud• powers to disqualify offenders from regulated professions• increased powers to award compensation to victims of fraud.These linked proposals will, if agreed, both empower a Crown Court to impose a package of sentencing orders that satisfies the needs of victims and defendants for comprehensive justice; and provide greater certainly for defendants pleading guilty, by reducing the number of potential parallel or serial cases he may otherwise face.We hope to issue this second consultation paper before the summer and I would urge you all to contribute your views and ideas on both of the papers.Meanwhile, another working group of court practitioners, led by HM Courts Service, is commissioning the first full study of the impact of fraud cases on the civil and criminal courts. This will inform a proper consideration of the cost/benefits of a Financial Court jurisdiction for fraud cases and other proposals made in the original Fraud Review for co-ordinating efficiently the parallel civil and criminal proceedings that so often result from incidents of fraud.The Courts have an increasingly vital role to perform in combating fraud. Last year the Fraud Act 2006 came into force and we are already feeling the benefits of a simple, easily understood single offence of fraud to replace he collection of amendments that had been accumulated by the Theft Act 1968. We await the results of the Sentencing Guidelines Council's consultation on fraud offences which was held earlier this year.But sentencing is only one of the deterrent measures at our courts' disposal. Confiscation is a very powerful weapon against all acquisitive crime and that is why we have now equipped our principal prosecuting authorities with civil recovery powers under the Serious Crimes Act. The same Act gives prosecuting authorities the power to apply for serious crime prevention orders, to deal with the problem of repeat offenders by restricting their business and professional activities.On the international front we have been working hard to close down the hiding places for offenders and their money. Our policy has been to encourage mutual recognition of court judgements and orders. The European Arrest warrant procedure is already working well and we have recently sponsored a successful new Framework Decision to clarify the circumstances in which we should execute judgements in absentia. This will help with confiscation and financial penalties, as well as the Arrest Warrant.There are already practical networks for civil asset recovery as well as the enforcement of confiscation orders made by the criminal courts - and it is clear that the financial services industry is ready, willing and able to play its part with POCA monitoring orders and suspicious transaction reporting. The Serious and Organised Crime Act gave responsibility for suspicious activity reports made by banks to SOCA and it has also recently absorbed the Asset Recovery Agency. SOCA plays an important international role as the UK's financial intelligence unit for UN Financial Action Task Force purposes as well as for Europol. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/TheRoleOfTheUnitedKingdomInTheInternationalFightAgainstFraud.aspx ? The Role Of The United Kingdom In The International Fight Against Fraud 17 June 2008 Attorney General's Office
FT Global Events & the Banker 6th Annual Conference: Combating Financial Crime 200812 June 2008"A collaborative approach to fighting Crime"I'm delighted to be here, and I would like to say that we need all of you if we are to be successful in beating Fraud. People see it as a victimless crime but we know that's not true, it has a huge and devastating effect on families and can ruin lives. By being here today we are saying that it is a matter of importance and not just to you personally but also to business. Unless we act in partnership, the public and private sector sharing information we cannot make the UK more resilient to this threat, working together is the key.I trust there will not be many of you, now, who have not encountered the Government Fraud Review. Since this was commissioned by my predecessor and the then Chief Secretary in 2005, I'm pleased to say that we have moved on with implementing the key recommendations.And happily, in support of the theme of today's conference, one of the key observations andrecommendations from the Review was that a Government-led and co-ordinated approach between the public and private sectors was absolutely essential if we are to make a significant impact on curbing the fraud economy.Equally, the Review recommended that we shift our current efforts away from reactive to proactive approaches to combating fraud, which will be achieved through the delivery of the first ever, truly national fraud strategy.Government has emphatically supported the realisation of some of the Review's key recommendations with our investment of nearly £29 million over the next three years to establish the key counter-fraud architecture required to support the successful delivery of the strategy. Many thought that there would not be this level of commitment.Work's begun in earnest on this ambitious programme of work. To reflect the move from discourse to delivery, we've re-named what was the Fraud Review as the National Fraud Programme.This programme is designed to harness the collaborative enthusiasm - and I can assure you there is a lot of enthusiasm, resources, authority and power contained in the public and private sectors efforts to fight fraud across the whole gamut of counter-fraud activity - from prevention and deterrence through to detection, investigation, prosecution and sanctioning - to redress for victims.I have to tell you, I'm pleased to be leading and championing this work. Fraud is an insidious crime that causes great financial and emotional distress for its victims. Make no mistake, we're all victims, if not directly, then indirectly, by the way its presence can affect economic confidence adversely, by the way it takes money from the public sector that could be used to support those who truly need it, by the way it generates higher charges and prices - and by the way it funds other crime such as terrorism to human and drug trafficking.So we're all affected by fraud in some way or another. And if any of us feels that they can tolerate these vulnerabilities that enable this crime to be committed, on the premise that "someone else is paying the bill" - well, that's just plain wrong and allows the threat to incubate - and hit us harder in the future.Recently more of my colleagues have joined me in leading the fight-back against fraudsters, through an inter-Ministerial group I convened in March with my colleague Vernon Coaker, Minster of State at the Home Office. Along with colleagues from the Treasury, Cabinet Office, BERR, the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Work and Pensions, we are all committed to working across the economy to harden this country as a target.While this inter-Ministerial Group is a clear indication of public sector interest in this issue, I cannot stress enough that the National Fraud Programme is a public/private partnership. Along with Government departments and agencies, organisations such as the British Bankers' Association, regulators, the Association of British Insurers - along with the Professions, Local Authorities, Prosecutors, the Courts and the Police, are stepping up the fight. Not that their involvement or some of the partnerships within and between the public and private sectors are brand new. In some cases, we've been working together for some time. But the difference this time is that we're aiming to strengthen the co-ordination and work to an agreed set of priorities.We've also worked together to prepare the detailed business cases needed for the Treasury - and now to establish the four principal institutions that together will devise, support and deliver the anti Fraud Programme, across the country. These organisations are:• The National Fraud Strategic Authority, with its measurement unit;• The National Fraud Reporting Centre, with its Intelligence unit; and the• National Lead Force for FraudWorking collaboratively, these bodies will be responsible for developing and delivering the national counter-fraud strategy, for the knowledge management that will drive it - and for the co-ordinated public and private sector activity that will co-ordinate all the counter-fraud efforts in operation across our economy into a single, informed response to the fraud menace.Let me bring you up-to-date with where we have got to in establishing these organisations.The National Fraud Strategic Authority, or NFSA, is a bit of a Ronseal organisation as it is being designed to do exactly what it says on the tin: act nationally to counter fraud through a strategic and authoritative approach.The Authority will act as a co-ordinating body, providing a national and international focus for the anti-fraud policies or activities already in place within the public and private sectors, with the overall aim of making the UK a hostile environment for fraudsters.The Authority will also co-ordinate national counter-fraud activity, with a clear focus on reducing overlaps, removing conflicts and closing gaps in counter-fraud activity. It's not all about correcting problems, the Authority will also share intelligence and spread best practice in detection and prevention. All this will be done with the aim of increasing the effectiveness of fraud deterrence, which will, in turn we hope, reduce our reliance on more expensive criminal investigations and prosecutions.From its strategic position, the Authority will be best-placed to inform and propose our development of policy and legislation - and other changes, that will be necessary to further toughen the tools available to combat fraud.The Authority will also be responsible for raising public awareness of fraud techniques and promoting simple counter-fraud methods.To do all this work the Authority is going to have work fluidly and determinedly employing non-traditional techniques in some cases to remedy some traditional challenges and create new opportunities.While the Authority's still very much in development at the moment, our inter-Ministerial group has already given the Development Team some priorities to work on to actively test their models and structures before they go operational towards the end of this year.Task forces are already underway to address the presence of mortgage fraud and e-crime in our economy and the team is working across the economy to analyse these issues, identify the areas where improvements are required and current good practice can be enhanced and shared. I should say the co-operation the team's received from players across the economy has been excellent. People have been willing to look at these problems in new waysWe all know there is a wide, range of law enforcement priorities and last year the Home Office undertook a consultation on their new Assessments of Policing and Community Safety performance indicators, otherwise known as APACS.By working with Ministers, departments, regulators and private sector organisations the development team made a submission to the Home Office to include fraud in these performance indicators.I'm pleased to confirm that as a result of that joined-up effort, the Home Office has confirmed that they're looking at introducing the fraud performance indicator in the 2009-2010 APACS.We'll continue to work with stakeholders to develop this indicator but this is clearly an example where leadership enabled a united counter-fraud voice to be heard.I should make it clear at this stage that given the NFSA will not require any legislation or statutory powers in its establishment, it will harness existing powers and responsibilities from all the organisations in the task force and co-ordinate actions that would probably have taken alone by these organisations previously.Consequently the Authority's won't be usurping individual organisations' current counter-fraud policies or replacing them with central direction.Collaboration increases the power of individual efforts and co-ordination ensures we act together, learn from one another - and collectively agree our priorities for action.There's increasing awareness across the financial crime agenda of the power of modern intelligence sharing and analysis. Recent announcements by the Audit Commission on the findings being generated through the National Fraud Initiative illustrates the insights that can be generated through correlating information to create meaningful intelligence.The National Fraud Reporting Centre, or NFRC, and its Intelligence Bureau will provide the analytical hub for fraud information, receiving and managing both information and intelligence on fraud that at the moment is fragmented within both the public and private sectors.Managed by the City of London Police, the NFRC will be staffed by both civilian intelligence analysts and law enforcement officers, to provides:• tactical intelligence to help law enforcement bring perpetrators to justice;• strategic intelligence for decision makers in both the public and private sectors; and,• better knowledge of the threat of fraud to drive the NFSA's strategy and public warnings.The Centre is also going to provide a much-needed central point of contact for individual victims' reports of fraud. Every fraud report received in the NFRC will• contribute to building a more accurate picture of fraud,• improve the effectiveness of the wider anti-fraud response, and• inform the development of the National Fraud Strategy.Because of the amount and variety of information we aim to capture and analyse in the Centre, it is being designed with the help of the Information Commissioner's Office. In this way we aim to ensure we capture and use information to the fullest possible extent for crime prevention and investigation purposes, within the parameters of the law.Now, this is an important fact, as we are clear that not every report made to the NFRC can be investigated by the police, SFO or SOCA. But, as I have said, each and every report builds up a richer, more useful picture of fraud, strengthen analysis and highlight trends.Harnessing the detail of fraud activity is essential to understanding the issue better so we can act more ntelligently and effectively. So the vital thing is that we ensure no information or victim's complaint is wasted.I should reiterate at this point that we have no desire to re-invent or replace processes that are currently in place to support fraud victims, but that information can also be used to support positive activity by the police, regulators, other banks - and the NFSA.But we believe by positive action we're talking about a range of measures, preventive and deterrent undertaken by the state and private industry, regulators and individual victims.So alongside criminal investigations and prosecutions, we can utilise civil proceedings, judicial declarations, negative publicity, disciplinary fines, asset recovery, changing a system, sacking an individual or closing down a Web site. All these tools are available to us, when we act together.Testing the effectiveness of this work Supporting all this will be the NFSA's measurement and analysis unit which is aiming to record and analyse which interventions and actions are making make the most impact on fraud and reducing the harm caused by fraud.The NFRC will be producing threat assessments from analysed complaints - so informing the next collective, pre-emptive strike.Another tool at our disposal is the National Lead Force for fraud; which is starting to operate within the City of London Police. This new responsibility builds on the strong work being delivered through its role as the South East's Lead Force - a role that has recently seen the Force, in co-operation with other forces in the South, arrest five men and one woman as part of an ongoing investigation into boiler room fraud, which is estimated to have affected over 1,200 people.Through funding provided by Treasury and the Corporation of the City of London the force has been able to start recruiting three new teams of fraud investigators.Let me be clear, as with measures, the Lead Force will not replace regional fraud squads, but will increase our national fraud investigation capacity by providing:• support for regional forces' fraud investigations,• support for public private sector taskforces and multi-agency co-ordination groups,• specialist investigation resource for major, intelligence-led cases identified by the NFRC;• a centre of excellence for fraud investigation - for both public and private sector law enforcement agencies - and• support and frontline experience to the NFSA, to inform strategy.New priorities and more officers are all welcome and useful but we also need to ensure that after detection and arrest has been successfully completed the criminal justice system can provide effective, efficient sanction and redress.Last month I issued a consultation paper on our proposed framework for plea negotiations in England and Wales.This framework of principle has been drafted by a working group of senior court practitioners led by Stephen Hockman, QC - a former Chairman of the Bar. Quite simply, the object of the framework is to encourage the prosecution and defence - traditionally constrained from working together by our adversarial system - to discuss the practicalities of a guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity, before charges are even brought, in some cases.I cannot pre-judge the outcome of this public consultation, but we have in mind to provide Attorney General's Guidelines to complement the Framework, to ensure that prosecution, defence and vitally victims and witnesses too - are provided with an open and transparent "code" for arriving at an agreed plea and sentence package to present to the Court.We all know the larger and more complex fraud cases are expensive to investigate, prosecute and present to court. They impose a heavy burden on the police, law enforcement agencies, witnesses, victims and defendants as well as the court itself. These cases can consume a disproportionate share of legal aid resources. If we can save investigation and trial time in even a few cases a year, it will be a considerable achievement.Linked to this consultation (which closes on July 3rd), we are currently drafting a second paper, which will propose new powers for the Crown Court in dealing with criminal fraud.The Fraud Review recommended that the Crown Court should be equipped to make more preventive and deterrent orders. Some of those outlined are only available to the civil courts or in regulatory proceedings currently. For example:• powers to wind up companies used in fraud• powers to disqualify offenders from regulated professions• increased powers to award compensation to victims of fraud.These linked proposals will, if agreed, both empower a Crown Court to impose a package of sentencing orders that satisfies the needs of victims and defendants for comprehensive justice; AND provide greater certainty for defendants pleading guilty, by reducing the number of potential parallel or serial cases he/she may otherwise face.We hope to issue this second consultation paper before the summer and I would urge you all to contribute your views and ideas on both of the papers.Meanwhile, another working group of court practitioners, led by Martin Jones, the head of Criminal Justice Policy at HM Courts Service, is commissioning the first full study of the impact of fraud cases on the civil and criminal courts. This will inform a proper consideration of the cost/benefits of a Financial Court jurisdiction for fraud cases and other proposals made in the original Fraud Review for co-ordinating efficiently the parallel civil and criminal proceedings that so often result from incidents of fraud.Alongside the Fraud Review, the Government has also been making other changes in relation to fraud. Last year the Fraud Act 2006 came into force and we are already feeling the benefits of a simple, easily understood single offence of fraud to replace the collection of amendments that had been accumulated by the Theft Act 1968.The Government is also consulting on the new Asset Recovery Strategy and the Serious Crimes Act 2007, which recently received Royal Assent, contains a number of measures that will enable Prosecutors to bring civil proceedings for confiscation of criminally derived assets and will affect how the Courts deal with fraud - to name but two elements ! In particular, the courts will be able to impose wide ranging serious crime prevention orders to restrict an offender's business and professional activities where this is necessary to protect the public from future offences.The change of approach heralded by the National Fraud Programme brings a greater emphasis on prevention and deterrence. This strategic shift of effort will be supported by the justice system as well as by the precautionary efforts of the State, businesses and the public. Just as taking the profit out of crime weakens criminal motives, so removing the offender from the commercial or professional arena of his fraudulent activity reduces his opportunity and incentive to offend again.I know you will now be hearing from experts on a variety of fraud prevention and systemic control methods. I am glad to see that many of the organisations providing speakers today are amongst our Fraud Programme stakeholders. By listening and participating you, too, will be part of the new collaborative approach to fighting crime.I wish you all an entertaining and instructive day.Thank you. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/FTGlobalEventstheBanker6thAnnualConferenceCombatingFinancialCrime2008.aspx ? FT Global Events & the Banker 6th Annual Conference: Combating Financial Crime 2008 12 June 2008 Attorney General's Office
Just Partners - Family Violence, Specialist Courts And The Idea Of Integration22 May 2008A national conference22 - 23 MayRydges Lakeside, Canberra, AustraliaSpeaking notes forVera Baird QC MPSolicitor GeneralI am delighted to follow Ron, the Chief Magistrate who I met at his party last night. That was a party thrown in the Court, granted what these courts are usually used for, I can't think of a better way of using a magistrate's building. I am delighted to be here. I congratulate the organisers on taking on such an important and topical issue. I will be staying for most of the conference because though today is my opportunity to make presentations to you, I know that there are presentations coming on that will help me to take forward issues in the UK as well. We have done a lot of work on sexual and domestic violence in the UK and I am going predominately to talk about our specialist domestic violence courts which are playing a key role. However in the Q&A session I will be happy to talk about more things.Slide 1Let me start by defining what we mean by domestic violence.Slide 2The cross-government definition of domestic violence in England and Wales covers any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.There is no offence of domestic violence. This means that identifying domestic violence cases in specialist cases is, of course, the issue.Domestic violence cuts across ethnicity, religion, age, class, disability and sexuality.Work in England and Wales therefore addresses varying manifestations of domestic violence across diverse communities including forced marriage, so-called "honour crimes" and female genital mutilation.Domestic violence is a crime with more repeat victims than any other. According to the British Crime Survey 2006-07, the repeat victimisation rate for domestic violence is 70% - no other crime has a rate this high.Domestic violence accounts for 16% of violent crime. It is important to acknowledge that most of this is gendered crime. Just let me note that domestic violence killings were between 2 and 3 women a week. Since the full system of specialist domestic violence courts together with MARACS and IDVAS, both of which I will talk more about later, have been in place that death rate has been cut by half.The Government has domestic violence at the forefront of its agenda because is of its own inherent importance. However, that agenda has undoubtedly been driven by the advent of more than a 100 women Labour MPs into Parliament. There has been no difficulty with us persuading men to support the domestic violence agenda. However, it just never would have been at the top had it not been for the influx of that bunch of great women.Undoubtedly the agenda has also been furthered because of research by the Department of Trade and Industry showed that in 2001, domestic violence cost England and Wales £23 billion.o £1 billion was spent by the criminal justice system on domestic violence;o this was ¼ of the budget for violent crime;o £300 million was spent on civil cases, including injunctions.Victims of domestic violence suffer on many levels - health costs, housing, education, benefit costs, work lost, under-performance and absenteeism.People lose the freedom to live their lives how they want to and without fear. A 21st century egalitarian empowering society, this is not acceptable.In England and Wales we aim to support victims of domestic violence with a range of new measures, including Specialist Domestic Violence Courts.Slide 3The Inter-Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence and Sexual Violence involves Ministers across government departments who oversee government-wide delivery plans on domestic violence, sexual violence and prostitution.The domestic violence plans draws together work within a 'Coordinated Community Response' framework. Specialist DV courts as only one part of this framework.The specialist DV courts link to services to support victims, statutory services (such as housing, health and education) as well those working with perpetrators.The government delivery plans have four main objectives (as shown on the screen).The 1st objective is increasing the early identification of and intervention with the victims of domestic violence. As examples, the Department of Health has produced handbook for health professionals. This is aimed at ambulance services, it is aimed at accident & emergency staff and at midwives. It is very well known that domestic violence can start or, if existing, can get worse and often does during pregnancy. There have been historical difficulties about patient confidentiality and the ethic of medical staff who see their role as treating individuals and not interfering with their lives.However, now the guidelines ask that somebody who presents themselves should be automatically separated if they come in with a person who may be the perpetrator and automatically ask questions whether they have a difficulty about domestic violence.DV work is linked to Local Authority Local Area Agreements. These are the deals done between governments and local authorities to improve key performance indicators in areas.We encourage them to take on domestic violence as one of their performance indicators and they are in effect contracted with the Government to attain their set targets.We are also linking DV risk assessments to child protection risk assessmentsMany government departments, as well as private sector organisations, now have employee domestic violence policies.The 2nd objective is building the domestic violence sector to provide effective advice and support to victims.We are setting up national service standards with the DV voluntary sector.We have funded a series of help lines, including a 24-hour free phone national helpline for victims, a helpline for perpetrators, and one for the LGBT communities. A new national helpline has also just been set up for victims of forced marriage and so-called honour crimes.The 3rd objective is improving the criminal justice response to domestic violence.Those employed in the criminal justice system are being trained. The CPS has set a good example by having already trained all of its prosecutors and caseworkers.Family courts have produced a DVD for domestic violence victims.The CPS has developed good practice guidance for prosecutors and its implementation is assessed annually.And the 4th and last objective is supporting victims through the criminal justice system and managing perpetrators to reduce risk.I will expand upon this later but briefly - We have set up funding for Independent DV and Sexual Violence Advisers to support victims.Risk assessments are carried out through Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACS).And, programmes for rehabilitation of DV perpetrators have been set up through Probation and some through the voluntary sector.Slide 4The SDVC programme was developed for a number of reasons.There was thought to be a lack of public confidence in the criminal justice system when dealing with crimes of domestic violence.There was an under-reporting of DV incidents.Victims frequently retracted their complaints.There was (and regrettably is) a significant level of repeat victimisation.There was seen to be a lack of co-ordination of work being done in the statutory and voluntary sectors.The majority of prosecution cases involving DV are heard in magistrates' courts so SDVCs focus work in these courts.Slide 5Five SDVCs were set up by local teams using different models between 1999 and 2003. At that time there was no national plan for specialist domestic violence courts.In 2003 the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Ministry of Justice initiated a review of these five SDVCs.The review found notable and positive benefits of specialist courts -• SDVCs provided an improvement in the effectiveness of the court process in terms of offences brought to justice and support services for victims• Advocacy1 and information sharing was easier• Victim participation and satisfaction improved.Two pilots were then set up by the Crown Prosecution Service in 2004 based on the lessons learned from these 5 courts that had been evaluated. The object of these pilots was to test out setting up SDVCs nationally.1 Victim advocacy now done by IDVAsSlide 6The London pilot took place in the urban setting of Croydon using a specialist DV 'cluster court' meaning that all DV cases were clustered into one session dealing with all court hearings except trials.All staff were trained, including all prosecutors and a panel of dedicated magistrates.This court was found to improve the evidence used in prosecutions, using 999 tapes, forensic evidence, photos and other witnesses.It sometimes achieved successful outcomes (that is, convictions) even when the victim withdrew.It showed that through more in-depth training of magistrates the sanctions imposed upon conviction were more appropriate, such as referral to perpetrator programmes, with compliance hearings to monitor progress.The pilot in Wales was in a rural setting - Caerphilly in Gwent. It had an operational team of a dedicated prosecutor, police officer and an independent domestic violence advisor within a multi-agency partnership fast-track system.This meant that cases were reviewed together briefly and then all hearings were fast tracked through specially assigned DV slots within general courts, to speed up the process.This model showed that through the use of independent domestic violence advisors there were fewer retractions by victims, there were more guilty pleas and convictions and a reduction in the time taken to conclude cases.Slide 7Some very interesting and impressive statistics came out of the pilot in Wales -• guilty pleas had increased from 21% up to 61%• the conviction rate rose from 8% to 32%• Retractions by victims reduced from 53% to 17%• Overall, the proportion of offenders brought to justice rose from less than 50% to 73%• Discontinuance of cases fell from 32% to 19%• The proportion of cases where no evidence was offered fell from 46% to 4%Since then there has been an increasing body of evidence in support of the finding that independent advisor support for victims is a significant factor in their decision to continue with a case. Independent Domestic Violence Advisers befriend the complainant from start to finish. The word "independent" is key. They could not be local authority workers.There is still a fear amongst complainants of domestic violence in the UK that when they have been victims they can be accused of failing to protect their children against witnessing domestic violence from their partner. Historically, children have been taken into care because of this "failure" by domestic violence complainant mothers and it would not be practical to expect complainants with those kinds of fear to rely on public authority workers. So IDVAS come from the third sector, that is, in any event a sector that has a lot of wisdom having battled for over 30 years against the curse of domestic violence, long before governments were engaged on the topic and so it is entirely appropriate that that's where it should come from and that we should best use of their historic understanding.The Specialist Domestic Violence Court Programme is therefore funding accredited independent domestic violence advisers. They play an absolutely critical role.Slide 8Following the pilots, a National SDVC steering group was set up comprising officials from the Courts Service, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Home Office.A group of external advisers ? including people from mid-crisis, from women's aid, again the people who have been campaigning and acquiring expertise in these areas for far longer before Government involvement. was also brought together as an expert panel to advise the programme.A model of core components was drawn up and published in a national SDVC resource manual.Slide 9The SDVC programme developed a coordinated multi-agency approach through two models for a specialist domestic violence court -• 'Cluster courts' in which DV cases are clustered into one specialist session (as in the London pilot)• The 'fast track system' in which general courts have slots for DV cases run by trained staff (as in the Wales pilot).The National Resource Manual lists 12 key components for a SDVC -• Multi-agency partnerships with a strategic steering group to oversee the work of the SDVC and a practical operational group with written protocols for roles and information sharing.• Multi-agency risk conferences (MARACs) which hold regular meetings to assess the help that high risk victims need. MARACs link up with both child protection assessments and also the assessment of perpetrators carried out by probation officers. High Risk Victims are identified by a risk assessment process which is basically police based. It consists of a series of tests such as does the perpetrator have previous convictions, whether he has threatened the children, whether there are contact issues and a number of others.• Identification of DV cases - all SDVC agencies have to ensure there are systems to identify DV cases and pass this information onto the other agencies. Let me repeat, there is no evidence of domestic violence in England and Wales and consequently this is a very important area.• Independent DV Advisers (IDVAs) - as I have already said, these advisers have proved to be the lynch-pin of SDVCs. Where victims are supported through court we see not only improved safety for the victim but also more cases resulting in a conviction.• Trained and dedicated staff - police, prosecutors and magistrates were specifically trained for SDVC work.• Court listings - the cluster and fast-track listing systems we have talked about.• Equality and diversity - monitoring the profile of victims and defendants to ensure that support is tailored to varying needs.• Data collection and monitoring - agencies are provided with templates to collect data and advice on its analysis.• Court facilities - courts should have separate entrances, exits and waiting areas to ensure that victims are safe at court and cannot be intimidated. 'Special measures' such as screens measures include screens and CCTV links should also be available.• Children's Services - this component stresses the importance of links to children services to take care of the safety of the children. These services are umbilical authorities and we require their local buy in.• Perpetrator programmes - rehabilitation programmes have been set up in every area by probation officers. Some areas also provide programmes outside of the criminal justice system that perpetrators can make use of voluntarily.• Other services - support services outside the criminal justice system such as housing, Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) and health need to link into the SDVC programme.SARCs are the first "Rolls Royce" way of dealing with victims of sexual assault. A person may self-report or be brought by the police or call in for help and be brought to a SARC. There they will be treated as a patient, given appropriate medical support.Samples will be taken without any obligation. There will be a crisis worker. They will be referred for counselling if that is what is needed. They will be taken home and helped with an explanation as to what has happened to their family. SARC will engage to support in an holistic way a victim of sexual assault.Slide 10The programme started with 25 specialist domestic violence courts in England and Wales in the year 05/06.To this were added 39 further SDVCs in 06/07 and in the last year we have added a further 34 which brought the total to 98 by April 2008.The Independent DV Advisors (IDVAs) so important to SDVCs were funded by the Home Office in between 2005 and 2007. From 2007 until 2010 £3m has been and will be provided annually for this purpose by the Ministry of Justice.The Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences (MARACs) received £1.85m in funding from the Home Office between 2006 and 2008. We plan to roll out MARACs nationally by 2010/11 with concomitant funding.Finally, in 2007-08 a review was carried out of the first 25 SDVCs.Slide 11Data obtained from the first tranche of 25 SDVCS over a 6 month period - from October 2006 to March 2007 - was reviewed.Data from the CPS was collected on the national computerised case management system by flagging cases as 'SDVC.'Other agencies were asked to collect data, but this was not mandatory.Data from the police, courts and probation could not be gathered electronically so it was collected manually where possible.Data from Independent DV Advisers was collected electronically where possible.From the analysis of this data 6 SDVCs were selected and visited for a more in-depth qualitative review.Questionnaires were gathered from all the SDVCs.Slide 12The measures of success set by the 2006-07 Criminal Justice System Public Service Agreements were used for the review.These were -• Bringing more perpetrators to justice• Improving the support, safety and satisfaction of victims• Increasing public confidence in the CJS.The emphasis of the review was therefore on the delivery of both justice and safety.Slide 13Performance varied across the SDVCs from those with excellent performance, those mainly improving justice and those mainly improving safety.The main challenges were -• For SDVCs to focus on both bringing perpetrators to justice and ensuring victim safety and support We found some were excellent on delivering justice at the expense of the safety and support of victims, whereas others were brilliant in supporting victims but did not focus enough on the outcomes in court.• Partnership working, especially CJS agencies linking with IDVAs• Criminal justice agencies working in partnership with voluntary sector organisations was quite novel• Addressing support for victims was a new concept• Data collection and use in local performance managementCourts were used to having some management of their performance but trying to get the systems to specifically collect data for these specialist DV courts was difficult.The CPS set up an electronic system centrally so, at a local level, only inputting of the data was needed and analysis was carried out centrally. However this clearly required significant resources.Other agencies relied on the goodwill of staff to collect data.Most SDVCs did not think about looking at their own data and using it to improve practice.This is an issue which we are currently working on.• Work with black and minority ethnic victim and defendantsResults (that I will go into later) indicated that cases involving BME defendants and victims were less successful. This might have indicated that there were fewer agencies available to support the specific needs of BME victims, these victims having less confidence in the CJS as a result.Good practice was drawn from the review to illustrate how specialist courts can achieve success in terms of both justice and safety.Slide 14The first success measure was bringing more perpetrators to justice.There were some excellent results -• Over 80% of DV suspects were arrested• Of that first 25 SDVCs 10 achieved an over 70% conviction rateThis was generally better than the non-SDVCs within the areas in which the SDVCs were situated - these only reached 64%. It is good to have looked at this across the board.Pilot schemes often succeed because they are the focus of attention and sometimes resources. However, their performance of the SDVCs was much better than other courts though the improvement had also impacted on the other courts. This suggest that the pilots are successful in themselves and that the whole atmosphere of taking domestic violence seriously has spread to impact on the good outcomes now emerging from non-specialist courts in the same areas.• The 10 SDVCs with a conviction rate of over 70% also had the least cases discontinued and were among the group with the least number of cases in which no evidence was offered at trial• One of the courts achieved a conviction rate of over 80%.Slide 15On the measure of improving the support, safety and satisfaction of victims the review found that just under 6000 victims were referred to and Independent Domestic Violence Adviser. That is an average of 269 referrals per IDVA.74% of victims involved in the court process were supported by IDVAs at court.The number of cases that went to MARACs is equivalent to 84% of the number of Very High Risk (VHR) clients referred to the IDVA projects, indicating the attention given to victim safety87% of those seeking civil injunctions in associated civil proceedings were granted them.Slide 16The best performing SDVCs addressed all components listed in the National Resource Manual and were found to address both justice and safety.However, it was interesting to note that the SDVCs that were more successful in bringing perpetrators to justice had some components stronger than others, having -• strong multi-agency partnerships• effective systems for the identification of cases• their IDVAs supported victims at court and not just outside court• they provided good training and had dedicated staff• they had either cluster listings or a combination of cluster and fast-track court listings, but not just fast-track listings on their own, and• they had good links to perpetrator programmes.Slide 17In contrast we found that the SDVCs that were more successful in terms of support and safety of victims had -• strong MARACs• IDVAs engaging victims generally with more emphasis on support outside of the CJS, and• safe court facilities.A number of issues needed improvements in most SDVCs -• in those with a lower conviction rate there was a higher proportion of BME defendants - something that demands further careful analysis• SDVCs still need to address performance through data analysis to see where improvements are needed to meet all success measures• SDVCs need to address children issues, such as support for child victims and witnesses and careful consideration of when it is appropriate for children to be called as witnesses.Slide 18:In conclusion -The review found that all SDVC components are needed to ensure safety and justice. 'Picking and mixing' does not work.Plans are now underway to further roll out SDVCs, IDVAs and MARACs across Magistrates' courts in England and Wales.We are looking at ways of devolving selection and monitoring (carried out centrally to date) as the numbers grow bigger.Discussions are also beginning to explore work in the Crown Court and youth courts. We have a problem with the rape conviction rate in England and Wales. It is 5.7% and though that is an increase of ½% over the last couple of years, it is small enough, an improvement for us not to be at all bullish. There are already ISVAs which are independent sexual violence advisers who support sexual violence complainants in the same way that IDVAs support domestic violence complainants. We have jury trial for rape and so it is not so easy to focus training on those who will find the facts as it has been to train magistrates courts in the specialist domestic violence courts.SDVCs are a key part of the government response to tackling domestic violence.The success of SDVCs has greatly assisted us in dealing effectively with domestic violence cases and will continue to do so.We cannot be complacent. We know what this horrific crime does to people's lives.I hope to learn from this visit things that will inform further development of the ability of the criminal justice system in England and Wales to deal effectively with domestic violence and broaden our relative success in this area.Thank you. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/JustPartners-FamilyViolence,SpecialistCourtsAndTheIdeaOfIntegration.aspx ? Just Partners - Family Violence, Specialist Courts And The Idea Of Integration 22 May 2008 Attorney General's Office
Tackling Gangs Action Plan22 May 2008Violent Crime Conference - BirminghamClosing speech for Attorney GeneralThank you Vanessa.I too am very pleased to be here today and to have this further opportunity to speak to you.Role of CPS in tackling gang crimeI should like to say something about the part that I and the Crown Prosecution Service have played and will be playing in tackling violent crime.Increasingly when dealing with violent, especially gang related crime, the police and the CPS work very much as a team from the outset, applying the lessons learned from dealing with serious and organised crime.Advice to the police from the CPS during an investigation helps shape the enquiry and ensures that the strongest case is put before a court.During the investigation into the murder of Rhys Jones a prosecutor from the Mersey-Cheshire Complex Casework Unit was assigned to the investigation and advised the police as and when necessary.The CPS and the police developed a joint media strategy and when the time came for arrests the CPS reviewed evidence as it was gathered to ensure appropriate charges before custody time limits expired.Challenge presented by gang grime casesPerhaps the key challenge when dealing with gang crime is getting witnesses to give evidence for the prosecution.Experience has been that after gang attacks witnesses frequently come to investigators with potentially valuable evidence.They are willing to tell the police what they know confidentially but they are unwilling to be seen to be assisting the authorities by making a statement and they are certainly unwilling to give evidence in court.They are unwilling because they are frightened of what will happen to them if they do. They fear death or serious injury.They may be frightened that those that they give evidence against will do to them what they have witnessed them doing to others or their fear may be that they will suffer retribution from those who simply object to them cooperating with the authorities. In many cases this risk is all too real.A common feature of gang related violence is that people have been gunned down in front of potential witnesses without any apparent regard for the risk of being caught.Those using guns do this because they think that no one who witnesses what they are doing will speak up against them for fear of the same thing happening to them. Although they may not realise it, they are in fact challenging the rule of law.In extremis witnesses can be protected after assisting the police by being placed into a witness protection programme. However such programmes are really a last resort, requiring the witness to uproot him or herself and perhaps their family, to move home, to change job.The witness's life becomes dominated by the need for security. This can be necessary but is clearly comes at a high price for the witness. Why should the witness pay?Witness anonymityThe alternative to witness protection schemes can be to allow the witness to give evidence anonymously - Jacqui spoke briefly about this aspect earlier. The witness's true identity is known only to the court, the prosecution and the police. Exceptionally it may also be known to special counsel appointed by the Attorney General to safeguard the interests of the defendant who cannot be told the identity of the witness.Anonymity, coupled with measures such as screens in court to shield the witness from all but the judge and the jury and perhaps even voice modulation can provide adequate protection without such a long lasting impact upon the life of the witness, their family and friends.Allowing a witness to give evidence anonymously does of course present very real challenges for the court. The defendant's right to a fair trial is protected by law. In particular the defendant is entitled to examine or have examined the witnesses giving evidence against him.Ordinarily of course knowing the true identity of the witness is said to be an essential part of this. Without knowing the identity of the witness it is argued, the defendant cannot know whether he believes that the witness is lying because he has a score to settle with the witness.You will appreciate that this consideration can perhaps be particularly relevant when dealing with gang crime.But the defendant's right to a fair trial must be balanced to some extent with the rights of others, rights which some say can seem to take a back seat to the rights of the accused. A witness has a legal right to life and a right to have their private and family life protected.So the challenge for the court is to balance these rights, to ensure a fair trial, which means a fair trial for all - the defendant, the witnesses and by no means least the victim and the community of course who are entitled to justice.Ellis - Davis - House of LordsWitness anonymity has played a part in gang related shooting cases of late. Some of you will know of two that were recently considered by the Court of Appeal - Davis and Ellis.In Davis 2 men died on New Year's Day 2002 when an apparently minor dispute at an all-night party resulted in the first victim being shot, the second victim tragically dying as the bullet passed through the first victim and through a wall into an adjoining room.In Ellis almost exactly a year later a man and 2 young girls died and 2 others were seriously injured in a shooting outside a launderette.In May last year the Court of Appeal dismissed appeals challenging the fact that witnesses had given evidence anonymously. Davis was then allowed to appeal further to the House of Lords.The Lords' opinion is expected shortly. You will appreciate from what I have said that the outcome of that case is keenly awaited by many. The decision of the Lords' could I think have a significant impact upon the prosecution of not only violent crime but also perhaps serious and organised crime.You will appreciate from this just how important it is that the CPS and the police work closely on these cases.The ability of the prosecution team to satisfy a court that witnesses can safely give evidence anonymously is based to a large extent on the diligence of the investigators in scrutinising not only all aspects of the case but also the backgrounds of the witnesses.The direction of the investigation can in turn by guided by the prosecutors' analysis of the approach that a trial court is likely to take.CPS Good Practice Guide to Prosecuting Complex Gun and Gang Related CrimeWitness anonymity has been an important tool in the prosecutors' armoury when deal with violent gang crime, but it is not the only tool.The CPS will shortly publish a Good Practice Guide to Prosecuting Complex Gun and Gang Related Crime. This Guide draws upon the lessons learned thus far when dealing with these cases and also from some of the insights provided by the Tackling Gangs Action Programme.The Guide covers not only the police and prosecution team approach and witness anonymity that we have talked about but also offer guidance to prosecutors on advising investigators on evidence such as - firearms discharge residue, covert policing and mobile phones.The Guide covers witness care and witness protection, handling disclosure, the trial process and last but by far the least - community engagement and relations with the media.This Guide will capture the techniques - some innovative - that the CPS has used so well in recent years. The Guide will now mainstream these techniques and no doubt serve the CPS well in not only violent gang related cases in the future but other prosecutions that present similar challenges.Closing the conferenceI would like to return now to this conference.Gangs and the violent crimes that they commit rob victims of their lives and rob gang members of their youth. Tackling gangs will be a challenge for some time yet but we should not lose sight of the scale of the problem or the positive steps that have already been taken.Thus far gang crime has been primarily located in 4 areas of the country.2 This will be of no consolation of course to those that live in these areas and whose lives are affected, but the scale of the problem is nothing like that in other countries and we are determined to ensure that this does not change.Firearms related injuries dropped by over 50% in these areas during TGAP and there was also a 27% drop in all firearms offences.It is a complex problem. There will be no simple solution. But we have worked together and risen to the challenge and now we need to sustain the momentum.2 London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool accounting for c. 65% of firearms homicides, Manchester and W. Midlands accounting for c. 55% of firearms offences.The Tackling Gangs Action Programme has shown how government departments, law enforcement, other organisations and initiatives can work together to produce a multi-faceted solution.The continuation of that work, set out today, shows Government's ongoing commitment to this important work and to the broader concerns of knife and youth crime.I would like to thank all of you for attending this conference and for the contribution that many of you have made and will I am sure all be making to tackling violent crime in the future. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/TacklingGangsActionPlan.aspx ? Tackling Gangs Action Plan 22 May 2008 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General's Luncheon Address Institute Of Legal Executives (ILEX) President's Annual Luncheon14 May 2008IntroductionFirstly, I would like to thank Lesley for inviting me to your President's lunch. I am absolutely delighted to be here.ILEX embodies much of what we are striving to achieve in today's legal profession and much of what I personally value in the work we share.Firstly, I must take this opportunity of thanking the ILEX Pro Bono Forum for all that it achieves in the pro bono sector. Your Pro Bono Forum is a major player in my umbrella Pro Bono Coordinating Committee, and an exemplar of a profession's pro bono arm. You have been closely involved in every recent pro bono initiative that I can think of, to the point that it is unthinkable for a pro bono project to be taken forward without your support. I am passionately committed to the pro bono movement, and the most important message I have today is to thank each and every one of you for everything you do.Secondly, I know where many talk about opening up access to the legal profession, you have done more than this - you have succeeded. I know that 75% of your membership is female and more than 13% are from minority ethnic backgrounds. This is not because of any specific discrete policy or promotion, but because the very underlying ethos and rationale of ILEX is to facilitate qualification into the legal profession from those who would otherwise be prevented, either for financial reasons or because of other responsibilities. And a paradigm of this, Lesley, is you, our hostess - my understanding is that you were a legal secretary when you became interested in law, and look where you are now. (I have been told that you are a grandmother, but I don't think any of us believe that.)Because of all this, I am particularly happy that, bit by bit, you are winning recognition from all quarters as a branch of the legal profession on equal footing with your more long standing partners, the Law Society and the Bar Council. And the most recent piece of the jigsaw puzzle is the agreement by the JAC to permit ILEX Fellows to apply for judicial appointment. This is wonderful news, both for ILEX and for the judiciary, and I wish all your members the very best of luck in their appointments.As your President kindly invited me to give a talk on a subject of my choice, I will take advantage of that generosity, by covering two subjects in my talk today.The first is hot off the press. I know you will be pleased to know that, now that Royal Assent has been given to the Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008, non-lawyers in the CPS will be able to take on a broader range of cases and deal with a wider range of hearings in the magistrates courts'.The second is still pleasantly warm. Last month I issued a consultation paper on a new Framework for Plea Negotiations in fraud cases. This is not a standalone initiative; but part of a series of reforms and proposals originally put forward in the Government Fraud Review. I'd like to tell you how we are implementing the Fraud Review recommendations - and beginning to spend some of the £29.9 million that the Government is investing in our National anti fraud Programme !Criminal Justice & Immigration Act 2008The DPP has some exciting plans for implementing the extended powers and ILEX has an important role to play in them.Many of you will know that the Crown Prosecution Service refers to those who undertake court advocacy work as Designated Caseworkers; but to mark the important transition and extension to their remit in the Act, they will in future be known as Associate Prosecutors. This is a title that they themselves helped select.For those of you who are not familiar with the work of Associate Prosecutors, they were first introduced in 1998 and there are currently 412 Associate Prosecutors, of which 68% are female, 32% male and 71% are aged between 30 and 49 years.They are seen as a mature and dedicated cadre who have hitherto undertaken all criminal proceedings in the magistrates' courts except:• contested trials• hearings involving indictable only offences; committal proceedings; and• hearings relating to the administrative "Transfer" of cases involving children and certain fraud offences.To put their contribution into context, the latest figures indicate that since last April [2007] Associate Prosecutors handled approximately 20% [19.8%] of all Crown Prosecution Service sessions in the Magistrates' Court - not an insignificant figure - and are now established as an efficient and effective means of dealing with straightforward advocacy.I am very pleased to report that feedback from other court users has been very positive.The National Audit Office report on the Crown Prosecution Service published in February 2006 noted that Magistrates were impressed by the standard of advocacy. The Public Accounts Committee report of May 2006 and a review by Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate - a body independent from the Crown Prosecution Service, echoed these findings.Section 55 of the Act will now enable Associate Prosecutors to undertake a much wider range of hearings in the magistrates courts'. Most importantly, it will enable Associate Prosecutors to undertake contested trials of summary only non-imprisonable offences.I believe that ILEX membership will help professionalise the Associate Prosecutor cadre, providing them with a highly regarded Independent Regulator, who understands their professional needs.Membership of ILEX will also give Associate Prosecutors a sense of belonging and independent support, akin to that enjoyed by their lawyer colleagues - and a welcome developmental route to develop their careers through further ILEX study.Work between the CPS and ILEX continues, following the outline agreement reached in January this year. I know that the Crown Prosecution Service is looking forward to working with ILEX in developing the new training programme that will be necessary to accompany the extended powers introduced by section 55 of the Act.The Associate Prosecutor pathway to qualification taps a rich and diverse vein of talent. Since 1998, 66 Associate Prosecutors have gone on to qualify as lawyers through the Crown Prosecution Service Legal Trainee Scheme - to the great benefit of the legal profession as a whole.The National Fraud ProgrammeNow - a slight change of subject ! I hope that many - if not all of you - will be aware of my and my predecessor Lord Goldsmith's efforts to bring the menace of Fraud into the public arena. Some of you may have seen the Consultation Paper I issued last month, introducing a Framework for Plea Negotiations. If not - please do take the time to read it and give us your views.The consultation closes on July 4th and you can download the Paper from my websitewww.attorneygeneral.gsi.gov.uk.I will return to the Framework in a moment, but first I need to set the scene.The Government Fraud Review proposed that we take a national and holistic approach to fraud, instead of the perfectly worthy but piecemeal efforts we have all been making hitherto. Last year my predecessor announced that the Government would be adopting a National anti Fraud strategy and he invited the public and private sectors to work together to devise this. Their plans were submitted to the Treasury and have been funded [in the CSR] to the tune of nearly £29 million.This funding is a clear and emphatic indication of the Government's commitment to making the UK the world's hardest target for fraud - and to supporting stakeholders in their existing efforts to fight fraud across the whole economy.Work is now underway to create the building blocks that will develop and deliver the national strategy and unleash an integrated national response to fraud. In stages during this year and next, we will see the principal architecture built - in roughly this order:• The National Fraud Strategic authority;• its Measurement unit;• The National Lead Force for fraud and• The National Fraud Reporting Centre.Together, these will be responsible for the national anti-fraud Programme, for the knowledge management that will drive it and for the co-ordinated public and private sector action that will increase our capacity to fight fraud effectively in every part of the economy.At the centre of the Programme is the National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA). The Authority's mission is to provide the strategic focus and co-ordination for national counter-fraud activity across the economy. It will do this by:• providing leadership,• resolving conflicts and barriers,• closing gaps,• and removing overlaps,The objective is, simply, to make the UK the world's hardest target for fraud.The NFSA already has a nucleus of staff, seconded from all across the public and private sectors. Later this summer we will be making permanent appointments.The NFSA has already begun to test strategic approaches to particular areas of fraud. A task force has been formed to bring together all those currently working to combat mortgage fraud and another will be addressing the use of the internet for fraud.The task force approach to fighting fraud has proved the most effective. It brings together all the people needed to respond to a fraud threat: public and private sector, professionals, regulators, police and prosecutors. Everybody uses their own powers - statutory or contractual - to do their own job, but the difference is they are doing their jobs together. They plan together and they work together. This will be the unique strength of the NFSA.The NFSA will also house a measurement unit. We need to be able to measure successes, failures and progress. Then we can begin to predict vulnerabilities, and we can concentrate efforts on the frauds that cause the most harm.The National Lead Force for fraud will soon be emerging within the City of London Police (CoLP). Recruitment has started already with a very successful open day held last month (220 attended) . The Lead Force will increase our national fraud investigation capacity by providing:• support for regional forces fraud investigations,• a centre of excellence for fraud investigation• support and frontline experience to the NFSAFinally, the National Fraud Reporting Centre and Intelligence Bureau (NFRC) will provide the analytical hub, to receive and manage national intelligence on fraud - intelligence that is currently fragmented within both the public and private sectors.Based with the City of London Police, the NFRC will be recruiting civilian intelligence analysts as well as law enforcement officers, to ensure that it provides:• tactical intelligence to help law enforcement bring perpetrators to justice;• strategic intelligence for decision makers in both public and private sectors; and,• better knowledge of the threat of fraud, to drive the NFSA's strategy and public warnings.Which brings me back to my consultation paper on Plea Negotiations - and the other criminal justice reforms recommended by the Fraud Review.The Framework for Plea Negotiations was drafted by a working group of senior court practitioners led by Stephen Hockman, QC - a former Chairman of the Bar. The object of this Framework is quite simply to encourage the prosecution and defence - traditionally constrained by our adversarial system from working together - to discuss the practicalities of a guilty plea at the earliest possible opportunity. Before charges are even brought, in some cases.We all know that the larger and more complex fraud cases are expensive to investigate, to prosecute and to present in court. They impose a heavy burden on the police, law enforcement agencies, witnesses, victims and defendants as well as the court itself. They consume a disproportionate share of legal aid resources. If we can save investigation and trial time in even a few cases a year, it will be a considerable achievement.We are currently drafting a second paper, which will propose new preventive and deterrent powers for the Crown Court in dealing with criminal fraud, including:• powers to wind up companies used in fraud• powers to disqualify offenders from regulated professions• increased powers to award compensation to victims of fraud.These linked proposals will, if agreed, both empower a Crown Court to impose a package of sentencing orders that satisfies the needs of victims and defendants for comprehensive justice.Fraud is the ultimate acquisitive crime. At its worst, it displays all the attributes of a commercial undertaking. A successful, modern anti fraud strategy depends on a multi pronged approach, combining removal of profit and prevention of further offence opportunities to strengthen the deterrent effects of conventional detection, investigation, prosecution and punishment. I know that ILEX, together with the other professional bodies, will be supporting us in implementing the holistic solution to fraud that is at the heart of the National Fraud Programme.Thank you None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/AttorneyGeneral%E2%80%99sLuncheonAddressInstituteOfLegalExecutives(ILEX)President%E2%80%99sAnnualLuncheon.aspx The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP s Luncheon Address Institute Of Legal Executives (ILEX) President's Annual Luncheon 14 May 2008 Attorney General's Office
Oxford Honour Based Violence Conference28 March 2008The Rt Hon the Baroness Scotland of Asthal QCAttorney GeneralWe are all here today because we care about honour based violence. We care enough to want to do something about it and we can do something about it. I am glad to see so many people here today from a range of organisations. Among you there will be people who have worked in the area for some time who can share their experiences and others who are new to the area.If I can just take a moment to reflect on my journey. In 1997 I was a practicing barrister and remember that at that time honour based violence was not acknowledged or talk about. In 1998 when I was in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the Government started looking at the issues surrounding honour based violence. The first challenge we met was to contest the assertion that honour based violence was not Government business and that it was too sensitive an area for the government to be involved in. However, we were determined that this was not going to be the case but that to identify the issues and respond appropriately to them we needed the input of everyone including practitioners the voluntary sector and others. We know this partnership approach works which is why I want to thank everyone for being here today, those who can bring their experiences and those who are here to learn more.Many of you are already experienced at dealing with honour based violence. Some perhaps have less experience, in which case this conference is going to be a very good place to start. What we must all remember is that getting it right means we are saving lives.Many of you are well versed in the hard reality of honour based violence but I think it always pays to start at the beginning by reminding ourselves of the fundamental principles that must guide us - principles that you may find helpful to bear in mind today and in the future.Honour based violence is usually associated with forced marriage. A forced marriage is one in which at least one party does not freely consent to the marriage. Forced marriage must of course be distinguished from arranged marriage in which, having been introduced, the bride and groom freely consent to marriage. This distinction is so important. It is important that all practitioners including the police and CPS recognise this distinction so that we can focus our efforts on the right cases. This is particularly important when we are recording information as we need to be able to identify the scale of the problem and the progress we are making.Some parents, and sometimes other family members, think that they should decide who their daughter, and occasionally their son, should marry. Honour based violence is not gender specific. Both men and women can be victims - they can both be as vulnerable and as threatened. Sometimes the victim comes from outside the offenders' family - as in the 'Rosehill' murder case, about which you will be hearing more today.Some are thought to see forced marriage as being a matter of faith - something required by their religion. It is not.Forced marriage is not about religion. Every major faith condemns it and condemns it unequivocally. Freely given consent is essential for a Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Sikh marriage.Some parents think that they are upholding cultural values from the country of their ancestors. If they do they are mistaken. Countries, their practices and values have moved on. Sometimes it can be the individuals who hold these beliefs and misguided ways of maintaining links or doing business between families than the individuals that are dreadfully outdated.I should say that honour based violence is not unique to any one part of the community. In the Thames Valley and across the UK Asian, often Pakistani, girls aged between 15 and 24 years are most frequently the victims. But this figure may do no more than reflect the size of the Asian community in this country.Victims come from families from not only India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka but also, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia and Hong Kong and we have had an Irish case too. We should also remember that in our country forced marriage used to happen in relation to property and estate. In the case that occurred in Ireland a girl who had learning difficulties, but a significant estate, was forced into marriage. Honour based violence also arises within the Romany, gypsy and traveller communities.Perhaps most often marriage is forced to control what is seen as unwanted behaviour - having a relationship with the wrong man, being seen as promiscuous, perhaps having the wrong sexual orientation or wanting to be independent. When I was a practicing barrister I had a friend who was a solicitor friend who had to leave her home and flee her family as they wanted to force her into marriage. They did not want her to be independent or to have a professional career. She never stopped running from them but she also never stopped loving them either. This is something that a lot of honour based violence victims say and something that we need to be sensitive of as practitioners.There is of course nothing honourable about forcing someone to marry against their will. It is in fact most dishonourable and crimes conducted in the name of honour would be more appropriately called crimes of dishonour. There is absolutely no honour at all in the crimes that are committed when a forced marriage is bravely resisted.Forced marriage is an unlawful marriage and us null and void as there is no freely given consent. Whilst forced marriage is not just unlawful, the acts perpetrated by those who would force marriage in the name of honour are criminal offences. They include sexual offences, child abuse, abduction, false imprisonment.Forced marriage and honour based violence are nothing less than abuses of fundamental human rights. They are most frequently domestic violence or violence against women. Sometimes they may be child abuse. 30% of the forced marriage cases handled by the FCO Forced Marriage Unit involve children, some as young as 10.Victims of forced marriage will suffer physical and sexual abuse. Sexual intercourse without consent is of course rape, nothing less. They will be subjected to psychological harm and many are driven to harm themselves or take their own lives.Honour based crime impacts not just on the direct victim but also on the whole family. Family members may witness the violence or be pressured into taking part or covering it up. Siblings may be told that their older sister has gone abroad to study or live with relatives when in fact she has been forced into marriage or perhaps murdered.We still do not really know the full extent of the problem - what we do know is just the tip of the iceberg. We have more information than we did at the beginning of our journey but we must obtain more. To date there is no reliable comprehensive national data on the incidence and characteristics of forced marriage and honour based violence although the CPS is presently piloting a project to identify and monitor these cases for the first time.These are the fundamental principles of honour based violence. We should not forget them.Tackling the problem is rather more complex, there are a number of facets to the problem so there should therefore be a multi-faceted response. This requires all of us working together in partnership including central government and organisations such as your own.The Government has established the Forced Marriage Unit at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Forced Marriage Unit is working with the Department of Health, the Department for Children, Families and Schools, the Ministry of Justice and with my office. I know that you are going to be hearing later on about the work that the unit is doing.The Government has taken through Parliament the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act. The Act has not criminalised forced marriage. Some thought that it should have done, others felt that would be counter productive as if the behaviour of the victim's family were criminalised it might dissuade the victim from seeking protection under the law. After very careful and extensive consultation the Act was framed to provide only a civil remedy.The Act allows a civil court to make an order containing such prohibitions, restrictions, requirements or other such terms as it thinks appropriate to protect a person from being forced into marriage or to protect a person who has been forced into marriage.Anyone found in breach of a Forced Marriage Protection Order will be dealt with for contempt of court. This is punishable with up to 2 years imprisonment. I must emphasis however that the Act should not in anyway be construed as shifting the burden of upholding the law to the victim or the victim's supporters, far from it. The criminal justice system will uphold its duty to protect people and to bring offenders to justice.The Act provides for protection under civil law but anything done that amounts to a crime can, should and will be dealt with sensitively but firmly for what it is, serious crime.The Act also allows the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance to public bodies on how to deal with cases of forced marriage. Guidelines issued by the Forced Marriage Unit will therefore have greater strength with the statutory agencies. This will ensure that agencies have clarity about how to handle cases of honour based violence and that the guidelines are being implemented in full and consistently.The Government has also established the Race, Confidence and Justice Unit within the Office for Criminal Justice Reform. The Unit has established and manages the Race and Confidence Challenge Fund to support innovative, locally driven projects aimed at delivering the Race and Confidence PSA targets at LCJB level. The fund has been well received by practitioners. I know you received money from this fund and have used it to great effect and that your model can serve as an exemplar to other areas. Well done.This is just an overview. Central Government has done, and is doing, a lot to focus attention on honour based violence, to equip practitioners to tackle the problem and to put in place the arrangements that will protect victims.But, there must be skilled, committed, collaborative working at a local level if full advantage is to be taken of this strategy, if we are to be able to deal sensitively and effectively with those subjected to or at risk of being subjected to forced marriage or honour based violence.Events like these are so very important to achieving this. Through events like these practitioners will be trained and exchange best practice. Awareness will be raised within organisations. Cooperation between agencies should be improved. This is absolutely fundamental as when you speak to victims they will tell you that they told agencies at various stages in their ordeal, but that they did not understand or get the help they needed.Perhaps most importantly, events such as this conference should be a springboard to raising awareness within the wider community and the hard to reach groups. The message should be that we understand the problem and that we can work efficiently and sympathetically with victims to protect them and enforce their rights and the law.Much good work has already been done and we now have a body of learning that we can utilise and share. In time we will start to change the mindset of those who would perpetrate these abuses on their own family in the name of honour. The more we talk about it the more this will happen.Part of the purpose of the event today is to congratulate Thames Valley LCJB and others on their work on honour based violence. In 2006 the Race, Confidence and Justice Unit received 32 applications for funding of which 14 were approved. Of these the application from the Thames Valley Project was considered one of the most innovative. It also demonstrated just how carefully the Local Criminal Justice Board had considered the development and sustainability of an effective strategy for dealing with honour based violence.The LCJB has also made the critically important link with Karma Nirvana, one of the key voluntary projects supporting victims of honour based violence. You are going to be hearing from Karma Nirvana founder Jasvinder Sanghera today.This is surely the occasion to congratulate everyone involved thus far with this project and to encourage you all to share in that success by making a difference for those who will suffer honour based crime. For both those who have already endured the long journey that can share their knowledge and expertise to the new joiners for the assistance they can bring to this challenging area. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/OxfordHonourBasedViolenceConference.aspx ? Oxford Honour Based Violence Conference 28 March 2008 Attorney General's Office
Frontline Forum Event: "Victims - A Voice For All"27 March 2008Vera Baird QC, MPSolicitor GeneralFrontline Forum Event: "Victims - A Voice For All"Victoria Plaza HotelWelcome and good morning to you all.Thank you all for coming and I am delighted that I am able to attend today. I attended the 'No Witness No Justice' Conference in Birmingham a few weeks ago which gave me even more of an insight and understanding of the progress in the witness care units. Therefore, today I hope to gain more knowledge from you all about the changes being made and the improvements that need to be dealt with within the Criminal Justice System.This is one in a series of events we are calling 'Frontline Forums'. They are intended to provide a framework for practitioners and ministers to discuss policy issues. We believe that it is the people at the frontline of delivering public services who very often have the best sense of what is needed. But it is often these very people who do not have a loud enough voice in determining policy. The forums we have had so far, covering subjects including bail, victims and intimidated witnesses have demonstrated this.I attended one such event last year on out-of-court disposals which proved really insightful, and I'm sure today's event on ensuring victims' voices are heard will be equally interesting and valuable.Setting the SceneIn terms of support for Victims and Witnesses I hope you would agree that although there is further to go we have travelled a considerable distance over the last four years.• We now have legal rights for victims to a minimum level of service introduced via the Victims Code of Practice• We are developing a charter for Witnesses to again set out the standards of service that should be expected.• We have introduced (and are taking steps to review and improve) the operation of the Victim Personal Statement.We have worked hard to develop a more victim focussed CPS (evidenced for example by the Prosecutors Pledge which sets out the steps via which the CPS will commit to listen to and take account of the victims views and the impact of the crime upon them when making charging and prosecution decisions).We have completed the national roll out of Witness Care Units to support witnesses through the process from charge to trial. 165 Witness Care Units offer tailored support from arrest through to sentence, and witness attendance at court has improved across England and Wales from 77% to 85% within the last two years.We have improved support for witnesses (including wider availability of special measures and better identification and the provision of intermediaries for witnesses with communication difficulties) and we have given specific support to Victim Support to help them build a more effective working model, ensuring greater focus on what victim's immediate need are (Victim Support Plus).In short, I would suggest that the culture within the CJS has started to become more victim and witness focused. The evidence we have suggests that while victims and witnesses are generally satisfied with the quality of service they receive from individual CJS staff, our processes and standards of service are still not always delivered consistently to every victim and witness.Currently we are planning to focus our efforts on eight key national priorities which are:1. Information about case progress, and about how the CJS process works2. Referral to appropriate support organisations3. Support to attend court4. Support at court itself5. Identification of, and support for, vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses6. An improved experience for victims and witnesses from minority groups7. High quality of service provided by CJS staff, and8. Listening to the views of victims, witnesses and communitiesWhat we are currently doing is speaking to practitioners about how we can support improvements in each of the above areas.One of the ways we need to improve is in consistency - to ensure that our services are appropriately targeted and meet the needs of all victims and witnesses. This is one of the drivers that has lead to our focus on the support we provide to young victims of crime - the support needs of which we would like to talk to you about today.Understanding the needs of young victims of crimeWe know that young people are most likely to be victims of crime and less likely to report a crime to the police because of various fears and ignorance. This means not only that crimes go unreported and not brought to justice but also that these unknown victims are not offered support.There is involvement of and support for young victims of crime in the current system but it is limited to those who report the crime.Even those who are offered support by Victim Support are likely to have varying experiences of that support dependant on how well prepared their local branch is to support young people. We would really like to put a more consistent picture in terms of appropriate support for young victims of crime in place and welcome the opportunity to discuss with you your ideas and examples of practice.There is also a growing awareness that victims and offenders are often the same young people. Some of the risk factors for victimisation are the same for offending and victimisation can be strong predictor of future offending. Victims may offend out of retaliation or as perverse way to protect themselves, because the risk factors that made them more likely to be victims correctly also predicted offending or the impact of serious victimisation in childhood may lead to behaviours such as drug taking that then in turn lead to offending. Recognising these links may offer us an opportunity to respond more effectively to both victims and offenders.Listening to VictimsIn terms of having a voice and listening to the views of victims and witnesses there are two distinct elements that we want to explore with you today.One, how individuals can make their views and impact of the crime known to all CJS agencies including the police, CPS, Courts and Judiciary and two how all the agencies can better learn from and respond to feedback from Victims and Witnesses, particularly those that have been recent 'users' of the system.Victim Personal StatementIn 2005/06, only 36% of victims recalled having been given the opportunity to complete a Victim Personal Statement (VPS), despite the fact that this should be offered to all victims. There were more victims of violent crime recalled being given the opportunity to complete a VPS than to victims of theft.What we do know however (from our WAVES survey) is that where Victims remember being given the opportunity to make a VPS over 50% take up the opportunity.We are really committed to making the VPS effective and our plans to re-launch and promote the VPS are informed by comments and good practice.Hearing the views of victims at the local levelIn 2003 we set up the Victims Advisory Panel to bring together victims of crime, Ministers and policy makers to discuss victims' issues and make sure that victims' views are heard at the heart of Government.The VAP responds to consultations and works on policy recommendations that are presented to Ministers and senior officials at twice-yearly meetings. What I think the VAP is not currently able to do is to respond to issues concerning the provision of support and delivery of service at the local level.LCJBs success to support them in developing 3-year strategies for improving services to victims and witnesses in their area and we think that ensuring the views of victims and witnesses are heard at the local level and able to shape this process is important.How can a bespoke panel like the national VAP or (perhaps via Victim Support) target specific types of victims in a time limited exercise to understand their experiences of the system and what sorts of reform might improve their experience?So we recognise the link between practitioner's views and public confidence - you are our greatest asset, so it's vital that we listen to you and take on board your thoughts and views. I need to know about your practical experiences so we can take better decisions nationally.Please take this opportunity and speak frankly and openly. I hope you all find it a useful workshop. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/FrontlineForumEvent%E2%80%9CVictims-AVoiceForAll%E2%80%9C.aspx ? Frontline Forum Event: "Victims - A Voice For All" 27 March 2008 Attorney General's Office
CPS Racist & Religious Crimes Policy19 March 2008Venue - The Mermaid Conference & Event CentreMany thanks for that introduction.Ensuring transparencyIt is extremely important that the prosecution process in relation to racist and religious crimes is robust and also transparent, and transparency is achieved, in part, by the publication of policy statements, like the one that has been refreshed and published today, and the proactive consultation exercise which went into its development.The annual publication of CPS data from the monitoring of racist and religious offences makes another distinct contribution to ensuring transparency. The most recent data, which I have been able to look at, was published very recently, on 20 February, and it shows the trend of strong CPS performance continuing in this area.But the CPS is, I know, very keen to draw lessons from review of this data, and is vigilant to identify areas for concern.One concern, at present, is over those cases that run into difficulties because of witness problems. Witnesses may not attend, or when they do attend court, decline to give evidence. This is clearly something which got to be continually tackled, especially, as here, when prosecutions are addressing behaviour which does not simply threaten individuals, but is actually threatening whole communities.Community engagementIt is therefore crucially important that witnesses should be properly supported throughout the prosecution process. I recently had the pleasure of going to the third annual conference of the No Witness, No Justice scheme, and know the massive effort that is being made to this end in all cases. Witness Care Units undoubtedly play their part, but these issues need to be addressed on many levels, and I think that community engagement is also a vital tool.Community engagement may offer an opportunity to more clearly and directly explain the prosecution process. There may be an opportunity to reassure vulnerable communities and improve community confidence, but engagement also affords a proper forum for two-way communication. The CPS can learn as much from these encounters as the general public can.I think you can be proud of the number of CPS engagement there are, and particularly those concentrating on engagement with Muslim communities over the past two years. Last year, I think, there was one focusing on Muslim women. I am pleased to see that there are going to be further events of this nature this year.Likewise, I am also delighted to see the start of the roll-out of the Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels nationally. I am particularly pleased as I sponsor the West Yorkshire Criminal Justice Board and CPS West Yorkshire last year won a Justice Award for their pioneer Hate Crime Scrutiny Panel, which helped lead the way for the roll out of the national scheme.My real suspicion is that this forward-looking initiative which empowers local communities will harbour lessons for many other areas of public service activity, local and national, going way beyond your own immediate concerns, and it may therefore contain the seeds of a very positive future.Protecting rights and freedom of expressionThis is, as I say, the future, but in the field of race, we have recently been hearing an awful lot about the past. In recent weeks, it has been difficult to tune into the radio without hearing something about Enoch Powell's "River of Blood" speech in Birmingham in April 1968, this being an event I think that we all should properly reflect upon.However, there are other anniversaries impending. Interestingly, one anniversary, this June, is the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the cruise ship Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks, bringing just under 500 young Jamaicans who came here with all the hope and confidence of the young, seeking a new life in what was to them a new world.It is, I guess, also significant in that respect that the Powell speech - some twenty years later, almost right on the button of that anniversary - occurred against the background of the Race Relations Bill (which became law in November 1968).This was a measure passed by a Labour administration to ensure that immigrant communities, such as those who arrived on the Windrush, and their descendents were not permitted to be subjected to unacceptable prejudice in housing, employment or in access to public services.It had become all too apparent by then that this was a significant emerging problem.This legislation, and subsequent measures which have built upon it, including the 1976 Act of the same name, addressed the key need to protect vulnerable communities and ensure they have rights in more than just name. It is not acceptable to extend to those who settle in Britain, and their descendents, the veneer of human rights, without ensuring they are implemented in practice. It was not acceptable in 1968, and it is not acceptable in 2008.Not only would this be a cause for shame, it would also be a subversion of the very concept of human rights.So I was, in this respect, particularly impressed to see the clear statement in the CPS's revised Policy and Guidance that prosecutions are appropriate against those people who stir up hatred against race or faith communities, not only because such hatred may lead to expressions of violence - to actual hate crimes - but because hatred may also result in individuals exhibiting prejudice against other communities, thus denying them their rights.This might be a hidden, less visible form of injury to, or oppression of, such communities, but it is hardly less significant because of that. It was certainly a menace which Parliament recognised as such in 1968 and it is very pleasing to see the CPS approach to that hazard today.Yes, we have a broad right to freedom of expression.Yes, we are all properly jealous of protecting it as a right.But it is entirely consistent with article 10 of the Convention that a public authority may have to interfere with such a right, to the extent of imposing restrictions, where it is both necessary and proportionate to do so in order to avoid social disorder, or to protect the rights of others.So I commend the statement made in the revised Policy to this effect, which I note was properly and I think justifiably highlighted by the Ken Macdonald in his recent speech in Birmingham on Free Expression and the Rule of Law.Race for JusticeI said at the beginning that we have to recognise the need for prosecution of crimes like this to be robust, and to be so at all levels of the process. Work continues to push forward under the "Race For Justice" banner, in which the Attorney General takes a leading role.I think you will all know that "Race For Justice" was launched following a report by the Gus John Partnership which the CPS itself commissioned, wanting to ensure that its own decision-making was demonstrably free of race bias.And while the Report concluded, positively, that there was no evidence of that sort of bias, it did note some concerns about the process. These were taken up by the Race for Justice Taskforce, which reported in June 2006."Race For Justice" is now, two years down the line, providing a framework to help criminal justice agencies work harder to develop strategies to tackle hate crime - although the agenda is broader than race or indeed faith, and extends to disability, sexual orientation and transgender hate crimes.It is an across-the-board effort, involving all criminal justice agencies, and sample aspects of the work involve:• ensuring there is appropriate consideration given to use of Special Measures for victims of Hate Crime, when they are called to give evidence in proceedings;• ensuring organisations funded to tackle specific forms of hate crime are prepared to lend their voices to opposing all forms of Hate Crime, by committing to the Attorney General's Hate Crime Declaration, launched in November 2007;• reviewing the effectiveness of third party reporting mechanisms and• reviewing performance around disability hate crime, particularly in the light of a number of recent high profile cases which have raised concerns about such crimes and some very relevant research from MIND.AntisemitismThe work under the Race for Justice banner is proceeding across a broad front, but there is also the cross-Government and multi-agency work arising from the findings of the All Party Inquiry Against Antisemitism. That was chaired by John Mann, a Labour M.P. The work is being co-ordinated by Communities and Local Government, and the CPS has now looked at the findings of its research pursuant to the Recommendations of the Inquiry's Report and will be publishing them shortly.The CPS research, I think, has been thorough, involving as it did consideration of individual case files and close working between the CPS, the Met police and officers from Greater Manchester. I am hopeful that the publication of the CPS findings will contribute to the need for transparency, and also make a contribution to addressing community confidence. However, it will no doubt also better inform criminal justice partners as to the issues and the need for working closely on these issues, as they are.FaithThe Jewish community is of course, as is recognised in law, a racial one.The revised CPS Policy covers faith as well and it has been updated to include reference to the new offence of intentional stirring up religious hatred. That measure had a long and interesting Parliamentary history. Provisions amending the 1986 Act were eventually implemented in October 2007. The scope of the new offences is, of course, more limited than the provisions on race: in particular, the prosecution needs to prove intention to stir up religious hatred, and there is a requirement that any words or conduct should be threatening in nature, before the case can be taken forward.The religious hatred debate, not surprisingly, drew attention to our somewhat ancient laws relating to blasphemy, and that attention revived during the parliamentary progress of the current proposals for an offence of stirring up hatred on grounds of sexual orientation.There has been no public prosecution under these laws since 1922. The Government has long considered the existing law to be outmoded and, as recent history indeed suggests, unenforceable in today's society.The blasphemy laws are objectionable on a further ground, in that they only protect the beliefs of the Church of England, or fellow-travelling churches who share particular beliefs with Anglicans.However, it was entirely right that the Government consulted the Church of England before taking any steps to address this issue. The Archbishop of Canterbury said the Church of England would not oppose abolition.The Government has since introduced, at Lords Committee stage of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, an amendment which will abolish the present common law criminal offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.The Lords recently passed the amendment by a sizable majority. It will now be for the Commons to give these proposals further consideration and this is a debate we will all I am sure follow closely, although I imagine that MPs will conclude very much as the Lords did..Community cohesionWe live at a time when there are real concerns about the effects of race, faith and other forms of diversity on cohesion in society. It is important, though, not to get an exaggerated impression of that. The findings of the most recent Home Office Citizenship Survey are actually quite positive.It is a survey of perceptions, and it is striking to note that 82% of people think that their local area is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well: that's an increase of a couple of percentage points from 2005.80% of people report that they mix socially with people from different ethnic or religious groups at least once in an average month, and a high proportion of people feel they belong strongly to Britain (84 per cent).The fact that so many people from a range of backgrounds get along with each other, mix and feel such a strong connection to Britain is evidence that we continue actually to be a pretty cohesive country, and that there remains more uniting us than dividing us.Just as noteworthy, and particularly relevant in the present context, the proportion of people from minority ethnic groups who think they would be treated worse than other races by key public services - including those in the criminal justice system - has fallen steadily since 2001.Many fewer people from BME backgrounds now think that the police would discriminate against them - that's down by nearly a fifth (from 27% to 22%), and there have been similar improvements in perceptions regarding the CPS, perceptions regarding the courts, perceptions of the prison service, and perceptions of the probation service. We still need to do more on this, but we are clearly making steady progress in the right direction.While this may be cause for encouragement, none of it is, obviously, reason for complacency, or for failure to recognise that a lot remains to be done, and is being done. The Government's Response to the final report of the Commission on Integration and Cohesion (Our Shared Future) was published last month. It sets out this Government's continued commitment to delivering cohesive and integrated communities.At the heart of this Government's approach to cohesion is the principle that cohesion is something that can only be understood and built locally. Public sector targets will maintain the focus upon building more cohesive, empowered and active communities, coupled with expenditure of about £50m, invested in promoting community cohesion and supporting local authorities to prevent and manage community tensions.ConclusionI hope that summary demonstrates how seriously these issues are taken. I think we all recognise that people only feel part of cohesive, integrated communities when they feel safe, and when they think that the criminal justice sector deals with the sort of crime that threatens their communities strongly and robustly.I believe that the publication of Policy documents such as this, on top of the CPS's demonstrably strong performance in prosecuting hate crime and its focus on community engagement, does help enhance confidence and does play a significant role in contributing to community cohesion.I commend the revised Policy and let me end by simply wishing you every success in implementing it and trusting that you will show vigour and determination in doing so. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/CPSRacistReligiousCrimesPolicy.aspx ? CPS Racist & Religious Crimes Policy 19 March 2008 Attorney General's Office
Prostitution Policy: New Directions7 March 2008London South Bank UniversityTackling the Demand for Prostitution and Trafficking for Sexual ExploitationTo understand the government's developing approach to prostitution we have to look, largely, through the prism of people trafficking. I don't call it developing because it is new, recently the Home Office held a consultation under the direction of then Minister Fiona Mactaggart, which produced "Paying the Price" - a forward policy document.Since then we have decided to look again at some aspects only largely because of the advent of trafficking and, for me, because of new research from Liz Kelly and others causing a refocus onto the issue of demand for prostitution.Trafficking is one of the vilest crimes. It is 21st century slave trading, probably even more evil than 18th and 19th century slavery since the trafficked we are concerned with, at this conference, will be imprisoned and subjugated into permanently supplying sex to men who society otherwise treats as ordinary or respectable. A real crime that threatens our society is the trafficking of human beings. This modern day slavery is an evil practice perpetrated for profit with no regard for the consequences for the victims or society as a whole.It is organised criminality, capable of ignoring borders, that feeds on the exploitation of the vulnerable, serving the gluttony of the purchasers and filling the pockets of evil perpetrators with cash.The Government is totally committed to tackling this hideous crime. We are determined to bring to justice those who sexually exploit and abuse others, whilst offering the protection the victims need to ensure they have real avenues to change their lives.All of this is in the context of our overall drive to tackle violent and serious crime.We have made good progress: in 2005/06 in the not unrelated field of domestic violence, homicides were at their lowest level (106) since 1999/00 and down markedly from 2004/05 (144); overall crime has fallen and total violent crime has fallen by 41 per cent since 1995.And we have a new commitment, enshrined in our new Public Service Agreement, not just to reduce crime but also to reduce the level of the most serious crime, which although rare does have a disproportionate impact on the quality of life within our communities. Similarly, we have made progress on trafficking.But we know there is a major job to do. That's why we have set out proposals in five areas to help us tackle the problem:• We've begun to implement a 62 point Trafficking Action Plan, which sets out each of the practical steps needed.• We're party to an international framework for tackling trafficking across borders - the Council of Europe Convention on action against human trafficking. It is not the case that because we have signed but not yet ratified this convention, we are paying lip service to it. We already do more, in a number of areas, than it requires, but in this country we have to alter the law to match its terms before we can ratify, which requires change across a range of legislation but that is very much in progress.• We're providing more support for victims and protection for the most vulnerable• We've turned up the heat on the perpetrators, increasing enforcement against the traffickers and those who commit the crimes• And at the end of 2007 we began a Review looking specifically at what action we could take to curb the behaviour of men who create the demand for prostitution and trafficked women.Our measures on trafficking will be futile if we do not tackle the demand for sexually exploited women and children. Otherwise in reality once we have closed one trafficking network, another may move in and take its place; once we have rescued one victim another one is put in her place.I know that some may argue that there is an element of choice, where those that have worked in the sex industry in their home countries come here to make more money. Though personally I have reservations about accepting the concept of choosing to be a prostitute at all. No doubt this may occur.However let me be clear; for trafficked women there is no real informed choice. How many of them have a realistic impression of the situation they will end up in? How many are told just how many men they will have to have sex with? Or that they will be sold from one exploiter to another; moved around the country; be subject to never-ending debt bondage or that they will be kept isolated and forced to live in squalid conditions?This cannot continue to happen. So what are we doing about it?At the end of 2007 we announced a six month review to explore what more we can do to tackle the demand for prostitution. The review began earlier this year with a visit to Sweden and will include a review of the approach taken by a range of other countries, including the Netherlands.On 10 January, I visited Sweden with Home Office Minister, Vernon Coaker, and the Deputy Minister for Women and Equality, Barbara Follett, and a small team of officials.The trip was set up so we could talk to the Swedish authorities specifically about their legislation which criminalises those who pay for sexual services - including the debate in Sweden that led up to the change in their legislation in 1999 and its implementation.We also used the visit to see how the legislation is enforced and prosecuted and the impact it has had on prostitution and those involved in selling sex.We met our ministerial counterparts as well as the police, prosecution services, agencies supporting those involved in prostitution and those who sell sex. And from those discussions it was clear that the Swedish Government are extremely proud of the very clear message they have sent out on prostitution - and rightly so. But they were also clear that they still have a way to go.When the Swedish Minister for Equality there was told that many of the people we meet say 'just do what they do in Sweden and you won't have a problem with prostitution or trafficking', she laughed and explained that they know they haven't solved the problem. But they have started their journey and there is much we can learn from what they have already achieved.This year the Swedish plan to review their approach in this area - not in terms of whether they should retain their offence, but in terms of how they can strengthen what they are currently doing.They openly admit that questions remain about the impact their legislation has had on those selling sex, both in terms of the numbers involved and how their services are accessed by sex buyers. And as the Swedes continue to look for answers to these questions, we will continue to talk to them to ensure the information feeds in to our decision making.We are also intending to visit the Netherlands soon to meet with their Ministers and law enforcement agencies. The Dutch legislation is in direct contrast to Sweden - prostitution was legalised in the Netherlands in 2000. Controlled "tolerance zones" have been set up away from residential areas and there are licensed brothels.However, it is increasingly clear that prostitution has not been restricted to the policed areas and rendered safe but these arrangements have, if anything, increased demand and there is a "twilight" sex industry too. The Dutch Government has recently announced that they are to review their legislation this year and we are very interested in talking to the Dutch authorities about their experiences and the issues they are facing.As part of our Tackling Demand Review, we will research the legislation in other jurisdictions, particularly those with contrasting approaches to prostitution, including New Zealand. In New Zealand, the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 decriminalised prostitution.The Act requires every operator of a prostitution business to hold a certificate and removed the requirement for massage parlours to be licensed. It is not illegal for a person under the age of 18 to be a prostitute but it is illegal for anyone to have sex with them.Later this year, I myself will be visiting Australia, though not as part of the demand review, where the prostitution laws vary from State to State. Their laws regulate the purchase and sale of sex - and include laws which punish prostitutes for selling sex, laws punishing those who are involved in the management and organisation of prostitution, and laws which punish those who purchase sex. Three of Australia's states run licensed brothel schemes. However, there is concern that this is not the most effective way of controlling street prostitution, which remains illegal.So, as you can see, there is a diverse approach to prostitution from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is right that on behalf of the public we consider these various approaches, and the impact they have had, very carefully, so that we can learn from them and use their experience to inform our own policy.In particular, we are looking at how our current policy can be strengthened to ensure we robustly tackle the demand for prostitution - and this includes considering the impact that it will have on sex trafficking.We will consult with stakeholders as part of the review. We also intend to conduct an audit of enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing practice, and in particular we will be interested in identifying any regional variations. We will also be looking at the options for using existing legislation to tackle those who pay for sex.As well as taking forward this separate review, we will continue to implement our coordinated prostitution strategy, set out in 'Paying the Price', which includes important measures to support those involved in selling sex to develop routes out of prostitution and to remain safe from harm.The strategy seeks to ensure that agencies which come into contact with those involved in prostitution will provide support and treatment on a voluntary basis, or through diversion from the criminal justice system where appropriate, and make a complete and coherent package of support available, including advocacy, where appropriate.I have come across some excellent schemes. In Doncaster the dedicated support project has developed protocols with a range of agencies to support every stage of the exiting process, addressing drug misuse, homelessness, self esteem, childcare issues, re-education and employment.Those involved in, or at risk of involvement in, prostitution have a range of complex and often interlinked needs. These can include housing problems, drug addiction and health needs which are most appropriately met by local agencies using local budgets. Following publication of 'Paying the Price', the Home Office last September produced guidance to ensure effective partnership working between local Criminal Justice Intervention Teams and dedicated projects, to increase the engagement of women involved in prostitution with the Drug Interventions Programme.Street prostitution is particularly dangerous and it always will be. This reality was brought home to us in the recent trial of Steve Wright for the brutal murders of five young women on the streets of Ipswich. Two of the girls had continued working on the streets whilst knowing that a serial killer was on the loose. Four of them were young mothers.In virtually every town and city tonight and every night young women will continue to face danger and violence as a result of their involvement in prostitution. These women are much more vulnerable than other women and suffer regular abuse from their pimps and punters. I strongly believe that the best way to protect them is to address the factors that cause them to be involved in the first place.As many of you will be aware the clauses concerned with prostitution in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill have just been removed from the Bill. They were firstly to end use of the term "common prostitute" and secondly to introduce a sentence for someone convicted of soliciting, which required her to attend three sessions with a counsellor or crisis worker to seek to assist her to exit prostitution. This is unfortunate but was necessary in order to help the passage of the Bill through the House in the available Parliamentary time. However, the removal of these clauses from the Bill in no way indicates a lack of commitment from the Government to tackle prostitution.As soon as parliamentary time allows, we will look to reintroduce the legislative changes that have now been withdrawn, along with any new proposals for legislative change we feel to be necessary following the review into tackling demand.We fully recognise that the current system of fining individuals can merely create a revolving door. Guidance to CPS prosecutors emphasises that an incremental approach should be taken to provide prostitutes with opportunities to find a route out of prostitution. We will also be exploring, with dedicated centres, with police and with prosecutors, the possibility of developing a conditional caution specifically designed for prostitutes.Many of the 42 CPS Areas, including my own in Cleveland, have already developed, in agreement with their local police force, prosecuting strategies that focus on rehabilitation. For first and second offences, they will be given a caution and encouragement to access support services. For the third and fourth offences, arrest and charge but with continued encouragement to access support.In addition, Court Diversion schemes operate in a number of towns and cities, and require women to attend sessions with a local support project. If this is successfully completed, the prosecution will be discontinued.I can see the argument that it is unpleasant to criminalise people we see, generally, as victims. However, there is something to be said for the leverage that retaining the offence can offer, in the context of these policies and the availability of diversion and so I would suggest that this is not entirely oppression by the state.Further, we also have a responsibility to local communities and the wider public, and I believe that decriminalising prostitution altogether would send out the wrong message. It would imply that street prostitution is acceptable and in doing so remove an important safeguard.So our overall aim must be to reduce street prostitution and all forms of commercial sexual exploitation, including trafficking.Tackling demand is one of the areas where we think we can have the greatest impact.However, experience in Sweden appears to show that it is not just legislation that can tackle the demand for prostitution. It is also about challenging social attitudes and raising awareness about the realities of prostitution and trafficking. And specifically it is about changing the attitudes of men.In the context of the review, we are considering a small scale targeted marketing campaign to raise awareness among sex buyers about the levels of exploitation in prostitution, including trafficking, violence, and the involvement of people under 18. The aim will be better to understand how to change attitudes towards buying sexual services.By penalising those who organise prostitutes and make a living from their earnings and by targeting those who are persistent kerb crawlers, with the aim of preventing repeat offending, we are already deterring those who create the demand for prostitution. The penalties being applied in some parts of the country to persistent kerb crawlers include disqualification from driving, kerb crawler re-education schemes and fines, and the naming and shaming of those convicted in the local media. We will be examining the effectiveness of these approaches, and seeking to share "best practice".As part of the wider set of actions to tackle demand and trafficking, we felt it was important to address the issue of small advertisements in the back of newspapers which can fuel the demand for trafficked women.In November, with other ministerial colleagues, I met with representatives from the newspaper and advertising industry and discussed with them how they could support our work to tackle the demand side of the problem of human trafficking for sexual exploitation. As a result, the Newspaper Society are updating their guidance to editors of local papers, which can help them avoid accepting personal advertisements which are, in effect, advertising this despicable trade in women.Work is also under way on call-barring schemes aimed at eradicating prostitute carding. This will involve negotiations with the Mobile Broadband Group, British Telecom and OFCOM.On the trafficking side - we have already worked with partners on awareness raising campaigns both in the UK and in source countries. High profile enforcement campaigns like Pentameter 2 will help raise public awareness; we need the public to be aware that women are being forced into the sex-industry.One of the promising aspects emerging from the current operation has been the increase in intelligence provided on human trafficking from across the UK. This will assist with providing an up to date strategic picture of the nature and scale of trafficking for sexual exploitation.For the first time ever in UK policing a bespoke database and business process has been developed to support this national operation which is linked to the regional intelligence units.A significant number of victims have been identified and are receiving support as appropriate. It is not possible to give exact numbers at this stage as we are still in the midst of operational activity.Police forces nationally have been involved in submitting intelligence or been involved in active operations. Over 542 premises have been visited thus far - a large percentage of which have been residential - demonstrating the "hidden" nature of this crime.The number of arrests already exceeds those under Pentameter 1 but further operational results will be given following the conclusion and evaluation of the operation.The campaign also provides an opportunity to help develop local measures on trafficking- this includes scoping suitable service providers for victim support. The Poppy project and the Tara project in Scotland, have been working with the UK Human Trafficking Centre and others to help develop the capacity and expertise of other providers during the campaign.Following last year's campaign the Salvation Army and the Medialle Trust established projects for victims.This year partnerships are now in place with around 17 organisations working with vulnerable women- particularly Women's Aid projects to cover areas such as: Birmingham; Bradford; Sheffield; Leeds; Kirklees; Huddersfield and Harrogate.Returning to demand, I want to stress the importance of ensuring we drive home to the users and potential users of those exploited in the sex industry the real consequences of their actions. If they are knowingly buying sex from a trafficked woman, someone who they know has been forced to do something against their will - they should be under no illusions that they are committing rape.And even if they do not know that the woman is trafficked, just by paying for sex they are contributing to organised criminality and their actions are keeping particularly vulnerable women trapped in exploitation.And, of course, the pursuit of an end to the evils of trafficking is raising the issue whether in the 21st century a government, totally committed to gender equality with all the concomitant mutual respect and dignity that connotes, ought in any way to be permitting or sanctioning women being bought and sold for sex.We look forward to working with some of the people present at this conference on our stakeholder group as we continue our review into demand and it is cheering to see that this event on prostitution is a sell out. I am sure that if we work together we can come to clear conclusions and start to make a difference. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/ProstitutionPolicyNewDirections.aspx ? Prostitution Policy: New Directions 07 March 2008 Attorney General's Office
No Witness No Justice - 3rd National Conference5 March 2008West Midlands Police Centre - Birmingham• I am very pleased to have been invited here today and to have been given the opportunity to thank you for all that you have done, all that you have achieved, and for all of the effort that you have put into No Witness No Justice. I apologise that Parliamentary commitments mean I cannot stay to join your workshops and hear the other speakers. We are a listening government and that would have been my preference since I am well aware that to make workable policies we need to be in touch with the people like you on the front line.• From your programme today I can see that this conference has been labelled 'Going Extra Miles' and I am delighted to be able to come along and endorse the need for us all to do that. We really should be doing all that we can to help victims and witnesses from the point of first contact with any agency, through to the conclusion of the case and beyond.• It is clear that Simon and Pauline have once again put a great deal of thought into making the day interesting and engaging for you. I am sure their efforts will pay off and you will have a really enjoyable day.• Let's have a quick look at what has been achieved so far:First of all we used to have people with the daunting title "witness warners" and that was their job, including to warn them of the consequences of not attending - we now have 1500 dedicated witness care officers, working to provide better services to victims and witnesses.This is an indicator of our determination no longer to have a remote criminal justice system, but a criminal justice service which listens and responds to the community of which it is a part.As a result of your contribution to this, we no longer get only six out of ten witnesses turning up for court - we now get nearly nine out of ten.We no longer get swathes of cases failing due to witness non attendance - we have 400 fewer cases failing each month. That is a profile that needs to keep climbing but it's an excellent improvement.We no longer have witnesses identified as vulnerable or intimidated only on the day they arrive for the trial - we identify those pervasive issues much earlier in the process now, and take action to support people.We no longer allow cases to proceed without the victim at least being given the opportunity to make a victim personal statement - you make that offer in virtually all cases and victims have and feel they have a greater voice within the proceedings as a result.• Some of you may be new to your roles, but for those of us who have been involved in the criminal justice service for a while - and I was a criminal barrister for most of my adult life before I came into Parliament - we can remember before No Witness No Justice just how many witnesses were starting to withdraw from the criminal justice system, and the implications of that for the very fabric of our society are very serious indeed.• And it wasn't just witnesses not turning up for court, it was also about witnesses openly telling police officers that they were not prepared to make a statement or attend court to support the prosecution process.• The public were increasingly expressing concern that the criminal justice system did not support them and did not look after them, or acknowledge them as people and people with needs. For some, the criminal justice system just perpetuated the pain they felt as a result of the crime that had been committed against them.• New procedures were introduced allowing special measures, the victim personal statement, better court facilities and better partnership working amongst the criminal justice agencies, but together or alone they did not work on this question of public confidence.• What victims and witnesses needed was PEOPLE.• Someone working within the criminal justice system who was determined to make sure it worked while understanding their concerns and needs. Someone who would support and give some attention to them and give them a direct contact to talk to.• Their used to be debates about which agency has responsibility for witnesses - Police or CPS. The project has pulled together the police and the CPS and assigned joint ownership, which from a victim's or witness' perspective has made a significant difference.• Not only have we got police and CPS staff working together within the witness care units, we have also strengthened the Prosecution Team approach, building on the benefits of other programmes such as charging and making sure victims and witnesses are considered from start to finish. Pilots of pre-trial witness interviewing by the CPS proved successful as part of a seamless process by which witnesses are supported from incident to court - and they are being rolled out everywhere now.• Witness care officers play an integral role in engaging with victims and witnesses and ensuring that their contribution is valued by the criminal justice system. They have ensured that the witness is no longer in the margins of the criminal justice system but is valued by it, at its heart. This ethos is something which is now engrained across Government. It is the future.• You, by providing a single point of contact that the victim or witness can build a relationship with and trust are now able to ask people why they might find it difficult to get to court, and then make the necessary arrangements. Look at the position at its most basic.How many people turned away before because they couldn't park, or couldn't afford the bus fare, or couldn't leave a dependant alone, or because of intimidation by the accused. For example, a victim who cut off her needs assessment with a witness care officer as her husband (the defendant) was outside the home making threats to dissuade her from giving evidence still felt confident about calling back to get help. The witness care officer was able to make immediate arrangements to secure the safety of the victim by asking a colleague to call the police. This resulted in the husband being arrested. This all happened while the victim was on the phone and the witness care officer was able to reassure them. This level of care is a major improvement.• By knowing more about victims and witnesses case administration has improved locally and in the majority of areas charge to trial is much quicker as a result of that improved information. The number of victims and witnesses warned unnecessarily for a trial that had no reasonable expectation of being heard• So what are my key messages to you? Well victims of insidious crimes such as domestic violence and sexual offences, race hatred and homophobic crime need particular attention, and the risk involved in such cases needs to be carefully managed, especially when the adversary is a member of the same family as is the case in domestic violence or lives nearby.• There are already a number of independent domestic violence advisors and independent sexual violence advisors operating - specialist support services - across the country who can expertly support victims of domestic violence and sexual violence. We, in government, need to ensure that this service is consistent across the country and available to all victims and you need to ensure that these roles complement each other and that professionals work hand in hand for the benefit of the victim.• We have seen far too many young lives lost on our streets recently, in hot spots, and how we look after people is key to encouraging witnesses to such crimes coming forward. Unless we can tackle the fear that surrounds these cases we will find it difficult to obtain the evidence necessary to bring about successful convictions.• It seems to me that intimidation is a problem we have to tackle more effectively. We in government are looking at measures and process changes to help. Through your contact with witnesses we are getting better at identifying it, but this identification must be supported by effective local practices and by swift and positive action. You often trigger these processes and it is only through effective challenge and subsequent sanction that criminals will learn not to interfere with due process and we will ensure that justice will be done.• Some of the most vulnerable people in our societies, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, have a mental illness, or those with a learning disability are preyed upon because of that vulnerability. We must continue to improve the way we deal with such crimes, doing more to support the victim and through more effective communication and a more flexible criminal justice system, get their evidence produced effectively in court.The Crown Prosecution Service is currently working on a policy statement and comprehensive legal guidance for prosecutors which will set out how the CPS actively approaches cases involving victims and witnesses with mental illness or a learning disability. We will do that. There is a good story - about a frail elderly lady who was attacked and though there was some evidence that the culprit was a local man, a conviction might not have followed unless she could testify. Of course, he knew that very well. The police, CPS and Courts service worked together and organised a TV link so that she could give evidence from her comfortable room at home, with a companion beside her. He then pleaded guilty.• That is why what you do is so important. Amongst all of the change that has taken place, the work you do to support victims and witnesses is critical and will always be critical. Without witnesses our pursuit of justice will be frustrated. We know this.• I am adamant that we will not again return to the position where victims and witnesses are not seen as a partner in the prosecution process.• I am adamant that victims and witnesses should feel that the criminal justice system is there to support them and that we respect their involvement in it.• Public confidence in the Criminal Justice System is improving but it still has some way to go. To be able to continue to improve public confidence depends a great deal on witness care staff and their interaction with victims and witnesses, person to person on a day to day basis.• I am convinced that victim and witness satisfaction depends on how all those supporting witnesses work together - the Police, the CPS, Witness Care Units, the Witness Service and the Courts. This remains a priority for us all.• I am determined that the investment made in witness care in the past is maintained in the future. You have demonstrated that the investment we made in forming this new service was very worthwhile. I know that the CPS remain committed to continuing with this vital programme of work and the vast majority of police forces are doing everything they can to secure funding from within their budgets. And I suggest that they must.• What I ask of you is simple; do not be deflected from the change programme on which you have embarked. Do not be deflected from doing the right• We must build on the prosecution team approach developed so successfully between the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, both within the witness care units but also across the wider prosecution process. It is only through working together that we can create a winning team.• The service you provide has been a great success. You have achieved a great deal in supporting the Government ambition to put victims and witnesses at the heart of a criminal justice service. Well over half a million witnesses throughout England and Wales have been supported better than ever before and they have been voting with their feet - not for me but for you - in support of you by turning up more regularly for court.• What we have put in place is an excellent start and we must now keep up the momentum of change. With continued focus, with the right people in place to do the job, with ambition to continually improve and overcome hurdles and problems. We in government value you enormously. Please continue to go from strength to strength. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/NoWitnessNoJustice%E2%80%933rdNationalConference.aspx ? No Witness No Justice - 3rd National Conference 05 March 2008 Attorney General's Office
Crown Prosecution Service - Special Crime Division Conference4 March 2008Vera Baird QC MPSolicitor GeneralGreat Northern Hotel, PeterboroughFirst, I must offer the Attorney General's sincere apologies that she was not, after all, able to come to this away-day as she originally planned and hoped to do.She was very pleased to be invited by Carmen, and to have the opportunity to talk to a team doing such difficult, sensitive and high profile work within the CPS, as part of your business planning day.But her loss is my gain. I am delighted to be here in her place to play my part in helping you go away from today's event with enthusiasm, a renewed sense of achievement, purpose and direction; and, most importantly, with a renewed sense of the role each of you individually must play for this team to be a high performing, highly respected, prosecution team within the CPS - a team that people should aspire to join, and whose staff display an expertise and professionalism that other teams in the CPS want to recruit.This is my first opportunity to speak to and meet you as a group, so you might want to know something about my background. I practised as a criminal barrister for many years before entering Parliament in 2001 and I managed to maintain a limited practice until I became a Junior Minister in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, now the Ministry of Justice.So I have my own battle-scars from the front-line of criminal practice; and I fully understand the pressures, anxieties and fine judgements as well as the rewards that go with the territory when you are taking difficult casework decisions.In the last few months since I became Solicitor General I have been impressed by the sense of public service and responsibility that I have seen in members of the CPS.There is no doubt that the criminal justice system has changed greatly during my years in practice. But perhaps the pace of change, particularly in relation to the role of the prosecutor, has been greatest in the last five years or so.The powers of prosecutors are now massively enhanced, with prosecutors having the power to prefer charges, authorise conditional cautions; to compel information; to grant immunities and to enter co-operation agreements. Prosecutors can obtain orders such as ASBOs and in future Serious Crime Prevention Orders and Civil Recovery Orders relating to the proceeds of crime.I now see prosecutors showing real proactivity; playing a much greater role alongside investigators in building better cases; playing a newly defined role in supporting the judiciary in the sentencing process and - particularly in the case of the CPS - presenting more of their own cases in court as advocates.CPS staff are engaging increasingly with victims and witnesses, helping them to feel guided through, and cared for throughout, the process of justice; and you are now beginning to conduct pre-trial interviews with witnesses.Some of these developments would have been unimaginable in 1986, when the new CPS was a much less confident and certainly less well funded organisation than it is now, whatever the constraints of public spending that we face these days.Prosecutors have a much more central role in the justice system acting on behalf of the public and in the public interest than they have ever had before. And that places great responsibility on your shoulders as individuals, as a team and as a Service.When prosecutors are seen to be enforcing the law competently, firmly and fairly and with sound judgement; using the full range of powers that Parliament has given you to do justice; when victims and witnesses are helped to give their best evidence; when those affected by your decisions see you willing to explain and be as open as you can be about the factors that lead you to your decisions; then - whether you decide to prosecute or not, whether a defendant is convicted or not and whether others agree with you or not - the public can and should have confidence that the system of justice is effective and fair in the public interest, and is respectful of the legitimate interests of the individuals caught up in each case.In performing this difficult role, you are accountable to the Director and to the Law Officers.The Attorney General and I take very seriously our role in protecting your ability to take independent decisions according to the law and the Code for Crown Prosecutors, so that your judgement is not compromised by improper or partisan pressures, whether these come from MPs, members of the public, single issue interest groups or from the Government.When we are consulted and give advice on cases, we do so as Law Officers of the Crown - like Crown Prosecutors - independently of Government.But independent decision making has to be properly informed by all the relevant factors. To maintain the public's respect for your independence, your decisions must display good judgement and intellectual rigour. Case management must show the kind of grip that ensures that issues and risks are foreseen faced up to and well managed and that decisions are reached as quickly as possible.In the same way that you are accountable to us, we are in turn accountable to Parliament for the work of the CPS, the SFO and the RCPO. This means that on a regular basis - through written and oral Parliamentary Questions, through correspondence and meeting with Members of Parliament raising cases on behalf of constituents, and through Select Committees - we answer for the CPS's policies and practices, the handling of individual cases big or small anywhere in the country, we answer for the decisions you take and for your approach to specific issues.In difficult circumstances - such as a spectacular case failure, especially where it appears to raise wider issues of prosecution practice, policy or competence; or when there is a very controversial decision to prosecute or not to prosecute - Parliament may call us to account very quickly indeed and nothing concentrates the mind more.Usually we are called upon to - and do - robustly defend the propriety and correctness of prosecution decisions or actions against this kind of criticism, and we try to help Parliament understand the principles on which they are based. The usual complaint is that the problem could and should have been foreseen and guarded against or managed better, and it is very tempting for others to apply the perfect vision of hindsight to judge harshly the actions of prosecutors.Though for obvious reasons the detail we as Law Officers can give to Parliament about individual cases is sometimes limited, colleagues can be confident that we know the full facts; and that we will have probed and scrutinised the decision or policy or practice before answering.Where something has gone wrong; where risks and problems should genuinely have been identified or should have been managed better, we expect to be able to admit it quickly and ensure that steps are taken for future cases, to learn the lessons.The Law Officers will often have been consulted or kept informed about issues arising in particular cases, usually those which are particularly difficult or sensitive or which raise wider issues of prosecution policy or practice. Consultation gives us the opportunity to provide advice and to assure ourselves that legal and other risks or problems have been identified and are being well handled.With our foot in Parliament, as Ministers and with our roles as Law Officers of the Crown protecting the rule of law and guarding the wider public interest, we are in a good position to help you ensure that your prosecution policies, practices and priorities are informed by a sound understanding of the context in which you operate on behalf of the public.Part of the picture of prosecutorial competence that we as the Law Officers wish to promote and highlight is a more joined up approach to the wider cross-cutting impact of cases.Where the issues in your case may have an impact on the effectiveness of the law, or on wider prosecution policy or practice, whether within the CPS or across other prosecuting authorities such as the SFO, RCPO and the wider prosecutorial family, we expect this to be spotted and the links made, so that the right degree of co-ordination can take place.Where prosecutors speak with one co-ordinated voice with the backing of the Law Officers, they will command respect with the courts - and with Government Departments who rely so much on our collective front-line experience to make sure that legislation and practical initiatives are identified to make the system of justice more operationally effective and just.Our relationship as Law Officers with you as prosecutors is a two way thing. We will always support you in taking difficult decisions - and in your team I know that some of the cases you deal with pose very difficult issues indeed.In return, what I expect from you is to adhere in your casework to the principles of good judgement, intellectual rigour and competent case management, alerting, warning and briefing your managers and the Law Officers appropriately.I understand that the purpose of today is to review the past year to assess how well you have done against what you set out to do in last year's business plan, as well as to look ahead to what you need to do next year.In taking stock of how you operate now and what you need to do going forward, I hope you will look at how you have managed risk; how you have identified which cases you needed to flag up and brief on; who you need to be consulting or informing and when. Do your entries on the sensitive case list say what they need to say to those who use it? Are the right cases on it?How do you spot strategic and wider issues of law, policy or practice and make sure that you are really joined up within the CPS and across the other prosecuting authorities?Are you using your full range of powers and are you ready to use new ones to best effect?How well do the systems by which you and the investigators with whom you work so closely ensure that you learn lessons from your cases - the successes as well as the cases that do not go so well - and share them with each other and with colleagues in the wider CPS so they can be put into practice in the future? Equally, what can you learn from other teams and indeed from other prosecuting authorities?What can you as individuals or as a team do to actively influence others' practices and priorities so that investigations proceed to a conclusion quickly?While your team undertakes a variety of different types of case, there is an important theme running through all of them. They are capable of being especially high profile and sensitive, but they are also often among the most difficult cases the CPS faces, both in terms of prosecutions decisions and in terms of wider handling.You are in a position to be a beacon of excellence in this team and to be a team that others should aspire to join. Your casework performance can reflect very well on the CPS, but equally if cases are not handled well, then the high profile nature of what you are doing can diminish the reputation of the whole Service.An illustration of the importance of your work, an example close to the Law Officers' hearts, is deaths in custody.In 2002/3 the then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, taking his role superintending the CPS very seriously, identified deaths in custody as a key area which justified his personal attention. The CPS's decision making had come under intense and controversial scrutiny in a number of cases; there was a need to increase public confidence and to examine how far changes to the CPS's approach were justified.As you know, he carried out a public and internal consultation exercise on the role and practices of the CPS in cases arising from a death in custody and you are currently working hard to ensure that you faithfully follow the recommendations.Measures decided upon as a result of the review included-• Widening the pool of CPS lawyers taking decisions in death in custody cases, to speed up the decision-making process;• Creating a greater role for the Director of Public Prosecutions in advising on individual death in custody cases;• Widening the pool of outside counsel instructed to advise on death in custody cases;• Discussions with the new IPCC regarding the relationship with the CPS, in particular in relation to early advice by the CPS immediately after a death in custody;• A specific training programme for CPS lawyers involved in death in custody cases;• More transparent procedures, and greater involvement of and communication with families.It is hard to fathom now why some of these recommendations were not already in place within the CPS. That thought may fall into the hindsight trap I referred to earlier. But equally, it points up the onus on all of us to look critically at how we handle our cases and to challenge the status quo to find ways of doing things better.Deaths in custody, as you know, are immensely sensitive cases where the emotional and political heat and pressures to bring a prosecution can be very intense, and sometimes uncomfortably aggressive; and the pressures the other way also strong where it is believed that officers have only been trying to do their jobs in difficult circumstances. These cases have also been vulnerable to experts disagreeing about causation, with all the problems that that can bring.As always in these cases, the onus on you and on the police is to conduct a thorough investigation and to do the right thing however difficult that may be, bringing cases to a conclusion as quickly as is possible consistent with taking a properly informed decision.While there may be many cases in which no criminal conduct has taken place, or the evidence of criminal liability is simply not there, always be ready to press a case which justifies it even if you face opposition.A reliable system which allows for the prosecution of officials where their actions may amount to criminal conduct is essential to public confidence in the prosecution system and in systems of detention. We cannot afford to signal tolerance of conduct, whether negligent or deliberate, which causes deaths in custody; and an effective system of investigation and, where appropriate, prosecution, is an essential element of a system that prevents deaths in custody.The public rely on you to work closely with those investigating these deaths. And relatives of the bereaved rely on you to take an honest and competent decision, and to explain what is happening, whether or not there is any criminal liability for what has happened.These are cases in which it is not only important for your to play your part in ensuring that justice is done, but also for you to recognise the impact on the reputation of the CPS as a whole that your handling of these cases can have.In these cases, in your medical negligence cases and in your corporate killing cases you have the heavy responsibility of exemplifying everything the CPS aims to achieve right now: to manage and progress cases speedily and effectively, working closely with investigators; to take robust decisions as early as possible and to couple this with open communications with the bereaved. These objectives must find a very real expression in the work of this team and your ability to bring the independence and objectivity of the prosecutor to bear is vitally important.Do not be afraid to critically examine why an investigation, or investigations generally, are taking so long; do not accept or live with the status quo where the status quo is not satisfactory.I know that Carmen is particularly proud of your work in death in custody cases. The lack of vocal critical focus on these cases as compared with the position prior to Lord Goldsmith's review is very striking and I commend you to continue with your good work in this area and look for ways to continuously improve it.Another area in which the Attorney General and I are routinely engaged is unduly lenient sentence cases, of which we deal between us with around 350 cases each year. That is between 5 and 7 cases each and every week. While the Court of Appeal may wish that we referred fewer cases, the Attorney and I do turn down many cases that are referred to us and are proud of the high rate of success in those cases we do refer - around the 85% mark.I want you to know that the Lord Chief Justice has said to the Attorney General how appreciative he is of the excellent standard of work that he sees in these reference cases, which is a tribute to the whole team from Treasury Counsel to officials at AGO to you in CPS HQ and in the Areas; and we are very appreciative of the service we receive from everyone.So, what of the future? The Attorney General's role is under review and we expect the Government to publish a White Paper fairly soon outlining its conclusions. The indicators are that the Law Officers are likely to remain as superintending Ministers for the CPS and other prosecutors, but that the relationship will change in some respects. Going forward, it is likely then that the AGO and senior colleagues in the CPS, RCPO and SFO will be working closely together to implement new and revised arrangements and that in the coming year you may be asked to change some of your current practices relating to consultation and information about cases and other arrangements that underpin our relationship with the Director and with the CPS.As I said at the outset I am very pleased to be here to speak with you today.Shamelessly enjoy the opportunity to mark and share your pride in your achievements over the past year.But do not shrink from looking critically at how you can provide an even better service next year - challenge yourselves to do so. Be assured that the Attorney General and I take a close interest in the work of your team.I hope that some of the remarks I have made will be thought provoking and provide inspiration in the remaining sessions of the day.Good luck. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/CrownProsecutionService%E2%80%93SpecialCrimeDivisionConference.aspx ? Crown Prosecution Service - Special Crime Division Conference 04 March 2008 Attorney General's Office
The Caribbean In 2020: Sinking, Surviving Or Prospering- A UK Perspective28 February 2008Wilton Park ConferenceSpeech by Baroness ScotlandLadies and gentlemen, firstly, let me say that I'm delighted to be taking part in this important Conference alongside so many distinguished speakers.Some of you may already know this, but The Caribbean - its past, present and future - is a subject very close to my own heart!The Caribbean, is not immune to the difficult challenges which face other countries and regions around the world; globalisation, security, tackling crime, energy security, climate change, and economic re-structuring. The decisions, which our governments make today on these issues, will affect many generations to come. We need to get these decisions right. A heavy burden rests on the shoulders of this generation of leaders. Federation, some would argue was the last great moment in Caribbean history, this might be the next great moment but we have to seize it.So, although it is both exciting and a little daunting, to examine where we are now and where we want to be by 2020; it is vitally important that leaders (political, civic and business), policy and opinion formers come together in fora such as this to ensure that we collectively have the best chance of succeeding.Sinking, Surviving or Prospering - The UK PerspectiveVisionI would like to start with the UK's vision of the Caribbean in 2020. I know that this will be a common vision around the room and in our respective countries, but it is worth re-stating. We all want to see a peaceful and prosperous region. A region where all citizens are equal and able to enjoy a life of dignity and security; where innovation, energy, enthusiasm and prosperity are nurtured and encouraged; whilst the natural environment is sustained for future generations.The Caribbean is rich in talent, diversity and vigour, with a well established history of democracy and peace. But like the UK, the islands which form the pulsating heart are small and are, if the region's voice is to be heard, interdependent. I think the talent of the region is demonstrated by people in this room and by the Diaspora - it shows the strength and intellectual capital of the Caribbean.In our increasingly globalised world we are all far more dependant on consensus. The days when we could go it on our own are over.However, in building that consensus, in clawing our way to better understanding and mutual recognition there are risks and challenges.Let us look first at what stands in the way of realising these aspirations.Obstacles in our wayI will start, as you would expect from an Attorney General, with the law.For genuine dignity, security and prosperity to flourish justice systems need to be strong, efficient, well governed, good quality, corruption free and trusted by the citizens they seek to serve. That ethos and those principles need to form the cornerstone of good leadership of the bodies which are entrusted with the promotion and enforcement of law and order. Yet we know that there are countries in the region which have not been able to ensure the delivery of those principles to the standard we and they aspire to and would expect. There are a plethora of reasons why that is so, but that reality must be faced by all of us and explored over the next few days.The similarity with problems faced by larger countries is clear. The days when the Caribbean could be seen as a haven of peace and tranquillity, divorced from the vagaries of cosmopolitan life, and where talk of who didn't go to church on Sunday was the most likely and greatest offence up for discussion are, if it were ever true, long over.Of course, it is the region's misfortune to be situated along the main trans-shipment route for South American cocaine heading for Europe and the US. Drug money flowing into the region funds corruption and undermines economic activity, challenging social and even family values. This fuels violence and breeds disrespect for the law which can destabilize an entire country.This has to be tackled in a concerted way across the whole region, since a crackdown in one country generally leads to displacement of the activity elsewhere. This is a big challenge. As last year's World Bank report on the effect of crime and violence in the Caribbean made clear, it requires a coordinated response which transcends national boundaries. The UK has supported this response and will continue to do so - both on a national basis and through the framework of the UK- CARICOM Security Cooperation Plan. We are happy to continue with this assistance, and to discuss a joint approach to security with other countries with an interest in the region such as the US and Canada.And what of the economy?I have already mentioned the economic impact of high crime rates. Debt, fuelled by government spending in the 1990s, also strangles growth. The Caribbean is home to five1 of the top ten most highly indebted emerging economies in the world. With Debt repayment taking up such large proportions of GDP, governments have little to spend on development agendas. The emergence of the new economic giants and the changing international trade environment, especially the erosion of agricultural preferences, has also challenged the region to adapt and change.1 Antigua, Dominica, Jamaica, Guyana and St. KittsCaribbean economies are also very vulnerable to the effects of climate change.We are already seeing physical impacts such as sea surge, beach erosion and dying coral reefs. If climate change leads to slower moving hurricanes of greater intensity the economic development of the region could be set back by decades - countries are still coping with the re-building required following Hurricanes Dean and Noel last year. The small islands of the Caribbean make minimal contribution to the problem of climate change but are disproportionately vulnerable to its impact.The next few days for you here afford an opportunity to consider these matters collectively and to feed-in your deliberations into forthcoming high-level political meetings, such as the EU-LAC Summit in Lima in May and the UK-Caribbean Forum in July. I am looking forward to seeing what strategies and proposals emerge from these meetings in order to help Caribbean governments with adapting to climate change. What is clear is that we must put in place now environmental, planning and other economic policies necessary to mitigate the damage that is being caused to coastal environments, forests and agriculture.I recognise that most Caribbean governments have only a limited capacity to do this. The UK is offering financial support to the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre to fund a project developing capacity on climate change, to enable the region to have a more positive and pronounced impact at international levels. We will also work with Caribbean partners to find and access other international community funds for work on Climate Change.So what are some of the solutions and opportunities thrown up by these challenges?Realising the VisionYou know as well as I do that to have a meaningful and influential voice on the global stage The Caribbean will need to speak with one voice on economic, climate and other geo-political issues. This puts appropriate regional integration at a premium. And I very much agree with Ausbert d' Auvergne that it is outcomes which are vital.In 2020 we would like to see the Caribbean working together as a cooperative whole, while maintaining its colourful diversity. (No one is suggesting we take the "pepper" from the region that would make it unrecognisable.)The Caribbean has already taken huge steps towards integration, creating the CARICOM Single Market in January 2006, and inaugurating the CARICOM Competition Commission, with its remit to promote and protect competition, in January this year.Within the smaller grouping of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) there is a common currency, Central Bank and a Supreme Court serving nine jurisdictions. The OECS is also leading the way in working towards economic union.In 2007 the Caribbean created a single visa area for the Cricket World Cup and continues to discuss the free movement of people within the region.And let us not forget UWI - the University of the West Indies - celebrating its 60th anniversary this year!The UK seeks to encourage the Caribbean to continue down the road of mutually supportive cooperation and integration, or if you prefer, operational partnership for the delivery of services.This is particularly important in the area of crime where we know that a crackdown in one country invariably leads to increased problems elsewhere. Whilst we celebrate what Jamaica has achieved, we look with concern at the impact elsewhere.Within Europe we are striving to create practical ways to work together to strengthen our response to crime and disorder. So we understand the challenges the region faces.The world is becoming an increasingly global market place, and the new economic giants have a significant effect on the balance of trade. The Caribbean has risen to the economic challenge by signing a full comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU in December - the most ambitious agreement to date. For the first time 15 Cariforum countries are brought together as one regional trading community.We know this posed difficult challenges for Caribbean governments, but these were overcome. The EPA offers the Caribbean an opportunity to move to a more balanced, open freer trading system and to exploit the potential for regional trade. We must bear in mind the recent World Bank report which indicated that there are still problems facing the implementation of a new strategy, chiefly; a limited capacity to manage change, and a gap between talk and action. But the coming year will offer the Caribbean the opportunity to promote further change in this area. The UK stands ready to help where it can.The change in focus from agricultural production offers Caribbean countries an opportunity to transform their economies by concentrating on new industries in areas such as ICT and agribusiness. I would encourage you to seek out and attract investors with interests and expertise in new ventures such as education, healthcare, ethanol, niche and branded products. The Caribbean Investment Conference, opened by Tony Blair, encouraged participants to identify and remove any barriers to investment in the Caribbean. After all, with its proximity to the US and an educated, English speaking, workforce, the Caribbean has much to offer potential investors.Tourism deserves a special mention. The tourist sector is already an important contributor to Caribbean economies. It is fair to say that the Caribbean region is one of the most popular and well-known holiday destinations in the world. But in 2007 the region did not register the same level of growth as some of the newer markets. Growing competition, new US passport rules, low cost airlines operating into other regions; fears over the impact of flying on the environment, and the US credit crunch all present challenges to the Caribbean tourist industry. There are still opportunities however, and a steady influx of foreign investment (particularly from Spain) but it will be important to identify and develop new market opportunities in areas such as heritage sites, adventure tourism, cultural and green tourism.Even climate change, for all its threats, offers new opportunities to the Caribbean. Guyana has been quick to see the potential for reaping value from its large tracts of virgin rainforest. There will be other opportunities in areas such as carbon offset. These are some of the possibilities which will need to be studied by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre.Sinking, Surviving or Prospering?In truth? Now? All three.The trick over the next ten years will be to build on those areas that are prospering and to tackle those that are merely treading water or worse, failing.Let me be quite clear. I believe this is not only achievable but is probable.I like to think that I'm pretty well qualified to say from my own experience that one of the great strengths of the Caribbean is its people. They are known globally as being warm and friendly, educated and open. The developments I have outlined that are drawing the Caribbean States together so that they are mutually supportive and appropriately integrated will lead to greater prosperity.Significant elements of the foundations for growth now exist. Careful and incremental building on these by people such as yourselves, through the ideas and discussions you have at events like this will inform the process and will make a difference.But the Caribbean cannot wait for others to do it for you. Change must be by you, with each other, for each other. But you should also know that your friends are not going anywhere and will be there to support you. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/TheCaribbeanIn2020Sinking,SurvivingOrProspering-AUKPerspective.aspx ? The Caribbean In 2020: Sinking, Surviving Or Prospering- A UK Perspective 28 February 2008 Attorney General's Office
North East Restorative Community Partnership Community Focus Conference8 February 2008Durham County Cricket ClubThank you for inviting me to speak today. I am very pleased to be able to join you. As some of you will know, I currently sit on the cross-Whitehall Inter-Ministerial Group for Reducing Re-offending in my role as Solicitor General. One of the roles that the Attorney General and I undertake is the superintendence of the prosecution services, including the Crown Prosecution Service. The Home Office has responsibility for the police, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for the courts, prisons, probation and NOMS and the Attorney General's Office is responsible for the prosecution services. These three Government Departments run the Criminal Justice Service together. The CJS is a service rather than a system. This makes the point, I hope, that it is customer orientated and outward facing.As such I have a very real interest on the impact of the various sentences available to the courts, and particularly how effective these are in reducing re-offending and promoting public confidence in the criminal justice services. Today's conference will be addressing these issues in the context of partnerships which have delivered genuine success.Interest in restorative justice is growing on a worldwide scale as programmes come on stream and more research is undertaken. In 2006 the United Nations published a 'Handbook on Restorative Justice' with examples of good practice being seen from Latin America to Eastern Europe and across Asia to Australia.Looking to our own shores, there has been a keen interest in restorative justice for many years and as Ann (Ann Mace - previous speaker) has told us the North East Restorative Justice Community Partnership has been undertaking its valuable work for the last five years.In June 2007 the Ministry of Justice published the evaluation of three different restorative justice projects which found that the majority of victims and offenders found the restorative justice process satisfactory. My colleague David Hanson, Minister of State at the MoJ with responsibility for the National Offender Management Service, was particularly interested in this area of work when he recently visited the restorative justice project at HMP Cardiff (October 2007).As we will no doubt hear from the various speakers and workshop leaders at the conference today, there are a range of different approaches to restorative justice. At its heart this approach seeks to balance the concerns of the victims of crime and those of the community with the need to reintegrate the offender into the community. The approach should enable victims and communities feel that an offender regrets what they have done and provide the offender with the opportunity to make amends.At its most direct this may be through a supervised meeting between the victim of crime and the offender to enable them to speak directly. This type of approach allows the victim to -• Feel they are directly involved in resolving the situation and addressing the consequences of the offence• Receive answers to their questions about the crime and the offender• Express themselves about the impact of the offence• Receive restitution or reparation and• Receive an apologyFor the offender the meeting provides the chance to -• Acknowledge responsibility for the offence and understand the effectsof the offence on the victim• Express emotions (even remorse) about the offence• Make amends or restitution/reparation• Apologise to the victim and• Restore their relationship with the victim, when appropriate - this may be particularly important if this is a crime committed by a neighbour or friend.There are many occasions when offenders or victims are not able to or want to meet and a similar process may take place through the offender explaining their actions and offering an apology through a letter.The North East Restorative Justice Partnership - NERCP is an example of a restorative project which does not interact with individual victims of crime but allows offenders, both within prison and under the supervision of probation to make a real contribution back to the community which was affected by of their crime. Providing services or equipment for a community area such as a park or cemetery makes a public statement about the restorative work undertaken by offenders.We have heard from Ann about some of the work undertaken by offenders in the North East and we will have the opportunity to both hear about and see some of the organisation's other initiatives.I would like to look at how this type of restorative justice work fits into the government's agenda then move on to share with you some of the other successes NERCP have achieved in the region.Two of the aims of the Ministry of Justice implemented through the National Offender Management Service are to -• Protect the public and• Reduce Re-offendingThese are two sides of the same coin in that by reducing re-offending we are able to greater protect the public. However, as we have seen in recent times whilst the risk of being a victim of crime has dramatically fallen, relatively high proportions of people continue to believe it has actually risen.In 1995 the risk of being the victim of crime stood at 40%. Last year (2006/07) the Home Office Statistical Bulletin reported this risk as being 24% - over 8 million fewer crimes. NOMS has also reported a reduction in re-offending in excess of predictions. Unfortunately, the North East is showing one of the lowest reductions in re-offending compared to other regions.However, 65 percent of people, over the same period, believe that there was more crime in the country as a whole and 41% thought that crime in their local area had increased.The government is committed to further reducing crime and re-offending and equally there is much work to be done in building public confidence in the successes of the criminal justice system. Organisations such as NERCP are making an important contribution to this through their programme of community payback and undertaking public works, whether this be the provision of a park bench in memory of a local figure or as part of a multi-million pound contract to renovate and renew a public park such as the work done at South Park, Darlington or Saltwell Park in Gateshead. Local people can see the actual work being done by offenders under the supervision of the three Probation services in the region and enjoy the facilities for years to come.The partnership has also helped many schools throughout the North east with, for instance HMP Frankland - a high security establishment -• Designing and building outdoor seating for a school in Whickham• Making a footbridge and play shed for a centre in Co Durham and• Creating a range of furniture with built in games for Choristers School in Durham.A range of smaller community organisations have also directly benefited such as -• A young offenders institution and Probation service growing plants and turning wasteland in Cowgate, Newcastle into an attractive garden for local residents, or• Constructing a disabled access ramp for Walkworth Cricket club in Northumberland.The benches, tables and fences produced by offenders in our prisons locally provide the opportunities for prisoners to gain the experience, skills and qualifications which can help them in finding employment when they are discharged. Similarly, the assembly and installation work provides offenders on Probation's Unpaid Work programmes with similar work experience.For example of the forty prisoners at HMP Frankland who have been involved in the restorative justice work, half are at various stages of working towards National Vocational Qualifications - NVQ's- in Performing Manufacturing Operations. Already some have achieved an NVQ level 2 award.Getting offenders into work is a key element in not only helping an offender become a productive member of society but also has been shown to reduce reoffending by six fold.As well as making a real impact on local reducing re-offending and public confidence NERCP is helping NOMS to achieve its objective of creating an integrated offender management service. Offenders in the prisons are making the equipment whilst offenders in the community are fitting it. This joint inside/outside approach can be the template for many other services.The partnerships provided by NERCP also contribute to the Public Service Agreement targets published by the Government at the end of last year. These agreements have been developed jointly across government departments and provide local authorities with 198 Local Area Agreement targets which they are expected to perform against from April this year. Each authority will also be expected to select up to 35 targets where they will commit to improving performance thereby increasing their funding.Of particular interest to us today are the Making Communities Safer PSA and the Socially Excluded Adults PSA. The former focuses on reducing crime whilst the latter includes performance measures such as improving the number of offenders in employment.I mentioned earlier that these PSA's have been developed as partnerships across government and the expectation is that they should be delivered through local partnerships between public services, the private sector and the third sector.NERCP is an example of such a partnership which can make a real contribution to meeting and improving local service expectations. A partnership between the criminal justice services, local authorities, a voluntary sector organisation - which it should not be forgotten - was able to develop through generous funding from the Northern Rock Foundation.Before finishing I would like to bring your attention to one of NERCP's projects in my own constituency - Redcar.As part of the renovation of the Redcar and Cleveland Cemetery, prisoners from Kirklevington Grange Resettlement Prison, near Yarm, made 110 metal fence panels to replace the existing wooden fencing which was in a sad state of disrepair.Teesside Probation Service's Unpaid Work Unit provided offenders as part of its Community Payback scheme for a regular labour force over a 12 month period to replace the 288 metres of old panels. The first phase of the project has now been completed and offenders are well into the second phase.This partnership between Redcar Council, the Prison and Probation service and NERCP has received praise from not only local people, councillors and magistrates but has also contributed to local youth crime reduction.The old wooden fencing provided cover for local young people to hide behind, drinking alcohol and taking drugs. The new see - through fencing has taken away this hiding place and with it the nuisance.The work of NERCP and the prisoners and probationers who are the engine room of the restorative partnership have received local recognition in NERCP's coordinator Tony Galley recently receiving a community justice award.Another 'thank you' to NERCP is from Neville's Cross Primary school in Durham. The project has worked with the school over a number of years and the playground at the school is decked with a range of equipment and facilities that have been produced mainly at Durham and Acklington Prisons. These include• covered seating areas and• outdoor teaching facilities.More recently the Metalwork Shop at Kirklevington has produced metal signs for the school perimeter fences which say "HELLO or WELCOME in Languages from around the world. The latest of these signs, just completed a week or two ago is "BENVENUTO" and was completed by David a prisoner at HMP Kirklevington. You can see photographs of David's work on the Prisons display at the back of the conference hall.I have been asked by the school to present a Certificate to David for his work which has been admired and appreciated by all. Unfortunately, I understand that David is not able to attend today so could I ask his workshop manager, Kevin, to come up and receive the certificate on his behalf.NERCP is a project which has shown it can make a real difference to communities and offenders. It is reliant on partnership. Partnership between -• Prisons• Probation• Local authorities and• Local peopleThe purpose of today's conference is to promote and develop this valuable work and I wish you well in both the day and the future restorative projects which I hope will emerge from the contacts made today. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/NorthEastRestorativeCommunityPartnershipCommunityFocusConference.aspx ? North East Restorative Community Partnership Community Focus Conference 08 February 2008 Attorney General's Office
Strategic Plan For Reducing Re-Offending 2008-11 North-East Consultation Event National Offender Management Service18 January 2008Durham County Cricket ClubThank you for inviting me to speak today. I am very pleased to be able to join you. As some of you will know, I used to be Minister with responsibility for women offenders and, I currently sit on the cross-Whitehall Inter-Ministerial Group for Reducing Re-offending in my role as Solicitor General.One of the roles that the Attorney General and I undertake is the superintendence of the prosecution services, including the Crown Prosecution Service. The Home Office has responsibility for the police, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for the courts, prisons, probation and NOMS and the Attorney General's Office is responsible for the prosecution services. These three Government Departments run the Criminal Justice Service together. The CJS is a service rather than a system. This makes the point, I hope, that it is customer orientated and outward facing.This is one of a number of regional reducing re-offending consultation events taking place in all the English regions and Wales this month. I am delighted and grateful that so many people from such a variety of organisations have been able to attend today. I know that all of the regional meetings are attracting similar numbers of people who are keen to have their say in reducing re-offending and making communities safer.I know too that Ministers from across Government have attended and supported a number of these events. That demonstrates the Government's commitment to reducing re-offending. There has been a great deal of good work in the recent past, but our re-offending rates still remain too high and we all know that this has a big impact on crime and local communities in which we live.This event has been organised so that you can give your views on 4 documents published in November for consultation. In addition to contributing to today's discussion I urge you to make your views known separately on the documents. Details of how to do so are contained in each of the documents. The 4 documents are:o The Strategic Plan for Reducing Re-offending, which ends on 18 February. This cross-Government consultation, led by NOMS, builds on the good work to date. But it is not intended to be more of the same. And indeed, it can't be if we are to succeed in continuing to reduce re-offending;o The strategy for improving health and social care for people subject to the criminal justice system is another cross government consultation. Many offenders have a history of persistent offending and have health and social care needs which will be linked to their offending behaviour. Consultation ends on 4 March.o The NOMS Third Sector Action Plan is designed to build on the achievements of the Third Sector since the publication of the first action plan. Consultation ends on 22 February.o Faith based organisations have a distinguished record of working with the most challenging and socially excluded people both in the community and in custody. 'Believing We Can' is a NOMS/YJB led consultation that seeks views on the proposed way forward. Consultation ends on 22 February.We are certainly in a stronger position - we know far more about what needs to be done, with which partners, and with which offenders. However, we can do far more by further sharing our knowledge, our data, our skills, and our experience to make our communities safer. For example, there might be further opportunities for Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships to work more closely with Local Criminal Justice Boards.The Government is making the case that the prevention of re-offending is important. We are making this case, not just within Whitehall, but also within local government, within business and with the community at large. We need to work effectively at all levels to build on - and augment - our success to date.The new shared Public Service Agreements - particularly on making communities safer and social exclusion - are joined up targets across Government. They commit us all to deliver improvements on crime and re-offending. The reducing re-offending agenda has been embedded into a number of key documents - into the wider Crime Strategy, into the new Criminal Justice Strategic Plan, and at the heart of the Government's work to tackle social Exclusion.These measures will help partners work together to prevent new victims, save communities money, and provide access to our offenders, their children and families as a socially excluded group. We know the disadvantages they face and the problems we need to tackle if they are to desist from crime.We must also change public perceptions about the work taking place to reduce crime and deal effectively with offenders. No longer can prison be seen as the only option for dealing with offenders by the public. We need to demonstrate that community sentences are tough and effective alternatives to prison. They are not a 'soft' option. Indeed, well structured community penalties with a good fit to the defendant can often be a much tougher challenge than prison.I know I have the support of my colleagues across Government to take on these challenges. We will share and affirm your good work. We will help when there are blockages.And that is why this consultation is so important at every level in every region. You will, with your experience and exposure on a daily basis, each know something we need to pass on.We want to know how we can ensure we can meet the diverse range of needs that offenders have. They are not all the same and there are women and children as well as men - each with specific needs. There are, in particular, the different needs of women offenders as their involvement in crime can not only be damaging to communities but also have a direct impact on passing deprivation and criminality on to the next generation. We have the Corston Review and most of this has been accepted by Government, which is important as it will work on a local level too and local issues will not be overlooked.Your views will be crucial in shaping the way forward. Please work hard and ensure that by the end of today we have gained the benefit and expertise on these issues of concern to everyone. And I hope that the satisfaction of knowing that we are all contributing to a better future makes it possible for you all to enjoy the rest of the day. Your views will be crucial in shaping the way forward. Thank you.Solicitor GeneralVera Baird QC, MP None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/StrategicPlanForReducingRe-Offending2008-11North-EastConsultationEventNationalOffenderManagementService.aspx ? Strategic Plan For Reducing Re-Offending 2008-11 North-East Consultation Event National Offender Management Service 18 January 2008 Attorney General's Office
Criminal Bar Association15 January 2008The Attorney GeneralThe Rt Hon Baroness Scotland Of Asthal,QcI am very pleased to have been invited to have been asked to deliver your winter lecture.It has been a real joy of my short time to date as Attorney General to reconnect with my previous life as a lawyer. I have already had many interesting conversations with many members of the Bar and judiciary across a broad range of topics. And I very much look forward to this continuing.One of the aspects of being a Law Officer which I have particularly welcomed is the involvement of my office with the pro bono movement. Many of you will know of the Attorney General's Pro Bono Coordinating Committee, which is now nearly six years old.I have been a passionate supporter of pro bono for many years and it is hugely encouraging and inspirational to see at first hand the professional, coherent and joined up strategies which underline pro bono in the twenty first century.Of course there are always many issues of current interest that I could speak on. I am aware that my predecessor covered various issues around the future of the Criminal Bar in his speech to your conference last year and so I do not propose to touch on these today.Effectively, my first task upon taking up office as Attorney General in July was to seek views on how my role should be redefined. I did this, of course, through issuing a consultation paper on the role of the Attorney General and considerations in relation to this have taken up a considerable amount of my first 6 months in office.My main theme today will be to explore some of the key issues under consideration and outline what some of the responses received have been. I will end by giving you a brief flavour of some of the other issues that have been occupying my time.It was inevitable that the Government's commitment to rebalancing power between the executive, legislature and the people would necessarily involve consideration of reform of the office of the Attorney General, straddling as it does different parts of our constitution.I said at the time of launching the consultation paper on the Attorney's role that we need to address those areas where there is a potential for conflict whilst, at the same time, enhancing the administration of justice; the maintenance of the rule of law; and the protection of the public interest.I emphasised that any changes that we make must not only take account of the effects on Government; but also on the justice system as a whole; and, crucially, public confidence in the office of Attorney General and in the rule of law.I also stated in July that, pending the outcome of the consultation, I would not make key prosecution decisions in individual criminal cases except where the law or national security requires it - but that I would continue to be briefed by the prosecuting authorities about important and sensitive cases, and would remain accountable to Parliament for decisions of those authorities which I superintend.Before I turn to the consultation paper and the issues at its heart, I would like to share with you some persona reflections after 6 months of holding the office.I have been deeply struck by the sheer breadth of the Attorney General's role. Despite my background as a lawyer and a Government Minister, I confess I had not fully appreciated the range of responsibilities which this role entails, nor all the subtleties which go with them.In particular, I had not appreciated the degree to which the Law Officers are turned to in times of difficulty by prosecutors as well as other lawyers within Government. This is an aspect of the Law Officers' role that is all but invisible from the outside. But there are many others.And there are oddities too. At the very time that some are calling for the abolition of my consents to prosecute, Parliament continues to see these as a useful safeguard for certain new offences.Often the external perception and actual reality are quite different. If the extent of the role is not well understood by many close to Government or in the legal community, it is certainly not well understood by the public at large.That is why part of the current consultation exercise has been about explaining the nature of the Attorney General's role, so that we can have a properly informed debate about whether and how the role should be changed.So first of all I want briefly to set the scene.The office of Attorney General is one of the most ancient under the Crown. Its history can be traced back to the 13th century when my medieval precursors, the King's Attorney and the King's Sergeant were charged with the responsibility of the upholding the King's interests in the Courts where the King himself could not appear. The title of Attorney General is thought to have been first used in 1461; and court records of that time also began to acknowledge the post of King's Solicitor, and this became the office of the Solicitor General for England in 1515.From the original functions there have developed, through the following five centuries, a portfolio of quasi-judicial, professional, parliamentary and political duties of considerable breadth.It has been an office in which the worlds of politics and the law have intersected ever since in 1461 John Herbert, the first to hold the modern title of Attorney General, received what also appears to have been the first summons to attend Parliament.The Attorney's original place in Parliament was in the House of Lords. Before the appointment of Gareth Williams though, the link of the principal Law Officer with Parliament was with the House of Commons, where the Attorney General, and his deputy, the Solicitor General has usually, though not invariably, had a place.Even that connection is the result of what he described as a typical British compromise. By the beginning of the 16th century, the Attorney General had become a sort of go-between for the two Houses of Parliament. As a result, he became viewed with suspicion by the Commons which came to a head when members of the Commons in 1614 objected to Sir Francis Bacon remaining in the Commons after he had been elevated from Solicitor General to Attorney General.The Commons agreed however in a resolution that "Mr Attorney-General Bacon to remain in the House for this Parliament but never any Attorney-General to serve in the Lower House again." In equally typical British compromise fashion, that injunction was consistently broken for 385 years until Gareth Williams was appointed.In fact I believe, as does Vera Baird, my deputy the Solicitor General, that there is great benefit in the present arrangement, for between us we cover both Houses. With a Law Officer in each House able to respond and be questioned on the areas for which we are responsible, accountability is considerably enhanced.This connection between politics and law, between public interest and government interest has, however, throughout the history of the office from time to time given rise to moments of high controversy.I have referred already to the Bacon episode. You will all be familiar with recent issues that have given rise to much comment, but there were quite a number of cases in the last century too where the basis of the decision by the Law Officers attracted considerable debate in Parliament, the Courts or the newspapers.Examples include the decision not to prosecute in the Rhodesia Oil sanctions case; and the injunction unsuccessfully sought to stop publication of the Crossman diaries.Most famously perhaps, a Law Officer's decision was said to have been the cause of the downfall of the first Labour government in 1924. It was largely brought down because it was alleged that Sir Patrick Hastings, the Attorney, changed his mind about prosecuting Mr Campbell, acting editor of the Workers' Weekly, for a serious but politically sensitive offence of inciting mutiny by calling on soldiers not to strike break.It was alleged that the change of mind was brought about by pressure from Ramsay MacDonald's cabinet. The truth of the allegations remains disputed but this case has long served as a warning to later Law Officers and to governments.As Dingle Foot, Solicitor General during the Wilson administration put it quite simply: "The Campbell case should have taught governments not to interfere with the Law Officers".The responsibilities of the role have evolved gradually over the centuries. The current arrangements have certain advantages. They provide for the Attorney General's direct accountability to Parliament. They ensure that the Government can be properly consulted on the public interest considerations of sensitive criminal cases, and in particular those having national security implications.For years Attorney's General have been faithfully discharging their duties: acting independently in the public interest; protecting the public through ensuring effective criminal prosecutions; and advising Government on the legal implications of its policies, legislations and actions. But in recent years the complex and varied nature of those responsibilities has given rise to a debate about the Attorney General's role.Before I turn to the issues at the heart of that debate and some of the subsidiary questions that flow, I should, firstly, sketch out the three principal roles that the Attorney General currently exercises.The first is as the chief legal adviser to the Crown - that is, to the Government and, on some issues, to the Queen and to Parliament.In particular, the Attorney General is generally consulted on decisions which may have important repercussion and the legal position is not clear-cut. The Attorney may also be consulted where two or more Departments disagree on a point of law.The advice that the Attorney General gives to Government is legally privileged and confidential. In addition, it is subject to a long-standing rule, set out in the Ministerial Code, that neither the fact that the Law Officers have (or have not) advised, nor the content of their advice, may be disclosed outside Government without their consent.The Attorney General also has an important role in the process of preparing legislation.This includes advising on the human rights compatibility of proposed legislation and advising generally on the propriety of proposed legislation.The Attorney General is also the Minister responsible for the Treasury Solicitor's Department, and exercises what is described as Ministerial "oversight" of the wider Government Legal Service.The second is as a Minister of the Crown, accountable to Parliament under statute for the superintendence of the main prosecuting authorities - the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office and the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office.In practice, this superintendence encompasses answering for the prosecuting authorities in Parliament; responsibility for the overall policies of those authorities, including prosecution policy; and responsibility for the overall effectiveness and efficiency of those authorities.Currently, the Attorney General has a right to be consulted and informed about difficult, sensitive and high-profile cases; but clearly not responsibility for every prosecution decision, or for the day-to day running of the bodies I superintend.In addition, the Attorney General is, with the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Justice, one of the Ministers responsiblefor criminal justice policy and for the Office of Criminal Justice Reform. I am a member of Cabinet Committees which consider criminal justice policy, which enables me to feed in the views of the prosecutors to considerations concerning reform of the criminal justice system.In a whole host of examples: the "No witness, No Justice programme" and the CPS assuming responsibility for charging decisions in all but the most minor offences being two of the most obvious: this has enabled key reforms designed to improve the service to victims and witnesses and the wider public to be informed by the front-line experience of prosecutors.The third role is as guardian of the public interest. The Attorney undertakes this role as an independent officer of the Crown.The Attorney exercises public interest functions in relation to individual criminal cases, such as those where her consent to a prosecution is required by statute; decisions on whether to refer unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal; decisions on bringing proceedings for contempt of court; and certain functions in relation to charities and family law cases.The Attorney's responsibilities straddle different parts of the constitution: the Attorney General is a Minister and a member of the executive; is also a member of one or other House of Parliament; but in acting as legal adviser to the Government the Attorney is of course expected to give completely objective and dispassionate legal advice.The Attorney exercises some functions wholly independently of Government; and has a wider role to uphold the rule of law.The multi-faceted nature of the Attorney General's role has given rise to a number of questions about whether there is the possibility or perception of conflict between those various roles. I think they really boil down to two issues. I want to set out those issues very briefly and highlight some of the key questions that were at the heart of the consultation process.The first issue is whether the Attorney General's role as chief legal adviser to the Government should be separate from the role of a political Government Minister.Within that, there are a number of questions.• In the legal adviser role, is the Attorney General sufficiently independent (or seen to be independent) of the Government of which he or she is a member? Or is there a risk that advice will be (or be seen to be) slanted in some way to suit the Government's political or party interests?• On the other hand, does the Attorney General's advice have particular authority and credibility with Ministers because it comes from one of their number - including, or perhaps especially, when the advice is unwelcome?• How does the Attorney's position compare with that of other in-house legal advisers, who are subject to professional duties and expected to give independent and impartial advice, like any other lawyer?• If the chief legal adviser role were to cease to be performed by a Minister, who should perform it?o Should it be a civil servant or some appointed official? For example the Treasury Solicitor, or some new official post?o Or should it be some external counsel, either on a retained basis along the lines of First Treasury Counsel now, or someone appointed on an ad hoc basis?• If the role were to stay with the Attorney General, are there things which could be done to improve transparency or enhance the Attorney's independent status? For example, a more intelligible oath or other form of duty to reflect the Attorney's independent role in relation to the rule of law, perhaps a statutory obligation to uphold the rule of law. Are there new ways in which the legal basis for key Government actions should be explained to Parliament and the public?• Finally, what would be gained and what would be lost by making changes to this role - in terms of independence; public confidence; the importance of legal advice reflecting a proper understanding of the needs and workings of government; and the need for advice to command the confidence of the governmental client?The second issue is whether changes are needed to the role of the Attorney General in relation to criminal proceedings, or in relation to the superintendence of the prosecuting authorities.Again, this issue raises in turn a number of questions:• Is it right that the current arrangements give rise to the possibility or perception of political interference in individual prosecution decisions? If so how can that be cured?• The current system means that the Attorney General is directly accountable to Parliament for the actions of the prosecuting authorities she superintends. This is not just a theoretical point. The Law Officers are often asked questions in Parliament about prosecution issues in general and about individual cases.• My predecessor, Lord Goldsmith, participated in many, sometimes heated, Parliamentary debates about some of the most controversial cases, in particular the SFO investigation into BAE Systems; and certain military prosecutions resulting from events in Iraq. How, if at all, would Parliamentary and public accountability be secured under any new system?• The existing arrangements mean that the Government can be properly consulted, through the Attorney General, about public interest considerations in sensitive cases, including any implications for national security. How would that ability be retained if changes were made to the Attorney's role?• At present the Attorney General is the Minister with specific responsibility for the prosecuting authorities and for prosecution policy. This puts us in a position to act as champions for the prosecuting authorities within Government, including in the allocation of money, within the wider criminal justice system. What would be the advantages or disadvantages of transferring that role to another Department?• Is there some solution under which the current statutory relationship of "superintendence" is defined to give greater clarity and transparency to the Attorney General's role?• For example, it could be made clear that it does not include a power to give directions about individual criminal cases, except perhaps in a clear category of cases raising particular national security or other public interest issues.• At the same time the Attorney's role of being informed or consulted about individual cases could be clarified; retaining Ministerial responsibility for the overall policy and conduct of the prosecuting authorities; and hence retaining direct Ministerial accountability to Parliament.• What about the other Government prosecuting authorities, over which the Attorney General does not have a statutory superintendence role, but which to a greater or lesser extent look to the Attorney for advice and support? Should those relationships be formalised or clarified in some way; and are there ways of improving, perhaps through the Law Officers, coordination between those various prosecutors on matters of common interest?I have really only outlined some of the main questions today, but the consultation, which closed at the end of November, covered all aspects of the Attorney General's role. We received around 50 responses from a wide range of respondents. I and the Solicitor General also held a series of meetings and seminars with interested groups, including representatives of the legal profession, prosecutors, academics, and MPs and Peers.As you might expect the consultation has elicited a wide range of views, many of them diametrically opposed. I am of course grateful for the considered submission of the CBA.For the benefit of those present who have not seen it, whilst advocating "a need to clarify the legal and ministerial functions of the office", the response concluded that "the preservation of the unique constitutional position of the Attorney General is fundamentally in the public interest, and that the office should not be removed from Government."The CBA response favoured the Attorney continuing to have responsibility for supervising the prosecution authorities; in contrast to some, you favoured the retention of the requirement for Attorney General's consent to prosecute; but, whilst recognising that the arguments are finely balanced, the response took the view that the Attorney's criminal justice policy responsibilities should be substantially reduced. This is something I might return to a little later.I am of course limited in what I can say on the way forward at this stage. All responses have been carefully considered; Ministers are currently discussing what our response will be; and no decisions have yet been taken.Nevertheless, I can give you a flavour of the main themes. Overall, most respondents counselled against major structural change taking the view that "mistaken perception is a weak foundation on which to base reform" and that "most of the institutional reforms [proposed] are neither necessary nor desirable, and would not significantly improve the political independence and accountability of prosecution decision-making." Hence most respondents thought that the Attorney General should retain the three principal roles I have described.Of those broadly supporting the current structure, a significant number suggested some changes.• Concern, in varying degrees, was expressed about the Attorney General's role in individual criminal cases. Suggestions included clarifying the Attorney's function of superintending the prosecuting authorities to provide expressly that it does not include any power of direction in individual cases.• Many respondents thought the various statutory requirements for the Attorney's consent to prosecute should (in most or all cases) be removed entirely or transferred to the DPP.• Some respondents expressed concern about the increasing involvement of the Law Officers in matters of policy. Some thought that the Attorney General should cease to attendCabinet on a regular basis (although some took the contrary view).• Some thought the Law Officers should, to a greater or lesser extent, disengage from policy in other ways - for example by no longer taking lead responsibility for Government Bills in Parliament; or ceasing to participate in the existing trilateral arrangements for criminal justice policy.Relatively few respondents argued for more radical reform. There was very little support for the position advocated in the House of Commons Constitutional Affairs Committee in its report in July which concluded that the role of the Attorney General should be split in two; with the "purely legal functions being carried out by a non-political official, with Ministerial duties being carried out by a Minister in the Ministry of Justice.Most commentators did not, in general, favour publication or disclosure of the Law Officer's advice to Government.Those who commented on the question of the Attorney general's oath generally favoured a more modern version and/or a statutory duty expressly referring to respect for the rule of law.As we near our conclusions on all relevant issues, we will be looking particularly closely at the relationship between the Law officers and the prosecuting authorities, including whether we should define the relationship of "superintendence" and what role the Law Officers should have, if any, in the taking of individual prosecution decisions. We expect to announce our conclusions next month.Of course, there have been many other issues calling on my time and I propose to headline just a couple of these.One of the policy initiatives I inherited from Lord Goldsmith is the Government Fraud Review. It is an example of what is known in the trade as a cross cutting review - meaning that several different departments of state are involved - and it was commissioned jointly by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Lord Goldsmith two years ago.The Review Report in July 2006 made a number of recommendations, most of which the Government accepted after public consultations. The Treasury announced in October last year that the funding needed for implementation would be provided from April this year, so this is a show that is well and truly on the road now.The Fraud Review is a good example of the sort of extra value that the Law Officers can provide in co-ordinating some kinds of Government policy work, particularly work that involves the public and the private sectors, the legal profession and the courts. The Attorney General's Office is acting as midwife to the implementation of a range of Fraud Review recommendations.One is the National Fraud Strategic Authority (NFSA), which is being designed now by a joint working group to provide the focus for a future national fraud strategy. Fraud represents a massive drain on both public and individual finances and the economy as awhole. It is notoriously difficult and expensive to investigate and prosecute.The Fraud Review recommended that we take a more holistic approach; working to prevent and deter fraud in all sectors at once and co-ordinating public and private sector actions across the whole spectrum of deterrence, prevention, detection, investigation, penalties and redress for victims.To support the NFSA, we are also building a National Fraud Reporting Centre (NRFC), a fraud loss measurement unit and a National Lead (police) Force for fraud. Again we have public/private sector joint working groups involved and I believe that this is a really good example of the exciting synergies we can get when we look outside Government and involve our stakeholders in a project.As an example, the FSA has lent a full time project manager to the City of London Police to help establish the NFRC and the Lead Force. And we have the Director General of the British Bankers' Association and a Director of the Association of British Insurers on our overall Programme Board.The Fraud Review also made a basket of criminal justice recommendations, and I know that the CBA contributed very positively to the public consultations on these at the end of 2006.I believe we - the Government, the Judiciary, the Courts Service and the legal professions - have done much to improve the efficiency of long and complex trials generally in the last few years.We are all moving in the same direction here. But once again, the slightly semi detached role of the Attorney General has also made it possible for some of the reforms to be discussed outside the normal run of Government consultations. For example, one of the Fraud Review working groups is chaired by Stephen Hockman QC and its members are drawn from right across the criminal justice system.Another issue that has engaged both myself and the Solicitor General is that of rape. As Ministers we have been involved in the cross-Government drive to tackle sexual violence in a number of ways.We have developed and are now taking forward a cross-Government action plan aimed at preventing sexual violence; increasing access to health services and support more generally for victims; and improving the way cases are investigated and prosecuted. We have also agreed new Public Service Agreements which will for the first time make clear that tackling sexual violence must be a priority across England and Wales.You will probably recall that at the end of November we published our response to the 2006 rape consultation paper. I am grateful for the considered response of the CBA and the senior judiciary to the issues under consideration, some of which were not straightforward.Whilst some of the proposals attracted a good deal of attention and opposing views, they were informed by the views of prosecutors, aw well as policy makers within Whitehall. Our role as Law Officers has enabled us to take the views of the senior judiciary.In terms of our response, we announced that we would:• vary the law on hearsay evidence to make complainant's complaints to others admissible, whenever they were made;• allow video recorded testimony of the complainant's account to be automatically admissible at trial and confer a broader discretion on prosecutors to ask supplementary questions of the witness; and• continue to look at the question of how evidence or material concerning the psychological impact of sexual offending upon victims generally can be presented in court in a controlled and consistent way.In relation to this issue the Solicitor General chaired a meeting of experts, involving two senior judges, last month and we will involve the Bar as this work moves forward.Finally, we resolved not amend the law on a person's capacity to consent to sex in the light of two judgments of the Court of Appeal.As Law Officers we are determined to do what we can to encourage and support the more effective prosecution of rape and other serious sexual offence cases and monitor performance effectively. I am aware that real improvements have been made and I am grateful for the agreement of the Bar that those who wish to prosecute rape cases will undertake specialist training courses, as judges, prosecutors and police officers do.Finally, I am delighted that the Bar - and indeed other parts of the legal profession - have done so much in recent years to encourage greater diversity amongst entrants to the profession. This is something which I strongly support, and which is mirrored by much which is done within Government departments, including those which I superintend.There is one particular concern I have, however, and that is the concentration on university students. Valuable though this is, we are often reaching people at a stage when they may have already decided what they want to do: or have formed opinions about the justice system which may be erroneous.I have asked my office to draw up a strategy for engagement with schools. This will build on work already in place - for example, many prosecutors, members of the Government legal service and administrative/policy staff already visit schools, act as school governors, etc. But I want us to have something which is more strategic and which achieves the following objectives:• Contribute to citizenship education, including understanding of the justice system and of individuals rights and responsibilities;• To make pupils/students aware of the range of career opportunities available to them in the law, including the Government legal service and the prosecuting authorities;• To de-mystify Government and to facilitate understanding of the role of the Law Officers and their departments;• To encourage understanding of and respect for the rule of law and the importance of obeying the law.I am very keen that we encourage young people to be more aware of their responsibilities towards society and, hopefully, to persuade some who might be tempted to embark on criminal behaviour. And if we are able to attract a wider range of people to work in the justice system, in whatever capacity, that would be welcome.So, I trust I have succeeded in giving you a flavour of my first 6 months as Attorney General, together with the some of the key issues under consideration.The current arrangements have their advantages. They enable the Attorney General to play a key role in protecting and upholding the rule of law and facilitating the governance of Britain. However, I said on launching the consultation paper that we have an opportunity to make changes which will enhance the rule of law and confidence in the administration of justice in the 21st century.This is a valuable opportunity, and I trust that I can announce our conclusions in the near future. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/CriminalBarAssociation.aspx ? Criminal Bar Association 15 January 2008 Attorney General's Office
Solicitor General: 'Prosecuting human trafficking and slavery, the law and the UK response'29 October 2012IntroductionIt is a great pleasure to be able to speak to you today. I would like to thank Professor Neil Cooper and Dr Julia Buxton for inviting me to speak about human trafficking. It is an opportune time to debate this topic as the UK's Anti Slavery Day was on the 18 October. You have provided me with an excellent opportunity to mark this day and I am delighted to do so at this Department which has such an excellent international reputation in the area of peace studies.My parliamentary constituency is North East Hertfordshire. Within it, at Wadesmill, there is a monument marking the spot where, in June 1785, Thomas Clarkson rested his horse on the way from Cambridge to London. Clarkson had just won a university prize for an essay on the topic, 'Is it lawful to enslave the unconsenting?' He had written about the Atlantic slave trade, and while resting his horse, Clarkson realised that "it was time some person should see these calamities to their end". Clarkson then devoted his life to campaigning for the abolition of slavery. His energy and determination, and that of other 'abolitionists' like William Wilberforce and Olaudah Equiano, led first to the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, and then to the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.Important as those achievements were, the 'unconsenting' are still enslaved today. Human Trafficking threatens the Human Rights of millions every year and represents a new form of slavery. Human trafficking is the second largest organised crime in the world; there are millions of victims at any given time with profits of traffickers worldwide estimated in excess of $32 billion each year.In the UK, those who are exploited may face years of sexual abuse, forced labour or domestic servitude. They are vulnerable women, children and men who often speak no English and are kept isolated. In many instances they never fully recover from their traumatic experience.Anti-Slavery Day was introduced in 2010 through the Anti-Slavery Day Act to raise awareness of the need to eradicate all forms of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation.Today, I will look at the nature of the problem in the UK and give an overview of the UK response to Human Trafficking. I will then examine the influence of international instruments, such as UN protocols, on domestic legislation. Finally I will comment on the UK criminal justice response both in terms of how prosecutions are handled, and the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in combating human trafficking.But I thought it might be helpful to start by explaining something about my role as a Law Officer and how this relates to the subject under discussion. I am deputy to the Attorney General. Together we are known as the Law Officers.The office of Attorney General covers a wide range of functions. In addition to being chief legal adviser to the Crown, and thus to Government, the Attorney General is also the guardian of the public interest and a protector of charity.As Government Ministers, we account to Parliament for the two largest prosecuting departments: the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office. (We also have Ministerial responsibility for the Treasury Solicitor's Department and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.) This superintendence role involves safeguarding the independence of the prosecutors in taking prosecution decisions and, in conjunction with the Directors of the prosecuting authorities, setting their strategic direction.While the lead in policy making on human trafficking lies with the Home Office, the Law Officers have a role, together with Home Office and Ministry of Justice colleagues, in formulating criminal justice policy. In particular, we want to ensure human trafficking policy works in practice, when it comes to the prosecution of offences. I am a member of the Inter Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG) which acts as the UK rapporteur on this issue.If I start with the problem in the UK, human trafficking is, by its nature, a complex and hidden crime and it is difficult to get a full picture of the numbers involved.However, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 2010 undertook a study of sexual exploitation in England and Wales. The report looked at who was being trafficked into the country for 'off-street' prostitution, where they came from, and how they were treated. This report estimated that, of the 17,000 migrant sex workers in the off-street sector, there were at least 2,600 female adult victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation in England and Wales, with a further 9,600 considered to be vulnerable, and suspected to have experienced an element of trafficking.National Referral Mechanism (NRM) figures give a more up-to-date picture of those victims who have reported to the police or are brought to the attention of the authorities. The NRM is a framework for identifying victims of human trafficking and ensuring they receive appropriate care. A range of agencies may be involved in a trafficking case, such as the police, the UK Border Agency (UKBA), local authorities and non-governmental organisations such as charities.The NRM makes it easier for these agencies to co-operate, share information and facilitate access to advice, accommodation and support. In 2011, 946 potential victims of human trafficking including 234 child victims were identified in the UK by the NRM.Using this data we are also able to explore where victims are trafficked from. The most prevalent source countries were Nigeria, China, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia.The most prevalent type of exploitation for adults trafficked to the UK is sexual exploitation and for children it is labour exploitation. In recent months we have also seen cases in which victims have been brought to the UK to be exploited for the purpose of benefit fraud and other types of criminal exploitation.The impact of these crimes is great in terms of harm, both to victims and to society more generally. The numbers of people trafficked and the source, transit and destination countries continue to change and evolve as traffickers seek to exploit new and more profitable opportunities.It is therefore crucial that we monitor the constantly changing pattern of human trafficking to and in the UK, in order to support victims and deter and disrupt traffickers. This is why we vigorously review the latest data on trafficking at each of our Inter-Departmental Ministerial meetings on Human Trafficking.The UK government responseSo, the UK government response to human trafficking is of vital importance. We have made progress. We are improving the identification of, and support for, trafficking victims. And we are working more closely with international partners to deter, disrupt and prosecute traffickers. But there is much more to do.The government published its human trafficking strategy in July 2011 with a focus on victims, and prevention. The aims of that strategy are as follows:First, improved victim identification and care - actions have been taken to improve the awareness of front line professionals working in local authorities, health services, the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), charities such as NSPCC and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, so that they can better identify, support and protect victims.The second aim is to act early in source countries. Increased international engagement has begun: to gain a better understanding of human trafficking patterns, to raise awareness of this crime, and to assist in strengthening law enforcement and justice systems in priority countries. The CPS has a number of prosecutors based in 'strategic threat assessment countries'. They regularly liaise with two of the major source countries through the Supreme People's Procuracy (SPP) from Vietnam and the Nigerian Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) to prosecute traffickers at source, improve cooperation and build the capability of investigators and prosecutors.The third aim is smarter, more effective action at the border - concentrated efforts have been made by a range of agencies to work together to share information and maximise capabilities. The Border Force has been working with the European Border Agency, Frontex, to draw up risk profiles on victims from particular countries, in cooperation with other Member States. The risk profiles have been disseminated to UK ports. In this way the attention of frontline staff can be focused on passengers who pose the highest risk and allow the vast majority of legitimate travellers to pass through without delay.The final aim is more coordination of UK law enforcement efforts - agencies across the UK work collaboratively and with their counterparts in other countries to share intelligence and collectively target traffickers.In tackling human trafficking, no single agency or government organisation alone can provide a comprehensive response. This is why it is crucial that we cooperate together fully at every level.At the strategic level, the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG) draws together Ministers of the relevant departments and the Devolved Administrations. I am a member of this Group. You may be surprised at the range of other departments represented: the membership includes ministers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Education, Ministry of Justice, Department for International Development, Department for Work and Pensions and Department of Health. This group is responsible for developing and reviewing the UK's counter-trafficking policy. In line with the requirements set out in the 2011 EU Directive on trafficking in human beings, the IDMG is the UK's national rapporteur mechanism.The IDMG published its first annual report on human trafficking on 18 October 2012. The report is an assessment of human trafficking in the UK and work underway to prevent people from becoming victims of this crime. As well as assessing trends the report also provides an update on the UK Government's human trafficking strategy. I would urge you to read this report which is available to download from the Home Office website.At official level, policy on trafficking is consistently reviewed at meetings of both government and non government representatives - such as the Poppy Project and NSPCC. My officials take a full part in these meetings.At operational level, the UK Human Trafficking Centre is a multi-agency unit that coordinates law enforcement. UK law enforcement and prosecutors also work in Joint Investigation Teams. These teams tackle the chain of criminals across various countries who are responsible for recruiting, moving and exploiting vulnerable victims.The role of international instruments in shaping and influencing legislationOver recent years, there has been a growing international consensus that there should be a concerted global response to human trafficking. Globalisation has resulted in an increase in transnational crime, and migration provides a fertile field for criminals. In response, international instruments have criminalised human trafficking, put in place procedural safeguards and protected victims.The UK's legal framework has been directly influenced by UN and EU Conventions and Directives. I will refer to just two such international instruments.The first is the 'Palermo Protocol'. The UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, signed in Palermo, Italy in 2000 is the main instrument against transnational organised crime. It provided international and mutually recognised definitions of human trafficking and criminalisation of trafficking including proportional criminal penalties for traffickers. It also, importantly, established the protection to be afforded to victims. The 'Palermo Protocol' continues to shape the UK's response to human trafficking and in particular the care and support afforded to identified human trafficking victims.The second international instrument I will refer to is the EU Directive on Trafficking in Human Beings, which the UK opted into in July 2011. The UK was already compliant with the majority of the provisions contained within the Directive. However, there were two areas identified where primary legislation was required to comply. Steps have already been taken, through the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, to introduce new legislation in these areas. The legislative changes mean that, in future, England and Wales can prosecute UK nationals who commit trafficking offences even where the trafficking has no connection with the UK. The power to prosecute traffickers for non-sexual trafficking offences which occur wholly within England and Wales has also been introduced.The UK Criminal Justice ResponseI now turn to domestic legislation and the criminal justice response.Cases of human trafficking may be prosecuted under a variety of different legislation. I shall briefly run through some of the relevant legislation:The Sexual Offences Act 2003 criminalised the trafficking into, within, and out of, the UK for the purposes of sexual exploitation.Secondly, the Asylum and Immigration Act 2004 criminalised trafficking into, within, and out of, the UK for all other forms of exploitation. This legislation was also sufficiently wide for prosecutors to prosecute traffickers for a wide range of exploitative conduct.Finally, in April 2010 a stand-alone offence was introduced under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to criminalise those who hold another person in slavery or servitude or require them to perform forced or compulsory labour.All these offences attract maximum penalties of up to 14 years imprisonment on conviction and the first two are 'life-style offences' for the purposes of proceeds of crime. This means that the CPS can deprive the defendant of the financial benefit that he or she has obtained from criminal conduct through a confiscation order.To give an example of the kind of slavery and servitude offences that are prosecuted: in July of this year four members of the Connors family were found guilty of forcing destitute men into servitude. The men were kept in squalid conditions at a caravan park, made to work up to 19 hours a day, six days a week for nothing and slept in sheds and horseboxes. They were also verbally abused and beaten and threatened to be killed if they ever tried to leave. Some were alcoholics, drug addicts or had previously been in trouble with the law, and were picked up off the streets, at soup kitchens or in centres for the homeless. One victim said that living at the caravan site was like being in a "concentration camp".Cases of human trafficking may also be prosecuted under other legislation. For example offences such as conspiracy to traffic, assisting unlawful immigration to a member state (known as facilitation), and other serious criminal offences such as rape, kidnapping, false imprisonment and threats to kill. These offences are not necessarily lesser charges, as they may carry similar or more serious penalties than human trafficking charges. Importantly, they are used in circumstances where evidence obtained does not support charges of trafficking, or it is not in a form that is reliable and admissible in a court in England and Wales.In terms of convictions, Ministry of Justice data for England and Wales in 2011 shows that the number of defendants found guilty, on a principal offence basis, for human trafficking offences (this means that the human trafficking count was the most serious on the indictment), was eight. In 2010, it was 16.While these were the numbers of convictions for specific trafficking offences, they do not include all traffickers convicted - this is because many traffickers are convicted for alternative, but related, offences.Data from the Crown Prosecution Service's systems, although less robust, gives an indication of the number of defendants convicted where there was an original charge for trafficking but where that particular charge was subsequently dropped or amended, or where the defendant pleaded guilty to or was convicted of an alternative offence. The data generated by this approach shows that the number of defendants charged was 142 in 2011-12 (in 2010-11 that figure was 103). Two thirds of those defendants were convicted, which equates to 94 defendants.Protection and support for victims in giving evidenceCentral to increasing the numbers and success of prosecutions is the need to encourage victims to support prosecutions. We recognise that many victims and witnesses take significant risks in giving evidence against their traffickers and exploiters. They often fear the consequences of giving evidence - not only for themselves, as often traffickers threaten the lives of close family members who remain in the source country - and may therefore be reluctant to support criminal proceedings. They may worry that they may not be believed. Or they may have a distrust of the authorities because of the culture or their experiences in their home country. Victims may also be facing conflicting interests such as pending applications for asylum which might impact on their willingness to engage. For any of these reasons, they may be apprehensive or frightened about coming to court to give their evidence.Whilst we know it will be difficult for victims, the police and the CPS work with a range of non government agencies, and the other agencies in the criminal justice system, to provide victims with appropriate protection and support. This support will improve their safety and help them to give evidence. We know that non-government organisations will often have greater experience of victims and their differing needs, and we recognise the important role they play. As I referred to earlier, there is in the UK a single framework, called the National Referral Mechanism, which assists greatly in identifying victims and referring them on to appropriate support.When a victim is going to give evidence at court the CPS will consider the range of "special measures" available to support and protect trafficked victims and allow them to give their best evidence. For example, prosecutors can apply to have the victim's evidence-in-chief video recorded for presentation in court or for the victim to give evidence via a video link from their home country if they wish to return there. Prosecutors can also apply for reporting restrictions to protect victims' identity in the press.InternationalAs I said earlier, human trafficking has a truly international dimension. It is a global problem and investigations for human trafficking usually extend to other jurisdictions, requiring evidence for prosecutions in the UK to be obtained from abroad. The principal mechanism for obtaining or exchanging information between different jurisdictions is through mutual legal assistance (MLA). MLA is requested through a letter of request (LOR), which is a legal document issued by either a judge or a crown prosecutor, requesting assistance in obtaining evidence specified in the letter for use in criminal proceedings or to support an investigation. Additionally the UK has a number of bilateral treaties with other states.In seeking the return of a suspect from another jurisdiction, the CPS can use extradition proceedings and does so to good effect. For example, in a recent prosecution the CPS in 2009 extradited an offender from Spain. This was in relation to an unspeakably horrendous case of a father and son trafficking women (some still minors) into Britain from Romania and forcing them to work as prostitutes. If the women did not comply with the demands of their clients, they were beaten and raped by the 23-year-old son. The victims were forced to work six or seven days a week, with up to eight or 10 clients a night. It was the father who was extradited and subsequently convicted of six trafficking charges for sexual exploitation and one of controlling prostitution for gain. Following a trial at Manchester Crown Court, the son was also was found guilty of a wide range of offences including rapes, assaults, sex trafficking and controlling prostitution.The successful prosecution of those men means that they no longer pose a threat to women and children.SentencingBefore moving on to the topic of UK law influencing other jurisdictions, I must finish by referring to the importance of sentencing. Sentencing Council guidelines have been issued to the judiciary, identify aggravating and mitigating factors which should be applied in 'human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation' cases.When any human trafficking offence is sentenced in the Crown Court, if the prosecution, or any other interested party, considers that the sentence is unduly lenient - that is, it falls outside the appropriate range suggested by the guidelines or, where there are no guidelines, by previous cases - then they can ask the Attorney General to review the sentence.If the Attorney General or I think the sentence is unduly lenient, we may ask the Court of Appeal for permission to refer the case to it. The Court of Appeal decides whether or not the sentence is unduly lenient and, if it is, whether to increase the sentence.By way of an example, the case I mentioned a moment ago was one that was referred by my office in 2011. The sentences that were handed down of 21 years imprisonment for the son and six years for the father were assessed as unduly lenient by my predecessor. Lord Justice Hughes, who reviewed the sentences with Mr Justice Treacy and Mr Justice Blake, said the case was a 'depressing narrative of depravity, callous exploitation and brutality' and increased both sentences. The father's was increased to nine years. The son was assessed as a significant risk of serious harm to the public, making him eligible for an indeterminate public protection sentence from which he will only be freed when - and if - he is considered safe.Role of UK in influencing law in other jurisdictionsAs human trafficking is a global criminal enterprise we liaise with our partners abroad for the purposes of bringing a prosecution in this country, and the CPS shares their experience with our partners overseas to enable them to strengthen their criminal justice systems and rule of law. This helps traffickers to be stopped and prosecuted before they come to the UK.This work is essential. Many of the source and transit countries for trafficking are targeted by organised criminals due to the perceived weakness of the rule of law in those countries.The CPS has a positive programme of seeking to work in many of these countries to assist them in strengthening their criminal justice systems. This includes:advising law makers on changes in legislation and policies;working with practitioners to train them; and,identifying and assisting in removing key strategic blockages to successful prosecutions within the court system.Despite the positive steps that have been taken, both at home and overseas, I recognise that there is much to do in combating human trafficking and slavery.ConclusionTo conclude, I would like to reiterate the point I have made before: human trafficking is a global issue. The UK takes the issue seriously and uses the international framework to properly create and apply domestic legislation.We cannot operate in a vacuum, either domestically (which is why we have the IDMG) nor internationally (which is why the CPS works hard to support other jurisdictions).There are areas which require further attention and which we are addressing through the UK strategy.Firstly - prevention. Demand for cheap labour, cheap goods and services, and demand for prostitution or sexual services continues to provide a thriving environment for organised criminals to operate in. Tackling demand is therefore vital in the fight against human trafficking and is one of the most challenging areas for the UK to address. As I have said, prosecutors work with source countries to improve the ability of overseas investigators and prosecutors in case building and prosecution to disrupt human trafficking at source. In 2010 an offence which criminalises those who pay for the sexual services of a prostitute subjected to force was introduced to try and curb demand. In relation to labour exploitation, we work closely with the Gangmasters Licensing Authority and large national hotel groups combat forced labour, trafficking and exploitation in the UK hospitality industry.Secondly - ensuring that victims are identified as early as possible. This is especially hard where the issues faced by victims in reporting offences are as complex as those that I described earlier. Underreporting impacts on our ability to identify the true scale of trafficking in the UK and stops us from being able to help all those who have been trafficked to the UK. It is therefore critical that every relevant agency is able to contribute to the identification, protection and support of potential trafficking victims. This is why we have made training and guidance available for front line staff across the widest range of agencies.It is crucial that our continuing aim is to ensure there are no safe havens for traffickers and that their victims are fully and properly protected. The Government is committed to seeing that this is achieved. None http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.uk/NewsCentre/Speeches/Pages/SolicitorGeneralhumantrafficking.aspx Edward Garnier QC MP 'Prosecuting human trafficking and slavery, the law and the UK response' 29 October 2012 Attorney General's Office
Attorney General speech to BPP Law School: Parliament and the judiciary25 October 2012IntroductionI am very grateful to BPP Law School for giving me a forum to look at some current issue of political and legal interest.For this afternoon I have chosen the relationship between Parliament and the judiciary.It is some 127 years since Dicey in his magisterial fashion gave us his definition of that relationship that might remove it from all controversy.He told us:"The sovereignty of Parliament and the supremacy of the law of the land ….may appear to stand in opposition to each other, or to be at best only counterbalancing forces. .But this appearance is delusive; the sovereignty of Parliament …..favours the supremacy of the law, whilst the predominance of rigid legality throughout our institutions evokes the exercise and thus increases the authority of Parliamentary sovereignty".Today, however new polemic has emerged on the subject. Some have argued that the sovereignty of parliament is being eroded and that the power of the judges is increasing to the point of their becoming the governors.So, this is a question that no Parliamentarian, Minister or Judge can ignore entirely. We live in a world in which the old orthodoxies of Parliamentary sovereignty, the separation of powers, and the deference of the judiciary to the judgment of the executive are no longer accepted without question. Where, once, the suggestion that Parliament was not sovereign would have been considered heretical; now the possibility is raised in every text book, and in judgments of members of our Appellate Courts.Role of the Attorney GeneralAs the Attorney General, my role places me close to the heart of these debates; and it may assist in illustrating why that is so, for me to give a brief outline of the role of the Attorney in our political and legal system.In a nutshell, I have three main roles: first, as Chief Legal Adviser to the Crown; second, as the Government Minister responsible for superintending the Crown Prosecution Service, the Serious Fraud Office, and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate; and third as guardians of certain public interest functions which include, for example, the role of protector of charity and of the administration of justice.So there are specific aspects of my work that give me a particular insight into the relationship between Parliament and the courts.First, I am (like my predecessors) a member of Parliament- although some of my predecessors have been members of the House of Lords rather than, like me of the House of Commons.I would add that I am a proud to be a Parliamentarian. As such, I believe in Parliament's right to make law and to be the ultimate arbiter of political questions because it is the bearer of democratic legitimacy in our system, and I believe in the Parliamentary process and in Parliament as a forum for testing and improving our law and scrutinising government.Second, as chief legal adviser to the Crown, I advise Government departments on how policy can be achieved in a lawful and proper way; and the Solicitor General and I, together with the Advocate General for Scotland, have a specific role in the legislative process, considering each Bill as it approaches introduction for the same purpose. Ultimately the Law Officers (a term which includes all three of us) have the power to block a Bill if there are unresolved concerns about its legality or propriety.Where possible, of course, the Law Officers endeavour to support the Government and Parliament in achieving its legislative aims in a proper and lawful way; and much of our time is spent saying "have you thought about doing it this way?" which is what all good lawyers should do for their clients. It is not the role of the Law Officers to thwart Government policy.However that does not detract from the fact that in carrying out the function of legal adviser to the government, the Attorney General's role is to support and protect the rule of law. I think that the role of the Attorney General as the Government's Chief Legal Adviser was neatly summed up by a former Attorney General, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, who said:"The Attorney General has a duty to ensure that the Queen's ministers who act in her name, or purport to act in her name, do act lawfully because it is his duty to help to secure the rule of law, the principal requirement of which is that the Government itself acts lawfully."Third, some of my powers owe nothing to Parliament or government, and my involvement is to assist the courts in protecting the judicial process and strengthening the rule of law in this country. Let me just give two examples.As guardian of the public interest, I have the power to intervene in legal proceedings in the public interest. For example, most recently in the sad Nicklinson case as to the law on assisted dying. I will also, from time to time assist the courts by acting as an impartial friend of the court, either in person or by appointing advocates to the court to help with questions of law.And, in another distinct part of my role as guardian of the public interest, I have responsibility for bringing contempt of court proceedings. As part of this, I receive referrals from judges, the police and members of the public where it is thought that the conduct of some individual, company or organisation is prejudicing or impeding the fairness of court proceedings and the course of justice; and it is my responsibility to decide whether to bring an action to protect the court proceedings from such interference.As a result of these varied functions, I have a role to play in Parliament, in Government, in assisting the courts, and in defending the rule of law; and it is something of the fruits of this perspective which I hope to share with you today.OutlineIn doing this, I want to consider the following areas in which there is particular interaction between the roles of Parliament and our courts.They are:the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty or Parliamentary supremacy itself;the role of the courts in relation to the application of principles in the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 and how it impacts on the doctrine; andthe issues that have been raised recently about the nature and extent of Parliamentary privileges, and the exclusion of judicial oversight from Parliament's internal activities.Parliamentary SovereigntyLet me turn then to the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty.Dicey regarded the legal supremacy of Parliament as the founding principle of the British constitution, and I agree. This talk cannot be the place to go into constitutional history. But it is worth bearing in mind that before the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the Bill of Rights of 1689 there were jurists such as Lord Chief Justice Coke who raised the question of whether royal authority even exercised though Parliament might not be circumscribed. In the famous Dr Bonham's case he commented that:"in many cases, the common law will controul Acts of Parliament, and sometimes adjudge them to be utterly void; for when an Act of Parliament is against common right and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed, the common law will controul it, and adjudge such Act to be void".So I think that the language of "parliamentary supremacy" or "parliamentary sovereignty" can conjure images of unconstrained power which does not fairly reflect the reality, as Parliament might find to its cost if it really sought to do something which was either wholly tyrannical or plainly absurd and its problems might come from the people rather than the courts. What we are really referring to when we speak of Parliamentary supremacy is no more and no less than the present Parliament's right to make or repeal any law, and the inability to prevent a future Parliament from doing the same.That is a well established theoretical position, but it has consistently attracted critics; and so I want to consider a few of the ways in which it has been suggested that the courts of this country may apply and enforce legal limits on the sovereignty of Parliament.Firstly, it has been suggested that the process of interpretation of legislation by the judiciary allows the courts effectively to limit the sovereignty of Parliament. It is my view that the courts do no such thing. I realise that this may go against the fashion (at least in certain parts of the media) for presenting the judiciary and Parliament as pitted against each other; but it is my sincerely held view that the courts interpret and apply the laws that Parliament makes faithfully and dispassionately.The starting point for statutory interpretation today remains the literal interpretation of the text, and it is only if there is genuine ambiguity and uncertainty that extraneous material can be relied upon as a tool. There are, of course, interpretative tools such as the presumption against legislation having a retrospective effect, or ousting the ability of the courts to exercise judicial review of government actions. Such rules of interpretation are not however unique to statutory interpretation. The interpretation of private contracts is also performed with the assistance of such techniques. No one suggests this limits freedom to contract.In my view these rules of interpretation demonstrate a fundamental respect for Parliament and its legislative role. They are founded on norms shared by Parliament and the courts as to how it will typically be fair for legislation to take effect, and the courts proceed on the assumption that Parliament acts in the interests of justice when it legislates. It also recognises the reality that however well Parliament legislates (and we have only ourselves to blame when we don't) some interpretation may be needed.Secondly, views are periodically expressed about the possibility that the courts could in the future identify constitutional principles so fundamental that legislation in breach of those principles would not be enforced by the courts, however Parliament expressed itself-a return to the ideas raised by Coke.One example of this can certainly be seen in the House of Lords in the case ofJackson v Attorney GeneralIn that case, Lord Steyn said that:"…the supremacy of Parliament is still the general principle of our constitution. It is a construct of the common law. The judges created this principle. If that is so, it is not unthinkable that circumstances could arise where the courts may have to qualify a principle established on a different hypothesis of constitutionalism. In exceptional circumstances involving an attempt to abolish judicial review or the ordinary role of the courts, the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords or a new Supreme Court may have to consider whether this is a constitutional fundamental which even a sovereign Parliament acting at the behest of a complaisant House of Commons cannot abolish".This is, of course, a doomsday scenario which is entirely hypothetical. These suggestions have not been tested in our courts because thankfully no court has ever suggested that an act of Parliament comes close to such a violation of principle. Ours is country with a long history of the legislature and judiciary co-existing peacefully and of governments and parliaments legislating with respect for individual rights and the rule of law. If it were to arise it would probably mean that our constitution was broken.So, I am reluctant to agonise about theoretical future events which are so unlikely to arise: there is quite enough to be getting on with in the here and now. However, if pushed it would be my view that as long as the House of Commons remains a democratically elected assembly representative of the electorate it serves, the courts would have a duty to apply Parliament's legislation, although judges might always exercise the right to resign. I have every confidence however that the voters of the United Kingdom and the process of Parliament will ensure that this is not a point on which I will ever be proved right or wrong.In this regard, the recent Supreme Court case ofAXA v Lord Advocateis instructive. The case was concerned with an Act of the Scottish Parliament which deemed the development of pleural plaques- an asbestos related condition - should be deemed an actionable personal injury. One of the issues was an application for judicial review of the legislation on the basis that it was unreasonable, irrational or arbitrary for the Scottish parliament to do this. In his judgment, Lord Hope referred to the debate regarding whether there is any limitation on the sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament in exceptional circumstances; and some commentators have suggested that this judgment raises important questions for the prospect of the courts judicially reviewing acts of the UK Parliament . That does not seem to me to be right.There is no more critical distinction in the constitutional law of the United Kingdom than that between, on the one hand, laws made by a sovereign parliament (which the Parliament of the United Kingdom is) and laws made by a body to which decision making powers have been delegated by law, which is not sovereign. Lord Hope's judgment draws this distinction with great care. He said