Will parliament spot the real problem with legal aid cuts?

first_imgAs shown in president Linda Lee’s excellent summary piece it is clear that the government has a simple arithmetical problem (over and above the deficit itself). The debate on legal aid today in parliament will have to address a sum that does not add up. Legal aids cuts + Jackson/Young review = access to justice disaster. This problem is especially pronounced for clinical negligence claims. As with all good disaster movies however, it is first necessary to set the scene with some general points which bear repetition with each and every MP in the country who is going to be involved in the debates on this issue. First, it does seem to me that the coalition government – despite being in its infancy – already risks repeating the very mistakes it criticised in the Labour government for when in opposition, namely not listening, not understanding, and picking on supposedly weak targets in carrying policy into effect on this issue. Does the government appreciate that there is a ‘double whammy’ hit of both the cuts and the Jackson/Young proposals on access to justice? Is this a case of those who understand the law and constitution become lawyers, and those who don’t become MPs and ministers? Secondly, it seems clear to everyone except the Ministry of Justice, that there is no point in having a justice system if we as citizens have no practical access to it – that would be a breach of the fundamental constitutional basis for any state, that we as citizens give up our individual rights to the state in return for a way of enforcing those, that is, the justice system. Indeed, access to justice is not just part of David Cameron’s ‘big society’, but in fact is a marker of what I have always known as a civilised society. Thirdly, European law is quite clear that in order to comply with their obligations, member states must have effective and independent justice systems, and only within the last two weeks the European Justice Commissioner has signaled a very clear intention to introduce minimum levels of legal aid provision which all states – including the UK – will have to adhere to. Our government is clearly swimming against the tide upon this issue generally, and risks successful challenges under domestic and/or European law (note to government: rather ironically, any judicial review of these decisions will likely have to be paid for out of legal aid funds). And finally, what can we now expect of a ‘consultation’ – which the present government would do well to remember became a by-word for rubber-stamping exercises under the last government – from a government whose health and safety adviser, Lord Young, can confirm there is no such thing as a compensation culture in this country, only a perception of one, and then perpetuate that myth by referencing all proposals for legal reform under the report headings ‘compensation culture’? Applying that background specifically to the proposal to withdraw legal aid from all clinical negligence claims, produces the following more specific points. Crucially, to solve a problem you must first have a problem – in clinical negligence cases, as per the government figures standing behind the green paper, the success rates for clinical negligence cases has increased to 91%. Therefore on the basis that legal aid funds only pay for unsuccessful cases, clearly we as lawyers are doing a better job at pursuing meritorious cases and so driving down the costs to the legal aid fund. Add to that the average costs of unsuccessful cases have decreased 69%, and one may wonder what the problem is the government has with funding clinical negligence cases via legal aid. Following on from the above, the problem the government has – in many different respects – is that it funds the NHS, which sometimes injures people negligently, legal aid may fund their case and then the government has to pay the compensation. If you make it practically impossible for patients to sue the NHS by withdrawing funding, you in effect as a government/NHS put yourself above the law. There seems to be an inherent conflict of interests for the government, and therefore abuse of power situation to be created, which no-one appears to have yet focused on, opening up further avenues for successful challenge under domestic and European law. Most importantly, cutting legal aid for clinical negligence cases will affect the most vulnerable of claimants in clinical negligence – severely disabled children, the bereaved, children generally and those who lack mental capacity. This cannot be part of the coalition government’s stated plan to protect the most vulnerable from its cuts? Buried deep within the impact assessments attached to the green paper – which are cunningly not stored on-line with the green paper itself – are the figures behind the cuts. In terms of clinical negligence work, the net cost, that is presumably of unsuccessful cases, to the Legal Services Commission in 2008/09 (the figures the government quotes) was £17m. It cannot be that anyone has looked at that aspect of the impact assessment and done a proper cost/benefit analysis. If the costs are access to justice for some of the most vulnerable in Society who have been injured by the negligence of the State/the NHS with the potential political and constitutional costs of that, and the saving is £17m or 0.7% of the total legal aid budget of £2.3bn to contribute 0.01% to the £150bn deficit, surely that cannot be worth it? Is the government only looking at bald numbers and not the implications of those? In summary it would appear that the government either does not understand the combined implications of the legal aid cuts and Jackson/Young review in regard to conditional free agreements and access to justice, or it does not care. They can either cut legal aid or tamper with CFAs, but if access to justice is to prevail as it must, they cannot do both. Either the government does not understand the true implications of its proposals to cut legal aid for clinical negligence (and other) cases, or it does not want to listen when this is pointed out – or most dangerously it neither understands nor wants to listen. For us as a profession, now is the time for us to stand up for access to justice, on the firm basis that in fact the government needs us more than we need them. Without us and an effective justice system, they erode the very democracy which puts them into power, and keeps them there. If we do that, and educate the general public, they will also have the voice to fight these cuts and lay bear the truth behind the oft quoted spin of the ‘compensation culture’ and ‘self-serving lawyers’. We are simply the servants of our clients and the justice system, just as MPs and ministers are servants of the people. As Lord Neuberger MR aptly reminded the government only a few weeks ago – the justice system is the third branch of Government, and therefore in terms of their proposals the other two branches, the executive and legislature, should proceed cautiously if they are to avoid the same perils that beset the last government. In Not Listening/Understanding v Déjà Vu [2010] Court of Public Opinion & Constitutional Niceties – the jury’s still out. Paul Rumley is a partner in the clinical negligence team at Withy Kinglast_img read more

College football: Dancy, Robertson help La. Tech win on road

first_imgPerfect-Dating.comAre You Ready to Meet Cool Guys in Tung Chung?Perfect-Dating.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Secret Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unblock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoAspireAbove.comRemember Abby from NCIS? Take A Deep Breath Before You See How She Looks NowAspireAbove.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndoNews gadgetThis watch takes the whole country by storm! it’s price? Ridiculous!News gadget|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Trick Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unlock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoCelebsland.com9 Celebrity Before-And-After Plastic Surgery DisastersCelebsland.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndo Robertson’s 36-yard interception return for a score with 10:23 to play in the first quarter gave the Bulldogs a 14-7 advantage, a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the day. Robertson stepped in front of a Darius Wade pass and raced untouched down the sideline for the score.  The Bulldog offense made the most of the defenses stop. Tech took only four plays to drive 94 yards as Dancy took a pitch off the left side for an eight-yard TD run. The highlight of the drive outside of the score was a 75-yard run up the middle by Justin Henderson, a play that took the ball inside the Falcons red zone.  “I was proud of the way we competed,” said Tech head coach Skip Holtz. “We talked at half about the number of lost yardage plays we had in the first half. We stopped ourselves. We cleaned things up and put drives together and put points on the board. We talked about competing for 60 minutes. It was a close game at the half and we came out in the second half and finished the game. A lot of guys got to play tonight. It was a team win.” Robertson led all Bulldog defenders with 10 tackles, including two tackles for loss, while James Jackson and L’Jarius Sneed each registered nine stops.  After allowing a touchdown on Bowling Green’s first offensive possession of the game, the Bulldog defense stood tall for the remainder of the game, including come up with four fourth down stops — two inside its own five yard line with the game still in doubt.  With Tech leading by a touchdown in the second quarter, Bowling Green marched down to the Bulldogs three yard line. But on a fourth down and three from the three-yard line, the Bulldogs sniffed out a trick play, forcing a three yard loss and getting the football back for its offense. The Tech defense held Wade to just 18-of-38 passes for 171 yards while limiting the Falcons to only 290 total yards of offense. Bowling Green rushed 47 times for just 119 yards in the contest. center_img BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Jaqwis Dancy rushed for two touchdowns and Amik Robertson led a solid defensive effort with a pick six as the Bulldogs defeated Bowling Green 35-7 Saturday afternoon at Doyt Perry Stadium. “I’m excited about the way our defense played in the red zone,” said Holtz. “Last year we weren’t very good defensively in the red zone. It keeps points off the board. We bent but we didn’t break. I thought we did a really nice job. We got quality play out of our linebackers and safeties. Outside of the first (series) of the game on the bubble screen, I thought we took away their big plays. Our guys played physically.” Smith was solid behind center, completing 19-of-26 passes for 267 yards and two scores. Adrian Hardy led Tech with six catches for 95 yards while Harris added five catches for 64 yards and the one score.  Tech (2-1) will open up Conference USA action Friday night at 7 p.m. when they host FIU at Joe Aillet Stadium for the annual Red Out and Military Appreciation Game. Tickets can be purchased by calling 318-257-3631 or going to LATechSports.com/tickets. After a scoreless fourth quarter, Tech added a pair of TDs in the final stanza. Dancy scored on a two-yard plunge with 14:49 to play in the game while Smith found Harris from 27 yards out with just over 10 minutes remaining.        Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech Associate Athletic Director/Communications; featured photo by Darrell Jameslast_img read more

Former Steelers great Bennie Cunningham dies at 63

first_imgIn this Jan. 6, 1980, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Bennie Cunningham (89) leaps to catch a Terry Bradshaw pass in the end zone for a touchdown in the second period of the AFC championship game against the Houston Oilers, in Pittsburgh. (The New York Times via AP, File) Cunningham was an All-American in the mid-1970s. His seven scoring catches in 1974 set a school record for a tight end that stood for 37 years. Current Clemson coach Dabo Swinney called Cunningham one of the program’s greatest players.The Steelers drafted him with the 28th pick in 1976. He caught a touchdown pass in Pittsburgh’s victory over Houston in the 1979 AFC title game and had two more receptions in a Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams two weeks later when the Steelers captured their fourth championship in six years.He retired after the 1985 season and returned to Clemson, where he earned a master’s degree in secondary education and served as a guidance counselor in Westminster, South Carolina.___For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL CLEVELAND (AP) — Bennie Cunningham, a versatile tight end who starred at Clemson and won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers, has died. He was 63.The university says Cunningham died of cancer Monday at the Cleveland Clinic.Cunningham played 10 seasons and caught more than 200 passes with the Steelers. He was named to their all-time team in 2007 in conjunction with the franchise’s 75th anniversary.last_img read more

PGA Championship celebrates 100 as Tiger Woods goes for 15

first_imgIn this Aug. 15, 1999, file photo, Tiger Woods kisses the Wanamaker trophy after winning the 81st PGA Championship at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Ill. Woods tied for sixth at the British Open, and now goes to the PGA Championship with a chance to win his first major in 10 years. (AP Photo/Michael S. Green, File)The PGA Championship has all the trappings of a big celebration this year.Thanks to a Sunday afternoon on the other side of the Atlantic, it feels even bigger.This is the 100th edition of the only major championship restricted to professionals, and it’s a farewell to the muggy heat of summer. The PGA Championship is leaving its August date after some 40 years and moving to May. Jordan Spieth was always sure to get plenty of attention as he gets a second crack at trying to complete the career Grand Slam, a feat achieved by only five other players, never at the PGA Championship.And now Tiger Woods is in focus like never before.Just the sight of his name atop the leaderboard in the final round of the British Open, even if it was there alone for only about 30 minutes, was enough to turn cynics into cheerleaders. Woods has gone 10 years, five surgeries and one divorce since his last major. He started the year with uncertainty about his health and his swing. He reaches the final major without a victory, but with a game that suggests another trophy — even the biggest variety — might not be far off.He finished one shot behind at the Valspar Championship in March. He finished three shots behind at Carnoustie.“I think that I went from just hoping to be able to play the tour,” Woods said. “Now that I feel that I can the play the tour, I certainly can win again. I’ve had an opportunity to win a couple times this year. I had a great chance at Valspar early in the year, and even a week ago (at the British Open) I had a great shot at it. Yeah, my game has gotten better and good enough where I feel like I can win again.”The PGA Championship returns to Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri, and a victory for Woods would be his fifth Wanamaker Trophy, tying the record held by Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen, and his 15th major championship.Bellerive is a course Woods doesn’t know very well, and he’s not alone.It last hosted the PGA Championship in 1992 when Nick Price won the first of his three majors. Bellerive also was the site of the BMW Championship in 2008, which Woods missed while recovering from knee surgery. Only 13 players from that event are in the field for the PGA.Woods was last at Bellerive for the tournament it didn’t host — the American Express Championship in 2001, canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. That was the only time Woods played the course, a Tuesday practice round with Mark Calcavecchia in which a PGA Tour security official was filling him in on the attacks as he played. Woods drove 17 hours home to Florida by himself the next day.“Pretty much everything was a blur,” he said when asked about his recollections of the golf course.Justin Thomas is the defending champion and one of the few players who has seen Bellerive, back in June as part of his media promotion tour. Based on its spot on the schedule, the PGA Championship rarely allows time for players to get a preview.The British Open ended on July 22, and players like world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka went straight to Canada, and then Ohio for a World Golf Championship. Woods was in Switzerland on a holiday.“I contemplated going over to Bellerive for a day and checking it out,” Rory McIlroy said. “But I told myself I’ve never done it before for a PGA and I’ve won it a couple times and I played well. So why would I change what I’ve always done.”Spieth was in Spain after the British Open for his bachelor’s party and said he would see Bellerive when he arrived on Monday. He has heard a little about it and said he expected “a normal PGA.”Just what is normal?“It’s like a long, narrow, you’ve still got to shoot 10 to 14 under type of thing,” Spieth said. “The PGA reminds me of a few tour stops, like Congressional, and maybe a little bit like Akron. It’s not as tricky, just really cool golf courses you’re only going to see once every 10 years. A long, difficult PGA Tour course with longer rough.”Bellerive already has been the scene of one career Grand Slam.That’s where Gary Player won the 1965 U.S. Open to become the fourth player to sweep the four professional majors. Spieth gets his second try. He won the British Open last summer, headed to Quail Hollow and could feel the attention on his bid to join the most elite group in golf. The feeling was fleeting. He was 11 shots behind going into the weekend and never got much closer.This year feels different, perhaps because expectations are lower. Spieth still hasn’t won a tournament since Royal Birkdale last summer. He lost a share of the 54-hole lead at Carnoustie two weeks ago, although he felt his game — especially the short game — finally rounding into form.“I played a better Sunday at the British Open this year than last year, minus a couple of holes,” he said, referring to his birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie stretch on the back nine when he won the claret jug in 2017. “I felt better about my game this year. I just didn’t end up with the trophy, and therefore, it doesn’t create the same buzz.”Spieth turned 25 last week. He is getting married this year. He is in no rush.“I’m more big picture,” he said. “This (PGA) course changes every year. At some point, I’m going to be in form on a course that is good for me and the stars will line up and I’ll have to executive coming the stretch. And it could be this year.”Otherwise, it will be in May. That will be the new month for the PGA Championship, which allows it to move to courses in the South, while shutting out venues like Whistling Straits in Wisconsin and Hazeltine in Minnesota.It no longer will be the fourth major on the schedule. The PGA of America hopes that its championship will get enough new energy that it won’t be considered the least of the four majors. Not everyone feels that way, least of all Thomas.“I’m perfectly content with grabbing my fourth of the four majors, if you will, every year,” Thomas said.Spieth might want it even more, considering what’s at stake.So, too, would Woods.last_img read more

More parking for Pakenham

first_imgA PREFERRED long-term car park in James Street has been selected by the Cardinia Shire Council. For now, the land…[To read the rest of this story Subscribe or Login to the Gazette Access Pass] Thanks for reading the Pakenham Berwick Gazette. Subscribe or Login to read the rest of this content with the Gazette Digital Access Pass subscription.last_img

Fullerton birdies 18 to capture first Zone One West Kootenay Junior tour title Sunday in Nakusp

first_imgRyan Fullerton took advantage of a small field to capture his first ever Zone One West Kootenay Junior Golf tour title Sunday at the Nakusp course. “Ryan played solid golf all day and sealed the victory sticking his approach on 18 to five feet and then making the birdie putt,” said zone coordinator Rob McKay.”Ryan has played the circuit for three years and he was well deserving of the win.”Brenan Moroney of Rossland/Trail won the 17-18 division while in the 15-16 category Brett Mengler of the host Nakusp course took first ahead of Amber Arnold from Castlegar.The 14 and under division went to a playoff with Braden McKay from RTCC beating Carson Arcuri from Granite Point on the second playoff hole. On the first playoff hole Carson made a fantastic par save from the bunker, but on the second hole of the playoff his approach ran through the green and he was not able to get up and down. In the Net division the McInnes brothers from Nakusp took honors.  Nathyn McInnes took the 15 – 18 year old division with a net 67 and Dugan the 14 and under with a net 63. In the skill prizes Brenan Moroney and Braden McKay both dominated.  Both kids won the KP and LD in their age divisions.last_img read more

UPDATED: Seeds advance at Klash in the Kootenays

first_imgThe seeds are heading down the tournament trail for a Saturday afternoon faceoff following opening round games at the Klash in the Kootenay women’s flat track roller derby championships at the NDCC Arena in Nelson.And the host Kootenay Kannibelles are right in the thick of the run to the final after posting a win over Okanagan/Shuswap Raggedy Rollers Friday.The Kannibelles play Red Deer Roller Derby Association Belladonnas at 4 p.m. while top seeded Terminal City plays E-Ville at 2 p.m.The winners advance to the championship final Sunday at 11:30 a.m.In action Saturday morning, the Oil City Derby Girls of Edmonton topped the 200-point total against Deathbridge of Lethbridge.The Oil City Derby Girls play in the five-six consolation game at 6 p.m.Klash in the Kootenays at the NDCC Arena promises to be a big hit for the fans and playersIt’s probably the fastest growing sport in North America and now fans of women’s flat track roller derby can see the best Western Canada has to offer this weekend in Nelson at the Klash in the Kootenays.“The teams coming to this tournament are the tops in Western Canada,” said Michelle Sylvest of the organizing committee and president of the West Kootenay Women’s Roller Derby League.“So fans won’t get to see better action anywhere.”The eight-team seeded tournament begins at noon Friday in the NDCC Arena with the host Kannibelles meeting the Okanagan/Shuswap Raggedy Rollers.In the only meeting this season between the two rivals, the Kannibelles skated away with a lopsided victory.Roller Derby has been on a rise in the West Kootenay for both fans and players. The success of the Kannibelles is the reason why region is playing host to the Westerns.“Our team had a pretty good run last year at the Best of the West (in Kelowna) so we got asked to host the event this year,” said Sylvest, adding the Kannibelles are led by National team player Beretta Lynch.The Kannibelles enter the tourney as the second seed behind top-ranked Terminal City Roller Girls of Vancouver.Terminal City meet Deathbridge of Lethbridge at 2 p.m.Red Deer Roller Derby Association Belladonnas meet Calgary Roller Derby at 4 p.m. before the final contest between Edmonton rivals, E-Ville and Oil City Derby Girls goes at 6 p.m.“This is going to be one exciting game,” Sylvest said. “Both teams are from Edmonton and there’s a strong rivalry between them.”“Fans won’t get to watch a better game than this (Friday),” Sylvest adds.Each team is guaranteed three games.Semi finals are set for Saturday at 2 and 4 p.m. — if the Kannibelles advance, the host squad will meet the winner of Red Deer and Calgary at 4 p.m.The two semi final winners meet in the tourney final at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. The consolation final is set for 9 a.m. Sunday.The winner represents the western provinces at the National Tournament in the spring of 2013.Sylvest invites the public to attend any of the games.Tickets are available for the entire tournament or for single days.For more information check out the tournament website at http://www.kootenayrollerderby.com/Oh, and did we say they’ll be an influx of players, coaches and spectators in Nelson for the weekend?“We expect to see about 300 extra people in Nelson with most of them derby girls,” Sylvest explains.last_img read more

Banner season concludes for Nelson Figure Skating Club; Ice Show May 10

first_imgThe Nelson Figure Skating Club completed a successful season on ice with a trunk load of hardware.Despite starting out the season with a a number of club skaters competing for the first time, coaches Yoshie Measures and Sarah Gower saw a vast improvement from last season.Starting in February, 15 skaters competed at the Kootenay Regional Championships in Beaver Valley, entering 40 separate events, the most for the club since 2008.Eight of the skaters captured medals, with Charly DeFouw skating a beautiful program to win the title of West Kootenay Champion in the Star 5 under 13 freeskate event and Morgan Sabo nailing her axel jump to collect the silver medal with her Riverdance inspired program. Sabo followed up with a first place finish in the Elements 1 event. The medal streak continued with high finishes across the Elements categories as Lila McKechnie and Helena Keating captured Silver and Bronze respectively in Elements 1, Isabella Kroker Kimber won Silver in Elements 2 and Charly DeFouw Bronze in Elements 3.The remainder of the medals came in the Solo Dance categories with Helena Keating winning Silver and Lila McKechnie taking Bronze in the Jr. Bronze Dance Solo 1 category. In Junior Bronze Dance Solo 2 Mallory Pinske scored Silver while Isabella Kroker-Kimber rated Bronze.Courtney Shrieves won Bronze in the Jr. Silver category, Charly DeFouw finished with Bronze at the Senior Bronze level and at the Senior Silver level Christina Champlin and Breanna Tomilin captured Silver and Bronze respectively.Despite the positive result Gower and Measures are looking for Gold finishes at next year’s competition with the goal of winning Barclay Trophy awarded to the team with overall highest scores.Ice Show to Close Out SeasonThe final big event of the year is “Express To The Stars”, a musical tribute to the golden age of train travel. As always, all members of the club perform from the tiniest tots to the most seasoned skaters with music from “Madagascar”, “Polar Express” and much more.The show will be performed on May 10 from 2 – 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door.last_img read more