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Solicitors fight legal aid reform

Two solicitors' associations today launched a challenge at a High Court hearing in London. The London Criminal Courts Solicitors' Association and the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association told Mr Justice Burnett that decisions made by Chris Grayling - the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor - would cause "serious harm" to the criminal legal aid system and the criminal justice system. Read More

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Licensing essentials: what every business-owner should know

The FIFA World Cup has put licensing in the spotlight again. The government recently announced new licensing restrictions [Embedded link: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/cheap-alcohol-to-be-banned-before-the-world-cup-in-england-and-wales-9107591.html] for the tournament which starts in June.  World Cup preparations aside, licensing is an essential part of life for many businesses. We work with many business-owners and understand how complex this issue can seem. We’ve also seen the problems caused when companies fail to get licensing right. If you’re changing your business or setting up a new one, take a look at our outline of licensing essentials below. If you have a specific query or concern, don’t hesitate to contact us [Link to Contact us page] The Licensing Act 2003 The Licensing Act 2003 has created some significant changes so it’s essential to be up to date. These changes affect anyone involved with: Pubs Nightclubs Indoor sporting events Off-licences Hotels, guest houses and other places which sell alcohol Restaurants serving alcohol Businesses provide hot food between 11 pm and 5 am. What is a ‘licensable activity’? An activity which involves: the retail sale of alcohol the supply of alcohol in clubs the provision of late night refreshment The provision of regulated entertainment. What is a premises licence? A premises license is a license granted to authorise your premises to be used for “licensable activities”. A Premises Licence continues for the life of your business unless there are significant changes, such as insolvency or closure or if you surrender your licence. ‘Premises’ no longer means just ‘buildings’ It is important…

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Know your Rights ! Part – 2

When you are arrested you will usually be taken to a police station where you will be held in a cell in custody pending further investigations. During this period of detention, you are entitled to legal advice.   Legal advice at the police station: The police station duty solicitor scheme enables a person who is arrested on suspicion of a criminal offence to consult a solicitor, either in person or on the telephone (and frequently both) whilst in police custody. This right is most often taken up when the suspect is to be interviewed concerning their suspected involvement in a crime or criminal matter. You can also request to see your own solicitor if you prefer. Police questioning Whether, you take up the Police Duty Solicitor schemes remains your choice – however, the officer in charge will question you regarding  the crime you’re suspected of - this will be recorded. You don’t have to answer the questions but there could be consequences if you don’t. The police must explain this to you by reading you the following caution: “You do not have to say anything. However, it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.” It is worth noting that the police can only hold you for up to 24 hours before they have to charge you with a crime or release you. However, they can apply to hold you for up to…

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Know your Rights – Part 1

Do you know when making an arrest, the police must in accordance with certain procedures? Do you know what your rights are following an arrest? When making an arrest, the police have a legal obligation to use reasonable force to make the arrest and to advise you that you are under arrest as soon as is reasonable. After the arrest, the police should explain to you why you are being arrested. They must also read the police Caution to you - which advises you of your right to remain silent and should transport you to a police station as soon as possible if making the arrest at anywhere other than a police station. The custody officer at the police station must explain your rights. You have the right to: • Obtain legal advice (access to legal advice can sometimes be delayed depending on the nature of offence). • Tell someone where you are (you can be held in incommunicado until authorised searches are made in some cases). • Receive medical attention if you’re feeling ill • See the rules the police must follow - ‘Codes of Practice’ • See a written notice telling you about your rights - like regular breaks for food and using the toilet (you can ask for a notice in your language) • See a written notice of your rights while attending a police station • Be advised of your right to obtain a copy of the custody record upon release from detention. This contains information…

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Confiscation

If an individual is found to have benefited from the Proceeds of Crime, then the Court’s have the power to confiscate money and property from that individual. The Court first set the “Benefit Amount” and looks at the individual’s finances to identify the “Available Amount” to seek to recover. The individual can challenge both amounts but must either prove he has not benefited to the extent alleged by the Crown Prosecution Service or does not have the “Available Amount” as suggested. We have specialist knowledge of applying to the High Court for a Certificate of Inadequacy (i.e. varying the value of property) and negotiating with the Crown Prosecution Service and Police Financial Investigators with a view to minimising both the benefit available amounts.

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Money Laundering

“Cleaning Money” – Proceeds of Crime can come from a variety of sources i.e. Drug Trafficking, Robberies, Burglaries, Theft, and Fraud. Some individuals seek to “Clean the Proceeds of Crime”, by setting up businesses, putting money into family members accounts, and “Concealing, Converting and Disguising Criminal Property”. When an individual is charged with offences relating to Money Laundering, it is inferably down to them to prove how they have come in possession of the “Property” (reverse burden of the proof). Amosu Robinshaw has been successful in the past in defending clients charged with these offences and have experience in tracing income sources to assist in this process.

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Stop and Search – know your rights

If an individual is stopped and searched by the police, the police have to have “reasonable grounds” to do so. This is an objective test and clearly common sense must be exercised. For example, if there has been a report of burglary and the descriptions are of an Asian male and the individual searched is a white female, clearly the search is unlawful. The Police do have the power to stop and search anyone under Terrorism legislation and to be stopped and searched mainly happens at the stations and airports. They do have the power to stop and search without having to have grounds. You can also be stopped and searched under Section 60 of The Criminal Justice & Public Order Act 1994 when an area is designated by the Superintendents being one prone to anti social behaviour or high in crime. (Where a Section 60 is in place, the police do not have to have reasonable grounds). This predominantly applies to young people however, if a young person is continually stopped this may constitute  harassment and may give rise to a complaint. The above is just an example of your rights relating to police powers and Amosu Robinshaw are willing and are able to come in and speak to Community Groups regarding rights of the individual.

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