That-was-the-weekThe Costs Committee of the Civil Justice Council issued a call for evidence to assist it in making next year’s recommendations for Guideline Hourly Rates. Guideline Rates are a reference commonly used to calculate recoverable hourly rates in litigation for fee earners in firms across England and Wales. The Committee are asking for solicitors, legal executives and other fee earners to take part in the survey here.

The latest Ministry of Justice legal aid consultation closed today. The London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association claimed that reforms to criminal legal aid will provide a perverse financial incentive for solicitors to encourage their clients to plead guilty. Figures produced by the organisation illustrated the pay increases possible for early guilty pleas, with the Guardian quoting a LCCSA member:

“The only conclusion to draw from these figures is the sad truth that the new fee structure is ideological and has nothing to do with austerity.”

The “Naked Rambler” Stephen Gough lost his appeal in the High Court. Sir Brian Leveson found that the trial judge had not erred in finding that the appellant’s actions amounted to a breach of the Public Order Act 1986 s 5. Leveson added:

“There was nothing passive about his conduct in that he knew full well, not least from his own experience, that many members of the public would both be alarmed and distressed by the sight of his naked body.

Furthermore, he was being deliberately provocative in order to support his own stance.”

In more naked news two women were sentenced at Trafford Magistrates’ Court for offences under Section 5 after taking their clothes off in Manchester airport. They initially claimed a security guard had ordered them to remove their clothes, but one of the defendants later changed her plea to guilty, describing her actions as showing “a lack of judgment”. The prosecution said it was “not surprising” that both defendants had been drinking.