Secret Barrister: The Criminal Justice System under Scrutiny
In the book, legal aid cuts and overworked, poorly paid lawyers make for a toxic combination, which falls considerably short of the ‘world-class justice system’ that the Ministry of Justice is seeking to deliver.
The Secret Barrister’s experience certainly resonates, and we need to ask what can be done to make things better. Tellingly, Victim Support, a leading independent charity, states that ‘[t]he legal system in England and Wales has been around for a long time and is widely respected. But it’s also complicated — particularly if you’ve never come into contact with it before’.
What precisely is so complicated about the justice system? Two key aspects emerge – transparency and access – and it seems both require significant improvement. According to the Centre for Criminal Appeals (CCA), a lack of transparency negatively impacts the accountability of the system and necessitates further reforms. Strikingly, the CCA observes that violations of disclosure rules by the police are occurring in 40.7% of cases, and trial transcripts are prohibitively expensive, which means that defendants cannot afford to appeal. On access, Liberty’s recent evidence to the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights quotes Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, the then Lord Chief Justice, who wrote in his 2015 annual report to Parliament that ‘our justice system has become unaffordable to most’. Liberty’s evidence further notes that ‘only 39% of the general public believe the justice system works well for citizens and only 17% believe it’s easy for people on low incomes to access justice. The [legal aid] cuts have been criticised by leading human rights organisations, the Trades Union Congress, the National Audit Office, senior judges and parliamentary select committees’.
As announced in July of last year, the 2020 Budget introduces a new deferred payment plan option for Corporation Tax charged on profits or gains arising from certain transactions between UK companies and EEA companies of the same group of companies.
Reversal of Inverclyde
The 2020 Budget announced provisions to reverse last year’s FTT decision in Inverclyde. In that case, HMRC denied the appellant LLPs’ claims for Business Property Renovation Allowance on the basis that the LLPs did not carry on a business with a view to a profit.
HMRC nudge letters
HMRC continues to fight the good fight in its quest to cut down on tax avoidance and have recently been issuing further “nudge” letters to taxpayers who may have an income source or assets producing gains overseas and consequently an undisclosed outstanding UK tax liability.
ExxonMobil: FTT Decision Released
The FTT decision in Esso Exploration and Production UK Limited and others v HMRC, which relates to pre-2006 claims for Cross Border Group Relief, has now been released.