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See our Blog on the gaps left by the sad demise of Kids Company.

Appeal News from Wainwright & Cummins
This week Wainwright & Cummins had two successes at the Court of Appeal, with two appeals against sentence brought by the Prison and Criminal law teams granted on behalf of imprisoned clients.

Appeal #1
The first appeal, on Tuesday, was for credit of 38 days that the client, Mr B, spent remanded on tagged bail before his conviction. The sentencing Judge did not state in court that Mr B should have the 38 days credited towards his sentence despite the requirement to do so in s240A of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Therefore we brought the appeal to have the 38 days credited. We got agreement from the prosecution that Mr B was entitled to the days, and on Tuesday 11/08, the appeal was successful and the 38 days were credited towards Mr B’s sentence.

This led to the Prison law department at Wainwright & Cummins being extremely busy all day, because with the 38 days now credited towards his sentence, Mr B was due to be released immediately, as he was only 36 days from release. So we spent much of the day first chivvying the Court to send the Order to the prison, and then chivvying the prison to process the Order once it was received, in order to release Mr B!

Appeal #2
The second appeal was today (Friday 14/08) and involved a slightly more complex legal argument than for Mr B: that an extended sentence passed on our client Mr V was unlawful and that it should be substituted with a standard determinate sentence.

After some wrangling with the Court in pre-appeal correspondence, the legal issues were sorted and the appeal itself granted this morning without the need for extensive legal argument from our Solicitor Advocate Mr Curtis Myrie: it was clear to all that the sentence passed was unlawful and it was therefore quashed. Mr V will not be released from prison earlier, but he will spend a full year and a half less on licence than he would otherwise have done had the appeal not been successful.

Overall we are very proud of our success this week and look forward to replicating it frequently in weeks to come!

The MOJ this week launched a Consultation Paper about closing further courts in the UK. See our blog for thoughts on how this may impact on the proposed Two Tier system for duty Solicitor work.

Many firms throughout the UK are participating in a Protocol not to undertake new Publically Funded work in the Criminal Defence Field. See our blog for a view of this action from one of our team.

See our Blog site for a response by one of our team to Mr Gove`s (the new Lord Chancellor) recent speech.

We are proud to announce that Charlotte Image has been nominated as a Finalist for “Child Care” Legal Aid lawyer of the Year – the Results will be announced on 1st July 2015.

See our Blog for details of the May 2015 Legal Walk.

See our Blog of The Vote For Justice Rally on 23rd April.

Yesterday evening, after work, several Wainwright & Cummins employees attended the Law and Justice Fair at the University of Law, London Bloomsbury campus, to talk with current students and prospective applicants to the firm.

The Law and Justice Fair is specifically aimed at bringing together firms with a focus on social justice and legal aid, and law students with an interest in practising in those areas. It is a great opportunity for students to find out more about the firms and practice areas they are considering, and to learn about the routes into the profession. As a firm we find it valuable because we get to meet the next generation of legal aid lawyers!

The Fair had a great turnout and we were busy throughout the evening talking to many prospective work experience students who are interested in coming to the office and learning more about what we do. We had enquiries about every area of law in which the firm practices and it was great to see so much enthusiasm. I personally particularly enjoyed telling students about my area of practice, prison law, which is fairly niche and which many students had never heard of as a specific area of practice – and I think my enthusiasm for prison law was clear!

We very much look forward to hosting some of the students who approached us at the fair asking for work experience, and maybe finding the future stars of legal aid law!

If you are looking for work experience with Wainwright & Cummins please contact kenan.veli@wainwrightcummins.co.uk, enclosing your CV, a covering letter explaining your interest in the firm and specifying the areas of law you are interested in gaining work experience in, and providing some alternative dates during which you are available to come to the firm.

Clea Topolski, barrister at Wainwright & Cummins, succeeded today before the Court of Appeal on an appeal against sentence.

Our client, Ms B, pleaded guilty late last year to arson, being reckless to whether life is endangered. In October 2014 she was given a custodial sentence of 64 months. She was subsequently granted leave to appeal against sentence by the Single Judge.

Ms Topolski appeared before the Court of Appeal and argued that the starting point used by the learned Judge in sentencing Ms B was excessively high. This is a difficult area of sentencing as there are no official guidelines, only case law. Each case turns on its own facts and so it can be challenging to find clear authority for the sentencing of individual offenders. However Ms Topolski successfully applied the case of R v Myrie [2008] EWCA Crim 3188 (no relation to Wainwright & Cummins’ Solicitor Advocate, Curtis Myrie!) and convinced the court that the sentencing Judge used too high of a starting point when sentencing Ms B.

Ms B’s sentence was varied from 64 months to 42 months; with remand time and time served on her sentence thus far, Ms B can expect to be released in eight months’ time. Without Ms Topolski and the efforts of the Criminal Law Department here at Wainwright & Cummins, Ms B would not be released for a further 19 months.

Mr Rod Jones of Wainwright & Cummins on Friday 6th March represented Helen Jones at her sentencing hearing at Preston Crown Court. Ms Jones, an ex-police officer, was sentenced for misconduct in public office after using her then status as a police officer to obtain CCTV footage of footballer Steven Gerrard.

This has been a complex and difficult case, not least because it has received substantial media exposure due to the connection to Mr Gerrard.

Ms Jones was given a custodial sentence of 22 months. This is an uncertain area of sentencing in which there is little existing guidance, and we are closely examining the merits of a possible appeal.

Wainwright & Cummins Solicitor Advocate Curtis Myrie praised by Court of Appeal
Today we were proud and delighted by comments made in the Court of Appeal praising the advocacy skill and persuasive ability of our very own Curtis Myrie, Solicitor Advocate.

Mr Myrie appeared before three Judges of the Court of Appeal this morning at the Royal Courts of Justice, to request leave to appeal the sentence of a longstanding client, Mr H. We had previously been refused permission to appeal by the Single Judge on the papers, but under instructions from Mr H we renewed our application to appeal before a full court this morning, with Mr Myrie making oral submissions.

Although unfortunately our case was not quite strong enough to be granted permission to appeal, and suffered from the quite significant stumbling block of requiring an eight-year extension of time for the appeal, our disappointment at being refused permission was mitigated by the comments made by the court after the judgment was delivered. Lord Justice Davis told Mr Myrie that the whole bench had been very impressed by his persuasive skill and excellent advocacy.

We are very sure that such praise from the Court of Appeal reflects the very high standards reached by all our Crown Court Advocates and the Criminal team generally.

See our Blog for our views on the recent JR and Global Law Summit

See our Blog for our report on Not the Global Law Summit

See our Blog for details of recent court successes