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Law news for aspiring barristers and solicitors

Weekly law news update for graduates

Updated every Thursday morning, we give you the essential information you need to keep on top of your applications and raise your commercial awareness for interviews or meetings with law recruiters. We’ve also added some other titbits of information that might interest you.

Pupillage interview season, social mobility at the Bar, tortured asylum seekers, financial crime and the sentencing process.

barristers | solicitors | useful stories

What you MUST know:

Pupillage interview season opens!

It’s that time of year when offers are being made for first-round pupillage interviews. First-round interviews can be very short and in order to stand out you’ll need to make sure that you’re well prepared to get on your feet and put that personal advocacy into practice. There’s no better way to start than to take a look at our article on How to ace your pupillage interview. Read to get a wide range of views from the practising Bar and pupillage committee members about what they look for in the ideal pupil.

Social mobility, equality and diversity at the Bar

When TARGETjobs Law spoke to some of you last year, there were some concerns about making applications to chambers for pupillage. We spoke to different areas of the Bar to find out what the real attitude is to equality and diversity at the modern Bar, and put everything together in one mega-article for the site. Take a look at the article to see what barristers and Bar representatives had to say about making applications and working lifestyles.

What is the SQE and do you need it?

The new qualification for aspiring solicitors – the solicitors qualifying examination (SQE) – is due to replace the current qualification(s) from 2021.

You can find out what this means for non-law graduates considering a conversion course (graduate diploma in law, commonly called the GDL), what the implications are for training contracts and how the new SQE will be run by reading our guide to how the SQE super exam may affect graduates.

What you SHOULD know:

Supreme Court puts the thumbscrews to Home Office over torture

The Supreme Court overturned a Court of Appeal ruling that a Sri Lankan asylum seeker had inflicted injuries on himself to bolster his claim to stay in the UK. The man, referred to only as KV, was formerly associated with the Tamil Tiger separatist group and claimed that the military tortured him. The Home Office argued that KV’s injuries were ‘self-infliction by proxy’ in order build up his asylum claim in Britain.

Expert medical testimony of the torture was previously rejected by the Home Office and the lower courts. The new landmark judgement suggests more weight should be given to expert medical testimony and may be viewed as a blow to the Home Office’s ‘compliant environment policy’ (the new name for the ‘hostile environment’ policy post-Windrush scandal). The judgement is thought to be ‘the first of its kind in the world’, and could make it harder for the Home Office to challenge claims of torture by asylum seekers.

Click the story headline to read more from The Guardian.

Lords say Bribery Act pays off

A Lords’ report has recommended strengthening significant portions of the UK Bribery Act 2010 but said that overall the Act was a ‘model piece of legislation’. The Act introduced ‘failure to prevent bribery’ as an offence, aimed at businesses. Criticisms of the Act included the over rigidity of the rule that proceedings may only be instituted ‘by or with the consent of’ the director of the Serious Fraud Office, and major concerns about the speed of investigations.

The release of the review follows just a week after a Corruption Watch report highlighted the UK’s serious problem with holding companies to account for financial crime. The group compared London and New York over the course of ten years and found that there were no successful criminal prosecutions of a bank in the UK, while committing an economic crime in the US was more likely to incur criminal, civil and regulatory penalties. Such powers exist only for bribery and tax evasion in the UK, but not for other financial crime. Campaigners are calling for companies to be held to account for financial wrongdoing of their employees regardless of seniority.

Click the story headline to read more from the Law Society Gazette.

Of interest:

Good sentences sought

The Sentencing Council has published plans that will require judges and magistrates to consider more information during the sentencing process. The Council claims that the idea is to increase transparency in the process and provide judges and magistrates with useful information when considering aggravating and mitigating factors to an offence. The plans state that they are intended to encourage best practise rather than alter the existing sentencing process. A consultation on the project will close on 23 May 2019.

Click the story headline to read more from Out-Law.com.

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