Menu
Stoke Newington Chambers

The Blog

These finding legal advice tips will amaze you

Lots of people are looking for legal advice but no-one wants to deal with a lawyer to get it.

Amirite?

Maybe not undeservedly, some solicitors have a reputation for having one eye on the clock and ratcheting up legal fees. And barristers? We’ve got a rep for being snobby, aloof and expensive.

Who hasn’t heard a horror stories of people who’ve forked over a lot of cash in return for lawyers who don’t answer calls, who sit on your file and who can’t even manage to spell your name correctly?

So you’re scouring the internet, looking for a solution to your legal problem, you can’t quite find the answer – and your court date is coming up fast.

Because a woman who is her own lawyer has a fool for a client, in my day, I’ve hired a solicitor and a direct access barrister to handle my own legal matters in two separate transactions.

What have I learned as both a provider and consumer of legal advice?

Stop scouring. It is unlikely in the extreme that a competent and qualified lawyer has posted the complete answer to your legal problem for free on the internet. You may find the first steps, but invariably you will be left searching for more.

There are some sites and blogs that explain bits of law. Consider the source before plunging head first into a course of action – and understand that you may not be getting the entire legal picture.

Comprehensive knowledge databases do exist – and they cost money. Deep knowledge of the law takes time and money to explain and update.

Knowledge databases can give you a deeper understanding of the law, but they are not able to apply the law to your unique set of circumstances. You will need a human being for that.

Get a proper lawyer. Why people bother with paid McKenzie Friends is beyond me. Uninsured and unqualified – and I suspect many direct access barristers are less expensive than Mckenzie Friends. Find someone who’s formally qualified to do the job.

Why?

You’d get a Corgi Qualified gas fitter to check your boiler, so why wouldn’t you get a qualified solicitor or barrister to keep you on the right side of the law?

Do your due diligence. How did you find your plumber? You may have googled, “Corgi gas fitters”. Probably, you asked your friends if they know any good ones.

You might hear, “Andreas is my plumber. He’s great, but very busy. Give him a call and hopefully, he can fit you in”.

Or, you might also hear, “I had Tim the Tool Man come over to do a gas safety check. He checked the boiler, charged a fortune, called me “babes” and tread mud all over the floor”.

Finding legal Andreas and avoiding Tim

Ask!

But maybe you’ve been summonsed to the Stratford Magistrates Court for a s172 failure to provide information – or arrested for handbags that got out of hand – and you’re embarrassed to be in that situation.

Maybe you’re looking for a private client Criminal or Motoring law expert who can get you out of this mess?

Your uncle’s Wills lawyer may not do Motoring law or Magistrates Court punch-ups, but maybe they know someone good who does. Discreetly ask. Even if you only find out not to go to legal Tim, you’ve dodged a bullet – so to speak.

Know where to look online. Googling, “legal advice or Direct Access Barristers / Solicitors near me” may be a start. But it will pay to have a more targeted approach. The Direct Access Barrister Portal is a great starting point. You can find a direct access barrister near you who is a specialist in your area of need.

For example, say you check that you want a barrister who is expert in Criminal law within 10 miles of N16, you will come up with a list of potential barristers, who you can vet. Yours truly will be top of the list. At this stage, it’s about whether the barrister deals with your area of work – and whether you like the cut of that particular direct access barrister’s jib.

Beware of dabbling lawyers

Finding a specialist is important. You can see all of the areas a barrister specialises in on the right-hand side of the page. Will Amal Clooney deal with your drunk in charge? It’s a fun idea, but she hasn’t listed Motoring or Road Traffic law as a speciality, so why waste your time asking?

What’s a “dabbling lawyer”? Think full-time Wills & Probate lawyer who has never stepped foot in the Magistrates Court cutting his teeth on your Criminal Damage charge. I’m in the Magistrates Court every week and I do Crown Court appeals. I don’t do Wills disputes. If you and your family are at war over a will, you’ll want to contact a Wills specialist. I won’t “wing it” and I don’t dabble in Wills – so why should you want a lawyer who does?

I can’t go wrong with a big firm, right?

Just because X-Corp & Co is the biggest solicitor’s firm or barristers’ chambers near you does not necessarily mean they’re the best. Again, check that you’re not paying for someone to learn the ropes on your money.

My top tip!

Get to know them before you sign! Whether s/he’s a direct access barrister or solicitor you need to find out whether you are going to be able to work together.

Do they have a structured approach to getting information from you, or is it all a bit slapdash?

Will the work you want them to do be clearly spelled out in a client care letter?

Will later work that goes beyond the scope of the original client care letter been spelled out in a new contract?

Do they keep their clients informed? Like American attorney Jay Foonberg, I’m in the stationery business: I confirm everything in writing. Clients should not have to keep ringing lawyers for updates. Clients and lawyers should be crystal clear about what’s happening and the next steps that need to be taken.

And, finally:

Do they respect their clients? Or do they think they’re doing you a favour?

Yes, Andreas the Plumber may be good and he knows it – but one of the reasons why he’s so popular is because he is glad to be of service.

Narrowing the field of possible lawyers – and then taking some time to see if you are going to be able to work together as an effective team – is the best way I know of how to avoid pompous, sharp, dabbling lawyers who look at your case as a money-spinner rather than an opportunity to provide an honest service for a reasonable fee.


Liz Truss’s Domestic Violence Sleight of Hand

Posted on: February 12th, 2017 | in Advocacy, Criminal law, Despicable You, Women & the Law

This Government talks a big game when it comes to protecting victims of domestic violence – but it’s all sleight of hand.

After having her feet held to the fire by women’s rights charities and even the president of the Family division of the High Court, Liz Truss says legislation’s coming soon to stop perpetrators of domestic violence cross-examining  their accusers in court.

This means that the Family courts will soon have the same power as the Criminal courts to appoint a lawyer to parachute in to cross-examine a victim on an alleged abuser’s behalf.  (The Criminal court’s power to appoint lawyers to do this exists under ss36-38 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act, 1999).

Just when you might be waxing lyrical about Liz and Tory enlightenment thinking …

Less than two weeks ago, the Government released an “impact assessment” which proposes to slash fees paid to ss36-38 court appointed advocates in order to save 6-8M from the Ministry of Justice’s annual budget.

Currently, s36-38 advocates are paid in accordance with the Government’s own Guideline Hourly Rates. These guideline rates are based on post-qualification years of experience and location.

The impact assessment states that on average, the fee notes that the Government receive for ss36-38 court appointed work are circa £193.00 per hour. In light of the Government’s own guidelines, this fee indicates that the majority of this work is conducted by solicitors and barristers with over four years post qualification experience.

Rather than following their own Guideline Hourly Rates, the MoJ want to pay “legal aid rates”.

While Magistrates Court legal aid cases are a fixed-fee for the whole of the case, Liz will no doubt say that circa £50 per hour is “more in line” with those legal aid fixed fees.

Fair enough?

No.

You cannot compare being parachuted in for a ss36-38 cross-examination only with conduct of the full case.

Why?

Cross-examination is only a fraction of the work and time involved in running a case.

For example, a typical Magistrates Court ss36-38 appointment involves preparation time of about 20 minutes per witness, 20 minutes listening to the examination in chief and 20 minutes cross-examination. That’s £50.00 total in legal aid rate world. Before tax.

£50.00 before tax for one of the most nerve-wracking days of a vulnerable woman’s life?

As much as I want women in the Family court to get cross-examination protection from their alleged abusers, why on earth would any qualified and experienced lawyer do this job in either the Criminal or Family courts for circa £50.00?

Why on earth would I book an entire morning or afternoon out so I can be one of several cases in a court list for circa £50.00?

It makes zero commercial sense for me to block off my diary and to prepare for sensitive cross-examination of a vulnerable witness and participate in a trial for a bargain-basement fee.

How will firms make a fraction of an already rock bottom legal aid fee commercially viable?

Volume? Leaving aside that we cannot be in two places at the same time, even if I were to receive separate morning and afternoon appointments in the same court, we are still talking only circa £100 per day – before tax.

Send inexperienced lawyers looking for a break – or the truly awful? Doesn’t this defeat the entire purpose of a ss36-38 order?

Tell me again why the Government is trying to balance the budget off the backs of abused women.

Why is it that this Government has money to burn on vanity projects and IT systems that don’t work, but when it comes to justice for women, they’re as poor as church mice?

And here’s how the apparatchiks explain away the risk of this fee-slash:

27. If some lawyers no longer agree to do this work at reduced rates, it could affect the ability of a defendant to have their case effectively put to the witness(es), or to have the prosecution evidence tested, resulting in the possibility of miscarriages of justice. It may also impact witnesses by prolonging the distress of being involved in criminal proceedings.

28. Further, if there is a shortage of lawyers willing to be appointed to do this work, cases could be delayed creating a backlog in the court system. Costing this delay would prove difficult, however it is important to note the potential impact on HMCTS. However, we believe there is a low risk of this happening, as there is an established market, operating effectively at legal aid rates. Further, the risk could be mitigated further through contractual provision.

The impact assessment presumes we will continue to carry out this work – with the premise that if I will work for legal aid rates for the whole case, I’ll be happy to work for legal aid rates for a fraction of the case. Much as I’d love to, I don’t see how any of us can afford to do that when that fraction is only an hour or two’s worth of time.

I wish I could herald the protection of vulnerable victims from abusive cross-examination by their partners as a win for women and Government accountability – but the MoJ’s sleight of hand fee-slash will ensure victims of domestic violence continue to get the short end of the stick.


Legal Aid & the Myth of Doing More with Less

Oh look! The Daily Mail have just run another hit piece on the legal profession.

The Mail states:

Despite strikes by barristers over their pay levels and protests from senior lawyers who demand greater taxpayer subsidies, the legal profession has been booming, according to official figures.

In fact, the Mail says, “we” have “raked in” £32.2B IN ONE YEAR.

Regrettably, the Mail doesn’t seem to think its readership is very intelligent. Most people get that there are International lawyers and Mergers & Acquisitions lawyers and Property lawyers as well as Legal Aid lawyers.

I suspect most people understand that it was the LEGAL AID lawyers who suggested they should “strike” for better remuneration.

And most people get that Legal Aid lawyers have not “raked in” £32B.

Let’s get real

You want to know how much Legal Aid lawyers make for being your Defence barrister or solicitor at your Magistrates Court trial? £100 for a half-day trial, and £150 for a full day.

The average Magistrates Court trial is listed for 2.5 hours.

Woo-hoo! I hear the Fail yelp. That’s £40 per hour!

Listen to me: unless you want someone’s cross examination to consist of, “You’re wrong”, a Defendant needs his/her lawyer to THINK about why the Prosecution case does not come up to the Criminal standard of proof and PREPARE accordingly.

Each case is like a poker hand – with many cards.

Here’s how much time I spent on a “straight-forward” Criminal legal-aid case

My client was accused of sending text messages contrary to the Malicious Communications Act.

It took me about 30 minutes to read through the case papers.

It took me another 15 minutes to consider whether the CPS’s evidence met the test for Malicious Communications.

I spent 30 minutes confirming that the Crown had not complied with its Disclosure of unused material obligations – and thinking of all the things I would want to see together with all the reasons why those things were necessary for my client to have a fair trial.

I spent about 20 minutes considering and preparing my cross-examination – and I spent about 15 minutes refreshing myself on all the latest cases on what to do when the Crown isn’t ready on the day of the trial.

I spent a half hour waiting in court for the case to get called on.

I spent a further 90 minutes waiting for the Prosecution – as the Magistrates gave them three separate opportunities that morning to try to sort themselves out.

I spent about a half hour in total explaining to the Magistrates why it would be unfair for the Prosecution to proceed – despite the fact that the alleged victim was at court, and she was ready and willing to give evidence.

In the end, I spent four hours on a case which was Dismissed, which means that there was no trial. For that, I received £100. So let’s say £25 per hour GROSS.

Friends, that was a good Legal Aid day! Had the case gone ahead to a full trial, I would have worked another three hours, at least, sitting in the trial, considering the evidence as it played out in court, tailoring my cross examination and submissions accordingly and waiting for a verdict. £100 divided by 8 hours = £12.50 per hour GROSS.

Meanwhile, back at the Daily Mail ranch …

There’s a stampede of talented Legal Aid barristers and solicitors who are leaving the profession. At £12.50 per hour (or less) gross, can you blame them?

In Conservo-world, the answer is for solicitors to “streamline” their processes. Maybe “pre-populate some fields” for our frequent-flyers; we can do more for less!

Excuse me, but your life doesn’t belong on the Henry Ford assembly line. You deserve more than a, “No he didn’t/Yes he did” case theory and trial advocacy.

I suspect this Mail article is the precursor to a further round of Legal Aid cuts. Fewer and fewer experienced lawyers will be able to afford to do Legal Aid work.

If you deserve an experienced lawyer who can protect you against procedural unfairness, effectively scrutinise all of the evidence and do the talking in court, why doesn’t the other guy?

NB

90% of Criminal cases are “completed” in the Magistrates Court.

Here’s another scoop: the reason why I was able to do these things in a fairly short amount of time is due to my education and experience. Could a trainee obtain the same result? Maybe, but I suspect it would have taken them much longer to figure out their multi-front defence and to find the law in support.


Private Parking fines: Should I pay or fight?

apoca

My client was a bit surprised to get this parking fine “Notice” from APCOA in the post.

Firstly, the only place she parked on 14/03/2016 at the relevant time was at her work. Secondly, she still doesn’t have any idea where “Falcon Drive” is anyway.

She was fuming. To top it off, the notice, while dated 6th May, arrived by first class post on 27 May.

The temptation was to write to APCOA and to explain how it couldn’t have been her car and to engage in their “appeal” process. The other temptation was to ignore the letter.

Is this a valid notice?

Remembering that it is for a claimant to prove his assertions, my first concern was whether this “notice” (I’d call it an “invoice”) was even valid.

As this was a parking notice from a private company, I checked to see if APCOA had followed the proper procedure as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act, 2012.

The notice was defective for three reasons 

Reason 1: As per the Protection of Freedoms Act, the relevant period is 56 days from the date of the alleged parking. APCOA alleged that the parking took place on 14 March. The notice therefore needed to be delivered, in my submission, no later than 9 May. In this case, it was delivered on 27 May, and therefore was well out of time;

Reason 2: Even if the county court were to find that the notice was in time, APCOA failed, in this case, to state where “Falcon Drive” is as they did not bother to include the relevant post code or to even state the relevant city or town where the alleged parking took place;

Reason 3: There was no evidence in this case that the Vehicle Registration Number (VRN) was accurately recorded.

Rather than ignoring the letter and risking that the notice could spiral out of control, my view, as per usual, was to kill the game off in the first half by responding as per above immediately. Then, if it were to go to court, my client could show she had done everything possible to avoid court proceedings.

She therefore sent her response by Special Delivery as it requires a signature on receipt and it was guaranteed delivered the next day.

APCOA dropped the case – and still didn’t get it right

Bizarrely, while they addressed the “To” element of their letter correctly, and correctly noted the VRN, they wrote “Dear [Completely Different Name]”…

APCOA’s letter said:

We are happy to confirm that we have cancelled the above mentioned Parking Charge Notice.

They also said:

Please retain this letter as proof of cancellation, should you need it in the future. 

I suggested keeping that letter for six years, together with the letter she sent and the Royal Mail’s proof of delivery and signature print-out.

Just in case further mistakes are made.

How could a parking ticket spiral out of control?

One way is by ignoring it.

I suspect left unchallenged, APCOA’s next move would have been to file and serve court proceedings for recovery of the “debt”.

They could wait years before filing a county court claim. By then, you may have completely forgotten what you were doing and where your car was parked on that particular day – or the reason why you say the notice was defective.

Nobody needs a county court judgment (CCJ) against their name – or even the threat of one.

That’s why I first look to whether they have complied with the rules – and call them out where they haven’t.

NB

I am amazed at just how little information private companies require to access the government’s DVLA database. I suspect a police officer attempting to interrogate the DVLA database in similar circumstances would be subject to disciplinary proceedings.

NBB

The above information is posted for information purposes only and is not legal advice. As no two cases are exactly the same, it is important to obtain advice on your particular set of circumstances.

I’ve closed the comments on this blog as I do not give legal advice on this website; nor do I give legal advice to non-clients. Please see my Contact page for how to be my client.


Why do I have to go to court?

outofcourtstatement

The short answer is hearsay.

Let me explain.

My client and the unnamed pop star

Unhappy with the way in which he’d been treated on a bus, my client not only threw a brick at the bus, it was also alleged by a pop star passerby, that he went on to throw a brick at a parked BMW, smashing one of the windows.

The pop star witness gave brilliant evidence to the police. They gave a clear description to the police of the time of the incident, a detailed description of the clothes the man was wearing and what he looked like, and they even noted the direction he ran off to.

The statement to the police couldn’t have been better –  but it was inadmissible.

While this witness was happy to help the police find the man who smashed a brick into the car window, the witness did not want to come to court.

On the day of trial, I wondered if the pop star and an entourage might show up, but they never did.

The criminal damage charge against my client re the smashed car window was dropped at court.  The Crown could not rely on the pop star’s witness statement.

The only way the prosecution could attempt to prove the car window smash was by the pop star getting up and giving live evidence of what they saw in court.

The reason why is the rule against hearsay.

Hearsay is defined in s114(1) of the Criminal Justice Act, 2003 as:  “a statement not made in oral evidence in the proceedings that is evidence of any matter stated.”

or in other words:

An out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter stated.

The pop star’s statement was given to the police at the scene and not in court – that makes it an “out of court statement”; and the reason the pop star gave the statement to the police was to give evidence as to the truth of what they witnessed. This made the pop star’s statement hearsay.

Because of the general rule against hearsay, the prosecution were not allowed read the pop star’s witness statement into evidence.

No evidence, no case, charge dropped.

Can someone read their own statement out loud at court?

Even if the pop star had come to court, because of the rule against hearsay, they could not have simply read their witness statement to the court – because that statement would still be an out of court statement offered for the truth of the matter stated.

The rules do however allow a witness to refresh their memory before court starts and, sometimes, during court.

“Refreshing” by looking at your statement and saying, “yes, I remember, x happened next” is different to “reading out loud verbatim”.  And the reason why one cannot simply read out their statement or another’s is because that would be hearsay.

So while my client was found guilty of the bus brick, the prosecution were not able to offer any evidence against him re the BMW window smash – and that charge was dropped.

Like many legal rules, there are exceptions.

One exception is if the parties agree the evidence.

But why would my client agree the pop star’s evidence when he disputed it?

Don’t worry. Many police also find the hearsay concept confusing.

While police officers generally understand that they have to come to court and give evidence in person, some don’t refresh their memories with their statements before coming into court, and they try to read their statements verbatim. They are surprised that’s hearsay.

Mind you, it’s not always the police officer’s fault. I’ve seen prosecutors, who really should know better, invite police officers to read their statements out loud – all the way from, “I was on duty in full uniform when a call came over my police radio to attend a report of a disturbance …”  to, “I handcuffed xxx in the rear stack position and escorted him to the Islington Police Station where his detention was authorised”.

That’s just lazy and wrong – and hearsay.

So why do I have to go to court?

Because while your statement to police may help police find and arrest the perpetrator of a crime, a statement on its own is generally not enough to convict them.

While there are a few exceptions to the rule against hearsay, if you have witnessed someone commit a crime, you need to be prepared to follow-up your statement to police by going to court and giving live evidence of what you saw in order for the case to be proved in court.

Warning

Regardless of whether you’ve been summoned or not, the penalty for refusing to give evidence can be a fine or time in custody as per s97 of the Magistrates Courts Act, 1980.

What if I really do not want to give evidence?

You may want to take advice from a qualified barrister or solicitor who has experience of dealing with Criminal trials and procedure. You may also/alternatively want to talk to the officer dealing with the case. It may be that Special Measures can be applied for which will make your evidence giving a bit easier.


Freedom of Speech & Celtic FC Palestine Placards

Yes, football fans do have an ECHR right to Freedom of Expression, but fans should bear in mind two things:

1. That freedom is a qualified right – this isn’t America; and crucially
2. Celtic FC is not the Government. Your Article 10 ECHR right is aimed at Government interference with freedom of expression, not a private company’s.

While I’m no expert on Scottish criminal law, I can see from Celtic FC’s terms and conditions, under, Standards of Conduct, that, the promotion or endorsement of any political organisation is not permitted in the stadium or on Club property.

Given that the match was against Hapoel Be’er Sheva, and is likely to incur a UEFA fine, it would not surprise me if Celtic management take action against these flag wavers.

I admire men of principle. But be aware that your principles may cost you a future welcome through the gates of your club.

Dealing with a possible sanction is probably best met with an acknowledgement of “their club, their rules”, rather than a shouty letter telling Celtic all about your “rights”.


The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act: “Where’s my stuff?”

Evicted

The day my client was evicted from her flat, she was recovering from emergency cancer surgery at her friend’s home.

And unlike the people in this photograph, she never saw her personal belongings again.

While I suspect my client’s property is on a landfill site somewhere, we still don’t know what happened to her things – like her clothes, her cutlery & crockery, her TV and her family photographs.

In the end, my client’s landlord and the estate agent both offered a sum of money in settlement, but only after my client filed a Small Claim at the Edmonton County Court – and a date for trial had been set.

Here’s what didn’t help

Legal aid. While legal aid is available for possession proceedings, once it is ascertained that the possession procedure has been followed, there is no legal aid available to recover damages for disposed of property.

Vague threats. My client’s friends went to the estate agents to find out what had happened to her property. The estate agent ignored them. When the friends said to the estate agent, “We’ll see you in court”, the estate agent laughed.

My client went to the Citizens Advice. They were nice to her and even wrote a good letter to the estate agent.

This too was ignored.

What works?

I looked to The Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1997. Once I ascertained that the landlord and the estate agent had failed to comply with that legislation, I got witness statements from everyone who could give relevant evidence.  I also warned my client that she must prepare herself for battle – as it was unlikely in this case that her opponents would have an epiphany and settle without a fight.

I wrote a letter before action, setting out my client’s case, chapter and verse, giving the landlord and the estate agent one last chance to give my client’s property back – or to make a settlement offer.

While many would have made a commercial decision to settle the matter at this stage, the landlord and estate agent chose not to.

My client made the decision to go to court.

But even service of court proceedings didn’t persuade the landlord and estate agent to make my client “go away” by offering a settlement, despite my client’s invitation. Instead, they hired their own lawyers.

What made them see the light?

I was eventually contacted by both the landlord’s and estate agent’s respective solicitors; they wanted to know if my client would be, “open to settlement”.

This approach just happened to coincide with the court writing to everybody, letting us know the date for the trial.

You will be happy to hear, dear reader, that my cancer-surviving, evicted by her landlord and her property removed while she was recovering from emergency surgery client, did accept a reasonable settlement. The estate agent and the landlord had their moment of clarity about a week before the trial and made my client an offer she couldn’t refuse.

The moral of this story?

Letters containing only a claim and a threat to go to court may not cut it.

People may call your bluff.

Front-load your case. We had the witness statements and the court documents and pleadings prepared prior to sending the letter before action. We just had that feeling it would come in handy on this occasion – and it did.

Get a realistic and objective view about how much your claim is worth – and consider the law of diminishing returns. Is the effort of pressing for more money cost-effective? Every case has its own tipping point.

Even if landlords think tenants have abandoned their personal property, it pays to follow the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act procedure.

Without access to justice, tenants’ rights, or indeed any of our rights, don’t mean much these days.


Life in the fast lane: a speeding success

dolomite

My client’s Audi took him from 70 mph to facing a driving disqualification in no time flat.

He didn’t know about the controversial Hadecs 3 speed cameras at Clacket Lane, and was clocked at 103 mph.

As the police did comply with procedure, and as my client accepted he was driving that fast, my direct access brief was to save his licence.

Spoiler alert!

I did.

What he was up against.

My client received the Summons and the Guilty Plea by Post paperwork, and initially got in contact with me to prepare a letter of mitigation. I gave him a quote, which he agreed, and I spent time getting to know more about him and his circumstances.

I was concerned that a letter of mitigation wouldn’t cut it – and that it would be better to face the music in person. I told him that I would represent him at Sevenoaks Magistrates Court and do the talking for him – at no extra charge.

The Sentencing Guidelines

103 mph in a 70 zone is in the highest category in the Sentencing Guidelines – which say that the Magistrates, “must endorse and may disqualify“.  The guideline range here is 7 to 56 days’ ban or 6 points.

It sounded simple – but my client said he couldn’t have done it himself.

My client sat next to me in court, the charge was “put” to him (that he was speeding on the M25 near Clacket Lane) and he pleaded Guilty. After the Crown Prosecution Service lawyer read out the facts (the time, date and speed), I stood up and told the court all the reasons why, in this instance, my client should keep his licence.

The magistrates decided not to ban – and instead gave my client 6 points.

As were leaving the building, my client told me,

“I was telling my family what the best possible outcome would be – and this is it. Thank you”.