The Guardian has reported that children as young as 12 are being denied compensation by a government agency because they are considered to have “consented” to being sexually abused.
David Enright (Head of Howe & Co’s Inquiry team) said: “I have raised this shocking issue with the Independent Inquiry into child Sexual Abuse repeatedly. I did so at the IICSA in the Seminar hearing of the 21 February 2017. Since then I have repeatedly urged the IICSA to immediately recommend that the CICA scrap this appalling policy whereby they maintain that children can consent to sexual abuse.
We have today written again toProfessor Alexis Jay OBE (Chair of the IICSA) calling on her to act on our repeated calls and immediately recommend to government that this atrocious policy is scrapped ”
Howe & Co, are very pleased to announce that Professor Alexis Jay, Chair of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, today granted three further applications for Core Participant status for clients of Howe & Co. David Enright (Partner and head of Howe & Co’s Inquiry team) said:
“Our team puts a great deal of work into assisting vulnerable victims and survivors to have a meaningful role in this important public Inquiry. I am very pleased that we continue to win recognition for our clients in the IICSA”
Howe & Co are currently encouraging persons who were or who are affected by issues of on line grooming to come forward so that we can assist them in relation to the IICSA’s newly announced Internet Investigation.
The dead line for core participant applications for this vitally important investigation is the 28 July. As such we would encourage any persons affected (directly or indirectly) by child abuse which was facilitated through the internet or otherwise to contact us as soon as possible.
On the 14 July 2017, the Sun Newspaper blasted (in typical Sun-style) the supply of legal aid for an alleged terrorist whilst, at the same time, criticising the failure to provide legal aid to the victims and family members of the Hyde Park bombing. As is often the case, the headlines of the Sun are directed towards cases where legal aid is provided to persons accused of criminal acts. This is, and remains, a fundamental failure to appreciate British values i.e. the fact that everyone is entitled to a fair trial. It is a sad indictment of our world that when legal aid was being taken away from the victims of serious criminal actions (and/or those who might have been otherwise injured), the same tabloids cheered from the sidelines.
Notoriously, it has only been when those same journalists and/or MPs have been before the criminal courts and acquitted has the realisation of unfairness dawned. In other words, it is only when they have been confronted with the fact that they aren’t going to recover any money has it really struck home to them that the situation is inequitable. It is equally so when tragedies such as Grenfell, the child abuse scandal or deliberate acts such as the Hyde Park and Birmingham pub bombings that the victims of these incidents come to the forefront of people’s minds.
What the paper really needs to ask itself is: why should the families be expected to fund their claims in the first place? Why, as a society, are we no longer prepared to stand side-by-side with those victims and survivors and say you are entitled to be funded better than those who are accused of these crimes?
Legal aid rates have not changed since the 1990s. As such, the notion of the specialist, legal aid lawyer has continued to gather apace. This is because new lawyers are no longer attracted to this area. More importantly, the means assessment threshold (Income and Capital allowance) has also not changed for many years. As such, at a base layer, many people working for minimum wage - and not even full time - are excluded from the provision of legal aid; or they are often expected to pay considerable sums towards it.
If a person owns a property, they are almost certainly excluded from legal aid, as there is a cap of £8,000 on capital. This cap applies whether or not that person can liquidate that property (such as a family home) to pay for a lawyer or not.
Of particular interest is that in Scotland and Northern Ireland, the governments can apply an increased rate so more people are eligible for legal aid. By contrast, in England, a very small number of people are eligible for legal aid. This is especially so in London, where the cost of living is far higher. As such, those excluded from legal aid are generally the victims; or those that are working simply because the Lord Chancellor has chosen to not to review the means assessment.
We already know that the issues within Grenfell were issues which would have previously been raised by housing lawyers long before the tragedy. The new Lord Chancellor mistakenly thought that legal aid was available, which does suggest that legal aid should - and must - be revisited sooner rather than later.
The current Inquires are largely because of the failures of the state to ensure that those affected had a proper opportunity to report concerns and to be taken seriously whether through a state-funded lawyer or not. It is high time that there was a state funded Inquiry into the failure of the state to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those that they have hurt, both directly and indirectly and further failed by not providing legal aid.
Authored by Adam Tear
It has been announced today that Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the recently retired Lord Justice of Appeal who was the Vice-President of the Court of Appeal until December 2016, has been appointed as the Chair of the Grenfell Inquiry. Sir Martin retired from the Court of Appeal in December 2016, is currently an Arbitrator working with 20 Essex Street.
Howe & Co is an experienced firm of solicitors in representing victims and survivors in Public Inquiries. We will be pressing the newly appointed Chair to ensure that victims and survivors are placed at the heart and centre of the Grenfell Inquiry.
Marin Howe (senior partner in Howe & Co) said:
The Times today published an article by its chief reporter Sean O’Neill regarding the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, in which Howe & Co represent 25 % of the victim and survivor core participants.
The Times report states that the Inquiry has not published a single report since its inception 2 years ago and despite the cost of the Inquiry to date.
In fact, Howe & Co have been pressing the IICSA for many months to make interim recommendations for changes and improvements to the Civil Justice System, The Criminal injuries Compensation Scheme and in regard of reparations for survivors. As recently as the 8 June, when Howe & co met with the Inquiry’s legal team, Howe & Co raised the need for early recommendations again. We were advised that the solicitor to the Inquiry would be engaged in meetings in the current weeks in regard of making early recommendations and the Inquiry would be publishing an interim report in early 2018.
On the 4 and 5 July Howe & Co will be attending a victim and survivor seminar being held by the Inquiry along with a large group of Howe & Co’s core participant clients.
Howe & Co’s clients continue to demand that there is open, transparent and a clear process from the Inquiry and that information is provided at the earliest opportunity to allow our clients some of which are illiterate, to properly interact with the process and feel that they are part of the process.
We again urge the Inquiry to ensure that the victims and survivors of child sexual abuse are front and centre of the Inquiry.
Howe + Co continue to be the leading solicitors representing former members of HM Armed forces and the Gurkha community continuing to fight the historic injustice caused by the failure of the Government to provide for settlement of individuals that have served in the Army.
Howe + Co conducted the ground-breaking legal and political campaigning (alongside the famous actress, Joanna Lumley) for retired British Army Gurkha's, seeking the right to settle in the United Kingdom.
Howe + Co continue to be concerned that former members of the armed forces who are not British continue to be treated with contempt by the Government. An example of a recent campaign is here. A former solider has lost his employment and been threatened with removal because of a failure of the government to ensure that proper immigration advice was provided at end of service. Sam Cataki a former solider from Fiji has been left in an impossible position. We urge the Government to ensure that all solders leaving service who are not British are provided with free legal advice, not just when they leave but until they become settled British nationals.
The Daily Record reported that Fred Goodwin the disgraced former chairman of RBoS has had calls for him to be criminal prosecuted by the Unite Union. The full article is here - http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/uks-biggest-union-says-its-10683860
The Government have set out a range of measures to support those effected by the Grenfell fire.
Those effected have been reminded that they can access legal advice and support under the free Legal Aid scheme in relation to any Inquest. There will also potentially be support provided in respect of the Public Inquiry that is expected into this tragedy.
Howe & Co are widely acknowledged as experts in the area of sensitive public Inquiries and Inquests. We stand ready to assist victims and survivors to achieve justice and accountability
Howe & Co are committed to providing pro bono (free) initial advice to any persons affected by the Grenfell tragedy
On Tuesday 4th and Wednesday 5 July an Inquiry Seminar will be held on Victims and survivors’ experiences: impacts of child sexual abuse, support needs and support services.
The Seminar will hear from a number of individuals, to gather information and views for consideration by the Inquiry on the impact of child sexual abuse on victims, survivors and their families; their support needs; and current support provision.
The Seminar will be held in the International Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC), London and will be live streamed, subject to a five minute delay, on the Inquiry Website. The location will normally be here but this may change on the day.
The full agenda is attached and a participant list will be published once confirmed nearer the seminar.
David Enright has again appeared in the Gazette as lawyer of the week, this is the fourth time for partners of Howe + Co, and second time for David.
The firm are proud of the recognition again of the ground breaking work and the truly selfless commitment to putting our client's first, and fighting for them.
The article reflected the hard work of not just David but the whole of Howe + Co in pushing forward and ensuring that the most vulnerable in society are given a voice before the Inquiry.