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Archive for October 14th, 2009

Trafigura Parliamentary gagging order lifted after Twitter campaign

Times: A gagging order that barred a national newspaper reporting details of a Parliamentary question was lifted today after widespread condemnation from MPs and an overwhelming internet campaign.

The Guardian newspaper was blocked from publishing the contents of the question which involved the oil company Trafigura.

The ban extended to the name of the MP who tabled it, which minister was due to answer it or why the order was in place.

But lawyers who had obtained the order, the media law firm Carter Ruck, withdraw their opposition to reporting of the question after it was widely published on micro-blogging site Twitter, by political bloggers and amid an avalanche of complaints.

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Legal aid review to ensure value

Times: The £2.1 billion legal aid scheme is to be reviewed by ministers to ensure best value for money in a move that could lead to a split in the budgets for criminal and civil legal aid.

The review, which will be carried out by Sir Ian Magee, a former senior civil servant, was announced by the Ministry of Justice today

Lord Bach, justice minister, said that the decision would not affect ongoing reforms including proposed measures for savings, cuts in lawyers’ fees and a tendering scheme for legal aid contracts.

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Fears for local justice as 21 magistrates’ courts face closure

Times: Plans to close 21 “underused or inadequate” courts could undermine local justice, magistrates warned yesterday.

The plans to close magistrates’ courts acrosss England and Wales were announced yesterday by Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, who said that there would be consultation.

A service would also continue to be provided by alternative magistrates’ courts in each area, he added.

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