Thursday, September 01, 2005

Criminal Information Agency

As I checked my e-mail inbox today I received an e-mail informing me about a new web site called the Criminal Information Agency. I first of all read a local newspaper report on the chap who had set up the web site. In the report it described the website as a business venture where the chap was employing 22 people and, "The venture will be funded by more than 40,000 UK solicitors and barristers listed on the site." I then took a look at the site. It appears that the web site has just started (as the news report suggests) and there is not yet much content on the site. But, the site makes several boasts that sounds very impressive.

Firstly the web site suggests that it will provide, "...Probably, the world's first and only service that will provide our readers with 24 hour on-line legal advice. Also we at the Criminal Information Agency are going to introduce a new and innovative way for our readers to find or locate a solicitor or barrister by introducing them to our legal advice and representation area of the website. This is truly a unique way of getting legal advice and legal representation." The web site is clearly aimed at criminal law and I have yet to come across many criminals who have chosen to instruct a solicitor or barrister on the strength of a web site. Most cases that are referred to me are by way of 'word of mouth' recommendations. Criminals are sometimes very picky about their solicitor and stick with their trusted solicitor for years. I know that my firm advertises extensively in local newspapers, the Yellow Pages and other local directories and every once in a while we will pick up a case on the basis of advertising or even a web site.

Secondly, the web site aims to name and shame those people who have received an anti-social behaviour order: "Mr Croxton said: "If you think someone is breaching an asbo you can check the conditions of their curfew, for example, and then report them to the relevant authorities." Does this not go against the ethos of the web site that is aimed at assisting those accused of crimes? A central publicly accessible register of people subject to an ASBO sounds like an interesting idea. But where are the resources going to come from to fund the reporting of ASBOs imposed across England and Wales. Companies such as Smith Bernal charge a small fortune to provide transcription services for Crown Court cases. Even services such as Lawtel or Butterworths do not have the ability to report on routine sentences across the country. I shall wait and see how this section of the web site develops.

Lastly I do not think there are 40,000 barristers in England and Wales who practice in criminal law, although I could be wrong. If someone is looking for a solicitor they can simply use the Law Society's 'Find A Solicitor' section of their website to locate a solicitor that undertakes criminal work in their local area. Why advertise when the Law Society provides this functionality for free?

Good luck Mr. Coxton on your venture.

17 comments:

Lennie Briscoe said...

Great. What happened to giving advice to the good law abiding public first? Criminals before the law abiding majority as per normal.

Anonymous said...

You're right about the 40,000 Barristers...

According to the Bar Council, as of December 2004, there were 11,564 Barristers in self-employed practice. What percentage are in criminal law i'm not too sure.

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Gavin said...

Bloody spammers

Lennie Briscoe said...

Turn on the new feature in the comments settings maintnenace page. Gets rid of spam totally.

Gavin said...

Ahh, I see.

Thanks for that LB

thomas said...

I am currently working in the Criminal Information Agency. The website actually offers a constructive appraisal of the criminal justice system today. As for the remark relating to 40000 solicitors, this was just an estimate. We as a company have not been engineered towards career criminals, as your article suggests. There are many victum support groups that can see the advantages of this website, SAMM for example. There will be a page dedicated for feedback on ceratin solicitors, which can only be a good thing, as it will promote accountablility. The website has now fully launched, and a more informed opinion would be obtained by actually visiting the website as it exists today. The website hosts far information than you have originally picked up on, like the most comprehensive prison database that exist today

thomas said...

The proof is in the eating. Check out the site now and you will see a remarkable transformation http://www.cia-uk.co.uk

Gavin said...

The site does now appear to be more cohesive.

I did have a look at the site a few days ago and noticed that there have been considerable updates, and now hosts a great wealth of information.

I am still intruiged about the 'legal assistance', have you had many firms sign up?

Anonymous said...

We are slowly getting more interest from the legal profession. At the moment we have 7 solicitors from the Liverpool area with close to twice that number negotiating with us.

The number of 40,000 was misquoted from another community based initiative site that we are developing which deals with community services and crime reduction in the community which will hopefully be funded at a local council level and have 1-4 employees for each council in the UK. Thus the large numbers.

For solicitors we hope to have 38 criminal law specialists from 78 regions around the country giving a more realistic figure of just under 3000 solicitors and barristers. Trust the press to use figures and get it wrong:)

We are moving to new premises at the moment, and are getting favourable reviews from the local council members which in turn may help us gain govt grants which in turn can help us improve our services even further.

Thanks for the interest and good wishes, Grant.

Martin
Web Content Editor
Criminal Information Agency

reflectingdippy said...

im sorry i fail to see how this sight is different from any other criminal website the bar website gives list of barristers google will give u a long list of solicitors in ur chosen area of need and besides theres 2 types of people who need criminal solicitors

1 the avid criminal they wont need the website as they probably have there solicitors firm on speed dial and trust them so wont change


2 the first time criminal or innocently accused they will do 1 of 2 things either have no representation cos they think they can do it themselves or they get the duty solicitor and because they have a simple faith in the legal system they trust that the duty solicitor is the best they can get so keep them so there is very little need in my opinion for this site as for the fact it has the most comprehensive list of prisons i beg to differ the national government prison site is
and can be found at www.hmprisonservice.gov.uk
so i cannot see what this site offers that google search engine cant better

Personal Injury Houston said...

Hey, its like e-lawyer concept. I heard that concept in medical field. Its good . Now, we will get online support for our legal problems.

Solicitor said...

I'm so happy to happy to hear that we have a e-lawyer concept nowadays.We can help more people since we are in the tech world now.

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