Saturday, January 05, 2008

Private Investigator

Criminal defence firms are getting jumpy as 14th January 2008 approaches. On 14th January 2008 new General Criminal Contracts begin for firms who are still undertaking legal aid criminal defence work. On 30th November 2007 firms had to declare how many duty solicitors they employed as of 30th November 2007 in order to be awarded rota slots on duty solicitor rotas for police station work and magistrates court work. So if you had more duty solicitors declared for your firm on 30th November 2007 than you had previously you would be awarded additional rota slots. Although rota slots do not always generate masses of work they are always a good opportunity to pick up extra work, and every now and then you can pick up a good case from being a duty solicitor.

What I am about to describe has come from a series of Chinese whispers and could be entirely false - even if it is rubbish it is entertaining rubbish. A firm in Basildon also has other offices, and it is rumoured in order to get more slots on the Basildon rotas the firm pretended that some of it's solicitors based in other offices had moved to their Basildon office. This was interpreted to be a scam by another firm in Basildon who decided to hire a private investigator to follow the newly proposed solicitors to the Basildon rotas and the private investigator discovered that the newly proposed solicitors were in fact based in a London office. So, the other firm in Basildon made a complaint to the Law Society that the first firm was not "playing by the rules". The firm that was running the scam has now started legal proceedings against the other firm for defamation!

The above story shows how desperate some firms are getting in the new age of criminal legal aid.