Weekly Notes: legal news from ICLR — 28 January 2019

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Legal Professions

Work-life balance — can law tech promote diversity?

A couple of things here. A report, Back to the Bar, by the Western Circuit Women’s Forum, reveals that

  • Almost two thirds of those who left the Bar on the Western Circuit over a six year period were women. Almost all of the men who left became judges or retired. The vast majority of the women who left did not become judges or retire, but apparently left mid-career.
  • Most of the women who left cited the difficulty of balancing work and family commitments as a factor in their decision.
  • A significant proportion of women who leave the Bar could be retained with changes to working patterns and culture.
  • Inflexibility in working patterns necessitates expensive flexible or full-time childcare. Inflexibility in working patterns is seen as primarily due to traditional clerking practices and court listing procedures.
  • Many working mothers seek part-time work, shorter trials or not to stay away from home which is seen to limit career development opportunities.

Family law

Common law marriage: myth-busted

Mental Capacity

Call for evidence on revision of MCA Code

The Ministry of Justice are inviting interested parties to provide feedback on how best to refine and improve the Code of Practice under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 to reflect current needs. The Code of Practice is a key document supporting the MCA with practical guidance.

Domestic abuse

Bill addresses various concerns

Last week the government finally unveiled its new Domestic Abuse Bill, alongside a response to its consultation on the matter. The consultation was launched by the Home Office and the Bill is being managed by them rather than, say, the Ministry of Justice. But in many ways it is a cross-departmental effort, which deals with a number of different aspects of domestic violence and abuse. (Read the full consultation response and draft bill)

Law and Technology

Ethics and Algorithms

The Law Society Technology and the Law Policy Commission is holding four public sessions to take oral evidence from experts on the topic of algorithms in the justice system. The next session will be held at the Law Society in Cardiff on 7 February and the one after that will be held at the Law Society in London on 14 February. Both sessions will examine the use of algorithms in the justice system in England and Wales and consider what controls, if any, are needed to protect human rights and instill trust in the justice system.

Legal information

Wildy’s acquire Hammicks

Wildy & Sons, the famous London law bookshop established in 1830, announced today that they have acquired Hammicks Legal Information Services, their main rival in the supply of law books, law reports (such as those published by ICLR), journals and other subscription services, to customers around the world. One of Hammicks’ main customers is the Ministry of Justice, who supply the judiciary and the courts.


We continue the development of the Knowledge section on our website, with new content being added each week. The latest items added to our growing glossary of legal terms is an entry on Acronyms and initialisms in legal writing and another on Common law marriage (citing the Transparency Project’s latest guidance — see above).

And finally…

Tweet of the Week

A reminder of what pupillage is really all about, perhaps?



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The ICLR publishes The Law Reports, The Weekly Law Reports and other specialist titles. Set up by members of the judiciary and legal profession in 1865.