News Criminal Defence 9th Oct 2017

The Lammy Review: A Conversation

On 2 October 2017, more than 300 lawyers attended The Lammy Review: A Conversation, hosted by 2 Hare Court at Kings College London.

Published on 8 September 2017, the Rt Hon David Lammy MP’s independent review investigated the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority (“BAME”) individuals in the Criminal Justice System. The report makes 35 recommendations and concludes that BAME individuals still face bias, including over discrimination, and are disproportionately represented.

The review prompted Charlotte Watts and others to organise an event to discuss how legal professionals can respond to the report and tackle the issues arising.

On the day, following a brief introduction by Jonathan Laidlaw QC, David Lammy MP introduced his report. He noted that the scope of the report was necessarily limited, but nevertheless, the evidence shows that those who are charged, tried, and punished are still disproportionately likely to come from minority communities.  He stressed that implementing the recommendations would not just benefit those who are BAME, but other groups including deprived White British communities.

Following his speech, Greg Foxsmith of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association chaired a panel discussion. Courtenay Griffiths QC (25 Bedford Row) challenged the report, suggesting that it should also have investigated root causes of overrepresentation, such as poverty, and policing. He also questioned why the term ‘disproportionality’ was used when it equally could be described as ‘racism’.

Judy Khan QC (Garden Court) praised the report and said it is not a surprise to learn that BAME individuals are unwilling to plead guilty when they see the relatively higher sentences handed down by Judges. Sandra Paul (Kingsley Napley) stated that legal professionals need to think carefully about how to properly communicate and advise their BAME clients so as to encourage trust in the criminal justice system.

Former judge, Sir Anthony Hooper stated that there need to be better recording of sentencing outcomes and that there ought to be fuller sentencing remarks by Judges to encourage greater transparency. Sara Carnegie (CPS) explained that she was encouraged by the diversity in the CPS and that they would investigate the issue of ‘race blind’ charging decisions.

The debate was lively, passionate and highly informative. It was agreed that the Lammy Review equips practitioners with the evidence and statistics to challenge  the status quo and to address the problems faced by BAME individuals in our criminal justice system.

2 Hare Court would like to show its appreciation to all those who helped to organise the event, especially Charlotte Watts and Greg Foxsmith. Special thanks to the event’s sponsors: 25 Bedford Row, 23 Essex Street, 9 Bedford Row, Murrays Partnership, Hodge Jones and Allen, Kingsley Napley, Commons, K&L Gates, Hickman Rose, the LCCSA and its supporters: the Black Solicitors Network and the Criminal Bar Association.

Nicholas Hall

Watch the full event here:

More about our sponsors:

The LCCSA welcomes publication of the report by David Lammy MP into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System

The Association had made submissions during the research process-see here:-

Our submission gave examples of Institutional Racism

We also highlighted the importance of a properly funded Legal Aid system to help tackle discrimination in the CJS.

We stand by our concluding submission  “The coherence of society depends on a general acceptance of fairness and trials justice applies to all.  At this point The Lammy Review is an important step but it is our view that real resources need to be devoted to statistical analysis and a review of rights. That public expenditure in community resources needs rebalancing post-austerity to restore resources to the most disadvantaged communities. That concrete steps need to be taken to address diversity throughout the CJS and education and training re IR are priorities and IR should be addressed through sentencing guidelines”

 The LCCSA supports many of the recommendations within the Lammy report, and our members will continue the fight to try and ensure that the Justice system is fair to all.

 K&L Gates is committed to the diversity & inclusion of its staff and the communities it serves and, in particular, to those in society who are underprivileged. K&L Gates believes that supporting BAME issues is critical in helping to improve society. The Lammy Report represents a significant step in raising awareness of BAME issues and makes a number of important recommendations.

23 Essex Street – We who work in the British justice system like to think it is fair.  The Lammy Review challenges us all in revealing fundamental inequalities that must be addressed for the good of all.  It is rightly said that legal aid lawyers are amongst the few who become trusted by the most disadvantaged in our society.  But it seems we have a long way to go.  The Review is packed with good ideas and the legal profession should be looking to drive a conversation with Government about how to achieve its objectives.  We at 23 Essex Street are proud to play a small part in helping that process begin.

Mark Fenhalls QC, Deputy Head of Chambers, 23 Essex Street & former Chair of the Criminal Bar Association.​

Hickman & Rose – Our experience with families of people who have died in custody confirms the disparity in treatment and outcomes for BAME people.  When still Home Secretary, Theresa May appointed Dame Elish Angiolini QC to report into the disproportionate number of BAME deaths.  Sadly, despite the promise of action made by Theresa May when she first entered Downing Street as Prime Minister, nothing more has happened.   Instead, there has been a scandalous delay in publishing Dame Elish’s report and commencing the program of fundamental reform which genuine change requires.

Commons, the not-for-profit criminal law firm, was set up to protect and advance people’s rights in the face of long standing inequalities and the disastrous effects of legal aid cuts.

The Lammy Report is not comfortable reading for any part of the criminal justice system. We all need to tackle systemic discrimination and its impact on the fairness of criminal investigations and proceedings.

25 Bedford Row is committed to reflecting the communities it serves. We are delighted to be able to sponsor this event. We hope that the Lammy Review will incite much needed changes in our justice system to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and in accordance with the principles of equality and diversity.

Kingsley Napley’s ethos is to use the law to achieve our client’s aims including securing their access to justice. The disproportionate experience of BAME people in the criminal justice system is an affront to justice that we cannot and do not want to ignore. BAME issues affect our staff, our firm and our clients, directly and indirectly. Kingsley Napley is committed to being part of the solution.

9 Bedford Row prosecutes and defends across the spectrum of criminal cases, including work in international courts such as The Hague, and is recognised as a leading chambers offering expertise in all areas of criminal, fraud, sexual and regulatory law.

Throughout the gamut of this work members of chambers remain dedicated to promoting fairness and equality in each case in which they participate.

Chambers welcomes the Lammy Review and seeks to promote conversation on the findings of the report. Access to justice and equality considerations are longstanding areas of debate and concern within criminal justice; 9 Bedford Row seeks to be part of positive steps towards solutions alongside 2 Hare Court, the panel speakers and our co-sponsors.

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