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Posted on June 6, 2014 in Criminal Defence General
Havant criminal defence solicitor Emma Smith of Swain & Co, met French law students to show them Portsmouth Magistrates court and to talk about our criminal justice system. The French students were in Portsmouth for two days and wanted to learn about the way criminal cases are dealt with in England.
Emma Smith met the students after Swain & Co was selected by the French University as being expert in criminal defence work. Emma said, “I qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and have worked in a very wide range of cases, from murder to theft. I was able to brief the students on the way our courts work and to tell them a few tales to keep them amused.”
Emma represents clients on a daily basis in the Magistrates Courts and at police stations throughout Hampshire.
Emma said, “It was a great opportunity for me to share my knowledge with law students that also to hear about the way things are done in France.
The main difference between and the French and English legal system is that in this country a decision to start criminal proceedings is made by the crown prosecution service in the UK. In France a member of the Judiciary makes that decision.
In the UK in the Magistrates court a Lay bench meaning people who are not legally qualified make sentencing decisions. They are assisted by a legal adviser. In France in the lower court decisions are made by Judges.
Emma said, “The legal aid cuts threaten our criminal justice system and as we approach the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, I find it so difficult to warn others of the real threats that there are to our criminal justice system.