Archive for April, 2016

Do you need a lawyer to file your Canadian pardon application?

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Let’s say you’ve been convicted of a crime under Canadian law and you find yourself with a criminal record. What now? After your sentence has been carried out, you can attempt to get on with your life as usual, but you’ll likely run into some roadblocks that could impede your life in many ways.  To lift those limitations, the best course of action is to apply for a pardon. But do you need a lawyer to help with pardon applications? Can you complete the process yourself? This article will attempt to answer those questions for you.

First, let’s examine what exactly is involved in the pardon application process. From there, we’ll look at whether hiring a lawyer to help is necessary. To do that, we’ll need to define clearly what a pardon actually is. Some people think that if you are granted a pardon your criminal record is erased. This is not the case. Essentially, a pardon means that your criminal record is set apart from, or “sealed” from the general database of criminal records held by the Canadian Police Information Centre. The conviction is not nullified or erased.

Almost anyone who has been convicted of a criminal offense in Canada is eligible to apply for a pardon once a predetermined ineligibility period has elapsed. The duration of this waiting period depends on the nature of your crime and other factors. In addition, to qualify for a pardon you must also:

Have served your full sentence, including probation and any other terms of your sentencing.

Submit to the Parole Board a correctly prepared application package along with all necessary support documentation

Not engaged in any further criminal activity since your sentence has been carried out and can show that you are living a generally honest and good life

The pardon application process does not involve going to court. You will not have to appear in front of a judge or any other body to prove yourself worthy. It is only necessary to meet the above-mentioned criteria and provide the necessary documentation. In that way, hiring a lawyer is not strictly necessary, unlike when you would appear in front of a judge to argue your side in a trial.

On the other side of the coin, however, is the fact that the application process and your likelihood of being successful in your application hinges largely on the proper gathering of necessary documents and the accurate completion of the application form itself. This can be very daunting and complex for the average layperson who is not used to navigating through the legal system in this way. That’s where a lawyer can come in very useful. That being said, lawyers can be very costly and it’s rare to find one who specializes in pardon applications. Instead, many people opt to enlist the help of a company that specializes in this type of application. They will have a very in-depth knowledge of the requirements, the application process, how to fill out the application form properly, and they will be able to knowledgeably answer any questions you have throughout the process.

April 29, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Yesterday was GolfDay.  Nothing else to call it.  Despite the conditions, one of the big clubs (which I won’t name for fear of giving away the identity of the people in this story) was holding a competition.  First I overheard my opponent on the train on the way to court on the telephone to one of his friends.
“I know mate, it’s a big one.  Tell me about it.  Look, I’ve got a case at the moment but definitely count me in.  I’m gonna have a chat with my opponent and see if I can’t get rid of it at the door of court…Yeh, yeh, I know.  Another ‘golf settlement’.  Good thing no-one’s done a graph comparing my settlement days to golf tournaments.”

Now you’d think that this would give me the upper hand at court and in normal circumstances it would.  Were it not for the fact that the judge called us into his chambers as soon as we arrived.
“Gentleman.  I’ve been looking at the papers in this case and I am extremely unhappy that this has come anywhere near a courtroom.  It should have settled years ago a car case like this, one side saying one thing, the other side saying another.  Looks like a straightforward fifty-fifty case to me.  But whatever your own views, let me tell you now that unless this case settles, I shall seriously be considering water costs orders against the lawyers after this case has finished for encouraging litigation where none were needed.”

Now if ever there was a code red to kick lawyers into doing what the judge wanted it was the threat of wasted costs against them personally.  Threaten the clients and the amount of damages and it was water off a duck’s back.  By tomorrow they’d be onto the next one.  Like some croupier in a big casino, all they were doing was administering other people’s bets.  Judges know this best of all and so when they really want something they threaten to hit the lawyers where it hurts which is one place and one place only.  Their pockets.
“And don’t start getting into arguing about which side I might blame for this litigation.  In my view you’re both as bad as each other.  In fact, I’m even minded to send these papers off to be reviewed by the disciplinary committees of the Law Society and the Bar Council.”  He added just for good measure.

Actually, there’s another hole in a lawyer’s thick hide and that’s the fear of being hauled in front of his professional body.  This judge was clearly on a mission as he’d hit a double whammy with his first two blows.  He clearly wanted rid of this case and fast.

After we left the court, I went to my client and explained that the judge was encouraging us to settle at fifty-fifty.  This would be an excellent result for us as I’d been expecting to lose the case outright on the evidence.  “But I’ve been fighting this case for over four years now and they’ve never made any offers in the past.  Why would they do so now?”

I could hardly tell him that it was because my opponent was desperate to get to the golf course and the judge was in a bad mood.  Doesn’t exactly give you faith in the system of justice.
“Well, being at court often focuses people’s minds on the potential weaknesses in their own cases, I guess.  Let’s see what they come back with.”

We both then looked over at my opponent on the other side of the room who was clearly having a heated discussion with his own client who looked very unhappy.  At one point the client stormed off in a rage only for my opponent to follow him and continue the conversation.  Eventually, I saw the client nodding reluctantly and then my opponent came over and asked if he could have a word with me.
“Been a bit of a difficult one as you can imagine but I’ve eventually brought him around.  Told him that he could be going home with nothing and a horrendous costs order again st him personally if he wasn’t careful.”

Which just wasn’t true, but, hey, not my business.
“So, I eventually brought him round to the judge’s suggestion.  I think we can settle on fifty-fifty.”

Now this was an absolute gift horse for my client and I really should grabbed the offer immediately.  However, I felt that his desire to play golf may squeeze just a little bit more.
“Look, I know you’ve got the stronger case but my client’s here after four years of worry and he’s ready to have his day in court.  I have talked to him about settlement but the most that he’ll come down to is sixty-forty in his favour.”
“BabyBarista, are you mad?”  He appeared quite angry at my response, no doubt due to the fact that he could see his golf game receding into the distance.
“Sorry.  Sixty-forty or we have a day in front of the judge.”

He looked at me for a while weighing up whether I was bluffing or not.  Now this is the first time that I’d had to put my staring skills into practice.  All came out of a drunken conversation with Claire a few weeks ago about blinking.  Specifically, if you’re going to negotiate well, you can’t afford to blink after a big bluff – kind of the same principle as Krushchev having blinked in the East-West showdown in the early sixties Bay of Pigs crisis.  So we’d since spent many a drunken hour having blinking competitions on the basis that it was actually good training for the bar.  Now, finally, was my moment and after I’d said my bit, I looked him straight in the eye and held my gaze…and held it still.  Not a blink to be seen, although my eyes were starting to water.  Eventually he cracked and blinked first.
“I’ll take instructions,” he said and went back to his client.

April 26, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 2 Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email

April 25, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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‘The Law of Legal Services’ by John Gould of Russell-Cooke solicitors

Brought to you by our friends at Russell-Cooke solicitors

The Law of Legal Services is an authoritative yet accessible work that looks at the issues and complexities of the current legal system. It provides insight into many of the questions that crop up in modern practice and will help lawyers mitigate the growing number of risks they face in their profession.

Written by leading regulatory expert John Gould, Senior Partner of London firm Russell-Cooke, the work covers areas such as regulation, lawyers’ legal duties and the ‘business of law’. With a focus on issues such as misconduct and tribunals, obligations to clients, negligence and indemnity insurance, The Law of Legal Services delivers authoritative legal analysis as well as practical guidance for practitioners.

This is an essential work for all lawyers, whatever their specialisation. In his preface, Lord Neuberger, President of the Supreme Court, describes it as containing “all that a professional lawyer needs to know and much of which it may not have occurred to him or her to ask” highlighting that “the function of lawyers is to deal with legal issues, and they therefore have nowhere much to hide if they fail to know of or observe their own regulatory rules.” 

Available from Amazon.

April 21, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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“How’s Claire, BabyB?” It was OldRuin back in chambers again. “I’ve always had a soft spot for her, you know. Very fond of you she is, I’d say.”
“She’s very well, OldRuin. Building up a pretty successful practise as well.”
‘”Yes, I’ve no doubt about that. You know what stands out about her?”
“What’s that?”
“Impeccable manners, BabyB. Understated, modest and kind. I might sound old-fashioned when I say this but in my view it’s the key to success at the bar. With solicitors, with clients and above all with judges.”  He mused a little and then continued: “Many’s the time that I’ve had an opponent who I have to admit that I found more than a little irritating. But if he wanted to interrupt my submission in front of the judge then I would always give way. You know, the arrogant and rude will always stab themselves in the foot so long as you let them.  Hoisted up on their own petards.”

Then he did what he has often done in the past and alluded to knowing far more than he was letting on. “Let me take your former colleague TopFirst as a counter example to Claire. Even if he’d applied for tenancy at this chambers, he would never have been taken on.” He paused and gave one of his kindly looks again. “She’s a bright lady, our Claire. Got a lot to teach us all, BabyB.”

April 19, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 3 Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email

April 18, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Tips on Getting the Right Results From a Pardons Application in Canada

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Making mistakes is a natural part of life. For some people, the mistakes that they have made in the past continue to affect their lives on a daily basis. If you are among the many people out there with a criminal record, then you know how hard it can be to function in everyday life. There are a variety of things that can be done to fix this issue. In Canada, a person will be able to apply for a pardon that will wipe their record clean. Getting to know the Pardons Canada eligibility rules is the first course of action when trying to get one of these pardons. The following are some vital pieces of information regarding this process that may help you along the way.

Knowing How to File

When trying to get a pardon secured, the first thing that you will have to figure out is how to file the right paperwork. Some people with a bit legal knowledge may be able to do this type off work on their own, but it is usually best to get a bit of professional guidance. The more help you are able to get with this process, the simpler you will find it to get the results you are after.

Are You Eligible?

Another very important thing that you will have to think about when trying to get a pardon is whether or not you are eligible. In order to be eligible, your conviction has to be a past one and all of the fees associated with it have to be paid off. Before seeking out any professional help for this process, you have to make sure that your fees are paid down and the offense is at least five years old.

Get Comfortable With Waiting

If you are going to apply for a pardon, you need to realize that it will not be an overnight thing. Most of the time, it is a year before you will hear from the pardons board of Canada. If you are denied the first time around, then you need to remain persistent. Usually, you will be denied due to errors in your paperwork. These errors can be avoided if you use a professional to help you prepare it. The money that is paid to a professional for this type of work will be worth it considering the time and frustration it can save you.

The time and effort that is invested into this process will be more than worth it in the end.

April 13, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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BabyB LPlate improvedWent off to court today to be faced with someone who was very clearly a second six pupil on their first day in court. The biggest giveaway was the fact that despite it being a small claims track case the pupil turned up with both volumes of the White Book guide to civil procedure despite the fact that in a million years he wouldn’t be referring to either one. Then there was the skeleton argument which ran to about ten pages and included reference to “Donoghue v Stevenson: the law of negligence explained” and “Lord Atkin’s neighbour principle” explaining in intricate detail why one driver on “one of Her Majesty’s highways” owed a “common law duty of care” to another.


April 12, 2016 · Tim Kevan · 6 Comments
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Monday morning with Alex Williams’ cartoons

This cartoon is by Alex Williams who draws the Queen’s Counsel cartoons for The Times and in numerous books including The Queen’s Counsel Lawyer’s Omnibus. He offers almost all of his cartoons for sale at £120 for originals and £40 for copies and they can be obtained from this email

April 11, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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Complicated made simple – take the headache out of batch printing

Consideration has been given for the editing and publishing of this post

The following is an infographic about batch printing.


April 6, 2016 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
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