April 13th - This week the Justice Beat focuses on the rule of code, Trump, and a Scottish fight.
The rule of code
1. The Serious Fraud Office has spurned lawyers twice this week. Hiring an accountant rather than a lawyer to run the Office was one thing, but the SFO has also ‘hired’ an artificially intelligent document review system, reports Legal Futures. The programme is able to process more than half a million documents a day. That’s 2,000 times faster than the ordinary barrister, according to the SFO. But who’s counting.
2. China, which has a surveillance network of over 170 million CCTV cameras, caught an alleged “economic criminal” through facial recognition at a pop concert this week, writes the BBC. The 31-year-old was reportedly “shocked” and said if he knew, he wouldn’t have gone. The crowd at pop star Jacky Cheung’s concert was 60,000 strong.
3. And magic circle firm Clifford Chance is offering coding courses to all its lawyers, reports The Lawyer, in a move that presumably is intended to achieve more than just make them more employable elsewhere…
4. “Attorney-client privilege is dead”, tweeted Trump as the FBI raided his lawyer’s office, home and hotel room, in relation to alleged hush money paid to two women on Trump’s behalf, including Stormy Daniels (crowdfunding here). The New Yorker writes that Trump has good reason to be rattled, but also that the American President could see this as the moment to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is investigating the Trump campaigns ties to Russia.
5. Meanwhile, the strategists counseling Trump agree on one thing: it’s time to stop playing innocent, and start fighting like he’s guilty. “The fantasy”, writes Vanity Fair, that full cooperation with Mueller’s probe would lead to full exoneration, “has unraveled.”
6. Ireland is having it’s #MeToo moment following the acquittal of two high-profile rugby players in a rape case, reports the Guardian. #IBelieveHer has been trending on Twitter, protesters are rallying and politicians are wading in. There have been calls for major reforms to sexual abuse laws.
7. The London Borough of Ealing made history this week by introducing a ‘safe zone’ outside an abortion clinic, reports the Telegraph. The Public Spaces Protection Order will mean that anti-abortion protesters will no longer be able to congregate outside the building, shout or display posters.
Scotland v Spain
8. If you see a good scrap, get in it. That’s the attitude of the Scots, in their fierce defence of Catalan academic Clara Ponsati against a European arrest warrant, writes Observer opinion columnist Kevin McKenna in the Guardian. Professor Ponsati (crowdfunding here) faces charges of violent rebellion and misappropriation of public funds over her role in Catalonia’s controversial independence referendum last year.
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This week on CrowdJustice, Leytonstone residents want to stop a radiation-emitting mast, the Hoo Peninsula community fight to save their local sports centre, and a heterosexual couple fight for the right to enter a civil partnership in the Supreme Court.