Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Archive for the ‘Podcasts’ Category

The future for lawyers? Interview with Professor Richard Susskind

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Richard Susskind has established a reputation for thinking the unthinkable about the legal profession. In this podcast I talk to Richard about how he thinks the legal profession will develop over the next few years. Of one thing he is certain; there will be enormous changes.

Those coming new to the study of law should not be put off by this but rather seize the new opportunities that will be created; but they should realise that current images of the legal profession will not be sustained.

Read more about Richard and his work at

Listen to Richard at

Written by lwtmp

February 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Chapter 9, Podcasts

Shaping legal services: interview with Crispin Passmore, Legal Services Board

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In this podcast I talk to Crispin Passmore, Strategy Director at the Legal Services Board, about the work of the Board – discussed in Chapter 9 of the book. He talks about the background to the establishment of the Board, and how its work has developed since the Legal Services Act 2007 came into effect.

In the course of the discussion we consider a number of themes. First, what is ‘public interest’ in the provision of legal services. Historically, there has been a close alignment of public interest and professional interest; this is now changing. Crispin refers to a paper on this, available at

Second, Crispin emphasises the need for legal services to be delivered in ways which the users of those services – members of the public – feel comfortable with. This may result in big changes to the ways in which lawyers currently deliver services and deal with complaints from clients.

Third, Crispin talks about ABS – the alternative business structures – that are going to affect legal service delivery. They will provide, he argues, enormous opportunities for those willing to seize them. There will be significant developments in 2012.

To hear the podcast go to

Written by lwtmp

December 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Handling complaints against lawyers; interview with Adam Sampson

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In this podcast, I talk to Adam Sampson, Chief Legal Ombudsman. We discuss the work of the Legal Ombudsman, how it operates, the kinds of issue it deals with, and some of the limitations the office has to deal with matters raised by dissatisfied clients. He stresses the importance, in a rapidly changing legal environment, of firms learning from complaints, so that they can improve their services to the public.

Full details of the work of the Office can be found at

To hear the interview, go to

Written by lwtmp

December 11, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Reporting the law: interview with Joshua Rozenberg

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Joshua Rozenberg is one of a very small number of specialist journalists who cover legal issues in a serious and thoughtful way. He has worked in a wide variety of media, including the BBC – he was their legal correspondent for 15 years. He still makes the Law in Action series. He was also legal of the Daily Telegraph for a number of years. He now works freelance; much of his current work is published by The Guardian on-line

In the interview, he describes how he decided to become a journalist rather than a practising lawyer and comments on the challenges of devising ways to enable legal issues to be raised in the mass media.

To see his website with links to his blogs and other material, go to
For law in action, go to

To hear my interview with Joshua Rozenberg go to

Written by lwtmp

November 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Administrative Justice under threat? Interview with Richard Thomas

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With the publication of the latest report of the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council on the future of administrative justice, about which I wrote last week, I have been back to talk to Richard Thomas, Chair of the Council about the report and how he sees the future of administrative justice developing. (For my first interview, go to May 2010).
Richard regrets the Government decision to abolish the Council, arguing that the arrangements proposed by Government to keep administrative justice under review are just not adequate.
To hear the podcast, go to

Written by lwtmp

October 28, 2011 at 8:59 am

Posted in chapter 6, Podcasts

Promoting Mediation – Interview with Jeremy Tagg

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In this podcast, I talk to Jeremy Tagg, a senior official in the Ministry of Justice. For many years he has been leading a team which has sought to promote Lord Woolf’s vision for the civil justice system, that courts should be the forum of last resort, and that where possible those in dispute should be encouraged to find their own solutions to their problems.
Jeremy has helped to advance the idea that the courts themselves might be able to assist parties to reach mediated decisions, rather than court-imposed decisions.
In particular, he dicusses the development of the new On-line Mediation directory (see blog 1 October 2011). He also discusses the success of small claims mediation which, to many people’s surprise, now disposes of thousands of cases a year.
Ministry of Justice guidance on Mediation can be seen at

Listen to Jeremy Tagg’s interview at

Written by lwtmp

October 18, 2011 at 8:01 am

Empirical research in Law: Interview with Deputy Director of the Nuffield Foundation

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If we want to know exactly what goes on in the English Legal system, there has to be high quality empirical research that gathers the information which can tell us. In this podcast, I talk to Sharon Witherspoon, Deputy Director of the Nuffield Foundation, about the investment the Foundation has made over very many years in research on law and legal process.

Although the Foundation was established to fund scientific research, the trustees decided early on that this should include social science research. Sharon Witherspoon discusses how the Foundation first engaged in research on law, and also refers to more recent examples. She makes clear how good research can influence the development of the law and legal policy.

For further information about the Nuffield Foundation, go to
For a direct link to their work on law, go to

To hear my interview with Sharon Witherspoon go to

Written by lwtmp

October 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

Interview with Ann Abraham – Ombudsman

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In this podcast, I talk to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, Ann Abraham. She reflects on a number of issues about the Ombudsman’s role which she has had to face during her time in office. Besides the headline grabbing cases, such as Equitable Life, she emphasises that the role of the Ombudsman is for ordinary people to seek redress from public bodies which have fallen below acceptable standards of administration. In our conversation, she particularly notes the case involving Occupational Pensions where she found  that official information about the security of final salary occupational pension schemes provided over many years by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Occupational Pensions Regulatory Authority and other government bodies was inaccurate, incomplete, unclear and inconsistent. This view was challenged in the courts by the Goverment, and she welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision, in 2008, that provided welcome reinforcement of the Ombudsman’s constitutional position. Their judgment  confirmed that, although the Ombudsman’s findings are not binding on Government, the relevant Minister must either accept them or alternatively establish good reason for not doing so. In effect, the judgment requires the Minister to have ‘due regard’ to the Ombudsman’s findings.

For full information about the work of the Ombudsman, go to

For the interview with Ann Abraham, go to

Written by lwtmp

September 26, 2011 at 8:59 am

Posted in chapter 6, Podcasts

Alternative Dispute Resolution: Interview with Karl Mackie

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In this podcast I talk to Karl Mackie, Chief Executive of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR). Karl Mackie has been one of the leading figures in the development of alternative ways of resolving disputes, other than by using the courts. These developments are now central to the present Government’s thinking on the future of civil justice.

For more information about CEDR go to

To hear the interview go to

Written by lwtmp

May 27, 2011 at 9:25 am

Working at the coalface – first-tier tribunals; podcast

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In this podcast, I talk to Judge Alison McKenna, a judge in the First-Tier General Regulatory Tribunal.

Judge McKenna discusses the specialist work that she does in relation to appeals against decisions by the Charity Commission and explains why this work was removed from the Chancery Division of the High Court to a new Tribunal.

More detail about this work can be found at

She also reflects more generally on the working of the Tribunals system, and the flexibility the new system gives for her to sit in different tribunals, and also in the Upper Tier Tribunal.

Hear Judge McKenna at:

Written by lwtmp

April 6, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Posted in chapter 6, Podcasts