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In the area of general crime, continued cuts to Legal Aid have forced some firms out of the market as tighter margins mean that in some cases it is not feasible to continue this type of work. This has gloomy implications for the future of the British justice system which is feeling the pinch of austerity, from the police to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to Legal Aid criminal defence lawyers.

The private crime market is busy with consumers shopping around for competitive quotes. A perceived reduction in the quality of Legal Aid work is pushing more people towards using private defence.

There has been a sizeable increase in reports of current and historic sexual abuse cases since the inception of the #Metoo movement in 2017. There has also been a clampdown by police on sexual offences generally. There continues to be an increase in cases of violent crime and drug offences, in particular the ‘county lines’ phenomenon of drug networks expanding from major cities into suburban areas.

In the fraud space the increasingly strained relationship between Russia and the UK is causing difficulties for Russian oligarchs who choose to litigate in the British judicial system. More generally the market is seeing a steady flow of fraud enquiries as is usually the norm in fairly benign economic conditions.

Tougher laws and more regulation such as the introduction of The Criminal Finances Act in 2017 has led to an increase in work in the white-collar crime sector. US firms continue to move into this area in London and this has led to a hiring spree with a lot of movement of talent between firms.

The appointment of Lisa Osofsky as the new director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) may not cause as much of a shake up as many initially feared as she has backtracked on a previously apparent desire to merge the SFO into the National Crime Agency (NCA). This news, along with a 50% increase in funding to the SFO will likely enable the continued steady pace of prosecution work from the organisation.

Gaming and betting is seeing a tougher regulatory environment for clients in the UK and internationally from gambling authorities around the world. Domestically, the Gambling Commission is issuing more fines and license reviews in the wake of Neil McArthur’s promotion from interim chief executive to permanent post-holder.

Domestically, the burden of a responsible gambling mandate has increased in emphasis. There is tighter scrutiny on the industry’s protections for minors and problem gamblers. With regards to licensing there is much more enforcement activity from the local councils and police forces, with license reviews being implemented following any reports of violence or other licensing infractions.

In the transport licensing area, Uber has successfully appealed the revocation of its London operations license.

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