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Sole practitioner becomes Tory EU spokesman

17 November 2009

Sajjad Karim, Conservative MEP for the North West and sole practitioner based in Manchester, has become the party’s legal affairs spokesman in Europe.

He told Solicitors Journal that although the European-wide arrest warrant and sharing of police intelligence had worked well he was concerned by the post-Lisbon agenda.

“One of the priorities for the EU is the harmonisation of legal processes and procedures,” he said.

“There are differences in the way our system operates in both the criminal and civil spheres. Any artificial push towards harmonisation without getting the support of the legal profession will create problems.”

Karim gave as one example the transfer of proceedings in criminal cases, so that people could be tried in this country for offences committed abroad which are not recognised as criminal under our law.

He was a partner at SFN solicitors in Burnley and founder of Marsdens in Pendle before becoming principal of Sayyad Karim Solicitors.

Karim, who studied at the College of Law in Chester and qualified in 1997, said he specialised in criminal defence work, particularly in serious fraud and money laundering.

He was elected as a Liberal Democrat MEP in 2004, but left to join the Tories in 2007. The following year he was in the lobby of the Taj Mahal hotel in Mumbai when it was stormed by terrorists.

The MEP gave a mobile phone interview that night saying that he was trapped in a basement with 25 to 30 others, and was escorted to safety the following morning.

Karim was re-elected as a Conservative MEP for the North West in June this year.

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