Saturday, 4 December 2021

R v Tustin and Hughes ~ Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews ~ Funding and resources


The case of R v Tustin and Hughes concerned the death, on 16 June 2020, of a 6 year old child - Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. The facts of this case are truly horrific and are set out by Mr Justice Wall in his sentencing remarks of Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin at the Crown Court in Coventry (pictured). The facts need not be repeated here save to note that the judge described the case as 'one of the most distressing and disturbing case with which I have had to deal.'

R -v- Tustin & Hughes sentencing remarks | Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Arthur's father (Thomas Hughes) was convicted by the jury of manslaughter and was sentenced to imprisonment for 21 years of which he will serve two-thirds before release on licence. He was

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Limiting freedom to protest - late-in-the-day government amendments to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill


The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has recently completed its Committee Stage in the House of Lords.  This is a substantial Bill comprising 13 Parts, 179 clauses, 20 Schedules.  It has now completed Committee Stage in the House of Lords. 

Bill as amended at Lords Committee stage

At the Committee Stage the government introduced extensive and substantial amendments which had not been considered by the House of Commons and were not on the face of the Bill at the House of Lords Second Reading. 

The government amendments extended to 18 pages and may be seen at pages 68 to 86  of the 9th Marshalled List of amendments under the name of Baroness Williams of Trafford (Minister of State, Home Office).

The amendments are far from being minor changes. They amount

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Coronavirus legislation ~ Omicron variant ~ face coverings and self-isolation

In response to the Omicron variant of Coronavirus (Covid-19), the government has made new Regulations relating to the wearing of face coverings and self-isolation. 

The Regulations came into force at 4 am on 30 November.

18 July 2021 saw the removal of most of the Coronavirus secondary legislation although Regulations relating to international travel remained in place and, since July, have been the subject of numerous further amendments. (The travel Regulations are not considered further here).

The new Regulations may be seen at -

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Tragedy in the Channel

Tragedy in the Channel:

The poet Matthew Arnold in his poem Dover Beach wrote of the "turbid ebb and flow of human misery". Those words seem apt to describe the only too predictable tragedy of Wednesday 24 November when at least 27 lives were lost as people attempted to cross the Channel in a flimsy inflatable dinghy.

Tragedy at sea claims dozens of lives in deadliest day of Channel crisis | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

Needless to say this would be a particularly dangerous crossing at the best of times and even more so in a completely inadequate vessel. The Straits of Dover is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with around 400 commercial vessels per day -

The Strait of Dover (nasa.gov)

The numbers attempting this perilous journey

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Diktats and denial of democracy

The eminent legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg has drawn attention to two reports from House of Lords committees

Government by diktat? - by Joshua Rozenberg - A Lawyer Writes (substack.com)

The reports are from the Secondary legislation scrutiny committee and the Delegated powers and Regulatory Reform Committee

Two Lords reports published on the balance of power between Parliament and the Executive - Committees - UK Parliament#

The reports are

Will the UK rejoin the EU?


Will the UK rejoin the European Union (EU)?

This post looks at the essentially political question of whether the UK might rejoin the EU in the foreseeable future. There are those who hope that it might do so but are such aspirations realistic? A further question is what would be the process for rejoining.

It is probably unwise to say that rejoining will never happen but, as things stand in late 2021, it is highly unlikely.  That is, of course, my personal view but let's look at the situation.

Political situation -

The Conservative Party forms the current government and was elected in 2019 on a manifesto of Getting Brexit Done - Conservative Party Manifesto 2019 (conservatives.com)#

Now that Brexit has taken place, there is not a even the slightest change of mind on the government's part.  

As for the Labour Party,

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Barbados - the change to parliamentary republic

"The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind" - Governor General Sandra Mason reading speech prepared by the Prime Minister of Barbados.

The Caribbean island of Barbados is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide with a population of around 285,000. 

On 30 November 2021 it will become a Republic and HM The Queen will therefore cease to be its Head of State. Former judge Sandra Mason is to be its first President. Economically, the island is very dependent on tourism.

Barbados - Wikipedia

Visit Barbados - The Official Barbados Tourism Guide 2021

Some of the reasons behind

Monday, 8 November 2021

Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol


The post Brexit relationship between the UK government and the EU is marked by continual tension including numerous issues arising in connection with the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP). The NIP is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement entered into between the UK and EU in 2019 - 

Law and Lawyers: Withdrawal Agreement ~ The Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol

The purpose of the NIP is to prevent a hard border between Ireland (a member State of the EU) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK). The protocol requires Northern Ireland to align with EU law in some areas in order to maintain frictionless access to the EU. Goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain have to prove that they comply with EU law in those areas.

In July 2021

Saturday, 6 November 2021

The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021 - background and overview

This post looks at the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021. The Act is the result of long-standing dislike within the British government of legal actions brought as a result of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of those who served in the Armed Forces in those theatres did so with bravery, professionalism and honour. Sadly, there is ample evidence from various inquiries and other proceedings that some did not live up to the high standard expected of the Armed Forces of the Crown.

The Conservative Party's 2019 manifesto stated that, if elected, the Party would "introduce new legislation to tackle the vexatious claims that undermine our Armed Forces."  Having won the 2019 election, the Party duly introduced the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill - Armed Forces protected from vexatious claims in important step - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).  Various amendments to the Bill occurred during its passage through Parliament. The resulting Act received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021 - 

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

Background:

Explanatory notes were

Monday, 1 November 2021

Criminal conduct authorisations within the UK

The European Convention on Human Rights Article 2 requires that everyone's life shall be protected by law. The article continues - "Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary: (a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence; (b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; (c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection."

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 (legislation.gov.uk) - fully in force since 30 September 2021 - is lawful authority for a Police Force, the National Crime Agency, the Intelligence Services, the Armed Forces, Revenue and Customs. the Home Office and several other bodies - to approve a Covert Human Intelligence Source (a CHIS) to commit ANY criminal offence. If the CHIS acts in accordance with the authorisation then it will be lawful for all purposes.

I have put the word ANY in upper case / bold because

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Environment Bill ~ Storm Overflows and Sewage Discharge


Parliament has been considering the Environment Bill.

Environment Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament

The Bill passed the House of Commons, went to the House of Lords which proposed a number of amendments. The Bill then returned to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments. 

The Commons considered the amendments on 20 October and returned them to the Lords with disagreements - the beginning of the so-called "ping pong" process.

The Commons debate

Friday, 22 October 2021

Some weekend reading


First, the speech by the Attorney General to the 2021 Public Law Project Conference - 


Professor Mark Elliott offered an early response to the speech - see Youtube 20 October.

Secondly, the Supreme Court decision

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Legal aid - "Westminister Commission" report


"The legal aid system as it stands is not sufficient. Nor is it sustainable."

That is the summary by the Westminster Commission on legal aid set out in a 177 page report issued on 19 October 2021 (pdf).

The Commission is an All Party Parliamentary Group - see its website

The report sets out the significant changes made to legal aid in the 8 years since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) and provides a useful as well as detailed analysis of the current position.

The Foreword to the report notes -

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Dominic Raab MP - the Lord Chancellor - on judicial review and human rights


On 15 September 2021, the Prime Minister moved Dominic Raab MP from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Ministry of Justice to replace Robert Buckland QC MP as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. Raab was "sworn in" as Lord Chancellor on 23 September 2021. 

The reasons for moving Raab to Justice were not made entirely clear but we might surmise that Buckland was considered to be not going far enough with his reforms to judicial review which I wrote about earlier.

Raab was at Justice previously. He was Parliamentary

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Coronavirus - lessons learned - Parliamentary report


The House of Commons and Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee have published their Report, Coronavirus: lessons learned to date, examining the initial UK response to the Covid pandemic.

 Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report published - Committees - UK Parliament

Covid vaccine programme “one of most effective initiatives in UK history” but delay to first lockdown a “serious error” that should have been challenged.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Arrest - some basic notes on a difficult topic


"You have eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police forces of England and Wales. It is critical that every subject in this country can trust police officers when they encounter them and submit to their authority, which they are entitled to believe is being exercised in good faith"
- Sentencing remarks - Lord Justice Fulford - 30 September 2021 - R v Couzens. 

Powers of arrest are a difficult legal topic but they have come to greater public prominence due to the actions of Wayne Couzens who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard. Couzens was a serving Police Officer who purported to arrest Sarah as she was walking home having visited a friend. 

What does the law say about arrest and use of force?

Arrest with a warrant

An arrest may be authorised by the warrant of a Justice of the Peace - Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 section 1 which enables a JP to issue either a summons or issue a warrant to arrest an individual and bring him before a Magistrates' Court.. 

Arrest without warrant:

The Police

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Wayne Couzens - Whole Life order for the murder of Sarah Everard


Sarah Everard (33) was murdered by Wayne Couzens who, at the time, was a serving Police Officer. He was sentenced on 30 September 2021 to a Whole Life Order.

The sentencing remarks are published on the Judiciary website. The remarks are essential reading for anyone who wishes to find the facts and understand the sentencing process.

Addendum 27 October: 

It is reported that Couzens us to appeal against the whole life order.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Last Post and Cheerio

This blog commenced over 11 years ago on 14 January 2010 - (A new blog).  The aim was that the blog would throw at least a little light on the laws which govern us and the lawyers who implement those laws. I hope that, at least in some way, that objective has been achieved and that I have spoken for fairness (Pro Aequitate Dicere). As I write, the blog has published 2234 posts and has received 2,877,077 pageviews. I think those are reasonably respectable figures for an individual blog and I am grateful to the many who have shown interest and offered comment.

There is much to be done in the legal world and

A Codified Constitution?

It is frequently argued that the United Kingdom ought to have a codified ("written-down") constitution. For example, here is an earlier look at this question (post 28 November 2019).

The UK's constitutional arrangements are a product of history and the arrangements have to be divined from a complex mixture of common law, legislation, and practices (or conventions) generally accepted by those who exercise powers within the system. There is no single starting-point document labelled "The Constitution".

In Cherry / Miller 2 [2019] UKSC 41, Lady Hale said (para 39) - "Although the United Kingdom does not have a single document entitled "The Constitution", it nevertheless possesses a Constitution, established over the course of our history by common law, statutes, conventions and practice."

That is all very well but, for the majority of citizens, the arrangements are shrouded in mystery rather like the arcane learnings and rituals of some ancient religion.

A codified

UK constitutional arrangements - the legislative power of Parliament


Parliament is the UK's supreme legal authority. Parliament's website sets out the principle -  

"Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law ....."

The word "sovereignty" has different meanings - (discussed at Watching the Law October 2020).  The term "Parliamentary Sovereignty" refers to the point that Parliament has legislative supremacy - that is, the power to make any law whatever. Further, no person or body is recognised by the law as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.

The law textbooks