CharonQC has wondered whether the present government plans to abolish all law! He writes about the planned deportation of a number of people to Iraq. It seems that the government has "respectfully" informed the High Court that a mere judicial review will not be allowed to stand in the way of the deportations. It is stated that this has been done on some 16 previous occasions. This certainly has a disturbing look to it since the legality of a deportation is often tested by way of judicial review. The story seems to be well covered by The Guardian 9th June.
Interestingly, although it is a somewhat separate issue, the refusal of courts to deport terrorist suspects to countries where they may face torture and/or execution has been defended by Lord Phillips (President of the Supreme Court) - see The Times 9th June.
Prisoners voting: The U.K. has maintained a blanket ban on all serving prisoners voting despite a European Court of Human Rights ruling that the blanket ban is unlawful under the European Convention on Human Rights. Law and Lawyers took a look at this prior to the general election - see here. The British government has now been told by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers that compliance with the European Court's ruling is expected in time for the elections to devolved assemblies in May 2011. See Telegraph 9th June - Tom Whitehead (Home Affairs Editor).
Children and the law: The former President of the Family Division (Sir Mark Potter) has commented about the crisis in child care law generally - see The Guardian. Sir Mark is noted for his careful "nuanced" choice of words and his remarks ought to make us worried. Quite simply, he is right. Law and Lawyers touched on child care law in connection with the Edlington case , the Khyra Ishaq case and with the aftermath of the Baby P case and then again on 24th April (a lurking sense of unease - relating to criticism of social services). There is a vast amount of excellent work done with children and with problem families but social service departments tend to be understaffed and seriously overworked.
A development which is to be welcomed is that "serious case review" reports will be published - see The Independent 9th June. It appears that some reports will be published retrospectively including Baby P and Khyra Ishaq.
Libel trials: One of the few remaining civil cases where a jury can be summoned is to hear a libel action. Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, is to preside over an appeal against a decision by Tugendhat J to refuse a jury in a libel action which, at the time of the hearing before Tugendhat J, had already cost some £3m. The judge was moved to remark that "costs are now acknowledged to be a chilling effect on freedom of expression" but he nevertheless refused a jury since it would add to the costs further. [Personally, I have often wondered just how much a jury in a civil case does cost? Jurors are hardly paid a fortune for their time and trouble though the argument must be that having to explain matters to a jury lengthens the case and therefore adds to the lawyers costs]. This story is well covered in The Lawyer magazine 8th June. Law and lawyers looked here at the almost astronomical costs which accrue in some forms of litigation. Note: 12th June - the Court of Appeal has ruled No Jury. Reasons remain to be published. Additional Note: 24th June - the claimant decided not to proceed with his libel action - see Solicitors Journal.
Legal challenge to the Child Protection database: The Telegraph carries the story that the Royal College of Nursing is to mount a legal challenge in connection with the child protection database. The politicians have said that they plan to review the "vetting and barring" schemes administered by the Independent Safeguarding Authority.