Saturday, 17 July 2010

That was the week that was ...

This week has seen some interesting matters.  The present government has said that  the return of convicted Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi to Libya was a "mistake" - see The Guardian 16th July.  Of course, they mean that it was a mistake made by either the previous government or the Scottish administration or both.  I suspect that the British people would have kept him inside and so would the Americans.  I also acknowledge that there were doubts about his guilt but those will never be resolved since, not long before his release, he abandoned his appeal to the Scottish High Court of Justiciary.  [See Jim Swire's blog].  This story is a dark and complex mix of domestic and international politics, massive commercial interests and it is one in which the major loser is probably the concept of "justice".  See The Independent 18th July - "The Megrahi affair: Blair, BP and the Libyan Link".  Maybe I will do more on this topic later.

The "Yorkshire Ripper" is not to be released - so said Mitting J in the High Court.  Very few murderers receive a "whole life tariff".  I think this one is deserved.  Here is the judgment of the High Court.

There is to be a judicial review of the government's refusal to hold a public inquiry into detention policies in Iraq.  There are substantial reasons to believe that a considerable number of civilians were subjected to torture or inhumane treatment.  The whole business of the (arguably illegal) Iraq War and subsequent occupation is likely to continue to raise serious questions for years to come about Britain's real commitment to international law and human rights.  Read here the High Court's decision to grant a judicial review.

Then there was the release to the High Court of documents which appear to show the British government of the day having a quite abysmal attitude to the idea of rendition of even British citizens to Guantanamo Bay and to the ill-treatment of detainees.   These "legacy detainee issues" are discussed further here.

The leader of the Bar Council is calling for the government to alter the law about possession of drugs. This is a complex situation but his call is for the government / parliament to address the issue.  See the Charon QC blog for more on this.

The Trinity Law Term draws to a close on 30th July 2010.  The next Law Term (Michaelmas) commences 1st October.  By then, the "new" Supreme Court of the U.K. will be due its first "school report".  Let's wait and see what the various commentators have to say about their performance.

There is a lot going on .... we live in interesting (even if cash-strapped) times.  It seems more than a week since Spain won the World Cup.

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