Saturday, 20 November 2010


This has been a very busy week in the law.  The "big" announcements were those relating to reform of legal aid and costs and the settlement of the Al Rawi litigation.  In the latter case, the government preferred to settle the case and pay undisclosed (but very probably large) sums to the claimants rather than have further evidence heard in the courts relating to allegations of complicity in torture.  The present government clearly wishes to "draw a line under" and "move on from" these detainee legacy issues.  The taxpayer will not get to know even the total sum paid since the whole matter is under the wraps of a legally binding confidentiality agreement.

The Secretary of State for Justice then announced that a "Green Paper" will be issued in 2011 which will address security issues relating to legal proceedings and will ensure that things remain as secret as possible.

The Secretary of State for Justice went along to the Joint Committee on Human Rights and gave evidence - see Democracy Live.  There is an interesting though lengthy video of the proceedings.

The Home Office announced some new arrangements relating to Stop and Search and claimed that thousands of Police hours will be saved as a result - see here

Lord Justice Leveson delivered a speech about the use of Expert Evidence (here) and Lord Justice Gross spoke about - "National Security and the Courts."  For a news article about Lord Justice Leveson's speech see Telegraph 19th November.

The wedding of HRH Prince William and Kate Middleton is to take place in 2011.  This produced a certain amount of comment about "pre-nuptial agreements."  Would they actually require one?  On this, see The Guardian - AfuaHirsch's Law Blog.

The Lord Chief Justice - in a rather "dramatic" statement - has said that "tweets and the internet" could lead to the end of the jury system - see The Guardian 19th November.   The present Lord Chief Justice is a supporter of trial by jury and he is clearly very concerned about matters such as jurors doing their own internet research or "tweeting" about the case.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority, Bar Standards Board and Institute of Legal Executives have commenced a joint review of legal education.  The review comes in the wake of concern over the high number of students entering the profession compared to the number of training places.  See Solicitors Journal.  

Perhaps the least noticed story of the week was the important Redfern Report.  Nothing is more distressing than the death of a loved one.  To find later that the deceased's organs were removed with out the knowledge of consent of the family is quite appalling.  This happened in relation to workers in the nuclear power industry in the period 1955-1992 but the practice did not come to light until 2007.  An inquiry under the Chairmanship of Michael Redfern QC investigated the matter and a lengthy report is available.  The full report runs to some 693 pages - see here. The report may be seen via the Redfern Inquiry website.  Further information at DECC.

The picture at the top of this post is the team which produced "That was the week that was" (or TW3) back in 1962-3.


  1. Milicent Martin and TW3 - oh happy days!

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