Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The Ian Tomlinson case - a manslaughter prosecution: Victims Commissioner: Fixed Term Parliaments and other Bills

Politicians at G20 in 2009
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that there is to be a prosecution for manslaughter in relation to the death of Mr Ian Tomlinson.  P.C. Simon Harwood is to be charged.  It is a matter of public record that the inquest jury returned a verdict of unlawful killing but a Coroner's court is not permitted to determine questions of criminal or civil liability.  Since criminal proceedings are now active it is not permissible to comment further on the case - see the CPS statement relating to the prosecution.

The families of Victims of Crime:

The Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses - Louise Casey - has pointed out that families who have lost loved ones under terrible circumstances are facing costs of £37,000 on average as they struggle to pick up the pieces - see Ministry of Justice 11th May 2011.

Fixed term Parliaments:

Some time ago, Law and Lawyers
took an initial look at the Fixed Term Parliaments Bill.  In the House of Lords, a very significant amendment to the Bill was secured.  Clause 1 of the Bill now reads:

Polling days for parliamentary general elections 

(1) This section applies for the purposes of the Timetable in rule 1 in Schedule 1 to
the Representation of the People Act 1983 and is subject to section 2. 

(2) The polling day for the next parliamentary general election after the passing of
this Act is to be 7 May 2015. 

(3) If, but only if, a resolution to this effect is approved by each House of the
Parliament in question, the polling day for a subsequent parliamentary general
election is to be the first Thursday in May in the fifth calendar year following
that in which the polling day for the previous parliamentary general election

The effect of the new Clause 1(3) is that the fixed 5 year term will only apply to the present Parliament.  After the next General Election it would be necessary for the new Parliament to pass a resolution before it could also have a fixed 5 year term. The Third Reading is in the Lords is today - 24th May.  The Bill will then return to The Commons for consideration of Lords amendments.  It remains to be seen whether Claus 1(3) survives this process.

Other Bills - what is happening?

The Public Bodies Bill has gone through the Lords and is now in the Commons.  This related to what was termed "Bonfire of the Quangos" and which, as originally drafted, handed extensive Henry VIII powers to Ministers.  See A Breathtaking Bill of which even Henry VIII would have been proud - and also the second post on the Bill.    The European Union Bill - (see Law and Lawyers) - has passed through the Commons and is at Committee Stage in the Lords.

The Protection of Freedoms Bill - which Law and Lawyers looked at extensively - is still in The Commons with the date of Report Stage to be announced.   Law and Lawyers - Protection of Freedoms Bill - No. 1 ... No.2   ... No. 3  ...  No. 4 ... No. 5 ... No. 6 ...  No. 7 and No. 8 

A Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Bill has been introduced.  See Law and Lawyers 26th January.

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