Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Queen's Speech 9th May 2012

Updated 11th May and 12th May

The Queen delivered the Queen's Speech in the House of Lords.  Details of the speech are available via the No.10 Downing Street website.

19 Bills are referred to in the Speech and these include a Crime and Courts Bill; Defamation Bill; House of Lords Reform Bill and a Justice and Security Bill.  More details of the Bills may be seen at The Guardian "All the Bills and what they mean."  See also "Plans for secret hearings in civil cases brought forward" and "Overhaul of libel law"

Reform of the House of Lords has been the wish of reformers for a very long time - as discussed on an earlier post on this blog - 20th May 2011.  See also the earlier posts on the Justice and Security Green Paper.

The ceremony of the State Opening of Parliament is redolent with history.  The three elements
(Queen: Lords and Commons) making up The Queen in Parliament are to be seen.  Is this time-honoured system anachronistic?  Should there be a move to a more modern form of legislature?  Whatever the answer to such questions, the proposed House of Lords Reform Bill is unlikely to achieve more than some new form of structure for the House of Lords and the powers of the House will remain unchanged since the whole emphasis remains on the "primacy" of the Commons.  In the present difficult economic times, many see the Reform Bill is an unnecessary distraction. 

The Justices of the Supreme Court continue to attend the State Opening even though the Supreme Court is now separate from Parliament.  The judges sit near to the Throne and the Woolsack.  This is where the former Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (the "Law Lords") used to sit during the ceremony.

Text of the Queen's Speech

In March, in the historic Westminster Hall, Her Majesty addressed Parliament on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee

Update 11th May - Articles from the Law Society Gazette 10th May

Justice and Security Bill faces a rough ride - Jonathan Rayner

Crime and Courts Bill to create single county court system - John Hyde

Cautious welcome for Children and Families Bill - Catherine Baksi

Employment bill to set existing changes in legislation - Jonathan Rayner - refers to the Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Bill

Update 12th May

The Guardian - After the Queen's Speech: who will speak for liberty now?  A blanket licence for electronic monitoring could slowly strangle private life. 

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