Saturday, 29 September 2012

Allegations against teachers ~ A remarkable restriction

Addendum 1st October:  Some additional links to media comment

On 1st October 2012, a remarkable piece of legislation comes into force.  It is the Education Act 2011 section 13. In fact, section 13 inserts section 141F into the Education Act 2002.  For information about the 2011 Act see Department for Education.

The new section is headed  - Allegations of offences committed by teachers in England and Wales: reporting restrictions.  The effect is that teachers have become the first group of people in British legal history to be given automatic anonymity when they are accused of a conduct amounting to a criminal offence.

The "mischief" with which the section is intended to address is that sometimes false allegations (e.g. of assaulting a pupil) have been made against teachers with consequential devastating impact on their careers and lives.   Will this legislation create a new trend toward protection of individuals once an allegation involving criminality is made against them?   For instance, the idea of giving anonymity to men accused of rape has been argued from time to time and a plan to grant to such anonymity was abandoned by the government - BBC July 2010.

The new law:

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Lord Chief Justice's Press Conference

The Lord Chief Justice (LCJ) held his annual Press Conference on Thursday 27th September.  It lasted 45 minutes and, quite properly, specific cases could not be discussed.  A transcript of the conference is available via the Judiciary website and some of the items touched upon have already given the media some soundbites!

Long court appeals a 'source of real fury', says Lord Chief Justice - The Guardian 27th September

Burglary is offence against person as well as property, says senior judge - The Guardian 27th September

Hamza farce is a source of real fury to me: Lord Chief Justice hits out at European Court over endless extradition delays - Daily Mail 27th September.

Let us take a closer look at some of the questions and answers.

John Terry and the Regulatory Commission

UPDATE 5th October:  The FA Regulatory Commission decision
Note para 4 of the decision for a point relating to the applicable standard of proof in the FA's hearing.

Footballer John Terry has been found guilty of misconduct by an Independent Regulatory Commission - see the announcement on the FA website.  Mr Terry has rights of appeal and will, no doubt, await the Commission's written findings before taking further advice and making a decision.

The Regulatory Commission has authority in these matters because of the Football Association's Rules and Regulations.   See also Rules of the Association and Laws of the Game.

The Football Association charged Mr Terry on Friday 27 July 2012 with using abusive and/or insulting words and/or behaviour towards Queens Park Rangers’ Anton Ferdinand and which included a reference to colour and/or race contrary to FA Rule E3[2] in relation to the Queens Park Rangers FC versus Chelsea FC fixture at Loftus Road on 23 October 2011.

Rule E3[2] states: 

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A sad and cautionary tale

Whilst the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill was in Parliament, there was a concerted campaign against the coalition government's plans to axe legal aid in many areas of civil law.  Regrettably, the campaign had only minimal success and the Bill duly became law as the 2012 Act.   The cuts to legal aid will kick in during 2013.

The number of individuals (Self-represented litigants) fighting their own cases in courts and tribunals is growing.  Any litigation is full of pitfalls but these are known to those used to the legal system.  Self-representation is particularly problematic since such litigants cannot be expected to know all the complexities of the law and procedure.  One example is COSTS.  Lose the case and costs follow against you like night follows day.  Many do not realise this and, even if they do, most have little knowledge of the amounts involved.  The sums can be considerable and sometimes devastating for all but the very wealthy.

In an earlier post I argued that rights without access to justice can hardly be described as rights at all.  Sadly, in our country, lack of access to justice has worsened.  Most people simply cannot afford the financial risk of seeking to either determine or enforce their legal position.  If they cannot afford to enforce their rights then those rights are effectively worthless.  The rich, the powerful and the unscrupulous hold sway.

The Justice [ ] Gap blog has an excellent post on this topic which I have no hesitation in recommending -The Perils of DIY Law: The high price of Justice - Daniel Hoadley 26th September 2012.  This is a sad and cautionary tale.  Please read it.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Justice and Security Bill ~ gathering the threads

26th September - Updated with additional material

The political and legal philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) wrote - "In the darkness of secrecy, sinister interest and evil in every shape have full swing ... Publicity is the very soul of justice ... it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial."   This famous statement continues to be sorely tested in the U.K.
Parliament is now in recess but, when sittings resume, one of the thorniest issues will be the Justice and Security Bill    The Bill is currently in the House of Lords and sittings there resume on 8th October.

For the government, the Bill is seen as protecting intelligence material provided to the UK by other countries and the government argue that the procedures in the Bill will enable cases to be tried which might otherwise have to be settled at considerable cost without a court making a decision on the evidence.  Opponents to the Bill see it as an attack on the basic principle of open justice and they also argue that it is unfair on litigants who will be unable to see key parts of the government's evidence though it would be disclosed to a "special advocate."   Critics point to the Bill as a means for the government to keep its dirty linen from public view.  There are serious suspicions of involvement by agents of the government in matters such as extraordinary rendition.

It was in Al Rawi v The Security Service and others [2011] UKSC 34 that the Supreme Court held that the court did not have power to order a "closed material procedure" for the whole or part of the trial of a civil claim for damages.  It was for Parliament to act if it was thought necessary.

Green paper:

Abu Hamza ~ Judgment of European Court of Human Rights becomes final

Update 26th September:  In the post below, I wrote that extradition will now be possible unless some other obstacle is either raised or encountered.   Well it has been! - see The Guardian 26th September.   The latest challenge relates to Abu Hamza and Khaled al-Fawwaz.  The -grounds for the challenge against extradition are not publicly known at present though the Guardian's article refers to "new material" and to the possibility that Abu Hamza's health may have deteriorated.  The hearing will be in the High Court on Tuesday 2nd October before Sir John Thomas (President of the Queen's Bench Divisio) and Ouseley J.

Update 27th September:  Take a look at UK Human Rights blog - Abu Hamza wants his passport back.

..... Original post ....

Back in mid-April, this blog looked at the case of Babar Ahmed and others v United Kingdom which was decided on 10th April by the Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights - see the post of 14th April.  The case concerned six men facing extradition to the USA - Babar Ahmed (1st applicant); Haroon Aswat (2nd applicant); Syed Ahsan (3rd); Mustafa Kamal Mustafa (known more commonly as Abu Hamza al-Masri) (4th); Adel Bary (5th); Khaled Al-Fawwaz (6th).   In the United Kingdom, because of almost invariably adverse mainstream media coverage, Abu Hamza (pictured) is the most well-known of the six.

The applicants made two complaints - first that conditions at ADX Florence in the USA (which could be made worse by "special administrative measures") would violate Article 3 and, secondly, if convicted they would face sentences of life imprisonment without parole and/or extremely long sentences of determinate length in violation of Article 3.

Monday, 24 September 2012

On a wet Monday - Contempt of Court Act 1981 section 4

Crown Court at Manchester in the Rain !

At Manchester Crown Court, the Recorder (Judge Andrew Gilbart QC) made an order under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 section 4(2).  This was in relation to the cases of seven men accused of various murders in the Manchester area including Dale Cregan who is accused of four murders including those of two Police Officers at Hattersley, Greater Manchester on Tuesday 18th September.

The 1981 Act begins by defining the so-called "Strict Liability rule" as "the rule of law whereby conduct may be treated as a contempt of court as tending to interfere with the course of justice in particular legal proceedings regardless of intent to do so."   Section 2 of the Act is concerned with limiting the scope of the strict liability rule.  Section 3 provides for a defence of innocent publication or distribution.

For the purposes of contempt of court, proceedings are deemed to be "active" from the time of certain "initial steps" such as arrest without warrant - see 1981 Act Schedule 1.

Friday, 21 September 2012

The Chief Coroner's Ten Point Plan

Update 29th October:  Speech by the Chief Coroner - Howard League for Penal reform - Parmoor Lecture - The Coroner System in the 21st century

Update 17th October: An example of the Chief Coroner sitting on a judicial review see R (Kent County Council) v HM Coroner for Kent [2012] EWHC 2768 (Admin)


The newly appointed Chief Coroner for England and Wales is Peter Thornton QC - see earlier post of 18th September.  He has addressed the Coroners' Society of England and Wales - see Judiciary.  In the speech he said that the 2009 Act was not the "most radical of documents in terms of change" but at the heart of it was something new: the creation of a Chief Coroner post and a new system of appeals to the Chief Coroner.  The appeals system will not be implemented.  The Chief Coroner set out what he described as his Ten point Plan.  Here is an outline of those points - the full speech is interesting and merits a full reading:

1. Coroners and Justice Act 2009 - most of the Coroner provisions are expected to come in to force in June 2013.  The Chief Coroner will oversee implementation.  In this part of the speech, the Chief Coroner highlighted some of the changes the Act will bring about:

Coroner Areas instead of Districts - initially 111 Areas to be reduced to 97 in the short term but the Lord Chancellor has power to create larger or combined areas where appropriate.  (Comment: One can therefore expect the number of separate Areas to be reduced significantly over time.  This would mirror the process which has been on-going with Magistrates' Court local justice areas).

Three types of Coroner - Senior Coroner, Area Coroner and Assistant Coroner - (the Chief Coroner said that "Area Coroner" was confusing and it might have been preferable to refer to them as Deputies)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Human Rights ~ Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection

The Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights has handed down judgment in James, Wells and Lee v United Kingdom - Judgment.   It concerns three men who were given Indeterminate sentences of imprisonment for public protection - "IPP."   So, what had these men been up to?

The offences:

James - On 28 September 2005 Mr James pleaded guilty in the Crown Court to unlawful wounding with intent. He had previous convictions for, among other things, battery, common assault, affray, disorderly behaviour, racially abusive behaviour and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. A pre-sentencing report dated 27 September 2005 prepared by the Probation Service referred to the offence forming part of a pattern of violence and threatening behaviour largely linked to Mr James excessive drinking. It recommended counselling to address alcohol and substance abuse. The sentencing judge accepted that Mr James was dangerous, particularly when he drank alcohol. He was sentenced to an IPP sentence pursuant to section 225 of the 2003 Act, with a tariff of two years, less time spent on remand. His tariff therefore expired one year and 295 days after the date of sentencing.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Abortion ~ R v Sarah Louise Catt

Procuring miscarriage is a criminal offence which carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.  The Offences against the Person Act 1861 section 58:

Administering drugs or using instruments to procure abortion. 

Every woman, being with child, who, with intent to procure her own miscarriage, shall unlawfully administer to herself any poison or other noxious thing, or shall unlawfully use any instrument or other means whatsoever with the like intent, and whosoever, with intent to procure the miscarriage of any woman, whether she be or be not with child, shall unlawfully administer to her or cause to be taken by her any poison or other noxious thing, or shall unlawfully use any instrument or other means whatsoever with the like intent, shall be guilty of felony, and being convicted thereof shall be liable . . .[to imprisonment for life].

At the Crown Court sitting at Leeds, Sarah Louise Catt pleaded guilty to this offence and was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment.  Apart from her guilty plea, the sentence would have been 12 years.  Cooke J sentenced her and he "generously" (his word) gave her the full 1/3 credit although she had maintained her innocence during police interviews but entered a plea at a relatively early point following charge.

The Sentencing Remarks are here and merit full reading.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Coroners - Chief Coroner and updating the system

Chief Coroner - Peter Thornton QC
Coroners and Justice Act 2009

On 17th September, the new Chief Coroner for England and Wales (Judge Peter Thornton QC) finally took office.  As the government cogitated about implementation of the 2009 Act, he was appointed - "unappointed" - and then appointed again!
The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 ('the 2009 Act') contained the almost inevitable provision for "commencement orders" which leave Ministers with the power to implement provisions at times of their choosing - e.g. when necessary resources are in place.  The "flip side" of such orders is that Ministers can avoid implementation and this has happened with several aspects of Part 1 of the 2009 Act which was put in place to bring about some reform of the system of Coroners and Certification of Death.  Coroners Courts are a long-standing system of locally-based courts and they have proved resistant to reform despite serious criticisms being raised from time-to-time. The change of government in 2010 resulted in yet more delay to bringing in the much needed reforms already provided for in the 2009 Act.

Reports leading to the 2009 Act:

Part 1 of the 2009 Act came about following severe criticism of the Coroner and Death certification systems system in reports such as the Fundamental Review of Death Certification and Investigation (2003) and the Shipman Inquiry - Third Report (2003).  A draft Coroners Bill was published in 2006 and received over 150 responses with a summary published in February 2007. The Bill underwent pre-legislative scrutiny with a further report published in November 2006.  There were several other consultations relating to matters such as death certification.  The full list is set out in the explanatory notes to the 2009 Act.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Death of Ian Tomlinson - Harwood dismissed from the Police

It was during the G20 protests in April 2009 that the death of Mr Ian Tomlinson occurred.  After a short misconduct hearing held in public, Simon Harwood - the Police Officer who struck Ian Tomlinson on the left leg with a baton and moments later pushed him to the ground - has been dismissed from the Police for gross misconduct.  Mr Tomlinson was helped to his feet by a member of the public and walked away.  He collapsed a short distance away and died.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission investigation report of 24th August 2010 is a thorough analysis of the events on the day Ian Tomlinson died.

ITV News covered the misconduct hearing held on 17th September 2012.  Simon Harwood accepted that his actions amounted to gross misconduct and it emerged that he had offered to resign on two occasions.  However, Harwood did not accept that his actions inadvertently caused or contributed to Ian Tomlinson's death.

In the event, after submissions by Patrick Gibbs QC (representing Simon Harwood), the hearing decided not to deal with the question of "causation" - see the Metropolitan Police Service Statement 17th September 2012

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Hillsborough ~ Independent Panel ~ No.2

UPDATE 12th October - IPCC announcement

UPDATE 5th October - Retirement announced of Sir Norman Bettison - Chief Constable of South Yorkshire

UPDATE 17th September - The Justice Gap - Mark George QC - Hillsborough and Cover Ups

UPDATES 13th September - Statement from the Attorney-General

and see this post (I'm sorry for Hillsborough) on the Police Inspector Blog


Hillsborough Independent Panel  - Disclosed material and report - a website with all the information

The Hillsborough Independent Panel Report has been published.  It is a lengthy document of 389 pages but a summary may be read at pages 3 to 26.

In the House of Commons, the Prime Minister made a statement and offered the families of the bereaved an unreserved apology - (The Guardian 12th September - Hillsborough disaster: David Cameron apologises for double injustice).  Mr Cameron referred to the report as "deeply disturbing." He emphasised many of the Panel's findings such as the poor state of the stadium at Hillsborough, the failure of the authorities to protect people adequately, the incorrect blaming of the Liverpool fans, the alteration of statements in the possession of South Yorkshire Police, the fact that the Police ran Police National Computer checks on the dead with a view to impuning them, that blood was tested for alcohol including even the blood of children and that the 'deeply controversial' inquest was inadequate.  In particular, there was evidence to show that the 3.15 pm time limit imposed by the Coroner was fundamentally flawed.

Hillsborough ~ Independent Panel ~ No. 1

The Hillsborough debate in Parliament was held on 17th October 2011.  During the debate, the Home Secretary (Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP) clearly stated that the government would do all in its power to establish the truth and fully supported the independent panel under the chairmanship of the Bishop of Liverpool.  No government papers would be withheld.  The panel would oversee disclosure of documents and would report on its work.  The right way forward was for government to release documents to the panel and the families should see them before the public.  There would be full disclosure - uncensored and unredacted save for any redaction considered necessary by the panel after liaising with the families - e.g. to withhold information personal to particular victims.

Today, government papers about the Hillsborough disaster that have remained hidden from the public eye will be released. They are expected to shed more light on what happened on the 15 April 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans died in a crush on the terraces of Sheffield Wednesday’s ground during a FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.  The Hillsborough Independent Panel has scrutinised 400,000 pages of documents for the past 18 months and will issue its report today, with victim’s families being given first access at Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral.

The events at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989 (and certain other disasters) eventually led to major improvements to sports facilities.  Hillsborough also generated an interesting legal legacy concerning - (a)  cases in tort for negligently caused psychiatric illness and (b) the withdrawal of medical treatment (the "Tony Bland" case) - for further see "The Hillsborough disaster and its legal legacy" (written in April 2009).

Questions the Hillsborough Families Support Group wish to see answered - The Guardian 12th September.

Who are the members of the Hillsborough Independent Panel - Liverpool Echo 12th September.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Human Rights - just a little more

Prof Juan Méndez
The right to help eachother:

Following on from the immediately preceding post, I came across a blogpost which seems to really try to get the the basis of what "human rights" are about - Do right, fear no-one! -The right to help eachother.

Here, solicitor Tom Gaisford argues that our discussion of human rights ignores one of our greatest freedoms.  Amongst all the rights defined in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights there is no mention of our freedom to help each other.  Nor has it been characterised as a human right since. Why not? The answer is simple: we have taken it for granted.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) said - "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." 

Concern about the Justice and Security Bill:

Monday, 10 September 2012

Human Rights ~ recent news

Updated 11th September

The European Court of Human Rights - based at Strasbourg - has announced that from 1st November 2012 its President will be Dean Spielmann from Luxembourg.  He will replace the current President - Sir Nicolas Bratza.  Mr Spielmann was born in 1962 and obtained his Bachelor's law degree at the Catholic University of Louvain and went on to obtain a Master of Laws at Cambridge in 1990.  He was a member of the Luxembourg Bar from 1989 to 2004, a member of Luxembourg's Advisory Human Rights Commission (2000-04) and a Member of the European Union Network of Independent Experts in Fundamental Rights (2002-04).  In June 2004 he became a Judge of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Christianity Cases:

At the court, the United Kingdom is now engaged in a number of important cases - see Hudoc.   The cases are Chaplin v UK; Eweida v UK; Ladele v UK; and McFarlane v UK.  The four cases are brought by practising Christians who complain the the law in the UK  does not sufficiently protect their rights to freedom of religion and freedom from discrimination at work.  The hearing at the court held on 4th September was to consider the admissibility of the cases and the merits.  The court's decision will be announced later. 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Uninsured vehicles

In February 2010, the Police power to impound vehicles considered by them to be uninsured was noted - see Police Powers No.1 (16th February 2010).

The Manchester Evening News has now noticed that fines for driving without insurance do not usually come anywhere near the cost of actually insuring the vehicle - Uninsured drivers in Greater Manchester fined LESS than the cost of insurance.  The article states that the average fine in Greater Manchester was £256 or three times less than the average cost of insurance.  No doubt this picture will be replicated nationally.  The dilemma the court faces is that any financial penalty it can properly impose on the relatively feckless offender is usually substantially below the cost of insurance.

DirectGov states that there are around two million uninsured drivers on British roads and that they add some £380 million to the overall insurance bill paid by honest drivers.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Questions of Human Mortality ~ Will Parliament act or will the judges have to ?

Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe
Updated 8th October:

In the Nicklinson case, the Administrative Court refused a certificate for an appeal to the Court of Appeal - see ruling on ancillary applications

An appeal to the Court of Appeal was allowed in the Martin case. 

Updated 7th September

Judgment in the case of Nicklinson v Ministry of Justice [2012] EWHC 2381 (Admin) Toulson LJ; Royce and Macur JJ was handed down on 16th August 2012.  Mr. Nicklinson died on 22nd August - see BBC 22nd August.  The same judgment also concerned the case of a man referred to as Martin.

In his judgment, at paragraph 2, Lord Justice Toulson stated:

"Put simply, the claimants suffer from catastrophic physical disabilities but their mental processes are unimpaired in the sense that they are fully conscious of their predicament. They suffer from "locked in syndrome". Both have determined that they wish to die with dignity and without further suffering but their condition makes them incapable of ending their own lives. Neither is terminally ill and they face the prospect of living for many years."

In an earlier post on this blog it was noted that Charles J had given permission for the Nicklinson case to go ahead to a full hearing - (judgment of Charles J).  That post looked at the tricky question of whether the judges would "cross the Rubicon" and decide in Mr Nicklinson's favour and the post concluded that it was unlikely that they would do so.  Although all the judges expressed great sympathy for Mr Nicklinson, they refused to alter the law and stated that it was a matter for Parliament.

Only a few weeks after this judgment was handed down, Supreme Court Justice Lord Walker of Gestingthorpe spoke in Australia about the role of judges and the extent to which they felt able to amend the law.  Whilst his speech does not cover the Nicklinson case, it is nevertheless of considerable interest.  First, a brief look at what the judges said in relation to Martin and Tony Nicklinson's cases.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

A Northern Viewpoint ~ Recommended reading for a new Lord Chancellor ~ The Rule of Law ~ The Independence of the Judiciary

"The independence of the judiciary is something which is precious to every single member of the community" - Sir Igor Judge in evidence to Parliament 1st May 2007.

Now that Mr Grayling MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, he may well be tempted to "hit the ground running" and "engage in out of the box thinking" so as to take justice "to the next level" as people sometimes say in modern management jargon.  "At this point in time", the policies which Mr Grayling will pursue remain to be revealed and, as yet, I am not able to even offer "a heads up" view of what they might be but I guess that we won't be waiting too long for some of them to emerge from the Ministry of Justice.  However, writing more in hope than actual expectation, I would urge Mr Grayling to consider a few matters before he gets stuck in to his duties.

1.  A reminder of what was said many years ago to King James I of England (VI of Scotland) in the famous case of Prohibitions del Roy 1607.     Chief Justice Coke said - " .... law .... requires long study and experience, before that a man can attain to the cognizance of it ...."

It will be imperative that

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Meet the new Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor

Update 7th September:  see The Guardian for a video of Liberty's Shami Chakrabarti talking about the appointment of Mr Grayling and the legacy of Kenneth Clarke.

It is to be noted that Clarke continues in the government as Minister without Portfolio and he will steer the Justice and Security Bill through the House of Commons.

Mr Chris Grayling MP has been appointed as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor.  His wikipedia entry is here.  It seems likely that, politically speaking, this is a move to to the right following the tenure of Kenneth Clarke QC MP.  The actual policies which Mr Grayling will embrace remain to be seen but some interesting challenges lie ahead including the prisoner voting issue and full implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.  His stance vis-a-vis the European Court of Human Rights will bear watching closely as will any plans which emerge for a British Bill of Rights.  Perhaps a speech by Mr Grayling in 2009 points the way ahead?

A very important element of the Lord Chancellor's role is protecting the independence of the judiciary - see 2005 Act section 3 - "The Lord Chancellor, other Ministers of the Crown and all with responsibility for matters relating to the judiciary or otherwise to the administration of justice must uphold the continued independence of the judiciary."  Mr Grayling will be required to take the Lord Chancellor's oath:

“I, Name , do swear that in the office of Lord High Chancellor of Great Britain I will respect the rule of law, defend the independence of the judiciary and discharge my duty to ensure the provision of resources for the efficient and effective support of the courts for which I am responsible.  So help me God.”

Mr Grayling is not a lawyer.

Monday, 3 September 2012

New squatting law in force 1st September

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 section 144 creates a new criminal offence relating to "squatting."  The section came into force on 1st September 2012.  For details of the legislation see the earlier post of 9th May - LASPO - Part 3 Chapter 9 - Offences and Criminal Law

Ministry of Justice announcement.

The new offence is a "bolt on" to the existing law in this tricky area.  Thus, the existing provisions in the Criminal Law Act 1977 continue in force.  It may well have been preferable for the law to have been completely overhauled.  The Nearly Legal blog takes a look at some of the problems.

The Ministry of Justice has issued Circular 2012/04 "Offence of Squatting in a residential building."   The purpose of the circular is stated to be:

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Lord Dyson to be Master of the Rolls

Lord Dyson - presently a Justice of the Supreme Court - will become Master of the Rolls on 1st October 2012 - Announcement from No. 10.   This is an ancient office but, in modern times, the Master of the Rolls presides over the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) and is Head of Civil Justice - see Judiciary website.

Also on 1st October, the present Master of the Rolls (Lord Neuberger) becomes President of the Supreme Court - (earlier post).

Lord Dyson's move will open up another vacancy on the Supreme Court - see UK Supreme Court blog.  In addition, Lords Hope and Walker are due to retire in 2013.  (Article in The Guardian 19th July by Joshua Rozenberg).

Recent predecessors as Master of the Rolls are Lord Denning who held the office from 1962 to 1982, Lord Donaldson (1982-92), Lord Bingham (1992-96), Lord Woolf (1996-2000), Lord Phillips (2000-2005) and Lord Clarke (2005-09).  Lord Neuberger has been Master of the Rolls since 2009.

Lords Bingham, Woolf and Phillips also held the office of Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.  Lord Clarke is now a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Biographies of the Justices of the Supreme Court.