Thursday, 13 June 2013

Legal news in brief

Supreme Court UK
* Two cases concerned with prisoners and voting have been heard in the Supreme Court of the UK - R (on the application of Chester) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Justice (Respondent) and McGeoch (AP) (Appellant) v The Lord President of the Council and another (Respondents) (Scotland).  See Prisoner Voting: Murderers challenge ban - BBC 10th June 2013.

* Three Supreme Court judgments were handed down on Tuesday 11th June: In the matter of B (A Child) - (Youtube); Petrodel Resources Ltd v Prest - (Youtube); Ust-Kamenogorsk - (Youtube).   For a view of the Petrodel case see the article by Chris Bryden (barrister at 4KBW) - Solicitors Journal - Prest: transfer of assets to corporate stuctures will be harder to challenge

The 8 year prison sentence imposed on Sarah Louise Catt has been reduced to three and a half years - The Guardian 12th June 2013.   Catt was sentenced for procuring a miscarriage - Offences against the Person Act 1861 s.58.  Law and Lawyers considered the case at the time and formed the view that the sentence was too high.

Michael Brewer's appeal against his 6 year sentence for 5 counts of indecent assault on Frances Andrade has been dismissed - Manchester Evening News 12th June.  This appeal
was devoid of merit.  For details of the case please see Special Measures in Criminal Proceedings 11th February 2013.  Andrade declined the offer of special measures.  Following the trial, she took her own life.

When is an 'expert' required in family proceedings?  On this, read Re H-L (A Child) [2013] EWCA Civ 655.

A new and FREE Handbook on ECHR and EU law on Asylum, Borders and Immigration has been published.  This is a cooperative project between the European Court of Human Rights and the Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union.   The very idea that something should be published informing individuals about the law did not go down well in some quarters. As the UK Human Rights blog says -  In a paradoxical explosion of free publicity for said book, the Daily Express reported that a new online guide to European asylum and immigration has caused “outrage” for helping “migrants claim British benefits”.

As cuts to legal aid and access to justice bite ever deeper it must be a right and proper that material is made available to assist those in need in of the law.  The Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has published excellent material for a number of years.

Pursuing the proceeds of crime is a growth area in the modern legal system and, often, rightly so.  However, it can have some serious consequences for others.  There is an interesting, and legally important, Crown Prosecution Service application under Terrorism Act 2000 s23A - see BBC Manchester 12th June .  The Act provides for a court to order forfeiture of property which, at the time of specified offences, was in the possession or control of the convicted person.  However, where the property is a home for others, the convention rights of those others are engaged.

The government has published a Draft Consumer Rights Bill aimed at clarifying the law and reducing the number of separate pieces of legislation.   It's probably a good start but will it lead to people using mobile phones etc. to record what they say to traders?

Sentencing remarks - more and more are being published - Judiciary website.  This is a very welcome development bringing greater transparency about the sentencing process.

Legal Aid - the Senior Judiciary has responded to the Ministry of Justice consultation on Transforming Legal Aid.  Their response is discussed at Law Society Gazette 12th June.

Finally, let's remember fighter for civil rights in the USA Medgar Evers - killed in the USA on 12th June 1963. 

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