Thursday, 25 July 2013

500,000 +

Yippee!!!  Yesterday, the blog exceeded 500,000 page views.  Many thanks to all readers.  Hopefully, I will be plodding on for some time yet.

In that vein,what is in the news?

1) Sergeant Danny Nightingale is to be sentenced this morning. Previous posts 30th June 2013 and 2nd July 2013    Update: Sentenced to 2 years detention - sentence suspended for 12 months).  Sentencing remarks HERE.

2) Parliament has begun to realise that a sound strategy is required for Forensic Science - HERE and see BBC 25th July.  The Forensic Science Service (FSS) was closed down by the coalition government on 31st March 2012.  This Parliamentary report has a 'too little too late' feel about it.  The government cannot claim that it was not warned of the risks.  For example, Law and Lawyers 28th December 2010 drew attention to a letter to The Times (28th December 2010) from some 33 eminent scientists urging the government to rethink the closure of the service.

The Justice Gap blog has an interesting item on this.

3) Important changes to Coroners Courts come into force today - BBC News 25th July
and Ministry of Justice   The changes are helpfully summarised by BLM-Law with links to the various orders and regulations.  These reforms have arrived after a long process of equivocation on the part of the government about implementation of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.

4) There is to be a change of Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who heads the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).  The new DPP will be Alison Saunders - Law Society Gazette 23rd July.  The new appointment will commence in October.

5) Has there been some muddled thinking in the Supreme Court of the UK?  Read the interesting post at Public Law for Everyone

6) An important decision of the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) regarding allowances paid to foster carers - R(X) v London Borough of Tower Hamlet  The opening paragraph of the judgment sets the scene:

X is the foster mother of her two nephews and one niece. In the Administrative Court, Males J began his judgment by describing her as "one of the unsung heroines of our society": [2013] EWHC 480 (Admin), at paragraph 1. No one would disagree with that. In these judicial review proceedings she is challenging the policy and practice of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (the Council) whereby she, as a family foster carer, receives less money than she would receive as an unrelated foster carer looking after the same children. Males J concluded that the Council's policies are unlawful "to the extent that they discriminate on the grounds of the pre-existing relationship with the child between family and unrelated family carers": paragraph 115. He reached this conclusion as a matter of domestic public law and did not determine an alternative ground of challenge based on Article 14, in conjunction with Article 8, of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The Court of Appeal has agreed with the decision of Males J.

At para. 39 - ' ... it is impossible to say that Males J reached a wrong conclusion ... The statutory guidance has at its heart a policy that, absent cogent reasons, there should be no differentials between family and unrelated foster carers.

7) On 22nd July, Lady Hale was sworn in as Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the UK.  The brief ceremony may be viewed on Youtube.

8) Forthcoming judgments in the Supreme Court will include an interesting point on road traffic law - HERE.

9) The Marilyn Stowe blog highlights an important development in family justice - HERE.  The President of the Family Division is “... determined to take steps to improve access to and reporting of family proceedings.'  He is '... determined that the new Family Court should not be saddled, as the family courts are at present, with the charge that we are a system of secret and unaccountable justice.”  For more on this see Local Government Lawyer and View from the President's Chambers.

10) The UK Human Rights blog draws attention to the case of Black and Morgan v Wilkinson [2013] EWCA Civ 820 in which the court decided that owners of a B and B acted unlawfully by discriminating against a gay couple.  Permission has been granted for an appeal to the Supreme Court.

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