Thursday, 18 July 2013

Roundup Thursday 18th July

Here is a miscellany of items of general legal interest.

Marriage:  Perhaps THE major development is the enactment of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 - (PARLIAMENT).  Analysis of this will follow in a separate post.  Most of the Act remains to be brought into force by means of Commencement Orders.

Legal Aid: The Justice Committee has decided to issue a report on Transforming Legal Aid.  This follows the committee’s two recent oral evidence sessions – one with representatives of the professional bodies and one with the Lord Chancellor.  The Transforming Legal Aid proposals have attracted what appears to be almost universal condemnation and so it will be of major interest to see the views of the committee.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has asked for evidence to be submitted regarding the government's legal aid proposals - (HERE).   Written evidence is requested by 27th September and hearings will take place in October.  The committee has requested that the government do not proceed with changes until the committee has reported.



PRISM: The Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, the Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP, has issued a statement regarding GCHQ’s alleged interception of communications under the US PRISM Programme'It has been alleged that GCHQ circumvented UK law by using the NSA’s PRISM programme to access the content of private communications. From the evidence we have seen, we have concluded that this is unfounded.' 

'Although we have concluded that GCHQ has not circumvented or attempted to circumvent UK law, it is proper to consider further whether the current statutory framework  governing access to private communications remains adequate,'


Arms:  The UK's enormous trade in arms has been the subject of a report by the Committee on Arms Export Controls.  For the first time, the Committee's Report details for each of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s 27 named Countries of Human Rights concern the number of extant strategic export licences for each country, their value (where provided by the Government) and the nature of the strategic exports that have been approved.  Interestingly, the report comes soon after the UK signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty - (AMNESTY).

Law in Focus:  On Youtube, Nicola Padfield (Reader in Criminal and Penal Justice, Cambridge University) may be seen talking about the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Vinter and others v UK (Whole Life Sentences and Review)  and also the Supreme Court decision in R (Sturnham) v Parole Board [2013] UKSC 47 - HERE.  This is part of a number of similar items prepared by Cambridge University under the heading Law in Focus.

Terrorism:  A report on Terrorism legislation has been issued by the Independent Reviewer (David Anderson QC) - HERE

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