Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A brief look back at 2013 ~ A selection of posts

Royal Courts of Justice, London
2013 has been a most interesting year marked by the limitation imposed on civil legal aid by the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012; the on-going fight for legal aid for criminal cases and the ceaseless attacks on the system of human rights protection offered to all of us by the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.  Here are some of the posts on this blog during 2013:


Hillsborough - Fresh Inquests - the question of Article 2 compliance - In December 2012, the original Hillsborough Inquest verdicts were quashed by the High Court.  Progress is being made toward holding the new inquests in 2014.

The trial and execution of Derek Bentley - 60 years on


Special measures in criminal proceedings - trial of Michael Brewer - The story of the late violinist Frances Andrade who did not take special measures when giving evidence against musician Michael Brewer

The Jury - there was criticism of the jury system following the discharge of the first jury to try Vicky Pryce


Getting rid of foreign criminals - The decision in Izuaza sent the Home Secretary into orbit and it was used to attack human rights protection.  These attacks were to become a theme of certain Ministers and, later in the year, even some serving judges joined in the fray compromising, in my opinion, their neutrality.

The Fortnum and Mason protest -  dated back to the March 2011 protest at the famous London shop by supporters of UK UNCUT


Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven - the death of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher brought howls of hatred from those who opposed her.  In this post I tried to take a balanced look at her time in office.

Court of Protection - Overview - always just as step or so away from controversy, this court deals with cases on behalf of those who are unable to make decisions for themselves.  In this post I sought to explain the court and its role.


Privatisation of the courts - The Times on 28th May stirred things up by an article stating that the government was considering "privatisation" of the court system

The real scumbag criminal is still free - this was concerned with the attack on criminal legal aid - lack of well qualified legal representation can lead to miscarriages of justice and also the failure to convict the truly guilty


Responses to the Ministry of Justice consultation on criminal legal aid
 - Some 16000 responses hit the Ministry of Justice in relation to their proposals on criminal legal aid.  The vast majority of commentators were against the proposals.  Here I tried to collate some of the responses which had been published.  The MoJ claimed to have read them all thoroughly.  I wonder?   However, Price Competitive Tendering was dropped. 

Legal Aid - Backbench debate - heavy criticism from the bankbench MPs on the government's criminal legal aid proposals


Vinter and others v UK - the European Court of Human Rights - human rights again - this time on the thorny question of whole life terms for murderers.  The European Court of Human Rights ruled that, whilst such terms might be imposed, there had to be a review after about 25 years to see whether continued detention was necessary on penological grounds.  Here was the classic example of why some politicians hate the E Ct HR.  They argue that if the UK Parliament wishes to impose whole life terms in appropriate cases then that should be that and the E Ct HR should not be interfering.

The Anti-social Behaviour and Crime Bill - a wide ranging criminal justice bill


Detention of David Miranda - detention and questioning under the problematic Terrorism Act 2000 Schedule 9.  The case rumbles on into 2014.

Forced marriage - enforcement of prevention orders


The 60th Birthday of the European Convention on Human Rights

A look at the Michael Turner (aka Le Vell) case - perhaps better known by his stage name "Kevin Webster" this Coronation Street actor was acquitted after trial at the Crown Court in Manchester


We by Our Prerogative Royal will ordain ... - Press Regulation - the Royal Charter - follow up from the Leveson Inquiry held in 2012.

May a whole life sentence be imposed for murder?- back here to the problems arising from the decision in Vinter and others v UK.


The European Charter of Fundamental Rights - another example of "European interference" in national affairs - given the so-called "opt out" is the Charter actually binding in UK courts?  A look at Mostyn J's judgment in R (AB) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 3453 (Admin).

Parliament - Prisoner Voting Evidence - the evidence to Parliament of Secretary-General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland and Dominic Grieve QC the Attorney-General.

Supreme Court - J (Children) - a vastly important decision for family lawyers concerned with care proceedings in relation to children


Very much a month when human rights dominated the headlines because of the views of (in the red corner) Lord Sumption, Lord Justice Laws, Lord Judge and (in the blue corner Lady Hale along with, to some extent, Lord Mance).

My thoughts as a citizen about Lord Sumption's lecture

The Hamlyn Lecture by Lord Justice Laws

Lady Hale on Human Rights Law

The UK Human Rights blog has a very good Review of 2013. Marilyn Stowe's blog has Reflections on 2013 - Part 1 and Part 2.

So there it is.  Here's wishing all readers a very happy New Year 2014.  Thank you for reading the blog and for those who have offered good comments. The court is now adjourned for what remains of 2013 and will resume sittings in the New Year.  ObiterJ. 

1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year ObiterJ. My favourite legal blog, I don't think one of your posts this year has not been worth careful reading and follow-up. Thank you for the time you spend writing it.