Responsible and sometimes critical comment on topical legal matters of general interest. This blog does not offer legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.
Pro Aequitate Dicere
Tuesday, 18 March 2014
A bit of catching up ....!
Lady Justice Hallett
On the Runs - The Administrative Scheme:
Following consultation with the Lord Chief Justice (Lord Thomas), Theresa Villiers (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland) has appointed Lady Justice Hallett to conduct a review of the so-called "On the Run" Scheme. See the government's announcement of the appointment.
On Tuesday 25 February and on Friday 28 February, the Secretary of State laid before the House statements relating to the decision of Mr
Justice Sweeney, sitting in the Crown Court, in the case of John Downey. In light of the error identified in that case, the
Prime Minister announced on Thursday 27 February that he would appoint a
judge to provide an independent review of the administrative scheme.
A Parliamentary Select Committee has undertaken post legislative scrutiny of the Mental Capacity Act 2005. See the Committee's report via the UK Parliament website. The report is scathing.
The Committee recommended that an independent body be given
responsibility for oversight of the Act in order to drive forward vital
changes in practice. The Committee also found that the controversial
Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), inserted into the Mental
Capacity Act in 2007 by the Mental Health Act, are not fit for purpose.
The Committee is recommending that the DoLS be replaced with legislation
that is in keeping with the language and ethos of the Mental Capacity
Act as a whole.
... and see Supreme Court judgment ...
P (by his litigation friend the Official Solicitor) (FC)
(Appellant) v Cheshire West and Chester Council and another
P and Q (by their litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) (Appellants) v Surrey County Council (Respondent)
A Parliamentary Select Committee has undertaken post legislative scrutiny of the Inquiries Act 2005. This Act was enacted as part of the "was up" process just prior to the 2005 General Election. It has always been a controversial Act given the sweeping powers it grants to Ministers to control almost any aspect of an inquiry operating under the terms of the Act. See the Committee's report via the UK Parliament website. The Committee made 33 recommendations.
The following sentencing remarks will be of interest:
3March2014 - Sentencing for Murder and other related offences
Hoyle v Rogers  EWCA Civ 257 concerned the admissibility in evidence of an Air Accident Investigation Report. The earlier decision of Leggatt J was looked at in a previous blogpost.
R (Howard League for Penal Reform) v Lord Chancellor  EWHC (Admin) 709 - a judicial review of the changes to criminal legal aid for prison
law introduced by the Criminal Legal Aid (General) (Amendment)
Regulations 2013, SI 2013 No 2790. The challenges failed but the Secretary of State for Justice / Lord Chancellor (Chris Grayling MP) ought to sleep with the closing words of Cranston J in his mind:
'We can well understand the concerns ventilated through
these claims. A range of impressive commentators have argued that the
changes to criminal legal aid for prison law in the Criminal Aid
(General) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, SI 2013, No 2790 will have
serious adverse effects for prisoners. But we simply cannot see, at
least at this point in time, how these concerns can arguably constitute
unlawful action by the Lord Chancellor. For the time being the forum
for advancing these concerns remains the political. Permission is given
to cite this judgment.'