Friday, 26 February 2016

A few items of interest

A few items of interest:

Watch the Lord Chief Justice giving evidence to the Justice Committee on 23rd February about his 2015 annual report.

For an excellent and hard-hitting view of what the Lord Chief Justice had to say see Marilyn Stowe - Lord Chief Justice and the Future of Law

The 2016 Annual Report by the Senior President of Tribunals is also available.

Offences against the person:

The Law Commission has published recommendations relating to Offences against the person with a view to modernisation of the law.

Joint enterprise:

Following the Supreme Court decision in R v Jogee, there has been an incredible amount of comment.  London Review of Books by Francis Fitzgibbon QC on Joint Enterprise is well worth reading. Francis Fitzgibbon acted for one of the Interveners in the Jogee case - Just for Kids Law

Reports on the Savile and Hall Investigations:

The BBC Trust has published in full the report by Dame Janet Smith DBE of her inquiry into the BBC’s culture and practices during the Jimmy Savile and Stuart Hall years.

The Review was established in October 2012 to conduct an impartial, thorough and independent review of the culture and practices of the BBC during the years that Jimmy Savile worked there.  A further investigation, into the conduct of Stuart Hall, was undertaken by Dame Linda Dobbs DBE, and is published as part of the report.

Cohabitation: Parliamentary Briefing:

Between 1996 and 2015 the number of opposite sex cohabiting couple families has doubled, from around 1.5 million in 1996 to around 3.1 million in 2015. In 1996, around 10% of all opposite sex couple families were cohabiting (rather than married) compared with 20% in 2015.

Between 1996 and 2015 the number of same sex cohabiting couples increased from around 16,000 to 90,000, which is an increase of around 460%. However, this figure understates the true extent of growth in same sex couple families, because the introduction of civil partnerships in December 2005 and of same sex marriage in March 2014 means some same sex couple families are no longer recorded as cohabiting.

These statistics are from a Parliamentary Research Briefing "Common Law Marriage" and Cohabitation (SN03372).  This material is worth reading for an overview of the state of the present state of the law.  Although cohabitants do have some legal protection in several areas, cohabitation gives no general legal status to a couple, unlike marriage and civil partnership from which many legal rights and responsibilities flow.  Many people are unaware that there is no specific legal status for what is often referred to as a “common law marriage”.  This is the case no matter how long the couple lived together and even if they had children together. This paper sets out information about how the current law affects cohabiting couples in these areas: property rights; housing; domestic violence; inheritance; social security; pensions; taxation; immigration; birth registration; and parental responsibility.

Although the Law Commission has made recommendations in this area, Parliament has not taken them up.

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