Thursday 18 January 2018

Short round-up ~ Various items

Updated 19th and 20th January

Lord Chancellor sworn in -

18th January 2018 - The new Secretary of State for Justice has been sworn in as Lord Chancellor.  Previous post 9th January.  The principal speeches were:

Transforming the Court Estate -

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on Transforming the Court Estate also on certain further court closure proposals.  All the details are on the MoJ website - HERE. Magistrates' Courts at Banbury, Maidenhead, Cambridge, Chorley, Fleetwood,  Northallerton are on the list as well as County Court locations at Banbury and Wandsworth and the Crown Court site at Blackfriars.

The Worboys case - 

The Parole Board Chairman - Professor Nick Hardwick - has responded to concerns raised by the Worboys case.  Previous post.

See the Lord Chancellor's statement to the House of Commons 9th January.  It was subsequently reported that the Lord Chancellor was considering judicial review proceedings in relation to the Parole Board's decision - The Independent 13th January reporting that - "A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said: “The Secretary of State commissioned mid-last week advice on the plausibility and the prospect of success in a judicial review.  He would only be minded to move forward on a Judicial Review if there was a reasonable prospect of success.”   On 19th January, in a further statement to Parliament. the Lord Chancellor said that, having taken legal advice, he would not be seeking judicial review but he has "expanded the terms of reference of the review to include consideration of the law, policy, guidance and practice relating to challenges to Parole Board decision-making."

Suicide Act 1961 s.2(1) -

Mr Noel Douglas Conway has been granted permission to appeal - see Judiciary website for the Court of Appeal's reasons for granting permission.  Previous post 7th October 2017.  Mr. Conway sought a declaration under section 4(2) of the Human Rights Act 1998 that section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961is incompatible with his rights under article 8 of the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights'

Brexit -

The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill completed its 3rd reading in the House of Commons and now moves to the House of Lords.   See the Bill as introduced to the House of Lords. Also, this tracked version shows the changes made during the Bill's progress through the House of Commons.

The President of the European Council (Mr Donald Tusk) and the President of the European Commission both expressed the view that Brexit may be reversed - The Independent 17th January.  I don't think it has been doubted that the Article 50 notice could be withdrawn by agreement with the EU but the question as to whether it may be unilaterally withdrawn is a legal question on which opinion has differed.  For two opposite views see EU Law Analysis 16th January.  Previous posts - 23rd July 2017 and 20th October 2017.

A discussion of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Implementation of the EU Withdrawal Agreement appears via 2 posts on the UK Constitutional Law Group blog.

Whether a further Brexit Referendum is feasible is considered on this post at the UCL Constitution Unit website and please see Previous post.

A report prepared for the Mayor of London - indicates that a 'no deal' hard Brexit could lead to a lost decade or longer of significantly lower growth.

A report -  Scotland's Place in Europe: People, Jobs and Investment (15th January) - presents the latest analysis by the Scottish Government of the implications for Scotland’s economy if the UK exits the European Union. Our conclusions are stark: Brexit will significantly weaken our economy and result in lower economic growth and lower incomes than otherwise.

The EU has published a series of documents as part of the European Commission's approach to transparency on Article 50 negotiations with the UK - see HERE

Forensic Science -

The Forensic Science Regulator has issued her annual report - HERE.  Regulator Dr Gillian Tully warns that the cuts highlighted last year have continued in the sector, with serious consequences.

Grenfell Tower Inquiry -

The Inquiry continues to be holding "procedural hearings" and the next one will be toward the end of February 2018 - see this announcement.  The Inquiry’s work will continue in the meantime, including analysis of the written documents received so far.

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