Monday, 12 February 2018

Brexit negotiations as at 9th February

Here is the Speech of 9th February by Michel Barnier (EU Chief Negotiator on Brexit). Mr Barnier said that - "Throughout this negotiation, you will not find in our attitude or in my attitude – on this subject, or on others – the least trace of discourtesy or willingness to punish. My mind set has been completely the opposite since the beginning of this negotiation and it will continue being so until the last day of the negotiation."   The Speech touches upon:

Thursday, 8 February 2018

In the courts

Updated 13th February re Julian Assange 

A few recent cases .....

Venables -

In 1993, Jon Venables (aged 35) was convicted - along with Robert Thompson - of the murder of two-year old James Bulger.  The murder took place on 12th February 1993.  Thompson and Venables were aged 10 at the time and so had reached the age of criminal responsibility set by the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.s50 (as amended).  This age was raised from 8 to 10 in 1963.  At the time of their trial the presumption of "doli incapax" applied though this was successfully rebutted by the prosecution.  This presumption was abolished by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 s.34.

Recently, Venables pleaded guilty to 3 counts of making indecent photographs of children - (Protection of Children Act 1978 s.1) - and one offence of possession of a paedophile manual - Serious Crime Act 2015 s.69.   On 7th February 2018, he was sentenced by Mr Justice Edis to a total of 40 months imprisonment.  Venables remains on lifelong licence in connection with the murder of James Bulger and it will be a matter for the Parole Board to decide whether it is safe to release him after he has served this latest sentence.  See the Sentencing Remarks via the Judiciary website.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Court of Session (Outer House) ~ Unilateral revocation of Art 50 notice

Court of Session Edinburgh
Update - see Good Law Project 9th February 2018 regarding an appeal and see Joint Note by Counsel for the Petitioners 

Scotland's Court of Session (Outer House) has refused permission to petitioners who sought judicial review on the issue of the unilateral revocability of Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union - see the opinion of Lord Doherty 6th February 2018.  There is a possibility that the decision will be appealed.

The petitioners wished to ascertain whether, as a matter of EU Law, a notification of withdrawal under Article 50 TEU may be unilaterally withdrawn by the State which gave the notification.  Legal opinion has varied considerably on this point - please see earlier posts 23rd July 2017 and 20th October 2017.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Centenary of the Representation of the People Act 1918

The Representation of the People Act 1918 came into law a century ago today (6th February) and gave to some women the right to vote.  The legislation came about after a lengthy and difficult political struggle and the contribution of women to the war effort during World War I played a major part.  The struggle and the campaigns by Suffragists and Suffragettes are well-described by Parliament - Women and the Vote. and also by HerStoria - An overview of the Votes for Women campaign.

The Representation of the People Act 1918  was, according to a contemporary author, the most successful piece of domestic legislation ever passed by Parliament.  Barrister Sylvain Mayer KC wrote in his book on the 1918 Act:

Intimidation in Public Life

In December 2017 the Committee on Standards in Public Life published a report - "Intimidation in Public Life" (Cm 9543).  The report was debated in the House of Commons on 18th December where the Home Secretary (Amber Rudd MP) said - "The report demonstrates that a significant proportion of candidates in the 2017 general election experienced harassment, abuse and intimidation, and that the widespread use of social media platforms is the most significant factor driving the behaviour that we are seeing. Worryingly, this is already affecting the ways in which MPs are relating to their constituents, and has put off candidates who would otherwise want to stand for public office."

The report points to "the increasing prevalence of intimidation of Parliamentary candidates, and others in public life."  "A significant proportion of candidates at the 2017 general election experienced harassment, abuse and intimidation.  There has been persistent, vile and shocking abuse, threatened violence including sexual violence, and damage to property."

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Brexit - Constitution Committee Report - Delegated Powers, Scrutiny, Devolution

After two days of debate with 190 speakers, the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on 31st January - Hansard Online.

The House of Lords Constitution Committee report published on 29th January is probably the most detailed available analysis of the Bill.  The report may be read via the Constitution Committee website - 9th Report Session 2017-19.   This follows the committee's preliminary (7th March 2017) and interim (7th September 2017) reports.