Sunday, 20 January 2019

Excellent new guide - Pupillage and How to Get It

From time-to-time a well-presented website appears and offers valuable insight into what can be a bewildering, dauntless area.   Pupillage is the final, vocational stage of training for those seeking to practise at the Bar of England and Wales and the Pupillage and How to Get It website has to be regarded as essential reading for all aspiring barristers.

The primary author of the guide,

Friday, 18 January 2019

Taking no deal off the table ?

The withdrawal agreement was rejected but the government survived the vote of no confidence and started to have talks with political party leaders and others about the way forward.  The Labour Party is not engaging in such talks unless "no deal is taken off the table"  but it is said that "no deal" cannot be taken off the table!  Legally, it is possible.

There appears to be no political consensus to hold either a further referendum (which, it is claimed, could take a year to organise) or to revoke the Article 50 notification.  [The issues and timescale for a further referendum were considered in this post a year ago - 18 January 2018].

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.

Updated 17 January

We are certainly living in "interesting times."  The "meaningful vote" was lost by 432 to 202 - a majority against of 230 - (previous post) and see the Hansard record of the debate (here).

After losing the vote, the Prime Minister said - " ... we need to confirm whether the Government still enjoy the confidence of the House. I believe that they do, but given the scale and importance of tonight’s vote it is right that others have the chance to test that question if they wish to do so. I can therefore confirm that if the official Opposition table a confidence motion this evening in the form required by the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, the Government will make time to debate that motion tomorrow."

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Brexit ~ The meaningful vote ~ 15 January 2019

Updated 16 January with result

The day has arrived for what has become known as "the meaningful vote."  MPs have to decide whether to accept or reject the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration negotiated with the EU.   The withdrawal agreement may not be ratified unless the House of Commons votes in favour of it - European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 section 13.

The Order Paper sets out the motion and amendments to it have been proposed.  The Speaker of the House of Commons selects the amendments to be voted on.

Monday, 14 January 2019

Those "reassurances" sought by the Prime Minister

In December, the House of Commons vote on the Withdrawal Agreement and Future Relationship was deferred (previous post) and the Prime Minister said that, having listened to concerns in the Commons about the Ireland/Northern Ireland backstop, she would seek additional reassurances from the EU.

An exchange of letters took place between the Prime Minister and the Presidents of the EU Council (Mr Tusk) and the EU Commission (Mr Juncker). 

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Shenanigans in the Commons as the 'meaningful vote' comes closer

The House of Commons debate on the EU Withdrawal Agreement / Future Relationship commenced on 4 December 2018 and continued on 5 and 6 December.  On 10 December,  the government deferred the vote - (details in this previous post).  The government had realised that it was in danger of losing the vote and wished to seek further assurances from the EU regarding, in particular, the Ireland / Northern Ireland backstop.

On 9 January, a revised timetable was agreed by the House of Commons requiring debate on 9, 10 and 11 January and then, after the weekend, on 14 and 15 January.  The vote is now expected to take place on Tuesday 15 January.

How this revised timetable came about is of some interest and presented to the world further House of Commons procedural shenanigans! 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Brexit - Government loses vote on Finance (No 3) Bill

A short post to keep abreast of developments relating to Brexit.

Finance (No. 3) Bill:

The Finance (No.3) Bill had its House of Commons  Report Stage and Third Reading on Tuesday 8 January 2019.  This is hardly the sort of legislation to get the blood racing but an amendment was introduced by MPs anxious to prevent a "no deal" Brexit.   The amendment succeeded (303 to 296) and so, for the first time since 1978, the government lost a vote on a Finance Bill.  The Guardian 8 January 2019 comments - 'The coalition of high-profile MPs behind the amendment are expected to use the victory as a springboard for further parliamentary action to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU.'  See also iNews 8 January.

Monday, 7 January 2019

Under the Wig

William Clegg QC is Head of Chambers at 2 Bedford Row.  Having acted in numerous cases, including over 100 murder trials, few at the Bar have greater experience of criminal law.  He was approached by Canbury Press to write a book aimed at non-lawyers with a view to demystifying the legal profession, explaining how it works and including material on the more interesting trials he had appeared in.  The result is Under the Wig: A Lawyer's Stories of Murder, Guilt and Innocence - Canbury Press 2018 (ISBN: 978-1-912454-08-2 Hardback).

Here is a fascinating look at some of the most famous cases of recent years including the murder in 1992 of Rachel Nickell on Wimbledon Common for which Colin Stagg was eventually formally acquitted in 1994 after the prosecution withdrew its case against him. 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

New Year Roundup

Here is an early 2019 roundup of news and views.

Parliament - see Bills and Legislation and Committees.    In 2018, 34 Acts of Parliament were enacted - see the full list

Supreme Court - sittings will resume on 15 January and the court's listings up to mid-April (Hilary Term) may be seen HERE.   For a list of all current cases, including those where the court has heard argument but judgment has yet to be handed down, see HERE.