Tuesday 21 May 2024

ICC Prosecutor seeks arrest warrants

On 20 May the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (the ICC) announced that he is seeking warrants for the arrest of:

Yahya SINWAR (Head of the Islamic Resistance Movement (“Hamas”) in the Gaza Strip)

Mohammed Diab Ibrahim AL-MASRI, more commonly known as DEIF (Commander-in-Chief of the military wing of Hamas, known as the Al-Qassam Brigades), and 

Ismail HANIYEH ((Head of Hamas Political Bureau).

ALSO, warrants are sought for 

Benjamin NETANYAHU, the Prime Minister of Israel, and 

Yoav GALLANT, the Minister of Defence of Israel

The Prosecutor's (Mr Karim A. A. Khan KC)'s statement is available via the ICC website - Statement of ICC Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan KC: Applications for arrest warrants in the situation in the State of Palestine | International Criminal Court (icc-cpi.int)

Khan explains that the applications are 'the outcome of

Wednesday 15 May 2024

Rv Calocane ~ application by Solicitor General refused

In the early hours of the morning of 13 June 2023, Valdo Calocane went out on the streets of Nottingham, having armed himself with knives. He attacked and killed Barnaby Webber and Grace O'Malley-Kumar, two students walking home from a night out. Just over an hour later, he attacked a school caretaker, Ian Coates, who was on his way to work, killed him and stole his van. He then drove to the city centre, where he deliberately drove the van, at speed, into another man, Wayne Birkett, causing him a serious brain injury. Minutes later he deliberately drove into two other victims, Sharon Miller and Marcin Gawronski, also causing serious injury. These were random attacks: none of his six victims were known to the offender.

On 28th November 2023, in the Crown Court at Nottingham, the offender pleaded guilty to three counts of manslaughter, and three counts of attempted murder.

On 24 January 2024, again at Nottingham Crown Court, the offender was sentenced by Turner J. The unanimous opinion of the medical experts retained by the prosecution and the defence was that the offender was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time when he committed these offences. 

The judge sentenced the offender to

Tuesday 30 April 2024

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 Part 3 + Report by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights

On 1 May 2024, Part 3 of the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 is fully in force.

Part 3 deals with Investigations, legal proceedings etc and release of prisonersThe Explanatory Notes explain the effect of the legislation. 

Part 2 of the Act created an Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) and defined its role and powers.

The effect of Part 3 is to bring into force a conditional immunity scheme, allowing those who cooperate with the ICRIR to receive immunity from prosecution for offences resulting in or connected with Troubles-related deaths and serious injuries. The Act also prevents new Troubles-related civil claims and inquests.

Acting on requests from

Saturday 27 April 2024

Amnesty International - Annual Report - critical of UK

Amnesty International, in its annual report for 2023-24, claims that the UK is weakening human rights protections both nationally and globally.

Flagrant rule-breaking by governments and corporate actors (amnesty.org).

The UK section of the report commences at page 390 and contains much that should be of considerable concern to anyone concerned with protection of human rights. 

Will human rights in the UK continue to have the strong protection that currently exists? The UK is a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and convention rights are woven into domestic law as a result of the Human Rights Act 1998.

There is sound reason

Friday 26 April 2024

A note on the enactment of the Safety of Rwanda Act


'Every decision-maker must conclusively treat the Republic of Rwanda as a safe country.'

So states section 2 of the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Act 2024 (legislation.gov.uk) which received Royal Assent on 25 April 2024.

The passage of the Act was met with a brief statement from No 10 Downing Street - PM statement on Safety of Rwanda Bill: 23 April 2024 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

As a Bill it received considerable criticism both within Parliament (especially the House of Lords) and from international bodies - e.g.

UK: Rwanda Bill threatens to undermine independence of judiciary, UN experts say | OHCHR

Serious human rights concerns about United Kingdom’s Rwanda Bill - Portal (coe.int)

The legislation results from

Friday 19 April 2024

Do juries have an absolute right to acquit a defendant?

Updated Monday 22 April 2024

Do jurors in criminal cases actually have a right to decide a case against the weight of the evidence or, as it is often phrased, "according to conscience" or "jury equity"?

Historically, Bushel's Case (1670) 124 ER 1006  has been thought to have decided that they may

BUT

Each juror either swears or affirms an oath to 'faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence."

Claiming to be protecting the public interest in the administration of justice, the Attorney-General is seeking to bring contempt of court proceedings against Trudi Warner because, outside a Crown Court venue, she held the sign shown above. The Attorney argues

Wednesday 3 April 2024

R v Hayes and Palombo ~ LIBOR banking back in the news


   Almost 12 years ago, this blog discussed the 'LIBOR banking' situation and noted that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was then close to bringing criminal charges.

By way of a brief reminder, LIBOR was the abbreviation for the London Interbank Offered Rate. Money market traders found themselves able to earn money for their bank (and, through their personal pay structure, for themselves) by subtle manipulations of the rate.  Very small alterations in the rate equated to considerable sums of money.  The process was well described by Alex Bailin QC (now KC) in The Guardian 4th July 2012 The Law catches up with LIBOR

In 2015,

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Criminal Damage Act 1971 - damage caused by protesters and the defence of lawful excuse

The Criminal Damage Act 1971 was enacted to 'revise the law of England and Wales as to offences of damage to property ...'  First, a bit of history ...

History:

The Act was the product of the Law Commission's work (Report 29 published 23 July 1970) which, at the time, was part of a process of revising the criminal law with a view ultimately to codification. The latter has not been achieved. A link to the Commission's report is below.

The House of Lords Second Reading on the Criminal Damage Bill is worth reading for the succinct speech of Lord Hailsham (then Lord Chancellor), setting out the purpose of the Bill - Criminal Damage Bill Hl - Hansard - UK Parliament

The Law Commission reported

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill


Today (13 March), the government introduced the Bill to - 'Provide for the quashing of convictions in England and Wales for certain offences alleged to have been committed while the Horizon system was in use by the Post Office; to make provision about the deletion of cautions given in England and Wales for such offences; and for connected purposes.'

Post Office (Horizon System) Offences Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament

Explanatory Notes (pdf) - Post Office (Horizon System) Offences (parliament.uk)

Previous post 23 February - Law and Lawyers: Post Office ~ Horizon ~ proposed legislation (obiterj.blogspot.com)

Ministers introduce bill to quash convictions of Horizon scandal victims | Post Office Horizon scandal | The Guardian

Friday 23 February 2024

Shamima Begum ~ deprivation of citizenship

Was the Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) correct to conclude that the decision (of the Home Secretary) to deprive Shamima Begum of British citizenship was lawful. Yes said the Court of Appeal (Civil Division). 

The judgment and a summary are available at - Shamima Begum -v- Secretary of State for the Home Department - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

The court's constitution was The Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Justice Bean and Lady Justice Whipple. The decision was unanimous. 

The court commented - "It could be argued that the decision in Ms Begum’s case was harsh; it could also be argued that Ms Begum is the author of her own misfortune. But it is not for the court to agree or disagree with either point of view. The only task of the Court was to assess whether the deprivation decision was unlawful. Since it was not, Ms Begum’s appeal is dismissed."

Begum v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2024] EWCA Civ 152 (23 February 2024) (bailii.org)

Shamima Begum citizenship ruling at Court of Appeal - YouTube

23 February 2024

Post Office ~ Horizon ~ proposed legislation

A Bill will be introduced by the government to "make sure that those convicted as a result of the Horizon scandal, which began in the 1990s, are swiftly exonerated and compensated" - see the Written statement 22 February 2024

The government claims that the planned legislation "does not set a precedent for the future relationship between the executive, Parliament and the judiciary"  but "the scale and circumstances of this prosecutorial misconduct demands an exceptional response."

It is obvious enough that the government has, in this election year, been spurred into action

Monday 29 January 2024

Ireland v UK ~ challenge by Ireland to UK primary legislation

Updated 29 February 2024 - DILLON case (High Court Northern Ireland)

Ireland has instituted an inter-State action against the United Kingdom - 
New inter-State application brought by Ireland against the United Kingdom - ECHR - ECHR / CEDH (coe.int)

The application is a challenge to sections of the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023, which received Royal Assent on 18 September 2023. See also the Explanatory Notes issued by the UK government. 

The European Convention on Human Rights enables Ireland to seek enforcement of human rights no matter who holds power at either Westminster or Belfast. Human rights  underpin much of the 1998 Belfast (“Good Friday”) Agreement. 


This is one to keep an eye on although it is perhaps unlikely that much will happen before the next UK general election.


The European Court of Human Rights Press Release provides fuller details .....


Thursday 11 January 2024

UKSC - Paul and others v Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust - Tort - Negligence

This post is an early look at the Supreme Court's decision in Paul and another (Appellants) v Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (Respondent) - The Supreme Court which considered the question - "Can an individual make a claim for psychiatric injury caused by witnessing the death or other horrifying event of a close relative as a result of earlier clinical negligence?"

Tort:

The law of tort is largely judge-made and is often traceable back for centuries. There have been only occasional interventions by Parliament. Claims for damages in tort frequently arise where a claimant (C) argues that a particular defendant (D) owed C a duty of care and that D negligently breached that duty thereby causing reasonably foreseeable damage (e.g. personal injury) to C.

In some situations the liability of D may be relatively easy to establish but there are particular situations where that is far from being the case. In those particular situations, a claimant

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Happy New Year 2024


HAPPY NEW YEAR 2024 to all who visit this blog and it is good to note that a considerable number still do,

The blog is still alive but posts will not be all that frequent because I now wish to  confine things to issues of major importance or significance. 

The first of those is likely to be the Supreme Court's judgment in Paul and another v Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (UKSC News) about whether an individual can make a claim for psychiatric injury caused by witnessing the death or other horrifying event of a close relative as a result of earlier clinical negligence?

My Twitter (X) account remains active but I have decided that I will not usually engage in discussion on the platform.

Here's to a great New Year and let's hope that various conflicts around the world can be resolved.


Friday 22 December 2023

Murder of Brianna Ghey ~ "excepting direction" regarding anonymity of Defendants

Update 2 February 2024:

Two defendants (under age 18) have been convicted of the murder of Brianna Ghey (age 16). Sentencing is to take place on 2 February 2024.

Due to the age of the defendants, an order has been in place throughout the proceedings under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (“the Act”) restricting publication of any information that would be likely to identify them as the defendants in these proceedings.

This Order remains in force but the judge - Mrs Justice Yip - has decided that X and Y will be named but not until the sentencing hearing when the judge will give clarity as to the point at which the restrictions cease to apply.

The reasons for the decision are set out at R-v-X-and-Y-Ruling-on-reporting-restrictions.pdf (judiciary.uk)

Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (legislation.gov.uk)

For the principles of law involved see the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) decision in KL v R. [2021] EWCA Crim 200 (19 February 2021) (bailii.org)

2 February 2024 - Sentencing:

R -v- Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Thursday 21 December 2023

Could the terms of the Covid 19 Inquiry be changed?

The Telegraph reports that MPs and peers fear the Covid Inquiry has already decided lockdowns were not hard enough (msn.com).

According to the article, a group of MPs and Peers have the opinion that the Inquiry seems to have already decided that lockdown was necessary and that the inquiry has been focused on whether  pandemic interventions should have been implemented “harder, sooner and for longer”.

It is reported that - 'The scathing comments come in a letter sent to Mr Sunak on Wednesday and signed by more than 20 MPs, peers and scientific experts, demanding he intervenes to change the official scope of the inquiry.'

Would it be possible to change the official scope of the inquiry? The simplistic answer

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Furore over PPE

Background:

'Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the front-line in the first wave of the pandemic was one of the biggest concerns in March and April 2020. As well as NHS front line workers there were others front-line workers who required high grade PPE – particularly in social care settings, which were mainly private businesses.

That statement of well-known facts is from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee 42nd report of Session 2019-21 - COVID-19: Government procurement and supply of personal protective equipment (parliament.uk).

The report continues - 'At each stage the Department for Health and Social Care maintain that no setting actually ran out of PPE. We heard compelling evidence from organisations representing front-line workers that stocks ran perilously low; single use items were reused; some was not fit for purpose and staff were in fear that they would run out. 

Government thought it was well-placed

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Parliamentary Sovereignty ~ legal rule or assumption ~ either way it is unsatisfactory

There has been considerable debate about the government's "Rwanda Bill" - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Draft Bill - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). In particular, there is discussion within legal circles about whether the courts could somehow "disapply" this if it were to actually become an Act of Parliament (i.e. pass both Houses of Parliament and receive Royal Assent).

The legal discussion has arisen because of a letter published by the Daily Telegraph - Back the Rwanda Bill or risk the sovereignty of Parliament, say KCs (telegraph.co.uk) - in which former Attorney-General Sir Geoffrey Cox KC and three other leading barristers comment that - "[T]he assumption that Parliament is entirely sovereign is only that — an assumption, which the courts have long indicated could be revisited in the event that Parliament did the unthinkable."

The word "assumption" certainly caused constitutional lawyers to go to their keyboards

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Rwanda ~ Now there is a treaty and a Bill

Updated 18 January 2024 (after House of Commons Third Reading).

Updated 20 March 2024 - note on Lords amendments

Following the judgment of the Supreme Court on 15 November 2023 (previous post), the governments of the UK and Rwanda have acted "at pace" to turn what was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in to what is now described as an "agreement." The text may be seen at -

Agreement between UK and Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership to strengthen international commitments on the protection of refugees and migrants (publishing.service.gov.uk)

In international law, the agreement is a treaty and, as such, will be legally binding on both States once it is ratified. The word "treaty" is used in other material published by the government - Treaty signed to strengthen UK-Rwanda migration partnership - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The UK Foreign Secretary (James Cleverley MP) has said that -

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Criminal Justice / Sentencing ~ New Bills

Following the King's Speech on 7 November 2023, the government introduced two Bills touching on criminal justice 

Sentencing Bill - and see UK Government Policy Paper

Criminal Justice Bill - and see UK Government Information + UK Government Factsheets. There is also a House of Commons Library Research Briefing

Sentencing Bill:

This is a relatively short Bill of 11 Clauses and 3 Schedules. It makes provision relating to 

1. Whole life orders