Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Scotland and an Independence referendum in 2023

On 28 June 2022, Scotland's First Minister - (Nicola Sturgeon MSP) - made a statement to the Scottish Parliament setting out plans for s further referendum on Scottish Independence to be held in October 2023. See the Scottish Parliament's 
Official Report (

The referendum held in 2014 resulted in a vote against independence - Scottish independence referendum: final results in full | Scottish independence | The Guardian

Mrs Sturgeon told the Parliament that -"It is axiomatic that a referendum must be lawful, but

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Abortion ~ Roe v Wade overturned in the USA ~ what is the UK position?

The Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) has just - controversially - overruled its own "abortion rights" decision in Roe v Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

Roe v. Wade was a landmark legal decision issued on January 22, 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion had been illegal throughout much of the country since the late 19th century. Since the 1973 ruling, many states imposed restrictions on abortion rights. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, holding that there was no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.

The latest case is Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. v Jackson Women's Health Organization et al.  The court's full, and lengthy opinion is HERE

It is important to note this from the court's opinion -

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Reaction to the proposed Bill of Rights

This post offers links to comments about the government's proposed Bill of Rights. My own look at the Bill consist of three posts commencing at Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 1 (

Under the Bill of Rights, the UK will remain a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and the convention will continue to bind the UK in international law. The European Court of Human Rights operates under the aegis of the Council of Europe  (and not the European Union). Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in cases to which the UK is a party will continue to bind the UK.

The problem is that the proposed Bill of Rights will weaken the ability of UK courts and tribunals to both enforce and develop rights. It will become harder for individuals to enforce convention rights within the UK's legal system and this is likely to result in an increasing number of cases going to the European Court of Human Rights. Furthermore, the existing human rights framework is embedded into the Northern Ireland peace settlement of 1998. Reaction from

Friday, 24 June 2022

Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 3


On 22 June 2022 the government published the long-awaited Bill of Rights 2022 - see previous post Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights (

The Bill is accompanied by an 11 page memorandum - bill-rights-echr-memo.pdf (

For a look at Clauses 1 to 9 please see this earlier post - Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 2 (

This post takes a closer look from Clause 10 to 24 of the Bill. The post concludes with a brief summary of the remainder of the Bill.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 2

On 22 June 2022 the government published the long-awaited Bill of Rights 2022 - see previous post Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights (

The Bill is accompanied by an 11 page memorandum - bill-rights-echr-memo.pdf (

This post takes a closer look at Clauses 1 to 9 of the Bill but, for comparison purposes,  it is helpful to remind ourselves of the main provisions in the Human Rights Act 1998 - (the HRA 98) - which has been fully in force since 1 October 2000. A further post will cover Clause 10 onwards.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 1

The Secretary of State for Justice - Dominic Raab MP - has announced the government's plans to reform the protection of human rights in the UK - see Hansard 22 June 2022.

The proposed Bill of Rights bill and supporting documentation may be seen at - Bill of Rights: Bill documents - GOV.UK (

The Bill contains 41 sections and 5 Schedules. and will extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 98) will be repealed.

If the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Julian Assange ~ Patel approves extradition

It is reported that the Home Secretary - Priti Patel MP - has approved the extradition of journalist Julian Assange to the USA - Julian Assange’s extradition from UK to US approved by home secretary | Julian Assange | The Guardian.  Further legal proceedings appear likely as a result of Patel's decision.

In January 2021, the extradition request by the USA was refused by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court - judgment 4 January 2021. The basis for the judge's decision was that the extradition would be oppressive given Assange's mental condition - see Extradition Act 2003 section 91.

Judgment in an appeal by the USA was handed down

Friday, 17 June 2022

Removal to Rwanda ~ Interim measures granted by European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has granted an urgent interim measure in the case of K.N. v. the United Kingdom (application no. 28774/22), an asylum-seeker facing imminent removal to Rwanda. 

Urgent interim measures are possible under Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court. See the court's factsheet - FS_Interim_measures_ENG (

K.N. is an Iraqi national who travelled to the UK via Turkey, across Europe and across the English Channel by boat. He claimed asylum in the UK on 17 May 2022. He faced removal to Rwanda on 14 June 2022.

The ECtHR indicated to the UK Government

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Northern Ireland Protocol - a government Bill

With addendum 23 June 2022 ...

As reported in a post of 12 May 2022, the post-Brexit relationship between the UK government and the EU is marked by continual tension including numerous issues arising in connection with the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP). The NIP is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement entered into between the UK and EU in 2019.

The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) was signed on behalf of the UK by Boris Johnson shortly after his party won the 2019 general election. The Withdrawal Agreement - including the NIP - bind the UK in international law.

Some negotiations between the UK and the EU took place and here is a summary up to the end of October 2021 - Four non-papers and a command paper - Queen's Policy Engagement (

Furthermore, there has been much noise from within government about the possibility of "triggering" Article 16 of the NIP - Law and Lawyers: Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol ( However, the government has now chosen not to follow that route.


CJEU confirms that UK citizens lost EU citizenship

After Brexit (31 January 2020), the rights of UK citizens vis-a-vis the European Union are governed by the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) 

When the UK was a member of the EU, UK citizens also held citizenship of the EU which placed UK citizens on a par with citizens of every other member State. It was a valuable status for many individuals.

It was perhaps obvious that one consequence of Brexit was that UK citizens would lose their EU citizenship.

The UK government made no attempt

Friday, 10 June 2022

Judicial review ~ Quashing orders

The Senior Courts Act 1981 (as amended) contains a number of matters of historical interest. The Act has also been amended by the insertion of a new section 29A dealing with judicial review. This post looks at a little of the history to the 1981 Act and then at what the new section 29A entails.

What's in a name?

The Act began its life as the Supreme Court Act 1981 but was renamed Senior Courts Act by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

Today, the name Supreme Court refers

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Public Order - yet another Bill ...

Protesters at Trooping Colour

It is interesting to note that there is (yet another) Public Order Bill before Parliament - Public Order Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament.

This latest Bill is in 3 parts. Part 1 deals with public order and creates offences of "locking on" (e.g. to railings), going equipped for "locking on", obstruction of major transport works and interference with key national infrastructure. Part 2 deals with Serious Disruption Prevention Orders which it will be possible for the courts to make either upon conviction or otherwise than upon conviction. Part 2 also contains new stop and search powers including powers exercisable WITHOUT reasonable suspicion. Part 3 deals with matters such as extent and commencement.

The new Bill -

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Scotland - Witchcraft, Apologies, Misogyny and criminal justice

On 8 March 2022, Scotland's First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon MSP) apologised for the "historical injustice" suffered by those, mostly women, executed for witchcraft in Scotland between 1479 and 1727 - Meeting of the Parliament: 08/03/2022 | Scottish Parliament Website.  More than 2500 individuals suffered as a result of the law embodied in Witchcraft Acts - The Guardian 8 March 2022.

History shows that James VI of Scotland had an obsession with witches. He ruled Scotland from 1567 to 1625 and, upon the death in 1603 of Queen Elizabeth I, he also became King of England and Wales. James married Anne of Denmark in 1589. On his voyage back to Scotland

Thursday, 26 May 2022

"Partygate" ~ Report by civil servant Sue Gray + Addendum 7 June

I previously wrote about so-called "partygate" and added some updates to that post - post of 13 February 2022

At the time, the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) appeared to be "on the ropes" as he took something of a political battering over what was clearly a culture of social gatherings and drinking at No 10 Downing Street when the coronavirus pandemic was at its height.

It was a time when the nation was expected to adhere to regulations, made by Ministers, intended to limit the spread of coronavirus. It was an appalling episode in our political life and

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Levi Bellfield ~ Human Rights

In the UK, some 60 prisoners are serving "whole life" sentences for murder. One of them is Levi Bellfield who has received whole life terms on two occasions. His first whole life term relates to the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amélie Delagrange. His second whole life term was imposed in June 2011 for the murder of 13-year old Amanda ("Milly") Dowler.

In May 2022, the Ministry of Justice confirmed that Bellfield was engaged and had applied to marry while in a prison. He proposed to a woman who started writing to him two years ago, before becoming a visitor on a regular basis. 

The Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Dominic Raab MP) is reported to have said that granting Bellfield's request is "inconceivable" unless "serious safeguarding concerns are addressed "-  Levi Bellfield: Raab says granting marriage request ‘inconceivable’ | Prisons and probation | The Guardian

The Guardian article also notes that, when asked

Thursday, 12 May 2022

UK / EU / Northern Ireland - yet again !

It could never be sensibly claimed that the European Union is a perfect international structure. Often, it is highly bureaucratic with a marked tendency to enact an excess of legislation which, via the European Treaties, can take the form of Regulations or Directives and, as such, bind member States. 

When my country (the UK) was a member, I often wished that the EU would enact fewer "rules" and concentrate on the essentials. I also wished that military matters were kept for the member states and NATO and were not at all within the remit of the EU.

Nonetheless, the EU is a hugely powerful economic entity - Economy ( - and in so many other ways it is a force for the better. For me,

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Queen's Speech May 2022

10 May 2022 saw HRH The Prince of Wales deliver the Queen's Speech from the throne in the House of Lords. HM The Queen - aged 96 - was unable to attend.

See the text of the speech - Queen’s Speech 2022 - GOV.UK (

Lengthy (140 pages) background briefing notes have been published by the government - Queen's Speech 2022: background briefing notes - GOV.UK (

Aspects of this considerable programme

Friday, 6 May 2022

Magistrates' Courts - increase in sentencing powers

Almost 19 years ago, Parliament enacted Criminal Justice Act 2003 - (as enacted). 

Section 154 began - "A magistrates' court does not have power to impose imprisonment for more than 12 months in respect of any one offence." This was noteworthy because it would have increased the maximum (for either way offences) from 6 months to 12 months BUT section 154 required a commencement order to bring it into force and such an order was never made.

Section 154 was repealed by the Sentencing Act 2020 but section 224 retained the 6 month limit.

The Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022

Friday, 29 April 2022

The Coronavirus pandemic and care homes ~ High Court

Within the UK coronavirus still results in a considerable number of new cases (112,705 are reported in the period 22 to 28 April). In the same period, 1628 deaths are recorded - that is, deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test. Of course, not all such recorded deaths will be have been caused by covid. For the time being, the government continues to publish data -

UK Summary | Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK ( 

During the early stages of the pandemic, the government decided that protecting the NHS from being overwhelmed was a priority. I do not criticise or comment further on that policy save to note that, as a consequence of the policy, the government commissioned the building of a number of "Nightingale Hospitals" and also developed a policy of discharging elderly patients from NHS hospitals to care homes.

Regarding discharges

Sunday, 17 April 2022

UK and Rwanda ~ "mechanism" to relocate asylum seekers

Section 77 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 states that a person cannot be removed from or required to leave the United Kingdom in accordance with a provision of the Immigration Acts while their asylum claim is pending. 

The government's Nationality and Borders Bill - ( now almost through Parliament) - seeks to change the law so that such removal is legally possible. Even at this very late stage, the House of Lords still has opportunity to oppose this change.

The government argues that it is appropriate to remove an asylum seeker to a "a safe third country while their claim for asylum is pending." To that end, on 13 April 2022, the Home Secretary (Priti Patel MP) signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) with the government of Rwanda (represented by Vincent Biruta - Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation). The document may be read HERE.

The objectives of the MoU