Responsible and sometimes critical comment on topical legal matters of general interest. This blog does not offer legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for professional legal advice.
Pro Aequitate Dicere
Jack Adcock was born on 15 July 2004. He died at Leicester Royal Infirmary on 18 February 2011. The clinical cause of his death was sepsis - a condition explained by the NHS and also see Sepsis Trust. According to the Trust, five people die every hour due to sepsis. It is not necessarily easy to detect because it can initially look like flu, gastroenteritis or a chest
infection. There is no one sign, and symptoms present differently
between adults and children.
Conservative MP and former Foreign Secretary - the Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP - caused considerable furore over a piece he wrote for The Telegraph on 5 August - Denmark has got it wrong. Yes, the burka is oppressive and ridiculous - but that's still no reason to ban it. Mr Johnson expressed surprise that Denmark had joined several other European countries - e.g. France, Belgium - "in imposing a ban on the niqab and the burka – those items
of Muslim head-gear that obscure the female face." He continued to say that he agreed with those who think that the burka is oppressive - "I would go further and say that it is absolutely
ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes;
In 2009, Mr Wakenshaw received an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment
for public protection and has now served the minimum term stipulated within
his sentence. His continued detention is periodically reviewed by the
Parole Board to determine his suitability for release.
In judicial review proceedings, Mr Wakenshaw claimed that the Parole Board lacked the requisite
independence under the common law and article 5(4) of the European
Convention on Human Rights. He did not wish to prevent his current review going ahead but, more fundamentally, he claimed a declaration that the Parole Board was not an objectively fair adjudicative body.
The post World War 2 welfare state comprised the NHS; universal housing; state security
(benefits); and universal education. According to the late Sir Henry Brooke (HERE), Legal Aid was not a pillar of the welfare state even though law underpins crucial matters such as the NHS structure, rights to medical treatment, housing, welfare, education and the general rights of those charged with criminal offences. Under the Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949 legal aid was to be available in
all courts and tribunals where lawyers normally appeared for private
clients. Eligibility should be extended to those of “small or moderate
means”, and above a free limit there should be a sliding scale of
In 2017, Liam Allan, a criminology student at Greenwich University, was charged with six counts of rape and six of sexual assault.
During the trial, the contents came to light of mobile telephone
messages sent by the complainant including messages asking Mr Allan for
sex. This material had been held electronically by the Police even though Mr Allan had maintained all along that the sex was consensual. The
outcome was that prosecuting counsel (Mr Jerry Hayes) offered no
evidence against Mr Allan and the case against him ended.
The investigative role of the Police gives them almost a monopoly
over the collection of information. Several lines of enquiry might have
been followed and a considerable volume of information obtained but the prosecution may not need to use all of it in a particular case. There is often so-called "UNUSED" material and it is possible that there is unused material which is capable of of undermining the case for the prosecution against the accused, or of assisting the case for the accused.
The prison population in England and Wales stood at 83,107 on 3 August 2018 against a "useable operational capacity" of 86,012 - MoJ Prison Population figures. The terms used in the statistics are defined as:
On 18 July, an appeal was heard in the contempt of court case of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson). On 1 August, the court - Lord Chief Justice (Lord Burnett), Turner and McGowan JJ - handed down judgment.
According to the Law Commission (2012), "Contempt of court" covers a wide variety of conduct which undermines or has the potential to undermine the course of justice, ..."
A reporting restriction applies so that no one shall publish or reveal the name or address of the appellant - referred to as AR - or publish or reveal any information which would be likely to lead to the identification of the appellant or of any member of his family.
Reporting restrictions apply to this case to protect the identity of the NHS Trust involved, the identity of Y and of others involved in the case. Full details of the restrictions are set out in the Press Summary.
Here is a case for lovers of byzantine legal complexity to savour.
Fundamentally, the Scottish Parliament was created by the Scotland Act 1998 and it only has the powers granted to it by the Scotland Act 1998 as amended. If it is claimed that Scottish legislation is outside the powers of the Scottish Parliament then reference can be made to the Supreme Court of the UK to determine whether the legislation is within devolved legislative powers.
The paper sets out the government's current thinking for a European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill to be introduced in the autumn IF there is a Withdrawal Agreement which Parliament has accepted. The similarly named European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 section 13 specifies the requirements for Parliamentary acceptance of any withdrawal agreement and framework for the future relationship.
Updated27 July - see the addendum for Statements of 26 July by Michel Barnier and Dominic Raab.
USA and EU trade:
During his recent visit to the UK, Donald J Trump first claimed that any attempt to keep close ties with the European Union
would make a future trade deal with the US unlikely - The Independent 13 July. Two days later it was reported that the President had insisted the US and UK are “going to end up making a deal”
on trade - The Independent 15 July. All of that is less than two weeks ago and now we see the US President meeting with the President of the European Commission and agreeing to work towards
lowering trade barriers with the European Union. As reported by the BBC 25 July, the two sides would work for zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto goods. They also agreed to increase trade in services and agriculture, including greater US soy bean exports to the EU.
On Monday 23 July, an Urgent Question was asked in the House of Commons about "Foreign Fighters and the Death Penalty" - Hansard Online. It had come to light that the UK government had agreed to provide information to the USA relating to Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee El-Sheikh who were captured in Syria in January 2018. The men are said to be part of a Jihadi group - referred to as "the Beatles" - and known for its brutality to captives including murder by beheading. The group included Mohammed Emwazi who was killed by a drone attack in 2015.
The EU Commission, in a Press Release 19 July, has adopted a
Communication outlining the ongoing work on the preparation for all
outcomes of the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union. The Press Release states -
On 30 March 2019, the United Kingdom will leave the EU and become a
third country. This will have repercussions for citizens, businesses
and administrations in both the United Kingdom and the EU. These
repercussions range from new controls at the EU's outer border with the
UK, to the validity of UK-issued licences, certificates and
authorisations and to different rules for data transfers.
Mr Leo Varadkar is the Taoiseach of Ireland. Speaking after a cabinet meeting in Derrynane House, Co
Kerry, Leo Varadkar
claimed Ireland’s airspace may be out of bounds for UK jets if they go down the
route of a hard Brexit and ban the EU from fishing in their waters - News Letter 18 July. This statement was condemned as "shameful blackmail" by Mr David Bannerman MEP (Conservative) but perhaps we should not be too quick to condemn.
Sometimes referred to as "the Customs Bill", the government's Taxation (Cross-Border) Trade Bill 2017-19 allows
the creation of a functioning and independent customs, VAT and excise
regime after Brexit. It is a Bill to -
Vote Leave Limited was a designated lead campaigner in the 2016 EU Referendum campaign.
The Electoral Commission has published the conclusions of its investigation into Vote Leave’s
EU referendum spending. The Commission found significant evidence of undeclared
joint working between the lead leave campaigner, Vote Leave, and the
campaign group BeLeave. The report (pdf) may be read via -