Friday 29 July 2011

Friday - roundup of some recent legal items

* A Northern Viewpoint *
The last few weeks have produced an amazing variety of legal stories.  Here is my selection on a rather cool northern Friday morning:

The Leveson Inquiry - The terms of reference of the inquiry to be held by Lord Justice Leveson are available - PM announces final hacking inquiry details.  It seems that it may well be over a year before any form of report is produced - The Guardian 28th July "Hacking inquiry: Leveson's length and breadth."  Writing in the Law Society Gazette 28th July, Joshua Rozenberg welcomes the choice of Leveson LJ and points out that Leveson has been scrupulous in declaring his interests.  He met, in his capacity as Chairman of the Sentencing Council, with Rupert Murdoch's son-in-law - Matthew Freud.  The fact that he has had such contact has led some to argue that Leveson should stand aside.  In a political sense this may be right though, in fairness, it seems that any contact has been fairly limited and probably would not disqualify Leveson under the "appearance of bias" tests applicable to the judiciary when adjudicating in court.  Also, as a podcast on the CharonQC blog indicates, the fact that any contacts are now known goes a long way to meeting the question since they can be taken into account.  See CharonQC, Beneath The Wig, Lallands Peat Worrier.  The latter made the interesting suggestion that a Scottish judge could have led the inquiry and thus avoided the "contact with the Murdoch's" issue.

Statement by Lord Justice Leveson at the launch of the Press part of the Inquiry

Supreme Court - as well as granting permission for an appeal on the issue of "limitation" in the nuclear testing case, the Supreme Court handed down five judgments including the Stormtrooper copyright case.   Meanwhile, speculation is now beginning as to who might be the next Supreme Court justices to be

Thursday 28 July 2011

UK Nuclear Testing in the 1950s - the legacy

Nuclear testing in the 1950s - the legacy

On Thursday 28th July, the Supreme Court heard a "permission to appeal" argument in the British nuclear testing case.  The judgment to be appealed is that of the Court of Appeal Civil Division in Ministry of Defence v AB and others [2010] EWCA Civ 1317 - (Smith and Leveson LJJ and Sir Mark Waller).   In terse legalese, the issue to be appealed is whether the Court of Appeal - (1) applied the wrong legal test for knowledge in section 14 of the Limitation Act 1980, and (2) adopted the wrong legal approach to the exercise of discretion under section 33 of the Act.  The Supreme Court granted permission for the appeal - see BBC 28th July and The Independent 28th July.

From 1952 to 1958, the UK carried out atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean region.  Around 22,000 service personnel were involved.  In December 2004, actions were commenced against the UK government.  The total number of claimants is 1011 and they are mainly former servicemen but also some civilians.  Some of the claims are brought by executors / administrators or dependants.  The claims relate to consequences to health alleged to have resulted from

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Breivik - would he have a defence of insanity in English criminal law?

Trial of Daniel M'Naghten
Geir Lippestad is the Norwegian lawyer acting for Breivik. He has referred to the possibility that Breivik may plead insanity.  A short video of a media interview with Mr Lippestad is available - BBC 26th July.  In the video, Mr Lippestad says that Breivik's crimes were planned over several years.  Breivik claimed to be in a "war" and that people do not understand him but, in 60 years time, they would.   Mr Lippestad also explained why, as a lawyer in a democratic nation, he took on the task of defending Breivik.

Insanity defences: General

Most liberal legal systems recognise that criminal liability should only attach to "responsible actors."  For example, the general lack of mental development in very young children is said to render them incapable of committing a crime.  (Under age 10 in English law).  Then there are those who lack ability to reason rationally or are incapable of understanding what they are doing and the consequences of their actions.

Major problems arise in any attempt to satisfactorily define the individuals who should be excused.  Even when the stage is reached at which a particular individual should be excused liability, the fact may still remain that the individual presents a serious risk to others and may be justifiable on public protection grounds.  Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights permits detention of persons of "unsound mind" which has been interpreted as "true mental disorder" established by medical expertise and the disorder must be of a kind or degree warranting compulsory confinement: Winterwerp v Netherlands (1979) 2 EHRR 387.

Who then would be the actor who is not to be held responsible?  A way of looking at this is to consider the following "individuals" who in each case have performed some act prohibited by the criminal law:

Individual A - when he acted, he was in a state of impaired consciousness brought about by some mental condition or internal cause.  This person's actions are involuntary - sometimes referred to as automatism.

Individual B - when acting he was conscious but, due to his mental condition, did not know what he was doing.

Individual C - knew what he was doing but, due to mental condition, did not know it to be wrong

Individual D - knew what he was doing and knew it to be wrong but, due to mental condition, could not control himself.  Sometimes referred to as "irresistible impulse."

Individual E - knew what he was doing, knew it to be wrong but, due to some delusion, considered his actions to be appropriate.

English law: use of insanity as a defence

The English defence of insanity covers

Monday 25 July 2011

Tragedy in Norway: a very different legal system

(BBC - Profile of Norway)

Please see the official UK website of the Norwegian embassy.

The events of Friday 25th July 2011 in Norway - (at both Oslo and Utoya) - have shocked civilised people the world over and there has been an outpouring of sympathy for the victims of the actions of Anders Behring Breivik who is now held in custody by the Norwegian authorities.  The number of deaths was initially stated to be in the 80s but was later revised downwards to 76.  It appears that Breivik has denied criminal responsibility for his actions and is held on the basis of "terrorism."  (BBC - Profile of Norway)  It is reported that Breivik has claimed that there are further "cells" in Norway with similar plans and links to terrorism in the UK are also mentioned.  Naturally, such possibilities are not being entirely discounted though other reports suggest that Breivik acted alone.

The law in Norway stands in marked contrast to the common law system of England and Wales.  First, Norway has a formal constitution.  Secondly, the criminal law is

Thursday 21 July 2011

Some recent cases

The law reports this week contain a number of cases which the reader may find interesting.  My choice today is the following five:-

Case 1 - Ratcliffe-on-Soar:  The power station protester cases have been followed on this blog since the use of an undercover officer was revealed back in January.  The conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass convictions of 20 protesters have now been quashed by the Court of Appeal - R v Barkshire and others [2011] EWCA Crim (B3).  An interesting post, written by David Hart QC, appears on the UK Human Rights blog.  Hart draws attention to the Court of Appeal expressing reservations about a pre-trial ruling (of Flaux J) that the defendants could argue that their conduct was justifiable or excusable on the basis of necessity.  The Court of Appeal did not rule on this and so the point remains open.  It is quite possible that, in the event of some further similar protest, the point will be resurrected but it may not find fertile ground within the judiciary.

Related posts  14 July, 10 June, 10 Jan, 8 Jan - the 8th January post looked at the defence of necessity.  It is likely that the judges would wish to keep any such defence within limits which are as narrow as possible.

Case 2 - Jurors in the local pub:  R v Hewgill, Hancock, Murray [2011] EWCA Crim 1778 concerns a conversation - (in a pub "The Crown" near to the Crown Court at Birmingham) - between two jurors and a defendant who had been convicted but was

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Public Order Offences 2

Update 5th August - May-Bowles appealed and sentence cut to 4 weeks imprisonment - BBC

Update 2nd August:   For the assault, Jonathan May-Bowles was sentenced to 6 weeks imprisonment + Costs £250.  He would serve 3 weeks in actual custody.  He says that he will appeal.  BBC News 2nd August.  See also Lawpages

Update 29th July - Jonathan May-Bowles, pleaded guilty to assault as well as a public order offence.  District Judge Daphne Wickham adjourned the case for a pre-sentence report.  The possibility of imprisonment (for the assault) was not ruled out.  Guardian 29th July.


On Tuesday 19th July, an incident occurred as Rupert Murdoch was giving evidence to the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sports Committee - see The Independent 20th July.   A man has been charged with causing harassment, alarm or distress contrary to section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986.    That case comes before Westminster Magistrates' Court on 29th July.  Let us look further at the 1986 Act.

The post immediately below looked at the more serious offences under the Public Order Act 1986  - riot, violent disorder and affray.  This post considers three further offences - section 4 (Fear or provocation of violence), s4A (Intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress) and s.5 (Harassment, Alarm or Distress).  The s.4A offence was inserted into the 1986 Act by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 s.154.

Public Order Act 1986 s.4 - Fear or Provocation of Violence - link

A person is guilty of an offence if he—(a) uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or (b) distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, (c) with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, (d) or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.   Generally, this offence can be committed in a public or private place - but see section 1(2) regarding conduct in "dwellings."   This offence is triable summarily only and carries a maximum sentence of 6 months imprisonment or a fine up to £5000.  A considerable amount of case law exists on the interpretation of elements in this offence.

There is an aggravated version of this offence - Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended, from 14th December 2001, by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001).  The aggravation must take the form of racial or religious aggravation.  The aggravated offence is triable either-way and, when tried in the Crown Court, carries a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.   

Public Order Act 1986 s.4A - Intentionally causing harassment, alarm or distress - link

A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he - 

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

An offence under this section may be committed in a public or a private place except that no offence is committed where the words or behaviour are used, or the writing, sign or other visible representation is displayed, by a person inside a dwelling and the person who is harassed, alarmed or distressed is also inside that or another dwelling.

Section 4A(3) enacts a specific defence.

It is a

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Public Order Offences 1: the Gilmour case

English law has a considerable range of criminal offences aimed at "public order."  This post takes a look at the more serious offences defined by the Public Order Act 1986.

Background to the 1986 Act:

The Act was the ultimate outcome of a series of events dating back to the 1970s.  The Red Lion Square demonstration against the National Front in 1974 and Lord Scarman's subsequent inquiry (Cmnd 5919, 1975).  In 1981 there was rioting in Brixton and Lord Scarman was asked to do a further report (Cmnd 8427, 1981).  Industrial disputes raised further issues - especially the miner' strike of 1984/5.  In 1983, the Law Commission  reviewed public order offences and proposed significant amendments - ( Criminal Law: Offences Relating to Public Order (Law Com No. 123, 1983) - (considered here).   A White Paper followed in 1985 - Review of Public Order Law (Cmnd 9510) and this  formed the basis of the 1986 Act which finally placed public order law almost entirely on a statutory basis.  Previously, the law had been a complex and untidy mixture of common law offences (e.g. riot, rout, unlawful assembly, affray etc) and statute law (e.g. Public Order Act 1936).

Common law powers relating to "breach of the peace" remain in force and are used extensively.  See, for example, Law and Lawyers 1st May 2011.

The Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 Part V extended public order law - e.g. by sections aimed at "raves" (sections 63-66); "trespassory assemblies" (sections 70-71) etc.

The Public Order Act 1986 (‘POA’) did two principal things. First, it provided a framework of controls which apply to processions and demonstrations. These are aimed at the events themselves, and if, when, and how, they should take place.  Secondly, it enacted a range of offences to deal with disorderly conduct of various degrees of seriousness, from riot, to behaviour causing alarm or distress.

The more serious offences:  Riot, Violent Disorder and Affray

Thursday 14 July 2011

What has happened apart from the "phone-hacking" debacle?

Addendum 20th July:  Convictions relating to Ratcliffe-on-Soar have been quashed by the Court of Appeal - Barkshire v The Queen 2011.   However, see the interesting article on the case on UK Human Rights Blog.

As the immediate furore over "phone hacking" and "blagging" dies down, let us look at what else has been going on this week.

DPP announces inquiry:  An inquiry under the Chairmanship of retired judge Sir Christopher Rose has been announced into issues arising from the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station protests - see CPS News Release.  The events at Ratcliffe-on-Soar were considered by Law and Lawyers on 10th June, 23rd April and 10th January. 

New Acts of Parliament:  The Police (Detention and Bail) Act 2011 is noted in a post below.

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority Act 2011 will rename the Football Licensing Authority as the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGGA) and, under section 2, the SGGA mat provide "relevant advice" to Ministers of the Crown - i.e. either advice relating to safety at sports grounds generally or advice regarding the exercise by Ministers of powers under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975, Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987 and the Football Spectators Act 1989.  SGGA will also be able to advise others such as local authorities.  Some background to this Act can be read in Hansard of 13th May 2011.  Implementation of much of the Act is subject to Commencement Orders.

The Estates of Deceased Persons (Forfeiture Rule and Law of Succession) Act 2011  makes amendments to the Administration of Estates Act 1925 and the Wills Act 1837.   The area of law in question was considered by the Law Commission (Law Com No. 295) and this Act, taken through Parliament as a Private Member's Bill (with government support), is based on the Commission's report.  It seeks

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Closed material procedure: two Supreme Court judgments

Updated Sunday 17th July

In Al Rawi v Security Service and others [2011] UKSC 34, the Supreme Court has held that a "closed material procedure" for either the whole or part of the hearing of a civil claim is not permissible at common law.  There is no common law power to replace the Public Interest Immunity (PII) procedure with a closed material procedure.  Such procedure would be a departure from principles of open and natural justice: essential features of trial at common law.  If such a procedure is considered to be necessary then it is for Parliament to legislate.  The question of whether a closed material procedure could be used with the consent of the parties was left open.

The Al Rawi litigation has been settled but the

Tuesday 12 July 2011

What a difference a day makes !! BSkyB merger referred to the Competition Commission

Dinah Washington
Update 17th July:  Sir Paul Stephenson resigned as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Rebekah Brooks arrested.

Update 15th July:  Rebekah Brooks resigned as Chief Executive of News International.   There are calls for the resignation of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson who hired a former News of the World executive.

Updates 13th and 14th July:  Prime Minister has announced that there is to be one inquiry but in two parts.  It will be chaired by Lord Justice Leveson.   The inquiry is to operate under the terms of the Inquiries Act 2005.  See No.10 - Prime Minister's announcement.

The draft Terms of Reference for the Inquiry have been published.

In advance of a debate in Parliament, News Corporation announced the withdrawal of their bid to have 100% control of BSkyB - Guardian and Independent.

As the late Dinah Washington (1924-1963) put it - "What a difference a day makes!" The focus in the BSkyB affair has now, so it seems, shifted from Ofcom and the "fit and proper person" test, to the Competition Commission and the "media plurality" test.  The News Corporation/BSkyB merger proposal has been referred to the Competition Commission by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport - Mr Jeremy Hunt    The two tests lie at the heart of the law relating to media ownership / control and both tests lack clarity as to their scope.

The Commission's investigation is likely to take a considerable time.  Also, the No. 10 website states that there will be two inquiries- "a “full, public and independent” inquiry headed by a judge to investigate why the first police investigation failed, what exactly was going on at the News of the World; and what was going on at other newspapers?  There will also be a second inquiry to learn the wider lessons for the future of the press. It will look at the culture, the practices and the ethics of the British press."  Again, these will take some considerable time.

The reason for the referral of the bid to the Competition Commission is that, on Monday 11th July, an undertaking which had been offered was withdrawn.  The undertaking related to "spinning off" Sky News if the merger had been allowed to proceed.  This, it is reported, forced the hand of the Culture Secretary to refer the bid to the Commission.  Some commentators now argue that this gives the bid a better chance of being eventually successful since public anger will - (so some hope) - have died down by the time the Commission reports.  There seems little doubt that the vaguely defined "fit and proper person" test will have worried News Corporation.  The Competition Commission will look just at media plurality.

In very simple terms, media plurality relates to

Sunday 10 July 2011

Broadcasting: "fit and proper person" - what does it mean?

Monday 11th July:   The Independent - "Hunt seeks advice over BSkyB takeover" and "News International knew hacking was widespread in 2007"

"News Corp's BSkyB bid referred by Hunt to Competition Commission" - The Guardian 11th July

Telegraph  "News Corp forces government to refer BSkyB deal to Competition Commission"


The Broadcasting Act 1990 is a massive piece of legislation.  Part I of the Act dealt with Independent Television Services including the licensing of service providers and Part I Chapter 1 deals with the regulation of television services generally.  On top of that is another blockbuster - the Broadcasting Act 1996.   This is concerned with Digital television broadcasting and, again, deals with licensing.  Then there is the Communications Act 2003 which sets out the powers and duties of the Office of Communications (Ofcom). 

Note:  The 1990 Act set up the Independent Television Commission (ITC) which existed from 1st January 1991 until replaced, from 29th December 2003, by the Office of Communications (Ofcom).  Ofcom became responsible for licensing.

The phrase "fit and proper person"

The 1990 Act section 3(3):

Ofcom —
(a) shall not grant a licence to any person unless they are satisfied that he is a fit and proper person to hold it; and
(b) shall do all that they can to secure that, if they cease to be so satisfied in the case of any person holding a licence, that person does not remain the holder of the licence; ....

Sub para (b) appears to imply that Ofcom has a role to ensure that they are aware of anything which might affect the license holder's "fit and proper person" status.

The 1996 Act section section 3 has the same wording.

Therefore, the words "fit and proper person" are central to the law.  Unfortunately, we search the legislation in vain for any amplification of the meaning of those, somewhat vague, words.

The word "person" will include

Friday 8 July 2011

Friday afternoon - roundup of some recent legal items

British Tanks leave Basrah
Even leaving aside stories such as the "can of worms" story concerning "phone hacking", the News of the World and the Murdoch media empire, this has been a fascinating week with a wealth of items.  Here is pot-pourri of other items:

Human Rights: Territorial application

The European Court of Human Rights - Grand Chamber - has decided two cases concerning the liability of the United Kingdom under the European Convention on Human Rights at the time when the UK was the occupying power in Basrah, Iraq.  See Al-Skeini v UK and Al-Jedda v UK.    The court ruled that from 1st May 2003 to 28th June 2004, the UK had jurisdiction under Article 1 of the Convention in respect of civilians killed during security operations carried out by British troops in Basrah.   In Al-Jedda, the court found a violation of Article 5 (1) (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention in relation to the internment of an Iraqi for more than three years (2004- 2007) in a detention centre in Basrah.  Excellent coverage of these case is on the UK Human Rights Blog. The judgment of Judge Giovanni Bonello is of particular interest and will, without doubt, be an extreme irritant to some politicians in London - "Those who export war ought to see to the parallel export of guarantees against the atrocities of war."  Judge Bonello has now retired and this seems to be his "parting shot."    A further article is in the Solicitor's Journal.

The Supreme Court: a decision on "care / medical resources" available to stroke victim:

The UK Supreme Court decided McDonald v Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [2011] UKSC 33 - see Judgment and Press Release.   The case concerned

Thursday 7 July 2011

The News of the World scandal: a complete can of worms!

Revised Saturday 9th July:

It all began with a story about a Prince's knee.  Where it will end remains to be seen .....

The closure of the News of the World newspaper has been announced by Media International.  This follows the on-going phone-hacking scandal which has engulfed the paper.  A "timeline" of this may be seen on the BBC website.  In the last few days, major advertisers have been deserting the paper and the Royal British Legion announced that it was severing its links over allegations that relatives of service personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan may have had their phones hacked.

This scandal may also have serious implications for the Metropolitan Police who have referred to the IPCC an investigation into alleged payments to officers.

The hacking story has been covered very well by the INFORRM blog and others, notably David Allen Green in The New Statesman and by Adam Wagner on the UK Human Rights Blog in a timely post yesterday (6th July) - "A phone hacking scandal refresher".    Charon QC asked whether directors of News International might be criminally liable under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 s.79 - (Consent, connivance etc) - see his post

Another issue is the proposed merger of News Corporation and BSkyB.  At the end of June, Jeremy Hunt - the Culture Secretary - indicated that he was minded to allow this to go ahead though further consultation (relating to "revised undertakings") is reported to have received numerous responses - see Channel 4.  It appears that a final decision by the government may be some time away.  At the very least, the number of responses to the further consultation appears to have brought Jeremy Hunt some breathing space.  Could the government stop the merger?  Legally this is a very tricky question which is the subject of an excellent post on the Head of Legal blog.

See Department of Culture, Media and Sport 

It also appears

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Victim's Commissioner Report: Needs of families bereaved by homicide

A Review by the Victim's Commissioner - Louise Casey - has been published - "Review into the needs of families bereaved by homicide."    See also the Ministry of Justice website and the response to the review from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).    In the foreword to the review, Kenneth Clarke (Secretary of State for Justice) states - "Government can never make things right for families bereaved through crime and it would be foolish to pretend that any level of support could ever achieve this. But we can do more to ensure that families get the help they need and that the practical impacts of bereavement are minimised. The work of the Victims’ Commissioner in producing this report, and the contributions of the many families which made it possible, constitute an important step towards these goals."

There are several interesting and valuable recommendations set out in Chapter 6 where

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Police (Detention and Bail) Bill

UPDATE 25th July: The appeal to the Supreme Court has been withdrawn in the light of the legislation enacted by Parliament.

UPDATE 13th July:  Police (Detention and Bail) Act 2011

UPDATE 7th July:   The Bill has passed through the House of Commons.  The House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution has issued a report about the Bill (16th Report Session 2010-12) and draws attention to the retrospectivity which "offends against the principle of legal certainty and weakens the rule of law."  They also indicate that "practices of Police bail need to be more broadly revised" and this Bill does not provide opportunity for Parliament to consider that.  JUSTICE also issued a briefing paper which points out that the "proper course" would have been to ask the High Court to stay the Hookway judgment and then to apply for an appeal to the Supreme Court.  The failure to do this has resulted in Parliament having to consider a Bill to reverse a High Court decision before the courts have had a final opportunity to pronounce on the existing law.  Whilst Justice state that they consider the High Court judgment to be incorrect, they nevertheless raise some interesting and important issues in paragraph 9 of their paper.   These include the Police practice of extending Police bail for as long as possible whilst the time available to them is eked out.  The pity is that it may now be some considerable time before Parliament gets an opportunity to consider those issues.  Interestingly, the House of Lords document does not mention that police detention is initially for a maximum of 24 hours.  They merely mention 96 hours!  However, nothing in the Bill alters the 24 hour basic rule.

Julian Huppert MP made some points in the debate.  He said that he hopes that opportunity will be taken to look at the wider issues involved in Police bail which, he argues, can be very oppressive.  He also referred to the absence of a Police bail power in terrorist cases.

--- Original Post ---

The government has now presented the Police (Detention and Bail) Bill to the House of Commons.  It is a short bill and the usual "cut and paste" technique is adopted - so here goes:

Road Traffic: Causing Death Offences

English Law has a range of offences involving the causing of death when driving:

  • A person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle dangerously on a road or other public place is guilty of an offence: Road Traffic Act 1988 s.1

  • A person who causes the death of another person by driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, is guilty of an offence: Road Traffic Act 1988 s.2B

  • A person is guilty of an offence ... if he causes the death of another person by driving a motor vehicle on a road and, at the time when he is driving, the circumstances are such that he is committing an offence under—
(a)section 87(1) of this Act (driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence),
(b)section 103(1)(b) of this Act (driving while disqualified), or
(c)section 143 of this Act (using motor vehicle while uninsured or unsecured against third party risks): Road Traffic Act 1988 s3ZB

  • Causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs: Road Traffic Act 1988 s3A.  The driving has to be of a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Weekend items ... Saturday 2nd July ... and Blogtour

Figure of "Justice" at Vancouver, Canada
Legal Aid - analysis of the bill:

The Law Society Gazette published an excellent analysis of the key issues in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill which had its second reading on Wednesday 29th June.  It was voted through the Commons - 295 Ayes to 212 Noes - see Hansard.  It will go to committee stage which will end on 13th October.  Not much time really since Parliament is in recess from 19th July until 5th September.  See also "Falling on Deaf ears" - "despite more than 5,000 responses to the government's consultation, the legal aid bill offers few concessions ...."

 The Ministry of Justice has announced that legal aid for squatters will cease.  Even if one welcomes this, it looks as if the politicians are using it in order to make their shameful legal aid bill look more acceptable.

New members of the Court of Appeal:

Due to retirements, the appointment of one new Lady Justice of Appeal and four Lords Justice of Appeal has been announced.  Rafferty J becomes Lady Justice Rafferty on 5th July - (see No.10 website).   The other appointments - (McFarlane J, Davis J, Lewison J and Kitchin J) - take effect from 28th July to 5th October.

Northern Ireland and non-jury trial: