Friday 13 February 2015

A few items of interest ....

Ladybower Reservoir December 2014


Law students and those starting a career in advocacy would do well the read this article by Nigel Pascoe QC - The Art of Cross Examination.

Age and the law:

In this link, Dan Bunting contrasts the age of consent with the age of criminal responsibility - Age of Consent v Age of Responsibility   The article states - "Obviously, if a 13 year old has sexual relations with a 41 year old man, it’s clear that the man is to blame, and is fully to blame. The case does raise the question of whether we have a consistent attitude to children in the criminal justice system – if we say that a 15 year old lacks the capacity to consent in law to sexual activity, then should we be prosecuting 10 year olds for that? Or for any offences?"

Our age of criminal responsibility is far, far lower than the European average. As a consequence, the gap between the age of consent and of responsibility in England is more than four times the European average.

The government has continually maintained that the age of criminal responsibility for England and Wales should be 10.  The former common law "doli incapax" rule was abolished by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 s.34.  For further, please see my post on Youth Justice dated 28th August 2011.


"Diversity" (or perhaps the limited nature of diversity) in the legal profession is a concern.  Here is some interesting material - Chambers Women and Diversity


The Local Government Lawyer 5th February looks at the new RIPA Surveillance Codes

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 s.38 altered the law so as to require judicial approval for certain forms of surveillance.  In his report for 2013-14, the Surveillance Commissioner was critical of the lack of training given to magistrates in this area.

Legal aid cuts:

Severe legal aid cuts were imposed by the coalition government in the name of austerity.  For my part, I have always had the view that austerity had little to do with it.  More of an ideological attack on access to justice for the average citizen.  However that may be, please read some views expressed recently in the Court of Appeal.   

With regard to criminal legal aid, this letter published in the Law Society Gazette is self-explanatory and rather chilling.

All worth thinking about as the Global Law Summit heads toward London - (post of 12th January).


Don't forget the CPS Consultation on Speaking to Witnesses in Court

Abuse Inquiry:

See the Pre-appointment hearing of Justice Goddard - 11th February 2015

Heroes and Villains:

Nigel Poole QC is the author of Learned Friend blog.  Here is an interesting look at the Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act Act 2015- "all the hallmarks of a something must be done Act"

Legality of Mass surveillance:

2015 Public General Acts of Parliament: include ....

Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015  
Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Act 2015  
Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 

Please note the "Commencement" sections in each of the Acts.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding age and the law, is consistency really the (or a) goal? I'd argue not.

    Very roughly the law is there to protect or compensate the innocent and to dissuade or punish the guilty. There's no reason these two aspects should lead to consistent laws, indeed it isn't really surprising they should be asymmetrical.

    Consider contract law. A 14 year old cannot enter a legal contract - that's to protect him from the depradations of others. But he can still be prosecuted for fraud in purporting to enter a contract with others - that's to protect the others from his depradations. To make the law 'consistent' would deprive both the victims of manipulative 14 year olds and the 14 year old victims of fraudsters of justice. That can't be right - so consistency is not all it is knocked up to be.