Tuesday 30 May 2017

Some current legal stories

Here are some current legal stories - in no particular order:

"Sometimes you try and you do not succeed" says the Waiting for Godot blog.   The Dublin Case - brought in Ireland by Jolyon Maugham QC and others - sought to establish whether the Article 50 notice could be withdrawn unilaterally.  The litigants hoped that the Irish court would make a reference to the Court of Justice of the EU.  This litigation has now been abandoned for reasons set out HERE.

Professor Mark Elliott of Cambridge University
has published an evaluation of the Supreme Court's judgment in Miller - (the Brexit litigation).  In the talk, Professor Elliott critically examines the reasoning of the majority in Miller on the prerogative v legislation question, as well as commenting on the position adopted by the Court on the question of whether constitution convention required devolved assent to any legislation paving the way for the triggering of Article 50.

Rights Info has been looking at Human Rights and the Election.  The battle over human rights protection in the UK is far from being over although it looks quiet for the time being given the focus on Brexit and the impending negotiations with the EU.  The Conservative Party remains committed to repealing the Human Rights Act 1998 but they say the UK will remain a signatory to the Convention for the "duration of the next Parliament" - Previous post

Open Democracy UK has published this analysis - Civil Liberties and Human Rights - What's at stake in the UK's 2017 General Election.

The Birmingham Mail reports on a development with the Birmingham (1974) bomb inquest.  In June 2016 the Coroner decided that the inquest could be resumed although it had stood adjourned since November 1974 - see article by Nageena Khalique QC 1st June 2016.  According to the Birmingham Mail there is now an issue over legal aid funding for the families of the victims.  Lawyers have been told that although they have been acting free of charge since 2014, current legislation means they will not receive any backdated payment beyond February this year.  The Police, the government, the Police Federation and the Coroner will be represented by QCs at the inquest.  

The Secret Barrister has an interesting view of the Channel 4 TV programme "The Trial: A Murder in the Family" which I also blogged about last week (HERE).

The Counter-terrorism and Security Act 2015 introduced powers to prohibit return to the UK of certain individuals. It appears that some use is being made of the orders but it is, so far, quite minimal  - The Independent 29th May.  See also the Independent Reviewer report December 2016.

On 25th May, the BBC reported on the hearing in the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) of the Baby Charlie Gard case.  The court upheld a decision of Francis J that life support could be removed from baby Charlie.  It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will consider the caseUpdate 31st May - On 8th June, the Supreme Court will consider whether to hear an appeal - Supreme Court website.   Charlie's parents appealed against a ruling made last month that would allow specialists to move their eight-month-old son to palliative care.  Chris Gard and Connie Yates had raised £1.3m to send him to the US for a trial treatment.  Doctors argued continuing life-support treatment would not benefit Charlie but "prolong the process of dying".

The Conservative Party manifesto says that the Serious Fraud Office will be abolished and its role taken over by the National Crime Agency - BBC News 18th May.  For my part I do not think this is a good idea given the highly specialised and detailed work necessary for the investigation of complex fraud.

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