Thursday, 31 December 2020

A New Year: a new beginning

The United Kingdom became a member of the European Communities on 1 January 1973. Those communities developed, via a long and winding road, into the modern-day European Union.

The many twists and turns of the often turbulent relationship between the UK and the EU need not be traced here and doubtless many histories will be written. 

UK membership ceased on 31 January 2020 (previous post) and the UK entered a transition period lasting for the remainder of 2020. The transition period masked the impact of Brexit.

Leaving the EU was a break

Tuesday, 29 December 2020

The European Union (Future Relationship) Bill ... (from 31.1220 Act)

Updated 26 January ...

The draft European Union (Future Relationship) Bill has been published and see Bills before Parliament.

The Bill has 40 clauses - Part 1 Security (Clauses 1 to 13) - Part 2 Trade and other matters (Clauses 14 to 28) - Part 3 General Implementation (Clauses 29 to 36 - Part 4 Supplementary and Final Provision (Clauses 37 to 40).  There are 6 Schedules.

Clause 29 (General Implementation) is particularly interesting legally because it aims to modify existing domestic laws for the purpose of implementing the Trade and Cooperation Agreement or the Security of Classified Information Agreement.  This clause is likely to raise considerable legal debate and has the potential to give rise to litigation

Agreement with the EU ~ Overview ~ Post No.4 ~ Aviation

(Pictured - Replica of Bleriot XI - Brooklands Museum) - first air crossing of The Channel 1911).

Draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement 

Part Two Heading Two - Aviation ... Title I (Air Transport) ... Title II (Aviation Safety)

The Transport Committee published its Second Report of Session 2019–21, The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the aviation sector (HC 268) on 13 June 2020. This report noted - 

"The global coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has reached, to some degree, into all areas of the UK and world economy. Few industries, however, have been affected

Agreement with the EU ~ Overview ~ Post No.3 ~ Trade


Part TWO of the Draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement sets out the arrangements for Trade, Transport, Fisheries and other arrangements. - (Direct Link to Part TWO).  There are Six HEADINGS

(1) Trade, (2) Aviation, (3) Road Transport, (4) Social Security Coordination and Visas for Short-term visits, (5) Fisheries, and (6) Other Provisions. 

The 6 Headings (plus Annexes) amount to a lengthy, detailed and complex document. This post first looks at Heading Six and then notes some of the features of Heading One (Trade). 

Heading SIX - Other Provisions: (LINK) - This begins

Monday, 28 December 2020

Agreement with the EU ~ Overview ~ Post No.2 ~ Law Enforcement / Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters

A crucial aspect of the UK's relationship with the EU has been involvement in EU-wide action to combat crime. This post looks at Part Three of the TCA - Law Enforcement and Judicial Cooperation in Criminal Matters.

In 2014, after a complicated and lengthy process, the UK decided to retain the European Arrest Warrant and a number of other Police and Criminal Justice measures - previous post 6 November 2014. This recognised the the necessity for effective structures to combat international crime. Without further agreement, withdrawal from the EU would mean that UK participation in such structures would come to an end. 

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement Part Three provides

Saturday, 26 December 2020

Agreement with the EU ~ Overview ~ Post No.1 ~ Fundamentals

Over a reasonably short number of posts I hope to offer a fair and balanced view of the key agreements finally reached on 24 December between the UK government and the EU.  

Anyone but a latter day Rip Van Winkle will have their opinion as to whether Brexit is "good" or "bad" but it is crucial that the nation now moves forward and I have no doubt that the agreements constitute a better future relationship than a "no deal" scenario. 

This post looks at the Preamble and Titles One and Seven of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the TCA). This is an overview and the agreement itself must be read in full if the reader wishes to have a detailed understanding.

UK government reaches agreement with the EU


On Christmas Eve it was announced that agreement had been reached between the UK government and the European Union (EU) over the terms of Future Trade and Co-operation - previous post 22 December 2020.

On 28 December, the agreement was approved (unanimously) by EU Amassadors - BBC News 28 December.

The draft texts have now been published of three agreements and other materials:

For further details see Europa The draft EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement and the UK Government - Agreements reached between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union

Proposal for Council Decision:

The EU has also published a Draft Proposal for a Council Decision (pdf).  This indicates that the legal basis for the proposed Council Decision is Article 217 TFEU, read in conjunction with Articles 218(5) TFEU and the second paragraph of Article 218(8) TFEU.

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Christmas 2020

Wishing you all the happiness possible at Christmas and for New Year 2021

Away in a Manger - Choir of King's College, Cambridge

In the Bleak Midwinter - Harold Darke (1888-1976) - musical setting of the poem by Christina Rosetti (1830-1894).

The Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah - George Frederick Handel

The light of the Christmas star to you,
The warmth of home and hearth to you,
The cheer and good will of friends to you,
The joy of a thousand angels to you,
The love of the Son,
And God’s peace to you. 

Tennyson - In Memoriam, Ring Out Wild Bells


Tuesday, 22 December 2020

A potentially devastating conjunction

Updated 25 December and 26 December


The "Great Conjunction" of Saturn and Jupiter occurred on Sunday 20 December. It was an interesting and rare event but it was merely an optical effect from the viewpoint of the observer on Earth. With all due respect to astrology, it caused no problems for anyone on the Earth. The other conjunction - Brexit and Covid 19 - is in an altogether different bracket.

Talks:

With just over a week to the end of the transition period, the post-Brexit relationship talks continue. It seems that much has been agreed but the parties have not reached a settlement over fishing rights including access to Britain's territorial waters. 

It is reported that

Sunday, 20 December 2020

Coronavirus restrictions ~ A Tier 4 introduced for England

Updated 6 January 2021  - New law became applicable. This post has been retained here for historical purposes. Key steps in the fast-moving situation through December 2020 are recorded.

------------------------

The on-going and unhappy saga of Coronavirus Restrictions legislation continues with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers and Obligations of Undertakings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 - (SI: 2020/1611). These came into force at 0700 hrs on 20 December.

Essentially, the changes introduce a new Tier 4 set of restrictions. Other amendments are also made which apply to all tiers.

Background:

After 9 months of struggle to contain the virus, the daily data

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Manslaughter of PC Andrew Harper - Attorney General's application refused

A previous post (9 August 2020) on this blog considered the sentences imposed on three irresponsible young men - Henry Long, Albert Bowers, Jessie Cole. They stole a quad bike. It was a planned theft and something they did frequently. The quad bike was towed away from its owner's property. When confronted by the Police they implemented their escape plan.  This required them to disconnect the tow loop from the quad bike and to drive away at speed as soon as all of them were in the car. As they drove away, PC Harper was caught up by the loop which was still attached to the car. He was dragged at high speed over a considerable distance and killed as a result.

Henry Long pleaded

London (Heathrow) Airport ~ Runway 3

In February 2020 the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) held that the Secretary of State had acted unlawfully in failing to take the Paris Agreement into account when designating as national policy the Airports National Policy Statement ("the ANPS") which governs the construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport - post of 27 February 2020.

The Planning Act 2008 deals with authorisation of projects for the development of nationally significant infrastructure. Section 5 deals with National Polict Statements.

The Paris Agreement is

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

What is a valid certificate of motor insurance?

Almost 11 years ago I blogged about the Police power to impound vehicles - Post February 2010

The Road Traffic Act 1988 sections 165A and 165B empower a Police Officer in Uniform to seize vehicles in certain circumstances  - e.g. is a driver is asked to produce evidence that he has a driving licence or that the vehicle is insured and the driver is unable to do so.  Reasonable force may be used to seize the vehicle.

Section 165B states that the Secretary of State may by regulations make provision as to -

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Coronavirus restrictions ~ Single Justice Procedure

On 9 December, published court lists show some 1443 cases listed for "Single Justice Procedure" (SJP). The cases listed are for matters such as keeping a vehicle without a valid vehicle licence, using a TV without a licence etc. In the overall picture of crime generally these are minor matters but are of consequence to the individuals involved.  

"Minor" offences are not necessarily without legal complications as was amply demonstrated by the cases involving using a mobile telephone whilst driving - DPP v Barreto [2019] EWHC 2044 (Admin).

Single Justice Procedure:

The Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 introduced a Single Justice Procedure (SJP) in

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Human Rights in the UK ~ Government sets up review of Human Rights Act 1998

The Conservative Party 2019 manifesto claimed that the UK 'has been a beacon of freedom and human rights' and would continue to be so. 

The same manifesto also contained a commitment to 'update the Human Rights Act and administrative law to ensure that there is a proper balance between the rights of individuals, our vital national security and effective government.'

Attacks on lawyers and human rights:

Recently, the Home Secretary has criticised the

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Patrick Finucane ~ Public Inquiry rejected by the government

The UK government has deferred setting up a public inquiry relating to State collusion in the 1989 murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane - The Guardian 30 November 2020.  Officially, the possibility of an inquiry has not been totally removed from the table.

The Government has committed to re-assess whether a public inquiry is necessary to resolve any outstanding obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights in light of a police review process (due to start in the New Year) and Police Ombudsman investigations.

For the anouncement

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Proposed Repeal of Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011

The Bill referred to in this post was replaced by a new Bill introduced in May 2021.


The Conservative Party 2019 manifesto included their plan to - "Get rid of the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act" 2011 which, it was claimed, "had led to paralysis at a time the country needed decisive action."

The 2011 Act:

The 2011 Act provided for Parliaments with a maximum term of 5 years. Under section 1 of the Act, the next general election would have to be in May 2024 - see section 1(3). 

The Act section 2 provided for the mechanism by

Coronavirus Restrictions ~ Regulations from 2 December 2020 ~ Dolan Judicial Review

NOTE: From 6 January 2021 new law applies. This post has been retained here for historical purposes.

December begins with a cold and frosty morning and the publication of the latest Coronavirus restrictions legislation applicable to England

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020. (SI 2020/1374).

Note: Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland each have their own separate legislation.

For England, this is a return to a three tier system but it is NOT identical to the earlier three tier system.

The latest statutory instrument brings together the restrictions applicable in each of the three tiers. The result is a lengthy document - 70 pages pdf.

The new Regulations come into force on 2 December 2020 and will expire at the end of 2 February 2021. (What may then follow is almost anyone's guess at the moment)! 

The allocation of areas

Friday, 27 November 2020

Brexit madness

 

"Madness" is a word that come to mind all too readily when describing the machinations of the Johnson government and its MPs regarding Brexit. 

Including today (27 November) there are just 35 days to the end of 2020 at which point the Brexit transition period* also ends.

But there is no agreement in place to address vital matters such as the future trading relationship with the 27 nation European Union.

Consequently, it is not possible for businesses to make any realistic plans for 2021. 

It truly beggars belief that a British government (of any political persuasion) has put British business (and the future of the national economy) into such a dire state of affairs.

Perhaps some

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

It's madness !

 

Updated 21 April 2021

"The defiant owner of a hair salon which has repeatedly flouted lockdown restrictions has been hit with another £10,000 fine, taking the total to £27,000.

Quinn Blakey Hairdressing, on Bradford Road, Oakenshaw, has continued to breach the current rules which require some businesses, including hairdressers, to close. 

The restrictions have been in force since November 5 in a bid to drive infection rates down" - 

see Telegraph and Argus 24 November 2020.

The newspaper continues by reporting - "The salon has cited Article 61 of the Magna Carta in defence of staying open ...."

Monday, 23 November 2020

President of the USA: The path to Office


The USA Presidential Election appears to have resulted with a win for the Democratic Party candidate - Senator Joe Biden

I say "appears" because the process, which is described here, will not conclude until January 2021.

The key dates are:

8 December - States to have selected and named their "electors" who collectively form the Electoral College -  There are 538 electors in total.

14 December - electors meet in

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) ~ some responses


The Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) "was established following the Government’s manifesto commitment to guarantee that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays."  Terms of Reference 

The IRAL ran a Call for Evidence from 7 September to 26 October 2020 - Independent Review of Administrative Law - Call for Evidence (PDF, 678KB, 12 pages).

The IRAL Panel is examining

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Vaccination for Covid-19


It is reported that the NHS is putting together an "army of staff for mass coronavirus vaccinations" - The Guardian 19 November.

A post by Rosalind English and published by the UK Human Rights Blog considers the possibility that government might seek to make vaccination for Covid-19 compulsory.  The post comments that - ... Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to rule out mandatory inoculation, telling talkRADIO the government would ‘have to watch what happens and… make judgments accordingly’. 

As the law currently stands, there is no such general power. A vaccination without consent would be prohibited

Constitution Committee ~ Constitutional implications of Covid-19

Parliament's Constitution Committee is examining the "Constitutional implications of Covid-19".

 

See the Committee's webpage

The Committee is considering these issues and exploring questions such as:

  • What can Parliament do to maximise its scrutiny of the emergency regulations and to hold the Government to account effectively during lockdown? How are adjustments to procedures and processes working in the House of Lords?
  • What emergency powers has the Government sought during the pandemic and what powers has it used and how? What lessons are there for future uses of emergency powers, their safeguards and the processes for scrutinising them?
  • How is the court system operating during the pandemic? What has been the impact of virtual proceedings on access to justice, participation in proceedings, transparency and media reporting?

 The evidence session

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Business Interruption Insurance and COVID-19


Updated 15 January 2021

In recent years, many businesses have taken out Business Interruption Insurance - Association of British Insurers (ABI).

Essentially, this is a type of insurance that is designed to protect businesses against the financial loss suffered as the result of a property claim. As an example, suppose that an event such as a fire or a flood results in the business being unable to continue to use the business premises. Property insurance might cover the physical damage to the premises but not the loss of income. Typically, a policy will include an Indemnity Period - e.g. covering financial loss from the date of the claim for a period of (say) 12 months.

Even a quite cursory look at this area of insurance is to unearth a far from straightforward subject. Expert advice

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Reforming the Supreme Court of the UK

"Supreme Court to be overhauled to curb its constitutional powers", said The Telegraph 15 November 2020.  The article then added as a sub-heading - "Reforms being considered include a new name for the body to make clear that it is not a US-style constitutional court."

In response, Mr David Lammy MP, the shadow justice secretary, said: “The Conservative government is determined to do all it can to take power away from the courts and hoard it in No 10. This is an attack not only on judges but on the British public, who rely on an independent judiciary to uphold the law" - The Guardian 15 November

Is reform actually required?

Some calls for reform are essentially political in nature and based on a number of cases decided against the government.

Whether there are good grounds to reform the court is an open question. The court

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Garry Newlove murder 2007


On the evening of 10 August 2007, Mr Garry Newlove went out of his house in Warrington in order to remonstrate with a group of young men who were damaging vehicles in the street. He was attacked by the group. He went to the ground. He was punched and kicked. One of the blows, which could have been a punch or a kick, caused a tear of a major artery in his neck close to his brain. This led to catastrophic brain damage. Mr Newlove died two days later in hospital. Mr Newlove's three daughters witnessed the attack. 

Convictions:

Adam Swellings, Stephen Sorton, Jordan Cunliffe and two others were tried for murder. The trial was held in January 2008 at the Crown Court in Chester before Andrew Smith J and a jury. Swellings, Sorton, and Cunliffe were convicted and the two others were acquitted. Minimum terms imposed on the three convicted were, respectively, 17, 15 and 12 years.

Suicide and Unlawful Killing ~ Standard of Proof

Judgment has been handed down by the Supreme Court of the UK in R (Maughan) v Her Majesty's Senior Coroner for Oxfordshire [2020] UKSC 46 - Lords Reed, Kerr, Wilson, Carnwath and Lady Arden.

The court, by a majority of 3 to 2, held that the CIVIL standard of proof applies for an inquest to return a short form conclusion of suicide. Lady Arden gave the first judgment, with which Lord Wilson agreed. Lord Carnwath agreed with Lady Arden and gave a concurring judgment. Lord Kerr gave a dissenting judgment, with which Lord Reed agreed.

The legal effect of the court's decision

Friday, 13 November 2020

Justice Committee Report ~ Children and Young People in Custody (Part 1)


The Justice Committee has published -

Children and Young People in Custody (Part 1): Entry into the youth justice system

The committee's website explains that the number of children entering the system, as well as those receiving custodial sentences, has reduced considerably in the past decade. But the report notes that the seriousness of the crimes these children have committed has worsened, particularly for violence-against-the-person offences. The raw number of crimes committed remains lower than a decade ago but the proportion of violence-against-the-person offences has increased by ten percentage points compared with other crimes.

At the same time,

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Sentencing Code

The Sentencing Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 22 October 2020.  The Act comes into force on 1 December 2020 - (Commencement Regulations No.1).

Preparing for the Sentencing Act:

In November 2018, the Law Commission proposed a new Sentencing Code for England and Wales - previous post 5 February 2019.  

Earlier this year, the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Act 2020 was passed - previous post 6 March 2020 and also Explanatory Notes to the Pre-Consolidation Act 

The Pre-consolidation Amendment Act has two objectives - 

Friday, 6 November 2020

Recruitment to the Judiciary

How are members of the judiciary selected and appointed? The answer to these questions may be seen in recent advertisements for judicial posts at all levels of the legal system.

The United Kingdom can pride itself on the fact that there is very little political influence in the judicial appointments processes. This is in marked contrast to nations such as the United States of America where, for example, appointments to the Supreme Court of the USA are made by the President subject to confirmation hearings in the Senate. 

Recently, Amey Coney Barrett (48) was appointed via this process. The voting

Thursday, 5 November 2020

Freedom to protest

Is protest now lawful in England?

The UK is "locked down" by The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.4) Regulations 2020

The Regulations restrict almost all aspects of our lives, restrict family life massively, and prevent trading by many businesses. 

All of this is considered to be proportionate by the Secretary of State for Health (Mr Hancock MP) but some MPs disagreed with that view - see, for example, the view expressed in debate by Sir Bob Neill MP.

The restrictions are enforceable either by prosecution or, more usually, "fixed penalties" handed out by "authorised persons". Fixed penalties

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Coronavirus Restrictions from 5 November 2020

NOTE: The law referred to in this post was replaced from 2 December 2020. The post is retained here for record purposes. 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.4) Regulations 2020 - (SI 2020/1200) - have been published - (32 pages pdf).

The Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 is the legal basis for the Regulations. 

The Regulations apply to England only and are imposed for reasons set out by the Prime Minister - Hansard 2 November 2020 . They were debated in, and approved by, the House of Commons on Wednesday 4 November - Hansard 4 November.

The Regulations

Monday, 2 November 2020

Coronavirus Log - Part 6 - from 2 November 2020

This post is a continuation of the Coronavirus Log.  See Coronavirus Log Part 1 - (December 2019 to 28 April 2020) - Part 2 (29 April 2020 to 24 May 2020) - Part 3 (25 May to 21 June 2020) - Part 4 (22 June to 26 July 2020) - Part 5 (27 July to 1 November.

From 14 October a three tier system of restrictions has been in place to try to minimise the spread of Covid-19 - previous post 13 October 2020. In September, Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) recommended that Ministers impose a circuit break lockdown lasting for two weeks - The BMJ 16 October.  The government chose not to do this and opted for the 3 tier system in force from 14 October

In Wales

Saturday, 31 October 2020

Shamima Begum ~ A submission by JUSTICE to the Supreme Court

Let us step back a moment to the early days of the Queen's reign. Her Majesty became Queen on 6 February 1952 upon the death of her father - King George VI (1895-1952). The Coronation service was held at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953 and Her Majesty swore the Coronation Oath to govern her territories "according to their respective laws and customs?” 

One part of the ceremony was subjected to a great deal of comment at the time. This was the solemn moment when HRH The Duke of Edinburgh knelt before the Queen and swore to be her "liege man of life and limb and earthly worship". 

Here was a distinct reference

Friday, 30 October 2020

The Labour Party and antisemitism

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was created by the Equality Act 2006 and has extensive powers to conduct investigations relating to equality and diversity and also human rights - Equality Act 2006 s.16. The framework for an investigation is set out in section 20 and Schedule 2 of the 2006 Act. The Commission is empowered to issue Unlawful Act Notices - section 21.

On Thursday 29 October, the Commission issued a report - Investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party - finding unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment. The Commission's website stated -

"The Labour Party has been served with an unlawful act notice after an investigation into antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found it responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

Following

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Government by decree

'Government by decree - Covid-19 and the Constitution' was the Cambridge Freshfields lecture delivered on 27 October 2020 by Lord Sumption who was a Justice of the Supreme Court of the UK from 2012 to 2018.

When advertising the lecture, the University of Cambridge Law Faculty said - "The disputes over Brexit last year saw an attempt to make the executive, not Parliament, the prime source of authority in the Constitution. The coronavirus crisis has provoked another attempt to marginalise Parliament, this time with the willing acquiescence of the House of Commons. Is this to be our future?"

The text of Lord Sumption's lecture is now available - Government by decree: Covid-19 and the Constitution.

The lecture began -

Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Victim Personal Statements and sentencing

Victim Personal Statements "provide a practical way of ensuring that the sentencing court will, consider, in accordance with s.143 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, "any harm which the offence caused", reflecting on the evidence of the victim about the specific and personal impact of the offence or offences, or in the cases of homicide, on the family of the deceased" - per Lord Judge LCJ in Perkins [2013] EWCA Crim 323.

A number of cases have reached the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) in which Victim Personal Statements resulted in an offence being placed into a higher category of seriousness. The result of that is of course a longer sentence. Sentencing requires up to date information about the offender at the time of sentencing and a VPS can assist with this but fairness demands that such statements are not only accurate but that the correct procedure is followed when bringing the statements into evidence.

Consider R v Reece Dylan Jones [2020] EWCA 1139.

On 25 October 2019, the appellant

Monday, 26 October 2020

Joesph Karumba Wangige ~ a second prosecution oppressive

The criminal law has a principle that, in the absence of special cirumstancess, a later prosecution cannot be based on substantially the same facts as resulted in a prior conviction - Beedie [1998] QB 356

This arose in the case of Joesph Karumba Wangige [2020] EWCA Crime 1319 - Davis LJ, Lavender and Pepperall JJ. 

On the night of 26 November 2016, Mr Wangige was driving his Vauxhall Astra and he ran into Mr Russell Lee (32) who was crossing the road. Wangige did not stop. Mr Lee suffered serious injuries from he died on 30 November 2016.

A Collision report was prepared

Friday, 23 October 2020

Coronavirus: some areas move to greater restrictions

NOTE: The law referred to in this post was replaced from 5 November 2020. The post is retained here for record purposes. 

Amendment Regulations were made by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on 22 October and are mostly in force from Friday 23 October 2020. The Regulations move a number of areas into a higher coronavirus alert level. For example, Greater Manchester moved from Level 2 (High) to Level 3 (Very High).

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Medium, High and Very High) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 - SI 2020/1154.

Legislation for the 3 levels of alert:

and see previous post of 13 October 2020.

A very helpful website is Kings Chambers - Living in Tier 3: Useful links and guidance for individuals and families and Useful links for business and The Latest Covid Regulations Practical Guidance

Financial support and political rancour:

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

UK Internal Market Bill ~ House of Lords Second Reading

The government's UK Internal Market Bill is before the House of Lords and its second reading commenced on Monday 19 October (Hansard) and continued on 20 October (Hansard).  The Bill contains a number of clauses seeking to enable Ministers to breach international law (i.e. the Withdrawal Agreement).  Specifically, the repugnant clauses are 44 (Power to disapply or modify export declarations or other exit procedures), 45 (Regulations about Article 10 of the Northern Ireland Protocol), and 46 (Further provision relating to sections 44 and 45 etc.  Clause 46 seeks to prevent legal challenge on any ground whatseoever.

Lord Judge, a former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, moved a motion of regret that - "this House regrets that Part 5 of the bill contains provisions which, if enacted, would undermine the rule of law and damage the reputation of the United Kingdom.”​ The Bill was read a second time (395 votes to 169) with Lord Judge's motion approved. Lord Judge's speech,

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Brexit: "High hearts and complete confidence" - if only !

With UPDATES 19, 20 and 22 October

 On 16 October, the Prime Minister issued a statement on the UK-EU negotiations and poured cold water on any remaining optimism about the future UK-EU relationship even though, strictly-speaking, a possibility of a trade deal may still exist. 

This followed the outcome of the 15 October EU Council meeting held in Brussels - see previous post of 16 October.

It is worth recalling the 2019 withdrawal agreement and the political declaration

The Withdrawal Agreement recognised the need for both the UK and the EU to take all necessary steps to negotiate 'one or several agreements' governing their future relationship with a view to ensuring that, to the extent possible, those agreements apply from the end of the transition period.'  

In what seems like the now largely forgotten political declaration

Friday, 16 October 2020

UK-EU future negotiations / Constitution Committee Report on Internal Market Bill

The European Council met in Brussels on 15 October and has published its Conclusions regarding the future EU-UK relationship

Difficulties remain over the ‘level playing field', governance, and fisheries.(Please see the end of this post for links relating to these topics).

Council noted that the transition period will end on 31 October and expressed concern that progress on "key issues of interest to the Union is still not sufficient for an agreement to be reached."

Nonetheless, Council reaffirmed the EU's determination to have a "close as possible" partnership with the UK on the basis of negotiating directives of 25 February 2020. The Chief Negotiator (Mr Michel Barnier) wil, continue negotiations "in the coming weeks" and Council called on the UK to "make the necessary moves to make an agreement possible."

As regards the Internal Market Bill

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Three tier system for Coronavirus restrictions ~ Regulations approved and in force

NOTE: The law referred to in this post was replaced from 5 November 2020. The post is retained here for record purposes.

On 12 October, the Prime Minister announced a new "three tier" system of Regulations aimed at preventing further spread of coronavirus which, according to government data, has already claimed 42,875 lives in the UK. On 12 October there were 13,972 new cases. See Hansard 12 October 2020. The rise in infection (in most areas) from late August has been considerable and it is reported that the government was urged by SAGE to impose a short "lockdown" a few weeks ago - BBC News 13 October.

The new Regulations were "made" by the Minister (Mr Hancock MP) on 12 October 2020 and are - 

The Medium Regulations - (Tier 1 restrictions) - apply

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Troubling times


Following the December 2019 general election, Boris Johnson became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He is a man who is noted for ill-judged comments - Business Insider 9 June 2020 - of which the latest is his attack on "lefty" lawyers and other "do-gooders" - The Guardian October 2020.

In an online speech to the Conservative Party Conference, Johnson said - "We’re ..... protecting the public by changing the law to stop the early release of serious sexual and violent offenders and stopping the whole criminal justice system from being hamstrung by what the home secretary would doubtless – and rightly – call the lefty human rights lawyers, and other do-gooders.”

Johnson's reference to the Home Secretary

Friday, 9 October 2020

Coronavirus restrictions ~ possibility of a new restrictions regime as cases rise


Coronavirus is "getting out of control" in the north of England, a minister has said, as she defended government plans to bring in new restrictions.

Gillian Keegan, minister for skills and apprenticeships, said the country was in an "unbelievably serious situation".

That report was published by the BBC on 9 October 2020. The background to the report is government data showing a significant increase in infections - 17540 new cases on 8 October - and rising numbers requiring hospital treatment.

The BBC further reports that a 3-tier system

Thursday, 8 October 2020

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill

On 5 October, the Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Bill passed its Second Reading in the House of Commons by 182 votes to 20.  Very briefly, the Bill aims to empower various bodies to authorise undercover operatives to commit criminal offences.

The Labour Party's position was to abstain because the party supports putting undercover activities on a statutory footing but 20 Labour MPs voted against the Bill. Labour is calling for additional safeguards in the Bill.  The Guardian 6 October and Labour List 5 October.

Opening the Second Reading debate, the Minister (Mr James Brokenshire MP) set out the purpose of the Bill - "... the Bill deals with participation in criminal conduct by covert human intelligence sources - so-called CHIS. These are agents, or undercover officers, who help to secure prosecutions and disruptions by infiltrating criminal and terrorist groups."

In reality, it is not merely

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill

This post considers the controversial Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill but first a note about the Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL).

The Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) - post 4 August 2020 - issued a call for evidence “on how well or effectively judicial review balances the legitimate interest in citizens being able to challenge the lawfulness of executive action with the role of the executive in carrying on the business of government, both locally and centrally”.

The IRAL panel is chaired by former minister Lord Faulks QC and includes academics and leading administrative law barristers.

The call for evidence, which can be viewed here, commenced on 7 September and is running until midday on 19 October 2020.

 The IRAL was enivisaged by the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto  (Page 48) which also contained this statement (page 52) -

Saturday, 3 October 2020

UK - EU Negotiations on the Future Relationship ~ Round 9


Round 9 of the UK-EU Future Relationship negotiations ended on 2 October with statements by the Chief Negotiators:

Lord Frost - Statement 2 October 2020

Michel Barnier - Statement 2 October 2020

Prime Minister and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen will speak in a video call later  - BBC News 3 October 2020

It remains to be seen whether agreement can be reached. Only 89 days now remain to the end of the transition period which, let it be remembered, could have been extended had the UK government so requested.

The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill passed the House of Commons and received first reading in the House of Lords on 30 September. The Bill continues