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. 


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