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.


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.


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