Friday, 31 December 2021

The government's consultation on Human Rights Act ~ (4) ~ Reform Proposals


On 14 December, the government published the report of the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 and also published a consultation containing the government's proposals for change. The consultation is open for responses until 8 March 2022.

Commons Statement 14 December 2021 - Human Rights Legislation - Hansard - UK Parliament

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - with link to consultation document (123 pages pdf)

This post looks at Chapter 4 of the government's consultation - the Reform Proposals. There is a lot in it and what follows is, of necessity, an overview. Several of the topics covered would merit considerably greater analysis - e.g. the proposals on Freedom of Expression.

Even an initial reading of Chapter 4 shows that the proposals go far beyond what the Independent Panel considered to be required and, in some instances, the proposed reforms were not referred to or discussed by the Independent Review. 

Chapter 4 is lengthy and results in 29 Questions to which any organisation or individual may respond either in full or in part.

* The basic plan *

This is to be found at paras 182 to 188. 

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

The government's consultation on Human Rights Act ~ (3)


 On 14 December, the government published the report of the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 and also published a consultation containing the government's proposals for change. The consultation is open for responses until 8 March 2022.

Commons Statement 14 December 2021 - Human Rights Legislation - Hansard - UK Parliament

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - with link to consultation document (123 pages pdf)

This post looks at Chapter 3 of the government's consultation - The Case for Reforming UK human rights law.

A further post will be required to consider the government's actual proposals which are set out in Chapter 4 of the consultation.

* The government's case *

Chapter 3 begins

Tuesday, 28 December 2021

The Government's consultation on Human Rights Act ~ (2)



On 14 December, the government published the report of the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 and also published a consultation containing the government's proposals for change. The consultation is open for responses until 8 March 2022.

Commons Statement 14 December 2021 - Human Rights Legislation - Hansard - UK Parliament

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - with link to consultation document (123 pages pdf)

The consultation:

Chapter 1 The Legacy of Rights in the UK - Chapter 1 starts with

Sunday, 26 December 2021

The Government's consultation on Human Rights Act ~ (1)

On 14 December, the government published the report of the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 and also published a consultation containing the government's proposals for change. The consultation is open for responses until 8 March 2022.

Commons Statement 14 December 2021 - Human Rights Legislation - Hansard - UK Parliament

Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - with link to consultation document (123 pages pdf)

The Independent Review:

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf). The review was

Friday, 24 December 2021

Christmas 2021

 

*** Wishing you all the happiness possible at Christmas and for New Year 2022 ***

The little picture illustrates a man and his faithful dog walking home on a snowy Christmas Eve. The holly leaves depict the famous carol - The Holly and the Ivy - and the red berries suggest the Twelve Days of Christmas.

May Christmas bring you joy, peace and happiness. Here is the beauty of "Away in a Manger" played in an excellent arrangement by the famous Black Dyke Band - Away in a Manger (arr. Peter Graham) and a cheerful, lively arrangement of the old English melody Gaudete.


----- ooooooo -----

Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 ~ Post 5

 


This post is the fifth in my look at the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998. 

The review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Justice (then Robert Buckland QC MP) on 7 December 2020 and was conducted by a panel of 8 including the Chair - former Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Peter Gross. Their report - finally revealed by the Secretary of State for Justice (now Dominic Raab MP) on 14 December 2021 - extends to 580 pages.

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

This post looks at Chapter 6 (Designated derogation orders made under section 14 of the Human Rights Act 1998) and Chapter 8 (Extra-territorial and Temporal Scope). 

Thursday, 23 December 2021

Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 ~ Post 4


This post is the fourth in my look at the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998. 

The review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Justice (then Robert Buckland QC MP) on 7 December 2020 and was conducted by a panel of 8 including the Chair - former Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Peter Gross. Their report - finally revealed by the Secretary of State for Justice (now Dominic Raab MP) on 14 December 2021 - extends to 580 pages.

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

This post looks at Chapter 9 of the report - Remedial Orders. This appears to logically follow on from consideration of the topics in Post 3 - (i.e. Sections 3 and 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 ).

This post then looks at Chapter 7 of the report - Subordinate Legislation.

Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Indepdendent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 ~ Post 3


This post is the third in my look at the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998. 

The review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Justice (then Robert Buckland QC MP) on 7 December 2020 and was conducted by a panel of 8 including the Chair - former Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Peter Gross. Their report - finally revealed by the Secretary of State for Justice (now Dominic Raab MP) on 14 December 2021 - extends to 580 pages.

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

The post is an overview of Chapter 5 of the report - Sections 3 and 4 of the Human Rights Act 1998 

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 ~ Post 2

This post is the second in my look at the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998. 

The review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Justice (then Robert Buckland QC MP) on 7 December 2020 and was conducted by a panel of 8 including the Chair - former Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Peter Gross. Their report - finally revealed by the Secretary of State for Justice (now Dominic Raab MP) on 14 December 2021 - extends to 580 pages.

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

The post is an overview of Chapters 2 to 4 of the report - Chapter 2 Section 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 - Chapter 3 The Margin of Appreciation - Chapter 4 Judicial Dialogue.

The 3 Chapters offer a particularly informative analysis of these important topics.

Sunday, 19 December 2021

Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 ~ Post 1


This post is the first in my look at the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998. 

The review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Justice (then Robert Buckland QC MP) on 7 December 2020 and was conducted by a panel of 8 including the Chair - former Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Peter Gross. Their report - finally revealed by the Secretary of State for Justice (now Dominic Raab MP) on 14 December 2021 - extends to 580 pages.

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

The review

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Coronavirus Inquiry - Chair appointed

Baroness Heather Hallett - a former Lady Justice of Appeal - has been appointed Chair of the planned inquiry into the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Here is the Downing Street announcement -

Prime Minister announces Covid-19 Inquiry Chair - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

As indicated by the announcement, Terms of Reference will be set in early 2022.

In May 2021 the Prime Minister announced that there would be an inquiry - previous post 12 May 2021.

For a joint report by Parliament's Science and Technology Committee / Health and Social Care Committee please see the previous post of 12 October 2021

Monday, 13 December 2021

Human Rights Act ~ government plans for reform



On 14 December the Secretary of State for Justice (Dominic Raab MP) announced the long-awaited consultation on reform of the Human Rights Act 1998.  Also published was the report of the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Commons Statement - Human Rights Legislation - Hansard - UK Parliament

Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) - with link to consultation document (123 pages pdf)

Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf)

Below the page break is the text of my blogpost of 13 December - i.e. prior to the government's announcement.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Armed Forces Bill ~ some notes and on-going concerns

The Armed Forces Bill is now in its final stage in Parliament.  This post notes a number of features of the Bill.

The Bill addresses the duration of the Armed Forces Act 2006 (Clause 1); Service Courts - summary hearings and jurisdiction (Clauses 2 to 7); Service in the Armed Forces Clauses 8 to 10); Service Police (Clauses 11 to 12); Sentencing and Rehabilitation (Clauses 13 to 18); Posthumous pardons (Clause 19); Miscellaneous (Clauses 20 to 22) and General (Clauses 23 to 27). There are 6 Schedules.

Armed Forces Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament

Clause 1 amends the expiry date of the Armed Forces Act 2006 which sets out the discipline system for the three Armed Forces.  Under the amendment,

Saturday, 4 December 2021

R v Tustin and Hughes ~ Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews ~ Funding and resources


The case of R v Tustin and Hughes concerned the death, on 16 June 2020, of a 6 year old child - Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. The facts of this case are truly horrific and are set out by Mr Justice Wall in his sentencing remarks of Thomas Hughes and Emma Tustin at the Crown Court in Coventry (pictured). The facts need not be repeated here save to note that the judge described the case as 'one of the most distressing and disturbing case with which I have had to deal.'

R -v- Tustin & Hughes sentencing remarks | Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Arthur's father (Thomas Hughes) was convicted by the jury of manslaughter and was sentenced to imprisonment for 21 years of which he will serve two-thirds before release on licence. He was

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Limiting freedom to protest - late-in-the-day government amendments to Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill


The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill has recently completed its Committee Stage in the House of Lords.  This is a substantial Bill comprising 13 Parts, 179 clauses, 20 Schedules.  

Bill as amended at Lords Committee stage

At the Committee Stage the government introduced extensive and substantial amendments which had not been considered by the House of Commons and were not on the face of the Bill at the House of Lords Second Reading. 

The government amendments extended to 18 pages and may be seen at pages 68 to 86  of the 9th Marshalled List of amendments under the name of Baroness Williams of Trafford (Minister of State, Home Office).

The amendments are far from being minor changes. They amount

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Coronavirus legislation ~ Omicron variant ~ face coverings and self-isolation

In response to the Omicron variant of Coronavirus (Covid-19), the government has made new Regulations relating to the wearing of face coverings and self-isolation. 

The Regulations came into force at 4 am on 30 November.

18 July 2021 saw the removal of most of the Coronavirus secondary legislation although Regulations relating to international travel remained in place and, since July, have been the subject of numerous further amendments. (The travel Regulations are not considered further here).

The new Regulations may be seen at -

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Tragedy in the Channel

Tragedy in the Channel:

The poet Matthew Arnold in his poem Dover Beach wrote of the "turbid ebb and flow of human misery". Those words seem apt to describe the only too predictable tragedy of Wednesday 24 November when at least 27 lives were lost as people attempted to cross the Channel in a flimsy inflatable dinghy.

Tragedy at sea claims dozens of lives in deadliest day of Channel crisis | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

Needless to say this would be a particularly dangerous crossing at the best of times and even more so in a completely inadequate vessel. The Straits of Dover is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world with around 400 commercial vessels per day -

The Strait of Dover (nasa.gov)

The numbers attempting this perilous journey

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Diktats and denial of democracy

The eminent legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg has drawn attention to two reports from House of Lords committees

Government by diktat? - by Joshua Rozenberg - A Lawyer Writes (substack.com)

The reports are from the Secondary legislation scrutiny committee and the Delegated powers and Regulatory Reform Committee

Two Lords reports published on the balance of power between Parliament and the Executive - Committees - UK Parliament#

The reports are

Will the UK rejoin the EU?


Will the UK rejoin the European Union (EU)?

This post looks at the essentially political question of whether the UK might rejoin the EU in the foreseeable future. There are those who hope that it might do so but are such aspirations realistic? A further question is what would be the process for rejoining.

It is probably unwise to say that rejoining will never happen but, as things stand in late 2021, it is highly unlikely.  That is, of course, my personal view but let's look at the situation.

Political situation -

The Conservative Party forms the current government and was elected in 2019 on a manifesto of Getting Brexit Done - Conservative Party Manifesto 2019 (conservatives.com)#

Now that Brexit has taken place, there is not a even the slightest change of mind on the government's part.  

As for the Labour Party,

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Barbados - the change to parliamentary republic

"The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind" - Governor General Sandra Mason reading speech prepared by the Prime Minister of Barbados.

The Caribbean island of Barbados is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide with a population of around 285,000. 

On 30 November 2021 it will become a Republic and HM The Queen will therefore cease to be its Head of State. Former judge Sandra Mason is to be its first President. Economically, the island is very dependent on tourism.

Barbados - Wikipedia

Visit Barbados - The Official Barbados Tourism Guide 2021

Some of the reasons behind

Monday, 8 November 2021

Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol


The post Brexit relationship between the UK government and the EU is marked by continual tension including numerous issues arising in connection with the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP). The NIP is an integral part of the Withdrawal Agreement entered into between the UK and EU in 2019 - 

Law and Lawyers: Withdrawal Agreement ~ The Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol

The purpose of the NIP is to prevent a hard border between Ireland (a member State of the EU) and Northern Ireland (part of the UK). The protocol requires Northern Ireland to align with EU law in some areas in order to maintain frictionless access to the EU. Goods entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain have to prove that they comply with EU law in those areas.

In July 2021

Saturday, 6 November 2021

The Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021 - background and overview

This post looks at the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021. The Act is the result of long-standing dislike within the British government of legal actions brought as a result of military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The majority of those who served in the Armed Forces in those theatres did so with bravery, professionalism and honour. Sadly, there is ample evidence from various inquiries and other proceedings that some did not live up to the high standard expected of the Armed Forces of the Crown.

The Conservative Party's 2019 manifesto stated that, if elected, the Party would "introduce new legislation to tackle the vexatious claims that undermine our Armed Forces."  Having won the 2019 election, the Party duly introduced the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill - Armed Forces protected from vexatious claims in important step - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).  Various amendments to the Bill occurred during its passage through Parliament. The resulting Act received Royal Assent on 29 April 2021 - 

Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Act 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

Background:

Explanatory notes were

Monday, 1 November 2021

Criminal conduct authorisations within the UK

The European Convention on Human Rights Article 2 requires that everyone's life shall be protected by law. The article continues - "Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary: (a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence; (b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; (c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection."

The Covert Human Intelligence Sources (Criminal Conduct) Act 2021 (legislation.gov.uk) - fully in force since 30 September 2021 - is lawful authority for a Police Force, the National Crime Agency, the Intelligence Services, the Armed Forces, Revenue and Customs. the Home Office and several other bodies - to approve a Covert Human Intelligence Source (a CHIS) to commit ANY criminal offence. If the CHIS acts in accordance with the authorisation then it will be lawful for all purposes.

I have put the word ANY in upper case / bold because

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Environment Bill ~ Storm Overflows and Sewage Discharge


Parliament has been considering the Environment Bill.

Environment Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament

The Bill passed the House of Commons, went to the House of Lords which proposed a number of amendments. The Bill then returned to the Commons for consideration of Lords amendments. 

The Commons considered the amendments on 20 October and returned them to the Lords with disagreements - the beginning of the so-called "ping pong" process.

The Commons debate

Friday, 22 October 2021

Some weekend reading


First, the speech by the Attorney General to the 2021 Public Law Project Conference - 


Professor Mark Elliott offered an early response to the speech - see Youtube 20 October.

Secondly, the Supreme Court decision

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Legal aid - "Westminister Commission" report


"The legal aid system as it stands is not sufficient. Nor is it sustainable."

That is the summary by the Westminster Commission on legal aid set out in a 177 page report issued on 19 October 2021 (pdf).

The Commission is an All Party Parliamentary Group - see its website

The report sets out the significant changes made to legal aid in the 8 years since the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) and provides a useful as well as detailed analysis of the current position.

The Foreword to the report notes -

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Dominic Raab MP - the Lord Chancellor - on judicial review and human rights


On 15 September 2021, the Prime Minister moved Dominic Raab MP from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Ministry of Justice to replace Robert Buckland QC MP as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. Raab was "sworn in" as Lord Chancellor on 23 September 2021. 

The reasons for moving Raab to Justice were not made entirely clear but we might surmise that Buckland was considered to be not going far enough with his reforms to judicial review which I wrote about earlier.

Raab was at Justice previously. He was Parliamentary

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Coronavirus - lessons learned - Parliamentary report


The House of Commons and Science and Technology Committee and Health and Social Care Committee have published their Report, Coronavirus: lessons learned to date, examining the initial UK response to the Covid pandemic.

 Coronavirus: lessons learned to date report published - Committees - UK Parliament

Covid vaccine programme “one of most effective initiatives in UK history” but delay to first lockdown a “serious error” that should have been challenged.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Arrest - some basic notes on a difficult topic


"You have eroded the confidence that the public are entitled to have in the police forces of England and Wales. It is critical that every subject in this country can trust police officers when they encounter them and submit to their authority, which they are entitled to believe is being exercised in good faith"
- Sentencing remarks - Lord Justice Fulford - 30 September 2021 - R v Couzens. 

Powers of arrest are a difficult legal topic but they have come to greater public prominence due to the actions of Wayne Couzens who kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard. Couzens was a serving Police Officer who purported to arrest Sarah as she was walking home having visited a friend. 

What does the law say about arrest and use of force?

Arrest with a warrant

An arrest may be authorised by the warrant of a Justice of the Peace - Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 section 1 which enables a JP to issue either a summons or issue a warrant to arrest an individual and bring him before a Magistrates' Court.. 

Arrest without warrant:

The Police

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Wayne Couzens - Whole Life order for the murder of Sarah Everard


Sarah Everard (33) was murdered by Wayne Couzens who, at the time, was a serving Police Officer. He was sentenced on 30 September 2021 to a Whole Life Order.

The sentencing remarks are published on the Judiciary website. The remarks are essential reading for anyone who wishes to find the facts and understand the sentencing process.

Addendum 27 October: 

It is reported that Couzens us to appeal against the whole life order.

Wednesday, 18 August 2021

Last Post and Cheerio

This blog commenced over 11 years ago on 14 January 2010 - (A new blog).  The aim was that the blog would throw at least a little light on the laws which govern us and the lawyers who implement those laws. I hope that, at least in some way, that objective has been achieved and that I have spoken for fairness (Pro Aequitate Dicere). As I write, the blog has published 2234 posts and has received 2,877,077 pageviews. I think those are reasonably respectable figures for an individual blog and I am grateful to the many who have shown interest and offered comment.

There is much to be done in the legal world and

A Codified Constitution?

It is frequently argued that the United Kingdom ought to have a codified ("written-down") constitution. For example, here is an earlier look at this question (post 28 November 2019).

The UK's constitutional arrangements are a product of history and the arrangements have to be divined from a complex mixture of common law, legislation, and practices (or conventions) generally accepted by those who exercise powers within the system. There is no single starting-point document labelled "The Constitution".

In Cherry / Miller 2 [2019] UKSC 41, Lady Hale said (para 39) - "Although the United Kingdom does not have a single document entitled "The Constitution", it nevertheless possesses a Constitution, established over the course of our history by common law, statutes, conventions and practice."

That is all very well but, for the majority of citizens, the arrangements are shrouded in mystery rather like the arcane learnings and rituals of some ancient religion.

A codified

UK constitutional arrangements - the legislative power of Parliament


Parliament is the UK's supreme legal authority. Parliament's website sets out the principle -  

"Parliamentary sovereignty is a principle of the UK constitution. It makes Parliament the supreme legal authority in the UK which can create or end any law ....."

The word "sovereignty" has different meanings - (discussed at Watching the Law October 2020).  The term "Parliamentary Sovereignty" refers to the point that Parliament has legislative supremacy - that is, the power to make any law whatever. Further, no person or body is recognised by the law as having a right to override or set aside the legislation of Parliament.

The law textbooks

Monday, 16 August 2021

UK constitutional arrangements ~ House of Lords


"For Parliament to have legitimacy, it must be elected. The House of Lords should be a fully elected second chamber" -
Unlock democracy

During the Brexit campaign there was a common complaint that the European Union had a democratic deficit - see, for example, EU facts behind claims: democracy and Civitas - Democracy in the EU (pdf). 

Such concerns are usually levelled at either the "unelected" Commission in Brussels or at the European Parliament which is elected by the voters in the Member States but only has the powers given to it by the European Treaties. 

Critics of the EU

Sunday, 15 August 2021

A villain in the constitution


103 years ago, Parliament enacted the Representation of the People Act 1918.  The Act extended the franchise in Parliamentary elections to men over age 21, whether or not they owned property, and to women aged over 30 who resided in the constituency or occupied land or premises with rateable value of £5 or above, or whose husbands did.

The Act (section 20) also contained provision for Commissioners to prepare a scheme under which "as nearly as possible one hundred members shall be elected to the House of Commons at a general election on the principle of proportional representation ..."  A single transferable vote system was envisaged. In the event, the scheme was never set up and, ever since, the UK has continued with "first past the post" (FPTP) elections for the House of Commons.

First past the post undoubtedly has its supporters

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The Mark Duggan case ~ a recent report by Forensic Architecture

Questions continue to be raised about the August 2011 shooting in London of Mark Duggan. On 26 May 2021, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), refused a request by "Forensic Architecture" to reopen the investigation by its predecessor (the Independent Police Complaints Commission - IPCC) into the shooting of Mark Duggan on 4 August 2011 - see IOPC letter to Forensic Architecture.

Brief facts:

On the evening of 4 August 2011,

Sunday, 8 August 2021

On-going Inquiries ~ catch up


Here is a "catch-up" on a number of ongoing inquiries - 

Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abusewebsite - set up 7 July 2014 but reconstituted in February 2015 as a statutory inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 - Since 11 August 2016, chaired by Professor Alexis Jay. The inquiry has issued several investigation reports as well as an Interim Report to Parliament (April 2018).  The Inquiry website states 'although our programme of public hearings is now complete, work is ongoing and all information gathered with inform the Chair and Panel's recommendations in the Inquiry's Final Report.'

Undercover Policing - website - set up 12 March 2015 - first Chairman

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

Recent articles: Dissolution of Parliament ~ Judicial Review ~ Constitutional failings


A number of interesting articles have been published recently about the Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill and the Judicial Review and Courts Bill. 

Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill:

This is a government bill introduced to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 and to "revive" the former prerogative power to dissolve Parliament so that a Prime Minister will be able to "call" a general election at any time. It appears that the revived power will exist in law only because of the new Act. The power will not be justiciable in the courts.  See the House of Commons Library briefing 

Two earlier posts

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Justice Committee - Report on the Future of Legal Aid


The House of Commons Justice Committee has published a report - "The Future of Legal Aid" - 3rd Report of Session 2021-22.The Committee noted that - "... , on the evidence submitted to this inquiry, we are concerned that there are not enough legal aid providers in certain areas, and without urgent action, that situation is certain to worsen over the next decade."

After a decade

Saturday, 24 July 2021

Judicial Review and Courts Bill ~ Criminal Courts and Coroners


Crown Court Exeter
The Judicial Review and Courts Bill was published on Wednesday 21 July 2021.  The House of Commons is in summer recess from 22 July to 6 September. A further recess will take place for party conferences - 23 September to 18 October.

This post highlights some of the features of the Bill in so far as criminal justice and Coroners are concerned.

Judicial Review and Courts Bill - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Explanatory Notes

: Criminal Justice :

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Judicial Review and Courts Bill ~ proposed changes to judicial review

The Judicial Review and Courts Bill was published on Wednesday 21 July 2021.  The House of Commons is in summer recess from 22 July to 6 September. A further recess will take place for party conferences - 23 September to 18 October.

Judicial Review and Courts Bill - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Explanatory Notes

Overview of the Bill:

The Bill divides

Friday, 16 July 2021

Northern Ireland ~ important developments

Addendum 19 October 2021 - the death of Dennis Hutchings was reported - BBC News.  The death was due to Covid. Mr Hutchings was standing trial (without jury) for attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm. The alleged victim was John Pat Cunningham who was shot in 1974. See also this link regrading the funeral of Mr Hutchings.

Addendum 5 December 2021:


***

This post notes two significant developments relating to criminal justice and legal process in Northern Ireland. 

Extension of non-jury trial:

An Order extending the possibility of non-jury trial in Northern Ireland to 31 July 2023 was approved. Non-jury trial is available in situations provided for in The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 and the power to extend the 'effective period' is in section 9.

The Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007 (Extension of Duration of Non-jury Trial Provisions) Order 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

Legacy of Northern Ireland's past:

A statement was made in the House of Commons on 14 July by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Brandon Lewis MP).

Coronavirus Restrictions ~ Changes from 19 July

On 14 and 15 July, with a stroke of his Ministerial pen, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Mr Sajid Javid MP) "made" two important Statutory Instruments. The changes apply only to England. The law is different in Wales, Scotland, and in Northern Ireland.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps etc.) (England) (Revocation and Amendment) Regulations 2021 - [SI: 2021/848] - in force 11.55 pm on 18 July 2021. 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 - [SI: 2021/851] - in force partly on 19 July 2021 but fully in force from 16 August 2021. 

For both sets of new Regulations, the government has

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Overseas Development Assistance (ODA)

Has the statutory duty on Ministers to apply 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) to Overseas Development Aid (ODA) been superseded by a vote in the House of Commons? This may appear to be the case but this post argues that under the statutory scheme it is lawful even if, politically, a reduction in ODA is considered to be undesirable.

The statutory scheme:

The International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015 places a duty on the Secretary of State to "ensure that the target for official development assistance ... to amount to 0.7% of gross national income ... is met by the UK in the year 2015 and each subsequent calendar year" - section 1.

The Secretary of State has to report to Parliament if the target is not met - section 2 - and to explain why the target has not been met. 

The Act plainly envisages that it may not be met if, for example, economic circumstances reduce gross national income.

Section 3 provides

Friday, 2 July 2021

Challenge to Northern Ireland Protocol dismissed by the High Court of Northern Ireland

" ... comparing Northern Ireland to a colony or the Vichy government in France under the Nazi regime during the Second World War are wide of the mark and unhelpful" - Mr Justice Colton.

The Brexit negotiations were a long and tortuous road but resulted in the UK leaving the EU on 31 January 2020. A transition period followed up to 31 December 2020. The UK left under the terms of a Withdrawal Agreement (WA) dated 17 October 2019.  

Article 182 of the WA provides that an integral part of the Agreement is the Ireland / Northern Ireland Protocol. (NIP). 

In March 2021, an application for judicial review

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Probation ~ return to a unified service

Amid the fuss surrounding the resignation of the Health Secretary (Matt Hancock MP), a key reform of Probation Service has received minimal media attention.

UK Government - Bigger, better Probation Service to cut crime

With effect from 26 June 2021, a "unified" Probation Service has been created in what is a reversal of the reform introduced by Chris Grayling during his time as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor.

A House of Commons Library Research Briefing (7 June 2021) notes -

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Colin Pitchfork ~ Government requests reconsideration of Parole Board decision

Updated 21 November 2021

22 November 1983, Narborough, Leicestershire. The body of 15 year old Lynda Mann was found. She had been strangled and raped. Her body was naked from the waist down and her face bloodied. Biologists established that a semen sample taken from her body belonged to someone with Type A blood, and a particular type of enzyme secretion, a combination shared by around 10% of men. (Note 1).

31 July 1986, Dawn Ashworth (aged 15) went missing and her body was found near to the same spot where Lynda has been found. Dawn had also been strangled, raped and left naked from the waist down.

There was a suspect - a 17 year old hospital porter called Richard Buckland. He had been seen near the crime scene. When interviewed he revealed details about Dawn's murder and about her body. Those details were not available publicly at the time. Before long he confessed to the murder of Dawn but denied killing Lynda.

The Police