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

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 13 July 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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

The Lord Chancellor role may be reformed. Again !

The Secretary of State for Justice and and Lord Chancellor - Mr Robert Buckland QC MP - has recently delivered two notable speeches -

25 March 2021 - Speech at Queen Mary University, London - Law and Politics: the nightmare and the noble dream

17 June 2021 - Speech at University College, London

For an early commentary see Law Society Gazette - Joshua Rozenberg 21 June - A constitutional 'linchpin' that came loose

At the outset, it is worth reminding ourselves that much (not all) of what Mr Buckland talked about was included in the Conservative Party's 2019 election manifesto. The government

Russian Interference ~ High court rejects application for judicial review

The High Court has refused permission for a judicial review of the government's decision not to act on the findings of the Intelligence and Security Committee (the ISC) of Parliament that Russia has interfered in UK electoral processes (including the 2016 EU referendum held 5 years ago today) - Leigh Day (Solicitors - 22 June 2021).

The ISC report - published (with redactions) in July 2020 - found credible evidence that there had been attempts to interfere with electoral processes in the UK from at least the time of the EU referendum in 2016 - (see previous post 23 July 2020). 

Despite the concerns expressed by the ISC, there has been no

Sunday, 20 June 2021

Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 ~ responses

An Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 was announced in December 2020 - see previous post 8 December 2020.

The government claimed that it is committed to "upholding the UK's stature on human rights" and that, after 20 years, "it is timely to undertake a review" of the operation of the Human Rights Act 1998,  

The government has also stated that it is committed to remaining a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. The review was set up to consider the relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights and also the impact of the Human Rights Act on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature.

The Review undertook a "Call for Evidence" from 13 January 2021 to 3 March 2021 and that was

Friday, 18 June 2021

Manchester Arena Inquiry - Report Volume 1 - Security Arrangements / Protect Duty consultation

Do YOU know what the Terrorism Threat Level for the UK is at the moment? It is published HERE and, at the time of writing, is SUBSTANTIAL. On 22 May 2017 - the day of the Manchester Arena attack - it was SEVERE.

In a previous post - HERE - I referred to the events of that day as an atrocity. I believe that is a fitting word.  22 innocent people were murdered and hundreds more suffered life-changing physical injuries or psychological harm. Salman Abedi intended to kill or injure as many people as he could. It was a wicked act, inspired by the distorted ideology of the so-called Islamic State.

On 17 June 2021, Sir John Saunders, the Chairman of the Manchester Arena Inquiry, published Volume 1 of his report into the deaths of the 22 victims of the bomb attack. 

The report - Volume 1: Security for the Arena - is the first of three volumes and examines the security arrangements that were in place at the Manchester Arena at the time. The report is available HERE.

In a Statement of 17 June 2021, the Chairman noted that, at the time, the threat level set by the Joint 12 Terrorism Analysis Centre was severe. A terrorist attack

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Jermaine Baker Inquiry

On 12 February 2020 the Home Secretary announced an inquiry into the fatal shooting (on 11 December 2015) by the Metropolitan Police of Jermaine Baker (then aged 28).

This inquiry is being held under the Inquiries Act 2005.

In April 2019, Clement Goldstone QC was appointed as Coroner to conduct the inquest into Jermaine Baker's death. The inquest has been converted to an inquiry.

Inquiry website

The inquiry

Daniel Morgan Independent Panel Report

On 10 March 1987, Daniel Morgan's body was found in the car park of a public house in south London. By any standards it was a brutal murder - Wikipedia. Prosecutions against a number of individuals were abandoned in 2009.

The Daniel Morgan Independent Panel was established in 2013 by the Home Secretary - (at the time, Theresa May MP) - to "shine a light" on the circumstances of Daniel Morgan's murder in 1987 and the handling of the case over the period since 1987. The Independent Panel was chaired by Baroness O'Loan DBE and issued its three volume report on 15 June 2021.

A debate concerning publication

Friday, 11 June 2021

Government "Covid" contracts ~ a finding of Apparent bias

The High Court has granted a declaration that the government's decision of 5 June 2020 to award a contract to Public First gave rise to apparent bias and was therefore unlawful. The contract in question was for the provision of focus group and communications support services and was issued without public notice or competition. The government sought to rely on Regulation 32(2)(c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

The Good Law Project put forward three grounds of challenge but was successful only on Ground 3 (Apparent Bias). It was claimed that "the fair minded and informed observer would conclude that there was a real possibility of bias, having regard to the personal connections between the decision-makers and the directors of Public First."

The High Court's judgment (Mrs Justice O'Farrell - pictured) is at R (Good Law Project) v Minister for the Cabinet Office and Public First Ltd [2021] EWHC 1569 (TCC).

"Consequential matters" (including any applications for permission to appeal) have been adjourned to a further hearing.

Comment by Good Law Project

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill - No.2 ~ What is in the Bill

"The bill is a missed opportunity to place the role of the Crown in relation to Parliament on a modern footing ....."

Following the State Opening of Parliament on 11 May, the government introduced a new bill to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 - Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill - and see Explanatory notes

An earlier post summarised the background to the bill. This post looks at the bill in greater detail. 

: The Clauses in the Bill : 

Clause 1 - The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 is repealed.

Tuesday, 8 June 2021

Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill - No.1 Background


Following the State Opening of Parliament on 11 May, the government introduced a new bill to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 - Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Bill - and see Explanatory notes

This post summarises the not entirely straightforward background to this bill. A further post will look at the bill in more detail.

Prerogative power to prorogue Parliament:

Prorogation marks the end of a Parliamentary session. The next session begins, usually a short time later, with the Queen's Speech.

The Crown

Friday, 4 June 2021

Hillsborough ~ the Police "cover up" ~ compensation for relatives

An agreement has been reached under which South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police will fund compensation payments for the police "cover up" which followed the Hillsborough football stadium tragedy of 15 April 1989 - The Guardian 4 June 2021.

More information is available in this statement by Garden Court Chambers. The settled civil claims were for misfeasance in public office and relate only to damage caused by the cover-up and not the disaster itself. As the statement points out - "the cover up was deliberate, orchestrated and thoroughly dishonest" and was "maintained for nearly 30 years."

The Garden Court statement concludes

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

"Legal system broken" - an article by the Mayor of Greater Manchester


Mr Andy Burnham is the Mayor of Greater Manchester and a former MP.  He held office in the Gordon Brown Labour government as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from January 2008 to June 2009.

Mr Burnham's article:

On 30 May The Guardian published an article by Mr Burnham - The collapse of the last Hillsborough trial shows our legal system is broken . A sub-heading follows - "It's time to pass a law to make sure no bereaved family is ever again made to relive their trauma in court."

Ever since his appearance

Saturday, 29 May 2021

Hillsborough ~ a duty of candour?

Hillsborough today

 

The aftermath of the Hillsborough stadium disaster of 15 April 1989 continues 32 years after the disaster.

The trial of two former Police Officers and a former solicitor ended when the trial judge - Mr Justice William Davis - ruled that there was no case to answer. The reasons for that decision are set out in the judge's own Ruling on submissions of no case to answer and were considered in this previous post.

CPS:

Although the prosecution

Thursday, 27 May 2021

Justice Committee ~ Report on Coroners


On 27 May 2021, the House of Commons Justice Committee published a report on Coroners - The Coroner Service - 72 pages pdf. 

Quite a lot to read but, at first glance, one comment stood out for me -

 "The Ministry of Justice's work with other departments has not yet resulted in any funding for legal representation for bereaved people at inquests."

The committee is of the view that - " ... it is unfair that public funding is available for bereaved people to be legally represented at inquests only in exceptional cases and subject to a means test. This is the case even at inquests that involve many public bodies each of which are legally represented at public expense. Non-means tested legal aid should be automatically available at the most complex inquests such as those following public disasters. In all inquests where public bodies are legally represented bereaved people should be entitled to public funded legal representation."

It is high time that the government acted to properly and adequately rectify this unjust situation.

Wednesday, 26 May 2021

Hillsborough ~ Trial judge decides no case to answer at trial of two former Police Officers and a former Solicitor

Addendum - 4 June 2021 - The Guardian 'Judicial' Hillsborough inquiry questionnaires cast doubt on trial ruling

In the Crown Court sitting at a "Nightingale Court" at the Lowry Centre, Salford, Mr Justice William Davis decided a point of law which ended the trial of three men charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with Lord Justice Taylor's inquiry relating to the 15 April 1989 Hillsborough disaster. where 96 people lost their lives. 

The families of Hillsborough victims have condemned the decision as "ludicrous" - The Guardian 26 May.

In another article, The Guardian 26 May 2021 commented that - "

"Two ex-South Yorkshire police officers,

Lord Chief Justice evidence to the Constitution Committee (26 May 2021)


Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, gave evidence to the Constitution Committee today - 26 May 2021.

The session may be viewed HERE.

Saturday, 15 May 2021

Coronavirus Restrictions in England ~ Changes from 17 May 2021

This post has been retained for historical purposes. The law changed with effect from 19 July 2021 - see post of 16 July 2021.

Steps Regulations:

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 - SI 2021/364 ("Steps Regulations") - have been amended to move England from the Step 2 area to the Step 3 area, so that the restrictions set out in Schedule 3 to the Steps Regulations apply in England from 17 May 2021.

The amendment was achieved by The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps and Other Provisions) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 - (SI: 2021/585).

Certain other legislation has been amended in addition to amendment of the Steps Regulations.

The Cabinet Office has published a useful summary of the changes - Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do

Update June 2021:

The Steps Regulations will continue in force until 18 July 2021 - The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps and Other Provisions) (England) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2021 - SI: 2021/705.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Covid ~ announcement of an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005

An inquiry:

On 12 May 2021, the Prime Minister announced in a House of Commons statement that there is to be an inquiry relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic - Hansard 12 May 2021.

After referring to the tragic loss of life due to coronavrius (including over 127,000 deaths in the UK), the PM said - "... , the state has an obligation to examine its actions as rigorously and as candidly as possible and to learn every lesson for the future, which is why I have always said that, when the time is right, there should be a full and independent inquiry. I can confirm today that the Government will establish an independent public inquiry on a statutory basis, with full powers under the Inquiries Act 2005, including the ability to compel the production of all relevant materials and take oral evidence in public under oath."

In response to

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Queen's Speech 11 May 2021

HM The Queen has delivered the Queen's Speech at the State Opening of the new Parliamentary Session.

The text of the speech is HERE and Background Briefing Notes issued by the government.

BBC News 11 May 2021 - Queen's Speech 2021: Key points at-a-glance

The Guardian 11 May 2021 - What made it into the Queen's speech, and what was left out


Monday, 10 May 2021

Scottish Parliament Election 6 May 2021 ~ Scottish Independence Referendum

The Scottish Parliamentary election was held on 6 May. The Parliament comprises 73 constituency seats and 56 regional list seats – (previous post 29 March). The Scottish National Party (SNP) won 64 of those seats and is therefore just one seat short of an overall majority. The Conservative Party won 31 seats, Labour 22, Greens 8 and Liberal Democrats 4.  The new Alba Party under the leadership of former First Minister Alex Salmond failed to secure a seat.

One way of reading the result is

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Removal of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) - who pays?

The Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry issued its Phase 1 report in October 2019 and confirmed what was perhaps obvious - "The principal reason why the flames spread so rapidly up, down and around the building was the presence of the aluminium composite material (ACM) rainscreen panels with polyethylene cores, which acted as a source of fuel." - (see Executive Summary of Phase 1 report at para 2.13).

Further, at para 33.6, the Executive summary noted that - "It is clear that the use of combustible materials in the external wall of Grenfell Tower, principally

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Parliament prorogued until 11 May 2021


Parliament is now prorogued until the State Opening on 11 May 2021. The prorogation marked the end of the 2019-21 Session - UK Parliament's working year comes to a close:2019-21 session ends.

The State Opening of Parliament will take place on Tuesday 11 May.

The State Opening of Parliament marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen's Speech sets out the government's agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.

16 Bills received Royal Assent -

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) ratified by EU

The European Union (EU) Parliament has approved the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) of December 2020. The agreement has been applied provisionally since the end of the Brexit transition period. 

The EU Parliament notes in a Statement of Wednesday 28 April 2021 - "The consent decision was adopted by 660 votes for, five against and 32 abstentions, while the accompanying resolution, setting out Parliament’s evaluation of and expectations from the deal, passed by 578 votes, with 51 against and 68 abstentions. The vote took place on Tuesday (27 April), with results announced on Wednesday (28 April).

On 24 December 2020, EU and UK negotiators had agreed on the Trade and Cooperation Agreement establishing the terms for future EU-UK cooperation. ..."

An

Friday, 23 April 2021

Prosecutions brought by the Post Office ~ Shameful prosecution practice

The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) Holroyde LJ, Mr Justice Picken and Mrs Justice Farbey has handed down judgment in a reference by the Criminal Cases Review Commission - R v Hamilton and others v Post Office Ltd [2021] EWCA Crime 577.  A summary of the judgment is available.

The court heard the appeals of 42 former sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses (SPMs) who, between 2003 and 2013, were convicted of crimes of dishonesty. Their employers - Post Office Ltd - was also the prosecutor. This is an example of a private prosecution but, in this instance, brought by a public body. (The current ownership of Post Office Ltd is explained in this UK government document).

All

Thursday, 15 April 2021

On borders ~ a divided UK

"The course of the English-Welsh border in front of The Bridge Inn has changed little since it was first defined by an Anglo-Saxon king in the eighth century" -  How the pandemic resurrected ancient border - Atlas Obscura 2 April 2021.

Borders have been problematic throughout human history.

In Public International Law, the State is defined by three constituent elements: a population, a territory and a governmental organisation.  A territory obviously implies the existence of borders.

Borders between States are

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Sturgeon claims that UK government's reference to Supreme Court is "morally repugnant"

The Guardian 12 April - "Nicola Sturgeon (First Minister Scotland) has condemned the UK government’s decision to refer two bills passed by Holyrood unanimously to the supreme court as “morally repugnant” amid an outcry from MSPs." - The Guardian - Nicola Sturgeon blasts decision to refer Holyrood Bills to Supreme Court.

Does this claim withstand scrutiny? Here, I respectfully argue that it does not.  It is a technical question of legal competence.

What is Scotland wishing to do?

The Scottish Parliament is seeking to incorporate into Scots Law (a) the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and (b) the Council of Europe's European Charter of Local Self-Government

The UNCRC has bound

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Coronavirus Restrictions England ~ Changes from 12 April 2021

From 17 May 2021 the law has changed - see this post.

In accordance with the government's Roadmap out of Lockdown, the law on coronavirus restrictions changes from Monday 12 April 2021.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 - SI 2021/364 ("Steps Regulations") - are amended to move England from the Step 1 area to the Step 2 area, so that the restrictions set out in Schedule 2 to the Steps Regulations apply in England.

The amending legislation was made by the Secretary of State for Health (Mr Matt Hancock) on Friday 9 April - The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps and Local Authority Enforcement Powers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 - (SI: 2021/455).

Links:

Previous post - Coronavirus Restrictions England ~ Changes from 29 March 2021

Law and Lawyers - Coronavirus Log Part 7

Monday 5 April, the government confirmed that coronavirus restrictions would change from 12 April - Government announcement

Cabinet Office - Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do

Monday, 5 April 2021

Police order religious service to disperse on Good Friday


2nd April 2021 was Good Friday: one of the Holiest days in the Christian calendar when the faith commemorates the death of Christ.

In a video published by The Express, a Police Officer can be heard addressing the congregation at Christ the King Polish Roman Catholic Church, Balham, South London. The officer said - "This gathering is unfortunately unlawful under the coronavirus regulations we have currently. You are not allowed to meet inside with this many people under law." The officer asks people to return home and points out the possibility of fixed penalty notices (£200) for failure to comply.

Regulations:

The relevant Regulations

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Clapham Common 13 March 2021 ~ Report on policing


On 14 and 15 March 2021 respectively, the Home Secretary and the Mayor of London separately commissioned HMICFRS to inspect how the Metropolitan Police Service handled the policing of the vigil in memory of Sarah Everard. The vigil was held at Clapham Common on Saturday 13 March 2021.

A report has been published in response to both commissions. The report is published online - HERE

There is also a Press Release - Metropolitan Police acted appropriately at the Sarah Everard vigil

Notes: 

1) At the time of this event

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid


The government has commenced an Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid - Ministry of Justice

Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid - Terms of Reference (PDF, 220KB, 9 pages)

The Review has launched a Call for Evidence, opening on from 29 March 2021 and closing on 07 May 2021. Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, Chair of the Review, is inviting interested parties at the heart of the Criminal Legal Aid System to submit evidence on how the system as a whole can be improved and placed on a sustainable footing for the future.

Who qualifies for legal aid in criminal cases is set out by Ministry of Justice - HERE.

Cases in Magistrates' Courts are subject to both an Interests of Justice test AND a means test. 

Cases in the Crown Court are subject to a means test. Even the individual who is acquitted may end up having to pay for defence costs. This "innocence tax" is particularly iniquitous.


Monday, 29 March 2021

Scottish Parliamentary Election 6 May 2021

Scotland is gearing up for the Scottish Parliamentary election on 6 May 2021 - (BBC News 25 March 2021). 

The likelihood is that the Scottish National Party (SNP) will secure a majority of the seats in the parliament which will then press harder with demands for another Scottish independence referendum. 

There is nothing in law to require the UK government to agree to such a referendum but, politically, such demands are likely to be difficult for the UK government to sweep aside or ignore.

Scottish Parliamentary

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Shrewsbury Pickets ~ 1970s convictions unsafe

 

A previous post - 10 December 2015 - looked at the on-going campaign to get the convictions of the "Shrewsbury Pickets" quashed. 

The building strike 1972:

In 1972, there was a national strike by the building workers’ trade unions which lasted from late June to mid-September. The strike concerned the long hours and low pay of craftsmen and labourers.  The building industry was one where employment was precarious due to the "lump system" by which workers were employed on a job-by-job basis giving them little or no long term security.

Unions organised

Monday, 22 March 2021

Coronavirus Restrictions ~ The law changes from 29 March 2021.

From 29 March 2021 forget about tiers and think of steps ! 

From that date every area of England (including the territorial waters adjacent to England and the airspace above England) will be in"the Step 1 Area". A  new and complex set of  Regulations will apply within that Area.

From dates yet to be confirmed, areas of England (yet to be specified) will move into "the Step 2 Area". Similarly, from a further date (yet to be confirmed), areas of England will move into "the Step 3 Area".

It does

Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) ~ Report and government response published

The Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) (previous post) 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). Links to the various submissions are available via Ministry of Justice - Judicial Review: Proposals for Reform.

The IRAL report

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill ~ Adult Cautions


The law has available to it a number of ways of dealing with offenders which fall short of prosecution in the courts. Cautions are one of the alternatives. 

Part 6 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains detailed clauses which amount to major amendments to the law about cautions for ADULTS.  

The various factsheets which accompany the Bill say very little about this significant reform and it is probable that this aspect of the Bill may receive less parliamentary attention than its importance actually merits.

According to

Friday, 19 March 2021

Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill ~ Sentencing


The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will make important changes to the Sentencing Code (previous post) which came into force as recently as 1 December 2020.

The Sentencing Code is actually Parts 2 to 13 of the Sentencing Act 2020.  See also Sentencing Council - Sentencing Code.

This post is an overview of (a) amendments to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, (b) Clauses 100-105 which deal with the minimum term in murder and other serious cases and (c) the post notes the bill's provisions for early release of some categories of offenders.

The provisions are

Monday, 15 March 2021

Protest and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (2) ~ Public Order


This is the second of my posts looking at how the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will alter the law relating to protests.

The bill contains considerable extensions to police powers and marks an increasingly authoritarian stance by government toward protest.

The following is an overview of the key provisions affecting public order. A previous post looked at how the Bill will alter the law on Public Nuisance - here.

Criminal Damage to Memorials:

The offence of criminal damage is defined by the Criminal Damage Act 1971

The Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 Schedule 2 deals

Protest and the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (1) ~ Public Nuisance


A previous post sets out links to the Parliament - the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

The Bill covers numerous areas of law and its Second Reading debate will take place in the House of Commons on Monday 15 and Tuesday 16 March 2021. This is the first of two posts looking at Part 3 of the Bill - Public Order.

Taken as a whole, the reforms in Part 3 will make further and considerable inroads into the ability of the citizen to protest without actually breaking the law in some way.

Parliament - the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

General:

Part 3 comprises Clauses 54 to 60.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Security Service ~ agents who participate in criminality

In March 2011, the Security Service (MI5) issue a document entitled "Guidelines on the Use of Agents who participate in criminality - Official Guidance."  The document was reviewed but not changed in January 2014.  In March 2018, the Prime Minister (Theresa May MP) acknowledged the existence of the policy.

Privacy International and others challenged this policy in an action before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT).  The claimants submitted that the policy was unlawful, both as a matter of domestic public law and also as contrary to Convention Rights (set out in Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998). In December 2019 the Tribunal gave judgment dismissing the claim

The claimants appealed to the Court of Appeal (Civil Division) which gave judgment on 9 March 2021 - Privacy International and others v Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and others [2021] EWCA Civ 330 (Davis, Haddon-Cave, Dingemans LJJ). Central to the appeal were the provisions of the Security Service Act 1989 ("the 1989 Act"). 

The appeal