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.


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