Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Thank you and a few final thoughts

Just over a year ago I posted what I intended to be my final post on this blog - Last Post and Cheerio

 After publishing it, I was persuaded by some friends to continue blogging for a while longer but it is now time to call it a day.

The blog commenced on 14 January 2010 - (A new blog) and, over the last twelve years, many stories of legal interest have been covered. Preparing the posts has been interesting, at times challenging, and time-consuming.

2357 posts have been published with, at the time of writing, just over 3,018,000 pageviews. I am grateful to the many who have shown interest and comment.

Our nation - the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - faces

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Friday, 16 September 2022

The 'dignified' constitution and where State power lies

A right to be consulted, to encourage, and to warn.

Walter Bagehot lived from 1826 to 1877. In 1867, his book "The English Constitution" was published.

Bagehot examined the British system of government and offered his answer to the question of where real power was exercised.

Bagehot pointed to a difference between what he called the 'dignified' aspects of the constitution and its 'efficient' aspects. 

The 'dignified' part - essentially the Crown - did not exercise true power because it was the 'efficient' part which, in practice, exercised such power. The 'efficient' part was, of course, the government.

After the Reform Act 1832, the House of Commons was elected

Friday, 9 September 2022

HM Queen Elizabeth II - Events of 8 to 19 September 2022

"The Queen devoted her life to us" - Australian High Commission, London

On 8 September 2022, at Balmoral, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died. 

Only two days previously, Her Majesty appointed Elizabeth Truss as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. 

The Queen's long life was marked by her unparalleled sense of duty earning her respect across the world.

A brief statement issued by the Royal Family marked the end of a reign lasting over 70 years - Announcement of the death of The Queen | The Royal Family

Her Majesty became Queen on 6 February 1952 upon the death of her father King George VI - 70 years since the accession of the Queen

Her coronation

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Custody Time Limits ~ extensions being refused


It is reported that a number of judges in the Crown Court have refused to extend Custody Time Limits (CTL).

It is further reported that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is to appeal some of those decisions - see Crimeline via Twitter.

What are CTLs and why is this happening?

CTL:

Basically, CTL are a safeguard for unconvicted defendants. The limits

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Bill of Rights Bill "unlikely to proceed in its current form" - but be cautious

With updates:

There is some welcome news for anyone interested in having strong legal protections in the UK for human rights but let us be wary. 

The government - now under Prime Minister Elizabeth Truss - has announced that the Bill of Rights Bill is "unlikely to progress in its current form." - Truss government abandons Bill of Rights | Scottish Legal News

The Secretary of State for Justice is now Brandan Lewis MP. He has replaced Dominic Raab MP, the architect of this shameful Bill - Law and Lawyers: Appointments ~ Lord Chancellor, Attorney General, Home Secretary, Northern Ireland (obiterj.blogspot.com)

The Bill was presented to Parliament by Raab even though

Appointments ~ Lord Chancellor, Attorney General, Home Secretary, Northern Ireland

Updated 26 October 2022

-----

6 December 2022 - Balmoral, Scotland. 

Boris Johnson tendered his resignation as Prime Minister and Elizabeth Truss was appointed by HM The Queen.

The new Prime Minister returned to London and began making Ministerial and other appointments -

 Liz Truss new cabinet in full: who is in and who is out? | Liz Truss | The Guardian

Justice / Lord Chancellor:

Brandon Lewis became Secretary of State for Justice and

Monday, 5 September 2022

Elizabeth Truss chosen appointed PM on 6 September / Resigned 24 October 2022 and Rishi Sunak appointed


Updated 25 October 2022 - Sunak appointed PM

Updated 20 October 2022 - Truss resignation

6 September - some links added at the end.

-----

The long, warm, dry summer is fading. Daylight is shortening. Schools are returning.

As I write, the sky is cobalt blue. It is cooler after heavy rain. There is a pleasant and gentle breeze.

On the votes of members of the Conservative Party the Rt. Hon. Elizabeth Mary Truss MP has been chosen as their new leader. Truss obtained 81,326 votes and Sunak 60,399 - i.e. 57.4% to 42.6%. The turnout was 82.6%. 654 papers were rejected.

Truss will therefore be duly appointed

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Winsor Commission ~ Cressida Dick ~ Due process is important

Cressida Dick resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner on 10 February 2022. A previous post looked at the resignation - Law and Lawyers: Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (obiterj.blogspot.com)

On 8 July, Sir Mark Rowley was appointed as Commissioner - Sir Mark Rowley announced as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

By a special commission from the Secretary of State for the Home Department (“the Home Secretary”) of 25 March 2022, Sir Tom Winsor was appointed to review the circumstances and implications of the stepping aside of the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis. 

The Home Secretary set terms of reference - 

Establish and assess the full facts, timeline of events and circumstances which resulted in the stepping aside of Dame Cressida Dick as Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis; 

Establish and assess

Friday, 2 September 2022

Boris Johnson and the Committee of Privileges ~ a legal opinion

 

A joint legal opinion by Lord Pannick QC and Jason Pobjoy has been published by No 10 Downing Street

Legal Opinion by Lord Pannick QC relating to the Privileges Committee - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The opinion begins by stating - "We are asked to advise the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP, in relation to the inquiry being conducted by the House of Commons Committee of Privileges."

The actual "Instructions to Counsel" have not been released. Therefore, we do not know the precise questions asked by those instructing Pannick.

It is also unclear why the government's own legal service was not asked to provide an opinion rather than an opinion requested, at significant public expense, from barristers.

As noted in the previous post, Boris Johnson faces an investigation by the House of Commons Privileges Committee - The details of this may be seen at Committee of Privileges - Summary - Committees - UK Parliament

Events to date:

The referral to the Committee

Next week

Next week should be interesting. 

Assuming all goes to plan, a new Prime Minister will be appointed by HM The Queen. 

The Queen is currently at Balmoral in Scotland and it is reported that Boris Johnson will go there to tender his resignation. After that, his successor will attend Balmoral to be duly appointed.

Traditionally, there is always a face-to-face meeting and this has usually required just a short trip from Downing Street to Buckingham Palace.  Occasionally, a longer journey has been required. Herbert Henry Asquith (1852-1928) became PM in April 1908 and was summoned by King Edward VII to Biarritz where the King was on holiday. 

The full detail

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

Tortoise Media and the Conservative leadership election

Tortoise Media have sent a letter before claim to the Conservative and Unionist Party. Please read the letter in full - Our case for Judicial Review – 30 August 2022 - Tortoise (tortoisemedia.com)

The letter asks the Conservative Party to answer a number of questions about the election process for the new Conservative Party leader who will, because of constitutional convention, be duly appointed by the Queen as the next Prime Minister.

If the Conservative Party provides

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

The March 2021 Clapham Common vigil and the Metropolitan Police


Murder:

On 3 March 2021, Sarah Everard was kidnapped and murdered by Wayne Couzens who, at the time, was a serving Police Officer with the Metropolitan Police. Couzens was sentenced to life imprisonment with a "whole life" order. His appeal against the whole life order was dismissed - see the judgment of the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division).

Vigil:

With a view to highlighting risks to women's safety, an "informal collective" Reclaim These Streets planned a "vigil" to be held at Clapham Common on 13 March 2021. 

Following communication with the Metropolitan Police, the planned vigil was abandoned.

 Subsequently, 

New Parole Board Rules and Guidance ~ Interim Relief

The 2019 Conservative Party manifesto stated -

"We will conduct a root-and-branch review of the parole system to improve accountability and public safety, giving victims the right to attend hearings for the first time, and we will establish a Royal Commission on the criminal justice process."

In March 2022, the government published - Root and Branch Review of the Parole System - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Probation Board Rules were made in 2019 by the then Secretary of State for Justice - Robert Buckland QC MP. Those Rules

Friday, 12 August 2022

Sentencing remarks

It seems a long time ago since the Ministry of Justice issued guidance about the publication of sentencing information - see Ministry of Justice - June 2011 - Publicising Sentencing Outcomes (publishing.service.gov.uk).

The document stated that - "As a general principle, there should be a presumption in favour of publicising outcomes of criminal cases because this would help to: 

reassure the law-abiding public that the CJS is fair and effective, by publicising successes; 

increase public trust and confidence in the CJS; 

improve the effectiveness of criminal justice, e.g. by encouraging victims to  report crimes and witnesses to come forward; and 

discourage potential offenders and reduce re-offending."

It was recognised

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Archie Battersbee - other thoughts ...

The previous post about the tragic Archie Battersbee case offers a basic overview of the legal process and also links to the various judgments and decisions taken - Law and Lawyers: A tragedy of immeasurable dimension - Archie Battersbee (obiterj.blogspot.com)

Barrister Blogger published an analysis of the case - Mr Justice Hayden was right to bring Archie’s futile treatment to an end. – BarristerBlogger and Joshua Rozenberg wrote Unforced errors by Archie’s lawyers - by Joshua Rozenberg.

The Rozenberg article attracted a comment by Edward Devereux QC who was leading counsel for Archie's parents (Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee).  Advice given by lawyers

Friday, 5 August 2022

A tragedy of immeasurable dimension - Archie Battersbee

"Unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this case" - Mrs Justice Theis, 5 August 2022

On 7 April 2022 Archie Battersbee, aged 12, suffered a tragic accident at the home where he lived with his mother, Hollie Dance. Archie's father is Paul Battersbee.  The accident resulted in Archie suffering  "catastrophic hypoxic ischaemic brain injury."  This was, rightly, described by Mr Justice Hayden as "a tragedy of immeasurable dimension for Archie and his family."

On the 26th April 2022, the NHS Trust sought a declaration from the High Court that it was lawful to withdraw mechanical ventilation from Archie. Clinical observations revealed that he was entirely unresponsive and did not show any sign at all of being able to sustain breathing independently of the ventilator.

There were proceedings before Mrs Justice Arbuthnot. Details of those, and an appeal relating to her judgment, may be seen below. Archie's case was thereafter handled by Mr Justice Hayden.

On 15 July, Hayden J decided

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Defamation cases and access to justice

The media loves a good story:

There are some "stories" that the mainstream media simply cannot resist. That was the situation recently when footballer's wife Rebekah Vardy lost in a High Court libel action against footballer's wife Coleen Rooney - The Guardian 29 July 2022 - Rebekah Vardy loses ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case against Coleen Rooney

One of the positive sides of a platform such as "Twitter" is that, from time to time, there are informative discussions about aspects of the law with some experienced lawyers offering their viewpoints. The Vardy v Rooney case resulted in exactly such a discussion. At the heart of the exchange was the serious "access to justice" question of whether defamation actions were beyond the financial means of the majority of the population.

Defamation:

"Defamation" is the collective word

Friday, 29 July 2022

Covid 19 and other inquiries - a roundup

UK Covid 19 Inquiry

The UK Covid-19 Inquiry is now established and will be held under the Inquiries Act 2005 and Inquiry Rules 2006.  The Inquiry is chaired by Baroness Heather Hallett, a previous Vice President of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division - (brief summary of her legal career).

Terms of Reference were finalised following a process involving public consultation. Some 20,000 responses were received - Terms of Reference Consultation . The final terms may be downloaded from UK Covid-19 Inquiry Terms of Reference - UK Covid-19 Inquiry (covid19.public-inquiry.uk)

As described in Opening Remarks from the Chair, the inquiry will take a "modular" approach to its work.  A written copy of the Opening Statement may be seen at - Baroness Hallett's Opening Statement - UK Covid-19 Inquiry (covid19.public-inquiry.uk).  

The first module will look at the resilience and preparedness of the UK for the coronavirus pandemic.

Given the wide

Monday, 25 July 2022

The House of Lords - some notes

Last week Lord Mackay of Clashfern retired from the House of Lords and made a farewell speech - My Lords, as I rise to address your...: 20 Jul 2022: House of Lords debates - TheyWorkForYou.  It is an interesting speech in which Lord Mackay looked back at the offices he had held in the law and in government.

The speech is a reminder of the days when the Lord Chancellor had an important role in all three aspects (or branches) of governance - the executive, the legislature (presided over the House of Lords), the judiciary (entitled to preside over the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords).

Lord Mackay was

Saturday, 23 July 2022

EU - legal proceedings against UK

Brexit has consequences:

One consequence of Brexit is that borders have become exactly that - borders  - with passport checks required to cross from the UK to France - Huge queues at Dover for people travelling to France - CBBC Newsround.

Let it be remembered that the Brexit supporters wanted UK control of "money, laws and borders." 

Attempts to place the blame elsewhere - here is an example of an attempt to blame the French interior Minister - ought to be regarded as stupidity. The hard fact

Friday, 22 July 2022

Sealing of Royal Wills

In September 2021, the High Court gave a public judgment explaining why the court had decided that the will of the late Duke of Edinburgh should be sealed for a period of 90 years -

Will of His Late Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Re The [2021] EWHC 77 (Fam) (16 September 2021) (bailii.org)

As things stand, the public will not get to know the contents of the will. 

The practice of sealing these wills

Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Two Law Commission reports and a Sentencing Council consultation

Wedding ceremonies:

The Law Commission has published a report proposing major reform of "Weddings Law" in England and Wales. Details may be seen via the following links - 

Outdated weddings laws to be overhauled under new reforms | Law Commission

Celebrating Marriage: A New Weddings Law

Weddings | Law Commission

For further discussion see the Law and Religion blog - Law Commission final report on reforming weddings law in England & Wales | Law & Religion UK (lawandreligionuk.com) and also Law and religion round-up – 24th July | Law & Religion UK (lawandreligionuk.com)

It will now be  for the government to decide whether to take action over the report and, if so, what form of action.

Intimate image abuse:

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Reference from Scotland on an Independence Referendum - an update

Update 11 October.

The Supreme Court has published an "update" on the reference from Scotland under devolution legislation - Update on the reference by the Lord Advocate - The Supreme Court

"There are two issues for the Court to consider: first, whether the Court can or should accept the reference and, second, if so, how it should answer the question the Lord Advocate has referred to it. To answer these questions, the Court will need to consider the circumstances giving rise to the reference and the substance of the Lord Advocate’s question. The Court therefore decided that it should hear argument on both issues at a single hearing in the interests of justice and the efficient disposal of the proceedings."

On 21 July this was published - Hearing date for the reference by the Lord Advocate - The Supreme Court

and the Lord Advocate's written case - Lord Advocate’s Written Case: whether the question for a referendum on Scottish Independence contained in the proposed referendum Bill relates to reserved matters - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)

The Scottish National Party (SNP) has applied for permission to intervene in the hearing - Microsoft Word - Scottish National Party - Application for Permission to Intervene.docx

19 July 2022

Update 11 October: 

Scottish independence referendum: legal issues - House of Commons Library (parliament.uk)


Saturday, 16 July 2022

A "club" choosing the next Prime Minister?

Control over what happens behind the famous door of No. 10 (pictured) is now "up for grabs" but who gets to choose the individual who will then dominate British politics? Should there be a different system? Would a formal (or codified) constitution offer a better system.

As noted in an earlier post - Law and Lawyers: Johnson announces his departure (obiterj.blogspot.com) - the Conservative parliamentary Party effectively forced their leader (Boris Johnson) to resign and the party, and only that party, is choosing his successor.

The 2019 general election - held

Friday, 15 July 2022

National Security Bill ~ notes

National Security Bill:

In May 2022, the Home Secretary (Priti Patel MP) introduced the National Security Bill to the House of Commons. The Bill received its second reading on 6 June 2022 and is now at Committee Stage. 

See the second reading debate- National Security Bill - Hansard - UK Parliament

The Bill extends to 152 pages. There are 73 clauses divided into 4 parts and 11 Schedules.

The Bill seeks to -

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

Conservative leadership ~ A Confidence Vote

Conservative Party leadership:

On Monday 11 July, the Conservative Party announced a timetable for its process for choosing a new party leader. The selection process is described at - How many votes do candidates need for Conservative leadership? Rules and timetable for Tory leadership race (inews.co.uk 11 July 2022)

By Wednesday morning 13 July, there were 8 candidates - The Guardian 12 July - Kemi Badenock, Suella Braverman, Jeremy Hunt, Penny Mordaunt, Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat and Nadhim Zahawi. 

The Conservative Party's aim is to conclude the entire process by 5 September - the day Parliament resumes after the summer recess. 

If events take the course planned then the new party leader will be appointed Prime Minister by the Queen who 

Friday, 8 July 2022

Johnson announces his departure

Downing Street 7 July:

In Downing Street on Thursday 7 July 2022, the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) stated - "It is now clearly the will of the parliamentary conservative party that there should be a new leader of that party and therefore a new Prime Minister."

Johnson went on to say that the process of choosing that new leader should begin now. Here is Johnson's statement in full as published by the Prime Minister's Office - Boris-johnsons-statement-in-Downing-Street-7-July-2022

I never wanted to see Johnson as Prime Minister because, in ways too numerous to list here, he has demonstrated over his working-life unsuitability for office. Johnson's career

Tuesday, 5 July 2022

Not "Get Brexit done" but "Make Brexit work"

Make Brexit Work - is a phrase from Sir Keir Starmer's speech delivered on 4 July 2022 to the Centre for European Reform. The full speech is HERE

This post contains an overview of the Brexit process, the current mess over the Northern Ireland Protocol, a brief look at some views as to how the British economy is performing, and what the future appears to hold. 

Starmer seeks to put "the divisions of the past behind us" and offers a plan that he claims "seizes on the challenges and opportunities of the future." But will it do that or is it just tinkering at the edges of the post-Brexit issues?

Brexit:

23 June 2022 marked the sixth anniversary of the UK's referendum

Bill of Rights Bill - further material

The British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR) has published a considerable analysis of the government's Bill of Rights Bill - 

Rights Removal Bill & Human Rights Act Reform (bihr.org.uk) and also 

Rights Removal Bill: Need to Know (bihr.org.uk)

Here, in one place, is all of the BIHR's work around what the Institute has chosen to call the "Rights Removal Bill."  Their point is that the Bill of Rights Bill will repeal the Human Rights Act 1998 and it represents government plans to reduce the their responsibilities to uphold those human rights protections people rely on every day across the UK.

Monday, 4 July 2022

Criminal justice ~ action by barristers

Criminal court statistics for January to March 2022 reveal 58,653 outstanding Crown Court cases at the end of March with 27% of those being open for a year or more.

The tendency within government is to blame the backlog on the coronavirus pandemic. That is part of the story but by no means the whole picture. 

The criminal justice system has suffered cuts and underfunding for years. Police numbers were reduced, Crown Prosecution Service employees cut, numerous courts across the country were closed. 

Even where courts remained,

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Scotland and an Independence referendum in 2023


On 28 June 2022, Scotland's First Minister - (Nicola Sturgeon MSP) - made a statement to the Scottish Parliament setting out plans for s further referendum on Scottish Independence to be held in October 2023. See the Scottish Parliament's 
Official Report (parliament.scot)

The referendum held in 2014 resulted in a vote against independence - Scottish independence referendum: final results in full | Scottish independence | The Guardian

Mrs Sturgeon told the Parliament that -"It is axiomatic that a referendum must be lawful, but

Sunday, 26 June 2022

Abortion ~ Roe v Wade overturned in the USA ~ what is the UK position?

The Supreme Court of the United States of America (SCOTUS) has just - controversially - overruled its own "abortion rights" decision in Roe v Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

Roe v. Wade was a landmark legal decision issued on January 22, 1973, in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas statute banning abortion, effectively legalizing the procedure across the United States. The court held that a woman’s right to an abortion was implicit in the right to privacy protected by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Prior to Roe v. Wade, abortion had been illegal throughout much of the country since the late 19th century. Since the 1973 ruling, many states imposed restrictions on abortion rights. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, holding that there was no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion.

The latest case is Thomas E. Dobbs, State Health Officer of the Mississippi Department of Health, et al. v Jackson Women's Health Organization et al.  The court's full, and lengthy opinion is HERE

It is important to note this from the court's opinion -

Saturday, 25 June 2022

Reaction to the proposed Bill of Rights

This post offers links to comments about the government's proposed Bill of Rights. My own look at the Bill consist of three posts commencing at Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 1 (obiterj.blogspot.com).

Under the Bill of Rights, the UK will remain a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights and the convention will continue to bind the UK in international law. The European Court of Human Rights operates under the aegis of the Council of Europe  (and not the European Union). Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in cases to which the UK is a party will continue to bind the UK.

The problem is that the proposed Bill of Rights will weaken the ability of UK courts and tribunals to both enforce and develop rights. It will become harder for individuals to enforce convention rights within the UK's legal system and this is likely to result in an increasing number of cases going to the European Court of Human Rights. Furthermore, the existing human rights framework is embedded into the Northern Ireland peace settlement of 1998. Reaction from

Friday, 24 June 2022

Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 3

 

On 22 June 2022 the government published the long-awaited Bill of Rights 2022 - see previous post Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights (obiterj.blogspot.com)

The Bill is accompanied by an 11 page memorandum - bill-rights-echr-memo.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

For a look at Clauses 1 to 9 please see this earlier post - Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 2 (obiterj.blogspot.com)

This post takes a closer look from Clause 10 to 24 of the Bill. The post concludes with a brief summary of the remainder of the Bill.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 2

On 22 June 2022 the government published the long-awaited Bill of Rights 2022 - see previous post Law and Lawyers: Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights (obiterj.blogspot.com)

The Bill is accompanied by an 11 page memorandum - bill-rights-echr-memo.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

This post takes a closer look at Clauses 1 to 9 of the Bill but, for comparison purposes,  it is helpful to remind ourselves of the main provisions in the Human Rights Act 1998 - (the HRA 98) - which has been fully in force since 1 October 2000. A further post will cover Clause 10 onwards.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Human Rights protection in the UK ~ the proposed Bill of Rights - No. 1

The Secretary of State for Justice - Dominic Raab MP - has announced the government's plans to reform the protection of human rights in the UK - see Hansard 22 June 2022.

The proposed Bill of Rights bill and supporting documentation may be seen at - Bill of Rights: Bill documents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Bill contains 41 sections and 5 Schedules. and will extend to England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 98) will be repealed.

If the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament

Saturday, 18 June 2022

Julian Assange ~ Patel approves extradition


It is reported that the Home Secretary - Priti Patel MP - has approved the extradition of journalist Julian Assange to the USA - Julian Assange’s extradition from UK to US approved by home secretary | Julian Assange | The Guardian.  Further legal proceedings appear likely as a result of Patel's decision.

In January 2021, the extradition request by the USA was refused by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser sitting at Westminster Magistrates' Court - judgment 4 January 2021. The basis for the judge's decision was that the extradition would be oppressive given Assange's mental condition - see Extradition Act 2003 section 91.

Judgment in an appeal by the USA was handed down

Friday, 17 June 2022

Removal to Rwanda ~ Interim measures granted by European Court of Human Rights

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has granted an urgent interim measure in the case of K.N. v. the United Kingdom (application no. 28774/22), an asylum-seeker facing imminent removal to Rwanda. 

Urgent interim measures are possible under Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court. See the court's factsheet - FS_Interim_measures_ENG (coe.int)

K.N. is an Iraqi national who travelled to the UK via Turkey, across Europe and across the English Channel by boat. He claimed asylum in the UK on 17 May 2022. He faced removal to Rwanda on 14 June 2022.

The ECtHR indicated to the UK Government

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Northern Ireland Protocol - a government Bill

See end of post for links ....

As reported in a post of 12 May 2022, the post-Brexit relationship between the UK government and the EU is marked by continual tensions 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.

The Withdrawal Agreement (WA) was signed on behalf of the UK by Boris Johnson shortly after his party won the 2019 general election. The Withdrawal Agreement - including the NIP - bind the UK in international law.

Some negotiations between the UK and the EU took place and here is a summary up to the end of October 2021 - Four non-papers and a command paper - Queen's Policy Engagement (qub.ac.uk)

Furthermore, there has been much noise from within government about the possibility of "triggering" Article 16 of the NIP - Law and Lawyers: Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol (obiterj.blogspot.com). However, the government has now chosen not to follow that route.

Instead,

CJEU confirms that UK citizens lost EU citizenship

After Brexit (31 January 2020), the rights of UK citizens vis-a-vis the European Union are governed by the Withdrawal Agreement (WA) and by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) 

When the UK was a member of the EU, UK citizens also held citizenship of the EU which placed UK citizens on a par with citizens of every other member State. It was a valuable status for many individuals.

It was perhaps obvious that one consequence of Brexit was that UK citizens would lose their EU citizenship.

The UK government made no attempt

Friday, 10 June 2022

Judicial review ~ Quashing orders

The Senior Courts Act 1981 (as amended) contains a number of matters of historical interest. The Act has also been amended by the insertion of a new section 29A dealing with judicial review. This post looks at a little of the history to the 1981 Act and then at what the new section 29A entails.

What's in a name?

The Act began its life as the Supreme Court Act 1981 but was renamed Senior Courts Act by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

Today, the name Supreme Court refers

Saturday, 4 June 2022

Public Order - yet another Bill ...

Protesters at Trooping Colour

It is interesting to note that there is (yet another) Public Order Bill before Parliament - Public Order Bill - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament.

This latest Bill is in 3 parts. Part 1 deals with public order and creates offences of "locking on" (e.g. to railings), going equipped for "locking on", obstruction of major transport works and interference with key national infrastructure. Part 2 deals with Serious Disruption Prevention Orders which it will be possible for the courts to make either upon conviction or otherwise than upon conviction. Part 2 also contains new stop and search powers including powers exercisable WITHOUT reasonable suspicion. Part 3 deals with matters such as extent and commencement.

The new Bill -

Thursday, 2 June 2022

Scotland - Witchcraft, Apologies, Misogyny and criminal justice

On 8 March 2022, Scotland's First Minister (Nicola Sturgeon MSP) apologised for the "historical injustice" suffered by those, mostly women, executed for witchcraft in Scotland between 1479 and 1727 - Meeting of the Parliament: 08/03/2022 | Scottish Parliament Website.  More than 2500 individuals suffered as a result of the law embodied in Witchcraft Acts - The Guardian 8 March 2022.

History shows that James VI of Scotland had an obsession with witches. He ruled Scotland from 1567 to 1625 and, upon the death in 1603 of Queen Elizabeth I, he also became King of England and Wales. James married Anne of Denmark in 1589. On his voyage back to Scotland

Thursday, 26 May 2022

"Partygate" ~ Report by civil servant Sue Gray + Addendum 7 June

I previously wrote about so-called "partygate" and added some updates to that post - post of 13 February 2022

At the time, the Prime Minister (Boris Johnson) appeared to be "on the ropes" as he took something of a political battering over what was clearly a culture of social gatherings and drinking at No 10 Downing Street when the coronavirus pandemic was at its height.

It was a time when the nation was expected to adhere to regulations, made by Ministers, intended to limit the spread of coronavirus. It was an appalling episode in our political life and

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Levi Bellfield ~ Human Rights


In the UK, some 60 prisoners are serving "whole life" sentences for murder. One of them is Levi Bellfield who has received whole life terms on two occasions. His first whole life term relates to the murders of Marsha McDonnell and Amélie Delagrange. His second whole life term was imposed in June 2011 for the murder of 13-year old Amanda ("Milly") Dowler.

In May 2022, the Ministry of Justice confirmed that Bellfield was engaged and had applied to marry while in a prison. He proposed to a woman who started writing to him two years ago, before becoming a visitor on a regular basis. 

The Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Dominic Raab MP) is reported to have said that granting Bellfield's request is "inconceivable" unless "serious safeguarding concerns are addressed "-  Levi Bellfield: Raab says granting marriage request ‘inconceivable’ | Prisons and probation | The Guardian

The Guardian article also notes that, when asked

Thursday, 12 May 2022

UK / EU / Northern Ireland - yet again !

It could never be sensibly claimed that the European Union is a perfect international structure. Often, it is highly bureaucratic with a marked tendency to enact an excess of legislation which, via the European Treaties, can take the form of Regulations or Directives and, as such, bind member States. 

When my country (the UK) was a member, I often wished that the EU would enact fewer "rules" and concentrate on the essentials. I also wished that military matters were kept for the member states and NATO and were not at all within the remit of the EU.

Nonetheless, the EU is a hugely powerful economic entity - Economy (europa.eu) - and in so many other ways it is a force for the better. For me,

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Queen's Speech May 2022

10 May 2022 saw HRH The Prince of Wales deliver the Queen's Speech from the throne in the House of Lords. HM The Queen - aged 96 - was unable to attend.

See the text of the speech - Queen’s Speech 2022 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Lengthy (140 pages) background briefing notes have been published by the government - Queen's Speech 2022: background briefing notes - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Aspects of this considerable programme

Friday, 6 May 2022

Magistrates' Courts - increase in sentencing powers

Almost 19 years ago, Parliament enacted Criminal Justice Act 2003 - (as enacted). 

Section 154 began - "A magistrates' court does not have power to impose imprisonment for more than 12 months in respect of any one offence." This was noteworthy because it would have increased the maximum (for either way offences) from 6 months to 12 months BUT section 154 required a commencement order to bring it into force and such an order was never made.

Section 154 was repealed by the Sentencing Act 2020 but section 224 retained the 6 month limit.

The Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022

Friday, 29 April 2022

The Coronavirus pandemic and care homes ~ High Court


Within the UK coronavirus still results in a considerable number of new cases (112,705 are reported in the period 22 to 28 April). In the same period, 1628 deaths are recorded - that is, deaths within 28 days of a positive covid test. Of course, not all such recorded deaths will be have been caused by covid. For the time being, the government continues to publish data -

UK Summary | Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK (data.gov.uk) 

During the early stages of the pandemic, the government decided that protecting the NHS from being overwhelmed was a priority. I do not criticise or comment further on that policy save to note that, as a consequence of the policy, the government commissioned the building of a number of "Nightingale Hospitals" and also developed a policy of discharging elderly patients from NHS hospitals to care homes.

Regarding discharges