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

Sunday, 17 April 2022

UK and Rwanda ~ "mechanism" to relocate asylum seekers

Section 77 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 states that a person cannot be removed from or required to leave the United Kingdom in accordance with a provision of the Immigration Acts while their asylum claim is pending. 

The government's Nationality and Borders Bill - ( now almost through Parliament) - seeks to change the law so that such removal is legally possible. Even at this very late stage, the House of Lords still has opportunity to oppose this change.

The government argues that it is appropriate to remove an asylum seeker to a "a safe third country while their claim for asylum is pending." To that end, on 13 April 2022, the Home Secretary (Priti Patel MP) signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" (MoU) with the government of Rwanda (represented by Vincent Biruta - Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation). The document may be read HERE.

The objectives of the MoU

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Johnson and Sunak got fixed penalty notices over lockdown gatherings

One of the BBC News headlines is "Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reject calls to resign over lockdown fines. - Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak reject calls to resign over lockdown fines - BBC News

There may be more to come given that further gatherings held at Downing Street continue to be the subject of police investigation to ascertain whether individuals may have been in breach of legislation "made" by Ministers, and eventually approved by Parliament, which placed restrictions on "gatherings".

The whole point of the regulations was, of course, to try to limit the spread of coronavirus which, at the time, was often causing severe illness and, in many cases, death. Boris Johnson spent time in hospital due to the virus. (Vaccines began to be approved in late 2020). 

The draconian nature of the regulations seems to be now fading from the public memory. Many businesses had to close. Many activities were curtailed. Even funerals were subjected to limits on the number of persons permitted to attend. Meanwhile, senior politicians and others attended what were clearly social and not work gatherings in Downing Street.

The Metropolitan Police, like most

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Divorce, Dissolution and Separation - 2020 Act now in force

Divorce is undoubtedly a miserable experience and has been made all the worse by legal requirements to either wait for a long period or to point the finger of blame. Calls for reform have been made for many years.

From 6 April 2022, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 (legislation.gov.uk) is fully in force - (see Commencement Regulations - SI: 2022/283).

Explanatory Notes accompany the 2020 Act (but are not part of the Act). See also the Ministry of Justice announcement.

The 2020 Act removes the need for couples to either

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Raab to seek further powers ~ Root and branch review of the Parole System

The Parole Board has a crucial and difficult role in the administration of criminal justice. It carries out risk assessments on those prisoners eligible for parole to determine whether they can be safely released into the community.

The Board's website states that "Parole Board decisions are solely focused on whether a prisoner would represent a significant risk to the public after release. The risk assessment is based on detailed evidence found in the dossier (a collection of documents relating to the prisoner) and evidence provided at the oral hearing."

About us - Parole Board - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Reform - some recent background:

In February 2019, the government announced a "tailored review of the Parole Board." At the same time, reviews were to be undertaken of

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022

The Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022 is now law - the bill received Royal Assent on 24 March 2022.  It came into force immediately. Dissolution and Calling of Parliament Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk)

The 2022 Act repeals the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (legislation.gov.uk).- (in force 15 September 2011 to 24 March 2022).  

The result is that the Prime Minister is able to go to HM The Queen and request a dissolution of parliament which, by convention, will not be refused - (at least not normally refused - see below). 

The government has presented the 2022 Act as returning to "tried and tested arrangements."

The 2022 Act -

The 2022 Act comprises just 6 sections and one Schedule - as follows:

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Human Rights in UK

Scottish Legal News has published - Repeal of Human Rights Act ‘particularly unwise’ in light of Ukraine invasion | Scottish Legal News.

The article notes that - "Government plans to replace the legislation with a British Bill of Rights would “fatally undermine” protection of rights under the European Convention on Human Rights in domestic law. It would undo the important progress since the HRA became law and leave people with no option but to bring claims to the European Court of Human Rights to vindicate their rights, academics have said."

With the Russian Federation now excluded from the Council of Europe, it is clear to all but the most bone-headed politicians that the government's plans send all the wrong signals at a time when the UK ought to be defending human rights and the European Convention.

For further information about the government's plans see -

Law and Lawyers: Human Rights reform ~ consultation (obiterj.blogspot.com)

Raab says UK bill of rights will stop free speech being ‘whittled away by wokery’ | UK bill of rights | The Guardian

Amnesty hits out at Tory plans to replace Human Rights Act with bill of rights | Human Rights Act | The Guardian

23 March 2022

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Conflict in the Ukraine (8) - Aggression

" ... aggression, ... is not only an international crime;  it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." - Nuremberg judgment 1 October 1946

The former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and many others are calling for a Special Tribunal to be created with a view to trying the Russian President (Vladimir Putin) and his accomplices for the Crime of Aggression in Ukraine -

Press Release: Calling for the Creation of a Special Tribunal for the Punishment of the Crime of Aggression against Ukraine | The Office of Gordon & Sarah Brown (gordonandsarahbrown.com)

and please read the Statement and Declaration.

Aggression - its definition and ICC jurisdiction:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is founded by the Rome Statute of 17 July 1998 - Rome_Statute_English.pdf (icc-cpi.int)

The Statute defines the crime of aggression in Article 8 bis which was added to the Statute following the Kampala Review Conference held in 2010 

Reaching agreement

Thursday, 17 March 2022

A UK debt to Iran - a note

In very welcome news, Iran released Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anoosheh Ashouri. Morad Tahbaz has been released on furlough.  

See the statement by Elizabeth Truss MP (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs).

Who are Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, Anoosheh Ashoori and Morad Tahbaz? | Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe | The Guardian

Their release was reported by The Times 16 March 2022 - The Times view on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release: Freed from Iran | Comment | The Times - where it argued that the release of "British hostages in Iran is joyful news but owes little to British or American diplomacy ..."

There is a complicated linkage between the holding by Iran of hostages and a debt owed by the UK to Iran. The debt dates back to payment in the 1970s by Iran for Chieftain tanks which were never actually delivered.

How is a UK debt to Iran connected to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe? - BBC News

Arbitration and litigation:

The UK and Iran went to

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Conflict in the Ukraine (7) - Russia excluded from Council of Europe

On 15 March, the Council of Europe excluded the Russian Federation from the Council of Europe.

Also on 15 March, the Russian Federation informed the Council of Europe of its withdrawal from the Council and of its intention to denounce the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Russian Federation is excluded from the Council of Europe - Newsroom (coe.int)

Statute of the Council of Europe 1949

Parliamentary Assembly - Opinion 300/2022 - Consequences of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine

The Assembly considers

PC Harper ~ A Widow's fight for justice (ITV 15 March 2022)

 

A programme broadcast by ITV highlighted the campaign by the family of PC Andrew Harper for the introduction of a mandatory life sentence for the manslaughter of an emergency worker.

The Killing of PC Harper: A Widow's Fight for Justice - The Killing of PC Harper: A Widow's Fight for Justice - ITV Hub

On 15 August 2019, three irresponsible young men - Henry Long, Albert Bowers, Jessie Cole - stole a quad bike. It was a planned theft and something they did frequently. The quad bike was towed away from its owner's property. When confronted by the Police they implemented their escape plan.  This required them to disconnect the tow loop from the quad bike and to drive away at speed as soon as all of them were in the car. As they drove away, PC Harper was caught up by the loop which was still attached to the car. He was dragged at high speed over a considerable distance and killed as a result.

Long, Bowers and Cole were charged with murder and stood trial at the Old Bailey before Mr Justice Edis and a jury. The prosecution

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Protest ~ important High Court judgment

On the evening of 3 March 2021, a serving Police Officer - Wayne Couzens - purported to arrest Sarah Everard who was walking home having visited a friend. Couzens said that she was in breach of Covid 19 regulations. He murdered her and disposed of her body near Ashford, Kent. 

On 30 September 2021, Couzens was sentenced at the Old Bailey to a "whole life term" - Sentencing Remarks.

Reclaim These Streets is "an informal collective" which, prompted by Sarah's disappearance, planned to hold a vigil on Clapham Common on 13 March 2021. The aim was to highlight risks to women's safety and to campaign for changes in attitudes and responses to violence against women.

Following communication with the Metropolitan Police, the planned vigil was abandoned. A number of members

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Covid 19 Inquiry

Updated 12, 13 and 16 March 2022

Covid 19:

According to Government Data, at 10 March 2022 there have been 162,624 deaths within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus.

In the period 4 to 10 March, 371,662 new cases have been reported. 

The data shows a declining number of positive tests in January and February but, in March, there is a noticeable increase. There is also a noticeable increase in hospital admissions.

COVID-19: Pandemic 'not over', expert warns amid increasing hospital admissions among older people | UK News | Sky News and COVID-19: Cases up nearly 50% week-on-week - as expert accuses ministers of 'wanting to get rid of data and move on' | UK News | Sky News

Further statistical data is available from the Office for National Statistics - Home - Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

UK Health Security Agency 10 March 2022 - COVID-19 prevalence continues to decline across England but infection rates remain high - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

See also Estimating excess mortality due to the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic analysis of COVID-19-related mortality, 2020–21 - The Lancet

Inquiry:

In May 2021, the Prime Minister announced

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Conflict in Ukraine (6) - Economic Crime Bill

Update 16 March - the Bill discussed in this post became the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022 (legislation.gov.uk) having received Royal Assent on 15 March.


On Monday 7 March 2022, the lengthy, complex and important Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill  was banged through the House of Commons. The Bill is part of the government's response to Russian military action in Ukraine. 

The Bill contains 55 clauses divided into 4 Parts - Part 1 (Registration of Overseas Entities), Part 2 (Unexplained Wealth Orders), Part 3 (Sanctions), Part 4 (General). There are also 5 detailed Schedules. 

As the Institute for Government points out in an excellent overview, the Bill has been a long time coming and does not go far enough - Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill  | The Institute for Government

Prior to late February 2022, the government seemed to be in no great hurry to bring the legislation forward. The appearance was

Sunday, 6 March 2022

Human Rights reform ~ consultation


Ukraine dominates the news

BUT

Don't forget - the Human Rights Act consultation

The consultation has been extended (beyond 8 March) until 19 April but only to enable responses from those "who would be assisted by an Easy Read or audio version." "This includes organisations who solely or greatly represent the interests of those who would be assisted by an audio or Easy Read version in order to respond."  See the government's statement (where a link to the "Easy Read" version is now provided) - 

Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Joshua Rozenberg wrote about the extension - see HERE

The government's regressive proposals for a "Modern Bill of Rights" will make it much harder for individuals to enforce their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights and will enhance executive power.

My look at the Independent Panel's report commences HERE (5 posts) and the Government's Consultation is considered from HERE (3 posts).

Previous post - Law and Lawyers: The future of human rights in the UK (obiterj.blogspot.com)

Other links:

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Conflict in Ukraine (5) - Economic crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill

On 1 March the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill received its first reading in the House of Commons. A date for second reading remains to be fixed.

Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill publications - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament

Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Bill 2022: overarching documents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

This Bill is a long standing government commitment. It is also long overdue in the light of the Russia Report.

Background

Sunday, 27 February 2022

Conflict in Ukraine (4) - Russia and the UK

"If we are to truly act with the robust moral authority that is required, we must get our own house in order. London has become the destination of choice for the crooks and thieves who run Russia" - Mr Stephen Kinnock MP (Aberavon, Labour) in the House of Commons 23 February 2022

As shown by a Foreign Affairs Committee report published in May 2018 (pdf), serious concern has existed for a considerable time about possible Russian influence in the UK including potentially undue influence over UK government activity.  

Further concern is how certain wealthy individuals have used the legal system to deter criticism of their activities - 

Putin has used British rich man’s law to avoid scrutiny, at a crippling cost to us all | Nick Cohen | The Guardian 26 February

Cohen goes so far as to say - "As Russian tanks

Saturday, 26 February 2022

Conflict in Ukraine (3) - Reaction - UN, Council of Europe, EU, ICC, ICJ

Reaction of international bodies to the Russian military action in Ukraine:

United Nations:

UN Charter 

UN Security Council

Security Council fails to adopt draft resolution on ending Ukraine crisis, as Russian Federation wields veto

The Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council - WorldAtlas

General Assembly resolution demands end to Russian offensive in Ukraine | | UN News

UN resolution against Ukraine invasion: Full text (dubai.ooo)

United Nations Security Council veto power - Wikipedia 

Presidency of the United Nations Security Council - Wikipedia

In February 2022, Russia held the Presidency of the UN Security Council. In March 2022 it is held by United Arab Emirates and, after that, UK (April 2022) and USA (May 2022).

7 April 2022 - UN General Assembly votes to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council | | UN News

Council of Europe:

Situation in Ukraine: Decisions by Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers

Council of Europe suspends Russia's rights of representation

The European Court of Human Rights operates under the aegis of the Council of Europe. The court has announced interim measures concerning the Russian Federation (1 March 2022), Measures taken in cases concerning Ukraine (2 March), Interim measures concerning Russian military operations (4 March). Details are on the court's website - European Court of Human Rights - ECHR, CEDH, news, information, press releases (coe.int)

Law and Lawyers: Conflict in the Ukraine (7) - Russia excluded from Council of Europe (obiterj.blogspot.com)

An Aggression Chamber for Ukraine Supported by the Council of Europe - Opinio Juris

European Union:

Friday, 25 February 2022

Conflict in Ukraine (2) - NATO


The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) owes its existence to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 (sometimes referred to as the Washington Treaty).

The Treaty was signed on 4 April 1949 by 12 founding members. The Treaty derives its authority from Article 51 of the UN Charter which reaffirmed the inherent right of independent States to individual or collective defence. 

Collective defence is at the heart of the Treaty and is enshrined in Article 5 - NATO - Topic: Collective defence - Article 5

Conflict in Ukraine (1) - Sanctions

Updates at the end ...

On 24 February 2022, Russia sent its military forces into Ukraine. This was preceded by a lengthy build up of Russian forces. 

Russia has come under international condemnation because of its actions in Ukraine. As shown by this timeline, there has been a turbulent history since Ukraine became independent in 1991.

Sanctions have formed a part of the response by the UK Conservative government.

The imposition of sanctions is authorised

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Article 50 and its implementation

On 4 February, the EU Parliament held a public hearing looking at how Article 50 TEU was implemented.

AFCO Public Hearing on the Assessment of the Implementation of Article 50 TEU | Hearings | Events | AFCO | Committees | European Parliament (europa.eu)

Also, on 16 February 2022, the EU Parliament issued an assessment of the Article 50 process - 

Assessment of the implementation of Article 50 (pdf) and Assessment of the implementation of Article 50 (html version)

This post notes some of the salient points in the assessment.

As always, the document has to be read in full. It identifies a number of problems with Article 50 and examines

Monday, 21 February 2022

Counsellors of State

Privy Council:

Most actions of the the Privy Council do not attract a great deal of public attention but that was not the case when, on 28 August 2019, the Privy Council held a meeting at Balmoral and decided to prorogue Parliament from a date between 9 and 12 September 2019 until 14 October 2019 - see Privy Council 28.8.2019

That meeting was attended by HM The Queen and three Privy Counsellors - Rt. Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg, Rt. Hon Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, and Rt. Hon Mark Spencer. Jacob Rees-Mogg was then Lord President of the Council. That post is now held by Mark Spencer.

The prorogation was, in law, a decision

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Privacy for those under investigation? The Bloomberg case.

43 years ago in Malone v Metropolitan Police Commisioner [1979] Ch 344 (Megarry V-C) it was noted that there was no general right to privacy recognised by English law.  That case led, via Mr Malone's journey to Strasbourg, to the Interception of Communications Act 1985 (as enacted) - now replaced by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA).  The 1985 legislation addressed the European Court of Human Rights judgment that the UK has breached Mr Malone's Article 8 Rights.

Article 8 provides that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. It is a qualified right - "There shall be no interference

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Litigation between Virginia Giuffre and Prince Andrew - settlement in principle


The amounts of money involved continue to be unknown. Also, it is not known exactly HOW the Prince will find the necessary funds.

Original post:

A document filed with the United States District Court in New York states that a settlement in principle has been reached in the civil litigation brought in New York by Virginia Giuffre against Prince Andrew. 

Prince Andrew settles Virginia Giuffre sexual assault case in US | Prince Andrew | The Guardian

The document states that - "The parties

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Inquiries ~ update February 2022

On-going inquiries - here is a brief résumé. The post ends with a look at progress with the promised Covid-19 inquiry.

Independent Inquiry Child Sexual Abuse website - 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. Public hearings concluded in late 2020 but reports continue to be issued - see February 2022 report on Child Sexual Exploitation by Organised Networks. The inquiry conducted 15 separate investigations, heard 725 witnesses and held 325 days of public hearings. A final report remains to be issued.

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

Sunday, 13 February 2022

Events at No 10 - a sad and damaging time (No.4) - Police questionnaires



and






The likelihood is that the conflict in Ukraine has "saved" the Prime Minister politically.


Original post:

The Metropolitan Police belatedly started to investigate alleged offences (under Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations) said to have been committed in premises in Downing Street. 

It is reported that "questionnaires" have been sent to around 50 individuals, including the Prime Minister, seeking information about any involvement in any gatherings allegedly in breach of the Regulations - PM sent Downing Street lockdown party questionnaire by Met police | Boris Johnson | The Guardian.

The sending of questionnaires

Friday, 11 February 2022

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

On Thursday 10 February, Dame Cressida Dick (Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis) resigned "following contact with" the Mayor of London (Sadiq Khan) - see the Statement by Dame Cressida Dick. Earlier the same day, the Commissioner said that she had no intention of resigning - BBC News 10 February.

See the statement by Mayor Sadiq Khan - Video: Sadiq Khan makes a statement about Cressida Dick's resignation | Daily Mail Online

On 1 February, the Independent Office for Police Complaints (IOPC) published details of recommendations to tackle "bullying and harassment in the ranks" of the Metropolitan Police Service - IOPC recommendations to tackle Met culture after investigation uncovers bullying and harassment in the ranks | Independent Office for Police Conduct

Following the IOPC recommendations it was reported

Monday, 7 February 2022

70 years since the accession of the Queen

Sunday 6 February 2022 marked 70 years since the accession of HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Queen is therefore by far the longest reigning monarch in British history. 

Queen Victoria reigned for 63 years 216 days and George III for 59 years 96 days.. The day was marked by the Queen's Accession Day message

The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and also Head of State in a considerable number of nations and territories.

Many events will take place to mark the Platinum Jubilee including a holiday weekend from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June.  The Coronation took place on 2 June 1953.

The Crown:

"The Crown" is a frequently used term.

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Events in Northern Ireland


Elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly are due on 5 May 2022. The Assembly comprises 90 Members, referred to as Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).  

Northern Ireland's Agriculture Minister (Edwin Poots MLA), ordered a halt to post-Brexit checks on food and farming products entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK. The Minister's order was to take effect from midnight on Wednesday 2 February 2022 and Mr Poots stated that he had taken legal advice as to the legality of his order.

The UK government Secretary of State for

Thursday, 3 February 2022

The future of human rights in the UK

With updates at the end ...

Responses to the consultation to the government's consultation on the future of protection for human rights in the UK must be in by 8 March 2022.

The government's proposals go well beyond the minimal recommendations of the Independent Review. The proposals seek to weaken the ability of individuals to enforce their human rights. The hand of the State against the individual will be strengthened. These regressive proposals ought to be rejected by Parliament.

My look at the Independent Panel's report commences HERE (5 posts) and the Government's Consultation is considered from HERE (3 posts).

This post sets out further links to

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Johnson's unworthy jibe at Starmer


Monday 31 January 2022 saw the release of an update produced by civil servant Sue Gray who had undertaken an internal investigation into various gatherings at Number 10 Downing Street between May 2020 and April 2021. 

Law and Lawyers: Events at No 10 - a sad and damaging time (No.3) (obiterj.blogspot.com)

The Prime Minister made a brief statement in Parliament to which the Leader of the Opposition - Sir Keir Starmer - responded.

Hansard House of Commons 31 January 2022

After Starmer spoke, Johnson referred to Starmer as a "former Director of Public Prosecutions"

Monday, 31 January 2022

Events at No 10 - a sad and damaging time (No.3)


"The hardship under which citizens across the country worked, lived and sadly even died while observing the Government’s regulations and guidance rigorously are known only too well" - Sue Gray 31 January 2022

Two previous posts looked at events which allegedly took place at 10 Downing Street - posts of 13 January 2022 and 28 January 2022.

Civil servant Sue Gray has now completed what is referred to as an "Update" about her "Investigation into alleged gatherings on government premises during Covid restrictions"

A statement was made by the Prime Minister to the House of Commons - statement 31 January.

Hansard House of Commons 31 January 2022

An update - NOT a full report:

The published document

Friday, 28 January 2022

Events at No 10 ~ a sad and damaging time (No.2)

Developments:

A previous post looked at events alleged to have taken place at 10 Downing Street and some other government premises - Law and Lawyers: Events at Number 10 (obiterj.blogspot.com).

The saga has continued to develop with reports of parties on the eve of the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral - Boris Johnson's staff accused of more rule-breaking parties inside No 10 - BBC News for which the Prime Minister apologised to HM The Queen.

Next came a report

Thursday, 27 January 2022

Covid restrictions ~ legal changes ~ need for caution remains

Regulations:

Face-coverings - 

Regs requiring face-coverings expired at the end of 26 January 2022 -

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) Regulations 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

Transport for London is continuing to require face coverings - see their Conditions of Carriage - TfL Conditions of Carriage.

It may be that some businesses will continue to ask for face coverings as a condition of entry to their premises.

Entry to venues and events -

Regulations

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

The UKSC ~ a course and an article

This post looks at a course, to be run online and starting in February. The course will examine role and inner workings of the UK Supreme Court. The post then considers a recent critical article by Professor Conor Gearty which analyses the approach taken by the UKSC in some of its recent cases. Finally, there are some observations arising from the article.  First, a little background.

Background:

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom (UKSC) was created by Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and is the final appellate court in both

Thursday, 20 January 2022

In the news - 20 January


The pandemic:

On 19 January the government announced in the House of Commons that many of the legal restrictions relating to the coronavirus pandemic are to be removed later in January but guidance will continue in place.  See the Prime Minister's statement - Covid-19 Update - Hansard - UK Parliament

BBC News 19 January - Face mask rules and Covid passes to end in England

There are grounds to believe that the Omicron variant may

Friday, 14 January 2022

In the news 14 January 2022


Covid 19:  The pandemic continues with hospital admissions standing at 15,591 in the period 1 January 2022 to 8 January 2022. Data for 12 January showed a welcome fall in the number of positive tests but deaths within 28 days of a positive test had increased - 1724 in the period 5 to 12 January.  83.1% of the UK population aged 12 and over had received two doses of vaccine. 62.5% had received the 3rd (booster) dose which continues to be strongly recommended by the medical profession and the government.

Government data 

Law and Lawyers: Coronavirus Log ~ Part 11 ~ from 19 July 2021 (obiterj.blogspot.com)

On 13 January

Thursday, 13 January 2022

Events at Number 10 - a sad and damaging time (No 1)

With updates ...

Much of the UK news over the last week has been dominated by the political row over an alleged ("bring your own drinks") party in the Downing Street garden on 20 May 2020. That was during the first "lockdown" and was a time when Regulations imposed both restrictions on the activities of individuals and closures on many forms of business. It was also a time of tragedy for many who suffered the loss of family members due to Covid.

The event on 20 May 2020 did not come to public attention until January 2022 and, at the time of writing, is the latest twist in the whole story.

In December 2021, an investigation into 3 events was set up by the Prime Minister. The events

Friday, 7 January 2022

Early Reaction to government's human rights proposals

This post looks at some of the immediate reaction to the government's consultation on the Human Rights Act 1998. At the time of writing (7 January 2022), the reaction has been almost entirely against most of the government's proposals. 

Actually leaving the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) has been ruled out. That may be because renouncing the convention would be a "bad look" for a government which likes to lecture others on human rights (often justifiably) and which has a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UK membership expires in 2023). It would also play badly with the Council of Europe which is Europe's leading human rights organisation.  The Council comprises 47 member States and all are signatories to the ECHR. Northern Ireland adds further reason to remain a signatory given that human rights are woven into the peace settlement brought about with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Then there is the relationship with the European Union

Thursday, 6 January 2022

In the news 6 January 2022


A miscellany of items in the news at the start of 2022 ....

Grenfell:

The Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry continues almost 5 years after the devastating fire on 14 June 2017.  The Phase 1 report was issued in 2019 - Phase 1 report - withe government accepting in principle the inquiry's recommendations - Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report: government response - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

It has been reported that the Inquiry is to examine some former government Ministers and also the serving Secretary of State - The Guardian 4 January. An important witness is likely to be Lord Pickles who was Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from 2010 to 2015.

Coronavirus / Omicron:

Omicron continues

Clean Air Zones


London's Low Emission Zone (LEZ) has been in operation since 2008 to encourage the use of less polluting vehicles and penalise the heaviest polluters. It operates within the Greater London Authority's boundaries. 

During 2022, similar schemes are to come into force in several more Clear Air Zones (CAZ).  The government has