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 (

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 (

The 2022 Act repeals the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 ( (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 (

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 - Raab's Bill of Rights would be a poor relation of the Human Rights Act

Law Society Gazette - What will Raab's Bill of Rights look like?

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 (

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 (

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 (

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

Update 27 June 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 (

UK Health Security Agency 10 March 2022 - COVID-19 prevalence continues to decline across England but infection rates remain high - 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


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 ( 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


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 (

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 (

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 (

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