Friday 22 December 2023

Murder of Brianna Ghey ~ "excepting direction" regarding anonymity of Defendants

Update 2 February 2024:

Two defendants (under age 18) have been convicted of the murder of Brianna Ghey (age 16). Sentencing is to take place on 2 February 2024.

Due to the age of the defendants, an order has been in place throughout the proceedings under section 45 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (“the Act”) restricting publication of any information that would be likely to identify them as the defendants in these proceedings.

This Order remains in force but the judge - Mrs Justice Yip - has decided that X and Y will be named but not until the sentencing hearing when the judge will give clarity as to the point at which the restrictions cease to apply.

The reasons for the decision are set out at R-v-X-and-Y-Ruling-on-reporting-restrictions.pdf (

Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 (

For the principles of law involved see the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) decision in KL v R. [2021] EWCA Crim 200 (19 February 2021) (

2 February 2024 - Sentencing:

R -v- Scarlett Jenkinson and Eddie Ratcliffe - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Thursday 21 December 2023

Could the terms of the Covid 19 Inquiry be changed?

The Telegraph reports that MPs and peers fear the Covid Inquiry has already decided lockdowns were not hard enough (

According to the article, a group of MPs and Peers have the opinion that the Inquiry seems to have already decided that lockdown was necessary and that the inquiry has been focused on whether  pandemic interventions should have been implemented “harder, sooner and for longer”.

It is reported that - 'The scathing comments come in a letter sent to Mr Sunak on Wednesday and signed by more than 20 MPs, peers and scientific experts, demanding he intervenes to change the official scope of the inquiry.'

Would it be possible to change the official scope of the inquiry? The simplistic answer

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Furore over PPE


'Shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the front-line in the first wave of the pandemic was one of the biggest concerns in March and April 2020. As well as NHS front line workers there were others front-line workers who required high grade PPE – particularly in social care settings, which were mainly private businesses.

That statement of well-known facts is from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee 42nd report of Session 2019-21 - COVID-19: Government procurement and supply of personal protective equipment (

The report continues - 'At each stage the Department for Health and Social Care maintain that no setting actually ran out of PPE. We heard compelling evidence from organisations representing front-line workers that stocks ran perilously low; single use items were reused; some was not fit for purpose and staff were in fear that they would run out. 

Government thought it was well-placed

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Parliamentary Sovereignty ~ legal rule or assumption ~ either way it is unsatisfactory

There has been considerable debate about the government's "Rwanda Bill" - Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration) Draft Bill - GOV.UK ( In particular, there is discussion within legal circles about whether the courts could somehow "disapply" this if it were to actually become an Act of Parliament (i.e. pass both Houses of Parliament and receive Royal Assent).

The legal discussion has arisen because of a letter published by the Daily Telegraph - Back the Rwanda Bill or risk the sovereignty of Parliament, say KCs ( - in which former Attorney-General Sir Geoffrey Cox KC and three other leading barristers comment that - "[T]he assumption that Parliament is entirely sovereign is only that — an assumption, which the courts have long indicated could be revisited in the event that Parliament did the unthinkable."

The word "assumption" certainly caused constitutional lawyers to go to their keyboards

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Rwanda ~ Now there is a treaty and a Bill

Updated 18 January 2024 (after House of Commons Third Reading).

Updated 20 March 2024 - note on Lords amendments

Following the judgment of the Supreme Court on 15 November 2023 (previous post), the governments of the UK and Rwanda have acted "at pace" to turn what was a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in to what is now described as an "agreement." The text may be seen at -

Agreement between UK and Rwanda for the provision of an asylum partnership to strengthen international commitments on the protection of refugees and migrants (

In international law, the agreement is a treaty and, as such, will be legally binding on both States once it is ratified. The word "treaty" is used in other material published by the government - Treaty signed to strengthen UK-Rwanda migration partnership - GOV.UK (

The UK Foreign Secretary (James Cleverley MP) has said that -

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Criminal Justice / Sentencing ~ New Bills

Following the King's Speech on 7 November 2023, the government introduced two Bills touching on criminal justice 

Sentencing Bill - and see UK Government Policy Paper

Criminal Justice Bill - and see UK Government Information + UK Government Factsheets. There is also a House of Commons Library Research Briefing

Sentencing Bill:

This is a relatively short Bill of 11 Clauses and 3 Schedules. It makes provision relating to 

1. Whole life orders 

Sunday 26 November 2023

Bona Vacantia ~ Get a will drawn up !

A legal topic known as BONA VACANTIA has resulted in much comment this week - How royal estates use bona vacantia to collect money from dead people | King Charles III | The Guardian

Let's imagine an elderly man Joe. He is 85, lives in a small house, he has a small "nest egg" and survives on low income. His wife died a couple of years ago but they had no children. There are no known relatives and Joe has not made a will but has often told a few friends that he wants what he owns to pass to a couple of charities supported by his late wife.

When Joe dies, what will happen to his property? His

Friday 24 November 2023

Truss - Her selection as Conservative Party leader

Boris Johnson led the Conservative Party to election victory in December 2019 but resigned as party leader in July 2022. The background to that is in a previous post  -  Johnson announces his departure

His resignation required the party to choose a new leader and a lengthy process took place which  culminated in a ballot of party members with Elizabeth Truss emerging as leader. As I wrote at the time, the effect was that there was a "club" choosing the next Prime Minister?

On 6 September 2022, just two days before her death, Queen Elizabeth II duly appointed Truss as Prime Minister.

The appointment of Prime Minister is

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Lucy Letby - fuller details of the Inquiry announced

In August, Lucy Letby was sentence to a whole life order having been convicted of the the murders of babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital - Law and Lawyers: Letby sentenced to Whole Life Term (

An Inquiry was announced - see earlier post

Law and Lawyers: Lady Justice Thirlwall to chair "Letby" inquiry (

The latest information, including terms of reference, may now be seen at the Inquiry website

The Thirlwall Inquiry

Wednesday 15 November 2023

Rwanda judgment 15 November 2023

The UK Supreme Court has (unanimously) dismissed the Home Secretary’s appeal in the Rwanda cases. The court upheld the Court of Appeal's conclusion that the Rwanda policy is unlawful.

This is because there are substantial grounds for believing that asylum seekers would face a real risk of ill-treatment by reason of refoulement to their country of origin if they were removed to Rwanda. 

Full details are on the court's website -

R (on the application of AAA and others) (Respondents/Cross Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant/Cross Respondent) - The Supreme Court

Recation of Prime Minister (Rishi Sunak MP) - Rishi Sunak to bring in emergency law after supreme court’s Rwanda ruling | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

Reaction of Home Secretary (James Cleverly MP) - Illegal Immigration - Hansard - UK Parliament

Tuesday 14 November 2023

The Foreign Secretary in the House of Lords.

Update 29 November 2023

can a prime minister make someone who isn’t an MP foreign secretary? It's a fair question to ask and the answer is set out in the article that asked the question -

David Cameron returns: how can a prime minister make someone who isn't an MP foreign secretary? And what happens now? (

The elevation of former Prime Minister David Cameron to a life peerage is perfectly lawful though there are some questions about how and when the House of Lords Appointments Commission (HOLAC) is involved in the process. 

Cameron served

Sunday 12 November 2023

Rwanda judgment to be handed down on 15 November 2023

On Wednesday 15 November the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom will hand down its judgment in what may be referred to as the Rwanda appeals.

The court has published further details of the appeals - R (on the application of AAA and others) (Respondents/Cross Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant/Cross Respondent) - The Supreme Court

The judgment appealed is at AAA (Syria) & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Rev1) [2023] EWCA Civ 745 (29 June 2023) ( 

and this was itself an appeal from the High Court - AAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Rwanda) [2022] EWHC 3230 (Admin) (19 December 2022) (

The Court of Appeal judgment is discussed on this blog at Law and Lawyers: A note on AAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department ~ removals to Rwanda (

The current Home Secretary (Suella Braverman KC MP) doubtless has a lot of political capital riding on the outcome. 

A government "win" will probably

Thursday 9 November 2023

May Sir Mark Rowley stop a planned Armistice Day protest?

Huge controversy has arisen over plans to hold a "Pro-Palestine" protest in London on Saturday 11 November 2023. The date is significant because it is "Armistice Day." 

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner (Sir Mark Rowley) has clearly decided that the legal conditions required to actually prohibit a procession are not met - Armistice Day demo will go ahead - Met Police (

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said that the planned marches are "disrespectful" and that his job is to hold the Metropolitan Police Commissioner accountable for his decision - Sunak to hold Met chief ‘accountable’ for decision not to ban pro-Palestine march | Metropolitan police | The Guardian
Precisely what the Prime Minister had in mind when he spoke of "accountable" is not clear. The Commissioner is supposedly independent of the government regarding operational decisions.


1] The European Convention on Human Rights Articles

Wednesday 11 October 2023

A trip around the Inquiries ~ An Update

Updated 13 October 2023 and 26 October 2023
Also 29 February 2024

What do we think when the word Inquiry is mentioned? Is an Inquiry a useful fact-finding exercise leading to the Inquiry Chair (who is usually, but not always, a judge or retired judge) making recommendations which government is then free to accept or reject? Or, are inquiries just a way for politicians to push difficult issues aside albeit at sometimes huge expense to the public purse?

In March 2018, the estimable Institute for Government (IfG) published an analysis of such questions - Public inquiries | Institute for Government.

Whatever stance one takes on Inquiries in general, the fact is that there are several on-going inquiries as well as some that have recently completed their task. Here is a brief round-up.


Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan – Independent Inquiry relating to Afghanistan (

On 15 December 2022 the Secretary of State for Defence

Friday 6 October 2023

R v Jaswant Singh Chail

On Christmas Day 2021, Jaswant Singh Chail (then aged 18) was arrested in a private part of the grounds of Windsor Castle in possession of a loaded crossbow. This part of the castle and grounds is never open to the general public. 

In February 2023, Chail pleaded guilty to three offeices - 

1) - Attempting to injure or alarm the Sovereign on 25th December 2021, contrary to section 2 of the Treason Act 1842. The maximum penalty for this offence is 7 years’ imprisonment. 

2) - Having an offensive weapon, contrary to section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953. The maximum penalty for this offence is 4 years’ imprisonment. 

3) - Making threats to kill, contrary to section 16 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years’ imprisonment. 

On 5 October 2023, Chail came before Mr Justice Hilliard for sentencing.

On Count 1 - 44 months’ imprisonment. 

On Count 2 - 16 months’ imprisonment. 

On Count 3 - 48 months’ imprisonment, with an extended licence period of 5 years. 

The total sentences amount to 9 years’ custody with a further licence period of 5 years.

Sentencing Remarks have been published - R -v- Chail - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

These are of particular legal interest because

Monday 2 October 2023

Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales

Monday 2 October 2023 saw the swearing in of Dame Sue Carr as Lady Chief Justice of England and Wales.

Dame Sue Carr sworn in as Lady Chief Justice - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary 

Law and Lawyers: Judiciary ~ The next Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (

A Lawyer Writes | Joshua Rozenberg | Substack 2 October 2023

This appointment has been welcomed and it is the first time that a female has held this office which, in its modern form, dates from the Judicature Acts 1873-75.. 

The current Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is Dame Siobhan Keegan who was appointed from 2 September 2021.

Scotland's senior judges are the Lord Justice General (Lord Carloway) and Lord Justice Clerk (Lady Dorrian - appointed 2016). (Scotland does not use the title Lord Chief Justice or Chief Justice).

Female Chief Justices have been appointed in The Commonwealth - e.g. Helen Winkelmann is currently Chief Justice of New Zealand.

Sue Carr - Wikipedia

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Northern Ireland - new (controversial) legislation

On Monday 18 September, several Acts received Royal Assent (here).  Included in the list was the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland argues that - 'The legislation contains finely balanced political and moral choices. It presents us all with a real opportunity to deliver greater information, accountability and acknowledgement to victims and families, moving away from established mechanisms that have left far too many empty-handed' NI Troubles (Legacy & Reconciliation) Act receives Royal Assent - GOV.UK (

The government has published further explanation of the legislation - Explainers relating to the Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill - GOV.UK (

The Bill establishes a new body, the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR). It is argued that investigations conducted by the ICRIR will be capable of fulfilling the State's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights - Arts 2 and 3.

There are reports of unhappiness with the arrangements to be made by the Act.

One possibility is an inter-State case brought by Ireland against the UK - Varadkar restates Ireland will consider taking interstate case if UK Legacy Bill is passed | UTV | ITV News.

A view has been expressed that Ireland would be advised to hesitate and consider these legal points before suing the UK over its legacy act ( A number of points are made by barrister Dr Austen Morgan.

Another possibility is legal challenges in the UK courts - Troubles legacy: Controversial bill facing more legal challenges - BBC News. Some of those challenges may, in time, find their way to the European Court of Human Rights.


Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Act 2023 - Parliamentary Bills - UK Parliament

Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill 2022-2023 - House of Commons Library (

Joint Committee on Human Rights 2022 - Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill (

Joint Committee on Human Rights 2015 - Human Rights Judgments - Human Rights Joint Committee (

Independent Commission for Reconciliation & Information Recovery (

UPDATE 23 September 2023

Council of Europe voices 'serious concern' over the British government failure to address legacy bill shortcomings - The Irish News

Monday 18 September 2023

Supreme Court - Rwanda Appeal - October 2023

The Supreme Court of the UK resumes hearing cases at the start of Michaelmas Term which commences on 2 October 2023 - Judicial Sittings 2023 Michaelmas Term - The Supreme Court.

Of the appeals to be heard, it will be the government's appeal relating to the Rwanda policy that come to political and public attention. The appeal will be heard from 9 to 11 October.

The Court of Appeal (Civil Division) judgment was handed down in April 2023 - Law and Lawyers: A note on AAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department ~ removals to Rwanda (

The legal questions to be decided by the Supreme Court are set out at R (on the application of AAA and others) (Respondents/Cross Appellants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant/Cross Respondent) - The Supreme Court

The court's constitution is to be Lord Reed (President), Lord Hodge (Deputy President), Lord Lloyd-Jones, Lord Briggs and Lord Sales. By October, those will be the five most senior Justices.

Currently the court has only one female member - Lady Rose. As Joshua Rozenberg notes - Justices named for Rwanda appeal - by Joshua Rozenberg ( - that is likely to change in the near future.

Biographies of the Justices - The Supreme Court

Illegal Immigration Act received Royal Assent on 20 July 2023 - (Explanatory Notes).

Further links:

Rwanda ‘tortures and murders’, supreme court asylum plan hearing told | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian

Friday 8 September 2023

8 September 2022 - the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II

Looking back at the events following the death of HM Queen Elzabeth II -

The Coronation of HM King Charles III was held on 6 May 2023.

Westminster Abbey published information about previous coronations, the ceremony, and the regalia - Coronations at the Abbey  and see the House of Commons publication - The Coronation: history and ceremonial.

A good survey of the Crown and the Constitution is by David Torrance and may be seen at The Crown and the constitution - House of Commons Library (

Tuesday 5 September 2023

Lady Justice Thirlwall to chair "Letby" inquiry

On 18 August 2023, the government announced a non-statutory independent inquiry to examine the circumstances behind the murders of seven babies and seven counts of attempted murder relating to six other babies at the Countess of Chester Hospital. The inquiry will look at the circumstances surrounding the deaths and incidents, including how concerns raised by clinicians were dealt with.

Government orders independent inquiry following Lucy Letby verdict - 18 August 20203 - GOV.UK (

In a statement to the House of Commons (4 September 2023) the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said that  Lady Justice Thirlwall has been appointed to chair the statutory inquiry.

Secretary of State oral statement on Lucy Letby statutory inquiry - GOV.UK (

Lady Justice Thirlwall - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Lady Justice Thirlwall appointed to lead the Statutory Public Inquiry | Switalskis Solicitors

Terms of Reference for the inquiry have yet to be agreed.

Thursday 31 August 2023

Letby ~ Inquiry will have statutory powers

On 18 August 2023, the government announced a non-statutory independent inquiry to examine the circumstances behind the murders of seven babies and seven counts of attempted murder relating to six other babies at the Countess of Chester HospitalThe inquiry will look at the circumstances surrounding the deaths and incidents, including how concerns raised by clinicians were dealt with.

Government orders independent inquiry following Lucy Letby verdict - 18 August 20203 - GOV.UK (

There were widespread calls for the inquiry to have statutory powers and, on 30 August 2023, it was announced that the inquiry will have statutory powers and will be chaired by a judge.

UK Government 30 August 2023 - Legal powers given to Lucy Letby inquiry - 30 August 2023 - GOV.UK (

The government announcement states that the Secretary of State took this decision after listening to the views of families of the victims. The move gives the inquiry legal powers which include compelling witnesses to give evidence under oath. 

The Inquiry chair has yet to be appointed and Terms of Reference will have to be agreed and published.

Monday 21 August 2023

Letby sentenced to Whole Life Term

Lucy Letby was sentenced on 21 August 2023 to life imprisonment with a whole life order having been convicted on 7 counts of murder. The victims were babies placed under her care as a nurse at the Countess of Chester Hospital. Letby was also convicted on 7 counts of attempted murder. The attempted murder counts related to 6 babies.

Prior to the judge handing down sentence, the court heard personal statements from the parents. 

A redacted version of the sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Goss are available at R -v- Letby - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

Friday 18 August 2023

ULEZ - expands 29 August 2023


The image shows the boundary of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) that will apply in Greater London from 29 August 2023.

Details of the scheme are at ULEZ Expansion 2023 - Transport for London ( with more useful information at ULEZ Map - London ULEZ Map 2023

Ulez: What is it and why is its expansion controversial? - BBC News

Legal power:

The power to implement the scheme is in the Greater London Authority Act 1999 - in particular Part IV (Transport).

Tuesday 1 August 2023

"Just Stop Oil" protesters - lengthy sentences not manifestly excessive

October 2022 saw two "Just Stop Oil" protesters climb the Queen Elizabeth II bridge which carries the A282 road over the River Thames. It is the only way, by road, to cross the river to the east of London.

The bridge had to be closed until the protest ended and numerous vehicles endured long delays - Just Stop Oil protesters removed from Dartford Crossing bridge and arrested | Just Stop Oil | The Guardian 18 October 2022.

One of the protester's demands was for the government to halt all new oil and gas licences but it appears that such demands have fallen on deaf ears - Sunak announces major expansion to North Sea oil drilling - here's why it's so controversial (

The two protesters - Morgan Trowland (now aged 40) and Marcus Decker (now age 34) - stood trial in the Crown Court at Basildon before HHJ Collery KC and a jury. They were charged with intentionally or recklessly causing a public nuisance - s78 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.

Both men were convicted on 4 April 2023 and, on 21 April 2023, Trowland was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment and Decker to 2 years 7 months.

The men appealed against their sentences claiming that the sentences were manifestly excessive and otherwise a disproportionate interference with their rights of freedom of expression and assembly under Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights and so unlawful contrary to s. 6 of the Human Rights Act 1988.

The Court of Appeal (Criminal Division)

Thursday 27 July 2023

A right to a Bank Account?

Life without a bank account would be exceptionally difficult in modern society but is there a right to have a bank account? 

That question has come to the fore because of events involving politician and broadcaster Nigel Farage, Coutts Bank, and Natwest Bank. There is no need here to rehearse those particular events except to note that Mr Farage said that he would be campaigning for a right to have a bank account.

In 2014 when the European Union issued a Directive (here) requiring Member States

Monday 24 July 2023

Data Subjects ~ Access to Data

The UK's first Data Protection legislation came in 1984  - Data Protection Act 1984 (repealed 1 March 2000). 

The 1984 Act followed the Younger Report on Privacy (1972), the Lindop Report on Data Protection (1978), and the 1981 European Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. (This Convention is the work of the Council of Europe and not the European Union. The UK ratified the Convention on 26 August 1987).

Subsequently, the

Sunday 23 July 2023

Ukraine ~ Sanctions etc.

Russia's so-called "Special Military Operation" in Ukraine commenced 24 February 2022.


Sanctions have been put in place by the UK as well as several other nations and the European Union.

The following links provide further information -

1) The imposition of sanctions is authorised in law by the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 and, in relation to Russia, by the Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.  

2) UK Government - 

a) UK sanctions regimes - GOV.UK (

b) Sanctions List and Asset Freeze List

c) UK Financial sanctions - General Guidance 

Thursday 20 July 2023

Inquiries Round Up

It is almost a year since I last wrote a "round up" about the various on-going inquiries - Law and Lawyers: Covid 19 and other inquiries - 29 July 2022. Frome time-to-time "updates" were added to that post.

An ICLR Roundup:

In their Weekly Notes, the ICLR has included a useful "round up" showing the state of play at those inquiries which are either still on-going or have concluded taking evidence but have yet to issue reports.

Weekly Notes: legal news from ICLR, 14 July 2023 - ICLR

Other reports:

In addition to the ICLR's round up, it is worth noting:

R v Carla Foster ~ Appeal on Sentence

A previous post looked at the tragic case of R v Carla Foster who, in June 2023, was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment for administering poison with intent to procure a miscarriage - (Offences Against the Person Act 1861 section 58). 

Although this was plainly a serious offence, there were a number of exceptional features. Whilst a sentence of imprisonment was inevitable, the question was whether the term could be low enough to enable the imprisonment to be suspended but with requirements aimed at rehabilitation.

The sentencing judge, Mr Justice Pepperall, considered that he was unable to reduce the sentence below 28 months. This could not be suspended because it exceeded 2 years.

On appeal, the sentence was reduced to 14 months imprisonment to be suspended for 18 months from the date when she was first sentenced. There is also a rehabilitation requirement of up to 50 days to give her the opportunity to engage in various interventions designed to assist her, including counselling.

The Court of Appeal's summary judgment was published on 19 July and full reasons for the decision will be handed down in due course.

Earlier post - Law and Lawyers: R v Carla Foster - 28 months imprisonment - abortion (

Appeal - Summary of the court's judgment - R -v Carla Foster (

Addendum 22 October 2023:

The Court of Appeal's full judgment is at  R -v- Foster ( It can be seen - (para 51-53) - that the court did not take too kindly to a lengthy letter sent to the trial judge by eminent medical professionals  who are listed at para 51.  In summary, the letter  said -

Friday 7 July 2023

Covid-19 Inquiry ~ Cabinet Office ~ Inquiries Act 2005

A previous post outlined the issue between the Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry and the Cabinet Office - Law and Lawyers: Covid-19 Inquiry and Government ~ Battle lines drawn (

The Inquiry Chair (Baroness Hallett) had issued a notice, under the Inquiries Act 2005 section 21, for the government to produce certain material which, in her view, related to matters to be investigated (in Module 2) by the inquiry. The government brought judicial review to challenge the notice. The High Court held that the notice was valid.

The court recorded that the Cabinet Office may respond to the notice by making an application pursuant to section 21(4), that it is unreasonable to produce material which does not relate to a matter in question at the inquiry. It will be for the Chair of the Inquiry to rule on that application. 

Therefore, the court's ruling does not mean that everything produced to the Inquiry will necessarily be published in full. Material supplied to the inquiry that is ruled not to relate to a matter in question at the inquiry is to be returned.

The 16 page judgment is at Cabinet Office -v- Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary. The government indicated that it would not appeal.

Friday 30 June 2023

A note on AAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department ~ removals to Rwanda

On 13 April 2022, the then 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 MoU (or 'arrangement') expressly states that it is not binding in international law.

Former Attorney-General Suella Braverman KC was appointed Home Secretary on 6 September 2022 and has held the post since apart from a 6 day 'break' in October 2022.

The government wished to start implementing removals to Rwanda but judicial review proceedings were commenced in relation to several cases. The review was decided by the High Court (Lewis LJ and Swift J) in December 2022 -

AAA v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Rwanda) [2022] EWHC 3230 (Admin) (19 December 2022) (

Essentially, the High Court upheld the relocation policy but quashed the Home Secretary's decision in eight cases due to flaws in the implementation of the policy. The Home Secretary was entitled to reconsider the 8 cases in the light of the court's judgment.

Appeals against the High Court upholding the policy were inevitable. The

Mr Farage, PEPs and Banking Due Diligence

On Thursday 29 June 2023, the politician and broadcaster Nigel Farage announced that his bank (not named) had closed his bank accounts. He said that the bank simply stated that it was for 'commercial reasons' but, in his announcement, he went on to suggest that it may have been because he was a "Politically-Exposed Person" (or PEP). He had approached several other banks but had not been able to open new accounts

Farage is a particularly high profile individual and was a leading campaigner for Brexit - (the UK's departure from the EU). He was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1999 to 2020. In 2021, Farage relinquished his leadership of the political party Reform UK but, at the same time, became its honorary President.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has a clear explanation of Enhanced Due Diligence for High-risk Customers. This notes that - 'Politically exposed persons (PEPs) are individuals whose prominent position in public life may make them vulnerable to corruption. The definition extends to immediate family members and known close associates.'

The full definition of a PEP

Thursday 29 June 2023

Committee on Privileges - Special Report on Intimidation

The House of Commons Committee on Privileges has issued a further report -

Matter referred on 21 April 2022: Co-ordinated campaign of interference in the work of the Privileges Committee (

This follows on from the committee's earlier report into whether former Prime Minister Boris was in contempt of Parliament. (For earlier report see Committee of Privileges and Boris Johnson). The House itself approved the committee's report and thus held that Johnson was in contempt.

A number of notable individuals are named in this special report and there is a recommendation (at para 20).

Para 22 notes that - 'It will be for the House to consider what further action, if any, to take in respect of Members of the House referred to in this special report.'

Constituency boundaries

No later than 28 January 2025, a new House of Commons must be elected at a general election. The political likelihood is that the election will be held much sooner - e.g. May or June 2024.

Subject to approval by the House of Commons, new constituencies will a result of proposals put forward by the four Boundary Commission within the UK. 


The Boundary Commission for England has put forward its proposals -


Tuesday 27 June 2023

Bill of Rights Bill will not proceed

The Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Alex Chalk KC MP) informed MPs that the Bill of Rights Bill will not proceed further. Here is the extract from Hansard. Chalk's response speaks for itself  .....

Sunday 18 June 2023

Committee of Privileges and Boris Johnson - 2

Updated 20 June 2023.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson resigned as MP before the Committee on Privileges report was published. The committee was, he declared, a Kangaroo Court and his numerous supporters leapt into action on Twitter and elsewhere to back him up.

The fair-minded observer would know that the Committee on Privileges acts only when a matter is referred to it by the House of Commons. 

Johnson was referred in April 2022 - Referral of Prime Minister to Committee of Privileges - Hansard - UK Parliament

The observer would also know that the committee may only investigate the referred matter and report its findings back to the House. The decision about what to do as a result of the report rests entirely with the House. The committee's final report was issued 15 June 2023 - Matter referred on 21 April 2022 (conduct of Rt Hon Boris Johnson): Final Report (

Between April 2022 and June 2023 the committee received advice

Thursday 15 June 2023

Judiciary ~ The next Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales

Dame Sue Lascelles Carr DBE has been appointed 'Lord Chief Justice' of England and Wales with effect from 1 October 2023.

Read the Judiciary announcement (HERE) and the Press Release from the Prime Minister's Office.

The announcements supply all the detail required as to the appointment process and Dame Carr's biography. 

Suffice it to say here that Dame Carr is the first female to be appointed to this pre-eminent judicial office the origins of which are traceable back to the early 13th century and possibly before.

Northern Ireland and Scotland:

The current Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland is Dame Siobhan Keegan who was appointed from 2 September 2021.

Scotland's senior judges are the Lord Justice General (Lord Carloway) and Lord Justice Clerk (Lady Dorrian - appointed 2016). (Scotland does not use the title Lord Chief Justice or Chief Justice).

Other Commonwealth nations:

The Chief Justice of Canada from 2000 until 2017 was Beverley McLachlin. 

The Chief Justice of Australia is Susan Kiefel appointed from 30 January 2017. 

The Chief Justice of New Zealand is Helen Winkelmann appointed from 14 March 2018.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

R v Carla Foster - 28 months imprisonment - abortion

From among the hundreds of criminal offences dealt with by the courts a particularly tragic case appears from time-to-time.

Such a case is that of 44 year old a mother, Carla Foster, who was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment for administering poison with intent to procure a miscarriage. The offence was committed during the Covid-19 “lockdown” period in 2020.

The sentence is controversial and has received considerable comment on Twitter. Some see the 28 months as correct and others argue that some way ought to have been found to impose a suspended sentence order.

According to the judge (Mr Justice Pepperall), Carla Foster is a ‘good mother’ to three children one of whom has ‘special needs’ and is ‘particularly reliant on’ Carla ‘for love and support.’ She had no previous convictions.

Here are the sentencing remarks - R -v- Foster - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

The baby whose life was terminated was,