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,

Monday 12 June 2023

MPs "resigning" and By-elections

Three Conservative MPs have stated that they intend to resign as MPs  "with immediate effect." 

The most notable of them is former Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Uxbridge and Ruislip South). 

The other two are Nadine Dorries (mid Bedfordshire) and Nigel Adams (Selby and Ainsty).

In the December 2019 General Election, Johnson won his seat with 25,351 votes as against Labour's candidate (18,141), the Liberal Democrat (3026) and 9 other candidates. In the current state of national politics, this seat appears to be winnable by Labour.

Dorries won an enormous majority - 38,692 votes to Labour (14,028), Liberal Democrat (8171), Green (2478) and two other candidates. Adams secured a large majority with 33,995 votes to Labour (13,858), Liberal Democraft (4842), the Yorkshire Party (1900) and Green (1823). Perhaps those seats will remain with the Conservatives (with reduced majorities) but Labour will certainly be hoping to win the seats.

An interesting fact is that Under a Resolution of the House of Commons dated 2 March 1624, Members of Parliament cannot directly resign their seat. A sitting MP has to apply to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for one of two ancient "offices" - either Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Chiltern Hundreds or Crown Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead. The process is described at -

Resignation from the House of Commons - House of Commons Library (

It is possible that the Chancellor might refuse an application but that is unlikely and has not actually happened since 1842. The last person to be refused either office was Viscount Chelsea, who was refused the Chiltern Hundreds in 1842. This was due to suspicions that money had changed hands to influence the result of the by-election which would have followed his appointment.

Once an MP has gone, a by-election usually follows but that cannot happen until a WRIT is moved by the House of Commons. By-elections are explained at - By-elections - UK Parliament

A motion to issue a writ is left to the Chief Whip of the party whose MP held the now vacant seat.

Occasionally, Members have resigned their seats and then fought the ensuing by-election.

State of the parties - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament

Note 12 June 2023:

Three Hundreds of Chiltern - GOV.UK ( - Johnson appointed Steward.

Manor of Northstead - GOV.UK ( - Adams appointed Steward

Sunday 11 June 2023

Committee of Privileges and Boris Johnson - 1

With Updates:

The Rt. Hon Boris Johnson stated this week that, with immediate effect, he was resigning as MP. He claims that he is the victim of a witch hunt, forced out by a 'kangaroo court' determined from the outset to find against him. Let's look at the events. 

Johnson referred to the Committee on Privileges:

In April 2022, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was referred by the House of Commons (where the Conservative Party has a large majority) to the House of Commons Committee on Privileges (which has a Conservative majority but is chaired by Opposition MP Harriet Harman)..

Referral of Prime Minister to Committee of Privileges - Hansard - UK Parliament.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Police had issued Fixed Penalty Notices in connection with events at No. 10 Downing Street and the Cabinet Office. Johnson, Rishi Sunak, and others accepted the notices.

In the House of Commons, Johnson asserted on several occasions either that "all guidance was followed" or that he had been "repeatedly assured" that "no Covid rules were broken."

The House asked the committee to consider whether Johnson's conduct amounted to contempt of the House.

Friday 2 June 2023

Covid-19 Inquiry and Government ~ Battle lines drawn

Update 6 July 2023: See Cabinet Office -v- Chair of the UK Covid-19 Inquiry - Courts and Tribunals Judiciary

WhatsApp is an online communications technology offering almost instantaneous secure contact across the globe combined with end-to- end encryption. There are millions of users worldwide.

WhatsApp itself only stores communication for a limited period though messages are stored on the internal memory of individual mobile phones / other devices.

Companies such as WhatsApp have raised concerns that the government's ONLINE SAFETY BILL - (currently at Committee Stage in the House of Lords) - will compromise end-to-end encryption and they have threatened to withdraw the service from the UK if the Bill becomes law.

Encryption plays a critical role in protecting day-to-day digital activities like online banking, shopping, preventing theft of sensitive information in data breaches, and making sure private messages stay private. Of course, encryption also makes the medium attractive to individuals engaged in nefarious activities including online child abuse.

Naturally enough, government Ministers and officials have used WhatsApp extensively.  After all, it is easier to dash off a hasty text message than to write a memo, have a formal conversation, or attend a minuted meeting..

In May 2021, Prime Minister Johnson announced a UK Covid-19 Inquiry. Baroness Heather Hallett, a retired Court of Appeal judge, was appointed as Inquiry Chair. Very wide Terms of reference were agreed and published. The Inquiry came into being on 28 June 2022 and operates under the Inquiries Act 2005.

The terms of reference include examination of 'how decisions were made, communicated, recorded, and implemented; ...'

The Act, section 21, empowers the Chairman to require a person to attend (a) to give evidence; (b) to produce any documents in his custody or under his control that relate to a matter in question at the inquiry; (c) to produce any other thing in his custody or under his control for inspection, examination or testing by or on behalf of the inquiry panel.

Section 35 states that -