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 (obiterj.blogspot.com)

An Inquiry was announced - see earlier post

Law and Lawyers: Lady Justice Thirlwall to chair "Letby" inquiry (obiterj.blogspot.com)

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? (theconversation.com)

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) (bailii.org) 

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) (bailii.org)

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 (obiterj.blogspot.com)

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 (thelondoneconomic.com)

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