Friday, 12 May 2017

Friday roundup

Here is a brief Friday roundup of some legal items of interest.

Brexit - The European Parliament has published a study on the consequences of Brexit on acquired rights of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU-27.  This is a very important aspect of Brexit and it will have to be adequately addressed during negotiations with the EU.  It will be recalled that a considerable number of British citizens living in other EU member states were not permitted to vote in the 2016 referendum - see post of 24th May 2016.

Study: The impact and consequences of Brexit on acquired rights of EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens living in the EU-27 

A further study is an in-depth analysis on the impact of Brexit on the devolved territories of Scotland and Wales as well as the Overseas Territory of Gibraltar.

Study: The Impact of the UK's withdrawal from the EU on Scotland, Wales and Gibraltar

Hillsborough - the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has issued this update dated 12th May 2017. For the Inquest see post of 26th April 2016.

Forensic Science - It was back in late 2010 that the coalition government announced that the Forensic Science Service would be closed. The Forensic Science Regulator (Dr Gillian Tully) drew attention to funding problems in a report issued on 6th January 2017.  Mr Jerry Hayes - a practsing barrister and former  MP - has posted an item on "The scandal that undermines our once great system of justice."  Mr Hayes states - "In 2010 the government announced that the national forensic service (the FSS) was to be closed down and forensic analysis would be privatised.  Let me be clear that the FSS has had its fair share of cock ups. But the government announcement prompted horror from professionals. The National Audit Office warned, ‘this could spark a crisis within the justice system.’ They were right. Soon the court of appeal will be swamped. Will someone, somewhere listen? I won’t hold my breath."

See also The Guardian 13th May - Scores of convictions in doubt amid forensic test manipulation claims

Serious prison problems - one dreadful statistic is that there were 119 suicides in prisons during 2016 - The Guardian 5th May - Government response to UK's soaring prison suicide rate has been pitiful.  According to the article the prison population is in the region of 85,000 and this is being managed by much reduced levels of staff.   On 2nd May, the Joint Committee on Human Rights issued an interim report - Mental Health and Deaths in  Prison.  This is NOT the first report on prison suicides.  The Harris Review examined suicides among 18 to 24 year olds in the period 1st April 2007 to 31st December 2013.

The bar and pro bono work - Criminal Barrister has commented about barristers and pro bono work  - I'm (Not) Free!  See also Bar Pro Bono Hub.

Election Expenses in 2015 - Secret Barrister has examined the allegations relating to election expenses during the 2015 general election campaign - Myth-busting the "Tory election fraud" - a 10 point guide.  The post begins - "The Crown Prosecution Service today announced that, following a police investigation into allegations relating to Conservative Party candidates’ expenditure during the 2015 General Election campaign, no charges will be brought. Fourteen police forces submitted files of evidence for the CPS to consider, said to show that candidates and their agents had submitted inaccurate expenditure returns and, in the case of all but one (a decision on which is pending), the CPS have concluded that no criminal charges should be authorised."

Ivy Williams - It is perhaps not well known that Ivy Williams (1877-1966) was the first female to be called to the bar of England and Wales. It was "the dream of her life" and the story may be read here.

Elderly people facing separation - Couples who have spent the majority of their lives together can find themselves separated in old age in the event that both need to go into care.  Sir James Munby - President of the Family Division - spoke about this at a conference held by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.  Sir James said - it was "absolutely shocking and a profound indictment of our society" that elderly, vulnerable couples who wanted to live together were sometimes refused shared accommodation and told, "you're going to go here, you're going to go there".  The speech is reported by the BBC - here.

Speeches - Three recent speeches by Justices of the Supreme Court may be read via the court's website:
The Einsatzgruppen - were a murderous element of the Third Reich and 22 officers were prosecuted at Nuremberg in late 1947 to early 1948 - see Einsatzgruppen trial.  Ben Ferencz - now aged 97 - is the last living prosecutor from the Nuremberg trials and a recent article is well worth reading - "What the last Nuremberg prosecutor alive wants the world to know."

Criminal justice - 29 individuals face various charges relating to allegations of sexual exploitation of children - Metro 12th May 2017.  Sitting in the Crown Court at Leeds, His Honour Judge Collier QC has ruled that they will be tried in three groups.  It is not clear from the report how the groups were decided.  The third group will not be tried until September 2018 at the earliest.

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