Archive for April 22nd, 2010

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Election Special: The Euro

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With the Daily Mail failing their Cleggmania smear test today, reason has descended on Twitter after a marvellous morning of #nickcleggsfault which threw up some great tweets. Tonight, the three leaders will talk directly to us, in our living rooms, quite possibly all three adopting the rather creepy “look directly into our living rooms” technique pioneered by Clegg last Thursday.  I shall be wearing White Tie for the occasion.  I wouldn’t want any of the leaders to think, as they speak directly to me, that I have let standards drop at the Staterooms.

I shall also be opening a fine Chateau Neuf Du Papes – a wine most suitable to accompany bull… papal or otherwise.

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Conservative party to send gay MP to quell EU extremists

Guardian: Most senior gay member of Conservative party sent to Poland to encourage EU allies to abandon homophobic views

Incredible….this passage from The Guardian rather sums it up?

“Amid nerves among cabinet ministers that Labour is heading for a defeat along the lines of its performance in the 1983 election under Michael Foot, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, today accuses Cameron of adopting an “isolated and weak” position on Europe after abandoning the main centre-right grouping in Strasbourg to sit in the new European Conservatives and Reformists group.

This includes the Czech ODS party, whose founder, Vaclav Klaus, has questioned global warming, and Roberts Zile, of Latvia’s Fatherland and Freedom party, some of whose members attend a ceremony to commemorate members of the Latvian legion of the Waffen-SS.

Cameron says the Tories have responded to these concerns by asking Herbert to travel to Poland. He said: “We would not join with parties that had unacceptable views. But we do recognise that, particularly in central and eastern Europe, there are parties that have still got some way to go on the journey of recognising full rights for gay people. We are helping them make that journey.”

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The Sun reports, with remarkable restraint, unusually: A SUPREME Court ruling now allows convicted sex attackers to appeal to have their details removed from the register following complaints that it breached their human rights. Do you agree?

President of the Supreme Court Lord Phillips said the Sexual Offences Act, which set up the register, was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights because it did not allow for a review of individual cases.

BBC report

The decision of the Supreme Court may be read here

Lord Phillips:

57. I have referred earlier to a number of situations in which the degree of risk of re-offending has to be assessed in relation to sexual offenders. I think that it is obvious that there must be some circumstances in which an appropriate tribunal could reliably conclude that the risk of an individual carrying out a further sexual offence can be discounted to the extent that continuance of notification requirements is unjustified. As the courts below have observed, it is open to the legislature to impose an appropriately high threshold for review. Registration systems for sexual offenders are not uncommon in other jurisdictions. Those acting for the first respondent have drawn attention to registration requirements for sexual offenders in France, Ireland, the seven Australian States, Canada, South Africa and the United States. Almost all of these have provisions for review. This does not suggest that the review exercise is not practicable.

58. For these reasons I have concluded that the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal were correct to find that the notification requirements constitute a disproportionate interference with article 8 rights because they make no provision for individual review of the requirements. I would dismiss this appeal and repeat the declaration of incompatibility made by the Divisional Court.

Scots Law Society boss rejects members’ decision over ‘Tesco law’

The Times reports: “Bitter divisions within the legal profession were laid bare last night when the President of the Law Society of Scotland (LSS) said he was “unable to accept” the emphatic vote of his members to oppose reforms of the legal system.”

The Law Society Gazette reports: CPS slows recruitment of in-house Crown advocates.

Figures obtained by the Gazette have revealed a steep decline in the Crown Prosecution Service’s recruitment of in-house Crown advocates as an alternative to self-employed barristers. CPS figures show that the number of Crown advocates in the CPS increased by only nine in 2009/10, to 1,086. Law Society Gazette

Interestingly, when I talked to Director of Public prosecutions Keir Starmer QC late last year in a podcast for my series with The College of Law Inside Track, Keir Starmer was bullish about his plans to recruit in-house expertise and be less reliant on the self employed Bar. The criminal bar is going through a period of great change, made more difficult by reductions in legal aid budgets, so this will be welcome news.  Serendipitously, I am due to record a podcast for the College of Law Inside Track with Nicholas Green QC, Chairman of The Bar.  I shall ask him if he welcomes this news. I rather suspect he will.

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