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Archive for August 1st, 2010

With Parliament in recess and the Law ‘Long vacation’ upon us, there won’t be a lot of law for me to write about, so I shall strike while the iron is still hot with this story from the Supreme Court…

Cuts ‘would close supreme court’

Guardian: Chief executive warns public spending cuts of 40% would mean court ‘couldn’t actually deal with any casework’  “At a press conference to mark a first legal year for the highest court in the country, Jenny Rowe said: “As 62% of our costs are genuinely fixed, a 40% cut causes us some problems. We couldn’t actually deal with any casework, in fact, with a 40% cut.” Rowe said that casework was a “priority” for the court, but that after being asked to come up with scenarios of cuts of 25 and 40%, its education and outreach projects looked most vulnerable. Since its launch in October last year, the supreme court has heard a total of 67 appeals and handed down 62 judgments.”

I met Jenny Rowe last summer.  In fact, I enjoyed doing  a podcast with her on the work of the new Supreme Court.

Clearly, we can’t have a situation where the 40% cut requirement brings about a situation where the highest court in the land continues to exist but can’t actually hear any cases.  Even the most repressive of Lord Chancellors  – and Michael Howard, a former Home Secretary, now appearing regularly in ermine in the Lords doing… I know not what…nor care to find out – would pull that stunt.   I have read most of the 62 judgments handed down by the Supreme Court this year.  The new news summaries, the reports being published immediately and the excellent UKCS blog has made a big difference to access to information.  (I have updated the UKSC URL!  My error – I used the old one)

It would be interesting to hear from practitioners who have appeared before the Supreme Court to hear their views.

I can understand the need to close some magistrates courts.  I can understand why – but do not approve of – cuts to the legal aid budget are being made, but if we are to have a meaningful legal system, a strong Supreme Court to administer justice for the people of the United Kingdom (It is not as if the Supreme Court judges are paid fantastic sums of money – they aren’t and most lawyers take significant ‘pay cuts’ when they become judges), we have to resource it.

Lord Hope, deputy president of the court and one of the most senior judges in the UK, said the public had gained since the court’s establishment.

“Our concern is that having started on this enterprise … we should be able to sustain that operation,” he said. “It’s a quite different operation from what we had before [in the House of Lords]. It’s one which can’t be maintained without resources.”

It would be interesting to hear from practitioners who have appeared before the Supreme Court to hear their views.

It takes a fair degree of skill to piss off both Jews and Muslims but David Cameron has pulled the double off with his remarks about Israel and Pakistan. Did he ‘mis-speak’? or was this a well scripted intentional statement?  I can only presume the latter – in which case, bravo, as I think it is high time we had a Prime Minister who is direct.  I rather like the idea also, instead of High Commissioners and Ambassadors coming from the ranks of trained diplomats that we let a few businessmen and assorted hedgies, bankers and ponzi scheme organisers to represent Britain’s interests abroad and drum up some business.

As I find it impossible to take PCSOs seriously – I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful parody. Hat Tip to @OldHolborn for the tip-off.  Wonderful film!

Just a quickie today… I am holidaying at Table 14 at Riviera on Battersea Square at various times during the day and shall be so for the next week.  Indeed, I had a most enjoyable drink or two with The White Rabbit last night and, curiously, we even managed to debate politics and consider the historical position of the Labour party and reflect on the coalition.  More worryingly, we both seemed to come to the conclusion that the Coalition is doing good work on civil liberties, removal of ASBOS and prison policy – but we did manage to express reservations about Osbore and his CUTS policies.  We have not turned into Coalitionites….  The White Rabbit’s blog is always worth a look.  No law on it, though…..!

Best as ever

Charon

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