Archive for January 11th, 2011

Alarm Cock Britain

As I rose from my deathbed today after suffering from a bout of Blawgerflu Complexiter, I read an article in The Sun written by Nick Clegg calling for the heroes who get up and go to work every day to make Britain great again…. I have no idea how Mr Clegg manages to make a complete mess of everything he touches… Midas in Reverse?

The Guardian asks….

Will ‘alarm clock Britain’ catch on?

Nick Clegg, the deputy PM, is speaking up for ‘alarm clock Britain‘ – people on middle and low incomes who work long hours and are anxious about their standard of living. Do you think his counterpart to Ed Miliband’s ‘squeezed middle’ will catch on as a phrase?

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Lord Ken Macdonald QC to become Reprieve’s new Chair

Reprieve: “Reprieve is delighted to announce that Lord Ken Macdonald QC, co-founder of Matrix Chambers and former Director of Public Prosecutions, is to be our new Chair, in succession to Lord Bingham of Cornhill.”

Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith and a team of lawyers deserve support from all who are opposed to the death penalty and abuse of power and law.  In their own words…

Reprieve uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay.

We investigate, we litigate and we educate, working on the frontline, providing legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. We promote the rule of law around the world, and secure each person’s right to a fair trial. And in doing so, we save lives.

The appointment of Lord MacDonald QC will, I hope, raise their profile even further.

Control orders: BBC learns detail of replacement

BBC: The coalition is planning to replace control orders with a new package of restrictions to keep terror suspects under surveillance. One working title for the new curbs are “surveillance orders”. They would restrict suspects’ movements but end overnight curfews.

Read more…

When we have more detail and time to look at the detail I’ll invite Carl Gardner to do am podcast with me on this if he is free to do so.

Student fee protests and human rights protections

The UK Human Rights blog: “Today MPs will vote on whether to increase the maximum amount universities can charge to £9,000. Contrary to many commentators’ predictions, the student protests against the increase on 10 November have not been an isolated occurrence, but the beginning of a settled campaign. But would the students be able to rely on human rights arguments to resist eviction?”

Read more…

Student protester jailed for throwing fire extinguisher

BBC: A student who admitted throwing a fire extinguisher from the roof of a central London building during the student fees protests has been jailed. Edward Woollard, 18, from Hampshire, was among protesters who broke into the Tory party headquarters and emerged on the roof on 10 November. He was jailed for two years and eight months after admitting at an earlier hearing to committing violent disorder….

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BPP set to make fast-track LPC available to all of its students

Legal Week reports: “BPP Law School is set to become the first Legal Practice Course (LPC) provider to offer the fast-track LPC to all students, according to its chief executive Peter Crisp.”

Peter Crisp is reported as saying: “Offering seven-month LPC programmes only to trainees can be seen as unfair and elitist – especially as the potential saving on living costs are particularly beneficial to self-funded students. At BPP we feel it is important to give all students who are capable of handling the workload a chance to choose between the fast-track or full length LPC, irrespective of whether they have secured a training contract or not.”

Offering two seven month courses in a 12 month year will, one assumes, also be beneficial to BBP Law School?  Will others follow suit? Lower fees?  A review of legal education is underway.

I am doing a series of podcasts on the state of legal education. You may find the podcasts to date of some interest? More to come.

Coverage of Joanna Yeates killing has left Contempt of Court Act in disarray


The Guardian: Attorney general’s warning over Christopher Jefferies stories ‘had little or no effect’ on media

Trial by twitter, trial by mainstream and other media, seems to be an increasing trend and a trend, inevitably,  which will demean the principle of fairness and justice. With the advent of twitter and the reality that the geographical writ and power  of legal systems only runs within the jurisdiction of national boundaries for the most part,  enforcement of rules designed to ensure fair trials is almost impossible. It is ironic that ideals of free speech now undermine fairness and the ideals of justice.

As the authors of The Guardian particle state: “Meanwhile Jefferies, and many others before him, are privately left to pick up the pieces of their tarnished reputations.”

Shooting of Congresswoman Giffords and the limits of free speech

The UK Human Rights Blog has an interesting analysis….

Obiter J….considers:

Climate change protest – No. 2 – Undercover police officer

Despicable crimes

“Two men – Abid Saddique and Mohammed Liaqat – have been sentenced by the Crown Court at Nottingham to indefinite detention in relation to serious offences involving “grooming” and subsequent sexual offending against teenage girls – BBC News 7th January 2011. ”

The Innocence Project: the court of last resort

“In the US, the Innocence Project has freed 260 people imprisoned for crimes they did not commit – and inspired a new film starring Hilary Swank. In the UK the work is just beginning, but the lawyers who only take the most desperate cases of injustice have a first victory in their sights…”

An interesting article from The Guardian

And…from Richard Craig from the world of Health & Safety…

Despite all the howls of derision and the inflated stories that persist in trying to shoot it down, the wider world of health and safety had the last laugh in 2010. In Northern Ireland, where deaths on the roads used to be an almost daily occurrence, fatalities dropped by more than 50% from 2009, giving the province its safest ever year, officially, since records began in 1931.

And away from the roads, the Health and Safety Executive has declared that, in the North-West of England, work-related deaths also plummeted to their lowest ever tally last year. While the ministers and other officials involved must be privately quite pleased with themselves, the matter remains serious: people still died as the result of preventable, avoidable accidents. 19 people still died in NW England as the result of being fatally injured at work.  55 people still died in road accidents in Northern Ireland

It must be said, however, I think that this shows that ‘health and safety’ law is more than just a fish in a barrel, with the under-informed press and their salivating readership taking aim once again. It is to be congratulated.

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