Archive for the ‘Law Review’ Category

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Motorists face 60mph speed limit on motorways

Interestingly, not to save lives from driving and reduce claims for road traffic accidents – but from pollution.  The plan is to reduce the speed limit to 60mph on some roads. The Telegraph 

Remembering 1914

With Lord Kitchener appearing on a £2 coin – an example of rather poor taste in the view of many – the remembrance of The Great War will bring much comment and analysis.

Neil Schofield writes: 

“Part of the point of commemorating the hundredth anniversary of a war is the certainty that nobody who served in it will still be alive.  It is the point at which, definitively, that war has passed from direct into reported experience; history that can be turned into mythology, without the inconvenience of spontaneous testimony from those who were there, and might have something different to offer on the subject….”

Witness protection – why Nigella Lawson is not a victim of the criminal justice system

Felicity Gerry writing in Legal Week makes some robust and good points about the Grillo sisters case.

Nigella Lawson is a victim of domestic violence, but she is not a victim of the criminal justice system.

Much has been said about the treatment of Ms Lawson as a witness in the fraud trial of her former personal assistants, Francesco and Elisabetta Grillo; an experience she has described as “deeply disturbing”. There have even been calls for greater protection of witnesses as a result.

This comes at a time when former chief prosecutor Sir Keir Starmer QC has announced that he will lead areview into the treatment of victims in the criminal justice system.

No review of the treatment of witnesses will stop them from being accused of lying or being inaccurate when that is the defence case; that is the purpose of a trial. To put this into perspective, if you were accused of stealing from your employer, then you would naturally expect your accuser to be questioned robustly.

At last, a law to stop almost anyone from doing almost anything

George Monbiot in The Guardian writes: “Protesters, buskers, preachers, the young: all could end up with ‘ipnas’. Of course, if you’re rich, you have nothing to fear”
Back later…

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It bears repeating…Save UK Justice

Disruption in criminal courts as barristers and solicitors stage mass walkout: live updates

The Guardian

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If we are to continue to provide justice in this country – despite the difficulties we all face – it is important to ensure that we have the lawyers to represent those who need help.

The mark of a civilised country, surely, is that it treats those who face the legal system fairly? How will we be able to do that if we don’t provide legal aid?

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I quote at length from a remarkable blog post from the Prison Reform Trust…

For the first time this Christmas, people in prison will not be able to receive parcels from their loved ones under petty and mean new rules introduced by the Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

The new rules, which forbid prisoners from receiving any items in the post unless there are exceptional circumstances, were introduced in November as part of the government’s changes to the Incentives and Earned Privileges (IEP) scheme.

Under the rules, families are prevented from sending in basic items of stationery such as cards, paper or pens to help people in prison keep in touch with their friends and families and wish them a happy Christmas. They are also prevented from sending books and magazines or additional warm clothes and underwear to the prison. Instead people in prison are now forced to pay for these items out of their meagre prison wages to private companies who make a profit from selling goods to prisoners.

Read the rest of the article…

This is grotesque government – a policy introduced by a politician with no experience of the law or the ‘Justice’ system.

And they say that Britain is a 1st World Nation…with a reputation for ‘humanity’.

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A new series of events aimed at lawyers, providing inspiration and ideas on life and work will kick off on 10 October 2012.

Who: Guest speakers for the first event include Nick Southgate, a member of the School of Life faculty, on ‘The surprising science of better decision making’ and John Purkiss, consultant in personal branding and author of Brand You , on ‘Discovering the life that you want’.

What: Life With Law is a series of free talks offering inspiration and ideas for living a good, happy and satisfying life while practising law. The first event, Finding Your Path & Making Things Happen includes guest talks on ‘The surprising science of better decision making’ and ‘Discovering the life that you want’.

When: Wednesday 10 October 2012 6.30 pm (- according to the website)

Where: BLP, The Auditorium, Adelaide House, London Bridge, London, EC4R 9HA

Why: Though good at helping their clients, lawyers aren’t always so good at managing their own lives – or at helping their team to manage theirs. Life With Law provides a forum for lawyers to find inspiration, featuring some of the best speakers to help lawyers reflect and then make their ideas happen.

Whilst the Life With Law events are the brainchild of alternative legal services business Lawyers On Demand, they are not intended to persuade lawyers down any particular path.

Simon Harper, Co-Founder of Lawyers On Demand, points out that:

“As the legal profession experiences accelerating change, we all need some space to think about our working lives. Life With Law is a place for lawyers to take a bit of time to reflect on how to meet their changing personal development needs.”

Clients and lawyers alike are placing increasing importance on alternative legal services models as a result of the growing commercialisation of the legal sector. Now one of the first of the new legal service providers is mirroring another trend that is beginning to shape the business world and giving lawyers access to tools for personal development, self-help and ‘mindfulness’.

“Lawyers On Demand’s free Life With Law events are open to any lawyers who are curious about ideas for better managing their own lives – and to help their teams to manage theirs.”

Future events in the Life With Law series will explore other issues in the intersection between living well and working wisely.

In a world where work-life balance has become meaningless, Life With Law is about lawyers finding time to reflect and making mindful choices in their daily working lives. For more information go to www.lifewithlaw.com or follow on Twitter here

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Professor David Rosen
This is an academic discourse on the subject of ‘blasphemy’. The opinions are my own and not that of Darlingtons, Brunel University, or the Society of Legal Scholars.

I write this article on the Aristotelean premise that:

‘It is the mark of an educated mind to entertain a thought without accepting it’.

It is written because some issues need to be aired, and politically correct people telling us to leave things well alone (Especially the atheists and the nihilists), are becoming tiresome.

Until recently, the swearing of an Oath on solemn statements/Affidavits before the Courts, was mandatory. I have already written an article as to why what is left of swearing Oaths, should remain. (The Darlington’s blog archive of posts by Professor Rosen)

An integral part of British Society called upon the acceptance of a superior omnipresent being, that governed the ways of the World by way of a divine presence and divine providence.

That acceptance brought an understanding of Christian values and Christian beliefs without which it is at least arguable that the Order and foundation of moral understandings and beliefs founded upon religious values, may not have evolved quite how they did.

The obvious case, as all Law students know, is that of Donoghue v Stephenson [1932] UKHL 100, loving one’s neighbour: Essentially one of the 10 Commandments, and in any event, a Noachide Law. The entirety of the common Law of Torts is founded upon such an understanding that tortious duties exist in a wide variety of subjects such as Consumer Law, Professional Negligence, Personal Injury etc…

Indeed, fairness, mercy, and forgiveness, are all fathers of the Law of Equity, and mitigation in  Criminal Law, which are founded upon ethics and morals from the Old Testament.

One day, God became…less important in our Law. It has for some time been uncool, and über-cool to believe in nothing, so that we have a whole array of nihilists on the one part, atheists, sort-of-go-with-the-flow believers, and religiously accepting.

I wish to immediately distinguish that this article relates to blasphemy and blasphemous libel, as opposed to religious hatred which is a different thing altogether. Blasphemy was governed by various Statutes of Law which were revoked in May 2008 under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, whereas the latter continues to be governed primarily by the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

Blasphemy was a criminal offence punishable with the death penalty until 1676, and thereafter punishable with a fine and/or imprisonment. The criminal aspect of blasphemy was abolished by the Criminal Law Act 1967.

Blasphemy as a common law offence, was abolished as recently as 2008.

What changed? What went wrong? What went right?

In a developing Society/Empire (as then it was the British Empire), Christianity was inextricably linked to the Laws of England.

In Bowman v Secular Society Limited [1917] AC 406 at 457, Lord Sumner refers to the older Taylor’s case of 1676 1 Vent, as follows:

‘…and Hale said that such kind of wicked blasphemous words were not only an offence to God and religion, but a crime against the Laws, State, and Government, and therefore punishable in this Court. For to say, religion is a cheat, is to dissolve all those obligations whereby the civil societies are preserved, and that Christianity is parcel of the laws of England; and therefore to reproach the Christian religion is to speak in subversion of the Law’.

Post World War II, in 1949, Lord Denning in a speech, said:

‘It was thought that a denial of Christianity was likely to shake the fabric of Society, which was itself founded on Christian religion. There is no such danger to society now, and the offence of blasphemy is a dead letter’.

Post-1945, blasphemy was considered not so much a violation of the sanctity of God’s name, but rather an attack on the moral principles which constituted the Law we have, based on Religious teachings.

In Whitehouse v Gay News Limited [1979] AC 617, the matter was debated in the House of Lords. As per Lord Scarman, the principle of the Laws relating to blasphemy are as follows:

It is not blasphemous to speak or publish opinions hostile to the Christian religion, or to deny the existence of God, if the publication is couched in decent and temperate language.

The test to be applied is as to the manner in which the doctrines are to be advocated, and not as to the substance of the doctrines themselves.

Blasphemy Laws only applied to the Christian Religion, because this was what was directly applicable to the foundations of The Laws of England and Wales.

The actualite of blasphemy had nothing necessarily to do with God, per se. Lord Scarman summed up the position that blasphemy has a role to play, and the Laws of England should have continued to uphold the Laws of blasphemy moderately applied as per Whitehouse v Gay News, in order to ‘safeguard the internal tranquility of the kingdom’.

The Law has moved on and developed so that anyone using threatening or publishing words or behaviour in relation to any religion or faith, or those with no faith or religion with religion imposed upon them (which is a paradox, given the basis upon which English Law developed), to stir up religious hatred, may be guilty of an offence contrary to the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006.

As with the Communications Act 2003, there are varying degrees of what constitutes ‘offensive’, to the extent that it is actionable. Lord Chief Justice Judge summed up the position in Chambers v DPP [2012] EWHC 2157:

‘Before concluding that a message is criminal on the basis that it creates a menace, it’s precise terms, and any inferences to be drawn from its precise terms, needs to be examined in the context in and the means by which the message was sent’.

The United Kingdom is a multi-cultural society. Some say that our Islands are populated as a direct result of the British Empire coming to an end, and the Empire coming home to roost.

Technology is evolving at a phenomenal speed. The future of World Economies are uncertain. Consumerism and Materialism are rife. Societies need guidance. Religions gave and give a structure of how to behave morally and ethically. Certainly from a Christian perspective, those same morals and ethics have found their way into the development of our Laws, and to a large extent, morals and ethics by way of altruisms are fairly consistent in every religion. How to punish, guide, or protect those morals and ethics, differ considerably from religion to religion, and faith to faith. Have we done away with religion? Do we have a firm grasp of what is and is not good? Is this reflected in our Laws?

In a Nietzschian context, is God dead? Are our Lawmakers at least, ubermentschen above the Law who can make Law for the masses?

Our Laws are based on sound morals and ethics rooted predominantly from the Old Testament accepted by Christians, Jews and Muslims alike.

There is much to learn from Religious Sages from all religions and faiths, and we would be foolish not to be open-minded and discuss such matters openly, and take all that is good and compatible with the Laws of England and Wales.

Professor David Rosen, is a Solicitor-Advocate, Partner and head of Litigation at Darlingtons Solicitors. He is a visiting associate Professor of Law at Brunel University, and a member of the Society of Legal Scholars. He is also a practising Orthodox Jew.

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