May 2009

Fixed-term Parliaments: not the answer

May 28, 2009

One of the strangest aspects of the MP’s expenses scandal has been the way politicians have tried to move public discussion on to questions of sweeping constitutional reform. It seems to me it was the greed of MPs themselves – though not all of them, of course – and the laxness of the system they […]

Read the full piece →

R (Smith) v Defence Secretary: a judicial frolic

May 28, 2009

Since last week’s judgment in Smith – in which the Court of Appeal ruled that the Human Rights Act, in particular article 2, applies to British troops even on the battlefield, I’ve been thinking about the judgment (one reason why I’ve not blogged for several days) and I’m troubled by it. The Court’s conclusion – […]

Read the full piece →

The Speaker: wholly inadequate

May 18, 2009

The Speaker’s statement today was an embarrassing affair: he read an apology to the public over MPs’ expenses, saying words that seemed not to come from his heart. He then said he’d act by summoning yet another meeting, weeks if not months too late, before proceeding to ignore entirely the issue of his own future. […]

Read the full piece →

Charon QC podcast: MPs’ expenses and the Speaker

May 14, 2009

Charon interviewed me today about the MPs’ offences scandal – including potential criminal liability under the Fraud Act 2006 – and about the Speaker’s decision to call in the police, not to investigate MPs’ claims but astonishingly to investigate the leak to the Telegraph. Listen to the podcast here.

Read the full piece →

MPs’ expenses: the potential offences

May 14, 2009

This morning the Telegraph reports on an expenses claim by Elliot Morley for mortgage interest he never owed; and for the first time, this report mentions potential offences, with a quote from solicitor Steven Barker, quite rightly saying that any offence that an MP might have committed in these circumstances would be under the Fraud […]

Read the full piece →

Charon QC podcast: lawyers targeted in Colombia

May 13, 2009

Last week, Charon interviewed Sara Chandler, who’s director or the pro-bono unit at the College of Law, about the situation of lawyers and other human rights advocates in Colombia. Sara was one of over forty British lawyers who visited Colombia last year as part of an international delegation of lawyers who investigated the shocking situation […]

Read the full piece →

MPs expenses: the Speaker and the police

May 8, 2009

I’m not blogging much at the moment: I’m sorry, teaching commitments are keeping me away. But I must comment on an apsect of the MPs’ expenses revelations carried by the Telegraph today. BBC News is reporting that “the Commons authorities” have made a complaint to the police about the leak to the Telegraph. If that’s […]

Read the full piece →

Inner and Middle Temple library merger: poll

May 6, 2009

Charon QC has reported on the proposed merger of Inner and Middle Temple libraries – a depressing proposal, in my view. It cost me a lot of money to join my Inn – Gray’s – at least, it seemed a lot of money back in 1992. And I’m not aware of Gray’s ever having done […]

Read the full piece →

The press, family courts – and bloggers

May 1, 2009

The family courts opened their doors to the press this week, of course – well, sort of. Afua Hirsch wrote the other day about what she couldn’t report, and Natasha Phillips thought the change was much ado about nothing. John Bolch has reservations, summarised initial reactions and told some home truths. I must admit, my […]

Read the full piece →