June 2009

Parliamentary Standards Bill: crying wolf about human rights

June 30, 2009

I’m always amused when anyone – often it’s some kind of campaign group – claims that this or that Parliamentary bill “could” breach human rights. As often as not, it’s simply a tactical claim: whoever it is opposes the measure on political grounds (which is entirely fair enough) and tries to use a legal objection […]

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Lords judgment: AG’s reference no. 3 of 1999 – application by the BBC

June 28, 2009

I don’t propose to comment at any length on this Lords judgment from the week before last. It has interesting facts, and signals that the BBC are planning to screen an interesting programme about possible “wrong acquittals”, which in my view are miscarriages of justice just as serious as wrongful convictions. But the human rights […]

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Lords judgment: Gray v Thames Trains

June 18, 2009

Yesterday’s judgment in this case is interesting: their Lordships have decided that Kerrie Gray, who was injured in the Ladbroke Grove rail crash of 1999, cannot recover damages in negligence from Thames Trains and Network Rail for the consequences of his own criminal acts. Following the crash he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression; […]

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NightJack: the Times should be ashamed

June 17, 2009

I admire and respect the professional mainstream press; but the behaviour of the Times in “outing” the Orwell Prize winning blogger NightJack has dented that respect considerably. Here’s Eady J’s judgment, refusing the injunction the blogger sought. I don’t blame Eady J; I think his ruling may well be sound in law, although if he […]

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Lords judgment: Home Secretary v AF

June 17, 2009

I said I’d write about the case; and now, finally, I am doing. Here’s last week’s judgment about control order. There’s also the podcast I recorded with Charon QC about it, don’t forget. I must admit, I was surprised by this judgment: I wrote eighteen months ago about a similar case, also involving one of […]

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Charon QC podcast: Home Secretary v AF

June 13, 2009

Charon interviewed me this morning about Wednesday’s House of Lords judgment in Home Secretary v AF, in which they ruled, applying the ECtHR judgment in A v UK, that there is a breach of the article 6 Convention right in proceedings under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 if a control order is imposed and, […]

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Reporting crime

June 4, 2009

I must post briefly on something that’s annoyed me: George Alagiah just said, summarising the day’s headlines on BBC News, that the murderers Sonnex and Farmer were sentenced to 40 and 35 years respectively. They weren’t. They were sentenced to serve a minimum of 40 and of 35 years respectively. They could serve longer. I […]

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Vodafone 2 v HMRC

June 4, 2009

I’m quite interested in the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in this tax case, about Vodafone’s attempt to structure its takeover of Mannesman in the most tax-efficient way, using a Luxembourg-registered holding company to take advantage of lower rates in that country. The issue was whether the British tax legislation on “controlled foreign companies”, designed […]

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Toying with the constitution

June 3, 2009

Chris Hawes at The Wardman Wire has written an excellent piece today on constitutional reform arguing against some of the fads of the moment, like proportional representation and fixed-term parliaments. I’ve already written about fixed terms; and I agree with him about PR, too. The right place for it in our system would be in […]

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Mrinal Patel and the Fraud Act 2006

June 2, 2009

You may remember that last week Mrs. Patel appeared at Harrow Magistrates’ Court; she’s being prosecuted by Harrow Council under section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006, the accusation being that she gave a false address in order to get her son into a particular school. She’s pleaded not guilty, and says she was genuinely […]

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