May 2010

Reclaiming Parliament Square

May 31, 2010

Last week I briefly visited the “Democracy Village” on Parliament Square. My instinctive reaction earlier in the week was to support Boris Johnson and Westminster Council in their wish to move the protestors off the Square. As I wrote three years ago now, I can understand why Liberty and others back Brian Haw, but I’m […]

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We must see justice done (more on rape and anonymity)

May 24, 2010

It’s of fundamental importance that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done. So said Lord Chief Justice Lord Hewart in 1923, quashing a guilty verdict arrived at by magistrates in private with their legal adviser, who had a conflict of interest. The principle has two aspects. […]

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Anonymity for rape suspects: sudden, surprising and strange

May 20, 2010

The coalition’s “Programme for Government” published today contains at least one major surprise. In section 20 of the document relating to justice policy, on page 24, it says We will extend anonymity in rape cases to defendants. This is a controversial policy, and one I’m not sure is right. It’s true of course that a […]

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Nick Clegg misses a legal trick

May 19, 2010

At the end of my interview the other day with Charon QC, I spoke briefly about the appointments of the Law Officers – the Attorney General, Dominic Grieve and the Solicitor General, Edward Garnier – and suggested Nick Clegg had missed a trick by not insisting on a Liberal Democrat in one of these posts. […]

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Charon podcast: Coalition government, 55% and all that

May 16, 2010

Charon QC interviewed me on Friday about the new Conservative-Liberal coalition government and its special points of legal interest. We begin with the heated debate about the “55%” rule, under which the coalition proposes this should be a fixed-term Parliament, with a majority of 55% of MPs needed before any dissolution, a proposal I’m firmly […]

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More on 55%

May 13, 2010

A debate has been raging on Twitter and elsewhere about the new coalition’s proposal to legislate to require a 55% Commons majority to dissolve Parliament. Quite a few people are arguing that I and others have got this wrong, and that the proposal is not so awful as it’s been painted. The central misunderstanding, it’s […]

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No to 55%

May 12, 2010

The new government is only a day old, and already it’s engaging in constitutional whimmery, even though its formation and existence proves the value and robustness of the constitution we have. The coalition agreement (Part 6, page 3) says this: The parties agree to the establishment of five year fixed-term parliaments. A Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition […]

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Who’ll be the new Attorney?

May 11, 2010

As I write, David Cameron is the new Prime Minister forming a government that probably will be a coalition – but we’re not yet sure, quite. I type while watching the BBC’s Newsnight and waiting to hear confirmation that Liberal Democrats will join the Conservatives in office. But already, journalists and bloggers are speculating about […]

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