According to a report by the BBC, the Law Commission has begun a consultation into the effectiveness of England and Wales’ contempt of court rules.
The current law was introduced in 1981, long before the ‘information superhighway’ became a part of our day-to-day lives.
A Manchester university student has been sentenced for contempt of court after he didn’t perform his jury duty. 19-year-old Matthew Banks had tickets to a London West End show on the fifth day of the trial. In order to see the show he claimed to be ill and unable to attend the hearing. However, Banks didn’t stay at home, and instead went to see the musical Chicago with his mother.
Banks’ deception was discovered after officials visited his home to see whether he would be fit to resume jury duty after the weekend.
This blog has previously reported that Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is fighting extradition to Sweden. It was recently announced that his appeal will be heard by seven Supreme Court Justices in February next year.
Swedish authorities are seeking Assange’s extradition in order to question him in relation to two incidents that allegedly took place in Stockholm last year. Two women say that they were, respectively, raped and sexually assaulted by Assange.
Sir Nicholas Wall, the head of the court of protection, one of the most secretive and controversial courts in the country, has publically recognised the need for greater public insight into the court. His remarks were made in the Guardian, following the newspaper’s unprecedented three-week access to its hearings.
The court of protection was established in 2007 to handle cases concerning the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable members. Its rulings affect those deemed incapable of deciding over their own welfare, property or finances. Sometimes, these decisions will concern the termination of life-support. (more…)
The critical approach of the United Kingdom to the European Convention of Human Rights can potentially damage other countries’ adherence to human rights. This caution came from Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, as he visited London yesterday. The Council is the supervising body of the European Convention of Human Rights and its Protocols.
Much of the criticism relates to a feeling of the Strasbourg Court interfering with national law. The President of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Phillips, considers that in relation to the European Convention, the Supreme Court is actually not the highest judicial authority. He said that, “The Strasbourg court has the last word. (more…)
The Government’s main legal advisor, the Attorney General Dominic Grieve, is to address the European Court of Human Rights on two key issues in November. Firstly, he both is critical of the Court’s view on prisoners’ voting rights and also believes that the principle of subsidiarity should be further emphasised.
The principle of subsidiarity is a core principle of the European Convention of Human Rights. It ensures that the Strasbourg Court does not impose itself on national courts. Grieve believes that this principle needs to be clarified and that national Courts should have the final say on matters. (more…)
The Scottish National Party has expressed its frustration with the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court after a convicted murderer said he will appeal to the court directly, despite the most senior judges in Scotland refusing to grant permission.
Luke Mitchell, who was 15 –years-old when he was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, is going to apply for special leave to appeal his conviction from the Supreme Court on the grounds that his human rights have been breached. (more…)
Courts are facing a huge increase in the number of people forced to represent themselves because they cannot afford legal representation but do not qualify for public funding as a result of the Government’s cuts to the Legal Aid budget.
Judges fear that the £350m reduction in the Legal Aid budget will cause chaos in the courts as vulnerable people, many with mental health problems and a limited understanding of English, are forced to navigate their emotional cases on their own without a solicitor. (more…)
The Judges’ Council of England and Wales has published its response to the Government’s consultation paper on the proposals to reform legal aid, and the key conclusions are that it will cost more in the long run and have “serious implications for the quality of the justice system”. (more…)
A new consultation paper issued by the office of the Lord Chief Justice suggests that Tweeting from court could seriously undermine the independence of the jury and inadvertently coach witnesses, and should therefore be subject to a judge’s approval. (more…)