Legal profession hits back at Johnson over ‘lefty lawyers’ speech – The Guardian

“Lawyers say government’s hostility risks stirring up hatred and undermining rule of law.’

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The Guardian, 6th October 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Boris Johnson undermining courts to consolidate power, retired Supreme Court judge warns – The Independent

‘A former Supreme Court judge has accused Boris Johnson of trying to undermine the courts and legal system in a bid to solidify government power and push through his programme. Lord Sumption, who retired from the court in 2018, told at parliamentary select committee that the government was intent on “doing down the courts as potential sources of impediments for the government’s programme”.’

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The Independent, 6th October 2020

Source: www.independent.co.uk

Why Coronavirus Curbs On Our Liberty Need Better Scrutiny – Each Other

‘In recent months there have been growing media reports of anti-lockdown protests, supported by conspiracy theorists, in which demonstrators have made bizarre and outlandish claims. The conspiracies – unsupported by scientific evidence – are often couched in terms of “civil liberties” and “freedoms”.’

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Each Other, 25th September 2020

Source: eachother.org.uk

Were the March 2020 lockdown restrictions lawfully imposed? (Part 1) — Emmet Coldrick – UK Human Rights Blog

‘The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 (“the Regulations”) contained the most draconian restrictions on the liberty of the general population ever imposed in England. They purported to create several new criminal offences (see reg. 9), including an offence of contravening a regulation that “… no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse” (see reg. 6) and an offence of contravening, without reasonable excuse, a regulation that (subject to limited exceptions) “no person may participate in a gathering in a public place of more than two people” (see reg. 7).’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 24th September 2020

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com

Theodore Konstadinides, Lee Marsons and Maurice Sunkin: Reviewing Judicial Review: The constitutional importance of the Independent Review of Administrative Law 2020 – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted September 28th, 2020 in constitutional law, judicial review, news, statute law revision by sally

‘Last year, the Government committed itself to establishing a Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Rights, which would consider reform of the UK’s constitutional order, including judicial review and the Human Rights Act 1998. Instead, on 30 July 2020, the Government launched an ostensibly narrower Independent Review of Administrative Law (IRAL) to examine the need for reforms of judicial review in particular. This is to be conducted by an advisory panel of experts led by Lord Faulks QC. Any options for reform put forward by the Review will be considered by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC MP and by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove MP. Both the report of the Review and the Government’s response will be published by the end of 2020 or shortly thereafter.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 24th September 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Ronan Cormacain: The United Kingdom Internal Market Bill and Breach of Domestic Law – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Huge controversy has already been generated over provisions in the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill granting Ministers the power to disapply the Withdrawal Agreement. Most of the debate (Elliott, Armstrong) has been focused on the potential breaches of international law. This could severely damage the reputation of the United Kingdom in the world. However, what has been relatively overlooked is that this Bill is also a flagrant attack on the Rule of Law at the UK domestic level. This remains the case even if amendments proposed by Sir Bob Neill MP (and apparently accepted by the Government) pass.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 23rd September 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Bethany Shiner and Tanzil Chowdhury: The Overseas Operation (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill and Impunity of the British State – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Overseas Operation (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill was introduced in the House of Commons in March 2020 and is due its second reading on 23 September 2020. In short, the Bill aims to limit prosecution and civil proceedings against military personnel, as well as to enable the UK government to derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) during combat operations. The Bill emerges in response to what numerous Defence Secretaries have referred to as the “judicialisation of war”, a term which has been used to resist the application of the ECHR to overseas military combat operations. Despite the Bill being described as a way to protect soldiers from the “industry” of “vexatious claims” and preserve the ability of combat forces to fight wars effectively, there is every suggestion that this is really about precluding, or at least severely limiting, the accountability of the British state in its overseas military deployments.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 22nd September 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Leah Trueblood: ‘Following the Science:’ a Legal and Democratic Challenge – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘During a pandemic, it seems like a good idea for politicians to “follow the science.” But what does this actually mean? The claim that the Government is “following the science” is in many respects laudable, but is it also a convenient way to avoid or limit accountability? Due to a lack of transparency, it is unclear whether and to what extent substantive decisions are being made by scientists, or if this is just a politically helpful turn of phrase. A recent Institute for Government report Decision Making in a Crisis: First Responses to the Coronavirus Pandemic potentially provides some insight into this question. The report says that when deciding whether to lockdown the country in March, the Government looked to science for “answers” for what to do, rather than as part of a range of inputs into a decision-making process. Is the Government delegating decisions for which, under statute, it is exclusively responsible? Possibly. It is necessary to consider how decision-making and accountability mechanisms for decision-makers must be modified to reflect this change in who exercises power in the United Kingdom and how. It is often argued that scientists should be “on tap but not on top.” This post asks if this “on tap not on top” relationship is possible during a pandemic, and to assess the challenges for legal and democratic accountability if it is not.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 21st September 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Kenneth Armstrong: Can the UK Breach the Withdrawal Agreement and Get Away With It? – the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Can the UK Breach the Withdrawal Agreement and Get Away With It? – the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 9th September 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Rodney Brazier: Why is Her Majesty’s Government so big? – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted September 7th, 2020 in constitutional law, government departments, news by sally

‘Before they entered government, both Dominic Cummings and Dominic Raab called for massive cuts in the size of the British Government. Raab suggested in 2013 that half of all government departments should be scrapped in order to save money; Cummings argued the following year that the Cabinet should consist of only six or seven people. I agree with them – at least to the extent that consideration is long overdue of whether there are too many government departments and too many Ministers.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 7th September 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Against the law: why judges are under attack, by the Secret Barrister – The Guardian

‘Branded “enemies of the people” by the media and falsely accused of taking sides in Brexit by Conservative ministers, the judiciary is under threat – as is democracy.’

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The Guardian, 22nd August 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Stevie Martin: Bullying, threatening and animus: what remains of the rule against apparent bias following the Supreme Court’s judgment in Serafin? – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘At the heart of the Supreme Court judgment in Serafin v Malkiewicz was the question of whether the Court of Appeal was correct in finding that the defamation proceedings before Justice Jay had been unfair (though the Court’s reasons with respect to the public interest defence under s 4 of the Defamation Act 2013 are also profoundly significant).’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 22nd July 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Ronan Cormacain: “Social Distancing” of Emergency Legislation during the Covid-19 Pandemic – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted July 10th, 2020 in constitutional law, coronavirus, emergency powers, news by sally

‘Ordinary legislation is different in its content and method of enactment from emergency legislation. But the risk is that the longer the Covid-19 pandemic continues, the less distinct these two types of law become, and that emergency legislation becomes the new normal. The structural solution proposed to this problem is “social distancing” of emergency legislation – that emergency laws are kept separate and distinct from ordinary laws. The more we conceive of them as abnormal, the more we maintain a gap between them and our ordinary laws, the easier it will be to dump emergency laws when the pandemic is over, and the less chance they will be used for illegitimate purposes.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 10th July 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Paul Daly: The Culture of Justification in Administrative Law – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted July 6th, 2020 in constitutional law, judicial review, news by sally

‘By any measure the breadth and depth of substantive judicial review of administrative action have increased remarkably in recent decades. It is interesting to ask why this has happened. In a typically interesting and trenchant contribution, my friend Jason Varuhas attributes recent changes to judicial review procedure to a substantive turn to rights review and systemic review.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 6th July 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Samuel Ley: Consistency and Conceptual Confusion – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted July 3rd, 2020 in constitutional law, judicial review, news, Supreme Court by sally

‘This post seeks to explain and clarify the status of “consistent/equal treatment” in UK judicial review. The status of consistency in judicial review was recently considered by the UK Supreme Court in Gallaher, but the meaning of ‘consistency’ was not clearly explained. The main aim of this post is therefore one of clarification. This author hopes to put consistency on a sure conceptual footing which has otherwise been lacking in the discourse on consistency.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 3rd July 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Simon Halliday, Jed Meers, and Joe Tomlinson: Public Attitudes on Compliance with COVID-19 Lockdown Restrictions (Part 2) – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘In March 2020, the government introduced a set of restrictions to ‘lockdown’ the UK in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the central purpose of which is to protect public health by both containing the rate of infection and protecting the NHS’ capacity to treat a potential influx of COVID-19 patients. As part of our ongoing research on Law and Compliance during COVID-19, we have now undertaken two public opinion surveys to better understand public attitudes to the lockdown. We want to understand more about how people understand the rules, if they see themselves as compliant, what drives compliance, and how the rules relate to ordinary perceptions of rights.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 25th June 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Yossi Nehushtan: The 14-Day Quarantine Policy is Illegal – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Harsh criticism, mainly from politicians and the travel industry has been expressed regarding the new government policy, according to which, and from 8 June, nearly all international arrivals at UK ports must quarantine for 14 days. It is surprising that very little has been said about the clear illegality of this policy, despite a very recent judicial review process that has been brought against the policy by a few airline companies. In this post it is argued that the quarantine policy is irrational, unreasonable and disproportionate – and therefore illegal. A preliminary note about the differences between rationality and reasonableness will be followed by applying rationality, reasonableness and proportionality to our case.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 17th June 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Gregory Davies and Dan Wincott: Brexit, the press and the territorial constitution – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted June 11th, 2020 in brexit, constitutional law, devolution, media, news by sally

‘In the early years of devolution, Feldman described constitutional discourse in the UK as ‘a sea of conflicting visions’. More than a decade later, Brexit and now Covid-19 remind us again just how differently the UK is understood.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 10th June 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Jake Hinks: The Coronavirus Act 2020: An Example of ‘Excessive Executive Dominance’ – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The concept of executive dominance should be split into two: natural and excessive executive dominance. Executive dominance is the executive’s power to control, impede or perform the role of another branch of the constitution. The UK constitution lacks a clear-cut distinction between the three organs of the state and has evolved to achieve a balance between the three branches. The relationship between and the responsibilities of the executive and legislature are overlapping. In this evolved constitutional setup, natural executive dominance is necessary for the executive to carry out its constitutional role and the UK’s constitution to operate efficiently. Natural dominance is a consequence of the working of the UK constitution.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 9th June 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Yuan Yi Zhu: The Supreme Court: Options for Change – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted June 8th, 2020 in constitutional law, news, parliament, Privy Council, Supreme Court by sally

‘Since the Conservative government’s landslide victory in the 2019 general election, constitutional reform has been on top of its agenda. The most high-profile target of its attention has been the Supreme Court, whose performance came under sustained Conservative criticism during Brexit, most notably in Miller II/Cherry. Few details have so far been published about the Government’s constitutional reform plans, and it remains possible that these never reach fruition, especially in the face of concerted political opposition. Nevertheless, given the government’s considerable parliamentary majority and the high priority given to constitutional reform at the political level, it seems that the Supreme Court’s days might indeed be numbered. Hence, it is worth considering, without offering an opinion on the desirability of reforming the Supreme Court, some possible options for change.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 8th June 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org