Conor Casey: House of Lords Constitution Committee Rejects Significant Reform to UK Law Officers – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Attorney General and Solicitor General are the UK government’s principal legal advisors. Known collectively as the Law Officers, the origins of these ancient constitutional officers date back to the 13th Century. Historically, the Law Officers were leading barristers who acted as the Crown’s personal lawyers, fiercely representing their interests in legal proceedings. As political power passed from the Crown to the Prime Minister and their Cabinet, the Law Officers eventually became salaried ministers. Appointed and removed by the Crown on the advice of the Prime Minister, Law Officers today are typically qualified lawyers with experience in practice who are also political figures; as members of one of the Houses of Parliament, a member of government, and senior member of the governing political party.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 31st January 2023

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Conor Casey: House of Lords Constitution Committee Rejects Significant Reform to UK Law Officers – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Attorney General and Solicitor General are the UK government’s principal legal advisors. Known collectively as the Law Officers, the origins of these ancient constitutional officers date back to the 13th Century. Historically, the Law Officers were leading barristers who acted as the Crown’s personal lawyers, fiercely representing their interests in legal proceedings. As political power passed from the Crown to the Prime Minister and their Cabinet, the Law Officers eventually became salaried ministers. Appointed and removed by the Crown on the advice of the Prime Minister, Law Officers today are typically qualified lawyers with experience in practice who are also political figures; as members of one of the Houses of Parliament, a member of government, and senior member of the governing political party.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 31st January 2023

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Robert Greally: The Brown Report: Political Legitimacy and the Power of the Assembly – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Brown Commission has recommended replacing the House of Lords with an elected Assembly of the Nations and Regions of the UK. In recent posts, the Commission’s proposals for legally empowering the Assembly to scrutinise bills and to protect the constitution have come under criticism on several grounds. First, there are concerns that the Assembly would be unable effectively to scrutinise ordinary bills, as unlike the Lords, the Assembly would lack the legal power to delay such bills. Second, the Assembly would be vested with the power to veto bills which amend existing constitutional arrangements. Yet the Commission not only fails to provide a definitive list of existing constitutional statutes that could be protected by the veto but also envisaged that in exceptional circumstances the House of Commons may still assert its primacy through a specific but currently undetermined processes. Thus, it has been argued the proposed position is not drastically different from the existing legislative process established by the Parliament Acts. Third, there is an implicit concern that the Assembly’s elected membership may hinder rather than facilitate the Assembly in scrutinising and protecting the constitution.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 26th January 2023

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Tarun Khaitan: An Elected Second Chamber? Some Thoughts on the Brown Report – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted January 26th, 2023 in constitutional reform, elections, news, parliament, reports by sally

‘One of the key recommendations of the Brown Commission is to replace the House of Lords with an elected second chamber called the Assembly of the Nations and Regions. The proposal has stimulated a broad debate. A key intervention in the debate was by the Speaker of the Commons, Lindsay Hoyle, who has argued against replacing the House of Lords with a second elected chamber because—he claims—doing so would threaten the supremacy of the Commons. In this post, I will draw upon my paper in defence of “moderated parliamentarism” to argue that—if done right—this might be a welcome reform that could combine the benefits of creating a system that checks executive power better, but without being prone to US-style legislative deadlocks and governmental dysfunction. I will argue that a properly designed elected second chamber could make the quality of British democracy better, especially by doing a better job of holding the executive to account and improving the quality of legislation. To the extent that the details for this reform in the Brown Report are sketchy and not exactly thought through, the objective of this blogpost is to provide a relatively more detailed proposal—if only to explain what is at stake and what kinds of questions need to be discussed and answered.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 25th January 2023

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Don’t meddle with law officers, thinktank warns government – Law Society’s Gazette

‘Ministers should resist calls to end the political role of government law officers, a centre-right thinktank argues today in the run-up to publication of an influential parliamentary report. In a paper “Between Law and Politics: The Future of the Law Officers in England & Wales”, published by Policy Exchange, Dr Conor Casey of the University of Liverpool School of Law argues that the current configuration of the attorney general and solicitor general as law officers with legal and political dimensions works well. Moving to an alternative model of, for example, law officers without any political involvement is not worth it and has potential serious downsides, Casey states.’

Full paper

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Law Society's Gazette, 17th January 2023

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

Adam Tucker: Entrenchment, Parliamentary Sovereignty, and the Limited Radicalism of the Brown Report – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The publication of the Report of the Commission on the UK’s Future is attracting widespread attention. The centrepiece of its constitutional content is the replacement of the House of Lords with a new second chamber with new composition and a reformed role, which would have particular responsibility for territorial aspects of the constitution (discussed here) and act as guardian of (newly) entrenched elements of the constitution –not just in the devolution context but also more widely.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 15th December 2022

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Stefan Theil: Henry VIII on steroids – executive overreach in the Bill of Rights Bill – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Constitutional bombshells do not come along very often, most change is incremental and piecemeal – or at least that was the conventional wisdom that prevailed on the UK constitution for many decades. More recently, it appears that scarcely a month passes without suggestions, discussions, proposals, or enactments of far-reaching constitutional reforms – whether through government consultations, changes to the ministerial code, the political and legal constitution and devolution, or bills specifically introduced into Parliament to break international law.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 6th July 2022

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Stephen Tierney and Alison Young: Constitution Committee report on the Future Governance of the UK – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Following a year-long inquiry into the future governance of the United Kingdom, the House of Lords Constitution Committee today publishes its report, Respect and Co-operation: Building a Stronger Union for the 21st century.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 20th January 2022

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Daniella Lock and Tanzil Chowdhury: Expansions of Executive Power and Weakening of Democratic Safeguards in 2021 – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The United Kingdom Constitution Monitoring Group published its first annual report in 2021. It described the UK Government as “set upon legislating over a range of substantial matters with a constitutional dimension”, with its overall programme being “notable for its scale, the speed with which it is being implemented” and this being “far from a model of good practice in constitutional change” (p5).

A significant aspect of the “constitutional dimension” of such changes is that they expand executive power in a number of different ways. This post presents a brief summary of key expansions of executive power via legislation introduced to or passed in the Westminster Parliament in 2021.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 17th January 2022

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

2005 Constitutional Reform Act up for review – Law Society’s Gazette

‘The government intends to revisit the role of lord chancellor as part of a ‘careful review’ of the Blair administration’s 2005 Constitutional Reform Act, current incumbent Robert Buckland QC MP has revealed.’

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Law Society's Gazette, 14th June 2021

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

Lord Chancellor unveils court staff pay deal and review of his role – Legal Futures

‘The Treasury has agreed a three-year pay deal for court staff after negotiations with the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), the Lord Chancellor has announced.’

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Legal Futures, 9th June 2021

Source: www.legalfutures.co.uk

Gareth Evans: The Senedd Election and the Constitutional Prospects for Welsh Devolution – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘On 6 May 2021, the people of Wales went to the polls in the sixth Senedd election. More so than in previous Senedd elections, the focus of the debate centred around a catalogue of distinctly Welsh political issues, including the constitutional future of the Welsh devolution settlement. Among the constitutional possibilities offered to voters at the election were proposals for both the abolition of the Senedd and Welsh independence, together with the more muted options of maintaining the constitutional status quo, or seeking the devolution of additional powers in areas such as justice and policing, transport and broadcasting.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 13th May 2021

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Tim Sayer: Preserving Judicial Oversight: An Appeal to Self-Interest – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Boris Johnson’s government takes the view that ours is a time of judicial overreach, necessitating redress in terms of the balance of judicial and executive power. This seems to have been driven by a number of high-profile cases, certain vocal thinktanks which appear to have the ear of government, and a wider constitutional prospectus of enhancing executive power to the detriment of the other branches of state. An endless series of projects and proposals have emerged, designed to remedy the perception of an overmighty judiciary. The Independent Review of Administrative Law, established with a view to curbing the perceived excesses of judicial review, reported recently in relatively tame terms, only to be swiftly followed by a further set of proposals. The Independent Human Rights Act Review potentially paves the way for satiation of long-held Conservative fantasies of amending the Human Rights Act. There are also, if leaks are to be believed, proposals to reform the UK Supreme Court.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 21st April 2021

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Brian Christopher Jones: A single written UK constitution may only make things worse – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘Arguments for and against a single written (or “codified”) UK constitution often revolve around flexibility versus rigidity or transparency versus opacity. Recently, another common objection is that it would just be inconvenient, or impossible given the current levels of polarisation. These objections are reasonable and legitimate, but they are hardly the full extent of the story. In fact, much room exists for a more principled stance: that implementing a single written constitution may just be unwise, and ultimately lead to a number of democracy-hindering downsides.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 25th May 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Byron Karemba: Brexit, the Reference Jurisdiction of the UKSC and the New Separation of Powers – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘When the UKSC was created, there was great emphasis by the architects of the Court that it would largely assume the same constitutional position and functions as the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 30th July 2018

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Solon Solomon: The Chequers Agreement: Brexit and the Infeasibility of Judicial and Legal Independence – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Chequers agreement reshapes the UK Brexit position. By formally throwing its lot behind a soft Brexit, Theresa May’s government has made a point. It is unclear how this stance was influenced by the House of Lords voting in favour of such a soft Brexit some months ago or by the City entrepreneurs voicing their support to such a scenario. Projecting into the future, it is equally unclear how the Chequers agreement will impact UK politics and the government’s viability.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 12th July 2018

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

How Does New Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab Stack Up On Human Rights? – Rights Info

‘In a shock resignation at almost midnight, one of the leading figures responsible for Brexit negotiations has quit his cabinet post.’

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Rights Info, 9th July 2018

Source: rightsinfo.org

The EU Withdrawal Bill in the Commons: Parliament surrendering control? – Oxford Human Rights Hub

Posted June 19th, 2018 in amendments, bills, constitutional reform, EC law, news, parliament by sally

‘Last week, the EU Withdrawal Bill returned to the Commons, so MPs could scrutinise and vote on amendments made to it by the House of Lords. The Bill survived its passage in the House of Commons last year relatively intact, with only one amendment carried against the Government. Things were different, however, in the Lords, where the Government was defeated on 15 substantial amendments.’

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Oxford Human Rights Hub, 18th June 2018

Source: ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk

Jack Simson Caird: Parliament’s Right to a ‘Meaningful Vote’: Amendments to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted June 12th, 2018 in amendments, bills, constitutional reform, EC law, news, parliament, treaties by sally

‘On Tuesday 12 June 2018, the Government will ask the House of Commons to reject the Lords’ meaningful vote amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill (Lords Amendment 19). If the amendment is rejected, the Government will ask the Commons to accept its own alternative version, known as an ‘amendment in lieu’. If either amendment is enacted, and the Commons uses its veto to reject the Withdrawal Agreement, this would be a constitutionally unprecedented situation. This post looks at the Government’s ‘amendment in lieu’, and the features that distinguish it from the Lords’ amendment.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 11th June 2018

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Legal challenge to devolved Brexit bills – BBC News

Posted April 17th, 2018 in bills, constitutional reform, devolution issues, news, Supreme Court, treaties by tracey

‘The UK government has launched a legal challenge to the Scottish and Welsh governments’ Brexit bills. The two devolved parliaments passed legislation last month that is intended to act as an alternative to Westminster’s EU Withdrawal Bill. But the UK government has asked the Supreme Court to rule whether the legislation is constitutional and within devolved powers.’

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BBC News, 17th April 2018

Source: www.bbc.co.uk