Mike Gordon: Constitutional Reform under the Coalition Government – UK Constitutional Law Group

Posted December 19th, 2013 in constitutional reform, news, parliamentary papers by tracey

‘The Government’s response to the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee’s (PCRC) report Do we need a constitutional convention for the UK? is in many ways a rather unremarkable document (Cm 8749, November 2013). The PCRC’s report (Fourth Report of Session 2012-13, HC 371) was published on 28th March 2013, and concluded that there was “a need to consider both how the increasingly devolved parts of the Union interact with each other, and what we, as residents of the UK, want the Union to look like going forward”. As a result the PCRC suggested that the Government “consider, among other options, preparations for a UK-wide constitutional convention, including decisions about its form and organisation, and the process of calling for evidence”, which would be held in the aftermath, and regardless of the result, of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014.’

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 18th December 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org/blog

Lord Judge – Constitutional Change: Unfinished Business – UCL Constitutional Unit

Posted December 18th, 2013 in constitutional law, constitutional reform, human rights, judiciary, news by sally

‘Lord Judge delivered a lecture on the topic of “Constitutional Change: Unfinished Business”.’


UCL Constitutional Unit, 17th December 2013

Source: www.ucl.ac.uk/constitution-unit

Newspapers’ plans for post-Leveson press regulation rejected – The Guardian

Posted October 8th, 2013 in charters, constitutional reform, media, news, Privy Council, victims by sally

“Plans on how to regulate the press industry have been delayed until later this month after a difficult meeting of the key players rejected the regulatory plans proposed by the industry but also could not agree whether to back the royal charter passed by parliament.”

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The Guardian, 7th October 2013

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

Roger Masterman: A Tale of Competing Supremacies – UK Constitutional Law Group

“In a recent interview in The Spectator, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Chris Grayling MP, was given another opportunity to recite the now characteristic Tory Siren call relating to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Strasbourg court.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 30th September 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Crowd Sourcing the UK Constitution – UK Constitutional Law Group

Posted September 30th, 2013 in constitutional law, constitutional reform, internet, news by sally

“This is a major initiative being undertaken by LSE Law Department and the LSE’s Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) together with Democratic Audit UK and LSE Public Policy Group.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 28th September 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Media influence on law reform – Halsbury’s Law Exchange

Posted July 31st, 2013 in constitutional reform, EC law, media, news, public interest by sally

“It is clear that public opinion affects law reform. MPs are democratically elected and thus to become elected MPs are naturally influenced by the will of the public. As legislation is put forward and created by those influenced by public opinion, there is no doubt that this has a significant influence on the development of legislation.”

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Halsbury’s Law Exchange, 30th July 2013

Source: www.halsburyslawexchange.co.uk

How far should our courts venture onto the battlefield? – The Guardian

Posted July 25th, 2013 in armed forces, constitutional reform, news, parliament, select committees, war by tracey

“If you think there are clear rules governing the UK’s use of armed force, you would be wrong.”

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The Guardian, 24th July 2013

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

Scott Stephenson: The Future of Rights Reform in the Age of the Referendum – UK Constitutional Law Group

Posted July 18th, 2013 in bills, constitutional reform, human rights, news, referendums by tracey

“In the last fortnight, two major pieces of constitutional reform returned to the political agenda. The House of Commons considered Conservative MP James Wharton’s private Member’s Bill that would provide for a referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU. The Bill, according to Prime Minister David Cameron, will have ‘the full support of the Conservative Party’. Several days later, senior members of the Conservative Party made statements indicating that the Party would make ‘wholesale changes’ to the country’s system of human rights protection if it obtains a majority in Parliament at the next election. Proposed changes include repeal of the Human Rights Act and withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. In this post, I consider whether the former might have implications for the latter—whether the rise of the referendum could and/or should affect the future of rights reform in the UK.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 17th July 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Robert Hazell: The Royal baby, the Rules of Succession, and the Realms – UK Constitutional Law Group

“In anticipation of the birth of the Royal baby, Parliament passed the Succession to the Crown Act in April 2013. It provides that in future the eldest child will be next in line of succession, whether it is a girl or a boy. The law will not come into force in time for the Royal birth, but the new baby when born will be next in line. This Blog post explains the background, and the difficulties involved in changing the rules of succession.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 15th July 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Patrick O’Brien: Does the Lord Chancellor really exist? – UK Constitutional Law Group

“On 12 June 2003 a minor constitutional revolution began with the resignation of Lord Irvine as Lord Chancellor and the announcement of a package of reforms including the abolition of his office and the creation of a Supreme Court, later to become the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 (CRA). To commemorate the tenth anniversary of these events, the Judicial Independence Project held a private seminar on 12 June 2013 at which some of those directly involved in the changes spoke about the experience and the effects it has had on constitutional change. A note of the seminar is available here. In part the seminar brought out the drama and the comedy of the day itself. An old friendship ended in acrimony: Irvine had been the Prime Minister’s pupil master and had introduced him to his wife. At the same time the senior judiciary, at an away day with civil servants, were taken by surprise by the announcement and had to have the details explained to them whilst they huddled, increasingly angry, around a single phone in a country pub.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 26th June 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Privatising the courts: if anyone needs advice, it’s the judiciary – The Guardian

Posted June 25th, 2013 in constitutional reform, contracting out, courts, judiciary, news, tribunals by sally

“The judges have nothing to gain and everything to lose by negotiating with Chris Grayling in private.”

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The Guardian, 25th June 2013

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

Lord chief justice warns Chris Grayling on courts privatisation plans – The Guardian

Posted June 25th, 2013 in constitutional reform, contracting out, courts, judges, judiciary, news, tribunals by sally

“The justice secretary, Chris Grayling, has been warned by the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, not to undermine the independence of the judiciary through plans to privatise parts of the court service or make it self-financing.”

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The Guardian, 24th June 2013

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

Jack Simson Caird: A Proposal for a Code of Legislative Standards? – UK Constitutional Law Group

“On the 20 of May the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee (the PCR) published its report on legislative scrutiny standards titled ‘Ensuring standards in the quality of legislation’. The Report contains two eye catching and ambitious proposals for parliamentary reform: the creation of a joint committee on legislative standards and the adoption of a code of legislative standards. This blog is about the second of these proposals. The proposal is a significant one, and if implemented it would dramatically improve the information available to parliamentarians in their scrutiny of government bills. The PCR’s code is in effect a series of questions and demands for information relating to the content and to the timetable of a bill, that the government would answer within the explanatory notes to a bill. In this blog post, I draw attention to the code proposed by the PRC and I offer a critique of their approach, and in particular of the decision not to include substantive legislative standards.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 14th June 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Should parliament give itself more powers? – The Guardian

“Should parliament give itself more powers? That’s the intriguing question posed by a paper to be published next week by the Constitution Society, an educational charity established five years ago.”

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The Guardian, 2nd May 2013

Source: www.guardian.co.uk

Succession to the Crown Act 2013 – legislation.gov.uk

Full text of Act

Source: www.legislation.gov.uk

Law ending exclusively male royal succession now law – BBC News

“A bill which ends succession to the Crown based on gender has become law.”

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BBC News, 25th April 2013

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Craig Prescott: The Union, Constitutional Change and Constitutional Conventions (and English Regionalism?) – UK Constitutional Law Group

“Last week, the House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee published their report, Do We Need A Constitutional Convention For the UK? (HC 2012-13 371). It is an interesting document, mainly because its very existence shows that the idea of a constitutional convention is becoming more mainstream within Westminster. But the report raises many questions, not all of which are fully answered. The central thrust of the report is that considering the raft of changes made to the constitution since 1997, particularly devolution, ‘it is time to conduct a comprehensive review so that the Union can work well in the future’ (para 111), and that this review should take the form of a ‘constitutional convention to look at the formal constitutional structure of the UK’.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 3rd April 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Helen Fenwick: The Report of the Bill of Rights Commission: disappointing Conservative expectations or fulfilling them? – UK Constitution Law Group

“The Commission delivered its Report – A UK Bill of Rights? – The Choice Before Us – to the Government in December 2012. It is an odd document, dominated by the lack of agreement in the Commission as to the role that any human rights’ instrument in Britain should play. That was unsurprising since at the inception of the Commission the Coalition partners appeared to want it to play two different roles – defending or attacking the HRA. From the very outset the Commission and the idea of a Bill of Rights (BoR) was relied upon by Cameron and other senior Conservatives to allay anger in the Conservative party, and among some voters, directed at decisions made under the Human Rights Act. David Cameron announced the Commission’s inception in March 2011 at Prime Ministers’ Questions as a reaction to criticism of the decision of the Supreme Court that sex offenders should be able to challenge their inclusion on the Sex Offenders’ register. He indicated that a BoR would address the concerns expressed (17.3.11; see the Telegraph in relation to R and Thompson v SSHD). The idea that a BoR could right the wrongs of the HRA – would provide a panacea for the HRA’s ills – had apparently been embedded in the Conservative party psyche for some years: David Cameron in a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies in 2006 Balancing freedom and security – A modern British Bill of Rights said that the HRA should be repealed: ‘….The Human Rights Act has a damaging impact on our ability to protect our society against terrorism…. . I am today committing my Party to work towards the production of a Modern Bill of Rights’. In contrast, the 2010 Liberal Democrat election manifesto promised to ‘Ensure that everyone has the same protections under the law by protecting the Human Rights Act.'”

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UK Constitution Law Group, 21st March 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionllaw.org

Scott Stephenson: The Constitutional Significance of Statutory Repeal: How Far Can Parliament Turn Back the Clock? – UK Constitutional Law Group

Posted March 7th, 2013 in constitutional reform, human rights, legislation, news, repeals, treaties by sally

“The current system for human rights protection in the UK is once again under siege. In the last week, statements were made indicating that the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the next election would include major reforms to current arrangements. Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, declared that a future Conservative Government would repeal the UK Human Rights Act 1998 ‘and start[] again’, suggesting that it would be replaced by alternative legislation. Theresa May, Home Secretary, announced that the manifesto would include a promise to withdraw the UK from the European Convention on Human Rights.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 7th March 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org

Colm O’Cinneide: Human Rights, Devolution and the Constrained Authority of the Westminster Parliament – UK Constitutional Law Group

Posted March 5th, 2013 in constitutional reform, devolution, human rights, news by sally

“The debate over the place of human rights in UK constitutional law continues to run and run. The Home Secretary, Theresa May MP, has recently criticised the manner in which UK judges are interpreting the right to family life protected by Article 8 of the ECHR. A private members bill tabled by Tory MP Charlie Elphicke, the Human Rights Act 1998 (Repeal and Substitution) Bill, which would de-incorporate Convention rights and replace them with diluted ‘British’ replacements, received its Second Reading on the 1st March 2013. Furthermore, at the time of writing, the Mail on Sunday is quoting Theresa May again to the effect that the next Tory election manifesto will include a commitment to withdrawing from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights, de-incorporating Convention rights, or some such equivalent measure.”

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UK Constitutional Law Group, 4th March 2013

Source: www.ukconstitutionallaw.org