Speaker warns he will suspend Commons if distancing rules broken – The Guardian

Posted May 14th, 2020 in coronavirus, health & safety, news, parliament by sally

‘The Speaker of the House of Commons has said he will suspend parliament if physical distancing rules are breached in the Commons chamber – in effect ending government hopes that MPs can return to business as usual.’

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The Guardian, 13th May 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Nyasha Weinberg: Parliament must legislate on the government’s plans for contact tracing apps – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘ Today the Joint Committee on Human Rights will take evidence from the Information Commissioner, academics and the CEO of NHSX on the risks to the right to privacy (Article 8 ECHR) if a contact tracing app is introduced to track and slow the spread of the coronavirus. This is helpful scrutiny of the government’s plans. Yet if the government goes ahead with its proposed contact-tracing application it is essential that the processing of large amounts of personal data by the state, even if done in the public interest, needs a clear legal basis in the form of specific legislation.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 4th May 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Alexander Latham-Gambi: What is Parliament doing when it legislates? Legislative Intention and Parliamentary Sovereignty in Privacy International – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘In this post I argue, with reference to Privacy International, that the nature of legislation as a speech act entails that the tension between parliamentary sovereignty and the rule of law is not as profound as is often thought.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 20th April 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Tom Hickman: Eight ways to reinforce and revise the lockdown law – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 and the counterpart regulations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, impose the most drastic restrictions on liberty ever seen in the United Kingdom. On 16 April 2020 they reach their first review point and it is a clear that they will be continued, probably initially for a further period of three weeks and thereafter quite likely for a much longer period either in their current form or in modified form.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 16th April 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Krishan Nadesan: Can Parliament replace the House of Lords? – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted April 9th, 2020 in constitutional law, news, parliament by sally

‘Parliament can do anything – except replace the House of Lords? For over a century, replacing the House of Lords has brooked no delay. Now, at last, the Government seems tempted to dam the brook, by substituting an elected Senate for the old Second Chamber. At first glance, this is constitutionally straightforward. Whatever Parliament enacts is law – so surely an Act of Parliament can lawfully replace the House of Lords? But such an Act may be open to challenge.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 9th April 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Why did government not use the Civil Contingencies Act? – Law Society’s Gazette

‘The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (‘CCA’) represents a legal landmark. It updated and consolidated laws which enabled public authorities to prepare for, and respond effectively to, emergencies, replacing the Emergency Powers Act 1920 with a more comprehensive and consensual design. While it was motivated by domestic and global crises, it was not enacted in haste but benefited from a prolonged consultation period led by a special parliamentary joint committee. The final draft systematically furnished the executive with all conceivable powers, yet contained vital legal and parliamentary oversight to avert disproportionate action. The CCA addressed the widest range of possible eventualities: terrorist attacks, protests, environmental events – and human and animal disease pandemics. In other words, there already existed legislation designed to tackle the circumstances of coronavirus which indubitably qualifies as an emergency. Yet, rather than utilise this framework, the government has resorted to fresh legislation in the Coronavirus Act 2020. Why?’

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Law Society's Gazette, 2nd April 2020

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

Theodore Konstadinides and Lee Marsons: Covid-19 and its impact on the constitutional relationship between Government and Parliament. – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The Coronavirus Act 2020, the UK’s most substantial legislative response to the Covid-19 pandemic, received Royal Assent yesterday after a fast-tracked procedure through both Houses. Indisputably, the pandemic falls within the range of situations under which it is constitutionally acceptable for Bills to be fast-tracked. While there is no corollary between an expedited piece of legislation and a bad piece of legislation, fast-tracking the Coronavirus Bill carries important implications for the constitutional relationship between Government and Parliament. Not least, parliamentarians had limited time to scrutinise legislation containing measures that have been described by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law as ‘the most sweeping powers ever taken by the UK Government outside of wartime’. But, in this context, the implications for the balance between Government and Parliament extend beyond the immediate passage of the Act. Therefore, while Tierney and King stressed the dilemma between safeguarding public health and the protection of individual liberties vis-a-vis fast-tracked legislation, the purpose of this post is to outline a number of concerns provoked by this pandemic on the Government-Parliament relationship more broadly, while also making some comments on the Act itself.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 26th March 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

MPs no longer to get automatic vote on constituency boundary plans – The Guardian

Posted March 27th, 2020 in boundaries, brexit, elections, news, parliament by sally

‘MPs will no longer automatically get a vote on any future plans to redraw constituency boundaries.’

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The Guardian, 26th March 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Emergency coronavirus legislation passed by MPs without opposition – The Guardian

‘Emergency legislation giving sweeping powers to ban gatherings and forcibly quarantine suspected coronavirus patients was passed by MPs on Monday night, despite continued worries about civil liberties and the potential effect on vulnerable people.’

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The Guardian, 23rd March 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Emergency legislation on possession claims – Nearly Legal

‘I’ve seen the draft amendments to the Coronavirus Bill on housing possession. A word of caution, this was a draft from 22 March, not the actual amends due to be put forward today 23 March. I was waiting for those to be made public to check, but that has not happened as of 6 pm. There may have been some changes, but my understanding is it was going ahead as per the draft.’

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Nearly Legal, 23rd March 2020

Source: nearlylegal.co.uk

How far do the government’s new emergency powers go? – The Guardian

‘A new government bill that brings sweeping new powers to shut down mass gatherings, potentially detain people with coronavirus symptoms and weaken the social care safety net is being rushed through parliament. The Guardian’s Peter Walker explains what is at stake.’

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The Guardian, 24th March 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Treaty scrutiny -A brave new frontier for Parliament – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted March 18th, 2020 in brexit, constitutional law, news, parliament, royal prerogative, treaties by sally

‘On Tuesday 17 March, the House of Lords endorsed a report by the Procedure Committee which has the effect of establishing a new Committee tasked with scrutinising international agreements, or treaties, that are negotiated and signed by the UK in 2020.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 18th March 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Judicial review: ‘Snarling’ not the way to get reform, says former top judge – BBC News

Posted March 16th, 2020 in brexit, judges, judicial review, news, parliament, prorogation by sally

‘”Shouting and snarling” is not the way to get judges to accept curbs to their powers, a former top judge has warned.’

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BBC News, 13th March 2020

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

MPs oppose ‘bedroom tax’ being applied to domestic abuse survivors – BBC News

Posted March 10th, 2020 in benefits, domestic violence, housing, news, parliament by tracey

‘The government must stop applying the so-called “bedroom tax” to domestic abuse survivors fleeing their partners, 44 MPs have written in a letter seen by the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show.’

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BBC News, 10th March 2020

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

Police to reform approach to search warrants following backlash to failed Operation Midland paedophile investigation – The Independent

‘Police are overhauling the way they handle search warrants following the botched Operation Midland investigation into what was wrongly thought to be a Westminster paedophile ring.’

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The Independent, 6th March 2020

Source: www.independent.co.uk

Commons spends more than £800,000 on paying off former staff – BBC News

Posted March 5th, 2020 in confidentiality, news, non-disclosure agreements, parliament by tracey

‘The House of Commons has paid out hundreds of thousands of pounds in non-disclosure and settlement agreements with former employees, according to official figures.’

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BBC News, 5th March 2020

Source: www.bbc.co.uk

‘Misconceived’: ECtHR chief hits back at Sumption over rights – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted February 24th, 2020 in families, human rights, judiciary, news, parliament, privacy, rule of law by sally

‘Now is a dangerous time to roll back judicial power, the vice president of the European Court of Human Rights has said in a public rebuff to Lord Sumption’s high profile criticism of ‘law’s expanding empire’.’

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Law Society's Gazette, 22nd February 2020

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

Peers alarmed at Henry VIII powers in divorce bill – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted February 20th, 2020 in bills, divorce, news, parliament by sally

‘The House of Lords has urged the government to chop elements of the divorce bill that would enable the lord chancellor to radically alter the reforms without parliamentary scrutiny.’

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Law Society's Gazette, 19th February 2020

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

The QC Tipped To Lead The Effort To ‘Update’ Human Rights Laws – Each Other

‘The attorney general, Geoffrey Cox QC, has been tipped to lead a new government commission tasked with updating human rights laws and reforming the judiciary.’

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Each Other, 12th February 2020

Source: eachother.org.uk

Corona-vires: Has the Government exceeded its powers? – UK Human Rights Blog

‘One can appreciate the desire to bypass the cumbersome mechanics of Parliament to save the country from a potentially deadly virus. But in the fullness of time, the resulting Regulations might well be held up as an excellent advertisement for Parliamentary scrutiny.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 13th February 2020

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com