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

Coronavirus approach ‘creates risks for the rule of law’ – Law Society’s Gazette

Posted September 21st, 2020 in coronavirus, human rights, news, parliament, rule of law, select committees by sally

‘The government’s approach to the coronavirus is creating risks for the rule of law, politicians have warned in a report looking at the human rights implications of Covid-19.’

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Law Society's Gazette, 21st September 2020

Source: www.lawgazette.co.uk

DPP to discuss prosecutorial independence and the rule of law – Crown Prosecution Service

Posted September 17th, 2020 in coronavirus, Crown Prosecution Service, news, prosecutions, public interest, rule of law by michael

‘The Director of Public Prosecutions will discuss the importance of fair and independent prosecutions during a time of national emergency at an online event hosted by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law tomorrow (Friday, 18 September).’

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Crown Prosecution Service, 17th September 2020

Source: www.cps.gov.uk

Prosecuting in the public interest: independence without isolation – Max Hill QC, Director of Public Prosecutions – Crown Prosecution Service

Posted September 17th, 2020 in coronavirus, Crown Prosecution Service, news, prosecutions, public interest, rule of law by michael

‘In an essay to accompany an event with the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, Max Hill QC outlines what independence means for the Crown Prosecution Service in an extraordinary 2020 and beyond, and how it intersects with the Service’s other values and responsibilities. Drawing on the experiences of the past six months, he considers what it means to remain independent while also being collaborative, responsive and adaptable in a changing world – and the importance of each of these qualities in maintaining public confidence in the criminal justice system.’

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Crown Prosecution Service, 17th September 2020

Source: www.cps.gov.uk

Racism and the Rule of Law – UK Human Rights Blog

Posted June 19th, 2020 in equality, human rights, news, police, race discrimination, racism, rule of law by sally

‘The Black Lives Matter movement illuminates an incontrovertible chasm in the application of the rule of law in liberal democracy. The basic premise of the rule of law, which in Joseph Raz’s conception is that it should be capable of guiding behaviour, includes the necessary restriction on crime-preventing agencies from perverting the law. A society in which those tasked with upholding and applying the law – under the powers of stop-and-search and arrest – are instead themselves regular perpetrators of racist discrimination and violence, is one in which the rule of law is at best a randomised hope that is more or less likely to be realised depending on the race of the citizen in question.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, June 2020

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com

Director of Public Prosecutions threatened with legal action over failure to investigate Dominic Cummings – The Guardian

‘The director of public prosecutions, Max Hill, is being threatened with legal action over the failure to investigate Dominic Cummings for alleged breaches of the lockdown rules.’

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The Guardian, 10th June 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Ronan Cormacain: Instinct or rules: making moral decisions in the Cummings scandal – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted May 28th, 2020 in civil servants, coronavirus, news, rule of law by sally

‘How should individuals conduct themselves during a public health emergency, and more specifically how much reliance should we have on “instinct” and “rules”? Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, has been accused of breaking the social distancing rules. The allegations revolve around travelling from London to Durham to isolate himself and his family, as well as taking additional trips whilst in that isolation. The specific law he is alleged to have breached is regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020. Regulation 6(1) provides that “During the emergency period, no person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.” In the course of defending his adviser, the Prime Minister argued that “he followed the instincts of every father” in seeking to protect his family. In response, Independent journalist Tom Peck stated that; “There is no guidance in place anymore, none at all. Just do what Dominic Cummings did and ‘follow your instincts’ and you’ll end up in the right place”.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 28th May 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Ronan Cormacain: Can I go to the park please Dad? Everyday lessons in legal certainty in the English Coronavirus Regulations – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘This post analyses the changes made on 13 May 2020 to the coronavirus social distancing regulations for England. The criterion for analysis is the basic Rule of Law requirement of legal certainty. Certainty allows us to plan our actions, lets the police know what it is they should be enforcing, and most importantly stops us from inadvertently breaking the law. The very limited case-study is the question posed in many households today – can I go to the park please Dad?’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 15th 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

‘Full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing’? – 6KBW College Hill

Posted February 26th, 2020 in appeals, chambers articles, news, rule of law by sally

‘It has long been recognized in English law that it is no defence to a breach of an order of the court to assert that the order itself was invalid [1]. The public policy grounds for this are obvious; justifying conduct breaching a court order on the basis that the defendant took the view, rightly or wrongly, that the order was invalid would undermine the central principle of legal certainty. Therefore, the correct time to mount such a challenge was before any conduct had taken place that breached the order. This has, of course, the effect of holding individuals liable for breaches of orders that should never have existed in the first place.’

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6KBW College Hill, 20th February 2020

Source: blog.6kbw.com

‘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

What is judicial review and why doesn’t the government like it? – The Guardian

Posted February 12th, 2020 in government departments, judicial review, news, parliament, rule of law by sally

‘Downing Street’s frustration over what it believes is excessive use of the judicial review process to overturn ministerial decisions – this week preventing deportations – has focused political attention on the complex courtroom process.’

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The Guardian, 11th February 2020

Source: www.theguardian.com

Jack Simson Caird: The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill and the Rule of Law – UK Constitutional Law Association

Posted January 20th, 2020 in bills, brexit, constitutional law, courts, EC law, news, parliament, rule of law by sally

‘The general election on 12 December 2019 has fundamentally changed the political dynamic driving the Brexit process. The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill (WAB), which will become law before 31 January 2020, has been substantially revised (from the version which was presented in October 2019) to reflect this Government’s approach to Brexit. The Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law has published a report that looks in depth at some of the main Rule of Law issues in the WAB. This version of the WAB indicates that this Government will take a different approach from the previous one in terms of dealing with some of the key constitutional issues arising from Brexit. This post examines some of the Rule of Law implications of the main constitutional issues in the WAB.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 16th January 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

UK courts “under attack” from Russian manipulation – Litigation Futures

Posted January 14th, 2020 in international relations, money laundering, news, reports, rule of law, Russia by sally

‘The corrupt leaders of Russia are manipulating courts and tribunals around the world – with a particular focus on the UK – with “blatant lies, forged documents, and utterly implausible explanations”, it was claimed today.’

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Litigation Futures, 13th January 2020

Source: www.litigationfutures.com

Theodore Konstadinides and Riccardo Sallustio: Clause 26 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20: An Exercise of Constitutional Impropriety? – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill 2019-20 will pave the way for the UK to ratify the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement and thus depart from the European Union (EU) soon thereafter, having received its third reading in the House of Commons just last week. This contribution examines certain major consequences deriving from the Bill becoming law and, in particular, the controversial, but little discussed Clause 26 which (as Lord Pannick remarked in a recent article in the Times) requires particularly careful scrutiny.’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 14th January 2020

Source: ukconstitutionallaw.org

Lord Briggs at the Sultan Azlan Shah Law Lecture, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Supreme Court

‘Lord Briggs at the Sultan Azlan Shah Law Lecture, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.’

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Supreme Court, 5th November 2019

Source: www.supremecourt.uk

Commonwealth head warns of dangers of denying justice to all – The Guardian

‘Denying access to justice risks creating fresh conflicts at a time when the international rule of law is under threat, the Commonwealth secretary general has warned ahead of a meeting of the organisation’s law enforcement officers.’

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The Guardian, 5th November 2019

Source: www.theguardian.com

All Hale Parliament: Responding to the Reith Lectures – UK Human Rights Blog

‘Lady Hale has thrown her wig into the debate on whether the law, represented by the courts, is gaining power while politics in Parliament is losing it. She is not the first to critique Lord Sumption’s Reith Lectures, as they were covered at ALBA’s Annual Conference too (see Law Pod UK episodes 88, 89, and 91).’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 16th October 2019

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com

Justice eBay Style – London Review of Books

Posted September 23rd, 2019 in news, rule of law by sally

‘The Shield of Achilles, as described in the Iliad, portrays two cities. One of them is at war, circled by ‘a divided army/gleaming in battle-gear’. In the other, there is a promise of peace through the exercise of law: ‘the people massed, streaming into the marketplace/where a quarrel had broken out and two men struggled/ over the blood-price for a kinsman just murdered./One declaimed in public, vowing payment in full –/the other spurned him, he would not take a thing –/so both men pressed for a judge to cut the knot./ The crowd cheered on both, they took both sides,/but heralds held them back as the city elders sat/on polished stone benches, forming the sacred circle,/grasping in hand the staffs of clear-voiced heralds,/and each leapt to his feet to plead the case in turn.’’

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London Review of Books, 26th September 2019

Source: www.lrb.co.uk

Are there principles that trump democracy? The Reith Lectures, 2019: Lord Sumption’s Lecture and Responses – UK Human Rights Blog

Posted July 30th, 2019 in constitutional law, human rights, judges, news, rule of law by sally

‘Are there principles that trump democracy? This was one of a number of profound philosophical and legal questions addressed by former UK Supreme Court Justice Jonathan Sumption in his recent and controversial Reith Lectures, which addressed subjects such an law’s expanding empire, the challenges posed by human rights, and the advantage of an unwritten constitution.’

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UK Human Rights Blog, 29th July 2019

Source: ukhumanrightsblog.com