• In Focus

    Prison officers’ retirement age

    Newly recruited prison officers can draw their full occupational pension between the ages of 65 and 68, depending on their date of birth. The prison officers’ union argues such officers do a demanding physical job and regularly face violence, so requiring them to work until their late 60s is inappropriate and harmful. Ministers say they are open to discussions with the union but there are no plans to adjust prison officers’ retirement age.  

  • Research Briefing

    Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill: HL Bill 89 of 2022–23

    The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 6 February 2023. The bill would automatically revoke, or ‘sunset’, most retained EU law at the end of 2023. However it would also give ministers powers to exempt some retained EU law from the sunset and to restate, reproduce, replace or update retained EU law by statutory instrument.

  • In Focus

    Commission on Young Lives: National plan for vulnerable young people

    The Commission on Young Lives was an independent group formed to design a new national system to prevent crisis in vulnerable young people and to boost their life chances and educational prospects. The commission published a report in November 2022 which made recommendations to government, local authorities, police and others to tackle the “deep-rooted” problems facing vulnerable youths. The commission’s “centrepiece recommendation” was for a “sure start plus for teenagers” network of intervention and support.

  • In Focus

    The Commonwealth: Zimbabwe’s return?

    In 2003, Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth following a suspension for human rights violations. In 2018, the country began the process of rejoining the organisation. This process is ongoing. However, it has been argued that Zimbabwe should not be allowed to rejoin as it does not meet the required standards in respect of its human rights record, democratic processes and institutions and rule of law.

  • In Focus

    ‘Fit for the future? Rethinking the public services workforce’: Public Services Committee report

    In July 2022, the House of Lords Public Services Committee published a report on the future of the public services workforce. It argued that public sector staffing was “facing a crisis” due to a “vicious circle” of increasing demand, staff shortages, low morale and recruitment issues. The committee observed that these problems were not unsolvable, but said current efforts were at “far too small a scale”. It made recommendations which it argued, if implemented, would make a “substantial difference” and “secure a more sustainable public services workforce for the future”.

  • In Focus

    AI technology and the justice system: Lords committee report

    The House of Lords Justice and Home Affairs Committee has considered the use of artificial intelligence technologies in the criminal justice system. It found benefits to using such technology to help apply the law, but also raised concerns about a potential risk to the public’s fundamental human rights and civil liberties. This article summarises the committee’s findings and recommendations, as well as the government’s response.

  • In Focus

    Human rights in India

    International governments and non-governmental organisations have raised concerns about the human rights situation in India. Recent allegations have been disputed by the Indian government, which has reiterated its commitment to human rights. This article focuses on some of the concerns raised, including in relation to Kashmir, and outlines the UK government’s response.

  • Research Briefing

    Public Order Bill: HL Bill 61 of 2022–23

    This government bill would introduce powers to address protestors that cause serious disruption. This includes new criminal offences such as those relating to: locking on; tunnelling; obstructing major transport works; interfering with key national infrastructure; and interfering with the access to, or provision of, abortion services. The bill would also introduce serious disruption prevention orders, as well as give the secretary of state the power to bring civil proceedings against those causing serious disruption as a result of protest-related activities. The bill has proven controversial, with some arguing that it could threaten the right to protest. The government states that the bill would plug what it argues are gaps in existing legislation to better protect the public from serious disruption caused by protestors.

  • In Focus

    Protests in Iran: Death of Mahsa Amini

    In recent weeks, Iran has seen widespread protests following allegations that the country’s morality police caused the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini. This briefing looks at how the protests have developed and the reaction of the Iranian authorities. It also considers how the international community, including the UK, has responded.

  • In Focus

    Freedom of expression online: Communications and Digital Committee report

    This article considers freedom of expression in the UK ahead of the House of Lords debate on the Communications and Digital Committee report ‘Free for all? Freedom of expression in the digital age’ on 27 October 2022. It provides background information on freedom of expression, including restrictions and the online context, and sets out the committee’s recommendations and the government’s policy. It also includes links to commentary on the proposed Online Safety Bill.

  • In Focus

    Violent crime, burglaries and gang activity

    This article presents statistics and information on violent crime, burglaries and gang activity in England and Wales ahead of a House of Lords debate on 20 October 2022. It also provides details on and reaction to the government’s attempts to address these issues, including its ‘beating crime plan’ and efforts to increase police numbers.

  • In Focus

    Sentences of imprisonment for public protection

    Imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentences were indeterminate sentences given to serious offenders who posed a significant risk of serious harm to the public. Although the IPP sentence was abolished in 2012, thousands of people subject to such a sentence are still in prison. The House of Commons Justice Committee recently called on the government to address what it said was a “unique injustice” caused by the continued operation of IPP sentences.

  • Research Briefing

    Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill: HL Bill 37 of 2022-23

    The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill 2022–23 is intended to address the legacy of the Northern Ireland Troubles by establishing a new independent commission for reconciliation and information recovery, limiting criminal investigations and legal proceedings, and providing for a new oral history initiative and memorialisation strategy.