• In Focus

    Human Rights Act 1998: Does it need replacing?

    The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) provides the statutory basis in UK law for the protection of human rights and freedoms. The government recently published plans to replace the act with a UK bill of rights. This article looks at what the HRA does, why the government wants to reform it, and what the reaction has been to the proposed bill of rights and other reform plans.

  • In Focus

    Crime and rehabilitation: An overview

    This article gives a brief overview of crime in England and Wales and how rehabilitation services are delivered. It also summarises the involvement of the voluntary sector and provides links to further reading. It has been prepared in advance of a House of Lords debate on 30 June 2022 on the causes of crime and reoffending and the effectiveness of rehabilitation, including the contribution made by the voluntary sector.

  • Current Affairs Digest

    Current Affairs Digest: Constitution (June 2022)

    In April 2022, the UK government announced a scheme to relocate certain asylum seekers from the UK to Rwanda for asylum claims processing and potential resettlement. This led to national and international concerns about whether the scheme contravenes international human rights law. This article looks at some of those concerns, as well as other countries that have introduced similar policies.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Brexit—Retained EU law and the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland

    The Government is planning to make significant changes to the legal status of retained EU law and the post-Brexit regulatory landscape. This would be through a ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’ and standalone legislation in areas such as procurement and data protection. There is also speculation the Government may introduce a bill to override parts of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Justice

    The Queen’s Speech is taking place on 10 May 2022. This will set out the Government’s legislative and policy programme for the new parliamentary session. This article provides a summary of legislative and policy proposals for justice, including a draft victims bill and parole system reform.

  • In Focus

    Queen’s Speech 2022: Constitution

    The Queen’s Speech is taking place on 10 May 2022. This will set out the Government’s legislative and policy programme for the new parliamentary session. This briefing provides a summary of legislative proposals concerning the constitution and other announcements that may be included in the speech.

  • In Focus

    Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill

    The Approved Premises (Substance Testing) Bill is a private member’s bill that would create a statutory framework for drugs testing in approved premises, including testing for psychoactive substances and the abuse of prescription and pharmacy medicines. The bill received cross-party support in the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    Reforming the Human Rights Act 1998

    The Human Rights Act 1998 set out human rights protection from the European Convention on Human Rights in UK law. The impact of the act on parliamentary sovereignty and the criminal justice system, amongst other things, has been increasingly considered. Following several years of debate, the Government has recently revealed its plans to replace the act with a new British bill of rights.

  • In Focus

    Beyond Brexit: policing, law enforcement and security

    From 1 January 2021, the UK and EU’s relationship in policing, law enforcement and security has been governed by the provisions of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, most notably part three. The House of Lords European Union Committee published a report examining the arrangements on 26 March 2021. The committee welcomed several of the agreement’s provisions but said it was an unavoidable consequence of Brexit that it did not provide for the same level of collaboration as before.

  • Research Briefing

    Judicial Review and Courts Bill

    This government bill would make several changes to judicial review and introduce new procedural measures in criminal courts, employment tribunals and coroner’s courts, amongst others. According to the Government, the bill would strengthen judicial review, modernise the court and tribunal system, and help to address case backlogs caused by the pandemic.

  • In Focus

    Surveillance Camera Code of Practice: regret motion

    The Government has updated a code of practice that local authorities and the police must consider when using camera systems. Critics allege the code is part of a framework governing the use of facial recognition technology that is insufficient. In response, they have called for the framework to be improved or replaced or for use of facial recognition technology to be either temporarily or permanently suspended.

  • In Focus

    Changes to the Highway Code: regret motion

    In December 2021, the Government published proposed changes to the Highway Code which it said would improve safety for vulnerable road users, particularly cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders. On 27 January 2022, the House of Lords is due to debate a regret motion on the proposals. The motion expresses concern that the Government has failed to sufficiently educate the public about them.

  • In Focus

    Motion to annul regulations to clarify when bailiffs can recover VAT on enforcement fees from debtors

    Secondary legislation governing when VAT is recoverable on the fees of enforcement agents, formerly known as bailiffs, has recently changed. The Government says the changes clarify that in some circumstances enforcement agents can take control of goods worth the cash equivalent of the VAT on their enforcement fees from debtors. A Lords motion to stop the changes will be discussed on 13 January 2022.

  • In Focus

    Detention of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe

    British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been detained in Iran since 2016. The UK Government has called her detention arbitrary and has lobbied the Iranian Government for her release. Her husband, Richard Ratcliffe, and her MP, Tulip Siddiq, have called on the Government to do more to secure her freedom.