• 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.

  • In Focus

    Misogyny: a new hate crime?

    ‘Hate crime’ is used to describe a range of criminal behaviour that a victim or other person perceives to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a person’s disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or transgender identity. These aspects of a person’s identity are referred to as ‘protected characteristics’. There have been recent calls to extend the protected characteristics to cover sex and gender. This would see misogyny become a hate crime.

  • Research Briefing

    Accusations of genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China

    Several countries and parliaments have accused China of committing genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The UK Government maintains that only a competent court can make this determination. However, the Times reported that the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Elizabeth Truss, had previously accused China of committing genocide. The House of Lords is due to take note of these reported remarks on 25 November 2021.

  • In Focus

    Coroners (Determination of Suicide) Bill [HL]

    This private member’s bill would enable a coroner to record gambling addiction as a relevant factor to a death by suicide. Currently, data on the correlation between problem gambling and deaths by suicide remains limited. Public Health England’s recent evidence review on gambling-related harms concluded that problem gambling should be deemed a public health issue. The bill will receive its second reading in the House of Lords on 19 November 2021.

  • In Focus

    Forensic science services and the criminal justice system

    Forensic science services are a key part of the criminal justice system in England and Wales. The provision of such services has been the subject of scrutiny in recent years. This article considers recent developments in the area, including the Forensic Capability Network and the latest appointment of the Forensic Science Regulator. It also considers the House of Lords debate on forensic science services in the criminal justice system that took place in April 2021.

  • In Focus

    Black History Month: racism in football

    Racist abuse continues to blight English football. The three England players who missed a penalty in the UEFA Euro 2020 final were subject to online racist abuse from supporters after the match. To mark Black History Month 2021, this article looks at the personal experiences of some former players who experienced racist discrimination. It also examines the history of legislation around tackling racism in football and takes a brief look at what social media companies are doing to tackle online abuse.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus Act 2020: debate on temporary provisions

    As the Covid-19 pandemic progressed in March 2020, the Coronavirus Act 2020 came into force. This provided UK public bodies with a suite of powers to respond to the situation. Most provisions within the act are temporary and set to expire automatically in March 2022. The act requires these provisions to be scrutinised by Parliament periodically. This article considers what the act does, how it is scrutinised, and the UK and devolved governments’ Covid-19 plans for autumn/winter 2021–22.