• Research Briefing

    Data Protection and Digital Information Bill: HL Bill 30 of 2023–24

    The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill would amend existing data protection legislation and introduce new provisions in areas such as digital verification services and smart data. The bill was carried over from the last session and is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 19 December 2023.

  • In Focus

    Maternal mortality rates in the Black community

    Black women were at a greater risk of maternal mortality in the UK during 2018–20 when compared to White women, according to recent findings. The underlying causes of this disparity remain a complex picture. This briefing looks at the latest research findings, as well as a recent parliamentary report on Black maternal health and the government’s response.

  • In Focus

    Elgin Marbles: UK government assessment of loaning the sculptures to Greece

    The ownership of the Elgin Marbles (also known as the Parthenon sculptures) is the subject of dispute between the Greek government and the British Museum. This briefing provides background to this dispute, including the position of the UK government, and on the possibility of loaning the sculptures to Greece. It has been written in advance of a Lords debate on 14 December 2023.

  • In Focus

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Promoting the declaration’s principles 75 years on

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 75 years ago, on 10 December 1948. The declaration set out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected. As such it became a foundational instrument of the modern international human rights system. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called on member states to “rejuvenate” the declaration.

  • In Focus

    Fire safety regulations: Reform for furniture and buildings in England

    The government has proposed changes to how fire safety standards for furniture and furnishings are regulated in England. Scientists and the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee have raised concerns that current regulations incentivise the use of flame-retardant chemicals, which have environmental and health impacts. The regulatory framework for fire safety in buildings in England has also been reformed following the Grenfell Tower fire and the Building Safety Act 2022.

  • Research Briefing

    Arbitration Bill [HL]

    Arbitration is a form of dispute resolution that enables opposing parties to resolve a disagreement privately through a third party rather than going to court. The Arbitration Bill [HL] would amend the Arbitration Act 1996, the principal legislation governing arbitrations in England and Wales and in Northern Ireland. The changes provided for in the bill would implement recommendations from the Law Commission following consultation with the sector.

  • In Focus

    Strengthening family life in England: Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households

    In April 2023, the Archbishops’ Commission on Families and Households published a report entitled ‘Love matters’. The commission examined how families and households in England could best flourish and called on the government and other institutions to put families at the centre of their thinking. In addition to proposals for Church of England action, the report included 29 recommendations for the government. These included supporting family hubs and developing high-quality marriage preparation.

  • In Focus

    Air travel for disabled passengers

    Passengers with a disability or reduced mobility are entitled to assistance from airports and airlines when flying. However, some passengers using assistance services have had poor experiences in recent years. This was particularly the case during widespread sector disruption in 2022 due to staffing shortages. The Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority have consulted on ways to improve consumer rights for those who require assistance when travelling by air.

  • Research Briefing

    Pedicabs (London) Bill [HL]: HL Bill 2 of 2023–24

    The Pedicabs (London) Bill is a government bill which would provide Transport for London with powers to regulate pedicabs, also known as cycle rickshaws, for example by introducing a licensing regime and standards for operators, drivers and their vehicles. The bill would extend to England and Wales, but only apply in England to pedicabs operated within Greater London. The bill was promised in the 2023 King’s Speech and was introduced into the House of Lords on 8 November 2023. It is due to receive its second reading on 22 November 2023.

  • In Focus

    King’s Speech 2023: Culture, media and sport

    This briefing provides details on government proposals for media legislation and regulation of football and the gambling sector. The government has published consultations and papers on these subjects and therefore they may come up in the 2023 King’s Speech. The briefing also links to further reading and briefly summarises other subjects that may be touched upon involving the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

  • In Focus

    King’s Speech 2023: Home affairs

    This briefing explores what home affairs related announcements the government could make in the King’s Speech on 7 November 2023. It includes information on potential new offences, new powers for the dismissal of police officers and possible changes to community safety partnerships. It also looks at potential legislation relating to modern slavery and a Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Draft Bill.

  • In Focus

    King’s Speech 2023: Crime and justice

    The King’s Speech is scheduled to be delivered on 7 November 2023. The speech will set out the government’s legislative and policy programme for the new parliamentary session. This briefing provides a summary of legislative announcements and policy proposals on crime and justice that may become the subject of legislation during the 2023–24 session. This includes information on the Victims and Prisoners Bill and policy announcements on criminal justice sentencing.

  • In Focus

    Forced to face justice: Will ordering attendance at sentencing hearings work?

    In response to several high-profile offenders refusing to attend their sentencing hearings, the government has announced new powers for judges and prison officers to enable some offenders to be forced to do so. While this announcement has been widely welcomed, concerns have also been raised about the practicalities of the policy. This briefing explores the background to the decision as well as some of the responses it has received.

  • In Focus

    Access to music education in schools

    Music forms part of the national curriculum up to key stage three. However, evidence suggests there is significant variability between schools in the provision of music teaching. The government has committed to improving and expanding music teaching in schools through measures in the ‘National plan for music education’, published in June 2022.