• 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

    Facial recognition technology in schools

    In October 2021, some schools began taking payments for lunches using facial recognition technology (FRT). In response, the Information Commissioner’s Office and some privacy campaigners have expressed concern that this use of the technology is unnecessarily intrusive. This article focuses on how FRT is used in schools, what concerns have been raised about its use and how it is governed.

  • In Focus

    Women’s health outcomes: Is there a gender gap?

    On 8 July 2021, the House of Lords is due to debate the steps taken to improve women’s health outcomes. Research has found a gender health gap in the UK where many women receive poorer healthcare than men. This article examines some of the healthcare challenges women face, why they exist and what action the Government is taking to tackle the issue.

  • Research Briefing

    Telecommunications (Security) Bill: Briefing for Lords Stages

    The Telecommunications (Security) Bill is a government bill to improve the regulation of the UK telecoms market in order to protect the security of the UK’s telecoms infrastructure. Second reading of the Telecommunications (Security) Bill is scheduled to take place in the House of Lords on 29 June 2021. This briefing provides a summary of the bill and its passage through the House of Commons.

  • In Focus

    Forensic science and the criminal justice system

    In May 2019, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published a report warning the quality and delivery of forensic science services in England and Wales was inadequate. It recommended several reforms intended to halt the damage this was causing to public trust in the criminal justice system. The House of Lords is scheduled to debate this report on 26 April 2021. This article summarises the committee’s recommendation, the Government’s response and subsequent developments.

  • In Focus

    Facial recognition technology: police powers and the protection of privacy

    Facial recognition technology is used to identify individuals or to verify someone’s identity. Live facial recognition has been used by several police forces in England and Wales in collaboration with the private sector. There have been calls for increased scrutiny and oversight of the powers of the police to use the technology, including in the House of Lords. This article summarises the debates about the use of this technology.

  • In Focus

    Forensic Science Regulator Bill

    The Forensic Science Regulator Bill would put the existing forensic science regulator post on a statutory basis. The bill would also give the regulator powers to enforce a statutory code of practice for forensic science activities relating to the criminal justice system in England and Wales. The bill has completed its stages in the House of Commons and is due to have its second reading in the Lords on 19 March 2021.

  • In Focus

    An elusive vaccine: The fight against malaria

    Malaria remains a deadly disease for many countries. A complex parasite causes the illness, which means it has proved difficult to vaccinate against. Currently, only one vaccine candidate has received regulatory approval, and no candidate has ever been fully launched and distributed. Why is malaria so difficult to vaccinate against, and which vaccine candidates are currently in development?

  • In Focus

    UK space industry

    In recent years, the Government has introduced several measures concerning the UK space industry. This included passing legislation to create a regulatory framework for commercial space activities and funding to build the country’s first spaceport. This In Focus examines the recent size and health of the UK space industry, including its contribution to the wider UK economy. It also covers several measures taken by the Government to date, such as the creation of the National Space Council.