• In Focus

    Regulation of substances of human origin in Northern Ireland

    The UK legislation for the safety and quality of blood, organs, tissue and cells (including reproductive cells) is based on EU law. The European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 ensures that EU-derived domestic legislation will continue to have effect after the end of the transition period. In 2019, regulations were introduced to ensure that UK legislation in this area could function effectively after the transition period. However, Northern Ireland will remain subject to relevant EU laws as a result of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. This article looks at four statutory instruments that would amend the 2019 regulations and enable Northern Ireland to continue to meet EU law.

  • In Focus

    Flags on Northern Ireland government buildings

    The draft Flags (Northern Ireland) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 would make changes to regulations governing the flying of flags on government buildings in Northern Ireland. They would remove one building from the list of sites where the Union flag must be flown and add two others. They would also add the birthdays of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and of the Duchess of Cornwall, to the dates on which the Union flag must be flown.

  • In Focus

    Bullying allegations, the Home Secretary and the ministerial code

    On 2 March 2020, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Gove, confirmed that his department would investigate alleged breaches of the ministerial code by the Home Secretary, Priti Patel. As at 29 October 2020, the results of that investigation are unclear. The issue of when a report may be published will be the subject of an oral question in the House of Lords on 2 November 2020.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 and the US election: Campaigning

    The 2020 US election has been conducted during the coronavirus pandemic. At the start of the year, the candidates’ presidential campaigns had to be halted as many US states issued lockdown orders. Since June, the candidates have taken different approaches to appealing to voters. Donald Trump has tried to emulate his successful 2016 campaign while Joe Biden has been more cautious in his campaigning.

  • In Focus

    Sanctions (EU Exit) (Consequential Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

    Since the passage of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, the Government has been preparing for the UK to implement sanctions once it is no longer covered by the EU’s legal framework. The draft Sanctions (EU Exit) (Consequential Provisions) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 would amend existing sanctions regulations made under the 2018 act to ensure that references in other pieces of primary and secondary legislation are up to date.

  • In Focus

    Changes to the planning system in England: Permitted development rights and use classes

    In August and September 2020, the Government made several changes to the planning system in England. It introduced secondary legislation creating new permitted development rights and making changes to use classes. Five of these statutory instruments are being debated in the House of Lords on 27 October 2020. This article provides a summary of these instruments and the scrutiny they have received so far in Parliament.

  • In Focus

    Domestic abuse in the UK: Government support

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, domestic abuse charities have reported a sharp increase in demand for their services. In response, the Government has provided additional funding to local authorities and domestic violence groups, and is seeking to enact further measures through the Domestic Abuse Bill shortly to come before the House of Lords.

  • In Focus

    Brexit: Citizens’ rights regulations

    Three draft statutory instruments due to be debated in the House of Lords on 22 October 2020 would give effect to commitments in the EU Withdrawal Agreement, the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement and the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement. These statutory instruments cover a “grace period” for applications to the EU settlement scheme permits for frontier workers; and the deportation of EEA citizens.

  • In Focus

    Coronavirus: Restrictions on businesses and social gatherings

    In September 2020, the Government placed new restrictions on businesses selling food and drink, requiring many to close between 10pm and 5am. It also introduced further limits on the exemptions to its “rule of six” for social gatherings. This article looks at the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020, which implemented these new measures.

  • In Focus

    Pension Protection Fund (Moratorium and Arrangements and Reconstructions for Companies in Financial Difficulty) (Amendment and Revocation) Regulations 2020

    These regulations extend the Pension Protection Fund’s rights as a creditor when co-operative and community benefit societies have a moratorium in place to protect them from creditor action. This would give the fund a greater say during restructuring discussions when societies are in financial difficulty. The Pension Protection Fund provides compensation for members of defined benefit pension schemes where their employer becomes insolvent. The regulations also revoke and replace previous regulations due to a drafting error.

  • In Focus

    Prosecution of Offences (Custody Time Limits) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020

    These regulations temporarily increase the amount of time that a defendant can be held in custody whilst awaiting a crown court trial. The Government said that the purpose of the regulations is to provide reassurance to victims and the public following the recent delays in trial listings caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The regulations came into force on 28 September 2020 and will expire on 28 June 2021.

  • In Focus

    Covid-19 local alert levels: Three-tier system for England

    On 12 October 2020, the Government announced a new system of local Covid-19 alert levels in England. Areas would be categorised as either ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’. Different restrictions intended to combat the spread of Covid-19 would be in place based on the alert level in a local area. This article summarises the regulations establishing this new system and the reaction from the local areas affected.