Saturday 26 January 2013

Royal Consent as opposed to Royal Assent...Parliamentary Privilege and JSB in the Commons next week...

Work is getting in the way of blogging a bit at the moment - sorry - will be quiet for a bit.

This did catch my eye - that there is a constitutional convention whereby HMG can stop a private members bill which concerns curtailing the Royal Prerogative by advising HMQ not to consent to Parliament debating it.  The Queen truly "in Parliament".  Not something I had spotted before - lots more here and here

Plus HMG has got round to consulting on Parliamentary Privilege - have never understood how or why Court Orders should be flouted by MPs.  Should be interesting to see how that ends up....

The Commons get stuck into JSB next week:

The Public Bill Committee will meet on 29 and 31 January 2013. The Public Bill Committee will scrutinise the Bill line by line.
The Public Bill Committee is accepting written evidence.
The Public Bill Committee is expected to report to the House by 14 February 2013.
The Bill had its second reading debate on 18 December 2012. This Bill was presented to Parliament on 28 November 2012.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

county courts...all hope is lost....

OH DEAR.........................

Looks like my worst fears realised:


Mr Jack Straw (Blackburn) (Lab) On the reform of the courts, I welcome the unification of the county courts, which makes complete sense.

Mr Jonathan Djanogly (Huntingdon) (Con): Before my right hon. Friend moves on from part 2, does she agree that it is bizarre that in 2013 we have this Victorian situation whereby each county court represents its own individual personality? I welcome the changes in the Bill, but will she lean over and ask her right hon. Friend the Justice Secretary whether we will move quickly on this issue to improve justice in the county courts and to cut costs?
Mrs May: Yes, we will do everything we can to improve efficiency in the system and we will look at the whole of issue of individual county courts versus a national county court system, as it were. This is part of the Bill. My hon. Friend makes a valuable point about the personalities of county courts.
Mr David Burrowes (Enfield, Southgate) (Con)
I welcome the Bill and want to draw out some nuggets that I believe can, in certain circumstances, be refined to be even more golden. On the whole thrust of the Bill in terms of efficiency and coherency, I welcome and support the single county court and single family court provisions.

Sunday 13 January 2013

2nd Reading in Commons of Bill to abolish county courts tomorrow - not that anybody cares....

 The House of Commons reads the Crime and Courts Bill a second time tomorrow - will anybody raise the fate of the humble local county court which is abolished (as we know it) by the terms of this Bill - see here for more...

Good bye county court, I knew thee of my old favourites - Bow (actually up the Romford Road from Stratford town centre) - someone once told me it was the busiest civil court of its type in western Europe - and believe me when its family/possession day on the same day with 7 DJs and 2CJs sitting simultaneously, with half the populations of Tower Hamlets and Newham inside, then it does feel a little much.  I once waited until 8.30pm at night to see a DJ on one busy day.  Will miss when its gone............

Sunday 6 January 2013

Coalition Report Card at Half Term Stage.....

Apparently the Coalition is going to release a report card setting out what it has achieved tomorrow.

I thought I would give them a helping hand so far as constitutional reform is concerned:53% achieved at this 1/2 way stage is not bad..................

5 year fixed term Parliaments
Referendum on Electoral Reform
ACHIEVED – although Lib Dems essentially lost referendum and there has been no actual reform
Power of recall of MPs
NOT ACHIEVED - Coalition is reconsidering this.
Committee to bring forward reforms to House of Lords by end of 2010
ACHIEVED – although proposed reform will not happen
Implement wholesale reform of Commons
ACHIEVED to some degree
Reduce Electoral fraud
Reform Parliamentary privilege so that it is not misused by wrongdoers
NOT ACHIEVED – but then the Court have ensured that nobody has misused it.
Cut the Perks and bureaucracy associated with Parliament
Consult with IPSA over ending MPs final salary pensions scheme
ACHIEVED – i.e. they have consulted – but not ended the scheme
200 Postal Primaries for MP selection
NOT SURE – don’t know what happened to this interesting idea.  Torries appear to gone off it given independent nature of the MP for Totnes chosen by this method.
Parliamentary Petitions
ACHIEVED - and working well
Public Reading Stage in Parliament
Improve Civil Servants
NOT ACHIEVED  - number of SPADs has increased
Reform Civil Service Compensation Scheme
Further Referendum in Wales on devolution
Establish a Commission to examine the West Lothian question
ACHIEVED - to report in Spring 2013