Sunday 25 October 2015

Rational Federal Constitution for the United Kingdom or a fathomless hokey cokey: EVEL

How to solve the West Lothian question?

Well now we have the answer:

Under the new procedures the Commons Speaker will be required to ‘certify’ bills, or clauses within them, that meet two criteria: first, they relate only to England (or England and Wales); and second, comparable policy decisions are devolved elsewhere in the UK. On such legislation, MPs representing English (or English and Welsh) constituencies will have the opportunity to give their ‘consent’ to the provisions, through two new mechanisms: first, a Legislative Grand Committee of English (or English and Welsh) MPs will vote on a ‘consent motion’ prior to the bill’s third reading; and second, a ‘double-majority’ voting system will apply when MPs consider Lords amendments (which will also apply on secondary legislation). The effect of these reforms is a ‘double veto’: to pass, certified legislation will require the support both of UK-wide MPs and those representing English (and/or English and Welsh) constituencies. Detailed discussion of the government’s original proposals can be found here. These changes will come into effect immediately, and will affect the passage of a number of bills, even though there is no immediate threat of a ‘West Lothian’ situation in the House of Commons.

I don't quite follow the double veto system.  If you are following the logic, then surely Scots and NI MPs just shouldn't vote on these English/Welsh Bills/motions at all.  No wait, its not an English/Welsh Parliament is it, it is the UK Parliament and it can't pass laws unless a majority of English, Welsh, Scots, and NI MPs have voted in favour of the measure?  Hence the double in the double veto......clear?  As mud?

Come on let's have a constitutional convention to sort it all out?

Friday 23 October 2015


A female Circuit Judge from Wood Green Crown Court (HHJ Mary May QC) becomes May J to replace the much missed Akenhead J in the QBD.
and Senior Treasury Counsel at the Old Bailey and first ever female Asian occupant of the High Court bench (Bobbie Cheema- Grubb QC of 2 Hare Court) becomes Cheema-Grubb J to replace Kenneth Parker J in the QBD.  Both much needed criminal input to the High Court Bench.

Northern Ireland have also broken their own mould with their first ever female High Court Judges: McBride and Keegan JJ:

Monday 12 October 2015

A Constitution?

The Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Select Committee have issued a draft Constitution .
Not a bad piece of work although the preamble leaves me a bit cold......what do you think?

United, we stand in celebration of the diverse voices that make up the great chorus of our nation. Confident in our individuality, and steadfast in our shared values and common purpose, we—the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland—have come together in the spirit of self-determination in order to establish the principles of our law and governance.
 By this act, we create for ourselves a sovereign state, animated by many spirits, accountable to all. Conscious of the responsibility that we bear to future generations—and of their role in defending and regenerating this Constitution—we lay down maxims crafted to promote civic harmony, mutual tolerance, universal wellbeing, and social and political freedom.
 We embody these ideas in democratic government, and enshrine them in a system of law. And we empower each citizen to reform this design, by democratic process and political debate. By popular mandate, we establish this Constitution:
 To recognise every citizen as an equal partner in government—at a local, regional, and national level.
 To affirm that each citizen is entitled to fair and equitable treatment under the law.
 To establish the principle of equality of opportunity for all citizens.
 To eradicate poverty and want throughout the nation.
 To protect and cultivate community identities within the four great countries of the union: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
 To preserve our common environment, and to hold it in trust for future generations.
 To safeguard freedom of thought, conscience, and assembly; and to facilitate peaceable dissent.
 And to protect these fundamental rights against the encroachment of tyranny and the abdication of reason.
 Through this undertaking, we remind one another of the benefits and duties of citizenship enshrined in membership of the United Kingdom, challenging ourselves to enact these principles throughout society.
 Let our example stand as an inspiration to the peoples of the world, and to their rulers and their governments.
 Let our principles animate our dedication to peace and justice in international affairs.
 And let our united resolve grow ever-stronger under the enlightened auspices of this Constitution.
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy.[55]
Possible alternative:
The United Kingdom shall be a democracy where the people are sovereign.
There shall be a separation of powers guaranteeing an independent and elected executive and legislature, and an independent and impartial judiciary.
The United Kingdom shall operate as a Union of nations with power devolved to the lowest appropriate level.
The United Kingdom constitution is composed of the laws and rules that create the institutions of the state, regulate the relationships between those institutions, or regulate the relationship between the state and the individual.
These laws and rules are not codified in a single, written document.
Constitutional laws and rules have no special legal status.
Possible alternative:
The Constitution of the United Kingdom shall be the basic law according to which the United Kingdom shall be governed. The Constitution shall have the highest legal status and all other laws and rules must be consistent with it.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

New Legal Year Excitement

The usual processing to the Abbey and Breakfasting thereafter (doesn't Gove LC look lovely):

They had an Orthodox service in Melbourne earlier this year...ought to try that at home...

Apart from the usual excitement, look out for the Brand New Financial List in the Rolls Building, which is supported by a new Part 63A CPR and is going to be run by a partnership of the Commercial Court and the Chan D.  Also check out PD 51M which will allow this new judicial beast to hear claims without a cause of action, so called friendly actions:

2.1 The Financial Markets Test Case Scheme applies to a claim started in the Financial List which raises issues of general importance to the financial markets in relation to which immediately relevant authoritative English law guidance is needed (“a qualifying claim”).

2.2 In such cases the Financial Markets Test Case Scheme enables the qualifying claim to be determined without the need for a present cause of action between the parties to the proceedings.

Proceedings in the Financial Markets Test Case Scheme

2.3 Where there is a qualifying claim a person who is or was actively in business in the relevant market may, by mutual agreement, issue proceedings against another person who is or was actively in business in the relevant market provided that other person has opposing interests as to how the law of England and Wales issue(s) raised by the qualifying claim should be resolved.

THERE is another beast introduced into the wilds this month - "The County Court Legal Adviser"  - Barristers or Solicitors who will be able to do all sorts of judicial things at the County Court Business Centre and the County Court Claims Centre - like extending time for service of the Claim Form within the limitation period, permitting amendments to the POC before the Defence is in or stay proceedings by consent....if you don't like their orders you can ask the DJ to take another look.  Speaking of which I always like it when a DJ dresses up:

ALSO, there are some new Criminal Procedural Rules and a general revolution in criminal case management...about which I blissfully know nothing at all....