Tag: Law

It’s lawyers v politicians in the battle for human rights

The Conservative Party has published plans to change Britain’s human rights law. They have been criticised by many lawyers. But, whilst the politicians may have got the law wrong, many lawyers seem to have got the politics wrong. It is an unattractive position for an intelligent society to find itself in and leads to meaningless arguments between those who should know better.

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The search for Ashya is over. Now we search for answers.

It must be right that the police went looking for a young child when alerted by doctors that his life might be in danger. But when they found him, all thinking seems to have stopped.

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Victim statements: are they having the wrong impact?

In an episode of The West Wing from 2002, the (fictional) US President. Jed Bartlet, prepares for a presidential debate by considering how he should answer a question designed to challenge his opposition to capital punishment: “If your youngest daughter, Zoe, was raped and murdered, would you not want to see the man responsible put to death?”

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Testing times for the Director of Public Prosecutions

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, says that juries apply a “much higher test” than prosecutors do when deciding whether to pursue a case. If that is true, it seems bizarre. More likely, it betrays a lack of logic on the part of the DPP.

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Journalists in a tiz at Supreme Court’s win-win decision

I’m not sure quite how to say this. So I’ll say it twice:

Yesterday, a young graduate won her claim against the government’s back-to-work scheme. She argued that the regulations and the manner of their implementation were unlawful. Despite taking its case all the way to the Supreme Court, the government lost on three separate grounds. 

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Leveson – Is the battle already lost?

What are the chances of being able to write a 2,000 page report on press regulation and walk away with all-party support (or even all-Party support)? Plainly, not very high. This final stage of the inquiry could have been – should have been – handled differently.

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Harry’s Bottom and the Right to Privacy

Today’s big argument is said to be about privacy and the public interest. I think there must be more to it that that. Most commentators seem to be going round in circles.

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You mean we’re NOT supposed to avoid tax?

Tax avoidance has become a hot topic. The Times newspaper has recently unmasked a scheme in which income tax is avoided by the ludicrously simple means of saying the salary is only a loan which might have to be repaid (but never actually is). One of the newspaper’s columnists, David Aaronovitch, has been writing about the immorality of tax avoidance (both links behind a paywall).

I used to think it was easy to spot the moral dividing line when it came to tax avoidance. If our government had created the exemption, that meant they positively wanted us to take advantage of it. Anything else was almost certainly a loophole and morally objectionable, even if it was legal. But does that distinction still apply? 

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Leveson and the Living Trees

Like many people, I have been following The Leveson Inquiry intermittently. As someone with a background in regulatory policy, I am particularly interested in the way that many witnesses have expressed a concern that regulation of the press has become inseparable from regulation of the individual because the internet has given any individual with a website (or even just a Twitter account) the power to be a journalist. I think the argument is flawed.

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