Weekly Notes: legal news from ICLR — 17 July 2017

European Union

Brexit Bill

Or should one say bills? The expression “Brexit Bill” may be thought to refer to two rather different things. One is the bill that the UK will have to pay, if and when it eventually separates from the other 27 contracting states of the European Union. The other is the piece of legislation needed to achieve that separation. Both have been in the news over the last week.

EU case law

Clause 6 of the EUWB deals with case law from the ECJ. No case may be referred to the ECJ after Brexit. Any case decided by the ECJ after Brexit will not bind UK courts, nor are the UK courts bound to consider it, though they may consider and apply it if they wish. (It will be persuasive, in the same way as the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, except that under section 2 of the the Human Rights Act 1998 the UK courts are bound to take account of that, whereas under the EUWB they are not bound to take account of post-Brexit ECJ jurisprudence.)

Euratom bomb shell

Amazingly, when Theresa May sent the article 50 notification to Donald Tusk, informing the EU of the UK’s intention to leave, she was so emboldened by the landslide vote by which Parliament had authorised the move, that she explicitly bigged it up to include the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC), otherwise known as Euratom.

Centre ground

Meanwhile, and not for the first time, former prime minister Tony Blair has added his voice to the party of reason, suggesting in essence a sort of compromise on freedom of movement that will probably not satisfy anyone. As a comment on where we are and what we might do to fix it, it reeks of the kind of competence and political realism that today’s parliamentary big wigs sorely appear to lack: see Brexit and the Centre

Judiciary

Appointment of new Chief

Sir Ian Burnett, who might have been a perfect choice to chair the Grenfell Inquiry, has instead been appointed Lord Chief Justice to replace Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, who will retire on 1 October. The reason he might have been a good inquiry chair is that, according to his biography on the Judiciary website, in his practice at the Bar he

Employment

Taylor review

The review of modern working practices, chaired by Matthew Taylor, last week published its report, Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices (pdf). As was widely expected, it considered such things as the “gig economy” and “zero-hours contracts” as manifestations of the contemporary world of work, in which job creation appears healthy but job security less so. Presenting the report at the RSA on 11 July, Taylor said:

  • primary legislation to define the boundary between self-employment and worker status
  • a new role for the Low Pay Commission exploring how to improve quality and progression in sectors with a high proportion of low paid workers,
  • a national framework for employability skills so we can develop the kind of transferable capabilities that can be acquired in formal education and also informal and on the job learning.
  • Specifically, that people who work for “platform-based companies”, such as Deliveroo and Uber, be classed as “dependent contractors”

Family law

Consultation on de-linking of money claims

The Family Procedure Rule Committee has launched a consultation on proposed amendments to Part 9 of the Family Procedure Rules 2010: Applications for a Financial Remedy. The aim of the amendments is to de-link financial remedy claims from those for a decree of divorce or dissolution of a civil partnership, so that it will no longer be possible to make an application for a financial order in a divorce petition or dissolution application. This is something on which the President of the Family Division, Sir James Munby, had already expressed an opinion, strongly supporting the de-linking, in his 17th View from the President’s Chambers. (We covered this at the time: see Weekly Notes — 22 May 2017, Dee and Ann to part…)

Media law

Social media offences

Two interesting cases last week. First, and most egregious, was the conviction of Viscount St Davids on two charges under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for sending menacing messages by means of a public electronic communications network, by posting them on Facebook. One of them, which was found to be racially aggravated, related to a threat made against Gina Miller (who was the lead claimant in the Art 50 case).

Legal services

Inner Temple library

We have reported before on the radical plans to restructure Inner Temple library in order to convert more than half of the space to create meeting rooms, offices and an auditorium for education and training: see Weekly Notes — 4 September 2015. A petition was started and got a lot of support, but the powers that be were not persuaded.

Tweet of the Week

is from Jen Persson and is a comment on the Brexit negotiations (yes really) ;)

That’s it for now. Our thanks to all who flagged up stories, via their blogs (which we always try to acknowledge) and via Twitter (where useful tweets are retweeted).

This post was written by Paul Magrath, Head of Product Development and Online Content at ICLR, who also tweets as @maggotlaw. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of ICLR as an organisation. Comments welcome on Twitter @TheICLR.

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The ICLR publishes The Law Reports, The Weekly Law Reports and other specialist titles. Set up by members of the judiciary and legal profession in 1865.