Weekly Notes: legal news from ICLR — 22 May 2017

Politics

General Election manifestos launched

The three main political parties launched their manifestos last week. On Tuesday 16 May, Labour launched its previously leaked manifesto, under the title For The Many Not The Few. On Thursday, the Conservatives launched theirs, entitled Forward, together — Our Plan for a Stronger Britain and a Prosperous Future and the Liberal Democrats theirs, Change Britain’s Future. One of the more colourful and imaginative policies listed in the latter is to

Family Law

Dee and Ann to part…

They’ve been together for decades, but now the time has come to recognise that Dee Vorce and Anne Cilla Ree Proceedings (aka “Money Claims”) are to go their separate ways.

Crime

Moors murderer Ian Brady dies

One of Britain’s most notorious murderers, responsible with co-defendant Myra Hindley for the deaths of at least five children in the 1960s, has died.

Did Brady cheat the hangman?

Between 1963 and 1965, Brady and his accomplice Hindley tortured, sexually abused and killed five youngsters before burying their bodies on the moors outside Manchester. Both were sentenced to life imprisonment. Had they been caught and tried before the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 came into force, could they have been hanged?

The Oxford student stabbing case

The case of Lavinia Woodward, a 24-year-old medical student at Oxford, who pleaded guilty to unlawful wounding after stabbing her boyfriend with a breadknife during a drink and drug fuelled row, has drawn forth quite a bit of comment after the judge, in deferring sentence, indicated that she might be spared jail to avoid blighting her promising medical career.

Legal services

Standard of proof in disciplinary hearings

A consultation has been launched by the Bar Standards Board on the question of the standard of proof to be applied in disciplinary hearings against barristers. Where barristers and others subject to the disciplinary regime of the BSB are accused of professional misconduct, the standard currently applied is the criminal standard (satisfied “so as to be sure” or “beyond a reasonable doubt”).

Regulatory objectives and professional independence

The Legal Services Board is to meet with the deputy president of the Supreme Court, Baroness Hale of Richmond, to discuss the apparent conflict between the LSB’s regulatory objectives, which are primarily focused on consumer interests (ie service to the client), and the independence of the legal profession, which requires lawyers (in the event of a conflict) to put their duty to the court first.

Events

Solicitors Journal Awards 2017

The Solicitors Journal Awards 2017 took place after a black tie dinner at the Grand Connaught Rooms on 17 May. Among the categories for which there were prizes was Chambers of the Year, for which ICLR’s Paul Magrath was one of the judges. This was won by Serjeant’s Inn Chambers, from a very competitive shortlist that also included 5 St Andrew’s Hill, 7 King’s Bench Walk and Cornerstone Barristers.

Sir Henry Brooke: Knight of the Order of Skanderbeg

Also at the dinner, and one of the judges of the awards, was Sir Henry Brooke, whom many were congratulating on having just received, from the President of Albania at a ceremony at the RAC Club in Pall Mall, the insignia of his appointment as a Knight of the Order of Skanderbeg. As he explains on his blog, Skanderbeg is the Albanian national hero and Sir Henry has become something of a hero to the Albanians for his work in recent years, when president of the Slynn Foundation, in helping the government and judiciary to reform their legal system, reduce corruption, and promote the rule of law.

Dates and Deadlines

Essay competition

The Bar Council 2017 Law Reform Committee Essay Competition is open to pupils, students studying for a qualifying law degree or approved Graduate Diploma in Law course, Bar Professional Training Course students in England & Wales and those aiming for a career at the Bar.

Law (and injustice) from around the world

Italy

Northern League MEP ordered to compensate black minister over racist slurs

Northern League MEP Mario Borghezio (pictured) has been order to pay Italy’s first black minister, Cécile Kyenge, who was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 50,000 euros by a court in Milan, after making repeated racist slurs against her. The sum awarded represents an indemnity payable to his victim following Borghezio’s conviction for aggravated defamation on grounds of racism, for which he was also fined €1000.

Mali

Couple stoned to death

An unmarried couple were stoned to death in public, for violating Islamic law, according to the Guardian. The incident happened in north-east Mali, in an area where jihadi groups vie for control against domestic and foreign forces. During their brief control of key towns in the north, jihadist groups imposed a version of Sharia law which forced women to wear veils and set whipping and stoning as punishment for transgressions. The stoning came on the eve of an expected visit to Mali by the new French president, Emmanuel Macron, who was due to meet French troops stationed there.

Saudi Arabia

Trump’s ‘big foreign trip’

Meanwhile, in Europe

People think Trump is a laughing stock, according to Politico Magazine, reporting on how European officials are looking forward to meeting the US President. Comments reporter Susan B Glasser heard in Berlin last week from senior European officials included “chaos”, “circus” and, yes, “laughingstock”.

Tweet of the Week

A comment on the Theresa May’s announcement last week that the Tories were the party of working people and they would be offering them lots of lovely new employment rights (after making tribunal fees unaffordable to most).

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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.