Weekly Notes: legal news from ICLR, 22 November 2021

What do you mean, the videolink has lost signal again? (Photo via Shutterstock)

Legal professions

Bar Conference 2021

This year’s conference took place remotely on 17 to 19 November, and in person (with live streaming) at the Grand Connaught Rooms in Queen St, London on 20 November 2021. It was well organised and well attended. The theme of this year’s event was Recovery, growth and transformation. The welcome address was given by the chair, Derek Sweeting QC, who commented among other things on the present crisis in criminal justice, with the ever-growing backlog of Crown Court cases now at around 60,000, and expressed regret that he had not yet had a chance to discuss it with the Lord Chancellor, Dominic Raab MP, since the latter’s appointment two months ago.


Novichok death

The Home Secretary Priti Patel MP has announced that the government will establish a public inquiry into the death of Dawn Sturgess, who died in July 2018 following exposure to the nerve agent Novichok. The inquiry will be chaired by cross-bench peer and former Lady Justice of Appeal, Baroness Heather Hallett DBE. As the announcement explains:


Marriage and Civil Partnerships (Minimum Age) Bill

Recent posts on the Law & Religion UK blog have discussed the Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Bill, “a Bill to make provision about the minimum age for marriage and civil partnership; and for connected purposes”, which was given a unanimous Second Reading in the Commons on Friday 19 November after 90 minutes of debate. It is a private Member’s ballot bill, now sponsored by Pauline Latham (Conservative) but originally presented by Sajid Javid on 16 June. (Law and religion round-up — 21st November). A separate post by David Pocklington discusses the bill in more detail: Raising the minimum age for marriage and civil partnership in England and Wales.

Recent case summaries from ICLR

A selection of recently published WLR Daily case summaries from ICLR.4:

Recent case comments on ICLR

Expert commentary from firms, chambers and legal bloggers recently indexed on ICLR.4 includes:

Other recent publications

The Great Post Office Scandal

Review by Joshua Rozenberg on A Lawyer Writes of the book by Nick Wallis about the prosecution, conviction and imprisonment of many entirely honest and demonstrably innocent sub-postmasters thanks to failures of an information technology system which were covered up by the Post Office and the IT company Fujitsu, all of which is now the subject of a public inquiry chaired by Sir Wyn Williams. The book, says Rozenberg, is “a real page-turner, combining tragic personal stories, a strong narrative, courtroom drama and clear explanations of both computerised accounting systems and complex legal processes”.

How we came to publish The Great Post Office Scandal — and why we did

David Chaplin, of Bath Publishing, explains how and why they became publishers of The Great Post Office Scandal — arising out of a remote panel discussion last year in which Louise Tickle invited author Nick Wallis to discuss reporting in courts.

More transparency in the financial remedies court

In a guest post on the Transparency Project blog, Sir James Munby, former President of the Family Division, discusses the recent push towards greater transparency in the family courts, as it relates to two recent judgments of Mostyn J.

Friday Fear: Dealing with a difficult judge

Post on the It’s A Lawyer’s Life blog discussing judicial bullying, and advice on how to deal with it, using body language, staying calm, etc. And recognising the signs. “But there is a difference between a judge who, under tremendous pressure of work snaps occasionally and a judge who makes a habit of picking on an advocate or regularly goes through a routine of rude behaviour.”

The open-source investigators trying to bring justice to Myanmar

Article in the Financial Times magazine about the growing community of investigators combing through the internet and social media to collect and document images and other evidence of atrocities committed by the military regime, with a view to supporting future crimes-against-humanity prosecutions.

Pictures of Parliament don’t tell the whole story

Article by Full Fact explaining how images on social media of parliamentary debates showing either lots of MPs or hardly any, with bogus references to the matter being debated, are often used to mislead. The typical claim (the fake news) is that “The House of Commons was crowded for debates on MP expenses and pay, but much emptier for debates and votes on topics such as education for refugees and knife crime.”

A small leak will sink a great ship: the need to counter fraud and error in government

Post by Katie Dixon on the National Audit Office blog about tackling fraud against the public purse. She notes that “leaky taps cost UK householders an estimated £3 million every year” and something similar, but at far greater scale, affects the flow of money through government:

Dates and Deadlines

Great Legal Quiz

Ye Olde Cock Tavern (Fleet Street, Holborn, London)— 6.30 for 7 pm; 30 November 2021

And finally…

Tweet of the week

is from The Onion, allegedly satirising the prejudices engaged in commenting on a case without properly hearing all the evidence, possibly, or possibly not. (Or maybe sometimes a gavel is just not enough.)



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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.