Weekly Notes: legal news from ICLR, 5 October 2020

Temple Church (via Shutterstock)

The rule of law

The Lord Chancellor‘s prayer

  • Sir Jonathan Jones, who resigned as the Treasury solicitor and permanent secretary to the Government Legal Department (see comment by Institute for Government)
  • Lord Keen of Elie, who resigned as Advocate General for Scotland, the UK Government’s most senior adviser on Scots law (as reported in The Scotsman)
  • Rehman Chishti, who resigned his post as Prime Minister’s special envoy for freedom of religion and belief (as reported in Church Times)
  • Amal Clooney, who resigned as UK Special Envoy on Media Freedom, with the support of Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (as fellow members of the International Bar Association’s High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom)


Scrutiny and review

Judicial Review

Independent Panel launched


Recovery in the Criminal Courts

Custody time limits extended


White paper published

  • Whole life Orders for child killers, as well as allowing judges to hand out this maximum punishment to 18–20-year olds in exceptional cases to reflect the gravity of a crime. For example, acts of terrorism which lead to mass loss of life.
  • New powers to halt the automatic release of offenders who pose a terrorist threat or are a danger to the public.
  • Reducing the opportunities for over 18s who committed murder as a child, to have their minimum term reviewed — ensuring they cannot game the system and torment victims’ families further.
  • Ending the halfway release of offenders sentenced to between four and seven years in prison for serious crimes such as rape, manslaughter and GBH with intent. Instead they will have to spend two-thirds of their time behind bars.
  • Increasing the starting point for determining sentences for 15–17 year olds who commit murder from a minimum of 12 years to two thirds of the equivalent starting point for adults. It will ensure that the seriousness of the offence is taken into account and there is less of a gap between older children and young adults.
  • Longer tariffs for discretionary life sentences. Increasing the minimum period that must be spent in prison by requiring judges to base their calculation of the tariff on what two-thirds of an equivalent determinate sentence would be, rather than half as they do now. This will mean life sentence prisoners serve longer in prison before they can be considered for release by the Parole Board.
  • Raising the threshold for passing a sentence below the minimum term for repeat offenders, including key serious offences such as “third strike” burglary which carries a minimum three-year custodial sentence and “two strike” knife possession which has a minimum six-month sentence for adults. Making it less likely that a court will depart from theses minimum terms.
  • Piloting Problem Solving Court models in up to five courts, targeted at repeat offenders who would otherwise have been sent to custody.
  • Making full use of tagging technologies to create a tough restrictive order in the community.


Remote witnessing legislation

Family law

New Family, Drug and Alcohol Court


45 years of the Family Law Act 1975


Supreme Court justice(s)

Recent publications

Some blog posts and podcasts

Dates and deadlines

Term dates for the new legal year

And finally….

Tweet of week




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.

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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.

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