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[ 22 Apr 2014 | No Comment ]
Criminal Justice and Courts Bill – new criminal offences

By Dan Bunting
Another year, and yet more criminal justice legislation. The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill 2013-14  is going through Parliament at the moment, and it will come as no surprise that it includes new criminal offences. Here’s a quick look at them:
Research by jurors (s 44)
This adds a new s 20A-D to the Juries Act 1974. It comes off the back of the Law Commission Report on Juror Misconduct that was published on 9 December 2013 and effectively implements the recommendations, save that there is no exception for academic …

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[ 15 Apr 2014 | No Comment ]
ECJ outlaws “snoopers’ charter” – but snoop they shall yet

By Richard Allison
The European Court of Justice has invalidated the European Parliament’s Data Retention Directive. The decision, following requests from the Irish and Austrian courts, is a blow to Theresa May’s plans to push through a data retention scheme which would indiscriminately collect and store data from UK citizens’ internet and phone use for up to 12 months for later examination.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are considering the judgment and its implications carefully. The retention of communications data is absolutely fundamental to ensure law enforcement have the powers they …

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[ 14 Apr 2014 | One Comment ]
Eve’s Law: addresses of domestic violence victims must be kept secret

By Christine Land
In busy working environments it is easy to make mistakes but some mistakes are more costly than others. An inadvertent disclosure of a domestic violence victim’s safe address to their abuser, for instance, could cost someone their life. Now signed by 87 MPs, Early Day Motion 900 so called “Eve’s Law” is calling for the greater protection of safe addresses.
The motion comes as a result of the tireless campaign of Eve Thomas, herself an escapee of domestic violence. In August 2012, Eve faced being sent to prison for …

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[ 10 Apr 2014 | No Comment ]
Should judges question vulnerable witnesses?

By Matthew Seys-Llewellyn
Sir Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, has been in the news this week with the suggestion that vulnerable witnesses should be questioned by the Judge in the case rather than by counsel, and this idea should give us pause to reflect on both the role of the judge and the role of the advocate.
The English have traditionally viewed judges with a certain amount of distrust, perhaps because one man seemed easier to bribe than 12 men of the jury, or possibly because judges can become …

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[ 4 Apr 2014 | One Comment ]
Shocking justice gap for disabled prisoners

By Benjamin Burrows
It is Prison Service policy that prisons provide a fair and equal service to all prisoners, including to those who are disabled. The purpose of this policy is to make sure that the Prison Service meets its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA). However, for many disabled prisoners, these obligations are not being met.
The Chief Inspectorate of Prisons carried out a thematic review of disabled prisoners in March 2009, and found that, on the whole, disabled prisoners reported that they had a worse prison experience, across all …