Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from February, 2014

Further progress on fair trials in the family courts

This story in the Daily Mail reports on This case (Re NL (A child) (Appeal: Interim Care Order: Facts and Reasons) where Pauffley J has looked at the issue of a case in the FPC where the Justices basically rubber stamped a document from the local authority. Another important case is Re C (A Child) where the president of the Queens Bench supports a call for proper procedure to be followed in terms of dealings in the court of first instance.



The President of the Queen's Bench Division:

I agree with both judgments. Having seen the judgments in draft, Ms van der Leij has expressed concern about the comments at paragraphs 10-11 of Macur LJ and paragraph 36 of Aikens LJ dealing with the e-mail exchanges subsequent to the hearing. She observes that "it is by no means unusual for practitioners in the Principal Registry to e mail district judges directly seeking clarification of matters raised in a hearing". It is one thing, if invited, to make submissions in relation to the ter…

Last Year's Mawrey Judgment in Woking

I have had this judgment pointed out to me. The election commissioner was the same person as handled the election petition in Aston and Bordesley Green. This was a case where the criminals were Lib Dems. I shall extract some parts of the judgment:
The judgment is worth reading as a whole.

11. Sadly, therefore, this is yet another case where the United Kingdom's shambolic electoral system has led to an election being challenged on the ground of widespread fraud.
Afterword
The Birmingham judgment was the first arising from mass electoral fraud resulting directly from the introduction of postal voting on demand. I had hoped that, by drawing attention to the flawed basis of the scheme and the opportunities it had created for vote-rigging on an industrial scale, public and Parliament would be alerted to the problem and that something might be done about it.
I was wrong.
In Slough, where the problem of roll-stuffing came to the fore and where the combined effect of a wholly insecure regi…

Local Government Finance Debate

This is the debate: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm140212/debtext/140212-0003.htm#140212173000001
This is me arguing my view that spending cuts should be in proportion of spending power.
John Hemming (Birmingham, Yardley) (LD): I thank the Minister for meeting MPs from Birmingham to look at this issue, and I congratulate hon. Members generally on highlighting the difficulty of working out what a fair system is for allocating local government finance. The Government have focused on percentage reductions in spending power. Does the Minister agree that, after incentives, looking towards the reduction in percentage spending power, not absolute spending power, provides an equality of pain that gives us a way forward? It takes into account the fact that in areas like Greater Birmingham, where people work in Birmingham but live around it and require services from Birmingham but are not contributing towards— 

Brandon Lewis: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. The ho…

French Judges conclude English Local Authority is wrong

This story relates to a french case where the judges have indicated that an English LA is wrong. That is added to the Italian case reported before Xmas and a number of Irish cases. When you add this to all the foreign governments complaining this should have a bit more concern from government. It is true that progress is being made and now more appeals are being given in England and Wales. In fact it may appear that the system is getting worse when actually it is getting better. In the past the appellate system basically didn't work. It is now starting to work, but it has a long way to go. The appointment of non family judges to family court of appeal cases is clearly having a positive effect as well.

Miscarriage of Justice Compensation - why I agreed with the Lords

I rebelled against the party whip today voting to keep the lords amendment 112 on Miscarriage of Justice compensation. My reasons are that the government position shifts the burden of proof. The lords amendment, which was supported by the majority of law lords basically creates a threshold which is that a conviction with the new evidence would be guaranteed to fail. I did not support government or opposition on the amendment in lieu. I think it marginally improves the wording, but creates a mixed message as I am unhappy with the burden shifting.

Ireland starts opening up family courts

This story from Ireland highlights a number of issues. Obviously there is a lot about this case (I am not aware of the case myself) which is not known. In essence, however, it confirms my advice that the authorities in Ireland will apply to take children into care at the request of English authorities whether or not they would ordinarily take the children into care were they not to be English families. Interestingly, however, the courts still follow the law from time to time in Ireland. I am aware of cases where the Irish courts have not followed the law properly.