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Showing posts from December, 2012

The title of the spouse of the monarch

This article in the Sunday Express highlights the fact that currently Queens regnant are treated as being less important than Kings regnant. It is, in fact, a matter of discussion as to what title the Monarch's spouse is given when the Monarch is crowned. There are a number of options to deal with this: To give the monarch the choice of a number of titles for his or her spouse To have all called the same. To have a resolution of parliament to resolve the issue each time. I personally think a bit of flexibility is best so the option of calling them all the same is not the one I would pick. However, it should be clear who is the monarch and who is the spouse. There is a bill coming to parliament that would facilitate resolving this aspect of sex discrimination where a Queen is treated as being less important than a King.

Chinese Family Law

This proposal from the Chinese Government is an interesting aspect of family law that probably does not exist in any democracy. "China has passed a law requiring adult children to visit their elderly parents regularly or risk being sued. The law does not specify how frequently such visits should occur, but warns that neglect could risk court action."

Marriage and proposals for change

There is a continuing debate about Marriage and the meaning of Marriage. In 2011 Mostyn J addressed the all party parliamentary group on family law and spoke about what marriage was from a legal perspective. The speech can be read via the report  here Historically marriage was more about children than adults.  Today, however, from a legal perspective it is mainly about an ill defined economic contract which can cost at lot of money to terminate. The aspects of family law that relate to the care of children have been taken substantially outside the law of marriage.  Additionally in the last parliament the common law duty of a husband to care for his wife was abolished - without a peep from anyone at the time. Hence Marriage today is mainly legally about divorce law. Generally family law in the English and Welsh jurisdiction has evolved through the courts with an element of intervention from parliament.  However, because it is not the sort of things that fits into a governme

Transparency and Truth

I am not sure that there is a category of people that is always truthful.  It is clear from Hillsborough and the Andrew Mitchell sagas that police don't always tell the truth. Politicians are not always honest, nor are business people, nor are doctors, nor indeed are judges and other lawyers. That is why transparency is so important because it has two effects: a) It allows independent people to work out what the truth is. b) It discourages people from lying because they know that people can discover that they have done so.  That is why I am concerned about the decision to stop people from listening to independent court recordings. This is a movement away from transparency and accountability.

Sir Albert Bore and the Temple of Doom

Sir Albert Bore has referred to the "jaws of doom". This he has done when central government are cutting the spending power of the city council by 1.11% in cash terms. Nationally the figures are 1.7% (across England). At the same time the council has decided to put up the wages of all council staff paid under £7.20 to £7.20. This is called the "living wage". Many people who earn less than this get tax credits. Hence it is substantially a swap between central government costs and local government costs. They have also included the 16-21 year olds. Hence some of them have had increases of 75% or 85%. It is a nice policy in the sense that it is being nice to people. However, because they propose also to ensure that contractors do the same they wish to find £10m per annum for the same policy. At the same time they want to raise more council tax by charging people on JSA 24% of the council tax. The council could find £10m pa by sacking over 300 additional st

Leveson and Liberty

I was surprised that Liberty seemed to be backing a role for government (through Ofcom) in monitoring the activity of the press regulator. However, This story in the Mail on Sunday appears to contradict this. Why should those whose function is to investigate wrongdoing by the powerful be held to higher standards than anyone else in society? Judges have a different view on communication and information than others. They tend to believe that it is better to be tightly controlled. Hence it is not surprising that he came up with an idea to stop journalists squirreling away information in the hope that at some stage it might be useful. The point about that is that at the start they don't know for certain that it is useful. Hence if you apply a public interest test to that process at that stage then you basically stop the collection of information. Even Ed Milliband could see that this was wrong. The timing of the Welsh Government's attempt to censor Pobl y Cwm (see here ) c