To smack or not to smack moves to the House of Lords

Sunday 28 November 2004 at 6:04 pm | In News | Post Comment

This week in the House of Lords:
A group of teachers and parents representing independent schools in Merseyside spearheaded by Phil Williamson, head teacher of a Liverpool school will challenge the Court of Appeal ruling a year ago that ruled against the resurrection of corporal punishment. The gourp claim it is the philosophy of the Bible to sanction the smacking of children who misbehave. The Court of Appeal said there was “a significant degree of unclarity as to the basis upon which corporal punishment is inflicted and disagreement as to its implementation in practice.”

QC selection, proposals announced

Wednesday 24 November 2004 at 11:37 pm | In News | Post Comment

Proposals for changing the appointments system for Queen’s Counsel (“silks”) have been agreed by the Law Society and the Bar Council.
“Secret soundings” will no longer be used, instead selection will be on evidence based merit. The scheme will provide information about the area of advocacy in which an individual QC excel, rather than the existing broad brush approach, this will require applicants to produce “hard evidence” of their superior status to be selected as a QC.

An independently-appointed selection board of nine members, of whom four, including the chairman, will be “distinguished non-lawyers” will assess applications from barristers and solicitors. The panel will take references from people who have dealt with the applicant including judges, other lawyers and clients.

Hunting Act 2004

Saturday 20 November 2004 at 6:11 pm | In News | Post Comment

It has arrived: the ban on fox (and any other mammal) hunting (and hare coursing). Seven hundred hours of parliamentary time given to the passing of a very short Act of only 17 sections.
We have resisted commenting on the progress of the Bill until the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 were used to ensure its final stage. Immediately it received Royal Assent a challenge was made in the High court because the Parliament Act 1949 is thought to be invalid. We expect that every other form of legal action possible will follow. Feelings run very high on this debate, and outside parliament are evenly divided. The whole process, we predict, will give a thorough airing to the processes of democracy and the role of parliament.

The Hunting Act 2004 is here.

Recommendation 61 of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report

Thursday 18 November 2004 at 9:09 pm | In News | Post Comment

The London wide roll out of Recommendation 61 of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report was launched by the Metropolitan Police on Wednesday 17 November 2004. National implementation is due in April 2005. Recommendation 61 of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report called for the police to record all stops as well as searches.
The Home Office implemented seven pilot sites for Recommendation 61 across the country in phases beginning in April 2003. The Metropolitan Police Service was one of seven police services chosen for the initial phase of implementation.

A police stop is defined by the Home Office as “when an officer requests a person in a public place to account for themselves i.e. their actions, behaviour, presence in an area or possession of anything, a record of the encounter must be completed at the time and a copy given to the person who has been questioned, this is unless there are exceptional circumstances … a record of an encounter must always be made when a person requests it, regardless of whether the officer considers that the criteria set out has been met.”

Police Powers Module 1: Stop and Search Action Team Community Panel

Thursday 18 November 2004 at 8:28 pm | In News | Post Comment

The Stop and Search Action Team (SSAT) was launched on 2 July 2004. Its main aim is to ensure that the police force use the stop and search power fairly and as effectively as possible.

The Home Office today announced the appointment of Lord Victor Adebowale CBE as chair of the Stop and Search Action Team Community Panel.
The Home Office is currently in the process of appointing the members of the panel community panel. The panel will consist of 20 prominent representatives from communities throughout the country. The panel’s first meeting will be in early December. Among the Community Panels’ terms of reference are: to provide advice to the Stop and Search Action Team (SSAT) and the delivery board on the race and community impact of the SSAT work programme; The Stop and Search Action Team Delivery Board, which works alongside the community panel, provides expert and professional advice to SSAT, and makes sure that SSAT delivers against its work programme. More information about Stop and Search can be found on the Home Office web site, here

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