Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Queen’s speech, 2012: implications for the English Legal System

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The Queen’s speech which sets out the Government’s legislative proposals for the forthcoming year, was delivered on May 9 2012. While the headline media commentary was largely on the economy, there are matters in the proposals which – if enacted – will have an impact on the English Legal System. These are listed here, so that readers can take note of them and follow how they come into legislative form:

1 House of Lords reform – this is potentially the ‘big one’ in terms of constitutional change and political controversy. It is far from certain that sufficient political consensus will be created – in particular within the Coalition – to make its enactment an inevitability.

2 The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will contain proposals which will impact on the work of Employment Tribunals, and seek to ensure that more employment disputes are resolved by conciliation.

3 The Groceries Adjudicator Bill will create a new scheme for adjudicating disputes between consumers and the ‘big name retailers’ – thus another area of disputes will – in effect be removed from the courts. (There are over 60 industry adjudication schemes already in existence in the UK – many of them not well understood but doing work of resolving disputes that otherwise might have gone to courts).

4 The draft Local Audit Bill will, if enacted, abolish the Audit Commission, which audits the activities of local government.

5 The Children and Families Bill will amend the law on adoption. It will also bring into law changes to the Family Justice system recommended by the Norgrove report.

6 The Electoral Registration and Administration Bill will make it easier for people to register to vote.

7 The Crime and Courts Bill will give statutory authority for the creation of the National Crime Agency. It will also amend some of the current provisions relating to the making of judicial appointments. It also provides for the televising of some court proceedings.

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Written by lwtmp

May 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm

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