Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

Posts Tagged ‘law commission

Law Commission: 13th Programme announced

leave a comment »

After delay resulting from the calling of the General Election in May 2017, the Law Commission has just (14 December 2017) announced its latest programme of law reform projects which it intends to take forward over the next three years.

The list is an interesting one containing a wide variety of topics.

A number of these can be see to be a response to technological change. Projects on Automated Vehicles, Electronic Signatures, Intermediated Securities or Smart Contracts would not have been on such a list, even three years ago (when the 12th Programme was published).

The general area of property law attracts a number of projects. These include: Modernising Trust Law for a Global Britain, Registered Land and Chancel Repair Liability, Museum Collections, Residential Leasehold, and Unfair Terms in Residential Leasehold.

There is a number of projects that will examine  how current processes, which affect the public, might be reformed. These include: Administrative Review, Employment Law Hearing Structures, and Simplifying the Immigration Rules.

Controversial issues concerning both the start and end of life are reflected in proposals to review Surrogacy and A Modern Framework for Disposing of the Dead.

In addition to these new projects, the Law Commission will continue to work on items brought over from the 12th Programme of work, including work on Sentencing, and Search warrants.

The Law Commission also lists a number of other topics which is considered for inclusion but which do not appear in the current programme.

Further details of all these projects can be found at https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/13th-programme-of-law-reform/

 

 

 

Advertisements

Written by lwtmp

December 14, 2017 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Chapter 3, Chapter 4

Tagged with ,

Implementation of Law Commission reports

leave a comment »

As a former law Commissioner, I retain an interest in the progress being made with the implementation of Law Commission reports. Under the Law Commission Act 2009, the Government is required to publish an Annual Report setting out progress with the implementarion programme. All went swimmingly up to March 2015 – annual reports were duly published, as required.

But nothing in 2016. The Government has now (January 2017) published the sixth report on implementation, setting out progress between January 2015 and January 2016 – but ‘updated to the point of publication’ – i.e. including details of what happened during 2016.

So what happens now? It seems unlikely that there will be a further formal report until early 2018. Reports every other year might actually make good sense. But that is not what the legislation requires. So long as the legal requirement for an annual report is on the statute book Government should take note of it.

Turning to the content of the report itself, if has to be said that, while no reports from the Law Commission have been definitively rejected by the Government,  the list of reports still under consideration by the Government is considerably longer than the list of reports implemented either wholly or in part.

The main success stories were in the areas of consumer rights, contempt of court by jurors, and the rights of third parties against insurers.

Looking to the future, the administrative burden that will inevitably be associated with the Brexit negotiation is likely to result in even slower implementation of reforms which – by definition – will have lower political prioroty.

For details of the Implementarion report, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-on-the-implementation-of-law-commission-proposals-january-2015-to-january-2016

Written by lwtmp

January 23, 2017 at 11:36 am

Bringing coherence to sentencing: proposals from the Law Commission

leave a comment »

There is a huge volume of law relating to the sentences courts may impose on those found guilt of committing criminal offences.

Indeed, there is so much that judges often take decisions that, in law, they are not allowed to make. To quote from a recent announcement from the Law Commission:

A survey of 400 Court of Appeal cases from 2012 by the sentencing expert Robert Banks found that 262 were appeals against sentences and that of these, 76 included sentences that had been unlawfully passed in the Crown Court. Banks wrote, “[This] figure shows that we can no longer say the sentencing system is working properly. Cases since then have indicated that these figures are not unrepresentative.”

Currently, the law lacks coherence and clarity: it is spread across many statutes, and frequent updates are brought into force at different times by different statutory instruments and with a variety of transitional arrangements. This makes it difficult, if not impossible for practitioners and the courts to understand what the present law of sentencing procedure actually is. This can lead to delays, costly appeals and unlawful sentences.

The Law Commission is currently engaged in a project designed to introduce a single sentencing statute that will act as the first and only port of call for sentencing tribunals.

It will set out the relevant provisions in a clear and logical way, and ensure that all updates to sentencing procedure can be found in a single place. It is not the aim of this project to interfere with mandatory minimum sentences or with sentencing tariffs in general. Those will remain entirely untouched, but the process by which they come to be imposed will be streamlined and much improved.

The latest stage in the process has recently taken place with the publication on 20 May 2016 of a paper setting out proposals for the transition from the current position to a reformed position.

The amount of work still to be undertaken is enormous, and will not be effective for at least two more year – perhaps longer. But this is a project of great importance not just to criminal lawyers, but all those interested in the criminal justice system.

For an outline of the progress on work to date go to http://www.lawcom.gov.uk/project/sentencing-code/

 

Written by lwtmp

May 20, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Implementation of Law Commission Reports

leave a comment »

The 5th review of Implementation of Law Commission Reports was published in March 2015. This states that the number of Law Commission reports on which no further steps towards implementation are being taken has been reduce to 1 – on compensation for substandard administrative action. A reasonable number of reports have been implemented wholly or in part, while a longer list of reports is still subject to further consideration in Government.
While implementation of Law Commission reports will never reach 100%, there are indications that the success rate is improving slowly.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-on-the-implementation-of-law-commission-proposals-jan-2014-to-jan-2015

Written by lwtmp

May 4, 2015 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Chapter 4

Tagged with ,

New Chairman for the Law Commission

leave a comment »

From 1 August 2015, Lord Justice Bean will be Chair of the Law Commission – a three year appointment. Professor David Ormerod has been reappointed for a further five year term.

See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/chair-of-the-law-commission-and-re-appointment-of-law-commissioner

Written by lwtmp

May 4, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Posted in Chapter 5

Tagged with

Law Commission – 12th Programme of Law Reform

leave a comment »

The Law Commission published its 12th Programme of law reform in July 2014.

Nine projects have been accepted into the programme.

Two of these are specific to the Welsh Government:

  1. The form and accessibility of the law applicable in Wales: an Advice to Government, considering ways in which the existing legislation can be simplified and made more accessible, and how future legislation could reduce problems.
  2. Planning and development control in Wales:  a law reform project to recommend a simplified and modernised planning system for Wales.

In terms of potential impact on the English Legal system, the most significant it a project on

  • Sentencing procedure; a law reform project to recommend a single sentencing statute.

The rest of the projects relate to important areas of substantive law.

  1. Mental capacity and detention, a  project to consider how deprivation of liberty should be authorised and supervised in settings other than hospitals and care homes. This follows sharp criticism of the present state of the law by Justices of the Supreme Court
  2. Land registration,  a project that will comprise a wide-ranging review of the Land Registration Act 2002 (itself a Law Coimmission Act), with a view to amendment where elements of the Act could be improved in light of experience with its operation.
  3. Wills, a law reform project to review the law of wills, focusing on mental capacity and will making, formalities that dictate how a will should be written and signed, and how mistakes in wills can be corrected.
  4. Bills of sale, is a law reform review of the law relating to “bills of sale” loans, including logbook loans.

There are also two scoping exercises designed to see whether detailed proposals for law reform should be developed. These are:

  • Firearms: a scoping exercise to consider the enactment of a single statute containing modified and simplified versions of all firearms offence.
  • Protecting consumer prepayments on retailer insolvency: a scoping review to assess the scale of the problem and consider was to increase protection for consumers.

In addition, the Law Commission will continue to work on projects brought forward from the 11th programme that are still to be completed.

Details can be found at http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/areas/12th-programme.htm

Written by lwtmp

August 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Chapter 4, Chapter 5

Tagged with ,