Today, lawyers go on strike for the second time since January. The battle is with the Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling, over his proposed reforms to legal aid.
Strike action, from a generally traditional and conservative profession, is all but unprecedented and threatens to bring the criminal justice system to a halt. What has brought relations between the legal profession and Mr Grayling to this pitch?
Marc Willers and Owen Greenhall explore the Strasbourg Declaration on Roma, the EU Framework for Roma integration and the UK Government’s response, before detailing the ways in which this response lacks the substance required to effectively protect the rights of Roma.
The extensive discrimination faced by Gypsies, Travellers and Roma has been formally recognised by Member States of the Council of Europe since 1969 and there has been no shortage of commitments, declarations and expressions of good intentions by those countries aimed at improving their lives. However, progress has all too often been thwarted at the stage where policies are to be implemented at a national or local level and as a consequence there has been little real improvement. Continue reading
Marc Willers analyses the impact of a High Court ruling which gave an important judgment on the provision of care for nomadic Gypsy and Traveller children.
Just before Christmas 2013 the High Court gave an important judgment in R (J) -v- Worcestershire CC & EHRC  EWHC 3845 (Admin) – a judicial review case which will help ensure that disabled Gypsy and Traveller children who rely on the provision of care by their local authority will continue to receive that care when their families travel to other parts of the Country. Continue reading
The abolition of council tax benefit is every bit as disgraceful as the hated bedroom tax – but has yet to hit the media headlines. Liz Davies explains why it will be so damaging
The government’s assault on the poor includes abolishing council tax benefit. This is just as pernicious as the bedroom tax but has received less publicity. It came in on May 1.
Prior to this, council tax benefit was means-tested and administered by local authorities.
If you were on employment and support allowance or jobseeker’s allowance, or your income was at that level, you received 100 per cent council tax benefit, leaving you with nothing to pay. Continue reading
Marc Willers explains why it is so important that Gypsies and Travellers respond to the Government’s balance of competences review on fundamental rights by submitting evidence before 13 January 2014.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) issued a call for evidence for a review on the balance of competences between the UK and EU in relation to fundamental rights on 21 October 2013. The deadline for submitting evidence is 13 January 2014.
In essence, the Government seeks evidence and views upon the EU’s framework for ensuring that its member states respect fundamental rights and on its work to promote fundamental rights (through the Fundamental Rights Agency). Continue reading
Garden Court Chambers have formulated the below response to the Ministry of Justice consultation document ‘Transforming Legal Aid: Next Steps.” The response reiterates Chambers’ strong opposition to the cuts to legal aid.
Garden Court Chambers is one of the largest barristers’ chambers in England and Wales. We have recently welcomed to Chambers a number of barristers from Tooks Chambers and, considering that Tooks closed as direct result of the existing cuts to legal aid, we have direct experience of the profound effect that the cuts have already had on barristers carrying out publicly funded work.
Legal Aid is one of the cornerstones of a civilised society as rights are worthless if they cannot be enforced. The law is our system for doing this and it is universally recognised that, where the state intervenes in our lives, we must be able to assert our rights and this almost always requires the help of lawyers. Continue reading
Ali Naseem Bajwa QC and Terry McGuinness examine port stops carried out under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
In June this year, journalist Glenn Greenwald published in The Guardian newspaper the first of a series of reports detailing US and British mass surveillance programmes, based on documents obtained by the National Security Agency whistleblower, Edward Snowden. On 18 August, Mr. Greenwald’s partner and occasional assistant, David Miranda, flying via London from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro was stopped at Heathrow Airport under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Mr. Miranda was detained for nine hours, questioned and had various items of electronic equipment seized from him. The link between Mr. Greenwald’s publications and Mr. Miranda’s detention is undisputed.
As the facts concerning the Miranda case continue to emerge, the hitherto little-known schedule 7 powers have fallen into the spotlight and provoked a fierce public debate. But what precisely is schedule 7 and why is it controversial? Continue reading