• Britain Today,  Celebrities,  Law

    Go to Jail (Not)

    Dilemma 6 years in Ecuador embassy to avoid arrest 6 months in Wandsworth Prison for skipping bail Which would you choose? Wandsworth Prison – institutional food, dodgy fellow prisoners, mail bags to sew, no view 6 years in Ecuador embassy – unlimited internet, balcony, chance to influence American elections, visits from that Bay Watch chick and George Galloway…. Wandsworth here we come. As it happens, no. Handing down her judgment at Westminster magistrates court, the senior district judge Emma Arbuthnot said she was not persuaded by the argument from Assange’s legal team that it was not in the public interest to pursue him for skipping bail… Summers said that the…

  • Law,  Stateside,  Vote 2016

    Corbyn supporters and Trump judge judges by ethnicity

    It’s shocking and disturbing that some supporters of Jeremy Corbyn have suggested that the judge who ruled against him in a Labour party membership case was biased against him because he was born in Israel or because his is a Zionist or because he attended a Jewish boarding school. Lord Justice Jack Beatson ruled in the Court of Appeal on Friday that Labour had the right to block new members from voting in the leadership contest between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith. The decision affects around 130,000 party members, most of them thought to be Corbynites. Mr Corbyn’s campaign team attacked it as wrong “both legally and democratically”. After the…

  • Law,  Stateside

    Justice Antonin Scalia dies

    Justice Antonin Scalia, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by Ronald Reagan in 1986, has died at the age of 79. Scalia was one of the conservative stalwarts on a court which frequently splits 5 to 4 on key decisions, so his death, and President Obama’s responsibility to appoint a new justice to fill the vacancy created by it, will undoubtedly unleash a political firestorm– especially in a Presidential election year. (Although Scalia died of natural causes in his sleep, I have no doubt the conspiracy-mongers on the Right are working overtime tonight.) Obama’s previous two appointments to the court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, replaced liberal-leaning justices, so…

  • Law

    Dying and the law

    Two very different current news stories both hinge on legal complexities in the relationship between death and the law.  In the case of the targeted drone attacks on British citizens Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin the focus is on how we interpret existing law and whether it is adequate for the realities of modern day conflict: The PM said the “act of self defence” was lawful, despite MPs previously ruling out UK military action in Syria. Labour is calling for ministers to publish the legal basis for the attack. Some have challenged the legal and constitutional basis for this action: [T]he former head of the British army Lord Dannatt has…

  • Gay marriage,  Law,  Stateside

    Virginia: then and now

    It was almost half a century ago that the US Supreme Court, in the case of Loving vs. Virginia, unanimously upheld the right of a man and a woman of different races to marry by declaring state anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. One of the states which banned interracial marriages was Virginia. On April 10, 1967, Virginia’s Assistant Attorney General R. D. McIlwaine III unsuccessfully argued before the high court that the law protected the state from the “sociological [and] psychological evils which attend interracial marriages.” McIlwaine cited academic research that suggested “that intermarried families are subjected to much greater pressures and problems than those of the intramarried and that the state’s…

  • Islamism,  Law,  Uncategorized

    Damned if you do…

    There are two stories currently on the BBC News “Most Popular” list of today’s headlines, both apparently about what Muslims want from the British police. (1) Muslim ex-police officer criticises Prevent anti-terror strategy The government’s anti-terror strategy has become “a toxic brand”, a Muslim former senior police officer has said… Dal Babu, a chief superintendent until 2013, said many Muslims did not trust the “Prevent” strategy and many saw it as a form of spying. (2) Missing Syria girls’ families demand police apology The parents of the three UK schoolgirls missing in Syria have demanded an apology from the Metropolitan Police… On Friday, the girls’ families criticised police for not passing…

  • Law,  UK Politics

    Salaries, benefits, cuts

    Both Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind have been suspended from their respective parties following cash for access allegations. As the BBC reported: It is claimed that Mr Straw was recorded describing how he operated “under the radar” and had used his influence to change EU rules on behalf of a firm which paid him £60,000 a year. Rifkind seemed to forget he even had a job with a £67,000 salary. Sir Malcolm was recorded saying: “I am self-employed. So nobody pays me a salary, I have to earn my income, but when I’m not doing something I can do what I like.” By contrast, those who have been stripped…

  • Freedom & Liberty,  Law

    The More Effective Torture Is, The More Important It Is That It Should Be Banned

    This is a cross-post from Barrister Blogger by Matthew Scott The question, as counsel love to say to witnesses wrestling with an unfair question, is a simple one: If a nuclear time bomb is ticking away at an undisclosed central London location, is it morally permissible to torture somebody to discover its location so that it can be disarmed? In real life the chances of any choice being as clear cut as the “ticking bomb” scenario are all but non-existent. The situation bears little more relationship to reality than a school debate about whether Stephen Hawking or Alan Bennett should be the first to be thrown out of the balloon.…

  • Law

    Exaro News Is Playing A Dangerous Game With Its Paedophile Murder Story

    This is a cross-post from Barrister Blogger Exaro News has been drip feeding allegations and rumours of a paedophile sex ring in high places for many months. Today – in collaboration with the Sunday People – it has alleged that it was not only a sex but a murder ring. A Tory MP strangled a 12 year old brown haired boy in a central London town house in 1980. Apparently,18 months to two years later two other men murdered a second boy in front of another Tory MP, “a cabinet minister.” Both MPs, are “still alive.” Its source is a man in his 40s to whom they have given the pseudonym…

  • Law,  Tory/Lib Dem Coalition

    Grayling’s Human Rights Law Is A Stupid And Incoherent Gimmick That Could Destroy The Union

    This is a cross-post from Barrister Blogger by Matthew Scott Chris Grayling announced today that the Conservative Party will fight the next election on a promise to introduce a “British Rights and Responsibilities Bill” that will “completely change the way in which our human rights laws work.” In essence his plan is to make the European Court of Human Rights “only an advisory body in the UK – able to make recommendations to us and no more.” He plans to do so, if possible, without leaving the Convention: “… we will discuss our plans with other European nations, and engage with them on how we intend to handle human rights matters in…