Joined: 16 Nov 2006
|Posted: Wed Sep 23, 2020 11:23 am Post subject: PSAP News Issue 35 2020
|PSAP News Issue 35 2020
Welcome back to PSAP News from the Penal and Social Affairs Panel of the Unitarians as the Covid 19 pandemic recedes, we hope, and normality tries to return.
Here are some current issues in criminal justice, Human Rights, prisons and social problems. Follow the links (with control and click) for fuller information. Do print or forward PSAP News for other Unitarians and friends.
1 Large rise in Employment Tribunal Cases – The backlog of cases in the Employment Tribunal has grown by almost 30% since April and has now reached 45,000. The end of the furlough scheme to support wages is expected to cause a further large rise. Non-specialist judges are to be used in employment cases. See https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/non-specialist-judges-enlisted-to-ease-employment-tribunal-backlog/5105691.article?utm_source
2 Government claims “plenty of legal routes” for asylum-seekers when all closed – The immigration minister, Chris Philp MP, has claimed the UK offers “plenty of legal routes” when they all closed with the start of lockdown on 12 March. The further claim that the UK has received more applicants than other countries is not true except for one for one resettlement scheme. Moreover, there is no legal requirement for asylum-seekers to claim asylum in the first country reached nor do they act illegally by crossing the Channel in small or makeshift boats to claim asylum. See - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/channel-crossings-refugee-resettlement-scheme-government-home-office-a9700991.html
3 UK Government seeks to stop child refugees joining family in UK – In May 2020, it became clear in the negotiations that the Government does not wish to continue its obligations to allow fleeing children to join family members in the UK. In 2018, over 1,000 people of all ages were accepted under the obligations to reunite families. In 2014, the last year when there were no such obligations, just 8 persons were accepted. See - https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/may/24/outrage-at-u-turn-on-promise-to-reunite-child-refugees-with-uk-family
4 How safe are Human Rights in the Brexit negotiations? – In May 2020, Michael Gove MP told Parliament that the UK saw Human Rights as part of its “sovereignty”. Asked whether the Human Rights Act, 1998, might be changed, Mr. Gove said “We might enhance it, in all sorts of ways.” The European Court of Human Rights is not connected to but separated by law from the European Union. See https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-uk-trade-talks-safeguards-government-human-rights-act-gove-a9535056.html
5 Rule of Law under attack by Government says Law Society – As well as Law Officers, both political and civil servants, resigning, the solicitors’ association has also criticised the Internal Markets Bill. The Law Society gives no less than six reasons why the Government’s action is both wrong and so damaging to British interests. See - https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/rule-of-law-under-attack-says-law-society
6 Criminal Cases delayed now exceed 400,000 – Cuts in the costs of criminal courts and now the Covid pandemic has caused delays in cases but trial hearings for minor offences can be delayed by up to two years. Will there be clear memories? See https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8613503/Lockdown-justice-Just-TWO-ten-courts-designed-clear-backlog-open.html
7 And yet, Court Closures continue – The House of Commons Justice Select Committee has called for a review of the planning of the Court estate.
8 Sentencing White Paper proposes longer prison sentences – Despite prison overcrowding, the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, has proposed increased sentencing for violent or sexual crimes and whole-life tariffs for younger offenders. See - https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-independent-1029/20200916/281728386939244/
9 DPP will not be drawn into Brexit arguments – The Director of Public Prosecution, Max Hill QC, has told a law seminar that his remit does extend to international agreements such as the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020. Asked about Dominic Cumming’s trip to Barnard Castle, apparently in breach of the lockdown, he explained that the Crown Prosecution Service was not consulted by the police. See - https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/dpp-opts-not-to-be-drawn-into-brexit-bill-row/5105705.article?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm
10 UK Banks involved in laundering of £1.5 trillion of criminal money – The US Financial Crimes Investigation Network, part of the US Treasury, has leaked that 176,000 suspicious transactions took place between 1999 and 2017. Some involved British banks including HSBC and Standard Chartered. Laundering is to be further controlled. See -
11 Moratorium on housing evictions ends – With the end of the stay on evictions 200 new deputy judges have been appointed to deal with expected rise in cases. But no extra court hearings than existed in March when the stay was applied with lockdown. See – https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/extra-200-judges-on-standby-to-help-with-possession-proceedings/5105650.article?utm_source=gazette_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm
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