MIL-OSI UK: Committee concerned about future of Human Rights Act post-Brexit

Source: British Parliament News

18 January 2019
The House of Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee has exchanged correspondence with the Government about clarifying the wording of the Political Declaration regarding the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The EU Justice Sub-Committee wrote to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice David Gauke in December in the context of its work on citizens’ rights. The Committee sought clarification about a change in wording between the draft and final versions of the Political Declaration regarding the UK’s relationship with European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
The reply from Edward Argar MP, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, was received last week. The Government’s response again pledged an unchanging commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, but it did not explain the reason for the change in wording in the Political Declaration.  The letter ended with a reference to revisiting the Human Rights Act once the process of leaving the EU is concluded, and the Committee is concerned by the lack of assurances about the Government’s commitment to the Human Rights Act post-Brexit.
Further information
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MIL-OSI UK: Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill: Lords third reading

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill has its third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, in the Lords on Tuesday 15 January.

Members are expected to discuss the definition of a terminally ill person and the government designation of areas outside the UK by way of regulations to be laid before parliament.
Lords report stage day two: Monday 17 December
Members discussed a range of topics including a review of proscribed organisations, the case for national identity numbers and the responsibility of the government to produce reports on individuals detained under new port and border controls.
There was one division (vote) on a proposed amendment (change) to the bill.
The vote concerned the insertion of  new provision which would require the Secretary of State to make arrangements, within six month’s of the Act’s passing, for an independent review on the government’s strategy to prevent vulnerable people being drawn into terrorism.
The provision would require any such report to:
be laid before both Houses of Parliament within 18 months of the Act’s passing
include a statement from the Secretary of State in response to all recommendations made within the review
214 members of Lords voted in favour of the amendment and 196 voted against, and so the change was made.
Third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, is yet to be scheduled.
Lords report stage day one: Monday 3 December
Members discussed a range of subjects including expression of support for proscribed organisations, reasons for entering or remaining in designated areas and publication of images.
There were two divisions (votes) on proposed changes (amendments) to the bill.
Members considered a change which would make it an offence for a person to express an opinion or belief that ‘supports’ a proscribed organisation, rather than using the broader meaning of  ‘is supportive of’, which could be applied to people beyond those who actually intend any wrong or harm.
93 Members were in favour of this amendment, with 198 against, and so the change was not made.
The next vote was on the addition of a number of situations in which an individual, who goes into or remains in a designated area, would not be committing an offence by that act. Such situations would include providing humanitarian aid, carrying out the work for the United Nations and working as a journalist.
220 members voted in favour of this addition and 191 voted against, and so the change was made.
Lords committee stage day four: Wednesday 14 November
Members discussed retention and protection of journalistic and legally privileged material, declaration of dual passports and access to a solicitor.
Lords committee stage day three: Monday 12 November
Members discussed a range of subjects, including the introduction of national identity numbers, continued participation in the European Arrest Warrant and biometric data.
Lords committee stage day two: Wednesday 31 October
Members discussed subjects including the act of treason in aiding a hostile state or organisation, extended sentences for terrorism offences and notification requirements.
Lords committee stage day one: Monday 29 October
Members discussed subjects including expressions of support for proscribed organisations, publication of images and seizure of articles and the movement of UK citizens in areas designated as having a risk of terrorism.
Lords second reading: Tuesday 9 October
Members discussed the pattern of radicalisation, new offences regarding expressing support for terrorist organisations and overseas travel.
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative), minister of state in the Home Office, responded on behalf of the government.
Counter-Terrorism  and Border Security Bill summary
This bill aims to:
Amend certain terrorism offences for the digital age and to reflect contemporary patterns of radicalisation
Increase the maximum penalty for certain offences, ensuring the punishment better reflects the crime and better prevents re-offending
Manage offenders following their release from custody
Strengthen powers of the police to prevent and investigate terrorist offences
Harden the UK’s defences at the border against hostile state activity
Further information
Image: PA

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MIL-OSI UK: Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill: Lords third reading

Source: British Parliament News

14 January 2019
The Voyeurism (Offences) (No.2) Bill has its third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, in the Lords on Tuesday 15 January.

No changes have yet been suggested to the bill ahead of third reading. Members may discuss the progress of the bill at the conclusion of its Lords stages.
If no changes are made, then both Houses will have agreed on the text of the bill and it will await Royal Assent, when it will become an Act of Parliament (law).
Lords report stage: Tuesday 18 December
No changes were suggested to the bill ahead of report stage.
Third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, is yet to be scheduled.
Lords committee stage: Monday 26 November
Members discussed the recording of images which invade the privacy of persons and disclosure of images for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime.
Lords second reading: Tuesday 23 October
Members discussed a number of issues raised by the bill, including the online sharing of non-consensual intimate images, the targeting of vulnerable victims and the current Law Commission review into the classification of misogyny and misandry as hate crimes.
Lord Keen of Elie (Conservative), Lords spokesperson in the Ministry of Justice, responded on behalf of the government.
Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill summary
This bill will aim to insert two new offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to cover the practice known colloquially as ‘upskirting’.
The new offences would apply in instances when:
without consent, an individual operates equipment or records an image beneath a person’s clothing to observe their genitalia or buttocks, whether covered or uncovered by underwear garments
the offender has a motive of either obtaining sexual gratification or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to the victim.
The bill would also ensure that the most serious offenders, where the purpose of the offence is for sexual gratification, are made subject to notification requirements (often referred to as being placed on the ‘sex offenders register’).
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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MIL-OSI UK: What is the approach to forensic science in other jurisdictions?

Source: British Parliament News

11 January 2019
The House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee continues to hear evidence about the use of forensic science in courts in England and Wales and its contribution to the delivery of justice.

Purpose of session
The Committee will question Dr Sheila Willis, former Director-General of Forensic Science Ireland, the national forensic laboratory of the Republic of Ireland. Dr Willis is currently a guest researcher at the United States of America’s National Institute of Standards Technology.
The Committee will ask what structures are in place in the Republic of Ireland, the U.S. and other countries that enable the most needed research in forensic science. The Committee will also explore approaches that successfully provide a current source of responsive, independent, balanced and accessible analysis of emerging science and technology to those involved in criminal investigations.
Witness
Tuesday 15 January in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster
At 3.25pm
Dr Sheila Willis, Guest Researcher, National Institute of Standards and Technology
Possible questions
Where are the gaps in forensic science research and in the understanding of forensic science evidence given your experiences in various jurisdictions?
The Committee has heard in written and oral evidence about the value of a ‘sterile corridor’ between investigators and the delivery of forensic science. To what degree is this achieved in other jurisdictions and in your view what challenges does having a separation of this nature create, and address?
Are there any lessons from the way the forensic science market operates in other jurisdictions that can learned for England and Wales?
Further information
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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debate Committee’s report on consumer protection after Brexit

Source: British House Of Lords News

10 January 2019
On Wednesday 16 January the House of Lords debates the European Union Committee’s report, Brexit: will consumers be protected? which was published on 19 December 2017.

The report called on the Government to explain exactly how it intends to ensure that UK citizens’ consumer rights will be protected and enforced after the UK leaves the European Union. The Committee argued that mirroring the rights we currently have in EU law (via the EU Withdrawal Act) is not on its own enough. The report also called on the Government to share its plan for how it intended to maintain the UK’s access to the many EU based agencies and networks that contribute to the protection of consumers’ rights.
The Government’s disappointing response was received in February last year, and this debate is the Committee’s first opportunity to discuss these issues with the Government.
The debate is being moved by Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws. Speakers include Lord Bilimoria, Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, Lord Henley and The Earl of  Kinnoull.
Other Members of the House of Lords who are due to speak in the debate can be viewed on the Government Whips’ Office Speakers’ Lists.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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MIL-OSI UK: Offensive Weapons Bill: Lords second reading

Source: British House Of Lords News

04 January 2019
The Offensive Weapons Bill has its second reading, the key debate on its purpose and principles, in the House of Lords on Monday 7 January.

This is a public bill (a draft law that affects the public). Members are expected to discuss the key aims and principles behind the bill and may indicate if they intend to propose changes in later stages.
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative) will respond on behalf of the government.
Offensive Weapons Bill
This bill aims to update offenses relating to sale, delivery and possession of and threatening with offensive weapons, including firearms, knives and corrosive substances.
Further information

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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates Islamophobia in the UK

Source: British Parliament News

19 December 2018
Members of the Lords, including the chair of the National Commission on Muslim Women and the former deputy chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, will debate the impact of Islamophobia in the United Kingdom, in the House of Lords on Thursday 20 December.

This is a balloted debate. They normally take place on a Thursday in the chamber. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Lord Sheikh (Conservative), vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community.
Members expected to take part include:
Baroness Afshar (Crossbench), chair of the Communication Committee at the British Muslim Research Centre
Baroness Burt of Solihull (Liberal Democrat), former shadow Secretary of State for Equalities
Lord Parekh (Labour), former deputy chair of the Commission for Racial Equality
Baroness Uddin (Non-affiliated), chair of the National Commission on Muslim Women
Baroness Warsi (Conservative), treasurer of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims
Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary in the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

Source: British Parliament News

19 December 2018
Members of the Lords, including the shadow attorney general and a former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, will debate the remit of, and arrangements for the handling of evidence by, the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, in the House of Lords on Thursday 20 December.

This is a balloted debate. They normally take place on a Thursday in the chamber. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Lord Campbell-Savours (Labour), former member of the parliamentary Joint Committee on the Draft Charities Bill 2004-05.
Members expected to take part include:
Baroness Chakrabarti (Labour), shadow attorney general and council member of law reform and human rights organisation JUSTICE
Lord Hunt of Wirral (Conservative), chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Legal and Constitutional Affairs 
Lord Paddick (Liberal Democrat), former Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service
Baroness Barran (Conservative), government whip, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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MIL-OSI UK: Lords examines Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill

Source: British Parliament News

19 December 2018
The Voyeurism (Offences) (No.2) Bill had its report stage, a further chance to examine the bill and make changes, in the Lords on Tuesday 18 December.

No changes were suggested to the bill ahead of report stage.
Third reading, a chance to ‘tidy up’ the bill and make changes, is yet to be scheduled.
Lords committee stage: Monday 26 November
Members discussed the recording of images which invade the privacy of persons and disclosure of images for the purposes of preventing or detecting crime.
Lords second reading: Tuesday 23 October
Members discussed a number of issues raised by the bill, including the online sharing of non-consensual intimate images, the targeting of vulnerable victims and the current Law Commission review into the classification of misogyny and misandry as hate crimes.
Lord Keen of Elie (Conservative), Lords spokesperson in the Ministry of Justice, responded on behalf of the government.
Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill summary
This bill will aim to insert two new offences in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to cover the practice known colloquially as ‘upskirting’.
The new offences would apply in instances when:
without consent, an individual operates equipment or records an image beneath a person’s clothing to observe their genitalia or buttocks, whether covered or uncovered by underwear garments
the offender has a motive of either obtaining sexual gratification or causing humiliation, distress or alarm to the victim.
The bill would also ensure that the most serious offenders, where the purpose of the offence is for sexual gratification, are made subject to notification requirements (often referred to as being placed on the ‘sex offenders register’).
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates probate fees regulations

Source: British Parliament News

17 December 2018
Members of the Lords will discuss draft regulations on the fee structure for applications for a grant of probate, in the House of Lords on Tuesday 18 December.

Draft Non-Contentious Probate (Fees) Order 2018
This statutory instrument introduces a new regime of fees for applications for a grant of probate, with a banded structure based on the value of the estate. It increases the estate threshold below which no fee for an application for a grant of probate is payable from £5,000 to £50,000.
It also removes applications for a grant of probate from the generally applicable remissions scheme for courts and tribunal fees (‘Help with Fees’), but retains the Lord Chancellors’ power to remit or reduce a fee in exceptional circumstances. Provision is also made for refunds and remissions in specified circumstances.
Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames (Liberal Democrat) has proposed an amendment to the motion to approve the Order which is ‘that this House declines to approve the draft Order, because it would be an abuse of the fee-levying power, since the proposed increased fees substantially exceed the cost involved in making grants of probate and would amount to a tax, which should only be introduced, if at all, by primary legislation.”
If this amendment is agreed by the House the draft Order will be stopped and will not pass into law.
 Lord Beecham (Labour) has also proposed a motion to regret against the Order, on the grounds that it will introduce a revised non-contentious probate fee structure considered by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to be “so far above the actual cost of the service [it] arguably amounts to a stealth tax and, therefore, a misuse of the fee-levying power” under section 180 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; and that this Order represents a significant move away from the principle that fees for a public service should recover the cost of providing it and no more.”
If agreed, this motion will not stop the Order, but will provid an opportunity for the House to put on record its regret that the increase in fees is far greater than the actual cost of the service.
How do these draft instruments become law?
These regulations are presented as a Statutory Instrument (SI). An Act will often contain a broad framework and statutory instruments are used to provide the necessary detail that would be too complex to include in the Act itself. They are also easier to change than an Act – for example to upgrade the rate of payment each year or amend the necessary forms in the light of experience.
This instrument is subject to the affirmative procedure, that means they it must be debated in both Houses before it can be made law. A vote can be taken on them if the House wishes but is not essential.
 Further information
Image: House of Lords 2018 / Photography by Roger Harris

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