2 Television Documentaries on the UK Supreme Court

Britain’s Supreme Court

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/britains-supreme-court/episode-guide/series-1/episode-1

Description from the Channel 4 /More4 Web site:

This gripping, feature-length documentary charts the first year in the life of Britain’s new Supreme Court – the highest court in the land. With unprecedented access the film meets the judges, lawyers and ordinary people whose cases will have a far-reaching effect on the everyday lives of others across the UK.

For those bringing these high-profile cases to court there is a lot at stake, and the programme reveals their hopes and fears as they and their legal teams come face-to-face with the most powerful judges in the UK.

The judges have allowed proceedings to be filmed and, uniquely, justice is seen unfolding as judges and lawyers – the finest legal minds in the country – debate key contemporary issues. See David and Goliath battles of individuals challenging the state, the outcomes of which help to define the nature of society today.

 

The Highest Court in the Land: Justice Makers (clips only)

BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xz0s5

Description from the BBC  Web site:

They are the UK’s most powerful arbiters of justice and now, for the first time, four of the Justices of the Supreme Court talk frankly and openly about the nature of justice and how they make their decisions. The film offers a revealing glimpse of the human characters behind the judgments and explores why the Supreme Court and its members are fundamental to our democracy.

The 11 men and one woman who make up the UK Supreme Court have the last say on the most controversial and difficult cases in the land. What they decide binds every citizen. But are their rulings always fair, do their feelings ever get in the way of their judgments and are they always right?

In the first 14 months of the court they have ruled on MPs’ expenses, which led to David Chaytor’s prosecution, changed the status of pre-nuptial agreements and battled with the government over control orders and the Human Rights Act.

They explain what happens when they cannot agree and there is a divided judgment, and how they avoid letting their personal feelings effect their interpretation of the law. And they face up to the difficult issue of diversity; there is only one woman on the court, and she is the only Justice who went to a non-fee-paying school.

 

Other BBC shows on justice and legal issue sare available at:

Justice a Citizen’s Guide

http://www.bbc.co.uk/tv/seasons/justiceseason/

 

 

 

 

UK Judicial Views on Human Rights and Judicial Accountability

The UK Human Rights Blog wrote about two recent speeches by British senior judges, the President of the UK Supreme Court and Master of the Rolls, reflecting on judicial review and the role of the Human Rights Act.  Egypt’s new rulers and opposition leaders may wish to consult these documents as they create new mechanisms for Egyptian courts to check executive and legislative power and protect human rights.

Judicial Independence & Accountability: A View from the Supreme Court

Lord Phillips, President of the UK Supreme Court

8 Feb. 2011

http://www.supremecourt.gov.uk/docs/speech_110208.pdf

 

Protecting Human Rights in an Age of Insecurity

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, Master of the Rolls

7 Feb. 2011

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/Resources/JCO/Documents/Speeches/mr-speech-cla-07022011.pdf

Description of the speeches from the blog posting

http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2011/02/09/justice-in-the-age-of-insecurity/#more-6838

Two of the UK’s top judges have given fascinating speeches this week on justice in the age of insecurity. One by the head of the supreme court warns that budget cuts will imperil the independence of the judiciary. The other by the head of the court of appeal, argues that despite not being able to tell the government what to do, UK courts can provide effective protection of fundamental rights.

The speeches offer fascinating and sometimes controversial perspectives on our odd but in many ways admirable constitutional system, as well as warnings that strained budgets and political meddling could do it damage.

Hat tip to Adam Wagner of UK Human Rights Blog.

 

 

 

 

 

Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage

The University of Nottigham has developed a Web site for its Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage. It offers a diagram of the carbon cycle and news about developments in CO2 sequestration and other carbon capture technologies.

Centre for Innovation in Carbon Capture and Storage

http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/carbonmanagement/

Report on the legal and constitutional powers of the Privy Council

Justice, a UK human rights NGO, has published a report on the legal and constitutional powers of the UK’s Privy Council.

The Constitutional Role of the Privy Council and the Prerogative

Patrick O’Connor QC, Doughty Street Chambers

http://www.justice.org.uk/inthenews/index.html

Excerpts from the Report and Summary Conclusions

Tracing its origin back to the twelfth or thirteen century, its continued existence, if considered at

all, is regarded as vaguely charming and largely formal. But, as the vehicle that dispossessed

those living on or near Diego Garcia, the Privy Council can still display the power that once it

had more widely as an instrument of feudal rule.

 

This paper examines the history, development and current role of the Privy Council. It will try to

throw light upon its procedures and practices and ask what role can be played in a modern

21st century constitution by such a body. Constitutional reform is in the air. Can a new spirit of

transparency and democratic accountability penetrate even as far as the Privy Council? Is the

Privy Council robust enough to safeguard the real public interest in a national emergency? On

the other hand, is it a weak point, a tempting resource for evading democracy in a crisis? Is such

a body necessary at all? What role should the ‘prerogative powers’ play? Are they controlled, or

even controllable?

The Privy Council matters. It provides an avenue by which the executive can evade the scrutiny of

Parliament and create immediately effective laws. It perpetuates fictions which conceal the reality of the

exercises of power. It is at the heart of our outdated culture of deference.

 

The Privy Council is a dysfunctional body. There is no rationale which can justify the eclectic range of

its work. It currently ranges from being in part ‘synonymous with government’, to an independent court: from

a forum for the monarch’s real remaining personal prerogative powers, to a theatre for benign historic

ceremonial. This has all arisen by historical accident, and has never been analysed rationally. The repeated

reference to an ‘advisory’ role, and the absence of any acknowledgement that the PC is a vehicle for the

direct exercise of constitutional powers is less than transparent. This is the most important of the many

fictions surrounding the PC, cloaked in a fog of outdated language

Report on UK Civil Litigation Costs

Yesterday’s Times of London reported on the release of the Preliminary Report on Civil Litigation Costs by Lord Justice Jackson.

The civil justice system has priced itself out of the reach of ordinary people; they face financial ruin if they venture into court and lose. That was the stark conclusion last week in the mammoth report on civil litigation from Lord Justice Jackson, the Court of Appeal judge — a conclusion perhaps predictable, if depressing.

Let’s be civil and stop ‘loser pays’ by Frances Gibb. TimesOnline. May 13, 2009

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article6281621.ece

Full-text of Lord Justice Jackson’s Preliminary Report available at http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/about_judiciary/cost-review/preliminary-report.htm

History of censorship in the English theatre

The Times of London has an interesting article on censorship of the performance of plays in England, including historical discussions. 

A disgusting feast of filth?  by Anthony Burton. The Times. September18, 2008.

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article4775754.ece?&EMC-Bltn=B9QEK9

Excerpts from the article:

It was the Licensing Act of 1737 that gave the Lord Chamberlain the role of arbiter of theatrical taste. The role, held until 1968, was introduced by the Prime Minister Robert Walpole to gag his theatrical critics, in particular Henry Fielding, by banning any offensive reference to a living person. So from the 18th century every British playwright had to obtain a licence for the public performance of a play … By September 1968 the Theatres Act was in force and the censor banished.

Fee Fie Foe Firm: law firm search engine

Many thanks to our colleagues in Australia and Malaysia for pointing out Fee Fie Foe Firm, a specialized search engine that indexes law firm Web sites. Separate search engines exist for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and the U.S. The search engines include law firm attorney profiles as well as law firm publications.  

Fee Fie Foe Firm Australia  http://www.feefiefoefirm.com/au/

Fee Fie Foe Firm UK
http://www.feefiefoefirm.com/uk/

Fee Fie Foe Firm US
http://www.feefiefoefirm.com/

Fee Fie Foe Firm NZ
http://www.feefiefoefirm.com/nz/
Fee Fie Foe Firm Canada
http://www.feefiefoefirm.com/ca/