A momentous moment for the law in the UK. TV cameras have recorded proceedings in one of the highest courts in England and Wales for the first time.
In the first case to be broadcast, the ringleader of a large-scale scam to forge pound coins failed in his bid to appeal against his seven-year sentence.
After years of campaigning by broadcasters ITN, BBC, Press Association and Sky News, cameras have been placed in five courtrooms at the Royal Courts of Justice.
However, as the videos below explain, there are some significant restrictions on what can be broadcast. The cameras will only focus on lawyers and judges. Defendants, witnesses and members of the public will be kept out of shot.
Cameras are not yet allowed in crown courts and magistrates' courts.read more...»
I have recently been introducing my BTEC level 2 students to the concept of sentencing and asked them what they thought about the sentencing in the UK and across the world. They gave various typical examples such as having your hands chopped off for stealing and refered to the death penalty in some states in America. I asked them to guess the sentence given to various images and cases that I had displayed and we had a good discussion of whether it was enough or was too harsh.
One of the finest minds in English legal history, Lord Bingham, passed away last year. His book, “The Rule of Law”, is essential reading, as BabyBarista explains. This giant of the English legal landscape is seen as a hero by the likes of both Shami Chakrabarti and Peter Oborne - quite a feat. As Lord Chief Justice, he was prepared to fight for the idea of the rule of law, particularly when it came to the issue of terrorism. The Independent, amongst many others, regard him as the greatest judge of his time.
For a more in-depth review of The Rule of Law, click here.
The Open Justice website is now a great resource for students to use on sentencing and, amongst other things, the proposed changes to the criminal and civil court systems.And of course there’s fab sentencing resource You Be the Judge...
A being considered as having “decisive weight” for the first time. There is so much in this story for law teachers - it’s an example of original precedent, can be argued to be judicial activism (should this have been left to Parliament?), law reform, and so on.
For those of us teaching Contract Law at A2 there is also a lot to ponder. Is a pre-nup not a classic example of a social and domestic agreement? Does this decision prioritise freedom to contract at the expense (potentially) of protecting the weaker party? Does it make matters more or less certain? Does this area of law need codification now?
There is of course the rider that, if unfair, a pre-nup may not be legally binding - but that is no longer the presumption. The court says it will consider matters looking at fairness on a case-by-case basis. However - is this a charter for the rich to pressure those less well-off into contracting out of the jurisdiction of the family courts, or should we allow consenting adults the freedom to contract as they see fit?
It will be interesting to see what the Law Commission make of all this when they report in 2012!
EU Law is a topic that students often find difficult, particularly when it comes to concepts such as horizontal and vertical direct effect. Below are three (hopefully) clear diagrams to use with your students that illustrate the position with regard to Treaties, Regulations, and (unimplemented) Directives.read more...»
The Government has caused controversy by rushing its proposals for reform of care services through Parliament in a single day. Read on for video clips, podcast and worksheet!read more...»