The Conservative Party went into the 2015 General Election with a manifesto commitment to “scrap the Human Rights Act and curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights.” This note provides a brief introduction to the Human Rights Act 1998; the European Convention on Human Rights and the work of the European Court of Human Rights.

  • Research Briefing

    History and development of the office of Lord Chancellor. This note summarises the history and development of the office of Lord Chancellor and also examines the changes that were made to the role following the enactment of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005.

  • Research Briefing

    The Osmotherly Rules (the Rules) give guidance on the role of civil servants and other Government officials appearing before select committees. The purpose of the Rules is to assist staff in Government departments dealing with requests for information from select committees, including: the provision of evidence, handling select committee reports and drafting responses to such reports.

  • Research Briefing

    Prisoners serving a custodial sentence do not have the right to vote under UK law. Prisoners on remand are able to vote under the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 2000. This Standard Note provides a narrative of events from the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on 6 October 2005, in the case of Hirst v United Kingdom (No 2), to the May 2015 General Election.

  • Research Briefing

    This Bill was introduced to the Commons on 9 May 2013. This Paper provides background for the second reading debate on this Bill expected on 24 June 2013. The Bill creates a new method for appointing the Justice Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive, and allows for transparency in donations and loans to political parties, as well as ending dual mandates between the Assembly and the UK House of Commons. There are also some electoral administration reforms and miscellaneous changes to Northern Ireland law. Most of the provisions were subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee which published a report in March 2013.

  • Research Briefing

    This Bill, which is wide-ranging, will receive its second reading in the House of Commons on 10 June 2013. Amongst other changes, it would reform the “tool kit” of remedies for anti-social behaviour; amend the law on dangerous dogs; introduce new firearms offences; criminalise forced marriage; give powers to the new College of Policing; implement some of the Winsor report’s recommendations on police remuneration; provide new powers for the Independent Police Complaints Commission; and make changes to compensation for miscarriage of justice.

  • Research Briefing

    The Crime and Courts Bill would, amongst other things, establish a new National Crime Agency, change the law on self defence for householders defending themselves from intruders, make changes to community sentences and immigration appeal rights and introduce a new drug driving offence. The Government made a number of substantive amendments in Committee, including on bailiffs, proceeds of crime and extradition.