• Research Briefing

    Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

    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

    Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

    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

    Crime and Courts Bill [HL]: Committee Stage Report

    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.

  • Research Briefing

    Justice and Security Bill [HL] Committee Stage Report

    This paper has been produced following the Committee Stage of the Justice and Security Bill in the House of Commons, which took place between 29 January and 7 February 2013. The Bill, which has proved contentious, was originally introduced in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. It is aimed at modernising and strengthening the oversight of the intelligence and security services and would allow the civil courts to use ‘closed material procedures’ to hear sensitive evidence in cases that raised national security concerns. It would also preclude the courts from ordering the disclosure of sensitive information in certain circumstances. The Bill was revised significantly in the Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 28 November 2012. Second Reading took place on 18 December 2012. A number of noteworthy and controversial amendments were made to the Bill in Committee.

  • Research Briefing

    Crime and Courts Bill [HL]

    The Bill would establish a new National Crime Agency and make a number of changes to the administration of justice. It also deals with the law of self defence as it applies to householders defending themselves from intruders; makes changes to community sentences and to immigration appeal rights; and introduces a new drug driving offence.

  • Research Briefing

    Justice and Security Bill

    This paper has been prepared for the Second Reading of the Justice and Security Bill in the House of Commons, which is due to take place on 18 December 2012. The Bill, which has proved contentious, was originally introduced in the House of Lords on 28 May 2012. It is aimed at modernising and strengthening the oversight of the intelligence and security services and would allow the civil courts to use closed material procedures to hear sensitive evidence in cases that raised national security concerns. It would also preclude the courts from ordering the disclosure of sensitive information in certain circumstances. The Bill was revised significantly in the Lords and was introduced in the House of Commons on 28 November 2012.

  • Research Briefing

    Defamation Bill Committee Stage Report

    This is a report on the House of Commons Committee Stage of the Defamation Bill. It complements Research Paper 12/30 prepared for Commons Second Reading. The date for Report Stage and Third Reading has yet to be announced.

  • Research Briefing

    Defamation Bill [Bill no 5 of 2012-13]

    The Government indicates that the Defamation Bill is designed to reform the law of defamation to ensure that a fair balance is struck between the right to freedom of expression and the protection of reputation. Proposals to reform the defamation laws have a long history and bids to change the law have been somewhat contentious. Currently, defamation is governed substantially by the common law. Statutory intervention has been infrequent and the last Act exclusively concerned with defamation was passed in 1996. The Government committed to reform the defamation law in its Coalition Agreement. A draft Bill was published in March 2011 and subject to extensive pre-legislative scrutiny. The Government also conducted a separate consultation on the draft Bill. The Defamation Bill extends to England and Wales only. Second Reading is expected to take place on 12 June 2012.

  • Research Briefing

    The UK and Reform of the European Court of Human Rights

    The UK holds the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe until mid-May 2012. The UK has Government supported proposals to reform the European Court of Human Rights contained in the Interlaken and Izmir Declarations and has proposed in the draft Brighton Declaration that more account be taken of the principles of subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation.

  • Research Briefing

    Pre-Charge Detention in Terrorism Cases

    This note provides a short history of Government policy on the pre-charge detention of terrorist suspects and considers proposals for change suggested by the Coalition Government, which have been included in the Protection of Freedoms Bill.

  • Research Briefing

    The use of intercept evidence in terrorism cases

    This note provides background information about the prohibition on using intercept evidence in terrorism trials. Subject to a limited number of exceptions, evidence from intercepted communications or any related communications data is inadmissible in legal proceedings under provisions currently set out in section 17 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. It is important to note that the bar on intercept extends beyond terrorism cases (and concerns have been expressed in respect of coroner's inquests for example). However, this note only focuses on the use of intercept material in counter-terrorism proceedings.

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