• Research Briefing

    Human Trafficking: UK responses

    This note examines the UK responses to human trafficking, including the Government's strategy and implementation of the Council of Europe Convention Against Trafficking and a related EU Directive. Standard Note SN/HA/6792 looks at the Draft Modern Slavery Bill published in December 2013.

  • 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

    Householders and the criminal law of self defence

    This note considers the potential criminal liability of householders who use force against intruders. Such householders will have a complete defence if they can demonstrate they were using reasonable force in self defence. However, cases such as those of Tony Martin and Munir Hussain have led some to call for a change in the law so that the test is one of "not grossly disproportionate force" rather than "reasonable force". The Government is now proposing to legislate for such a change by way of the Crime and Courts Bill.

  • 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

    Metal theft

    This note looks at the increasingly high-profile problem of metal theft, which the Association of Chief Police Officers has estimated costs the UK economy approximately £770 million per year. There have been calls to reform the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 to tighten up controls on scrap metal dealers. In January 2012 the Government announced that it would be amending the 1964 Act to introduce a ban on cash payments for scrap metal and unlimited fines for relevant offences under the Act. These changes are set out in sections 145 to 147 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. In June 2012 Richard Ottaway introduced a Private Member's Bill that proposes to repeal the 1964 Act altogether and replace it with a new regulatory regime. The Bill has Government support.

  • Research Briefing

    Criminal Memoirs

    This note explains the civil recovery scheme designed to prevent criminals profiting from accounts of their crimes (for example in an autobiography or television or newspaper interviews). It also looks at the rules preventing serving prisoners from publishing such information and at the relevant media codes of practice.

  • Research Briefing

    Sarah’s law: the child sex offender disclosure scheme

    This note summarises the child sex offender disclosure scheme, also known as Sarah's law, under which members of the public can ask the police whether an individual (e.g. a neighbour or family friend) is a convicted sex offender. In August 2010 the Home Secretary announced that the scheme would be rolled out across all police force areas in England and Wales, following a successful pilot.

  • Research Briefing

    Anonymity in rape cases

    People who complain that they have been the victims of sexual offences are automatically given anonymity. Defendants in such cases, however, are not. This note considers the relevant legislation and the continuing debate as to whether defendants should be granted some form of anonymity. Shortly after the general election the Government indicated that it intended to introduce anonymity for defendants in rape cases. However, these plans were subsequently dropped on the basis that there was insufficient empirical evidence on which to base a decision on providing those accused of rape with anonymity.

  • Research Briefing

    Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill Committee Stage Report

    This is a report on the House of Commons committee stage of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. It complements Research Paper 11/53. In the Bill’s remaining stages, it is likely that the areas that will prove most contentious will be the restrictions on legal aid, the introduction of new offences and possible Government amendments on squatting and self-defence and sentences of imprisonment for public protection.

  • Research Briefing

    Police (Detention and Bail) Bill

    This Research Paper has been prepared for the Commons stages of the Police (Detention and Bail) Bill, which is being fast-tracked and is due to undergo all of its remaining Commons stages on 7 July 2011. The Bill would reverse the effect of the High Court’s recent decision in the Hookway case, in which it held that the “detention clock” limiting the period that the police can hold a suspect for without charge continued to run when the suspect was released on bail