• Research Briefing

    Criminal Justice and Courts Bill

    The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill would make a number of changes to the criminal justice system including sentencing; cautions; prisoners’ release and recall; and the detention of young offenders. It would also reform court proceedings and costs; establish a new system of strict liability in contempt proceedings; create new offences for juror misconduct; make changes to the conduct and funding of judicial review claims; and amend the law on extreme pornography.

  • 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

    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

    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

    Private prosecutions

    This note provides an overview of the right of a private individual to bring a criminal prosecution. It also outlines some of the procedural safeguards to prevent misuse of this right, including the need to obtain consent to prosecute certain offences and the ability of the Director of Public Prosecutions to take over private prosecutions. It includes a discussion of recent attempts to bring private prosecutions in respect of alleged war crimes.

  • Research Briefing

    Acquitted defendants: recovery of legal costs from central funds

    This note outlines the provisions under which an acquitted defendant may be entitled to recover his legal costs from central funds. In particular, it considers the recent introduction of a "cap" on the amount that may be recovered. The cap, introduced in October 2009, provides that an acquitted defendant who paid for private legal representation will only able to recover his costs at legal aid rates, even where these are lower than the commercial rates his private lawyers actually charged. The defendant will be responsible for meeting any difference. Following a judicial review application by the Law Society, in June 2010 the High Court ruled that the October 2009 pay rates were unlawful.

  • Research Briefing

    Children, Schools and Families Bill. Bill 8 2009-10.

    This Bill provides ‘guarantees’ for pupils and parents in the school system, underpinned by new Home School Agreements, and makes provision for parental satisfaction surveys. It also makes changes to the powers of governing bodies of maintained schools; extends the remit of School Improvement Partners; provides greater powers for local authorities and the Secretary of State in relation to failing schools; paves the way for the introduction of School Report Cards; and makes provision to introduce a licence to practise for teachers. The Bill also seeks to implement the recommendations of several major reports. These changes affect the school curriculum; provide a registration system for home educators; and provide an additional right of appeal for parents of children with special educational needs. The Bill would also make changes to the reporting of information relating to family proceedings. Other provisions relate to Local Safeguarding Children Boards, Youth Offending Teams, the charitable status of academies, and the fees system for the inspection of independent schools.