Welcome to the Lawyer Portal Monthly News for March 2021. last month, the Court of Appeal dropped the legal challenge brought against the Crown Prosecution Service questioning their prosecution of rape cases, the High Court has rejected a legal bid to extend the EU Settlement Scheme, Scotland introduced new automatic organ donation legislation, and the UK proposed a new legal right to repair on goods to be introduced this summer. Read about all this and more.
The Court of Appeal has decided to rule against the case brought by the End Violence Against Women (EVAW) Coalition and the Centre for Women’s Justice questioning the CPS policy on prosecuting rape. Andrea Simon, the director of EVAW has expressed deep disappointment in the decision. The two groups have requested permission to appeal.
Lord Burnett, in giving judgement in the case, said that the CPS had not made any legally substantial changes to their policy on prosecuting rape after the guidance was altered. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Max Hill QC stated that the court’s decision confirmed that the CPS was neither irrational nor unlawful in its approach to updating guidance.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants called on the Home Office to extend the current June deadline to ensure that those who wanted to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme post-Brexit would not be removed. The lawyers for the council argued that the home secretary has failed to ensure that enough was being done to encourage application before the deadline. This, they argued, is particularly important for vulnerable groups such as the disabled, older EU residents and Roma people.
However, in rejecting the judicial review request, Justice Lieven said that application schemes were required by nature to have a deadline and noted that the Home Office has stated that late applications may be considered in some circumstances.
Read about the latest legal hot topics in our overview
Legal Hot Topics
From the 26th of March, all Scots are presumed to have consented to organ donation unless they positively choose to opt out. People who do not wish to donate can express this online. This law was originally due to change in November but was delayed due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
This comes after a similar system introduced in Wales has increased family consent to organ donation by 50%. It is hoped that this potentially life-saving legislation will not only increase the number of donors but also increase the number of transplants possible. England also started its own opt-out system last year.
The aim is for appliances to last longer and to lower average maintenance and running costs for consumers. The new laws, the BBC reports, will make manufacturers legally obliged to make spare parts available to consumers for up to 10 years. The rules will apply to lighting, washing machines, dishwashers and fridges.
The move has been praised by environmental groups as a major step in reducing carbon emissions and also a step of great benefit to the pockets of consumers. The Government states that they will continue to introduce changes in line with EU regulations or better in aspiring to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050.
“Kill the Bill” protests have taken place in Bristol and Manchester this month demanding a re-thinking of the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which is moving through Parliament. The protestors argue that the new police powers contained in the bill would seriously undermine the right to protest and affect even peaceful demonstrations.
The new legislation would allow the police to place conditions more easily on protests including small-scale demonstrations such as noise limits and duration times. New measures also will change the way in which offences can be committed at protests. For example, the BBC reports that whilst up until now police would have to prove that protestors knew they had been given an order with regards to protests, under the new law it will be an offence if protestors fail to follow restrictions, they “ought” to have known about.
Despite questions about how these changes match up with the fundamental right to protest as enshrined in the Human Rights Act, The Home Office insists that the proposals will continue to respect Human Rights.
Words: Alicia Gibson
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