Welcome to The Lawyer Portal Monthly News roundup for October 2020. This month, the constitutional court in Poland has ruled that abortion due to foetal defects is unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal has ruled that UK Home Office immigration policy is unlawful and China has passed a new biosecurity law to deal with infectious diseases. It’s also the month of the final US presidential.
The Constitutional Tribunal in Poland has ruled that abortion due to foetal defects is unconstitutional. The presence of a foetal defect is the most commonly used legal ground for terminating a pregnancy in Poland.
Poland’s legislation regulating abortion was already deemed one of the most restrictive in Europe, however removal of the ability to seek abortion due to foetal malformation leaves only leaves very narrow grounds for permitting abortions in Poland. The legal bases which allow abortion after this ruling are rape, incest or threat to a mother’s health and life.
The move has been condemned by the Council of Europe and human rights activists who argue that the ruling means “underground/abroad abortions for those who can afford” will increase or for those who cannot “a greater ordeal” will occur. Moreover, former Polish premier Donald Tusk called the timing of the abortion issue “political wickedness”.
In giving lead judgement for the Court of Appeal, Lord Justice Hickinbottom said that the Judicial Reviews and Injunctions Policy was “unlawful” and gave rise to a “real risk of preventing access to justice.”
Campaigners argue that the policy gives too little time for people facing deportation to organise proper access to justice. The policy provides those involved between 72 hours and seven days’ notice before being removed “at any time over the next three months.” Public Law Project, the appellant in the case, argued that to challenge this notice, they need time to access an immigration lawyer, make their representations and wait for a Home Office Decision. If the initial application is refused, they must find a lawyer to challenge. The argument was that this is merely not enough time, and the policy does not give “sufficient opportunity” to challenge an adverse decision.
A spokesperson from the Home Office acknowledged that the immigration and asylum system requires amendment and points out that the removal window system has not been operating since March 2019. Also, it is important to note that the court did not rule removal windows to be unlawful, but that their operation may interfere with an individual’s ability to access the legal advice they required adequately.
Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, has reported that the Chinese legislative branch has passed a biosecurity law to prevent and manage infectious diseases.
The law, which is due to come into effect on 15th April 2021, would establish risk prevention systems and including “risk monitoring and early warning, risk investigation and assessment and information sharing.” It would also have provisions to prevent and respond to biosecurity risks such as epidemics.
China announced that it wanted to bring n this law by the end of the year as the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China. China has managed to nearly eradicate domestic transmissions of the virus following aggressive measures put in place.
In the final live debate before the election in November, current US President Donald Trump and his opponent Joe Biden challenged each other on climate, corruption and COVID-19.
As it stood at the end of October, the Biden had a solid lead. However, the margin is narrower in many states which could affect the outcome on the night.
The final debate was held in Tennessee and remained much more civil than the last, which consisted of interruptions and insults. Following this, this debate left organisers muting the microphones of the candidate not speaking to minimise any disruptions.
When questioned on the COVID-19 pandemic, Trump said it was “wrong to inflict further damage on the economy” for an infection with a high recovery rate. Biden admitted that he would not rule out further lockdowns if the science backed it.
About climate, Biden stated that he would seek to “transition from the oil industry” as it causes significant pollution whilst Donald Trump defended his decision to remove the USA from the Paris Climate Accord as one designed to protect jobs and companies.
Both candidates accused the other of inaction whilst in office with Donald Trump stating that he ran in 2016 because of his perception that Obama and Biden failed to make changes whilst they were within the White House.
Words: Alicia Gibson
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