Brussels Office report - August 2012

House of Commons Scrutiny inquiry into its EU scrutiny system

The House of Commons Scrutiny Committee is conducting a rather searching inquiry into its own EU scrutiny system – its purpose, structure, composition, expectations, etc. The deadline for written submissions was 18 July, but the Committee will be seeking oral evidence during the autumn. For all relevant documentation, go to:
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Rule of Law & Maritime Capacity Building in Somalia: Part 2

David Hammond continues recounting his experiences as a UK representative for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and legal advisor to the European Union (EU) in Somalia for the establishment of the East African Legal Advisory Programme in support of the current EU counter-piracy programme.

In the short period of time the EU team had in both Somaliland and Puntland, I had concentrated rounds of engagements with Ministers for Justice, Attorney Generals, Directors of Public Prosecution and Ministers of Interior and Security to name but a few. Their unified message was reflected in all of our meetings. In addition to the humanitarian assistance provided through the United Nations (UN) and other Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), further expert support for government departments was required in terms of monitoring, mentoring, training and advisory roles in the maritime and counter-piracy environment. Those departments needed western legal expertise to continue with the advancement of their own domestic legislation, judicial engagement in the lawless coastal areas and development of general legal skills. Consequently, our offers of such assistance were warmly welcomed.

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MPs criticise patent court plans

European scrutiny committee

Current proposals for a Unified Patent Court (UPC) could hinder rather than help businesses enforce their rights, MPs have warned.
The proposed UPC is intended to offer patent protection in 25 EU Member States at an affordable cost.
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Tackling crime in the EU

house of lords

Peers have urged the Government to opt-in to a new draft Directive on the Proceeds of Crime.
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Brussels Office report - June 2012

Report on the Chairman of the Bar’s visit to Brussels

On 23 April, Michael Todd QC, Chairman of the Bar Council, held a series of meetings in Brussels. On this occasion, the agenda was largely focussed on EU justice issues, and included meetings with Commission Vice- President Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights; and with senior officials from the Parliament and the Council of the EU, on both the Criminal and Civil Justice sides. Highlights included:
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Brussels Office report - October 2011

European Contract Law

The Commission is expected to adopt a landmark legislative proposal on or around 18 October. A flavour of what to expect can be gleaned from Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding’s call to arms on the subject, viewable at:
The Academy of European Law in Trier is holding an event on consumer law just beforehand, at which it will be discussed. A member of the Bar will be speaking. See
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Brussels Office report - June 2011

Date for your diary: “Justice in Times of Austerity” – London, 20 June 2011

The Bar Council is hosting a seminar entitled “Justice in Times of Austerity” at the Inns of Court in London on the evening of 20 June 2011, at which Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice and Fundamental Rights, will give the keynote speech.
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Action Plan for UK Legal Services

The Bar Council has backed a government “Action Plan” to promote the UK’s legal services sector overseas.
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Abu Hamza goes to Europe part 2

juneabuIn the second part of his article on the attempt by Abu Hamza to avoid extradition, Paul Hynes QC considers the arguments in the European Court and their compatibility with European notions of cruel and inhuman treatment

As we saw in the first part of this article, four men, Babar Ahmad, Haroon Rashid Aswat, Syed Tahla Ahsan and Abu Hamza, exhausted their UK domestic challenges to US extradition, and had to look to Europe for a remedy.

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Crisis looming at European Court of Justice


More advocates-general and judges are needed at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) if “crisis” is to be averted, a House of Lords’ report has found.
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