Rule of Law

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Rebuilding Justice

Major David Hammond and Paul Hoddinott explain the Bar Council’s involvement in ILAC.  

The Bar Council is one of the 44 member organisations that contributes to the running of the International Legal Assistance Consortium (“ILAC”) based in Stockholm, Sweden. Charged with supervising this affiliation, the International Committee recently reviewed the Bar Council’s exposure to and interaction with ILAC. This was to ensure that our relationship remains mutually beneficial and provides key opportunities for interested, qualified and currently available barristers capable of providing pertinent legal assistance to the international community whilst often operating within demanding and unique environments around the globe. 

30 June 2010
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The Rule of Law

Tom Bingham
Allen Lane; Hardback (February 2010); £20
ISBN 9781846140907

There is a general, though not universal, feeling that the rule of law is a Good Thing. But it is a notoriously elusive concept, one that can be wheeled out in support of all manner of propositions and one whose meaning, if any, remains something of a mystery. In The Rule of Law, Lord Bingham (“Tom Bingham” in the obligatory demotic) shares his characteristically clear vision of the meaning and value of the concept. Readers who are familiar with his judgments will be delighted to read the characteristically robust and straightforward prose in which he expounds his theme. 

31 May 2010
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Pre-election promises

Barristers gleaned a hint of what the future may hold, with the emergence of a rash of political manifestos launched in April. 

The three main parties outlined their promises for legal reform ahead of the general election, as politicians jockeyed for position at the post.
Labour has pledged to “find greater savings” in the legal aid budget and the court system by “increasing the use of successful ‘virtual courts’ which move from arrest, to trial to sentencing in hours rather than weeks or months”. High-earning offenders sent to prison will be required to repay part of their upkeep costs. Asset confiscation will become a “standard principle”, with communities given a say in how seized assets are used. 

30 April 2010
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Blackstone’s Criminal Practice

David Ormerod, The Right Honourable Lord Justice Hooper
OUP, October 2009, £221.74 978-0-19-557423-0

This work is now in its 20th edition since its re-incarnation by HHJ Peter Murphy, who has now stood down as Emeritus Editor. Criminal practitioners, and his publishers, owe him a great debt of gratitude. The teams of contributors and editors are immensely strong, providing as near a guarantee as is possible of an accurate, erudite work which combines practical guidance with excellent analysis. 

28 February 2010
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Annual International Rule of Law Lecture: the progressive erosion of the Rule of Law in an independent Zimbabwe

THE third annual International Rule of Law Lecture was held on 9 December 2009 at Inner Temple. Judge Anthony Gubbay, a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, will give an address entitled ‘The Progressive Erosion of the Rule of Law in an Independent Zimbabwe’. He followed the lecture with a question and answer session. With approximately two hundred in the audience, and with the 2010 Chairman of the Bar Nicholas Green QC introducing the evening, the lecture will afford a fascinating insight into the rule of law and the problems facing Zimbabwe from one of the country’s most high-profile judges. 

31 January 2010
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The Bar Council was delighted to welcome the former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, Judge Anthony Gubbay to the Inner Temple on 9th December to speak on, “the progressive erosion of the Rule of Law in Independent Zimbabwe”. Judge Gubbay chartered the gradual erosion of the Rule of Law under the Mugabeled government from his unique perspective as the leading judge in Zimbabwe. He referred to the practice of placing of regime-friendly judges in powerful positions, the treatment of land invasions as a political rather than legal issue, the amendment of the Declaration of Rights to the detriment of individual rights, the abuse of the presidential pardon and clemency, the intimidation of a free press and human rights defenders, the non compliance of the government with a SADC tribunal judgement and to the threat to his own personal security he encountered as Chief Justice. Judge Gubbay applauded those individuals who put themselves at risk by highlighting the government’s disregard for the rule of law and by campaigning for the protection of human rights. He offered some cause for hope with the recent political change and signs the judiciary may be finding their voice again, but warned that there is a long and difficult road ahead. This event, which once more attracted a large audience, was the third in a series of annual lectures on current challenges facing the rule of law around the world, organised by the International Committee of the Bar Council.

31 December 2009
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Legal and campaigning organisations call for justice to be put


Issued on behalf of: AdviceUK, The General Council of the Bar, ILEX, JUSTICE, Law Centres Federation, Legal Action Group, Legal Aid Practitioners Group, Liberty 

A broad and influential coalition of eight leading legal and campaigning organisations has called on politicians to put justice centre stage in the forthcoming General Election campaign. 

Publishing aManifesto for Justice, the groups – which represent consumers, lawyers and justice campaigns - have called for three principles of justice to be upheld by all those involved in the political debate. 

31 December 2009
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Balancing rights and responsibilities

“The truth is that publicly perceived and generally accepted social and moral standards change, and, within limits, the legislature and the courts must reflect those changes, if they are to retain democratic relevance and public confidence”, said the new Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, at the 2009 Denning Lecture. 

Speaking on the topic of “Rights and Responsibilities: Civic Duty and the Rule of Law”, Lord Neuberger stressed the importance of performing a balancing act. “What a sixty years it has been”, he noted since Lord Denning himself defined freedom in 1949 as “the freedom of every law-abiding citizen to think what he will, to say what he will, and to go where he will on his lawful occasion without let or hindrance from other persons”. 

31 December 2009
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Justice takes centre stage

Just in time for the General Election season, the Bar Counci l—at a reception at the House of Commons on 3 December 2009—launched a “Manifesto of Justice” in conjunction with Liberty, ILEX, JUSTICE, Legal Aid Practitioners Group, Law Centres Federation, and Advice UK. 

The group’s aim is to support three core principles: good governance and the rule of law, respect for human rights, and civil liberties and access tojustice. The event was intended to begin the process of making a strong case for the role of a good justice system. 

31 December 2009
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The Bar Council and the Law Society held another successful programme for bar leaders from nearly 50 jurisdictions from all parts of the world in London on the occasion of the Opening of the Legal Year on 1 October. On 30 September the bar leaders held discussions on access to justice, which resulted in a powerful declaration of principles which can be found on the Bar Council website www.barcouncil.org.uk

The seminar was opened with an address by Lord Neuberger who reminded all present of the duty of government and other players in the legal system that the rule of law fundamentally depends on universal access to justice. The discussions made it clear that all bar leaders accept the pressure on state budget world-wide but affirmed that access to justice is as important as access to health care. The bar leaders also had an opportunity to visit the new Supreme Court on the day of its opening and to mingle with members of the profession at two social events. 

31 October 2009
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