Legal Curiosities: Fact or Fable? Among its other responsibilities, Britain's Law Commission works to repeal antiquated or irrelevant laws (NYT article) such as a 1536 law extending a London graveyard or the India Steam Ship Company Act 1838. The commission's "Legal Curiosities" note provides guidance as to which notorious "silly laws" are actually in force (actual example in force: it is illegal to be drunk in charge of a horse, and it is illegal to be drunk on licensed premises, both due to the Licensing Act 1872; not a real law in force: it is illegal for a lady to eat chocolate on a public conveyance.)
When police carried out a routine stop-and-search of her boyfriend on the London Underground, Gemma Atkinson filmed the incident. She was detained, handcuffed and threatened with arrest. She launched a legal battle, which ended with the police settling the case in 2010. With the money from the settlement she funded the production of this animated film, which she says shows how her story and highlights police misuse of counterterrorism powers to restrict photography. [more inside]
MI6 intends to use the 1994 Intelligence Services Act to deny all application of UK law to extraordinary rendition. The case in question revolves around the forcible extradition of several Libyan dissidents back to Gaddafi's Libya and entirely predictable torture, including a pregnant woman. s.7 of the Act states that any intelligence agency action authorised on foreign soil by a Secretary of State is automatically exempt from legal action in any UK court. This could be said to conflict in some ways with the Human Rights Act 1998 and international law, especially since the HRA may be held to have implicitly repealed s.7 of the 1994 Act. [more inside]
London Metropolitan Police formulated policy of refusing bail to all arrested in London riots which might have influenced high remand in custody rate.
Andrew O’Hagan writes in the London Review of Books on the James Bulger murder. It really should be read in conjunction with his earlier piece from 1993 to fully appreciate his stance. Previously   [more inside]
The Obama administration has repeatedly threatened to conceal future information of terrorist threats from the British government, unless the British government disobeys the High Court ruling requiring them to release information about the US government's acknowledged torture program. This may be a breach of the Convention Against Torture. Glenn Greenwald has new evidence. Previously.
George Orwell, Big Brother is watching your house. With CCTV. Perhaps the Surveillance Camera Players could put on a performance there. It looks like Britain really is becoming a surveillance society. [Via Digg.]
"I had to give a statement. I offered them coffee and asked them if they would like to try some swan terrine but I think they were rather horrified. That was a mistake, wasn't it?" The Queen's composer wonders whether he should rethink his thrifty attitude towards accidentally acquired food.
"Fo shizzle ma nizzle" versus Her Majesty's Justice.
Tony Blair wants to nix Double Jeopardy protection. A right that has been considered vital since the days of the Magna Carta is under threat from Labour. Blair wants to make it possible that "someone acquitted of a killing can be put on trial again if new evidence emerges". Why not just be sure of the case in the first place? This would only cause a rush to trial by unprepared prosecutors.