Legislation / Legal
MoJ: The convention that former judges cannot return to practice as barristers or solicitors will remain, following a government consultation. Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Jack Straw considered the arguments both for & against return to legal practice. In response to the consultation paper on what safeguards & conditions would be necessary to allow this, he is not persuaded that lifting the conventional prohibition would increase diversity of the judiciary.
A second consultation invited suggestions as to how the judiciary in England and Wales might be made more reflective of today's society, while continuing to make judicial appointments based solely on merit.
Press release ~ Consultation: 'Return to Practice, Conditions and Safeguards' ~ Consultation: Increasing Diversity in the Judiciary ~ Judicial Diversity Strategy
DfT: A package of measures to improve public transport and create the first formal champion for bus passengers has been announced as part of the Local Transport Bill, which is claimed to give local authorities greater ‘local freedom & choice, with increased flexibility and powers to deliver better bus services and a more integrated transport system tailored to local needs’.
In addition, Passenger Transport Authorities would be renamed Integrated Transport Authorities (ITAs), to reflect their role in coordinated planning of transport and new or expanded ITAs could be set up to ensure local arrangements meet local needs
Press release ~ The Local Transport Bill ~ Transport Act 2000 ~ DfT - Commentary on Transport Act 2000 powers ~ Local transport plan - process and initiatives
HM Treasury: The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill, which will allow money lying dormant in banks & building societies to be reinvested in the community, has been published. The Bill, which forms part of a wider unclaimed assets scheme, received its first reading in the House of Lords last week. Alongside the Bill, the Government also published its response to two consultations on the unclaimed assets scheme.
A dormant bank account has been defined as one where there has been no customer-initiated activity for 15 years. Legislation will allow resources to be distributed on a UK-wide basis by the BIG Lottery Fund.
Press release ~ Dormant Bank and Building Society Bill ~ UK unclaimed asset scheme: consultation response summary
BERR: John Hutton Secretary of State for Business has brought forward measures to cut red tape and save business millions of pounds in the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill. Many businesses are currently losing out because local authority regulators are enforcing the law differently across the country.
The Bill would give powers to a single national body to provide consistent advice. It will also ensure regulators do not impose unnecessary burdens. Rogue businesses also face a crackdown with regulators being given new powers to tackle companies who seek to benefit by flouting the law.
Press release ~ Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill ~ BERR - Regulatory Sanctions and Enforcement Bill ~ Macrory review of regulatory penalties ~ Better Regulation Executive
DH: The government has published the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill to reform the regulation of human embryology and ensure that Britain remains a world leader in medical research. It claims that the Bill will not however alter the model of regulation or the basic foundations of the existing law.
The Bill updates current regulation of assisted reproduction & embryo research in the light of developments in technology & society's attitudes and will ensure regulation is fit for purpose, plus helping to maintain the UK's position as a world leader in reproductive technologies and research.