Legislation / Legal

HO: On 6 April 2013 new immigration rules benefiting students, universities & businesses came into force.  The changes will provide additional flexibility for businesses and enable top international students to pursue their careers in the UK.
Press release & links
 
LC: In a new report the Law Commission recommends reforms to the legal framework governing rented housing in Wales.  The existing law is complex & inflexible. There are many different types of tenancy, and local authorities, social landlords, such as housing associations, and private landlords all have different forms of agreement with their tenants. This is the first report that the Law Commission has produced relating only to the law in Wales.
Press release & links
 
MoJGet a signature on the dotted line or there is no contract, warns the Claims Management Regulator as tough new Conduct Rules for claims management companies (CMCs) are announced.  

In response to consumer concerns that bad practice by some CMCs continues to plague the industry, the Regulator is set to introduce a number of changes. This includes bringing an end to all verbal contract arrangements between consumers & CMCs and enforcing written contracts before any fee can be taken.
Press release & links
 
HO: Individuals seeking British naturalisation or settlement will be required to hold English language qualifications as well as passing the Life in the UK test (LITUK), Immigration Minister Mark Harper has announced.
 
From 28 October 2013, applicants must prove they possess an appropriate level of conversational English (B1 intermediate) as well as passing the LITUK test in order to satisfy the Knowledge of Language and Life requirement.
Press release & links
 
Defra: Legal powers for the police to tackle irresponsible dog owners and improve public safety are among legislative changes published in the draft Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Bill last week. 

Under Government plans, dog owners will no longer be immune from prosecution if their dog attacks a person in the home. This change in the law will give protection to the healthcare, postal and utility professionals who visit private properties for work.
Press release & links
 
LC: Following an extensive consultation on the regulations governing taxis & mini-cabs (private hire vehicles), the Law Commission has announced, in an interim statement, a change of direction on 2 key proposals: setting restrictions on local taxi numbers, and licensing for wedding cars. The final report, with a draft Bill, will be published at the end of 2013.
 Press release & links
 
LC: When a person is facing prosecution in a criminal trial, he or she may be found ‘unfit to plead and to stand trial’.  The legal test for determining fitness to plead has numerous faults, including that it dates from 1836 when the science of psychiatry was in its infancy.  The legal test needs to be reformed so that it is fair & suitable for the criminal justice system of the 21st century.
Press release & links
 
MoJ: A new circular describes the intended purpose of changes to the law on the use of force in self defence in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 and the Crime and Courts Bill and outlines the arrangements for their commencement.
Press release & links
Giving the elderly a voice in Parliament: An interview with Rachael Maskell MP