Legislation / Legal
OFT: The Office of Fair Trading has formally launched its market study into home buying & selling, following two months of discussion with interested parties on its scope. The study will cover the whole of the UK, while recognizing the significant differences in how the market works in Scotland. The OFT intends to complete the study before the end of 2009.
MoJ: Plans to give young, vulnerable witnesses better support and encourage more witnesses to come forward with evidence of crimes have been published by Justice Minister Maria Eagle. These will enhance measures designed to make it less daunting for children to give evidence, and come alongside wider proposals in the Coroners and Justice Bill to put the needs of victims & witnesses at the forefront of the criminal justice system.
They also encourage a better & more consistent support to young & vulnerable witness, as well as individually tailor the processes in place. They include allowing young people more choice about the way in which they give evidence; formalising rules that allow a trusted adult to be present when children are giving evidence via video link; extending this support structure to include young people under the age of 18 years and allowing vulnerable defendants to use an intermediary to help them understand the questions they are asked when giving evidence.
Press release ~
Improving the criminal trial process for young witnesses (closed consultation) ~ Consultation response
BERR: The Government has published a Bill & detailed policy statement to ‘secure the future of a successful publicly-owned Royal Mail’. Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, claims that the Bill ‘keeps the post office in public ownership, while allowing for a strategic partner to bring experience and investment to transform the Royal Mail, with the Government taking on its pension deficit’.
Press release ~ Postal Services Bill 2008-09 ~ BERR Policy Statement ~ Richard Hooper's independent review of postal services (December 2008)
OFT: The OFT has announced that it is to launch a market study into Isle of Wight ferry services. This study will focus on a local market where consumers are wholly dependent on a small number of suppliers and where price, quality and general service have a major impact. It follows a complaint to the OFT, supported by 8,000 signatures, alleging high prices, unclear charging and declining levels of service.
The study will examine the nature of competition between operators and potential barriers to entry. This will include looking at port ownership arrangements, route competition & pricing. Its findings are expected to be published in May 2009.