Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Benefit Cap: poverty, and continuity and change in social security policy

Dr Chris Grover

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 introduced a benefit cap in Britain from April 2013. The cap applies only to working age people and means that, unless a household contains a disabled person (as defined by the receipt of particular disability benefits), it cannot receive from certain means-tested benefits more than £500 per week for households with dependent children and childless couple households, and £350 per week for single person households.

The benefit cap was introduced as an austerity measure by the Coalition government and was justified through a particular notion of ‘fairness’ that prioritises relativities between wage earners and benefit recipients, and which, therefore, suggests average wage levels should have at least some role in determining the level of benefits that people receive. In a recent press release the government announced that by November (2013) 33,000 households in Britain had seen their benefits capped. The Minister for Welfare, Lord Freud, noted that this represented ‘returning fairness to the system by ensuring that families on benefit can no longer get more money than the average family earns’.

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Criminal Omissions: Assessing the Limits of the Military Profession in International Law

Lenneke Sprik

After the mass atrocities that took place in Bosnia and Rwanda during the nineties, questions were raised regarding the individual duties and criminal responsibility of military officials during peacekeeping missions.  In the Netherlands a criminal complaint was filed against the commander of the Dutch battalion (Dutchbat) who was allegedly responsible for the death of three men in Srebrenica; one working directly for Dutchbat, the others relatives of those working for Dutchbat.

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R v Ian Watkins and B and P – Female perpetrators of child sexual abuse: no longer a hidden crime?

Siobhan Weare comments on the recent child sexual abuse case involving Lost Prophets singer Ian Watkins and two female co-perpetrators. She suggests that the importance of the case lies in the fact that two women were involved in carrying out the sexual abuse alongside Watkins. Such a high profile case involving female perpetrators of child sexual abuse provides an opportunity to focus public and academic attention on the hidden crime of female perpetrated sexual abuse, with the potential to (re)ignite the debates surrounding the legal response to such abuse, the invocation of gender discourse within sentencing remarks, and the culpability of these female perpetrators.

Sentencing remarks here: R v Watkins, and B, and P [2013] Case No: 62CA1726112

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Forced caesarean and forced adoption: Facts and fictions – Re AA [2012] EWHC 4378 (COP) unreported; Re P (A Child) [2013] EW Misc 20 (CC) – Part II

Dr Sara Fovargue

This is the second of two case notes concerning the court ordered  caesarean of AA and the removal of her child, P, following delivery.  Part I was published on 15 January 2014, and is available here.

The facts of the adoption case

Case transcript: Re P [2013] EW Misc 20 (CC)

P was born on 24 August 2012 in England, while her mother (known in this case as A, but in the caesarean decision as AA) was in the country for work purposes.  Both A and B (P’s father) live in Italy; she is an Italian citizen, he is not.  P was subject to an interim care order from birth, and this was continually renewed under section 38 of the Children Act (CA) 1989.

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Forced caesarean and forced adoption: Facts and fictions – Re AA [2012] EWHC 4378 (COP); Re P (A Child) [2013] EW Misc 20 (CC) – Part I

Dr Sara Fovargue

Towards the end of 2013 it was reported in the media that a declaration had been issued by the Court of Protection on 23 August 2012 (transcript published on 4 December 2013) that it was lawful for a caesarean section to be performed on a 35 year old Italian citizen against her will, and a care order regarding the baby was subsequently obtained by the local authority.  Headline writers had a field day; ‘Child taken from womb by social services’, ‘Please don’t take my baby: Agony of mother whose baby was put up for adoption after secret court judge forced her to have a caesarean’, ‘Forced caesarean case: Italian woman “suffering like an animal”’.  The judgment and transcript of the caesarean case and the case report concerning the adoption tell a slightly different story (as I discuss below and in Part II), and the reporting of the story has subsequently been questioned by some, including Sir James Munby, President of the Family Division.

Transcript: Re AA [2012] EWHC 4378 (COP)

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get out of jail free card from monopoly

Get Out of Jail Free: s 188B(3) of the Enterprise Act 2002

Angus MacCulloch

What is the impact of the ‘legal advice’ defence to the cartel offence in s 188B(3) of the 2002 Act? Could it make it easy to escape prosecution?

I recently delivered my UG competition law lecture on Cartels. It’s an occasion I always enjoy and gives me an opportunity to approach the topic afresh on an annual basis [the feedback I receive is always extremely helpful too]. This year it was the first time that I had the opportunity to talk through the new defences to the UK cartel offence since the controversial ‘dishonesty’ element was removed by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. I have described one of the new defences inserted into the Enterprise Act 2002, the ‘legal advice’ defence in s 188B(3), as ‘bizarre’ in the new edition of our textbook, but in this post I want to set out what I perceive the problems to be. I want to develop these ideas into a longer piece, but for now I want to pose some of the questions I think need answering. My fear is that the ‘legal advice’ defence could become a get out of jail free card rendering the UK cartel a dead letter in all but the most extreme cases.

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fingers typing on keyboard

Googling Jurors: the Law Commission Proposals

Prof Alisdair A. Gillespie

In December the Law Commission produced their first report on contempt of court. This is a tricky area of law and the Law Commission has decided (correctly) that it is necessary to consider the issue over several pieces. The first report concerns juror misconduct and, in particular, internet publications.

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