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Reimagining the Law 23 June 2020

1. Juries

Juries should be required to supply written reasons for their verdicts, so that those involved in a case - and an appellate court - can understand the process by which a decision has been reached; see which evidence has been accepted or rejected; and identify whether any material error has occurred.
Secret Barrister

2. Let us watch our language and lift our heads.

The language of supplicant victims is often applied to international law and international judicial institutions. We read of actions "supporting" international law or the International Court of Justice. Current events put international law "in danger". We do not speak of "supporting "or "damaging" contract or tort law. Such language suggests a lack of confidence in the reality of international law, which, like other fields of law, objectively exists and is sometimes complied with and sometimes not.
Dame Rosalyn Higgins GBE QC

3. Call to update the Wills Act 1837

The coronavirus pandemic has shown that the Wills Act 1837 needs urgent changes to allow for remote witnessing by those currently required to be present. Other jurisdictions, notably in the US, already permit this, with stringent safeguards. Modernisation, and the protection of solicitors in a future health crisis, demand this.
Jonathan Goldsmith

4. Support criminal lawyers

Cuts to legal aid have deterred even the most idealistic from working in criminal defence. The Covid-19 pandemic has put many of these lawyers on the breadline. Unless the government invests more money in legal aid, the criminal courts will be unable to deliver justice.
Joshua Rozenberg

5. Standardise legal principles

In an era of globalised communications and (subject to Covid-19) increasing global travel and trade, there is increasing need for standardisation of legal principles in so many fields - ironically at a time when there are increasing global tensions and increasing exceptionalism in the US and China.
The Rt Hon Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury

6. Autocracy and Technology

Autocratic governments are increasingly using technology to harness new digital tools to undermine democratic principles. The result is that the post-Cold War triumph of liberal democracy is disappearing at a rapid rate. We need a new approach to counter the spread of "technological" authoritarianism.
Dr Mark Ellis, Executive Director

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