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Reimagining the Law 3 July 2020

Phase One of Reimagining the Law initiative comes to an end today with one final submission.  We would like to thank all the contributors who provided the 124 ideas featured on the website during the month of June. Walking virtual corridors COVID-19 closed borders, but disasters occur, elections are held, judgments delivered. Charities and organisations divert funds, walk virtual corridors using Instagram and Teams, provide e-resources, manage crises remotely too. We must re-evaluate…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 30 June 2020

1. Reduce the number of long hearings Why do we not carry out surveys to see how useful long hearings are at least in some fields - e.g. children cases? Put the papers in front of a judge for one or two days reading and a decision, and see how often the result is significantly different after a wearing and expensive 12-day hearing. For 50 cases (a pretty reasonable sample) it would cost 100 judge-days maximum (as the 12-day trials would happen anyway). The Rt Hon Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 29 June 2020

1. Better trials We should stop trying to avoid hearing cases - especially civil and family - and start trying to do them better. What can best be done on paper, what remotely and what face to face? How best to find the truth? Think flexibly and put the judge in charge! Baroness Hale of Richmond DBE PC FBA  2. The shape of the law: its accessibility to the user I. Legislation should not only produce the desired legal effect but also be drafted so as to communicate with the user. II. On…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 26 June 2020

1. Automated decision making We currently have a range of complaint redress systems, in specific sectors. Post COVID, private and public institutions will increasingly adopt algorithmic or automated decision making. These will give rise to complaints requiring specialist skills beyond sectoral or data knowledge. We need a bespoke system to provide redress for complaints about algorithmic decision making staffed by specialists who can test algorithms' compliance with ethically aligned design…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 25 June 2020

1. Overcoming a destructive legacy At this moment of existential public health, environmental, human rights and socio-economic crisis, it would be useful to critique, innovate and transform international law and governance to overcome the harsh and destructive legacy of empire and colonialism and reconstitute a global governance regime founded on inclusion, solidarity and sustainability. Oonagh Fitzgerald 2. The state as guardian not claims processor Public bodies making decisions about claims…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 24 June 2020

1. Financial Services Simplify financial services regulation for retail investors by replacing the already much attenuated principle of caveat emptor with caveat vendor, perhaps by imposing a fiduciary standard upon all links of the investment chain, thereby mitigating the consequences of asymmetry of information at the heart of most financial services problems. Howard Jacobs 2.Law firms working collaboratively Rivals, VW and Ford, will share technology and platforms for the next generation…

Reimagining the Law

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…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 22 June 2020

1. Legal Aid The civil legal aid system should be decentralised and administered regionally. It should no longer fund by reference to individual cases but should mainly fund organisations and develop their capacity and skills. It should ignore time spent on cases but should measure the benefits of its work to the public. Guy Beringer 2.Due Diligence Act Enact a Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Act, which requires companies to demonstrate clearly what actions they are taking, enables…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 19 June 2020

1. Appointing Auditors Audit legislation has special requirements for listed companies, but they need strengthening. To remove the conflict between the interest of the auditor in being re-appointed and his duty to perform his task without fear or favour, auditors of these entities should be appointed by the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority, who should also have power to remove them. Bill Knight 2.The legal behemoth Over the last couple of decades, the law has become unmanageable,…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 18 June 2020

1. A diverse curriculum Why are the British Empire and transatlantic slavery non-statutory elements of the National Curriculum? Without understanding oppression in our history we are unable to understand it today. Michael Abiodun Olatokun FRSA 2. Law as accountable to the public - Cameras in courtrooms across UK - All trials on weblink and some on a dedicated TV channel(s) - Some with commentary and analysis - Public accountability and understanding enhanced, especially sentencing - Open justice…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 17 June 2020

1. Marginalisation of minority voices Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, told the Today programme it was "unfortunate that a proper democratic decision hadn't been reached about what to do with the statue" in Bristol. No. Attributing the statue's continued presence to misfortune ignores the context in which it remained: the systematic marginalisation of minority voices. Dr Lawrence McNamara 2. Right To Know Increasingly public services are outsourced. Yet FOI doesn't always permit access to…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 16 June 2020

1. Access to the legal profession Covid-19 is disrupting educational progression and will increase the attainment gap for students in disadvantaged situations. Inclusion initiatives aimed at increasing access to the profession should be remodelled, using new tools to reach out virtually to provide work experience, mentoring and support. Christine O'Neill 2. Ethnic Diversity at Board level Given the continued lack of progress in improving ethnic diversity on Boards, is it not time to impose…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 15 June 2020

As June 15th is the anniversary of the Magna Carta, today's ideas focus on contemporary Rule of Law challenges. 1. Make meaningful the Rule of Law's promise of equal protection Magna Carta stands for Equality Before the Law, but ensuring the law protects everyone equally is the Cinderella of Rule of Law principles. To earn the confidence of BAME communities that the Rule of Law is for them, all relevant recommendations should be urgently implemented, starting with Windrush, Lammy, Grenfell…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 12 June 2020

1. London - premier centre for international dispute resolution? London is a thriving hub for dispute resolution between parties from all over the world. Countries like Singapore have sought to emulate London through adopting a very co-ordinated approach. To maintain and enhance its position as a premier centre for international dispute resolution, should London adopt a more cohesive approach? Paula Hodges QC 2. The virtual hearing-A shift away from the art of oral advocacy or a new skillset?…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 11 June 2020

1. The law is a male construct All legal systems should address the gendered nature of law and the inescapable underlying problem that law is a male construct. It was made from a male perspective and drew upon male experience. We still have women facing double sexual standards; courts failing to deal adequately with domestic violence and rape; women's evidence being given less value or requiring corroboration. Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws, QC 2. Cuts in legal aid The cuts in legal aid for…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 10 June 2020

1. Stemming the tide Democratic accountability and the rule of law is being weakened by extensive use of secondary legislation, particularly in relation to Covid-19 and Brexit. Parliament has been unable to effect proper scrutiny or stem the tide. Can the judges help without being accused of engaging in politics? Lord Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd KT PC 2. Controlling legal costs of lawyers to assist with access to justice. Many individuals cannot afford a lawyer for personal matters,…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 9 June 2020

1. Criminal Justice System The criminal justice system provides the glue which holds our society together; it provides a mechanism for maintaining minimum standards of behaviour to which everyone must adhere with realistic prospect of sanction for those who do not. That system is in jeopardy. It must be sufficiently valued and funded. Sir Brian Leveson PC Video interviewing of suspects should become the standard. Those not under arrest should be interviewed from their solicitor's office. Those…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 8 June 2020

1. Transparency The Ministry of Justice and HMCTS should adopt a comprehensive published information strategy and a manual with processes and definitions, making clear what is public and what is not. A standard data structure and format for judgments should be adopted. There should be a centralised public database of reporting restrictions. Sir Ross Cranston QC & Jules Winterton 2. Mass production for human consumption The law must now extend its care and concern and, increasingly, its…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 5 June 2020

A Quintet of Parliamentary Reforms 1. House of Lords Reform (Removal of Hereditary Privilege) Act An Act to amend the House of Lords Act 1999 by ending the by-elections which allow 90 hereditary peers in the House of Lords to be replaced, on death or retirement, by other hereditary peers. 2. House of Lords (Removal of Clerical Privilege) Act An Act to end the entitlement of 26 Church of England Bishops to sit in the House of Lords. 3. House of Lords (Cross-Bench Appointments) Act An Act creating…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 4 June 2020

1. Give furlough money to a good cause Is it morally justifiable for City law firms with average partner profits of well over £1m a year to take large amounts of government money in an effort to support those profits in the short term? Many firms have said that they will not furlough staff as they do not believe this is an appropriate use of taxpayers' cash.  Matthew Rhodes 2. Where's the Guidance? A recurring feature of today's regulatory landscape is legislative provision for Ministers…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 3 June 2020

1. The spirit of the law How do we restore the centrality of law to people's lives? Can we do this in a way that more appreciate that it is the spirit of the law which matters rather the letter of the law which some, particularly the elite, use to further their own interests or purposes Lord Thomas, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd KT PC 2. Access to justice The use of virtual platforms for participating in and observing court proceedings should be expanded to enable much wider public access, reduce…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 2 June 2020

1. Trial by jury? Defendants should have an extra right- namely, to choose trial by a judge instead of a jury. I have addressed hundreds of juries and believe they usually reach a fair decision, but if prejudice is likely (e.g. by the media against defendants from a particular race or religion), or if the case is likely to be quickly dismissed, why not give defendants this option? It exists in Australia and Canada without damaging respect for trial by jury. Geoffrey Robertson QC Why should…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law 1 June 2020

1. Freedom of Expression In an era of no-platforming we need to remind people of the importance of freedom of expression and that as Stephen Sedley so accurately said, "Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having" The Rt Hon Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury 2. Global Platform for Online Court Hearings To overcome the access to justice problem (less than 50% of the world's citizens have access to courts) - the UK should develop a standard plug-and-play platform for the conduct, worldwide,…

Reimagining the Law

BIIICL Launches Reimagining The Law

What would you change about the law if you could?  Today BIICL launches a new initiative. Responding to the question what would you change about the law if you could? A range of legal professionals - from practising lawyers to former judges, academics and legal commentators  - have been invited to reimagine an area of the law or of our justice system, and share their thoughts with us. Each day we will be publishing five new ideas under the heading Reimagining The Law  Read…

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law

Reimagining the Law                 We would like to thank all the contributors who provided the 124 ideas featured on the website during the month of June.    For the next phase of Reimagining the Law we have two goals: (1) To select 4/5 submissions and turn them into short 'TED Talk' style videos in July and August in which the author explains in further detail the reasons why their reform is necessary and perhaps how it might…

Reimagining the Law
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