Inquiries and Inquests seminar highlights now available on Law Pod UK

In Episode 35 Matthew Hill discusses the lessons and warnings from the Bloody Sunday inquiry and the Hillsborough inquest in a talk recorded at One Crown Office Row’s 2018 seminar.

In Episode 36 , drawn from the same seminar, Emma-Louise Fenelon discusses the challenges around secrecy, anonymity and public information in major inquests and inquiries

In Episode 37  Gideon Barth considers when public inquiries are established or inquests reopened.

 

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New Podcast: Will AI outwit our laws?

In Episode 34 of Law Pod UK, Rosalind English talks to Professor Karen Yeung of Birmingham University about questions of civil liability of algorithm-run systems, the difficulties of regulating something we cannot truly predict, and the so-called “alignment problem” – how to align the utility function of intelligent machines with the values of the human race, which are very difficult to define.

Professor Yeung is Interdisciplinary Fellow in both the Law and Computer Science Schools at Birmingham, and recently gave evidence before the House of Lords Select Committee on AI. We posted on the report ‘AI in the UK: ready, willing and able?’ in April.

Law Pod UK is available for free download from iTunes, Overcast and Audioboom.

Womb for living?

This week Irish voters will decide whether there should be a continuing constitutional protection for the ‘unborn’. Novelist Sally Rooney’s article this week’s edition of the London Review of Books is short, but very well worth the read.

Pregnancy, entered into willingly, is an act of generosity, a commitment to share the resources of life with another incipient being. Such generosity is in no other circumstances required by law.

No legal system will force another person to donate living tissue, no matter how needy the recipient. An organ donor is not bound to the world’s needy recipients.  Unless, Rooney points out, the law is concerning itself with a foetus.

If the foetus is a person, it is a person with a vastly expanded set of legal rights, rights available to no other class of citizen: the foetus may make free, non-consensual use of another living person’s uterus and blood supply, and cause permanent, unwanted changes to another person’s body. In the relationship between foetus and woman, the woman is granted fewer rights than a corpse.

The referendum this week concerns the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, introduced in the early eighties, which protects ‘the unborn’.

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Environmental protection after Brexit

“When we leave the EU, we will be able to build on the successes achieved through our membership, and address the failures, to become a world-leading protector of the natural world. We have also published the 25 Year Environment Plan, which sets out this Government’s ambition for this to be the first generation that leaves the environment in a better state than that in which we inherited it. These good intentions must be underpinned by a strengthened governance framework  that supports our environmental protection measures and creates new mechanisms to incentivise environmental improvement.”

Michael Gove has announced his plan for a UK Commission on the environment, for which the consultation paper is out now. The paper sets out the principles laid behind the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill which will be published in November this year.  This proposed law is said to mark the creation of a “new, world-leading, statutory and independent environmental watchdog to hold government to account on our environmental ambitions and obligations once we have left the EU.”

The proposed Bill may not see the light of day, if today’s events are anything to go by.  This afternoon the House of Lords voted (294:244) to include the principles of environmental protection in the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, rather than introducing a separate piece of primary legislation as set out in this consultation document: the successful amendment is first up here.

However things turn out in the Commons, it is worth attending to the plans for maintaining and enhancing environmental protection in a post-Brexit UK. Continue reading

Invasive naso-gastric feeding not in the best interests of dementia patient

PW v Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Trust and others (28 April 2018) [2018] EWCA Civ 1067 – read judgment

The Court of Appeal has refused to interfere with the Court of Protection’s decision that it was not in the best interests of a 77-year-old man with end stage dementia to be discharged home with a nasogastric tube inserted for feeding purposes.  The COP judge said that she was not bound to continue life. The sanctity of life is not absolute.” Palliative care “would make [the patient] as comfortable as possible and ensure his dignity and comfort. He will pass away with palliation in a dignified way.”

The applicant applied for permission to appeal against a Court of Protection’s determination of his father’s best interests pursuant to Section 4 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and against a transparency order preventing the publication of any material identifying his father or the family.

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New Podcast: The Right to Be Forgotten

Dominic Ruck-Keene posted earlier on the order from the High Court that Google “delist” links in its search results to articles about the spent conviction of a businessman. You can hear him discussing the so-called “right to be forgotten” with Rosalind English in the latest episode of Law Pod UK.

Law Pod UK is available for free download on iTunes, Audioboom and Overcast.

Win (for now) for app developer against Google

Unlockd Ltd and others  v Google Ireland Limited and others (unreported, Roth J, Chancery Division 9 May 2018) – transcribed judgment awaited

Unlockd, an app developer, sought an interim injunction to prevent Google withdrawing its services. Roth J found that the balance of convenience was in the applicants’ favour. Their claim raised a serious issue to be tried and any action by Google to withdraw their platform would severely damage the applicants’ business. An interim injunction was granted. Continue reading