Archive for October 1st, 2009

Brown fumes at Murdoch’s sabotage of his big moment

Independent: Gordon Brown struggled to maintain his political fightback yesterday as his allies accused the media magnate Rupert Murdoch of “sabotaging” the Labour conference.

Mr Brown’s hopes that his conference speech on Tuesday would provide a springboard for a recovery were dashed a few hours later when The Sun newspaper announced it was withdrawing its support for Labour after 12 years and would endorse the Conservative Party at next year’s general election.


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Suicide woman allowed to die because doctors feared saving her would be assault

Telegraph: Doctors allowed a young woman, Kerrie Wooltorton, to kill herself because she had signed a “living will” that meant they could have been prosecuted if they intervened to save her life.

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Do we still need a Mounted Branch of the Metropolitan Police?

Independent: It’s never been a more trying time to one of our boys (or girls) in blue: the British police are overworked, stressed out and underappreciated, they say. Scarcely a week goes by without a press report outlining coppers’ travails; an excess of hours and shortage of police dogs are just two of the most recently-cited gripes. No wonder that a survey published by the Police Superintendents’ Association earlier this month revealed that half of senior police officers suffer from anxiety and depression. And this won’t be helped by the 8 per cent annual rise in complaints made against the country’s police, statistics made public in a report released last week by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

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Met rejects request to investigate Iraqi deaths

Independent: The Metropolitan Police are not prepared to investigate allegations that British troops tortured and murdered Iraqi detainees, lawyers said.

The Defence Secretary, Bob Ainsworth, recently agreed that a fresh investigation was necessary, at a High Court hearing in London, because of government failings in disclosing documents to the court. The court had been hearing a legal challenge over the Ministry of Defence’s refusal to set up an independent inquiry into the deaths in southern Iraq in 2004.

Three judges criticised the department for wasting time and for the “vast expense” incurred by the hearing. They are expected to give a formal ruling tomorrow and also ask for an update on progress in setting up an inquiry.

The Met were asked if they would take charge of the inquiry but Public Interest Lawyers, acting on behalf of the Iraqis seeking the inquiry, said the Met had indicated it was not prepared to do so. Another possibility under consideration is a judicial inquiry.

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Teaching ban for BNP members to be examined

Independent: Any teacher found to be a member of the British National Party (BNP) faces being banned from the classroom after the Government announced it is to launch a fresh attempt to stamp out racism from Britain’s schools.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, has asked the former chief inspector of schools, Maurice Smith, to conduct a review of measures designed to protect pupils from racism. Aides confirmed yesterday that his report, which will be completed by January, will consider a total ban on BNP membership.

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More independent? Their lordships have never hesitated to make their views clear in the past

Times: Today the law lords — or the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords — morph into the Supreme Court for the UK. It is a landmark in British legal history.

Its significance lies in that it will provide greater clarity in our constitutional arrangements by further separating the judiciary from the legislature. But for a hard-nosed fraud lawyer like Clive Zietman, head of commercial litigation at Stewarts Law, it signifies little more than a “change of the label”.

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What lawyers think of Blair’s legacy – the Supreme Court

Times: The creation of the United Kingdom’s first Supreme Court which comes into being today, has overwhelming support among lawyers — and they also predict that it will flex its muscles to become more powerful, in time, than the law lords that it replaces.

A survey of The Times Law panel, our sounding board of 100 leading lawyers across all specialisms, shows that three quarters believe that the reform is “worthwhile” and two thirds also believe that the move will not just mean business as usual. In the longer term, they say, the Supreme Court justices will be more activist — with the potential of more clashes with government.

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