Sunday, May 02, 2010
Senior British judge says 'torrent of legislation' made legal system incomprehensible
Leftists just LOVE passing more and more laws to control people
A new government should call a halt to the “torrent” of legislation that has made the legal system incomprehensible to judges and the public alike, a senior judge has said.
Judge Charles Harris, QC, president of the 600-strong Council of Circuit Judges, told The Times that the criminal law had become so complex that judges had to have it explained to them by academic experts.
As for the civil law, that was so complicated that some laws were “completely beyond the grasp of people to whom they apply”. “Law which is not readily comprehensible is unfair law, because those to whom it applies have to spend time, money and anxiety in finding out by litigation what their obligations are.”
The judge, who heads the judicial rank handling all serious cases in the Crown and county courts, said that the last three prime ministers had produced an average of 2,629 laws a year. In the past eight years there had been more than 3,000 statutory instruments a year and between 40 and 70 Acts of Parliament, he added.
“Some substantive civil law is so complex that it is wholly inaccessible to the laymen to whom it applies and not much easier to understand for lawyers.”
One example were the consumer credit laws, he said. “Academics graze contented in its thickets, while the people to whom the law applies have no choice but to sign contracts which they do not understand.”
As for the criminal laws, the editor of Archbold, the criminal law compendium, had described its state as a “disgrace”.
Judge Harris, 65, said that it was time for a bill to consolidate and rationalise the criminal laws; for a pruning out of all statues and for a halt to all legislation. “It is vital to remember that laws should not be run up in haste and flung, as a palliative reaction, at every problem which may arise.”
His comments come as another judge issued a warning that the public are “best off having nothing to do” with litigation.
Pointing to all the lawyers’ bills and complexity involved in modern court cases, Lord Justice Mummery, a Court of Appeal judge, said: “I am sympathetic to all litigants who get caught up in our legal system.” And the judge, the nation’s foremost expert on employment law, added: “The law is best kept as far away as possible; you’re best off having nothing to do with it”.
The judge made his comments when rejecting an appeal by a Devon lord of the manor against a bill for almost £15,000 his company was hit with after an Employment Tribunal hearing. David Piper, 60, who is Lord of the Manor of Warleigh, argued that the compensation award after a disability discrimination claim was “a travesty of justice”.
However, after telling him of the legal minefield and bills he faced if his appeal went ahead, Lord Justice Mummery, a former President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, said that Mr Piper’s challenge to the payout had “no reasonable prospect of success”.
Mr Piper’s company, Brentegani’s Bistro Ltd, was taken before the Employment Tribunal after Jacqueline Marley, who worked at the Plymouth restaurant, had her employment “terminated” in December 2007.
She complained that no “reasonable adjustments” had been made to her working conditions to take account of her disabling back condition and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and the Tribunal awarded her £14,777 in compensation.
Mr Piper, a retired hotelier, tried to challenge that ruling at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), claiming that it was made on an incorrect legal and factual basis, but was prevented from pursuing his case because he filed papers three days outside a six-week deadline.
Whilst expressing sympathy for Mr Piper’s medical condition, the judge said that the six-week time limit laid down by the EAT was “generous” and told him: “I am afraid this appeal does not have a real prospect of success”.
Schoolboy defends mother from maniac knifeman. Schoolboy arrested
A typical sequence of events in insane Britain. Defence against an attack is immediately believed to be criminal. And the kid's still on bail!
An assailant died in a struggle with a schoolboy who was frantically defending his injured mother from a knife attack at their home.
James Killen was in his school uniform when he raced to confront his mother’s attacker – a neighbour – after she was stabbed and left covered in blood.
The 18 year-old tried to wrest a kitchen knife from the assailant before the man died in the struggle.
His mother, Sandra Crawford, 53, an air stewardess, then staggered outside her red-brick, detached house in St Albans, Herts, before collapsing in her nightclothes. She is now fighting for her life after being flown to hospital.
Detectives initially arrested Mr Killen, an A-level student, on suspicion of murder but they released him on Friday on police bail until next month. Senior investigative sources say they now believe that Jonathan London, 46, died after Mr Killen tried to protect his mother.
A school friend of Mr Killen described him as a hero and said he had grabbed the knife from his mother’s alleged attacker before confronting Mr London.
Ben Riddell, also 18, of St Albans, spoke to his friend after the incident and said he was tearful. He said his friend was “kind and gentle” but was desperately trying to defend his petite mother.
Mr Riddell said: “James ran downstairs to Sandy’s screams when this man was stabbing her. He jumped on the back of the attacker and got the knife that the man had. It was a freak tragedy and James was a hero for getting his mum’s attacker off her.”
Last night Mr Killen and other relations were at Ms Crawford’s bedside in Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, where her condition was described as “critical”.
Detectives said they had no evidence of any ongoing dispute between the neighbours before the attack. Mr London was believed to have been on medication for epilepsy and had reportedly been “going through a bad time”.
Alabama candidate sparks row with English-only ad
AN "ENGLISH-only" ad by a candidate in the Alabama governor's race has drawn the state into America's national debate over immigration stoked by a tough new Arizona law.
The ad by construction business owner and candidate Tim James - viewed more than 500,000 times on YouTube since its release last week - is also generating criticism from rivals and advocates that it could reverse years of economic development based on luring foreign companies, including carmakers from Germany, Japan and South Korea.
Mr James, son of former two-term Alabama governor Fob James Jr, says in the ad that he would drop the practice of giving the state drivers licence exam in 12 languages other than English.
"This is Alabama. We speak English. If you want to live here, learn it," he says.
In 2000, according to the last US Census, there were 108,000 people in Alabama, or 2.9 per cent of the state's population, who spoke a language other than English at home.
In Mr James' view, the English-only plan will make highways safer, save the state money, and hasten the assimilation of legal immigrants into Alabama society.
But critics say Mr James' idea is counterproductive in a state that has received substantial help from 358 foreign businesses to build a manufacturing base that includes Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai and Honda auto assembly plants.
The ad comes as members of both parties in US Congress manoeuvre to either add or duck immigration as a midterm election issue and as immigration advocates file legal challenges a new Arizona law that makes being an illegal immigrant a state crime enforced by police.
Mr James' ad has resonated with voters concerned about illegal immigration and stood him apart from a crowded Republican field where all seven candidates are running on a standard Republican platform of low taxes and less government.
"We have definitely hit a nerve with Alabamians and people across the country," Mr James said. "What's happening in Washington and Arizona has only amplified the people's awareness of the issue and their wariness of government to make the right decisions."
A Republican legislator tried to pass an English-only bill in Alabama in 2008, but was blocked by Senate Democrats. Similar legislation is pending in Tennessee and Georgia, where the state Senate has already passed the measure.
Unborn babies seized from 'unfit' Australian mothers
This sounds like something out of Nazi Germany but I suppose it does make some sense as prevention. There must be early, full and open judicial review of all bureaucratic decisions, however. Bureaucratic arrogance often runs wild in child welfare decisions already
BABIES are being "seized" by the Department for Child Protection before they are even born. The Sunday Times can reveal the department has started scrutinising expectant mothers they fear may be unfit to care for a baby.
Under the radical new government policy, would-be mothers who are 20 weeks or more pregnant are being forced to give urine samples - to show they are drug free - and prove they have permanent accommodation.
If the expectant mother fails to satisfy child-protection officers, they immediately start child removal procedures. It means the paperwork is completed ahead of the birth and, as soon as a baby is born, the child can be put into state care or given to a relative.
Abortion Grief Australia is concerned the scheme could lead to a rise in early terminations and expectant mothers committing suicide.
But Department for Child Protection director-general Terry Murphy said early intervention gave vulnerable mothers a better chance of keeping their babies because they had earlier access to help.
Mothers who want to keep their baby would have to undergo routine urine testing during pregnancy to prove they weren't drinking or taking drugs, he said. Mothers would also have to prove they had permanent accommodation, would be able to feed their baby properly and were not in a dangerous domestic relationship.
The assessments conducted by the department are in collaboration with officials from the Drug and Alcohol Office and Department of Housing.
"This will work best for women who have had a number of children and they've lost them all," Mr Murphy said. "These women would usually avoid us. "But, with this approach, people are more willing to actually meet with us and try to find a solution whereby they can be supported to keep their child."
Mr Murphy conceded that for some expectant mothers the only choice for DCP officers would be to start preparations to take the baby away once it was born. "There are a whole lot of graduated outcomes, all of which are an improvement on somebody being scared, giving birth, losing the child and then running away," he said.
"There are still times when we have to take a child away. "But what we can at least be confident of is that the mum has understood fully why and that it's not just the DCP being nasty, but it generally means her family and all the other agencies that might be involved are also saying that's what should happen."
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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