United Kingdom Law/Great Repeal Bill 2008/Debate

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The Firearms Act[edit | edit source]

(1996-1997 Amendments)

Both emotionally driven, knee jerk pieces of legislation that had no effect on firearm use by the criminal minority. In fact, during the years following the handgun ban, crime involving handguns shot up dramatically. [1] [2] The only thing these acts achieved was to force our Olympic pistol shooting team to go and train in France and to strip away a sport enjoyed by many for political show.

The government's own inquiry following the Dunblane killings concluded that failure of Policing and law enforcement was to blame. To that end it was recommended that firearms law required no new restrictions.

However, if gutlessness prevails on the matter, the most important and urgent factor regarding firearm laws would be the following:

Scrapping the Mandatory Five Year Minimum Sentence for Firearms Possession

For simple possession of a firearm in one's own home, five years in jail is an absolutely absurd mockery of the term 'justice'. A crime should entail loss or injury to another person. Keeping an old WWII Luger certainly does not involve either, therefore imposing sentences reflecting the above is insanely out of proportion and isn't in the interests of the public..

Grandmother jailed for five years over 80 year old pistol:


- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/6905852/Pensioner-jailed-for-hoarding-Aladdins-cave-of-firearms.html - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/7964280.stm - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1211213/Music-teacher-gave-terminally-ill-father-pistol-shoot-dead-busy-hospital-ward-jailed.html - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/edinburgh_and_east/8270693.stm - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1082974/Pictured-Incredible-weapons-haul-man-jailed-putting-750-grenades-Soviet-rocket-launcher-eBay.html - http://www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie/5650566/paul-clarke-sentenced-today.thtml - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1260004/Gunman-jailed-years-posing-picture-automatic-pistol.html

13 May 2010 (UTC) George - 13th May 2010

A strongly recommended minimum might be more appropriate, with specified reasons it might or might not apply, allowing judicial leeway for the occasional exception. Amicus 11:33, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Comment moved from 'Section 5 - Non lethal weapons.'

They also provide an excellent means of assault, threat or robbery. A good sentiment but the down side could be legitimising the carrying of defensive weaponry - in particular that also has offensive potential. - anon

Everything has offensive potential. If a criminal wants to rob you, he/she will use anything at their disposal. Giving people the ability to defend themselves legally with weapons (in this case non-lethal self defence devices) is as much a matter of principle as it is a criminal deterrent. - AB

Problems with Just Repealing - Bill of Rights[edit | edit source]

There is a huge problem with just repealing bills. It's fundamentally just a tinkering with legislation.

What is needed is a simple bill of rights. To that effect I've created a new page for such a bill. A draft is here. Bill_Of_Rights (NL)

It is hard to see any necessity for repealing the Human Rights Act at all, an entirely worthy piece of legislation that has chiefly served to uphold the right to Fair Trials and prevent abuse of process in the more controversial Terrorist cases. Civil liberties would be strengthened by adding to it with the suggested Bill, but no clear reason has been offered for repealing the statute we already have, which cannot help but provoke speculation that some rights currently possessed by residents or people on trial in this country will actually be weakened. The majority of controversial cases on apparently misapplied Human Rights have actually derived from other legislation. Would strongly suggest retaining the Act we already have in addition to any new bill.

With regard to the proposed Bill of Rights above, I suggest the people so besotted with referenda take a look at the executive paralysis this tends to create, such as in Switzerland. The chief problem with relying on the public to act as both a check on parliament and/or a final voice of arbitration on new legislation is the lack of expertise or experience in legal, economic, sociological or even basic financial matters possessed by most of said public. The chief justification for the election of specialist politicians in the first place is, after all, in the expectation they will prove somewhat more expert on these matters, and this is without taking into the account that the correct decision on any given matter will quite often differ greatly from the popular one. Any workable government needs a degree of independence from the whims of its electors.

As a final point, the list of proposed abolitions of public bodies in the main bill is liable to utterly undermine the credibility of the remainder. Suggest it be removed.

Why do you think naming public bodies to be removed brings the bill into disrepute? They are surely a good example of 'Repeals' of legislation.--TimC 08:15, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

-- Ben A, 12th May 2010

I would support the above comments. A Bill of Rights is independent of the concept of Human Rights and any legal reference to same. Human Rights are those which we acknowledge as rights predicated on simply being human, and form a firm basis from which it is possible to even more rigorously defend our liberty. If there are rights that we wish to assert by virtue of being British citizens above and beyond those that we assert as universal (applicable in all places and times) human rights, then these can stand alongside the HRA.

--Adam S, 12th May 2010

Adopting and expanding upon the first 10 amendments of the United States Constitution would give an excellent basis to work upon.

I'd take just one of those rights, if I had to - the right of the court to assess a law and determine if it met certain basic criteria. In the States the critierion is constitutionality. In the UK I'd go for a list of criteria:
  1. Legitimate legal interest
  2. Legitimate approach to accomplishing the legal interest
  3. Legitimate concerns underpinning the law are well researched and the law does not "fly in the face" of knowledge (laws based on prejudice, presumption, lack of fact-finding, or ignoring of well established facts, have no place)
  4. Likely to be effective and practical in addressing the legitimate interest
  5. Legitimate interest could not be achieved in any less incursive practical way (minimal intrusion/impact on non-problematic actions)
  6. Appropriate safeguards exist for exceptional cases.
While this is a repeal bill proposal, if there were a single law I'd add to balance any future repeat of bad legislation, it would be something like this. I'd want this to be a court-mediated issue not a legislative step since often the issues with a law only become apparent once a case comes up. Amicus 08:03, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Employment Act 2002[edit | edit source]

"These sections contain laws which burden employees and entrepreneurs."


What are the burdens of these laws? --mikeu talk 18:49, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Since "employment by another", which is an inherently unstable way of earning a living, has evolved as the dominant form of income generation in the UK, it should be a responsibility of government to at least mitigate against some of this system's its worst excesses. The Employment Act 2002 exists for the benefit of those employed not for the benefit of the employer, whose position could be strengthened through other measures related to taxation. Atlanticwriter 08:26, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

Limited companies, private banks, stock markets etc are all fairly recent inventions (historically) and depend on all sorts of laws designed to protect capitalists from their liabilities as they pool their financial power. Should we dismiss these laws too, because we can show that they sometimes create a burden on employees and consumers?

Surely, the intelligent thing to do is to balance the rights and responsibilities of companies ... this is what legislation such as the Employment Act 2002 tries to do. If you want to be taken seriously when challenging it, you will need to be quite a bit more detailed and sophisticated in your approach. Philosophe 14:04, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

Local Government Act 2000[edit | edit source]

"This act established a Standards Boards to oversee the conduct of locally elected councillors"


This sounds more like a description of the act, rather than a rationale for why it should be repealed. --mikeu talk 18:46, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Not familiar with UK local government in any great depth, but the reasoning that may behind this is an argument that local councillors should be accountable to their electorates, rather than a standards board. Sfan00 IMG 21:02, 30 July 2009 (UTC)
Local Councillors in the UK can be taken to "The Standards Board", a QUANGO, by anyone, but usualy a QUANGO, they are then told to stop whatever it was they were doing which upset the QUANGOCRAT, and if they dont, they are removed from office and barred from standing again. The effect being any councillor who challenges the QUANGOCRACY is simply removed from office, with no right (or purpose) to appealing. No matter how popular the councillor, how effective, or how big a majority he was elected with.
If you want an example, check out the tale of Alex Riley, councillor for Longstanton, South Cambs. He was elected by the people of Longstanton to represent them in the matter of Northstowe, a new town being built very close to Longstanton. He was then informed that as someone with an interest in the subject (given that he lived in Longstanton), he was not allowed to discuss or vote on matters pertaining to Northstowe, thus removing the elected voice of the people directly affected by the proposals. No doubt the same would have happened to anyone elected by the residents of Longstanton. The cynic in me suggests that had he been in favour of Northstowe, the issue would never have arisen. Llondel 09:23, 1 January 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure what words to use to say "this is wrong".

-- 14:10, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Hmmm, are you saying removal should be by the electorate, not some unelected entity? 15:59, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
It would make sense for elected officials to answer to electors, rather than apparatchiks.

--DominicJ 13:10, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

The Standards Board now delegates most decision making to local councils but the decisions are taken behind closed doors. The whole process is a mess - completely non-transparent and very unsatisfactory from the point of view of both the complainant and the accused. Even where there is evidence to show the Council process is flawed the Standards Board won't intervene in individual cases to ensure due process - they just take note of what has happened and issue new guidance after the event. The current system can have a terrible impact on innocent individuals and destroy public confidence in local politics.

2. 'The Local Government Act 2000 also introduced the Cabinet model of local government' and the old "committee system" which had worked for generations was outlawed for any but the smallest of councils. This new system is hugely unpopular. It has led to a real loss of influence for most democratically elected local councillors, concentrating power in the hands of a small number of "portfolio holders" selected by the Leader. It also significantly reduces accountability - it requires that the Executive (ie the most senior members of any political party) should be "scrutinised" in public by the backbenchers of the same party. In principle the idea of non-political scrutiny is great. In practice, it simply doesn't work. most political parties are tribal.

Identity Cards Act 2006[edit | edit source]

Waste of money and ineffective. Existing forms of identity cant be managed this will be no different

    • No reasoning given for repeal92.40.4.21 09:23, 1 July 2010 (UTC)


Infringement of civil liberty and freedom. Huge cost to implement and maintain. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15:30, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

The concept of identity cards is not fundamentally a bad thing within the context of being able to decisively identify oneself. The only real issues are technical competence and trust. The technology to produce cards that cannot be fraudulently replicated does not exist, and the technology to protect a back-end database with everyone's collective personal information, also does not exist.

Ignoring for a second that the vast majority of the population don't trust the government with their private data, the [current] technical impossibility should be enough to make a project a non-starter!

Just as an example, we currently have a chap the US is trying to extradite for hacking 97 US government installations, this is an INDIVIDUAL hacking "for fun", not a huge ring of commercial hackers looking for a big payday. On this side of the pond, our government officials already leave private information lying around on trains and mail it through to "other" people on un-encrypted CD's. What chance would [do] they have against a concerted effort by competent criminal organisations. I'd quite like to close my bank accounts and hide under the bed, the idea of giving someone ALL my personal data and letting them produce cards that identify the carrier as "me" is just mind boggling. Have government ministers not watched "the Net" ?

Perhaps some credit card fraud statistics might help put the scale of the potential problem into context? Oddjobz 09:31, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

First of all, let me start with saying to the ID cards opponents that they need to make up their mind and stop just making up cost figures and the amount of information held on the cards! One day is £1.6bn Next is £8bn and the third is £12bn!!! Then the amount they telling us that you need a passport to get and ID card (wich is untrue) and then that the cards cost from £60 to £140! (they only cost £30).

I believe we should have identity cards for all. Our details are already recorded on countless computers databases (most may I add, managed by private companies and NOT safeguarded by ANY law). NHS, National Insurance, driving license, and car registration documents, TV license, all our credit cards, creditors, and banks and savings accounts etc.

However there are a lot of people out there who do not pay their taxes, who visit this country for reasons other than contributing to its culture or welfare, or who live here as natives determined to do nothing to help anyone other than themselves. Sorry, but this clause in the bill does not convince me. There has been an instance of 2 failed asylum seekers in Croydon that have stayed in the country and claimed the ID of more than 4 people each, getting work and benefits in different names, avoiding taxes etc etc etc. And they are only 2 people living with the identities of 8!!! Want this co carry on? Then scrap the ID cards! If you want it to stop then make ID cards compulsory for anyone over the age of 16!

Yes I agree, Britain was a different society all together after WWII, but now other cultures have merged and with this come a merging of ideas. 20% of British Teenagers admit today to forging these stupid privately issued “ID”’s so they can get alcohol, cigarettes and tattoos!

Also we live in the 21st Century! ID is IMPORTANT!

At the end of the day, NOTHING belongs to US! Our Passport, our driving licence our own NATIONALITY can be revoked if need be. So, just SAFEGUARD the data and KEEP the ID!

I have lived in a country where the ID is compulsory from the age of 14. It has NEVER disrupted my life. But it has disrupted the life’s and lies of illegal immigrants, it has stopped teenagers lying about their age, has stopped people assuming multiple identities to claim several benefits under different names etc etc.

Also, just imagine: You are involved in an accident. No ID on you nobody recognises you! You end up in hospital and you might need certain daily medication! How does ANYONE know? They simply do NOT! You might have diabetes, cancer, heart condition that requires daily medication! If you have HIV then missing some doses of medication can make you develop resistance and then shorten your life! But if the ID card was compulsory for anyone, what hospitals had to do, is to call the police and request a fingerprint read, which can lead to getting your next of kin informed your GP and SAVE your life! Disagree: People with serious medical conditions carry medical bracelets or cards for this situation.

Scrapping the ID cards is a cheap and small minded diversion of the bigger problem of KEEPING the DNA database! SHAME ON BOTH THE LIBERALS AND THE CONSERVATIVES for KEEPING the DNA database and scrapping the ID cards! SHAME SHAME SHAME on you.

The essential reason for repealing this Act is that it hands to the state forever that which it should never own: my identity.

Atlanticwriter 08:29, 10 August 2009 (UTC)

I would agree that keeping data secure is a problem. Putting it all in one place is surely nirvana for the professional ID theft criminals. Hack the central DB and you get 10's of millions of IDs.

What I'd like to see is a sensible financial justification for ID cards and teh central database.

How much is "not having ID cards" costing us?

Clearly there is a quantifiable element which is basic financial fraud, but there will be some costs that are difficult to quantify. E.G. Could we scale back some of the intelligence services in the terrorism fight as a result of ID card introduction?

It would need a fairly rigorous challenge to the business case as we all know the "difficult to quantify" element will be talked up no end, and likewise there needs to be an assessment of risk (and cost associated) with the centralised data being compromised.

I would expect that this has all been done already, however I'm not sure how rigorous the challenges have been. 12:15, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

There really isn't any good reason for ID cards - they won't save us from fraud (most fraudsters lie about their circumstances, not their identity), nor will they won't stop terrorism (the July 7th and 9/11 bombers wanted to be identified posthumously). For more details, and a verbose explanation, see no2id.

When we scrap the system, it's essential to scrap:

- the biometric passport. We should revert to allowing people to smile in their photos - this frustrates digital photo recognition, which is good thing.
- any fingerprint registration except of convicted criminals (we must also press the USA to stop fingerprinting our citizens, and delete the records they currently hold)
- any data collected under the scheme so far - it must be destroyed. existing cards should be invalidated.
- the underlying database.
- All regulations and secondary instruments that were also passed to enforce the takeup of such id cards such as the immigration regulation on certificate of entilement to the right of abode 3145.

In addition, may I propose that any existing ID-card infrastructure (hardware, software) must be put beyond use (eg the software must be deleted without keeping backups). Furthermore, existing contracts should be voided without compensation.

Agree completely. "The right to a private life" seems to me, to be on a par with the right to free speech. I want it, and I feel it's my right to have it. I do not want my data floating round beyond the absolute and barest minimum. I don't want my life tracked and traced, my movements, relationships, possessions, purchases, emails of love, fear, business, friendship and death, my social life, to be forced to be "out there". Not even segregated or on a promise of "separate databases" or "restricted access". I should not be forced to do so, nor forced to trust in promises about it. That's my life, and it's mine. Not the government's. Amicus 11:33, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Agree with Amicus. I believe that the problem is not so much the ID card but the databases which would hold it all; open to abuse and sorting-through by just about anyone with a so-called badge of "authority". No government has the right to "own" someone's identity, but that is exactly what would happen if everyone meekly handed over their fingerprints and blood samples to "authority". I do not buy the notion that it is the "21st-century way of doing things", it has always been the desire of those in power to obtain full control over people. Biometric data is highly personal, especially DNA, it is the essence of a person and not to be tampered or toyed with by government officialdom (or anyone else, come to that). Taking people's fingerprints like common criminals is insulting. ID cards will never eradicate terrorism and there will always be a market in faked ones. The opportunities for mission-creep with these things are too horrible to contemplate.

Unwavering support for repeal: This ridiculous piece of legislation represents New Labour's ultimate push for an Orwellian state. If one has done nothind wrong, why should they be forced to submit such infprmation to the hands of the lawmen? Biometric passports should also be abolished, yes, as should the DNA database for crimes of a sentence of less than 5 years. The retention of millions of DNA samples is truly frightening, for one day we will crack DNA and learn who is more likely to die from what, and that is chilling stuff in the hands of the government. Fingerprinting is also the fate of a criminal, not a good citizen. Biometrics can also be faked, so if we want to fight terrorism, we cannot give them such an opportunity. Indeed, if one faked someone's biometrics, then this faker would have the entire person's identity to use for good or for ill, turning each and every one of us into potential terrorist pawns with no way to fight back. All software used must also be put beyond use, certainly.

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act 2006[edit | edit source]

"These allow changes in legislation and regulation without reference to Parliament"


The greatest priority must be the repeal of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, 2006, which allows civil servants to make legislation, as they did with the Lloyd's Act, 2008, completely bypassing Parliament. It is precisely what Winston Churchill warned against in 1945:

--Major Bonkers 20:58, 30 July 2009 (UTC)

Agreed that the 2006 act is the core of the problem, repealing it will nullify a very great deal of (often well-intended) bureaucratic work which might still have value. I therefore suggest an amending rather than a repealing act, the effect of which would be to nullify the mandatory nature of the secondary legislation and of the regulations authorised in 2006 to and declare them to be advisory statements of Best Practice. The resulting advisory material should be overtly available as evidence for use in civil actions and for use in criminal actions concerned with negligence and the like. This proposition might equally be good for other oppressive legislation subject to the Great Repeal Bill.Rupert Butler 11:12, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

The trouble with treating the secondary legislation as indicative of Best Practice is that it assumes those drafting such legislation have sufficient expertise in the area covered to be capable of judging what Best Practices are. There is scant evidence that this is the case. In general though the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, 2006 is an insult to the tradition of Parliamentary democracy and has to go at the first opportunity. Only then can Members of Parliament begin to carry out the duty with which we the electors entrust them, to thoroughly scrutinise all legislation to ensure that it is both well drafted and desired by their constituents. --Eleanor McHugh 15:00, 31 July 2009 (UTC)

The 2001 Act laid down the initial conditions to bypass Parliamentary scrutiny. 27 bills and orders went through this way between 2001 and 2006, and several more were stopped by the Scrutiny Committee as procedural abuses or incorrect in format, including one bill that was in excess of 100 pages. Some of the sections of the 2001 were replaced by the 2006 Act, but both must go if this is to be consistent. Ephebi 16:49, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

PS Former-speaker Baroness Betty Boothroyd on Parliament TV last night indicated that the introduction of 'family-friendly hours' in the House of Commons has significantly reduced the capability of MPs to scrutinise legislation. Thus repealing the 2001 & 2006 Acts to ensure that MPs scrutinise legislation may require them to reset their working hours. Ephebi 12:52, 19 May 2010 (UTC)

Unconvinced (though willing to hear her out). People in all walks of life have to do their job - be it plumbing, legal advice, scrutiny or the like - in a humane number of hours that fits in with a normal balanced lifestyle. I accept that in a range of professions that's not how it works out - lawyers work till 9pm on a deadline, doctors hours are notoriously long, even plumbers and teachers work exceedingly long hours. The question is, can the job of the HOuse and its Mps actually be done in a sane working week. if so then that sane working week should fit with a normal business week - if not then there's a whole different issue to examine. Amicus 03:15, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Regulations such as the Statutory Instrument for the Certificate of right of abode 3145 was used through the powers of this act to over ride primary legislation and other legislation that required an impact assessment study to be undertaken were ignored using this act

Schedule 12 of the Finance Act 2000 Provision of Services through an intermediary otherwise known as IR35[edit | edit source]

See http://johnantell.co.uk/FA2000SCH12.htm for the actual text of the legislation.

This piece of legislation has resulted in very little money actually going to the exchequer. While easy to describe, it is even harder to determine if you actually have to pay it. Further, given court and commissioner hearings, you do not even have an automatic right to see all the required documents to assess your payments under it.

The government have consistently refused to answer questions as to the amount collected. Figures on those investigated come not from Inland Revenue, but from the Insurance companies who insure businesses against investigation. Currently over 1600 businesses have been investigated for upwards of 7 years (average 2) and only 6 have been found within the rules - a success rate something south of 0.1%

(The figures are now available. 35 million raise. However this doesn't take into account the losses from the extra burden and from people re-incorparating in other countries. The losses here outway the gain)

The last time the government was asked about IR35, it resulted in the following exchange (see MP's Parliamentary question leaves a further doubt over IR35 or Hansard)

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many investigations concerning IR35 were launched in each of the last five years; and how many of them resulted in (a) prosecution, (b) an increase in tax due and (c) no further action.

Kitty Ussher: The intermediaries legislation, commonly known as “IR35”, was introduced with effect from 6 April 2000 to counter the avoidance of employed levels of tax and national insurance by individuals providing their services through intermediaries. Disclosure of HM Revenue and Customs' compliance data relating to the legislation would result in a risk of non- compliance with the legislation. Accordingly I am not able to provide the data requested.

Why would it result in non-compliance? Is it because in reality many of those paying it do not have to? Rather than risk a protracted investigation, they pay tax they do not owe.

IR35 collects only a fraction of what was promised when it was announced in 1999/2000 (see PCG exposes the truth of IR35's pitiful tax take)

In addition, to justify the introduction of the regulation the Government invented the concept of 'Deemed' employment. Nobody who is caught in the regulations becomes an employee; they have no right to paid holiday from the deemed employer, nor sick pay, nor rights under the Minimum wage, nor rights under Redundancy regulations. They can be replaced with impunity by visa workers. Indeed if someone actually was an employee they could never be caught under IR35. So while the government argues that IR35 ensures those who are in reality in an employment relationship the only people caught are those who are not in one. So, to add to the difficulty in assessing one's liability leading to the extended investigations - it is unjust as well.

I feel that amending small company and personal tax systems so they are closer in effect, would fix this problem (by removing the need to regulate as IR35 tries to). A lot of small companies are not "businesses", they are effectively an ancilliary to a natural human being. Blocks of flats' self-owned management companies, small clubs, etc. Maybe align small company tax a bit closer to personal tax to reduce the opportunity for using that choice for advantage? Amicus 11:58, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Extradition Act 2003[edit | edit source]

Farewell, Gary McKinnon. An unpleasantly one-sided deal that discriminates against British subjects.

This Act tilts the previous level playing field between British and American citizens sharply in favour of the USA, which can require the extradition of Britons on the basis of untested evidence.

On the same issue, the single European Arrest Warrant allows for British people to be handed over to jurisdictions such as Bulgaria, where the courts are regarded (by the EU) as corrupt, slow and functioning well below international standards of justice. This well-meant but premature step towards EU harmonisation has undermined a hard-won aspect of our protection from arbitrary arrest and transportation abroad. Let's get rid of it.

Alan Hayman JP

Yes. Yes yes yes. Being a citizen of Britain means we are primarily answerable under UK law. British people cannot and should not be liable to every country, for every law possible in those countries.
  • There should be at minimum, a provision for a case to be held in the UK, applying the foreign law, and at a minimum the sentence to be served in the UK. Separation by thousands of miles from visitors and family, and cultural immersion in an alien society, is a punishment that applies to extradited persons but would not happen to a citizen of the other country, and it is unfair. (Note, It's not unusual in civil law for a court in country A to hear a case where the law in country B is to be applied)
  • Objective assessible criteria should exist for extradition - that the legal framework is fair by UK standards, that the law or sentence would not be "unduly onorous" or slow by UK standards, that there are no significant mitigating factors of health and mental/physical condition, and so on. Failing these, let the foreign country attend here, and hold a trial in the UK, under UK legal auspices and safeguards.
  • Legal requirement for parity in extradition - prima facie case, evidence, and so on. Parity should be expected and required in EA2003.
Amicus 11:58, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Extradition and the internet[edit | edit source]

The extradition of persons for internet distibuted activities that are legal and legitimate in the UK, but may not be in other countries, needs attention. Websites are visible everywhere in the world; a British citizen should not suddenly discover he is extradited to random country X for UK-legitimate matters on his personal website, or a website of a business he runs, which happen to be a crime in some far away place. Quick examples of how the internet can do this (all hypothetical):

  • Supermarket chain executive arrested for running a website that advertises alcohol, visible in the Middle East?
  • Betting chain manager arrested for a website that allows people in a non-betting country to bet in the UK?
  • Teenager above age of consent in UK puts their sexual pictures on their blog (tasteless but legal) and is arrested for child pornography on holiday because the site can be seen in country Y?
  • Person sells some kind of things on Ebay offering international shipping, and is arrested on holiday because selling that item was (unknown to them) illegal in country Z?

In this age of the internet I think we ned a new safeguard bundled with extradition - call it a "right of recall". If the "crime" was mediated by the internet as part of an activity that is legitimate in the UK, then the person should not be opportunistically arrested "out of the blue" when they travel. If the country wants to act, they should have to seek extradition (with its appropriate safeguards) the same as if that person had not traveled. Not strictly a "repeal" but relevant in the context. Amicus 12:11, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

The Licensing Act 2003[edit | edit source]

Not sure if I've missed it, but did we debate this? The act didn't create "chaos on the streets", the police abandoning the streets to thugs did that. I'm for repealing the sections that bother music and the like, but don't think we should lose the 24/7 drinking. Repeal this act and all prior acts? Especially if you consider the fact that two clauses later we repeal all the drugs acts. -- 13:43, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Anyone care to defend limiting the hours between which alcohol can be sold? --DominicJ 11:59, 4 August 2009 (UTC) Well I believe the limitation of hours was introduced in the First World War to prevent munitions workers getting drunk and blowing themselves up. Seems a good reason - for munitions workers but not for all of us today!--TimC 14:53, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Repealing this Act would not achieve the desired effect as it amends rather than replaces the principal 1964 Licensing ACt. Putting an entire Act like this onto the Bill brings the project into legal disrepute. 14:20, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

In my view, the playing of live music should be an absolute right, which councils should not be able to regulate; it should require no license, nor should it require 14-days advance planning. In a small number of cases where this is not appropriate, it can be dealt with retrospectively under existing laws for nuisance, fire-regulations etc. Theatre and dramatic performances should similarly be permitted without needing a "Public Entertainment License" (different Law). As for 24-hour drinking, it is, in many cases, a very civilised and reasonable thing. By all means punish the drunks under public order legislation, and let councils revoke specific licenses, but responsible premises should be allowed freedom of action, at least unless there are complaints from the neighbours. --RichardNeill 01:59, 13 May 2010 (UTC) --TimC 14:53, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

Divorce laws[edit | edit source]

Delete Hattersley's legacy. Protect marriage by making divorce difficult without good reason.DanialMurgatreal 10:40, 3 August 2009 (UTC)

Good Reason?
Who gets to say what is or is not a "good reason"?
The aim is to repeal laws that make life more difficult. Easy divorce doesnt make anyones life more difficult.
Could we repeal marriage law entirely?
Is it really the business of the state?
-- 13:04, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Marriage laws tend to include both good and bad things. I think repealing a marriage law entirely would likely result in things like:
  • The State would have the right to deny a person any inheritance or collection claims for a spouse that has died.
  • The State and Hospitals would have the right to ignore the wishes of a person whose spouse is incapacitated or mentally incompetent.
  • Hospitals would have the right to deny visiting privileges to a person whose spouse is in the hospital.
  • The State could tax a family twice.
There might be others, but that is some general stuff that I could think of not being a UK citizen. Most things could probably be rewritten to not be dependent on marriage though. Like:
  • Anyone eligible to pay taxes who has dependences living under the same household could get a tax break, regardless of the dependent's age.
  • A legally binding contract that allows people's joint income to be considered shared for both accessibility and tax purposes.
  • Hospitals could be required to allow any visitors that a patience wishes to see regardless of that person's relations to the patient.
  • Wills could be made legally binding so that a person's wishes would be required to be carried out by the State and by Hospitals.
Anyways, I think the State is usually involved in the marriage business because there is more to marriage then being husband and wife, husband and husband, wife and wife, etc. and people haven't thought of other ways to have the same benefits without reference to marriage. -- darklama  14:06, 3 August 2009 (UTC)
Divorce makes everyone's lives more difficult. Think of drug addiction, welfare state, crime... a lot of it is linked to broken marriages and broken home, though there are exceptions. Marriage is the strength of Britain, it must be protected. The point is to end the bad reasons, such as divorcing someone just for the money without regarding the effect on the children. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by DanialMurgatreal (talkcontribs) 18:07, 3 August 2009)
What does divorce have to do with drug addicition, the welfare state and crime? Most "broken homes" are never married, and even if they were, simply refusing to allow two people to split up isnt going to solve the problem.

Cant imagine my life would have been better growing up if I was forced to share a house with my waste of space father.

Making divorce more difficult is more likely to reduce the marriage rate, if people see that in a change of circumstances they would be trapped in an unhappy marriage. Forcing unsuited people to live together and making them unable to divorce is far more likely to lead to unhappiness and social problems than allowing divorce. Where is your evidence that people divorce for money? It is not the state's business as to why a marriage goes wrong and therefore to say what is and what is not valid grounds.
It might actually be a good thing if people thought twice about entering into a Marriage. Marriage (either Civil or Religious) is a lifetime commitment. The existence of Divorce laws which make it easier to exit nullify this. Perhaps if people thought twice about entering that commitment, then we would have less broken homes Paulschapman 15:56, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
I think you mean Roy Jenkins! Typo, right? :-) And yes "no fault divorce" should be banned. The legal emphasis must be placed on choosing a good spouse in the first place. Marriage is a lifelong contract, not a trivial game. The divorce laws were weakened in the first place by dodgy cross party consensus led by social revolutionary MPs such as Roy Jenkins in the 1960s. Ending the "no fault divorce" conveyor belt will help to restore marriage's place as the defender of true liberty. This does not mean that there will be no divorce at all.
People do not, and will not, always marry or partner with good judgment. Even if they do, people and circumstances change or "other sides" come out that could not have been seen or known in advance. The idea that somehow making divorce harder will impact people's decision to marry... did you check what the divorce laws said, when you were being proposed to? I sure as hell didn't, and neither would most. "It's not working" is the honest truth in most broken relationships. Forcing people to also identify a "fault" just introduces acrimony to the recipe. Amicus 07:53, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

London Olympic Bill[edit | edit source]

While the London 2012 Olympics will be expensive and poorly timed, I do not think the London Olympic Bill should be on this list, for three reasons:

  1. It would be highly irresponsible for the British government to renege on its commitment to host the event, having lobbied for it;
  2. The UK would never be allowed to host a major sporting event ever again;
  3. Much of the work undertaken for the Olympics has already started and the money cannot be unspent nor the construction unmade. 17:50, 3 August 2009 (UTC) ShedPlant

Agreed the London Olympic Bill must remain on the statute book, irrespective of support for the Olympics now or at the time of enactment. This entry should be removed from the list. 14:19, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

Without objection, I will remove it. 23:12, 5 August 2009 (UTC) ShedPlant

Why? It's a fraud. The price quoted to the public isn't the price being paid. If you want it left on the statute book, then the public should have the cost it pays limited to the original cost.

As for saying the money can't be unspent, the vast majority of the cost is still to come. We can retrieve lots of the cost by selling off the properties and the land.

Why legalise fraud? (NL)

I think either of the first two reasons given are sufficient. However, fraud has nothing to do with the Olympic bid, as far as the word retains any meaning, even if it were to go over-budget. Something else just occured to me - never mind sporting events! What would (potential) British government bondholders think if the government so publicly and brazenly reneged on a major liability? Nobody would lend money to such a cavalier government, or to private business in a country where expediency came before contract. The question here is not whether, with hindsight, bidding for the Olympics was sensible, but now that it's confirmed, the Olympics should be cancelled for the first time since the War, to huge embarassment and damage to the reputation of the country's sport and credit. 21:31, 6 August 2009 (UTC) ShedPlant

IANAB (I am not a Brit), but I agree with The Jade Knight (d'viser) 18:33, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
We have committed to it in a way that's for all practical, contractual, and international purposes, impossible to withdraw. If the govt has any approach to cutting spending on it then that is all we can hope for. If there are any ancilliary "flights of fancy", then perhaps those could be looked at. Amicus 07:49, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949[edit | edit source]

I think it would be foolish to repeal these Acts. They give force to a fundamental constitutional principle that the Lower House has supremacy in financial affairs. Perhaps the repeal of section 2 of 1911 Act, which gives the House of Commons the ability to pass any legislation (apart from to extend the life of a Parliament) would be more sensible. 14:17, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I must add my agreement. Repealing the Parliament Act 1911 would remove the term limit on Parliament and hence the requirement on the Prime Minister to call a general election. I agree with the above contributer, although my preferred solution is that in disagreement between both houses, a referendum is held.--Ant 20:09, 9 August 2009 (UTC)

Didn't the Liberal Democrats propose having fixed term 4 year parliaments?

Granted that along with other changes in the structure of Govt, a new Great Reform Bill (rather than Repeal Bill) will be needed. Such a reform bill could effectively repeal the Parliament Acts by amending them out of existence.

Out of interest, How much say does the Lower House actually have in Govt spending, when some decisions about spending are taken not by it, but by individual Ministers and Departments?

Sfan00 IMG 09:29, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 did not establish a term limit for Parliament. They reduced the term limit from 7 years to 5 years. Removing the ability of the House of Lords to reject legislation has resulted in what is effectively unicameral government. If the intention is to reform the House of Lords, that should be accomplished with a bill that does so directly, rather than leaving a neutered second house. Repealing these acts would engender a serious debate on the nature of Lords reform rather than the half measures that have been seen. Regarding finance bills, I think it's painfully obvious that nearly anything that results in additional oversight on government spending is a good idea at this point. 12:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

I do value that the government of the day can have its wishes delayed or vetoed by a House that is not subject to the whims of the government or re-election. Lacking pressures to follow anything but their own conscience, and chosen well, the lords have done good service as a stabilising influence, and in the main have not abused that right. Itwill never be desired by the government, by definition, but to the person in the street, every government can have a bill that it tries to pass by majority which is poorly considered, controversial, or contains the seeds of injustice or assumption. This one will too. We need that check and balance. As such, any proposal to remove or severely curtail that role, should go on the repeal stack too, for the long term good of Britain's legislature. Amicus 13:46, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Constitutional Reform Act Part 3[edit | edit source]

This has already been implemented and the Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court has been re-developed into a new Supreme Court at great cost. The Court will sit for the first time on October 1st 2009. Moreover, the 1876 Appellate Jurisdiction Act has been provisionally repealed so the House of Lords from that date will no longer have the authority to hear appeals from the re-named senior courts. This repeal should therefore be removed from the list, as it is hypothetical and superfluous. 16:04, 4 August 2009 (UTC)

I don't think this Act can really be regarded as a restriction on our liberties. On the contrary, it moves us further towards the US "separation of powers" model that is generally regarded as a benefit to the cause of liberty. Now that the Judiciary has been divorced from the Legislature, it would be good to see similar moves to separate the Executive from the Legislature. D Hannah The problem is that US Supreme Court Justices are subject to confirmation by the Senate. Who confirms ours? The Executive?--TimC 14:57, 6 August 2010 (UTC)

The removal of Judicial powers to a separate Judiciary is a reasonable move, but are there other areas where the separation

could be made. Should for example, Ministers have the right to make what are effectively judicial decisions? Sfan00 IMG 09:33, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Health and Safety at Work Act 1974[edit | edit source]

The current comment that this costs lives through a cut in GNP equivalent to 4 million workers is firstly a complete non-sequitur and secondly made up. Perhaps there might be a way to make HASW more common sense and risk based; for example, it seems reasonable to consider that a building site contains more risk of injury than, say, an office environment. It would not serve Britain's interests to return to third world safety standards in inherently dangerous environments.

True, but policy such as the one that means you can't climb ladders to change light-bulbs is to many people ridiculous.

Some occupations ARE inherently dangerous, and it's those that Health and Safety policy should focus on. 10:33, 6 August 2009 (UTC)

Agree with above 2 comments. Amicus 13:39, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Are there any stats to show how many lives have been saved since the intro of HASWA? Why are you even debating something that has potential to save lives, just cos it costs employers money? Employers have a responsibility under law to protect the safety of the workers. If you take that away, we're back to the days of the mill owners. Great stuff.

Exaggeration doesn't help. Nobody is seriously proposing removing all safeguards. Just re-examining for possibly excessive ones. if you want a total safe life, don't cross roads, don't live in a house with electricity, wrap yourself in cotton wool, and so on. We don't do that. We accept a degree of risk in life, and risk means just that - some people may be affected by it. Preventing people using a ladder without a ladder training course (for example) would perhaps save accidents. But would be generally disruptive enough I'd prefer the risk of accidents to the certainty of disruption, and would take my chance as a living human being with that risk, and expect myself to be careful. Amicus 14:05, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

Smoking Ban[edit | edit source]

As a non smoker i was pleased with the ban initially but frankly think it needs to be reviewed as per the below. I now have a young family who enjoy playing in outside space which is increasingly full of smokers and the children aren't permitted in licensed areas. Conseuently it limits our ability to go out.

Air scrubbers remove not only smoke but other pollutants, smells and bacteria from the air. There are no grounds for a ban on the argument of passive smoking. The outright ban is ruining our town centres, as drinkers gather outside pubs. It is unfair to pubs that do not have a garden, and unfair to the neighbours of pubs who now have added noise. It is also detrimental to the encouragement of live music, which the coalition supports, due to the fact that half the audience are outside smoking at any one time, and there is a general unsettled milling about in and out of the venue which spoils the atmosphere of live performance.

I am a non smoker but favour a freedom of choice approach. I do not welcome the smell of cigarette smoke on my clothes but I want to have the choice of joining smokers or not. Smokers should not be excluded from indoor premises on health gorunds. We all know the risks to health of non smokers exposed to cigarette smoke are highly exaggerated by pressure groups. Let's not take any notice of this nonsense. Let's have a sensible and reliable debate on the merits of freedom of choice. Hospitality and entertainment venues should be able to choose to allow smoking and in what part of their premises. Smokers should be able to choose which venues they frequent. Non smokers should be able to do the same and have the freedom to join smokers when they wish.

This is a controversial one, since it both infringes A's right to smoke, while protecting B's right not to inhale smoke. It's complicated further by a "Prisoners' Dilemma" consideration: if some pubs can allow smoking, then others (who do not) are financially penalised by the competition: result is that very few pubs could afford a ban, while most of the public might prefer it, and benefit from better health. [if 'most of the public' prefer non smoking pubs then surely they would benefit from most people using them, rather than being 'penalised']

I propose a compromise: Pubs and restaurants may provide a smoking area as they used to, provided that:

- The main area, including the serving area, is non-smoking. If there is only one area on the premises, it must be non-smoking.
- The smoking area is properly sealed off (at least by a door) and constantly fully ventilated (such that the non-smoking area is not subject to detectable amounts of smoke)
- The smoking area is self-service, and is only cleaned after full ventilation. (this protects staff, who might otherwise be pressured into putting their own health at risk or losing their jobs).
- The ridiculous signs can come down (why should premises have to display prominent "no smoking" signs - they don't have to display prominent "no murdering" signs!) 

I think there is a problem with proposing a compromise. Most of us (smokers and non-smokers) who oppose the ban do so because we think this is not an area where the law should have meddled in the first place. Those ridulous signs are the visible symptom of the law coming into uncharted territory. As I see it, the Great Bill of Repeal is about bringing us back to where we were before this outbreak of control freakery started. Let the pubs themselves decide to be smoking or non-smoking venues. Let this be clearly advertised so prospective customers and employees alike have a straight, adult choice about going there or not.

FWIW, I'm a non-smoker, and personally very strongly prefer smoke free environments. But I don't see why a smoker should be denied his rights to enjoyment any further than is necessary to protect my own right to clean air.

Since when did someone's right to health (and it is a recognised right under international rights law - see WHO Convention 1946, Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948) get trumped by someone's ability to make a choice to poison themselves or an argument about economics? I'm afraid we all need to grow up a little bit - smokers need to get over themselves, frankly, and pubs are plenty capable of finding alternative ways of getting punters in.

We can debate about relative rights until the until the cows come home. Is health worth having if it means giving up personal choice over all that you eat, drink and do? All this legislation restricting liberties came in piecemeal, and each restriction will have some people passionately for and against it. Personally, I think hunting foxes is horrible, but the sight of grown men and women chucked outside the pub door, like naughty schoolkids, is infinitely worse. We're all going to have to get over some of our beliefs in the higher cause of self-determination.

As a sufferer of stress and depression that was manageable without prescription medication and psychiatric intervention, the blanket smoking ban caused a complete reversal of this. I have now been on medication since before the ban, as the thought of be ostracised and targetted was intolerable, and am still on medication now. It is essential for people who suffer various mental health issues to be able to socialise as isolation is something that is detremental to their wellbeing and health improvement prospects. As many people suffering from mental health issues, however mild or severe, are smokers as smoking helps with milder cases for these people, the smoking ban was devastating. I no longer have a social life because of the ban. If I can get out of going out, I do. I do not feel comfortable out in public any more and my self esteem has suffered greatly. I am not much of a drinker, but now IF I go out I tend to drink more to try and compensate for not being able to smoke.

Smokers do not want to cause discomfort to others, they just want choice for all. For many years prior to the ban it was increasingly difficult to find cafes and coffee shops where smoking was permitted; pubs were pretty much the only place smokers could socialise freely. If the choice of smoking and non smoking pubs had been viable then it would have happened without legislation. Now, with the legislation, we have seen thousands of businesses close with catastrophic results for many people. However, now that there has been a taste of smoke free pubs, now might be the time when choices are possible, along the lines of many European countries. Let the owner decide, be that an individual or a company. Smaller places should be allowed to chose whether or not they allow smoking where larger premises should provide for both smokers and non smokers; all places having approved ventilation, which would improve the air quality above what it is now, even without smokers!

As for drivers not being allowed to smoke in their vehicle if it is associated with their work, this is something that for a professional driver who smokes can be devastating. It greatly affects concentration and on long motorway stretches, especially when restricted to 56mph, an hypnotic effect can occur, which is alleviated by smoking. Immediately after the ban it seemed there were many more motorway accidents involving lorries; most drivers who smoke now still do so in their cab as it is safer because it aids concentration and alertness and breaks the monotony. As for second hand smoke being a danger to others, the fumes from the vehicles themselves are thousands of times more harmful and toxic than cigarette smoke or its apparent residues.

For the sake of sanity, safety, human decency and democracy, this ban should be, at the very least, amended, if not repealled. Trucker

No objection to a person smoking in a car or other private vehicle that they are the sole or main user, with owner's consent. But smoking in public and restaurants is a ban I'd keep. Amicus 11:58, 13 May 2010 (UTC) (non smoker)
The claim that "the ban has had a huge negative impact on many pubs across the country" is fallacious. The number of licensed premises in England and Wales has actually increased since the introduction of the ban[3], while in Scotland (where a ban was introduced in 2005) the number of pubs itself has increased[4]. In any case the ban enjoys widespread support from the general public[5].-- 15:55, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

These are some more considerations regarding smoking ban:

A) Private member clubs should be allowed to set their own smoking rules. The same applies for owner-operated bars/pubs (i.e. with no employees).

B) Other venues could apply for smoking rooms for which the standards could be set. For example:

1) smoking room must be completely sealed and separated from the rest of the venue
2) separate ventilation and air filtration systems must be installed in smoking room. 
3) The ventilation needs to provide at least (say)15 air changes per hour
4) smoking room cannot occupy more than 25% of the venue
5) no food/drink service is allowed in the smoking room (i.e. room is self-service)

C) Outdoor smoking shelters currently need to have at least 50% of sidewalls open. In some circumstances 25-30% would do just fine.

Someone has queried whether the smoking ban has had any effect, let me say quite catagorically it has. At least 50% of the closures are due to the smoking ban. Even Action On Smoking and Health (ASH)acknowledge it, this is Martin Dockrell of ASH writing in the Financial Times: "AC Nielsen, the market research group, has reported that beer sales from pubs fell in 2007 and that around half the decline could be ascribed to the anti-smoking law."


This AC Nielsen here possibly as high as 80%.

"Analysis of a year’s worth of sales data from Scotland following the ban there last March has identified that volume in licensed premises had fallen some 5%. When compared with trends in England and Wales over the same period, the numbers suggest that the majority of this decline (4%) can be attributed to the smoking ban."



looks to me like Dockrell is reporting what Nielsen are saying, not agreeing with them. figures from the DCMS (quoted above) shows that the number of licence premises has risen since the ban. The fact that pubs are closing has nothing to do with the ban (they have more pubs in Scotland now than they used to have before their ban - link above too)-- 10:33, 14 May 2010 (UTC)

So, now who should one believe? Nielsen or Dockrell? However, I don't think this is a debate about the economic impact of the smoking ban.

COMMENT: This awful piece of legislation became law in England July 2007, and I have been closely monitoring the impact of the smoking ban with interest, sadness and concern. As predicted, adult smoking rates have remained largely unaffected while the consequences for pubs and clubs have been significant. Government were repeatedly warned that the smoking ban would have a detrimental impact on pubs and clubs and that a more proportionate approach was required.

In the face of these warnings, the campaign group Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) retorted that ‘… smoking bans are good for business … smokers removing their custom as a result of a smoking ban is more than likely to be offset by an increase in pub goers who prefer a smoke free environment.’

However, after the smoking ban was introduced ASH triumphantly announced that ‘For years, action on smoking in public places was mired in discussion about the claimed ‘freedom’ and ‘rights’ of smokers … We changed the terms of the debate… It is essential that campaigners create the impression of inevitable success. Campaigning of this kind is literally a confidence trick.’

Today as many as 52 British pubs are closing each week. ASH’s much trumpeted boom in business never happened. The smoking ban may not be the only factor, but it is a significant one.

In 2006, after the smoking ban had been approved and away from the passion of debate, the Economic Affairs Committee in the House of Lords took time to consider whether the evidence had been properly evaluated and whether any lessons should be drawn in future. They concluded that:

‘The evidence we took on passive smoking leads us to doubt whether government guidelines on risk management have been properly implemented. In particular, the purpose of legislation should have been defined more clearly and greater attention should have been given to available scientific evidence, the relative merits of alternative policy options and the impact of legislation on personal freedom and choice. Failure to consider these matters properly has resulted in the introduction of a policy that appears to demonstrate a disproportionate response to the problem.
Lessons learned from the progress of this legislation should be used to ensure that future policy responses are transparent, evidence-based, and proportionate.’

I hope that these lessons have been learned and that they will be reflected on when the legislation is reviewed next year, or better still, removed altogether under this Bill.

--Adam C 14:28, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

There seems to be some confusion with regards to pub closures so let me in plain English give you the gory details. All my figures come from the British Beer and Pub Association.

2005- 102

2006- 214

Smoking ban

2007- 1409

2008- 2049

2009- 2365

Pub closures now running at 39 a week

• Closure rate down on 52 pubs a week closing in first half 2009 • Closure rate down 25 per cent on first half 2009 • Total of 2,365 pubs closed in 2009 • 24,000 jobs lost in sector in 2009

Pubs are now closing at a rate of 39 a week, down on the 52 a week closure rate in the first half of 2009, according to the latest survey from the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

A net total of 1,013 pubs shut their doors for the last time between July and December 2009, with the loss of over 10,000 jobs in local communities across Britain. A total of 2,365 pubs closed during the whole of 2009.

Although these latest figures are slightly down, closures remain at historically high levels, says the BBPA. There are now 52,500 pubs in Britain – well down on the 58,600 pubs operating when the Licensing Act came into force in 2005. In addition to the loss of these vital community hubs, the Government is set to lose over £250 million in tax revenues this year, if the current closure level continues."


While I feel some sympathy for existing smokers, the bottom line is that we will have a healthier country (and matching economic and social benefits) if smoking is seem as something to tail off, and if in 20 or 30 years time it's almost not around any more. Existing smokers are clearly in a difficult position where a habit that they grew up with is now less seen as desirable and the harm to themselves, others, and society is in sharper focus. but the young, and new potential smokers, should encounter a situation that helps to strongly separate and deter them from this medically and socially harmful activity.
The pubs aren't the issue. The medical costs, reduced lifespan, prematurely harmed families and people who lose relatives and friends are more important. Economics always changes, steam engines, horse and buggy, coal mining, you name it. So this is another status quo that's changing, one of thousands of changing status quos, and (with the exception of existing afficionados for whom its a problem) it's probably good for everyone and society that it does change and is helped to change. The degree of accomodation needed for existing smokers' benefit should be seen in the context of a desirable assisted decline for the country as a whole. Amicus 03:15, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

The following was posted on my blog [1] a couple of weeks ago:

I am getting too old to stand outside pubs or restaurants. Plus I was taught that it was only 'ladies of the night' that stood in the street smoking.
I have been 3 years away from any social contact other than the odd hello with neighbours.
Being a widow with no family it was always going to be hard to get back into some semblance of normality with regard to socialising, but I didn't think that it would be this bad.
I used to meet up in a cafeteria with some lady friends, but now that has stopped as a few of the ladies were smokers and didn't want to stand in the street to have a cigarette.
I went to a quiz night at the local pub as there were quite a few elderly 'singles' there. That has stopped. I also playe bingo once a week and that too has stopped as there is no pleasure in having a drink there with no cigarette.
I am now on anti depressants and wish that I had the courage to kill myself and join my dear husband.
Thank you politicians for making my life not worth living after working from age 14 until 68. I am now 74 and have lost my soul and will to live in this lonely place.

Frank Davis 19:31, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

I am very sorry for this lady's personal distress. But I would still not change my view. It is a big thing for her, but tiny compared to the benefit to many hundreds of thousands and millions of gradually bringing smoking to a close over time. She is alive. People in their thousands watch loved ones die and be ill prematurely, and as a country we spend millions or billions, while smoking is made an easy activity. If smoking ceased to exist little would be lost but much gained. Most smokers address smoking restrictions in various ways. Unfortunately it is one of those social issues that it is very hard to put right, without some people feeling hurt.
I wish her all good, personally, and I would love for her to be able to smoke in your home, with your friends, at bingo, in the office or pub, but I look at the (relatively small) loss to those (relatively few) smokers who genuinely cannot stop, compared to the enduring much more deadly serious loss and impact to millions and to the country year by year if smoking is not gradually brought to a halt over years and decades. So I stand by my feelings. I hope you and she can accept this, despite your wish it were otherwise. But that is why I would not want the smoking ban legislation repealed. Amicus 16:56, 25 May 2010 (UTC)

I don't think such an attitude is in the spirit of the Great repeal bill. If someone has an agenda fine, have it, as long as you don't make someone suffer because of this agenda. Noone should feel like a criminal/outcast because he (for whatever reason) chooses to smoke.

Indeed. But it's a request for repeal, and in disagreeing, I'm implying that some people who would like freedom to smoke in more venues generally shouldn't be granted that, and that good is done long term and nationally by not repealing the restrictions. When a person holds a view that a restriction on someone else's lifestyle is valid, they should say why and it should be overwhelming and evidence based. They shouldn't be cavalier to pretend it doesn't matter or empty claims are enough. Anything that restricts another person is a serious matter. Predictable cost in human suffering and economic cost outweighs it and justifies the restriction (for me). It seemed appropriate to explain why. Amicus 23:07, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

The problem with this Act is not the banning of smoking in public places but the misuse of the term 'public'. Most of the places referred to in this Act are not Public places, they are private property to which members of the public may have access. However as private property the owner should be allowed to set the rules and the public/customers can then decide whether to use or not. True public places eg government offices, public parks etc should be covered by the Act which citizens should have the right to use without being smoked out.

Rights to Travel[edit | edit source]

It's important to ensure that travel is again anonymous. It should be possible to buy aircraft/boat/train tickets anonymously, and without it being monitored. [Airlines like named ticket holders because it eliminates the resale market]

This is a deliberately simplistic comment. Personally when travel I prefer that at least known terrorists have been filtered out of my fellow passengers.--TimC 08:10, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

When I leave the UK, it's my business, not that of the government. When I return, unless there is probable cause, the government should only be able to check that I am a UK citizen, not which UK citizen I am. Until recently, this was done by showing the border agent my passport, with the cover closed.

The EU PNR (passenger name records) scheme should be abolished, and the UK should protect its citizens from snooping by the EU, and refuse to pass on data to the USA.

Biometrics should be abolished: no biometric passports, allow people to smile on their photos (this has the side effect of making automated face recognition harder), and ban fingerprinting of travellers (including, if possible, taking action to protect UK citizens from being forcibly fingerprinted on entering the USA). The "pornographic" body scanners should also be banned, as currently the security mania seems to even permit taking indecent images of minors (these terahertz scanners are not benign: they show very detailed naked images, and the files are frequently saved). Also, Heathrow T5's practice of taking photos of travellers for segregation should be restricted.

Automatic Numberplate Recognition cameras and the logging of cellphone records also monitor peoples' movements.

Abolish "Security Theatre". This is the process of doing something in order to be seen to do something, not because it is effective. Examples include the ban on liquids (the 100ml limit is insane when you can buy over-proof whisky (Molotov cocktail!) in Duty Free), and the silly restrictions on nail-clippers (when a torn, folded-up coke can can be quite deadly). The limit on luggage-size and weight was sensible as a 2-week emergency measure, but is now another pointless inconveniences (which hurts some airlines), and should now be scrapped. For more, Bruce Schneier provides some very lucid arguments.

With the vast amount of money saved, we could then spend it on measures that actually work (well-trained policing with discretion, and infiltration of terrorist groups). --RichardNeill 02:59, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

  • Right to anonymous travel, yes.
  • Removal of "named passenger" restriction on aircraft, or mandatory free change of passenger name, yes (what difference to the airline whose bottom is on the paid-for seat?).
  • Data from traffic/travel control to be used only for purposes of investigating a known or suspected crime, and destroyed within a given period. Amicus 11:58, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

RIPA part III[edit | edit source]

To underline the issue, a second example. as a good data custodian, I random-wipe the unused part of my hard disks both weekly and when I'm done using them for a while on projects. (That's genuine, it's part of my job and it's good practice so I do it at home as well).

Could I prove that random data on any one of them was not encrypted? No. There is no way to distinguish a disk of random data from a disk of encrypted data. If I were asked for the key, what would I do? I honestly haven't got a clue, because one doesn't exist. As if this wasn't enough, most current encryption packages contain plausible deniability provisions to specifically frustrate extrotion and other forcible key demands in countries where torture might be used (even if you hand over the key there's no way to scientifically tell if there is more concealed data using a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 10th key, the software's designed that way).

Presumption of guilt in the face of technical evidence and actual software to the contrary, is a hallmark of this act. Awfully not-thought-out, and wide open to injustice. Amicus 13:00, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Hunting Act 2004[edit | edit source]

An issue arousing strong feelings, both for and against. I've moved the following arguments from the main page to the Debate page.

  • The Act is unclear [6] it has been declared unenforceable in court [7]
  • It was introduced not for policy reasons but to placate government backbenchers.[8]
  • Do not repeal the Hunting Act. Repealing the Hunting Act would mean that anyone, including hunters, could legally use dogs to chase and kill foxes, deer, hare and mink for 'sport'.
  • 75%?? of the British public support the ban on fox hunting remaining, 84%?? think the ban on deer hunting should stay in place and 85% think hare coursing and hunting should remain illegal. Support for the Hunting Act is strong across party political boundaries, amongst voters and in rural areas.
  • A return to hunting would mean a return to cruelty and would be completely out of step with the compassionate majority of the British public. [9]
  • Before hunting with dogs was banned there was video footage[10], scientific research and veterinary accounts which showed the cruelty of hunting. This included hares being caught in a "tug of war" between the jaws of two dogs during coursing , reports of multiple wounds inflicted on foxes by dogs showing they did not die instantly, and scientific accounts which made it clear that most deer are likely to suffer in the final stages of hunting.
  • Further, claims that the Hunting Act is "unenforceable in court" are inconsistent with the fact that to date there have been over 100 successful prosecutions under the Hunting Act.[11]
  • If the welfare of animals is the primary driver, why not scrap the act since it only narrowly focusses on a few WILD species and devise regulatory legislation with power of over-sight by properly authorised powers. So you technically end with licensed and regulated hunting. One should revert to the Government's conclusion from many years ago that the evidence of cruelty is inconclusive and work from there.-- 07:27, 14 May 2010 (UTC) 15:37, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

  • It is horribly misleading to repeal the hunting act in a bill with the express purpose of restoring the rights and liberties taken by labour over 13 years. Courts at all levels in Britain and the European Court of Human Rights have all declared it not an infringement on human rights. If you wish to repeal the hunting act it should be done as a seperate repeal so it can be debated and decided on individually, not hidden in the middle of an act like this, which is an important act for civil liberties and rights but does not relate to hunting.
  • There is no ecological reason for hunting this way. A study in Wiltshire (Baker & MacDonald, 2000) found that two thirds of farmers did not consider foxes to be a pest at all. Rabbits were rated the number 1 pest, and in fact rabbits form a major part of the fox diet and various studies found that rabbit numbers increase when foxes decrease, and vice versa, so it could be argued that foxes are beneficial for farmers.
  • The argument from pro-hunters is that hunting with dogs reduces the population density of foxes. This is not true however, as for an actual reduction in fox numbers to occur, culling pressure would need to be increased to kill around 60-80% of a fox population, and maintained constantly across Great Britain (Hone 1999 ;Harding et al. 2001). Since the 5 years since the Act came into force, we have not been 'over-run' by foxes (Baker, Harris & Webbon, 2002). Furthermore, in some areas, some quarry species are actively conserved by hunts. In the case of foxes, artificial earths for foxes are provided by hunt organisations to encourage breeding (Lord Burns et al. 2000).
  • A survey study carried out in Wiltshire in 1995 (Baker & MacDonald, 2000) found that when foxes are considered a pest on a farm or livestock is lost and control is deemed necessary, shooting was thought more effective than hunting and was the method of choice. It was also considered more humane.
  • Considering the last three points, allowing hunting with dogs would fly in the face of scientific evidence and logic. Considering the fact that the majority of the public are against repealing the ban, it would be wrong and unrepresentative to repeal it. If anything, it needs to be strengthened in order to improve its reinforcability.
  • Repeal the ban, but allow any County council to restore it in the County. There is clearly a popular clamour in some parts of the country for it to go. This will be a way of making local politics more serious.
  • That said the bill could be derailed by this, so it's probably best to be done separately.
  • Might a permit system be a better way of regulating fox hunting than banning it altogether? The Government may be able to set a price for permits which each allow 1 fox hunt each, with a maximum of around 5 permits sold to each fox hunting group, with a market being created for these permits where groups could sell permits above the initial asking price. This would help to solve loopholes such as the 'flushing' of foxes.

General Meddling[edit | edit source]

There are a large number of "well-meaning" interferences too trivial to give their own section, but which nevertheless frequently irritate. The rules aren't necessarily bad, but far more discretion is needed. For example:

- ban on selling sharp objects to under-18s. Many shops won't even sell safety-razors to a 17-year old! Plenty of 19-year-olds shouldn't carry flick-knives (or carving knives), but many 12-year-olds are quite capable of handling a scalpel for balsa-aircraft modelling.
- The "Think25" signs for alcohol retail. This should go back to the "if you look under 18" rule. And if a 17-year-old has a quiet beer in a pub, is it such a big deal? The offenders should be punished, not the well-behaved majority.
- Light bulbs - it's wrong to ban people from choosing proper illumination should they wish it. Better approaches would be encouragement of tungsten-halogen (rather than CFL), or a tax on C02 emissions (so that those buying nuclear or renewable energy may use what they want, how they want).
- ...

The Policing and Crime Act 2009 introduces a new offence of paying for sexual services with a strict liability that a third person (c) has not engaged in coercive behaviour. The definition of coercive behaviour in the act is too broad, including any form of deception. Minor forms of deception are included in almost all human interactions and that means that (a) would be guilty of an offence in almost any situation where a third person is involved. This means that the act is not there to protect the victims of abuse and that the law is too broad.

Strict liability goes against natural justice and the provision is not well regarded by the police, who consider it very hard to enforce. In fact, it may be harmful to those who offer sexual services as will any law that prevents openness. This provision of the act should be removed for being unworkable and for eroding the principle of "mens rea". It is not the place of Government to dictate what adults do with their bodies in private, but it is fair to restrict what is done in public.

I'm not sure if this section is the best place for this comment, but here goes... Some time after the ban on using mobile phones while driving came into force, I caught a feature on the BBC's breakfast news. Some reporters had staked out a stretch of road during rush hour to spot how many drivers were breaking the law in this respect. There were rather a lot of them! The presenters immediately launched into an outraged appeal that "something must be done" and invited emails from the watching public about how these criminals should be tackled. I may have missed it, but there was no report of carnage and pile ups on the road in question coinciding with this spate of illegal conversing. I would have hoped that some logical soul might have questionned the point of this particular law when we already had a perfectly decent offence of driving without due care and attention? Point is, after all these years of blanket-nannying, I worry that many of us have lost our perspective and sense of outrage about state encroachment in decision making. Perhaps the Great Bill of Repeal should be accompanied by a reminder that we are all grown up now!Janjan 14:06, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Risk avoidance laws[edit | edit source]

A lot of the contentious laws often perceived as excessive, seem to fall in a general category of "risk reduction" legislation.

  • Excessive Health and safety restrictions (police who won't climb a ladder without a ladder-climbing certification)
  • Excessive mandatory checking (charities and volunteers who need a CRB check which strangles volunteerism, the case of the two mothers who needed a check because they occasionally drove each other's child to school)
  • Excessive privacy incursion and surveillance (email storage, internet and phone activity logging)
  • etc

These all fall under the same kind of heading - they attempt to mitigate a risk, but there needs to be a balance of risk against social cost. Human life includes risk, and that needs to be acknowledged. On a lot of the "problem" legislation an excessive burden was placed in a futile attempt to reduce what was often, a limited risk, and equally often, not very effectively and with major other resultant problems.

An inquiry and consultation of some kind into the general approach to such issues, qwith these and others as specific examples, and a recommendation on a way to handle these and others like them, might be more productive than piecemeal repeal or amendment. Amicus 11:20, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Also note the reports of "bans" on competitive sports and activities.[12]

Digital Economy Act 2010[edit | edit source]

This act was rushed through parliament [13] due to convenient timing, without any meaningful debate by our elected representitives.

It holds the internet subscriber legally responsible for what is done using their internet connection in regards to "illegal" P2P file sharing, even though they themselves may have no knowledge of what has taken place.

The act automatically assumes the guilt of the subscriber and requires them to prove their innocence should a complaint be made against them. It does not take into account the possiblitly of Wi-Fi hijacking and other ways a person could be falsely accused.

Users are not technically skilled (eg at computer securing) or lack control over housemates' computer use. Research reports that copyright-holder notices are inaccurate and evidence is poor or insufficient.
Notices have been sent to non-breaching researchers[14][15] and university printers(!)[14][16] Clicking a web link can cause a user to appear to be a copyright violator.[14][17] Piracy websites include random innocent (but genuine) IP addresses among the lists of those claimed to be "offering" a file for piracy.[14][18][17]
The US and Canadian experience is that many people settle up because it is intimidating, legal, and they have no ability to disprove the matter, leading to doubts on "3 strike" laws in North America too.[19] Takedown notices are complied with whether just or unjust. The idea that any third party can write to a person's ISP and claim copyright violation leads to gross harm. DEA2010 allows anyone who wishes, to directly assert to a neutral third party communication company that their client is in the wrong.
The internet is infrastructure. It is key to communication, information, lifestyle, obtaining of government and private services, home ofices and home working, and so on. Disconnection cuts an entire household off from all these. It would not be a problem if one person was affected and that person guilty of gross abuse which they refused to curtail. But that's rare. Most houses share internet access between many people and subscribers are overwhelmingly non-technical person (single mum + kids, shared housing). Their connection may be used by others, including hackers and neighbours (eg wireless networking). It's disproportionate and unreasonable to terminate households' access and to claim it is the subscribers "fault" when after 20 years even the major manufacturers' computers are almost never secure against misuse apart from in businesses with a formal IT department. There will be predictable objections from copyright holders, because DEA2010 provides an easy solution that doesn't require them to prove a case in court or establish legal liability - in a way, that is the actual problem.
In all of this, home users are not technical. If PC makers and operating system creators arent able to make secure computers yet (after 20 years Windows is still highly insecure and viruses and trojan horses abound), then home users certainly cannot be expected to do so. The Act effectively criminalises having obtained a trojan horse or virus on one's computer (botnets and hijacked computers are often used as anonymous proxies for hacking and copyright theft), having dishonest housemates (whose computers and internet activities one may have no legal or technical ability to scrutinize), or indeed any combination (honest but unwittingly hacked users in the same household).
The law that a citizen who does not have expert security or pay to hire those skills (which is 99% of the domestic subscriber population at a guess), should become criminally liable and socially disconnected, for flawed claims and unknown and (to them) undetectable misuse, and that the net should be censored to prevent "thoughtcrime" or exposure, is out of place in society. Amicus 13:43, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

Criminal Justice Act 2003 and double jeopardy[edit | edit source]

Not sure I agree on this. In cases of serious crimes and new evidence, a retrial should be possible. There may be an argument for lesser crimes being closed regardless. Amicus 08:14, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Rebuttle to the above:
If it's a serious crime there's all the more reason not to leave it hanging over someone for the rest of their life. People used to complain that, in scotland, the "not proven" verdict was unfair on the accused. In England and Wales it seams you guys abolished not-guilty verdicts and now the only verdicts availible are "guilty" or "not proven". Man up. Not Guilty should mean not guilty. Closed, finito, done, finished.
Otherwise we have a sitaution where the prosecutor can "have a go" without good evidence before returning with a full case.
Furthermore it undermines the presumption of innocence if the jury knows that "new and compelling evidence" has been found.
The messege is clear. The CPS gets one shot, they should use it wisely or hold their fire till later.
Don't agree.
  • Being "lucky" or "unlucky" (evidence found later or mistake made at the time) should not be a reason two equal criminals have different case results.
  • We have a statute of limitations for those crimes that are deemed to need it. A person who commits a crime has it "over their head" during that period.
  • Second cases appear to be for serious new evidence or the like, not frivolous reasons.
  • In these days of rapid forensic advancement it is very plausible for new evidence to come up, and nobody's "fault" it was not known earlier. The CPS may well have used their shot wisely but not had evidence at the time that was only available much later.
  • It is grossly unjust to society and the victims that someone who evades conviction can "thumb their nose" thereafter regardless of updated evidence.
Amicus 17:03, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Why the ability to re-try offences is silly:
· If the prosecution fails, the victim is left hoping that in the future the perpetrator can be brought to justice instead of moving on with their life.
· What is "enough" new evidence, why was this evidence not available initially?
· Indictable offences have no time-bar, so if someone is wrongly prosecuted once, do they live the rest of their lives fearing that they would be tried again?
· How much does this all cost in terms of money (defence, prosecution, court time, &c)?
Prosecution must only have one shot, and they should make it count, otherwise, every prosecution ends up being a sloppy one in the knowledge that the alleged perp. can be tried again.
Quick answers to those:
  • I suspect a majority of victims would find it rather more distressing if the person were wrongly found innocent, later "very likely" shown guilty and then be told not a thing could be done.
  • New evidence might be a witness who didn't come forward initially, new forensic evidence, new methods, matters unpredictably coming to light that weren't known before ... you name it. Evidence that's new. That's what "new" means.
  • The general principle is, if you did wrong, and you are "within time" for the law to take a first case, then the law clearly holds that's not an inappropriate time for you to be in fear of conviction. So in which case why should they be freed from fear for the same amount of time, if the first case incorrectly freed them? Remember also, we accept that WW2 war criminals may be tried 60 years later. "Living in fear of being convicted is upsetting" doesn't sound a very convincing argument. If it was, we would put a shorter limitation on a first conviction too.
  • Cost is a non-issue - if we worried about cost we wouldn't hold the first trial either in many cases.
Amicus 23:21, 26 May 2010 (UTC)
Quick(er) answer to the above:
· We can argue and probably agree on the first two points (at least to an extent)
· On the third one, you missed what I was saying - what if the person who was being prosecuted the wrong person, let's say A has sex with V before someone else, say K, killed her by strangling (and from our god-like perspective let us assume it is a fact), A was tried and found "not guilty"... Prosecution knew that A was heavily involved in consensual BDSM, but what they didn't know and it only came out after the trial (for some reason, let us not dwell on the circumstances here) was that he was into asphyxia, is this "new" evidence, and could A be tried again (and if so more likely to be convicted) for something he didn't do?..
· Finally, let's say, the same A was represented by a top notch solicitor and barrister and was found not guilty, the expense of the trial left A virtually penniless, if he cannot afford the same level of defence now, is the trial fair?..
To take the last question first, I think the answer is "yes it's fair". The presumption has to be that competent solicitor/barrister representation is enough to make a trial fair (on that score). If that wasn't so then everyone who has ever had a trial on legal aid would be able to argue "My trial wasn't fair because I had a free or pro bono or legal aid legal team". Anything beyond that, if a person wishes to pay for it, is optional - it's to please them but cannot be presumed to make a trial "fair" or "unfair".
(Ie, although obviously some barristers obviously have more flair at advocacy than others, if we allowed an argument that this made a trial fair or unfair, then we could argue that nobody in the country has a fair trial on anything, civil or criminal, unless the very top advocate in the country is their representative.)
So I would say that A made a choice based on their personal resources in the 1st trial. In the 2nd they didn't have that choice due to lack of resources. But had they not made that choice in the 1st trial, or lacking the freedom to choose in the 2nd, the trials would not be deemed "unfair".
Is it "new" evidence? May I bow out here on a slight pretext: if I were legislating then my question would be a different one - "what kind of circumstances would warrant a 2nd trial". For now, it's enough to feel that there are cases where new evidence or discoveries would justify a 2nd trial. I could suggest a list of circumstances and we might disagree exactly where the line is to hold a 2nd trial, but I would draw a line somewhere. Amicus 13:13, 29 May 2010 (UTC)

Lock knives[edit | edit source]

s.139 alarms me. I use a lock knife because it's safer than a folding knife (blade can't snap on the fingers) and safer than a non-folding knife (blade is not out except in actual use). I can't count how often I've carried it in the pocket of my bag along with some pliers and other well used repair items and tools, in case I needed them while away from home. Never knew about this law. Odds are I'm not the only one.

At a pinch, consider adding a more effective set of statutory defences to 139(4) and (5), covering balance of probability, transportation between legitimate places, manner of transportation (if it's rendered unable to be easily used as a weapon), etc. But mainly, lock knives are safer than other kinds. Allow them. Amicus 09:29, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

No No Amicus. Have some confidence in yourself. As someone sensible says below: These laws don't make a jot of difference to people who are willing to kill. Besides don't tell me I'm going to get murdered with a 1 inch lock knife but not with a 3 inch, perfectly legal, knife. Why have more laws (i.e. statutory defences etc.) when fewer will do! Repeal, Repeal Repeal.

Gravity knives are probably the safest kind. No need to touch the blade when opening/closing. Unfortunately, people think these laws make a difference to people willing to commit murder. - George

Consumer Credit Act 2006[edit | edit source]

Sub-sections 127(3-5) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 have proven to be inconvenient for the lending institutions, so the Gov't repealed them. The problem is, without a document bearing consumer's signature and those terms, the lending institutions can substitute whatever they wish for the amount of credit, total charge for credit and how the credit is to be repaid. Try proving that it is not what you signed for afterwards!!!

Has this actually (provably) happened enough to be a problem? News links? Amicus 17:04, 25 May 2010 (UTC)
Since this is only in effect from April 2007, don't expect any news on it for another 5-10 years... Old s.127 was a great loophole for people to get out of paying debt when they were on the brink of bankruptcy. Technically, without the old s.127 there is absolutely no point in having regulated credit agreements — the lender can do as they please ignoring all legislation and regulation and then demand the money back with interest (in some cases 40%+) and the courts would only find it equitable to enforce such debts.
I personally had a lender supply three different versions of allegedly the same agreement with different total charge for credit every time, and I'd like to think that I know the law a little bit better than an average Joe... So go figure!

Sexual Offences Act 2003 (16 + 17 year olds)[edit | edit source]

Either a person of a given age is a child, in which case then they must not have sex, with anyone for any reason, or they are not, in which case they are an adult and not a child and the photographs may be undesirable but are not "child" anything.

The mythical legislator who created this may not like the fact that some 17 year olds look younger, but that doesn't change that they are 17 and have the legal rights of a 17 year old, not those of a 15 year old - including (to be crude) the right to have intravaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, group sex, marry and make a lifelong relational and sexual commitment (if parents consent), show their boy/girlfriends themselves nude on webcam, visit fetish websites, screw like bunnies, and (morally) take explicit home pictures of themselves.

It is a sheer nonsense to assert that a person 'A' can legally undertake a sexual act, but may not take a digital image of themselves undertaking that legal sexual act, or that letting their partners, friends, and peers see it would criminalise those who do. Amicus 23:49, 26 May 2010 (UTC)

(It's stretching a bit, but it strikes me a bit like this: "Well I know you're 19 but some 19 year olds look 15 and 15 isn't acceptable to drive, so let's criminalise 19 year old drivers who show others their driving license and those who view them, just to be safe".)

Yes, it seems ridiculous that an 18 year old boy could be classified as sexual offender if he takes a naked photo of his 17 year old girlfriend...

It's not even necessarily about the 18 year old taking a picture of his 17 year old girlfriend naked. It's equally indefensible when the photographer (or indeed the viewer) is older. It's an absurdity that the same hypothetical 17 year old could, if she wished it, legally meet up with a fifty year old man for the purposes of having sexual intercourse, but that she could not meet up with a fifty year professional photographer for the purposes of having her photograph taken in the nude, in case that image were deemed indecent by a magistrate. If she can consent to the former, she should be able to consent to the latter - regardless of how desirable the rest of us may feel either action may be.
Worth noting that the Liberal-Democrats are overwhelmingly in favour of simplifying and tidying up this area of law, while the Conservative Party are not; Conservative Dr Liam Fox, commenting on Lib-Dem policy in 2004, stated: "This irresponsible policy is likely to lead to the exploitation of young people and it adds to the many ridiculous policies the Liberal Democrats have dreamed up over recent years. With all the problems facing Britain, the Liberal Democrats have once again chosen to focus on the absurd and the obscure, and their muddled approach reveals them to be sad and irrelevant." I disagree with Fox that the Lib-Dem approach is "muddled"; it's the current legislation that is muddled, but my own feeling on the matter is that it might be more sensible (and at worst equally sensible) simply to raise the age of sexual consent to 18, with a caveat that 16 and 17 year olds should not be criminalised - or at least not prosecuted - for having non-coercive sexual relations with their immediate peers.
It's an absurdity that the same hypothetical 17 year old could, if she wished it, legally meet up with a fifty year old man for the purposes of having sexual intercourse, but that she could not meet up with a fifty year professional photographer for the purposes of having her photograph taken in the nude.
- Ouch! Didn't spot that one. True.
A common age is needed for sex, marriage, sexual photography, etc, with appropriate precautions to prevent the worst injustices at the "edge cases" (small difference in years between the two, deception of the older party, mistake, etc).
If the law says a person can get married at 16 (with permission), that's an implicit statement that sex at 16 is acceptable and that 16 is not "child" or "statutory rape". A common age of 18 would be valid, but does anyone really think a common shift to 18 for sex, marriage, fondling, touching, photography etc would be seen by teenagers (those most affected) as fair? I don't know what the statistics are on teenage relationships, but I suspect a significant proportion have touched and been touched, kissed, or other sexual contact, by 16 let alone 18 - and most would laugh in your (or anyones) face and simply ignore it as being silly politicians without a clue, if you tried to persuade them they needed protecting from themselves and could not have that kind of contact with any other person until 18..... Amicus 11:43, 30 May 2010 (UTC)
About 1 year after this 2003 act became law, I had the personal misfortune to come across the text on the internet. I had been looking for another Act of Parliament on the HMSO website. I thought to take a look at this one. My reaction is (even as of today) unchanged. I believe that this legislation is the product of sick and paranoid minds and could be considered, in itself, as an Obscene Publication. Sometime afterwards, at dinner with friends (some of whom are lawyers and one on the bench) I raised the question of this legislation and asked for their view as to whether an Act of Parliament can be prosecuted in the courts. The reaction was 'Complicated but Possible'. The text is so hostile, particularly to men, that it could almost be said that it is an attempt to impose a form of Sharia Law, in the UK, and specifically targeting the male population and, perhaps, coming within the area of existing sexual discrimination legislation. I believe that there is no point in trying to debate and analyse specific sections and sentences (as the well-meaning correspondants wish to do here). The whole act has to be made subject to root and branch amendment and reform. I do not live in the UK now but I have extensive experience, through residency and work, of European countries. I believe that there is nothing in any of the laws of the EEC countries which comes anywhere near the repressiveness and venom of this act.Miletus 13:19, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Francis Bennion has a good discussion on the topic.

Adverse possession[edit | edit source]

The law's positive purposes are to ensure that ancient claims on land cannot surface after an unreasonable time, and to ensure people cannot be evicted from their home on little or no notice. But the law is archaic and can be cruel and painful in cases where these reasons do not apply.

One frequently hears of cases in the news where someone's land or house is occupied - perhaps while they are away on holiday or for a weekend - and the law of adverse possession prevents them easily re-acquiring it back. Similar cases occur where someone changes the locks without the owner's permission with the same effect. It is not clear at all that such cases should remove an owner from use, access and peaceful enjoyment of their property, and removal of those who have acted or occupied without permission if so desired. 07:49, 31 May 2012 (UTC) This is nothing to do with adverse possession - these are simple squatting cases and accelerated procedures exist for removing squatters in these circumstances. Under current law, in order to gain ownership via adverse possession, a person must have been occupying the property for at least ten years.

People who have lived in a place for a long time undisturbed - many months, or a year or two - may well need consideration as to their position. But a person who chooses to change where they live or stay, is well aware if they have owner rights or permissions in their new location. If they don't, they cannot be surprised at a forcible requirement to vacate upon the owner's request, or that the legitimate owner will retain the right to occupy as well. A repeal of the parts of the law that have this effect would be a removal of a long term injustice.

An improved system to avoid the worst abuse might be:

  • Under 12 months peaceful uncontested occupation:
  • No general right exists to reside upon land or in property, unless there has been peaceful uncontested occupation for (say) 12 months. Within that time any police officer may move on the occupiers at the request of the owner, as much as police can move on anyone else causing disturbance, blocking roads, or other inappropriate activities. (This prevents the worst abuses)
  • An defence exists that the owner had permitted permanent occupation and undue hardship would result if it were summarily removed without reasonable notice. (This prevents unjust eviction of people who had been invited to live there, without fair notice)
  • The owner may plead "likelihood of harm" against this (eg an occupier with a risk of severe damage if allowed to remain in occupation)
  • The owner retains right of access to, and control over, their property. (If they wish to break their own window to enter their own home, there is no good reason why this should be a problem. If there are times they should be forbidden - bailiffs, court orders - then these should be noted in the law.)
  • Under 20 years peaceful uncontested occupation:

(should this not be 14 years? I believe that is the period for so called 'squatters rights ' over scrub land and so on.--TimC 08:18, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

  • Reasonable notice must be given; again a "likelihood of harm" exception exists.

Amicus 20:22, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Handgun crime 'up' despite Ban http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/1440764.stm
  2. Gun crime doubles in a decade http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/lawandorder/6438601/Gun-crime-doubles-in-a-decade.html
  3. "Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing" (PDF). DCMS/National Archives. 2009-10-22. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  4. "Number of Scottish pubs rises since smoking ban". Herald Scotland. 2008-08-16. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  5. "Widespread support for smoking ban" (PDF). Office of National Statistics. 2008-06-18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4083283.stm | BBC News Friday, 10 December, 2004: No one can define new hunt ban
  7. See: Wikipedia|http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunting_Act_2004#Enforcement_of_the_Hunting_Act
  8. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1472099/Hunt-ban-is-revenge-for-Thatchers-defeat-of-the-miners-says-Labour-MP.html%7CThe Daily Telegraph, September 19, 2004: Hunt ban is revenge for Thatcher's defeat of the miners, says Labour MP. Retrieved: July 30h., 2009
  9. http://www.flipbookserver.com/scripts/showbook.aspx?ID=10001868_518458%7C
  10. http://www.ifaw.org/noreturntocruelty
  11. http://www.huntingact.org/site/c.pmLYKfN3LxH/b.4668509/
  12. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article7137693.ece
  13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/apr/08/digital-economy-bill-passes-third-reading | Digital economy bill rushed through wash-up in late night session - guardian.co.uk, Thursday 8 April 2010 00.05 BST
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/05/the-inexact-science-behind-dmca-takedown-notices
  15. http://bmaurer.blogspot.com/2007/02/big-media-dmca-notices-guilty-until.html
  16. http://torrentfreak.com/study-reveals-reckless-anti-piracy-antics-080605/
  17. 17.0 17.1 http://opentracker.blog.h3q.com/2007/02/12/perfect-deniability/
  18. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/14/bittorrent_bypass_code_hits_net
  19. http://torrentfreak.com/canadian-mp-three-strikes-law-is-idiotic-080706/

Pet Quarantine - Shorten the 6 month rule for dogs coming to the UK from outside the EU to 1-3 months. 06:22, 1 July 2010 (UTC)