COVID 19 ONE YEAR ON – The unlawful, coercive and nasty parts of the Coronavirus Act must be repealed and a public inquiry launched

One year ago Parliament passed the biggest infringements to our rights and civil liberties that this country has ever witnessed. We were promised that there would be meaningful reviews of the provisions and that the Government would repeal anything that was not absolutely necessary and proportionate. A couple of days later, the Government published the real rules in the lockdown regulations, which imposed even tighter restrictions than were ever anticipated in the Coronavirus Act. 

We should replace the coercive and arbitrary parts of the Coronavirus Act with a public health-focused system which supports people to comply with the health guidelines. Most important, to my mind, would be the repeal of Section 51 of and Schedule 21 to the Act, which have resulted in an unprecedented 100% unlawful prosecution rate.  Also the Government and the police must get to grips with how we can facilitate safe and lawful protest. There has been no excuse for the blanket ban, without any attempt to work constructively with the organisers of protests. Continue reading “COVID 19 ONE YEAR ON – The unlawful, coercive and nasty parts of the Coronavirus Act must be repealed and a public inquiry launched”

Will there ever be a review of Prevent?

Yesterday, the Lords debated the Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Bill. The government missed their legal deadline for carrying out a review of Prevent, their scheme for dealing with extremism. Jenny has repeatedly called for Prevent to be replaced by a more neutral approach to safeguarding the vulnerable. Continue reading “Will there ever be a review of Prevent?”

Queen Speech: my response to the crime and justice sections

My Lords, it came as no surprise to me that there was nothing to delight my soul in the Government’s programme. For example, a fair justice system that keeps people safe takes more than a royal commission; it takes resources. When budgets have been cut by one-third, the system does not function well and justice suffers. I hope that the royal commission will examine the impact of austerity on fairness and access to justice. I also question any attempt to impose longer sentences when we are failing to deal with the care and rehabilitation of the large number of people already in the system. The probation service and the Prison Service are unable to cope properly with the existing numbers. If you add to that number, you are adding to those pressures and problems. Continue reading “Queen Speech: my response to the crime and justice sections”

Latest podcast

Jenny talks to Mike Schwarz, civil liberties lawyer, about the right to protest

Mike Schwarz has been a human rights lawyer at Bindmans for 25 years. He has represented numerous campaigners, including all three of Jenny’s part time staff. He describes the ups and downs of the right to protest over those years. Continue reading “Latest podcast”