Easter recess

Lord Norton

44101Both Houses have risen for the Easter recess.  They return on 20 April. 

When we return, we have various pieces of legislation to get through.  Two big Government Bills have made slow progress.  The Marine and Coastal Access Bill has still not completed its committee stage – its next day in committee is on 21 April.  The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill has finished its committee stage and report stage will continue on 22 April.   Two  Government Bills are being considered in Grand Committee: the Saving Gateway Accounts Bill and the Political Parties and Elections Bill.  Another one, the Postal Services Bill, is being taken in Committee of the Whole House.   The Health Bill, like the Local Democracy Bill, is awaiting completion of its report stage.  The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill – on which the Government suffered three defeats on Wednesday – is awaiting third reading.

We also have three Government Bills waiting for second reading debates: the Business Rates Supplements Bill (22 April), the Coroners and Justice Bill (27 April) and the Welfare Reform Bill (29 April).  There are also no less than nine Private Members’ Bills – Lord Tyler’s is the latest – waiting to be scheduled for second reading. 

There will be enough to keep us busy.  Reverting to my earlier post, whether all the legislation is necessary – and whether we can improve our methods of scrutiny – is another matter.

4 comments for “Easter recess

  1. Senex
    03/04/2009 at 7:45 pm

    When I mentioned relational blocks and how they interrelate in acts or bills I wanted to see if you had awareness of recent research in computerised artificial intelligence (AI) and the law. Your answer left me unsure?

    I thought you might find these references worth browsing. The house or Hansard might benefit by seeking funding, or to fund, doctorate work on the use of AI in Parliament with a view to facilitating origination or scrutiny.

    Computerisation also raises some constitutional issues. It might act to protect people from law enforcement when a machine has notified a person of a default of contract and the notification was not signed or authorised by a person. The scope here seems to be a broad one.

    Search on ‘artificial intelligence and law’

    Ref: Alan L Tyree, Online Papers
    University of Texas at Austin: Legal Applications of Artificial Intelligence

  2. Thomas
    04/04/2009 at 8:26 am

    Indeed, that is a lot of legislation. Some of it may be quite useful, but I do not believe that it is all necessary for the UK. Of course the other question is necessary for which purpose – maybe most bills are designed to help the political survival of the government rather than serve the interests of the UK.

    Still, I wonder whether the battles are chosen well. The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill has suffered a number of defeats already, but I even so I would be very surprised if everything in it will stand in court. It really does make me wonder whether the aim is for quantity rather than quality.

  3. Croft
    04/04/2009 at 9:08 am

    Thomas: When the government bring in a bill with (insert megalomaniac power of your own choice) and unreasonable/unlawful consequences it is often based on a win/win assumption. If the opposition oppose it they are ‘soft on terror’, if they defeat it then the next terrorist incident will be blamed on the opposition – irrespective of if the law change would have made a difference – and the spin will say it proves they are soft on terror and can’t be trusted to government the country. If measure passes into law and the judges throw it out then its all the evil judges fault, the next terrorist incident is their and the opposition’s fault and only the government can protect the people. Cynical but practical politics I suggest.

  4. Thomas
    05/04/2009 at 7:37 pm

    > If measure passes into law and the judges throw it out then its all the evil judges fault,

    I guess that is what the Sun will write, and for a lot of people that alone matters. I always thought it was a sign of badly written law if it does not stand in court, but I understand that there are several sides to this. It is just a shame that this important area is turned into such a mine field for everybody involved. Good job prospects for lawyers, I guess 🙁

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