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When the smoking ban finally came into force on 1 July 2007, for the most part, it was quite well received by the English public. After all, England was the last country of the United Kingdom to implement the ban and many other countries (such as Ireland and the United States) had banned smoking in public places many years before.
In our second article reviewing the pending reforms to litigation procedure, we will consider how justice will be accessed under a reformed system.
This article might create a strong sense of déjà vu for any litigator because civil procedure has been here before. The briefest look at history shows that in the last 100 years there have been 63 reports and inquiries into the civil justice system. Most of these reports focused around three perennial problems of cost, delay and complexity. If you have been following the previous Journal articles on litigation, you will already know that the two most recent reports were: - 1) Lord Woolf’s report delivered in 1995, entitled ‘Access to Justice’; and 2) Lord Justice Jackson’s report from December 2009 on civil costs.
When people who should not be in such work manage to slip through the cracks in the pavement and enter professions where vulnerable children or adults are involved, this is an issue that is always guaranteed to create a high level of controversy in society. After all, the vulnerable are the people we should always make every effort to protect the most, and when there has been a breach of trust, this is something we have to learn from and we must ensure the same thing never happens again.
With all of the recent celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, we Brits were able to remind ourselves of the fact that we have the most popular monarch in the whole world as our head of state. Indeed, other kingdoms around the world have felt a certain amount of envy as they watched our country celebrate with what we are best known for: pomp and ceremony. As for the republics in the world, let’s face it, we all know how certain countries love to lap our royal family up, and you definitely get the sense that these countries can regret their republican status at such times.
As citizens of the United Kingdom we can take pride in the fact that we live in one of the most liberal and tolerant societies in the whole world. This is one of the most fundamental reasons why so many people are attracted to the idea of coming to live here. Generally, British people really do try to be open to the cultures from other parts of the world, and the term ‘multiculturalism’ aptly describes the way in which people from many different backgrounds are able to live perfectly harmoniously.
My country (the Philippines) today, our highest judge was successfully impeached and just removed from power. But how do countries around the world treat the word “impeachment” as part of democratic process to ensure the public accountability principle? Our constitution provides the slogan of “Public Office is a Public Trust”.
In our first review article on the pending reforms to civil litigation we will be looking in more depth at the changes intended to limit legal costs.
This is not the first time that legal costs have been in the spotlight. One of the highlights of the last set of reforms1 to our litigation system in the late 1990s was the attempt to address legal costs. It has been argued that, despite improvements made to the rules over the years, legal costs in litigation have remained stubbornly high. The current changes2 are due to be implemented in April 2013. We will examine below two key alterations to existing litigation procedure, namely the increased use of fixed fees and changes to how claims are funded.
If you are already aware of the new recommendations that have been put forward from NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) to extend the right to IVF fertility treatment to slightly older women, same-sex couples and other groups of people, you will have noticed just how heated this debate has become lately. It would seem that everyone holds a strong opinion on this topic, with very few people deciding to sit on the fence.