The Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill has completed Report Stage and Third Reading in the House of Commons. The Bill establishes the office of Service Complaints Ombudsman, replacing the Service Complaints Commissioner.
The Local Government (Review of Decisions) Bill had its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 27 February 2015. The Bill is intended to make local authorities accountable for the health and safety decisions they take about events, and to offer the public a route for redress where a council makes an unreasonable decision.
The Public Administration Select Committee has heard evidence from the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman and the Care Quality Commission as part of its Inquiry into NHS clinical complaints.
The Divisional Court has rejected a challenge brought by the Law Society, The London Criminal Courts Solicitors Association, and the Criminal Law Solicitors Association, concerning the Lord Chancellor’s proposals to reduce the number criminal legal aid contracts for duty solicitors.
The High Court upheld a claim for judicial review concerning the availability of legal aid for relatives of the deceased at an inquest into a death in circumstances which might engage Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The Divisional Court has ruled that new regulations which restrict funding for judicial review cases brought by individuals in receipt of legal aid are unlawful. The regulations provided that lawyers would only be guaranteed payment once a claim had been granted permission.
The Law Society has issued a pre-action protocol letter for judicial review to challenge the government’s decision to increase some court fees by over 600 per cent.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published Making fair financial decisions: Guidance for decision makers setting out what is expected of decision-makers and leaders of public authorities responsible for delivering services, in order to make decisions as fair as possible.
In a case arising from the Snowden leaks, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled that security service procedures for obtaining material from US surveillance programmes had in the past been unlawful. However, the regime was now lawful by virtue of the disclosure of safeguarding procedures during the course of the proceedings.
The Civil Justice Council has published a Report on Online Dispute Resolution calling for changes in the way the court system handles low value civil claims through the introduction of online dispute resolution.
The Public Law Project has published An Independent Review of the Mandatory Civil Legal Advice Gateway. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 established the Civil Legal Advice telephone line as the only route by which certain legal aid services could be accessed. The Report considers the extent to which the recent MoJ review of its operation engages with key legislative and policy intentions.