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European Law

08 May 2008, 13:29 by William Hillier

Labels: court-of-justice, european-court, european-union, parliament

The European Parliament is looking at ways in which national judges can improve their knowledge and application of European Union law. Few realise the extent to which European legislation drives our own domestic law, on everything from Sale of Goods to insolvency to discrimination. In a report, Diana Wallis MEP states that improvement is needed to the reference procedure where questions of EU law are referred to the European Court of Justice for determination, training on EU law for judges and (most importantly in the writer's opinion) better drafting of the legislation itself. Find the report here (pdf).

Written by William Hillier, Barrister at New Walk Chambers, specialising in European Law.

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All Change Please...

31 Mar 2008, 16:08 by Kate Richards

Labels: employer, employment, european-court, fast-track, house-of-lords, tribunal

It seems that fundamental changes in the employment law are on the way (albeit some may say long overdue). The Employment Law Bill 2007, which is currently being debated in the House of Lords is set to repeal the Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004.

 The 2004 Regulations introduced the statutory disciplinary and grievance procedures in an attempt to reduce the employment litigation. For those practising law in this area it is abundantly clear that this has not been the case. Instead research conducted by the Department for Trade and Industry shows that under the Regulations disputes have become more formalised with the involvement of solicitors and barristers at earlier stages.

The Bill proposes a new non-regulatory system of employment procedures to encourage the informal resolution of disputes and an increased involvement by ACAS. In addition, increased powers will be given to tribunals' to reach a determination without a hearing.

 Other changes proposed within the Bill include:

The Bill is due to receive Royal Assent this summer and is currently scheduled to come into force in stages from October 2008.

Written by K Richards

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European Court of Human Rights and the House of Lords

14 Mar 2008, 13:58 by Geraint Jones

Labels: court-of-appeal, european-court, house-of-lords, human-rights

  Geraint Jones Q.C. has recently been involved in the first case to test whether the House of Lords decision in Arthur J S Hall & Co  v  Simons (2002) 1 AC 615 had/has retrospective effect. In Awoyomi v Radford & Postill  Mr. Justice Lloyd-Jones decided, contrary to the common position taken by Leading Counsel on each side, that despite their agreement that the House of Lords decision had only prospective effect, it did in fact have retrospective effect. That is, it was declaratory of what the law has always been, as opposed to being a change in the law with the House of Lords acting in a quasi-legislative way. The case has now been referred to the European Court of  Human Rights on the basis that the High Court decision totally denies the Claimant in that case from access to the Courts. The Court of Appeal,  Lord Justice Lawrence Collins, refused leave to appeal. In his order dated 30th August 2007 he made no mention of the applicant's submissions regarding Convention rights. In the absence of a prospective reading of the rule in Hall v. Simons, no other domestic remedy was available to the applicant. Accordingly, the applicant has not been provided with an effective remedy and that is the issue to be argued before the ECHR.

Written by Geraint Jones, Barrister at New Walk Chambers, Specialising in Arbitration, Environmental Law, European Union Law, Public Law, Professional Negligence and Sports Law.

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