Journalist and broadcaster John Sergeant will be strutting his stuff on stage as the guest host and speaker at the Birmingham Law Society Legal Awards.
However, John’s most memorable career moment came in 1990, while working as a political correspondent, when he was famously interrupted mid-broadcast by Margaret Thatcher. Emerging from the Paris Embassy, Lady Thatcher grabbed John’s microphone to declare live on-air her participation in the Conservative leadership election.
- BREXIT – Article 50 – Should it be a decision of Parliament or the Prime Minister?
The recent High Court decision in the case brought by Gina Miller and others has highlighted some fundamental and very important issues regarding the rights and duties of Parliament, the Prime Minster acting under the Royal Prerogative and the impact of the decision of the referendum.
The recent headlines in some of the press - the Daily Mail referred to the highly regarded judges who sat in the High Court and who passed judgment in the case as “Enemies of the People” - gives rise to great concern not amongst the legal fraternity but anyone who values the rule of law which underpins the whole of our Constitution. The independence of the judiciary is a vital element of our Constitution. Our legal system is rightly admired throughout the world for its integrity and independence. What the case considered was purely the process by which Article 50 should be triggered – NOT whether the Article 50 should be triggered or not. The Court held that the Royal Prerogative (meaning that the Prime Minister can take executive decisions after discussion with the Queen and, presumably, the Cabinet without the need to put the matter to Parliament) does not apply and therefore the Prime Minster must obtain the approval of Parliament before the Government can serve notice on the European Commission triggering Article 50. The High Court agreed that the Royal Prerogative can be used to enter treaties but as membership of the European Union has resulted in numerous Acts of Parliament being passed as a result of membership and Acts of Parliament, which are passed by Parliament, can only be changed by Parliament, then Parliament must vote on the triggering of Article 50. This decision was reached after careful and detailed analysis of the law by some of our most able judges and, in my view, must be correct. I would be very surprised if the Supreme Court reaches a different conclusion.
It is disappointing that neither Liz Truss, the Lord Chancellor, nor Theresa May, has strongly condemned the head lines and reporting we have seen in the Daily Mail and other newspapers. Such accounts of the High Court decision, which appears to suggest that the Courts are trying to frustrate the decision reached in the Referendum, demonstrate an appalling lack of understanding of the role of our judicial system. There is a worrying trend with some newspapers who seem to be intent on pursing their own political agenda without due regard to the facts. The British public deserve better than this. The Lord Chancellor has to take “due regard to defend the independence (of the judiciary) and the need for the judiciary to have the support necessary to enable them to exercise their functions” (s 3 (6) Constitutional Reform Act 2005). The Lord Chancellor should therefore carry out her statutory duties and roundly condemn the ill informed and dangerous reporting shown by some of the press following on from the High Court decision.
10 November 2016
12 August 2016
LEADING LAW FIRMS PARTNER WITH BPP UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL FOR NEW APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME
BPP University Law School is set to launch two new legal apprenticeships from September 2016, partnering with some of the country’s leading law firms to offer the pioneering schemes.
The new Solicitor Apprenticeship presents students with the opportunity for the first time to qualify as a solicitor through an apprenticeship route. All apprentices who successfully complete our programme will also be awarded the degree LLB (Hons) Legal Practice.
BPP University is one of the first universities to offer this innovative six-year programme, which will be available across its network of Law School sites.
While a number of employers, including international commercial law firm Eversheds, have already signed up for this scheme, other leading firms including, Jones Day and Burges Salmon have opted for BPP Law School’s new Paralegal Apprenticeship.
The Paralegal scheme gives students the opportunity to train as a paralegal while working towards the Certificate of Higher Education (Legal Services) and successful candidates have the option of progressing to the Solicitor Apprenticeship, subject to business need.
The new ‘trailblazer’ apprenticeship standards have been developed by a group of leading law firms to ensure that all students have the correct skills and knowledge needed to thrive in today’s legal services market.
Tricia Chatterton, Director of Legal Apprenticeship Programmes at BPP University Law School, said: “We’ve been working with leading employers to develop these new schemes, which have been designed to ensure that those embarking on a career in law have the optimum combination of training and on-the-job experience needed to succeed. Many firms are now exploring how the programmes can complement their existing graduate schemes.
“The introduction of these new schemes, coupled with changes to the way that apprenticeships are funded, means that more law firms than ever before are recognising the benefits that apprenticeships offer, and we are already seeing businesses in other sectors looking to create similar schemes in the coming months.”
BPP University Law School is one of the leading providers of education and training to the legal sector, with more than 60 law firms partnering exclusively with BPP University for the provision of the LPC to their future trainees.
In anticipation of the EU Referendum to be held on the 23rd June 2016, Birmingham Law Society’s International Committee held an open debate with a selection of formidable speakers arguing the case for a “In” or “Out” vote. Kindly hosted by KPMG at their Snowhill offices, the event was chaired by Michael O’Brien QC of No5 Chambers.
Those arguing in favour were Professor Martin Trybus Professor of European Law and Policy at the University of Birmingham and Director of Institute of European Law and Malcolm Harbour CBE. The “Out” Debate presented by John Longworth, former Director of British Chamber of Commerce and current member of the American Chamber of Commerce and Careers Company, and James Carver, MEP UKIP.
Mushtaq Khan, former President of the Birmingham Law Society, opened the conference by stating: "Birmingham Law Society is a firmly non-partisan organisation, we do not intend to advocate one view or another in respect of the UK’s membership of the EU. We recognise that there are differing views within our membership as in society more broadly. Without taking a position, the prospect of withdrawal raises a number of serious issues to which we urge campaigners and political parties to give serious consideration as part of their commitment to serving the best interests of the UK and its people.”
‘Important new points highlighted by the 'Remain' side in the debate were that the EU single market is the only trade agreement that includes services - which are so crucial for the UK economy. The 'Leave' side admitted that there will be an economic shock after Brexit and appear to hope that Brexit will trigger the disintegration of the EU as a whole.’ commented speaker Martin Trybus, Professor of European Law and Policy at Birmingham University.
Malcolm Harbour CBE, furthered the argument to stay by sharing his experience of working in the European policy making reminding everyone how the UK has been so influential in shaping the EU we have today. Stating ‘The Single Market is a remarkable achievement, with trade and economic benefits that cannot be matched by any alternatives on offer. We should not toss aside 30 years of progress for an uncertain future.’
James Carver MEP for UKIP countered these by highlighting ‘The UK's relationship with the EU has fundamentally changed since we joined the European Economic Community back in 1973. After 43 years of unsuccessfully trying to reform the European institutions, the time has come to leave the EU, thus allowing us to negotiate trade deals with the Commonwealth and emerging markets, instead of, as currently happens, requiring the permission of the European Commissioner for Trade.
With a seat on the UN Security Council and leading roles on other international organisations, we are well placed to reach out to a wider world, freed from the constraints of our EU membership - The world is our oyster, but if we remain inside the EU, our future is as a clam.'
John Longworth, who quit as the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce in order to ‘tell the truth about Brexit’ mounted a strong case to leave stating that ‘By and large, the businesses who only operate in the UK and those who export to the rest of the world want to leave the European Union, these make up 87% of the UK economy… Being in the EU is making them less competitive.’ Representing what he terms are the authentic voice of the real economy, Mr Longworth gave evidence of how leaving the EU will benefit the ‘grafters with good ideas’ highlighting that ‘people who, like me, have done business around the world, who know that taxpayers’ money that Brussels currently wastes could instead be invested in Britain: in public services, in infrastructure and in such things as steel production.’
Tony McDaid, Practice Director at No5 Chambers commented ‘The referendum is something that will affect all businesses and following today’s event I am now rethinking which way I will vote.’
It cannot be understated how significant this referendum is and the BLS To Leave or Not to Leave? That is the Question... event went a long way in helping those attending to be able make an informed choice on 23rd June.