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The following notice has been published by the Royal Courts of Justice Criminal Appeals Office

15 April 2020

And yes, the typos are in the original notice as is the mysterious absence of the "s" in Criminal Appeals - probably deliberate even though it's nonsense.

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Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals service has issued guidelines for witnesses who, because of CoVid-19, give evidence from a remote location. They will be expected to have regard to the same duty to tell the truth as if they were in a witness box in a courtroom.

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The political posturing that has arisen from the High Court in England and Wales ordering that Article 50 can be triggered only after a Parliamentary vote is ridiculous. Then again, so was the bringing of a case, or the need for one to be brought. Anyone with an ounce of sense always knew that last June's Referendum does not bind Parliament (voters were told that often enough during many TV and Radio programmes and many articles in the media in the period leading up to the referendum) therefore a Parliamentary vote would be required. Anyone who thought otherwise was delusional and lacking in basic knowledge of the fundamentals of how the British legal and parliamentary systems work.

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It's all becoming a little too Orwellian. When the previous, Labour government created the "Ministry of Justice" it sounded more 1984 than we were comfortable with. After all, the whole point of the various ministries in the book is to deliver the opposite of what their name promised. Recent changes to costs are removing access to justice except for those that can pay.

And it's all building up to look like a raid on solicitors' firms.

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A US Judicial Conference Committee has updated the model set of jury instructions federal judges use to deter jurors from using social media to research or communicate about cases on which they serve. The new guidelines provide detailed explanations of the consequences of social media use during a trial, along with recommendations for repeated reminders of the ban on social media usage.

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When Dubai wanted a model for its courts system for the (then) new financial centre, it chose that of the English legal system. Now the British government wants to capitalise on the standing and reputation of the UK Courts and ancillary services, including arbitration, and turn London into the world's leading "law tourism" centre.

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As the USA's crisis over the failure of Congress to finalise a Federal budget, the US Federal Courts system is one of those on the front line. What will happen if Congress fails to solve the problem tomorrow (8 April).

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