Friday, 5 August 2011

In our name? Do we get asked?

Over at Bill Cash's European Journal we learn that moves are afoot to 'harmonise' the rights of  suspects which would have an impact on the structure of criminal proceedings as defined by each member state’s national laws. 
"Article 82 TFEU provides that the adoption of minimum rules “shall take into account the differences between the legal traditions and systems of the Member States.” However, the Commission has been putting forward proposals in complete disregard of the different legal systems within the EU, particularly the common law system. The UK has an opt out from Justice and Home Affairs measures. However, the UK loses protection every time it decides to opt in. Nevertheless, the Coalition Government has already decided to opt into several proposals, ceding jurisdiction in this area to the European Court of Justice. 

The Secretary of State at the Minister of Justice, Kenneth Clarke, has explained to the European Scrutiny Committee that the UK already complied with several provisions of the draft directive, nevertheless the draft proposal will, unless amended during the negotiations, require changes in the UK law and practice. The proposal if adopted would increase the scope of existing UK law and practice in this area, consequently it would have financial implications, chiefly for the UK’s legal aid budget. It remains to be seen whether the Government decides to opt into the proposal and what comes out from the negotiations between member states and the European Parliament."
If changes are required to our practice of law and if those changes, whether for the good or not, have implications for us, for example in respect of the cost of the Legal Aid system, leaving aside any other implications; then should not the question be put to the people? I do not recall any proposal in any of the manifestos published by the Lib/Lab/Con at the last general election that mentioned such changes. Is not how we are dealt with under the law not, in effect, part of our constitution?

And we do not live under a system I describe as democratised dictatorship?

Just asking.....................

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