The Psychoactive Substances Act, which came into force last week, has been much criticised.
There have been two broad criticisms: first, that it will fail to control the harm done by new psychoactive substances; secondly that it will prove largely unenforceable.
It will certainly have the effect of driving the sale of formerly legal highs underground. Possession of such substances remains legal (except in prisons), but their supply, possession with intent to supply, import and export have become criminal offences. Thus, the only means of obtaining substances that are in themselves legal to possess, will be through criminals. Businesses that once traded openly, and paid taxes, have now closed. Continue reading “The Psychoactive Substances Act is a bad law and the Government doesn’t even know what it means”
John Beggs QC has made the shortlist for The Lawyer Magazine’s award for “Barrister of the Year.”
The decision has caused outrage in Liverpool because Mr Beggs represented the Hillsborough Police Match Commanders, including David Duckenfield, the officer who, catastrophically, ordered the Hillsborough gates to be opened.
I have no idea whether he would be a worthy winner of the accolade. The entry form asks, amongst other things, for:
“Full details of one benchmark case, illustrating how the individual barrister’s contribution made a significant difference to the outcome, including details of other parties / instructing groups”
The verdicts in the Hillsborough Inquest went against his clients in every possible respect, so it is difficult to see how that case could further his credentials very far, but there are other criteria too, so perhaps he could still win.
Margaret Aspinall, whose son James was killed in the disaster, told the Liverpool Echo:
“Whoever proposed and supported this nomination has clearly not spent even a day at the Hillsborough inquests.”
“We and the jury listened to Mr Beggs for the last two years and the jury’s verdict tells you all you need to know about how good a barrister he is.” Continue reading “It’s not wrong to consider John Beggs QC for barrister of the year”
Oxford University law students have asked to be protected from distressing material that may crop up in their studies of the criminal law. Lecturers have been told that they must issue “trigger warnings” before lecturing on subjects that may – it is claimed – lead vulnerable students into depressive episodes or even suicide. Students thus forewarned can either steel themselves to what follows, or, as some are now doing, skip the lecture altogether. The directive is primarily aimed at students studying criminal law. Continue reading “Trigger warnings are an insidious threat to academic freedom”