Jones v Kernott, heard in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, garnered much media attention as the case may have a dramatic effect on the property rights of unmarried couples in England and Wales who separate. Patricia Jones, 56, is challenging a Court of Appeal decision which gave her ex-partner, Leonard Kernott, an equal share of a home they owned.

The Supreme Court has confirmed the appointment of Jonathan Sumption QC and Sir Nicholas Wilson as the two new justices. The announcement confirmed that Sumption will take up his new post “as soon as his existing professional commitments are completed, on a date to be agreed”. The silk is instructed as lead counsel for Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich in his upcoming High Court dispute with rival Boris Berezovsky. Wilson LJ will take up his position on 26 May. He replaces Lord Saville of Newdigate, who retired in October 2010.

The jury in the Tomlinson inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing on Tuesday. The jury decided Pc Harwood acted illegally, recklessly and dangerously, and used “excessive and unreasonable” force in striking Mr Tomlinson. An investigation has now been launched into the pathologist who concluded newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died of natural causes. The General Medical Council is investigating Dr Freddy Patel’s work on the case. Dr Patel found Mr Tomlinson died of a heart attack due to coronary artery disease after the 2009 G20 protest.

Campaigners have voiced mounting concern over the recent deaths of five teenagers in five jails across England in just five weeks. This spike in apparently self-inflicted deaths has alarmed penal reformers, who point out that no more than five teenagers a year have died in custody since 2005, when the total was nine.

Legal Aid Cuts are prompting new models for the provision of legal advice. Ken Clarke’s campaign against the “compensation culture” and “no win, no fee agreements” is aimed at producing a generation of increasingly cost-conscious litigants. One of the latest solutions, however, is not mediation but quick-fire opinions. A preference for online, instant gratification of legal curiosity may also be helping Expert Answers, a website that is out to promote its services as an alternative professional model. There are however concerns over the quality of such advice.

Government bodies are facing a number of legal challenges in the wake of the spending cuts. Charitable group the Public Law Project (PLP) has threatened to launch a legal challenge to the Ministry of Justice’s civil costs and funding reforms. In particular, it is challenging the MoJ’s decision to abolish the recoverability of conditional fee agreement success fees, without also introducing other key reforms put forward by the Jackson Report to mitigate the impact on access to justice for those seeking judicial reviews.

A group of English local authorities are mounting a legal challenge against government budget cuts tied to its academies expansion programme. The 23 councils argue the way a £148m cut has been calculated for services no longer provided to academies is against government rules. Two county councils that want to close libraries in the west of England are also facing a judicial review. Public Interest Lawyers issued a claim to the High Court on Tuesday against the closure of public libraries in Somerset and Gloucestershire. Public Interest Lawyers say the councils are in breach of their statutory obligations and did not hold proper consultations.

The Bar Standards Board has approved proposals to regulate advocacy focused legal entities and allow barristers to conduct litigation. At a meeting last Thursday, the BSB decided it will regulate advocacy focused alternative business structures, legal disciplinary practices (LDPs) and barrister-only entities, but not multi-disciplinary practices.

Patricia Robertson QC, who led the BSB’s working group on entity regulation, said the BSB was not seeking to compete ‘head to head’ with the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, but that its proposals offered a ‘genuine alternative’ to the SRA’s regime, specifically targeting advocacy and addressing the problems faced by advocates without burdening them with the cost of addressing issues that do not concern them.

Finally, the Liberal Democrats have been left reeling after suffering their worst electoral drubbing in almost 30 years, sustaining heavy losses across northern England. The party was ejected from power in Sheffield – home to Nick Clegg’s constituency – as its national share of votes plummeted to 15%. With around two-thirds of local election results still to come in, the party had already lost around 200 seats.