Documents outlining UK plans to reform the ECHR were revealed last week. The ‘Brighton Declaration’ was published ahead of next month’s Council of Europe meeting in Brighton. The Declaration emphasises the primary importance of national bodies both in preventing human rights violations in the first place and in providing effective domestic remedies when things go wrong but also contains a proposal to limit the court’s jurisdiction where a case has already been examined by a national court, unless it has “clearly erred” or the case raises a serious question about the convention.

The Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC) has launched a consultation on proposed changes to the rules and regulations governing the procedures concerning the handling of complaints and discipline of judges today. The consultation document sets out 21 recommendations for improvement to the complaints process. The consultation document is available on the OJC website

The government has made two key concessions demanded by opponents of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders bill, days before the legislation enters report stage in the House of Lords. The government accepted that the broad definition of domestic violence used by the Association of Chief Police Officers should be employed in the bill. The government has also conceded that legal aid should remain automatically available in clinical negligence cases in which negligent treatment or care taking place during pregnancy, or shortly after birth, has resulted in serious neurological injury to the child.

The Queen’s Counsel selection board has promoted 88 new silks in the latest round of appointments, down more than a quarter on last year’s 120 appointments. Of the 214 barristers who applied for QC status, 40 were women, of whom 23 were successful. The selection committee did not promote either of the two solicitor advocates who applied.

The Treasury has rushed in legislation to close down two “aggressive” tax avoidance schemes that a high-street bank had disclosed to HM Revenue and Customs in an effort to avoid tax. As it announced highly unusual steps to take retrospective action to shut down the “highly abusive” schemes, the Treasury refused to the name the bank involved.

As many as 1,000 interpreters are boycotting a privatised contract to supply linguistic services to all English and Welsh courts, resulting in postponed hearings, suspects being released and compensation claims. The revolt within the professional community against cut-price employment terms imposed by Applied Language Solutions is spreading amid criticism of the quality of interpreting supplied by the Oldham-based firm. The five-year deal with the Ministry of Justice, which began on 1 February, is intended to save £18m a year out of an annual budget of £60m. ALS also has exclusive contracts to supply translation services to the London 2012 Olympics and a number of NHS trusts.

Family doctors must take an “active stand” against the Government’s health reforms by preventing private firms from controlling NHS budgets, the British Medical Association has warned. The call-to-arms is contained in a strongly-worded letter from the BMA to 22,000 general practitioners, which argues the Health and Social Care Bill will be “irreversibly damaging to the NHS”.The letter, by Dr Laurance Buckman, chair of the BMA’s GPs’ committee, describes the Bill as “complex, incoherent and not fit for purpose”.  It warns the legislation will be “almost impossible to implement successfully, given widespread opposition across the NHS workforce”.

Finally, a man donned a wig and gown to pose as a barrister and represent a friend in a drugs case though he had no legal qualifications, a court was told. David Evans, 57, appeared at Plymouth crown court in Devon and told officials he was a “senior advocate” at a London law firm and was acting for cannabis farmer Terry Moss. But the judge, Stephen Wildblood, became suspicious after Evans allegedly made a series of legal blunders, including appearing in a solicitor’s gown but a barrister’s wig.