The jurisdiction of the Privy Council could be expanded to hear appeal cases from Honduras. By establishing semi-independent city states the Honduran government is hoping that improved governance through a constitutional arrangement with Mauritius will attract business investment and create employment.
The National Investment Promotion Agency of Mauritius has stated that the country had been asked by the Honduran government to establish Mauritian legislation in a new special development region, and that Honduras had also requested that the Supreme Court of Mauritius acts as the court of appeal for the judicial system being established.
Factors discussed in this Guardian article include the cost of bringing claims from Honduras to the Judicial Committee, which is likely to be borne by the claimants, and the increased caseload on the justices who sit on both the Supreme Court and the Privy Council.
On Tuesday it was announced that Rebekah Brooks, Glenn Mulcaire and Andy Coulson were amongst those to be charged with offences relating to phone hacking. All will be charged with conspiring to intercept communications without lawful authority, except for Mulcaire who has already pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge and faces four other charges. The charges in full are listed on this CPS press statement.
The House of Lords has approved Lord Ribeiro’s private member’s bill to ban smoking in cars when children are present. Under the regime contained in the bill offenders would be liable for a £60 fine or would have to attend a smoke awareness course. However, the peer has admitted that there is no strong government support for legislating in this area, with the Prime Minister stating that he is nervous about proscribing what people should and should not do in private vehicles.
Scotland is set to introduce equal marriage. A draft bill which will allow same-sex couples to marry with the same rights as heterosexual couples is expected to be enacted next year.
Nicola Sturgeon, the deputy first minister, spoke of the need to recognise the fierce opposition from some faith groups:
“We believe that in a country that aspires to be an equal and tolerant society, as we do in Scotland, then this is the right thing to do,”
“However, we recognise and respect the concerns that some have expressed, in particular the concerns that have been expressed by the churches. We are determined that the legislation which is brought forward will include protection for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”
The legislation will include significant protection from equality legislation and “conscience clauses” for churches and individual clergy that object on religious grounds.
The Ecuadorean government is seeking assurances that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will not be extradited to the US following his extradition to Sweden. Under the concept of “specialty” an individual can only be extradited to one country, but this can be waived by the country granting the initial extradition request under the Extradition Act 2003 s58, allowing the individual to then be extradited to a third country once legal proceedings have finished in the second country. The Foreign Office has neither confirmed nor denied whether Theresa May intends to exercise this power despite repeat requests from Ecuador. Assange has been living at the Ecuadorean embassy for the last five weeks pending an asylum request.
On Thursday the Court of Appeal announced that general damages will increase by 10% for all judgments made after 1 April 2013. The uplift will apply to general damages for torts covering pain, suffering and loss of amenity in personal injury, nuisance, and defamation. The judgment is available here.
Paul Chambers, who was prosecuted under the Communications Act 2003 s127(1) for sending a menacing tweet, had his conviction overturned by the Court of Appeal. The panel concluded that on an objective assessment the tweet did not include a message of a menacing character. Chambers had expressed his frustration that Robin Hood airport in South Yorkshire was closed by posting a joke about blowing the airport up on Twitter.