Attempts to release of Yunus Rahmatullah, a Pakistani man who has been held without trial at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan for eight years, have failed. Lord Neuberger, the Master of the Rolls, last year ordered a writ of habeas corpus to ensure Rahmatullah’s release. However, Lord Neuberger yesterday accepted that matters could not progress after the Americans bluntly refused to hand him over. Neuberger said the US authorities had “in suitably diplomatic language” declined to return the 29-year-old. Neuberger criticised British military chiefs for handing him over in “questionable circumstances” and “appear to have sold the pass” which might have allowed them to protect him.

The High Court have dismissed an application by two sixth form students for a quashing order against the regulations implementing the Government’s decision to raise the statutory cap on University tuition fees to £6,000 per year generally and £9,000 per year for qualifying courses. It did, however, grant a declaration that in reaching that decision, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills had failed fully to comply with his public sector equality duties.

In reply to solicitor Julian Young’s suggestion in The Guardian that “Barristers should stop insulting solicitor advocates and take steps to merge the two professions”, an anonymous barrister has issued a strong reply, arguing that, “Solicitor advocates, by their very nature, deprive barristers of work to which they alone were traditionally entitled, and are better trained and qualified to deal with . . . It is a situation about which the entire legal profession, and not just the Bar, should be deeply concerned.”

The Ministry of Justice has decided to allow courts to revert to the old system of selecting interpreters from the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) in order to avoid further hearings being adjourned as a result of interpreters from a new agency failing to turn up to court. The MoJ launched a new interpreter service on 30 January that required all court interpreters to be sourced from Applied Language Solutions (ALS). However, since launch there have been reports of long delays and instances where interpreters were late, underprepared, underqualified or failed to turn up at all.

The Commons justice select committee are calling for a reform of the law governing missing persons. The Committee argues that “byzantine” laws in England and Wales determining the affairs of those who go missing are so bewildering that they should be replaced with a simplified presumption of death act.

The United States Supreme Court is hearing an intriguing case this week about whether Congress can make it a crime to falsely claim having been awarded a military medal, in a case testing the reach of the Constitution’s free-speech protection. Hearing arguments on the Stolen Valor Act, the justices discussed wartime bravery, high school diplomas and lies people tell on dates. A false claim of receiving military honors “does diminish the medal in many respects,” Justice Anthony Kennedy said during the hour-long argument in Washington. Still, he and other justices suggested that upholding the law might broaden the kinds of lies the government could sanction, beyond matters like perjury and false statements to a federal agent.

Irwin Mitchell has been forced to defend its pricing policy after Lord Neuberger highlighted a case in which it charged six times the amount paid out to its client. Ruling in favour of the firm in Simcoe v Jacuzzi UK Group Neuberger said that “something is out of kilter” when the firm had managed to amass costs of £75,000 when its client, plumber Adrian Simcoe, had received a £12,500 settlement for a personal injury claim. Irwin Mitchell, however, contended that it was the defendant’s solicitors at Berryman Lace Mawer who had driven up costs “through unnecessary delays and tactics”.

Finally, Sir Stephen Sedley, until last year a judge of the Court of Appeal, used an article in the London Review of Books to launch a stinging rebuttal to Lord Sumption’s lecture last November, in which Sumption rebuked the judiciary for failing to stay out of the political arena. Sedley is robust in his defence of judicial decision making, stating that “there is a repeated insinuation that judicial interference in the political process regularly occurs: ‘The judicial resolution of inherently political issues is difficult to defend.’ It is not only difficult to defend; it does not happen.” Furthermore,  Sumption’s assertions “harm the standing of the judiciary and confidence in the law”. Ouch.