The Home Secretary has today outlined a new Protection of Freedoms Bill, which she claimed will protect millions of people from “unwarranted state intrusion in their private lives”. The measures announced in the Bill include a scrapping of Section 44 powers (which have been used for stop and search), the deletion of DNA samples and fingerprints of innocent people from police databases, an end to the routine monitoring of 9.3 million people under the vetting and barring scheme and a permanent reduction of the maximum period of pre-charge detention for terrorist suspect to 14 days. Alongside the Bill, draft emergency legislation on pre-charge detention of terrorist suspects was also laid.

MPs voted yesterday to maintain a ban preventing prisoners from voting, maintaining that “democratically elected lawmakers”, and not the ECHR, should have the final say on whether prisoners should be given the vote. The vote is the latest installment in the ongoing disagreement between the government and the ECHR over prisoner voting rights, following an ECHR ruling on the issue five years ago. The vote may be seen as lending support to the position of the think tank Policy Exchange, which earlier this week published a report calling for the UK to withdraw from the ECHR.

A number of legal commentators were unimpressed by the vote.  Afua Hirsch wrote that,

‘The European Court on Human Rights exists for exactly these situations where politicians lack the vision, courage or wisdom to provide unpopular people with the level of human rights protection that is accepted as part of an emerging international standard’.

Meanwhile, the UKHR blog has done a helpful post correcting a number of misconceptions surrounding the ECHR, particular around the way in which judges are appointed. The ECHR blog also has a useful link to a new information sheet published by the ECHR on the appointment of judges.

Former Labour MP Eric Illsley has been sentenced to twelve months in prison after pleading guilty to £14,000 of expenses fraud.

Julian Assange was back in court this week as he appeared at Belmarsh Magistrate’s Court to fight extradition to Sweden to face sex-related charges. The hearing has focused attention on the use of European Arrest Warrants to extradite individuals across Europe.

Developing technology continues to have an impact on the legal world, as the Law Society called on the legal profession to embrace electronic working as the Law Society has called on criminal law firms to embrace electronic working, as the Crown Prosecution Services seeks to become completely digital by April 2012, and Joshua Rozenberg wrote an article embracing the twitter era of court reporting.

Lord Phillips gave a speech on the topic of judicial independence at UCL on Tuesday night. Lord Neuberger appeared at the Commonwealth Law Conference in Hyderabad on Monday and spoke on the topic of protecting human rights in an age of insecurity.