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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space…

UK politics

Brexit judges ban publication of personal details after ‘serious violence’ threats

December 5 2016

Information about potentially key people at the centre of the Supreme Court’s Brexit case will be withheld due to “threats of serious violence”. Lord Neuberger, the president of the Supreme Court, revealed the extraordinary step as the legal battle over whether the UK Government needs parliamentary approval to trigger Article 50 has reached the highest legal authority in the land. Take Our Poll The order means no one can publish or reveal the names of certain former claimants in proceedings, the names or addresses of any children who are interested parties, any information likely to lead to the identification of those people or their families in connection with these proceedings, or the home address of the First Respondent to the case. Lord Neuberger said: “We have made this order largely because various individuals have received threats of serious violence and unpleasant abuse in emails and other electronic communications. “Threatening and abusing people because they are exercising their fundamental right to go to court undermines the rule of law. “Anyone who communicates such threats or abuse should be aware that there are legal powers designed to ensure that access to the courts is available to everyone.” The Supreme Court is being asked to overturn a High Court ruling that the Prime Minister must seek MPs’ approval to trigger the process of taking Britain out of the European Union. In a decision that infuriated Brexiteers, three senior judges said Theresa May lacked power to use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and start the two-year process of negotiating Brexit without the prior authority of Parliament. 11 Supreme Court justices – a record number to sit on an appeal – will have their say on one of the most important constitutional cases in generations. If the appeal is unsuccessful, and any potential further appeal to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg also fails, the government’s timetable for Brexit could be thrown into disarray. The Prime Minister has made it clear she intends to give an Article 50 notification by the end of next March to start negotiations with 27 other EU countries. Brexit Secretary David Davis is leading the government’s historic legal action. His team of lawyers, headed by Attorney General Jeremy Wright, will argue in the four-day Supreme Court hearing that three High Court judges erred over Article 50 and its use was legally justified by the June 23 referendum vote in favour of quitting the EU. The Scottish and Welsh governments and the Attorney General for Northern Ireland are all intervening in the case. Scotland’s Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC is to argue that it would be unlawful for the Article 50 process to start without a legislative consent motion (LCM) from Holyrood. Lord Neuberger added: “The Justices of the Court are of course aware of the public interest in this case. “And we are aware of the strong feelings associated with the many wider political questions surrounding the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union. “However, as will be apparent from the arguments before us, those wider political questions are not the subject of this appeal. “This appeal is concerned with legal issues, and, as judges, our duty is to consider those issues impartially, and to decide the case according to the law. That is what we shall do.”

Threat of second legal challenge to Named Person scheme

November 26 2017

Campaigners against the Scottish Government’s controversial named person scheme could bring a second legal challenge to the legislation. The No To Named Persons (NO2NP) group claims the revised legislation put forward by Holyrood ministers is still “vulnerable” to further court proceedings. Now lawyers for the Christian Institute – one of the bodies involved in the successful Supreme Court challenge to the original law last year – say if the new version is passed they will consider a fresh legal challenge unless Scottish ministers refer the case to the UK’s highest court. Simon Calvert, deputy director of the Christian Institute and spokesman for NO2NP, said: ” The Scottish Government has failed to learn from its mistakes. “The new Named Person Bill neglects to address all of the UK Supreme Court’s concerns. If MSPs pass the Bill it will be vulnerable to another legal challenge.” Lawyers have written to Lord Advocate James Wolffe QC warning him ministers could face a second courtroom battle over the legislation if they do not refer it to the Supreme Court. The letter, from Balfour and Manson LLP, representing the Christian Institute, says: “In the event the Bill passes substantially in its current form and you decline to make a referral under section 33, our client reserves its position in relation to bringing a further challenge in the courts.” It marks the latest step in a sustained campaign against Scottish Government plans to appoint a named person – a single point of contact, such as a teacher or health visitor – to look out for the welfare of all children up to the age of 18. The Government suffered a major setback when S upreme Court justices ruled in 2016 that elem ents of the policy were incompatible with the right to privacy and family life as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Education Secretary John Swinney was forced to halt the roll-out of the scheme, which had been due to come in across Scotland at the end of August 2016. Ministers later introduced the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill in a bid to address the Supreme Court’s concerns, with the new legislation requiring them to publish a code of practice for professionals on how information should be shared. But counsel for the Christian Institute, Aidan O’Neill QC, said: ” If the 2017 Bill becomes law in its current form, there are good prospects of another challenge successfully being taken to the courts against the 2014 Act (as amended) for failure to comply with the limits on legislative competence placed on the Scottish Parliament by the Scotland Act 1998.” Mr O’Neill added that the changes fail to make it clear that the named person scheme is voluntary and not compulsory. He said: ” Nothing in the 2017 Bill takes up the requirement set out by the UK Supreme Court … that the voluntary nature of the named person service be set out in clear, explicit and unequivocal terms so no parent is misled into believing that they might be required or compelled to comply with the suggestions of a named person or that any failure or refusal to comply with or co-operate with the named person might lead to escalation of intervention.” A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ” The Lord Advocate has received a letter from Balfour and Manson. He will consider it and will respond in due course. We are confident that the Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill fully addresses the issues raised by the UK Supreme Court.”

UK & World

Supreme Court to announce decision in black cab rapist case

February 15 2018

The UK’s highest court is to give its decision on a challenge to a ruling which led to two women who were sexually assaulted by London cabbie John Worboys winning compensation.The Supreme Court has been told by lawyers for the Metropolitan Police that imposing a duty of care on officers in relation to their investigations would have an adverse impact on operational effectiveness.Between 2002 and 2008, Worboys, who was jailed for life in 2009, carried out more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults using alcohol and drugs to stupefy his victims.In 2014, after the High Court found that the Met were liable to the women for failures in its investigation, it said that DSD and NBV – who brought their claims under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act which relates to inhuman or degrading treatment – should receive £22,250 and £19,000 respectively.The Met, with the Home Office intervening in support, went to the Supreme Court – which will give its judgment on Wednesday February 21 – after the Court of Appeal backed the decision.It says the case is being pursued to establish legal principles for the future and the women who, it says, showed “considerable bravery”, will keep their damages whatever happens.Lord Pannick QC has told a panel of five justices that the imposition of an investigative duty raised policy concerns as the Supreme Court had repeatedly recognised.He asked them to allow the appeal so that a “dialogue” could take place with the European Court of Human Rights in StrasbourgLord Pannick said there was a concern that any such duty “will reduce the efficacy of police investigations of crime”.Article 3 did not give rise to an entitlement to damages for failings of a police investigation into criminal offending by a member of the public, he argued.Insofar as it did impose an obligation, that was confined to a requirement to put in place the necessary legal structures, but did not extend to the operational content of an individual inquiry into a particular alleged crime.Phillippa Kaufmann QC, for DSD and NBV, said the appeal should be dismissed because there was a duty under Article 3 to conduct an effective criminal investigation when an individual was subjected to serious violence – whether the perpetrator was a private individual or a state official.As identified by the Court of Appeal and the High Court this was a facet of the rule of law and the security and protection of the people.It was “a bare minimum safeguard in any civilised state”.This duty was repeatedly acknowledged by the Strasbourg Court and was not inconsistent with domestic law or incompatible with the common law, she added.Earlier this month, DSD and NBV welcomed a ruling which gave them and London Mayor Sadiq Khan the go-ahead to challenge what they describe as the  Parole Board’s “irrational” decision to release Worboys.Worboys, 60,  will remain in prison pending a full High Court hearing on March 13.

UK politics

Sturgeon vows that Holyrood will vote on triggering Article 50

January 23 2017

Nicola Sturgeon has promised that the Scottish Parliament will have the opportunity to vote against Brexit. The SNP leader said the question of triggering Article 50 will be put to MSPs regardless of what the country’s most senior judges say on the matter. The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its judgement on Tuesday over whether Westminster and the devolved legislatures must have a vote on the two-year process for leaving the EU. In her column for the Daily Record, Ms Sturgeon said: “This week, it’s time for the judges to have their say, as the Supreme Court decides whether the PM can the start the process of taking us out of the EU without an Act of Parliament. “No matter what the court decides, I want to make this crystal clear – I intend to make sure the Scottish Parliament has the chance to vote on the question of triggering Article 50. “And if the UK Government don’t start showing Scotland some respect, I’ll make sure that people across Scotland have the chance to choose our own future, before the Tories drag us off an economic cliff edge.” Scotland voted to Remain in the EU with a 62% majority, but faces being taken out on the strength of Leave votes in England and Wales. Judges are expected to pass judgement on the roles of the devolved legislatures the Article 50 process. Under the Sewel Convention, Westminster must seek Holyrood’s approval if it wants to pass legislation that covers devolved issues, such as leaving the EU. There is disagreement over whether the convention, which is incorporated into the Scotland Act, is legally binding on the UK Government. Prof Alan Page, from Dundee University’s public law department, said it is “unlikely” that the convention gives the Scottish Parliament a veto. He added: “Subject to what the Supreme Court says, a vote would underline the Scottish Parliament’s opposition to a ‘hard Brexit’, but would not affect the triggering of Article 50.” Even if Holyrood cannot prevent Article 50 from proceeding, there is nothing to stop MSPs from expressing their will on the subject. On Sunday, Brexit secretary Mike Russell said SNP MPs would vote against triggering Article 50 in a Westminster vote.

UK & World

Cross-party group loses bid to secure legal ruling on Brexit

February 6 2018

A cross-party group of parliamentarians has lost an early-stage bid to secure a European court ruling on Brexit. Seven politicians from four parties, not including the Conservatives, believe the UK Parliament could unilaterally halt the Brexit process if the final deal is deemed unacceptable by the Commons. They claim this offers a third option instead of Britain having to choose between a bad deal on the UK’s future relationship with Europe or crashing out of the EU with no deal. The group is ultimately seeking a definitive ruling from the European Court of Justice (CJEU) on whether the withdrawal process triggered under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union can be revoked by the UK on its own, without first securing the consent of the other 27 EU member states. Their legal team went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh last week to ask a judge to refer the question to the Luxembourg court. On Tuesday, judge Lord Doherty refused to move the case to a full hearing at Scotland’s highest civil court, saying the issue is “hypothetical and academic”, and that he is “not satisfied the application has a real prospect of success”. The politicians have a right to appeal against the decision to the Inner House of the Court of Session. The seven elected representatives who launched the case are Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Ross Greer, MEP Alyn Smith and Joanna Cherry QC MP of the SNP, Labour MEPs David Martin and Catherine Stihler and Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine. None were present in court as the judge issued his decision. Aidan O’Neill QC, representing the politicians, previously asked for the case to proceed through the Scottish court, arguing there was a genuine dispute between the two sides as to the proper interpretation of Article 50 which the court required to resolve. David Johnston QC, for the UK Government, insisted the application has no real prospect of success and that there was “no live issue” for the court to address. The policy of the UK Government is that the notification under Article 50 will not be withdrawn, he said. Finding in favour of the Government, Lord Doherty said: “I am mindful that demonstrating a real prospect of success is a low hurdle for an applicant to overcome. “However, I am satisfied that that hurdle has not been surmounted. Indeed, in my opinion, the application’s prospect of success falls very far short of being a real prospect. “In my view, the Government’s stated policy is very clear. It is that the notification under Article 50(2) will not be withdrawn.” He went on: “Given that neither Parliament nor the Government has any wish to withdraw the notification, the central issue which the petitioners ask the court to decide – whether the UK could unilaterally withdraw the Article 50(2) notification – is hypothetical and academic. “In those circumstances it is not a matter which this court, or the CJEU, require to adjudicate upon.” The judge concluded: “I am not satisfied that the application has a real prospect of success … Permission to proceed is refused.” The legal action was launched following a crowdfunding campaign and is backed by the Good Law Project. Project director Jo Maugham QC tweeted after the hearing: “It’s plainly in the national interest that MPs, MEPs and MSPs, who face a choice whether to approve Theresa May’s deal, know what options are open to them if they don’t. “I will support an appeal against this decision – to the Supreme Court if necessary.”

UK & World

Supreme Court to announce decision in black cab rapist case

February 21 2018

The UK’s highest court is giving its decision on a challenge to a ruling which led to two women who were sexually assaulted by London cabbie John Worboys winning compensation.The Supreme Court has been told by lawyers for the Metropolitan Police that imposing a duty of care on officers in relation to their investigations would have an adverse impact on operational effectiveness.Between 2002 and 2008, Worboys, who was jailed for life in 2009, carried out more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults using alcohol and drugs to stupefy his victims.In 2014, after the High Court found that the Met were liable to the women for failures in its investigation, it said that DSD and NBV – who brought their claims under Article 3 of the Human Rights Act which relates to inhuman or degrading treatment – should receive £22,250 and £19,000 respectively.The Met, with the Home Office intervening in support, went to the Supreme Court – which gives its judgment on Wednesday – after the Court of Appeal backed the decision.It says the case is being pursued to establish legal principles for the future and the women, who showed “considerable bravery”, will keep their damages whatever happens.Lord Pannick QC has told a panel of five justices that the imposition of an investigative duty raised policy concerns and asked them to allow the appeal so that a “dialogue” could take place with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.Lord Pannick said there was a concern that any such duty “will reduce the efficacy of police investigations of crime”.Article 3 did not give rise to an entitlement to damages for failings of a police investigation into criminal offending by a member of the public, he argued.Insofar as it did impose an obligation, that was confined to a requirement to put in place the necessary legal structures, but did not extend to the operational content of an individual inquiry into a particular alleged crime.Earlier this month, DSD and NBV welcomed a ruling which gave them and London Mayor Sadiq Khan the go-ahead to challenge what they describe as the Parole Board’s “irrational” decision to release Worboys.Worboys, 60, will remain in prison pending a full High Court hearing on March 13.

Scottish politics

FMQs: Sturgeon hits back over claims she is ‘squandering’ millions of pounds on independence

February 23 2017

Nicola Sturgeon defended her government’s £136,000 intervention in the Supreme Court case on Brexit as a Conservative MSP accused her of splurging millions on breaking up the UK. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_GB/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.12'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); First Minister's Questions – 23rd February 2017 Earlier today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took questions from party leaders and other MSPs in the Debating Chamber at Holyrood.Please take the time to read our online discussion rules before commenting: www.parliament.scot/discussion-rules. Personal insults will be removed.We're trialling Facebook Live over the next few weeks, so please be patient as we work things out!#FMQs Posted by The Scottish Parliament on Thursday, 23 February 2017 The SNP leader laid into Tory backbencher Maurice Golden at First Minster’s Questions after he lambasted her for wasting taxpayers’ cash on promoting independence. She struck back saying her administration would not have needed to take part in the court action over the triggering of Article 50 if the UK Government did not pursue a case they were not going to win. Mr Golden, a West Scotland MSP, asked the First Minister if she thought the £136,000 outlay was good value. He added: “This SNP Government will literally say and do anything that they think furthers their goal of tearing our Union apart. “And they don’t care how much Scottish taxpayers’ money they squander in the process. “This £136,000 is one example of the 10s of millions of pounds that this SNP Government spends on policy decisions that they believe will promote separation.” Ms Sturgeon mocked Mr Golden for raising the issue of cost when the Conservative Government had refused to reveal how much they have spent on the case. She added her government’s intervention was “necessary to force the UK Government to enact the legislation that is currently going through the Westminster parliament before the triggering of Article 50”. “The case also raised fundamental issues about the rights of people in Scotland and the role of this parliament,” she added. “So yes I do think it was absolutely right that this government, like the government in Wales, defended our interests in what was the most important constitutional law case for many, many years.” The Lord Advocate last month made representations before the UK’s most senior judges, who ruled that the triggering of Article 50 required parliamentary approval. It was also confirmed that Holyrood could not block the start of the Brexit process.

Scotland

Rangers tax ruling: SFA says “no further disciplinary action should be taken”

July 5 2017

The SFA has ruled out any new disciplinary action following today’s landmark “Big Tax Case” ruling against Rangers FC. A statement from the Scottish game’s governing body this afternoon says: The Board of the Scottish FA notes the judgment of the Supreme Court and wishes to clarify the implications of this final legal decision from a football regulatory perspective. In light of the Inner House of the Court of Session decision, the Board of the Scottish FA sought external senior counsel opinion to ensure a robust and independent consideration of all implications of today’s judgment. The Board received written advice from Senior Counsel, amplified when the QC attended a full meeting of the Board to discuss his conclusions. “Strip the titles” trends on Twitter as world reacts to news Rangers broke tax laws Specifically, Senior Counsel was asked to anticipate whether a determination in favour of HMRC, as announced today, could imply that there had been a breach of the Scottish FA’s Disciplinary Rules as they applied at the time of the EBT payments. The clear opinion of Senior Counsel is that there is a very limited chance of the Scottish FA succeeding in relation to any complaint regarding this matter and that, even if successful, any sanctions available to a Judicial Panel would also be limited in their scope. Accordingly, having had time to consider the opinion from Senior Counsel, and having examined the judgment of the UK Supreme Court, the Board has determined that no further disciplinary action should be taken by the Scottish FA at this time. Supreme Court rejects Rangers’ appeal in ‘Big Tax’ case

Scottish politics

Nicola Sturgeon: Holyrood will vote on blocking Brexit despite Supreme Court ruling

January 24 2017

Holyrood will bid to block Brexit despite Supreme Court judges ruling it does not have the legal powers to do so, Nicola Sturgeon has said. Take Our Poll The First Minister also claimed the ruling from the highest court in the land pushes the prospect of a second independence referendum closer because “Scotland’s voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK”. It follows the decision that, although the UK Government will have to win approval from MPs to trigger the Article 50 process to leave the EU, devolved administrations have no legal powers to intervene. © GettyFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon. SNP leader Ms Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government will bring forward a Legislative Consent Motion and ensure that the Scottish Parliament has the opportunity to vote on whether or not it consents to the triggering of Article 50. “We will also use the meeting of the Joint Ministerial Committee next week to continue to press for the sensible, compromise outcomes set out in the paper we published in December. “However, it is becoming clearer by the day that Scotland’s voice is simply not being heard or listened to within the UK.” © PAScottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson. Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson accused the SNP of using the Supreme Court case “to hold the UK to ransom”. She also called on the Nationalists to state if they want Britain’s negotiations to succeed or fail. “All parties should now respect the ruling that the court has given,” Ms Davidson said. “Yet typically, Nicola Sturgeon has decided to ignore it by stating – even before the verdict was in – that she would still seek a separate vote at Holyrood.” © PAScottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale. Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale pledged to work with the SNP to try and secure “the best deal for Scotland within the UK”. She added: “Unity cannot be achieved by a politics that sees one half of the country constantly facing off against the other. “Only Labour is standing up for what the majority of Scots want – a strong Scottish Parliament within the UK and close ties with Europe.” © Andrew Cowan/ Scottish ParliamentScottish Green co-convener Patrick Harvie MSP The Scottish Greens said the ruling confirmed Scotland is not an “equal partner” in the UK and called for a second referendum to take place, hanging on an independent Scotland being part of the EU. Patrick Harvie, the party’s co-convener, said: “By recognising that Brexit will alter the powers of the Scottish Parliament but deciding that MSPs will have no say, the Supreme Court has made it clear today that Scotland is not an equal partner in the UK. “While it’s good that Westminster at least must have a vote before the UK begins the formal process of leaving the European Union, there’s no consolation for people in Scotland, who have come to expect that Westminster never speaks up for Scotland or respects the democratic wishes of the people who live here.” © DC ThomsonWillie Rennie Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “As the Supreme Court has concluded that Parliament must be given a say over the decision to trigger Article 50 this presents a huge opportunity for Parliament to agree to a Brexit Deal Referendum.”

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