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Repeal Bill to be introduced to parliament this week

10 July 2017

The Taylor review on modern employment practices will be published on Tuesday.  The Law Society contributed to the review with a set of recommendations  to ensure that employment law help create better workplaces. The Prime Minister is expected to give a speech.


Rt Hon David Davis MP will be giving evidence to the European Union Committee in the House of Lords. The session will focus particularly on the first round of Brexit negotiations, Parliament's involvement during the negotiations to ensure transparency, and the government's position on UK and EU citizens' rights.

The Great Bill is expected to be introduced to Parliament this week. The Labour party's cabinet reshuffle is still ongoing and a few more appointments are expected.

Over the weekend, the Lord Chancellor announced measures to tackle fraudulent sickness claims, which has increased by 500% since 2013 according to the travel industry. He has asked the Civil Procedure Rule Committee to urgently look at the rules governing the costs of holiday claims. As a result, fixed recoverable costs can be extended to cover claims arising abroad, meaning that pay-outs for tour operators will be subject to stricter controls.

Last week the Lord Chancellor gave two major speeches at the dinner for HM Judges at Mansion House and at the launch of the Business and Property courts in London. In both speeches he highlighted the key role played by the legal services sector in the UK economy, and the importance of a strong judiciary for the rule of law, particularly in the aftermath of Brexit.

This week in Parliament

Monday 10 July

House of Lords

  • Updating anti-corruption strategy

Tuesday 11 July

Government

  • Publication of the Taylor review

House of Commons

  • Westminster Hall debate – government policies on social mobility

House of Lords

  • EU Justice Sub Committee – Brexit: consumer protection rights
  • European Union Committee – Rt Hon David Davis MP evidence session

Wednesday 12 July

  • Nothing relevant

Thursday 13 July

House of Commons

  • Business questions

Friday 14 July

  • No business scheduled

Last Week in Parliament

Monday 3 July

Nothing to report

Tuesday 4 July 

Government

The Lord Chancellor attended the launch of the Business and Property Courts of England and Wales (B&PCs) in London. In his speech, he made a reference to our statistics about the legal services sector's contribution to the UK economy (£26 billion). He also made the following points:

  • The changes introduced by the Business and Property Courts will be "a powerful further magnet" for international civil litigation and a proof of the UK's unwavering commitment to a modern justice system.
  • People are drawn to the UK because they are seeking decisions that come with a guarantee of impartiality, integrity and enforceability, along with globally-renowned, high quality specialist practitioners and judges.
  • The UK's reputation for dispute resolution is a national asset.
  • Quoting Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, the Lord Chancellor said that UK legal services drive the success of UK professional services generally: "Once a UK lawyer is instructed on an international project, there is a significantly greater chance that UK accountants, engineers, architects and actuaries will also be instructed".
  • In light of Brexit, it is more important than ever to focus on these assets.
  • A more integrated system of business and property courts will also improve the service civil courts offer to all the individuals and businesses who seek legal redress.
  • The reforms will showcase the strength and depth of the UK's legal talent, which in turn underpins the strength of the UK as a leading investment and business destination.

Read the full speech.

The B&PCs is an umbrella term that will bring together UK plc's national and international dispute resolution jurisdictions and will facilitate the flexible cross-deployment of judges with suitable expertise and experience to sit in business and property cases across the courts.

The aim of the B&PCs is to achieve a critical mass of specialist judges sitting in each of the Business & Property regional centres so that all classes of case can be managed and tried in those regions. The B&PCs will also be launched in Birmingham on 7 July. They will also sit in Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, and Cardiff, with expansions to Newcastle and Liverpool likely in the future. More information.

Wednesday 5 July

Government

The Lord Chancellor gave a speech at the dinner for HM Judges at Mansion House. The main points were as follows:

  • The rule of law underpins our justice and legal system, providing both certainty and clarity.
  • The lack of confidence in the integrity of the judicial and legal system holds back investment, trade and hopes of prosperity in those countries where there is no rule of law.
  • The Repeal Bill to repeal the European Communities Act and establish the acquis on a United Kingdom legal basis will be introduced to Parliament shortly.
  • In light of Brexit, it is vital to create an effective system of civil judicial cooperation that will provide certainty and protection for citizens and businesses for the UK outside the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union.
  • The government is exploring the existing framework for choice of court and for the recognition and enforcement of judgments across borders, current European Union Regulations and the wider international agreements, most notably from the Hague Conference on Private International Law.
  • In the negotiations, the government will be focusing mainly on the value of reciprocity in civil and commercial matters.
  • English law and the UK courts should continue to be available for the resolution of a wide range of commercial and business disputes after Brexit.
  • There is an opportunity for Brexit to have a positive impact on London's standing as the world's legal centre and as a destination for dispute resolution, with judges able to respond more quickly and freely to world-wide developments.
  • The government will work with the judiciary to continue the court reforms through the Courts Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech.
  • The Legal Services is Great campaign will be launched later this year.
  • The campaign "will tell the world why people should choose English law if they want clear and flexible contracts; why they should choose United Kingdom courts if they want fair and efficient dispute resolution; why they should choose our legal firms if they want unrivalled legal expertise; and why they should choose London if they want a truly global system for dispute resolution".

Read the full speech.

Thursday 6 July

House of Commons

International Trade oral questions

International Trade oral questions took place in the House. International Trade Secretary, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, was optimistic about the prospects of trade outside the EU post-Brexit. The main points:

  • Liam Fox emphasised that the UK did not necessarily need Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) in order to have free trade with countries outside the EU post-Brexit. Possible future trade deals with Canada and Brazil were raised several times by backbenchers.
  • Parliamentary Under-Secretary Mark Garnier MP highlighted the services that the department provided to businesses, including UK Export Finance.
  • Fox said the removal of non-tariff barriers was one of the key parts of his department's work, which aims to remove practical barriers to trade.

Read the transcript.

Debate on exiting the EU and global trade

International Trade Secretary, Rt Hon Liam Fox MP, moved a debate on the future of UK trade after Brexit. He made these points:

  • WTO - Liam Fox said the government was committed to World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership, adding that it was important to show global trading partners that the UK was a "champion of free trade". He also said the UK was seeking to update the terms of the UK's WTO membership by replicating the UK's current commitments, which he said was supported by the WTO's Secretary General, Roberto Azevêdo.
  • Customs Union - Fox restated the will to leave the customs union, as highlighted in the Conservative manifesto. He said that being outside the common external tariff would give the UK freedom to help industries and poorer countries. He added that he wanted as open trading relationship possible, and that the agreement between the UK and the EU should be the "easiest in history" due to existing equivalence.
  • FTAs - Fox said there were fair concerns about global trade facilitation and that tariffs were a major barrier to UK exports. However, he added that it might not be necessary or desirable to have a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with every partner. Shadow BEIS Minister Barry Gardiner MP said an arbitrary migration target should not jeopardise a new FTA, and that to leave without an early and fair agreement would be a significant failure for both the government and for the UK.
  • Professional services - Fox pointed out that the difference between goods and services was key and that the liberalisation of services was vital.

Read the full debate.

Friday 7 July

Houses not sitting

Tags: Westminster weekly update

About the author

Alexandra Cardenas is Head of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the Law Society. Public Affairs manages the relationships with parliament and government. She is a dual qualified solicitor in England and Wales (2014), and Colombia (2002). Prior to the Society, she practised as a human rights lawyer and worked at Macmillan Cancer Support and Animal Defenders International.

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