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Leading by example

06 May 2016

Alexandra Cardenas discusses the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016, where MPs stated that the UK needs to lead by example to drive out corruption.


Please find below a summary of this week's key political developments and announcements of interest to the Law Society.

Monday 2 May

Nothing to report.

Tuesday 3 May

Parliament

House of Commons: Westminster Hall debate: Anti-Corruption Summit 2016

Nigel Mills MP (Conservative, Humber Valley) moved a Westminster Hall Debate on the Anti-Corruption Summit, in light of next week's summit.

While Mr Mills' comments focused mainly on money laundering, he specifically identified the legal sector as one of three sectors that does not go far enough when reporting suspicious activity.

The wider debate focused heavily on the issues of money laundering, tax avoidance and tax evasion. All the MPs who spoke welcomed the government's commitment to tackling corruption, but the Labour and SNP MPs present argued that the government needs to take more concrete action on the issue. 

The minister responding, parliamentary secretary and minister for constitutional reform, John Penrose MP, noted that the aims of the summit are to take steps to: 

  • expose corruption so there is nowhere to hide
  • punish the perpetrators and support those affected by corruption, and 
  • drive out the culture of corruption wherever it exists. 

There was cross-party support for the UK to take a leading role in the fight against corruption, particularly in tax avoidance and evasion, and MPs stated the need for the UK to 'lead by example' and 'get our house in order' before calling for other countries to act on these issues.

Court closures

Julie Cooper MP (Labour, Burnley) tabled two questions to the secretary of state for justice on the issue of court closures in her constituency. Ms Cooper asked how many court buildings have been sold in (a) Lancashire and (b) Burnley.

Minister for legal aid and the courts, Shailesh Vara MP, responded by stating that two court buildings in Lancashire have been sold since the creation of HM Court Service in 2005, but neither of these were in Burnley. He went on to say that prior to 2005, magistrates' courts were the responsibility of locally managed magistrates' courts committees. 

Ms Cooper further asked how many e-courts there are in Lancashire. Mr Vara replied, stating that excluding one closing court, in Lancashire, all criminal courts (four crown courts and six magistrates' courts) are equipped to work digitally through services such as in-court evidence presentation, video links, a shared file store, Wi-Fi and a new digital case management system in the crown courts. 

Wednesday 4 May

Nothing to report.

Thursday 5 May

Nothing to report.

Friday 6 May

Nothing to report.

Tags: politics | Westminster weekly update | Parliament | court closures | anti-money laundering

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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