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more (or less) transparency September 28, 2011

Posted by Bradley in : transparency , trackback

While looking for the judgment in this case dealing with issues of sentencing for conduct during the riots I came across another decision of the Court of Appeal in this case involving the Iraq sanctions regime. The court had some observations on the lack of transparency of English law in this area:

We are most grateful to all counsel for their industry and the help that they have given to the court. It became necessary to ask counsel at the conclusion of the oral hearing to conduct some further research, as no one could be sure that all the relevant subordinate legislation had been found and whether such as had been found was in force at the material time. The work done has revealed serious and significant deficiencies in the system that the Executive branch of the State employs for the making and recording of the type of subordinate legislation in issue in this case….We would wish to make it clear that it is wrong in principle and inimical to the rule of law that legislative provisions which carry such long sentences of imprisonment should be the subject of such legislative techniques which leaves the operation of the scope of the law so uncertain and which, even with the significant resources available to the Crown, is difficult to find. There is no good reason why the Executive Government cannot amend Orders so that the position under the criminal law is clear…
It must be for Parliament and the relevant Departments of State to consider the issues raised in this appeal. They may consider it necessary to take steps to ensure that proper public records are kept of subordinate legislation, particularly that which imposes penal sanctions, and to reconsider the way in which changes to Security Council Resolutions are made compatible with UK domestic law.

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