25th January 2019
This week, the Justice Beat covers a challenge to new data protection laws, IT failures causing chaos in UK courts and Donald Trump’s transgender military ban.
1. Millions of EU citizens living in the UK could struggle to apply for settled status post-Brexit due to legislation denying them access to their immigration records, the Guardian reports. The Open Rights Group and the3million, represented by Leigh Day, are challenging an exemption in the Data Protection Act 2018 which restricts access to personal data in immigration cases. The High Court has granted permission for the judicial review to proceed to a full hearing. The claimants raised over £40,000 on CrowdJustice to go to court.
2. A “major disruption” affecting multiple Ministry of Justice IT systems continues to cause chaos for court users, the Law Society Gazette reports. Lawyers describe difficulties accessing court documents, problems receiving payment and being blamed for missing hearings of which they received no notice. Criminal barristers complain that prolonged IT failures are just one symptom of a “chronically underfunded criminal justice system”.
Transgender military ban
3. Transgender people will be barred from serving in the American military, as the US Supreme Court allows President Donald Trump’s ban to come into effect, CNN reports. 5 out of 9 judges permitted the ban to take effect while lower courts hear arguments on policy’s legality. Opponents of the ban, including newly-elected Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, say that is is “cruel”, “irrational” and “humiliates brave men and women seeking to serve their country”.
4. 32,000 bottles of fine wine have mysteriously vanished from a golf club in Surrey, the Times reports. The owner of the golf club, Chinese billionaire Chanchai Ruayrungruang, is suing its former head of international operations for failing to provide an account of his stewardship of the wine, worth £4.8m. The accused former employee believes that the lawsuit is a tactical move and claims that most of the wine remains in storage.
5. Ghostly goings-on in Australia, as a psychic medium claims that the spirit of a deceased Supreme Court judge is wreaking havoc during the redevelopment of his former courtroom. According to Legal Cheek, the medium believes Sir George Murray, who died in 1942, is unhappy with the rearrangement of the bench where judges sat, and caused a fire extinguisher and chairs to move around the courtroom.
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This week on CrowdJustice, a young Syrian refugee who was bullied at school is raising funds to bring a claim in defamation against Facebook and other social media platforms after far right activist Tommy Robinson defended the bullies’ actions, the Governing Body of Steiner Academy in Bristol is crowdfunding to challenge an Ofsted school inspection and local residents are raising funds to appeal planning permission for coal mines in Northumberland.
Image Credit: Flickr / Tim Jokl