AllAboutLaw Blog: The suspension of parliament, AIs role in fraudulent behaviour and more

 In this week’s edition of the AllAboutBlog, tensions reach an all-time high following the decision to suspend parliament. We also take a look at a worrying new strategy used by fraudsters and the UK justice system’s struggle to address an increase in rape reports.

  • Last updated Sep 4, 2019 11:57:07 AM
  • Tuula Petersen
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The prorogation of parliament sees criticisms mounting from all sides

Brexit has dominated the headlines this week following the Queen’s approval for a prorogation of parliament. Boris Johnson, the current Prime Minister, has instigated the suspension of parliament in a bid to pass new legislation before the looming Brexit deadline on October 31. This was followed by several Conservatives rebelling against Johnson, causing him to lose his majority, along with his first vote as prime minister. 

The decision to prorogate has been met with mounting criticism. Over the weekend, dozens of protests took place across England, Scotland and Wales, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to express their frustration. The tension was particularly high in London, with protesters chanting “shame on you” outside Downing Street. Demonstrations were also seen outside the UK, with people assembled in Amsterdam, Riga and Berlin.

The anger is not solely limited to protests. Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament has been met by three legal challenges—by the Scottish Court, the Northern Irish Court, and business owner and activist Gina Miller. The latter’s legal case has been joined by former British Prime Minister John Major and the Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson. It has been stipulated the three cases are likely to be combined by the Supreme Court. Despite three legal challenges, the government has declared the prorogation to be in line with the convention, in which a new prime minister may briefly suspend parliament before announcing a new legislative programme.

As of today, the Scottish court ruled that the prorogation is lawful. 

To add to the streams of criticisms, Labour, the SNP and Conservative rebels have joined forces in a bid to pass legislation before parliament to suspend a no-deal exit from the European Union. Michael Gove, who is responsible for planning a no-deal exit, has refused to acknowledge whether or not the government will ignore legislation passed by parliament. The shadow chancellor John McDonnell has condemned the government for such a potential disregard of the law, stating it is “becoming an elective dictatorship”. 

In response to the suspension of parliament for 5 weeks, Adam Wagner, a human rights barrister at Doughty Street Chambers and a founder and Chair of RightsInfo, has opined the mounting tension and lack of clarity over the constitutional validity of the prorogation are due to the absence of a written constitution.

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“The keystone to justice is the belief that the legal system treats all fairly”

Janet Reno, an American lawyer and public official who became the first woman attorney general of the United States.

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Firm news

Hogan Lovells renews its partnership with Ellevate Network to champion diversity and foster an inclusive environment for employees.

Mishcon de Reya, Herbert Smith Freehills and Blackstone Chambers have been enlisted in the legal battle as the suspension of parliament intensifies.

Slaughter and May has the highest number of stock market-listed clients according to figures released by Adviser Rankings Ltd.

Baker McKenzie has reported higher revenue and profits for the year ending 30 June 2019.

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AIs ability to mimic voice poses a new threat in preventing fraudulent behaviour

Experts have undercovered a new and “unusual” case of artificial intelligence being used in hacking. It was reported that a CEO of a UK-based energy firm thought he was speaking to the chief executive of the firm’s German parent company, when in fact, criminals had succeeded in using artificial intelligence-based software to impersonate his voice. The fraudsters demanded a transfer of €220,000.

Last year, Pindrop, a company that creates security software and protocols for call centres, released a report revealing the growing prevalence of voice fraud. Between 2013 and 2017 the rate of voice fraud increased by over 350% and between 2016 and 2017 it was reported that one in every 638 calls corresponded to voice channel fraud.

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Law firms in the UK have started to list vacation scheme openings. Get ahead of the curve and visit our jobs board to see where you can already apply. Make sure to visit our advice section to ensure you send off your best possible application.

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The UK justice system is struggling to keep up with an increasing number of rape reports.

According to data from the Rape Monitoring Group published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, the number of rapes reported to the police in 2017/2018 rose by 12,859 from the previous year, yet the overall charge rate for the same period has fallen from 6.8% to 4.2%.

The decline in rape prosecutions despite an increase in rape reports comes amid figures released by the Ministry of Justice that the average waiting time for a not guilty plea trial for an alleged sexual offence has increased.

Dame Vera Baird, the victims’ commissioner, has responded to these figures, stressing the government needs to “act quickly” in its review of how rape complaints are handled to make sure victims receive justice. She adds: “These figures show that perpetrators can act without fear of being held to account [and that they] not only highlight how we are letting down existing victims but how we are creating future victims”.

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Calling all law undergraduates in London! With term starting again it’s important to have a good work-life balance. From Tuesday 24 September, let your hair down at Salsa and Bachata classes in Camden.

Learn Salsa and Bachata from £7.30pm to £9.30pm, and stick around afterwards for social dancing until 2 am. 

Law undergraduates can get a discount: £6 for both classes and social dancing (usually £10 for two classes). Student and group discounts are also available. 

At: Gabeto, The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Rd., Camden, LONDON NW1 8AH.

Contact: Tropicana dance on 0756114933, or SalchataGUSTO on 07850114923.

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Recommended reading

It has been a few years now since the promise of delivery drones, yet our skies show no signs such a phenomenon. This podcast examines why.

Following on from last weeks’ story on the first criminal investigation in space, this article asks: “Who investigates crime in space?”

Following correspondence between Democrats and Republicans about a gun-rights case, the Senate majority leader has had to remind the justices that the judiciary is an independent body not to be influenced by politicians. 

A lawsuit filed on the 27th August sheds light on the dehumanisation of asylum seekers and migrants in US detention camps.

A judge ruled in favour of HM Revenue & Customs ordering a vanity tax on Botox.

Anthony Morgan, a Human Rights and Civil Liberties Lawyer, is interviewed before his TED talk in October.

An opinion piece arguing the dangers of giving away your privacy to social media giants.

Celebrities have been hit with lawsuits over the Fyre Festival disaster.

 

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