Criminal justice reform tops new UK legislative agenda

[JURIST] The Labour Party government of British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged Wednesday to "put victims at the heart of the criminal justice system [and] support the police and all those responsible for the public's safety" in its new legislative agenda [PM materials; BBC backgrounder] for the 2006-2007 session of Parliament. In the Queen's Speech [text; PM materials; BBC backgrounder], read by Queen Elizabeth II [recorded video] at the annual ceremonial opening of Parliament [British Monarchy backgrounder], the government announced proposals to eliminate jury trials in difficult fraud cases [BBC bill backgrounder], give the immigration service more power to tackle immigration crime and deport offenders, improve the administration of justice, and crack down on organized crime [BBC bill backgrounder] by, among other things, giving police expanded authority to seize criminal assets. Mention was also made of revising the qualifications for judicial appointees and developing a better method to enforce judgments.

Altogether, the government laid out eight individual bills for this session of Parliament, which will end in November 2007. Blair is expected to leave office by September 2007 to make way for a successor, most likely Chancellor Gordon Brown. BBC News has more.



 

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