Despite the current turmoil going on in the political arena, it was business as usual as far as the Queen’s Speech was concerned. The legislative programme may not be as extensive as originally intended, but there is still plenty to consider. Here, we take a whistle-stop tour of the key aspects.
The Civil Liability Bill takes aim at claims involving whiplash injuries, with a new fixed compensation tariff for symptoms lasting up to two years. It will also prevent offers to settle claims without accompanying medical evidence;
The Patient Safety Bill is set to help ‘improve patient safety in the NHS and instil greater public confidence’ with the establishment of a Health Service Safety Investigation Body, which will be able to carry out ‘independent and impartial investigations’ into risks affecting patient safety in England;
A draft Domestic Violence and Abuse Bill is to outline proposals such as a Domestic Violence and Abuse Commissioner, to provide a legal definition of domestic abuse, and notably to ‘ensure that if abusive behaviour involves a child, then the court can hand down a sentence that reflects the devastating life-long impact that abuse has on the child’
The Courts Bill is also set to end the ability of alleged domestic violence perpetrators to directly cross- examine victims. It will also ‘allow more victims to participate in trials without having to meet their alleged assailant face-to-face;’
The establishment of an Independent Public Advocate has been proposed. The Advocate would act for those affected after a disaster and support them during public inquests. Their key duty seems to be that they should keep those affected up to date with any investigation, and ‘make them fully aware of how they can contribute’ to it. It seems likely that this proposal has stemmed from the Hillsborough Inquiry;
A new Immigration Bill will allow for EU immigration laws to be repealed, and ‘make the migration of EU nationals and their family members subject to relevant UK law once the UK has left the EU’;
Last but by no means least, the Repeal Bill will repeal the European Communities Act and ‘allow for a smooth and orderly transition as the UK leaves the EU.’ Interestingly, it will ‘replicate the common UK frameworks created by EU law in UK law,’ in order to provide functionality and certainty during the Brexit process.
The exact detail for all of these measures remains to be seen, as does their impact. Whatever happens during the coming parliament (and certainly however long it lasts), our legal experts will be on hand to provide advice and guidance, whatever your needs.
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