A bill reforming the leasehold system in England and Wales appears on course to pass before parliament is prorogued today. 

The Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill will be debated in the Lords. It is understood that while Labour has indicated it wants to strengthen the bill, the party is prepared to back the legislation as it stands.

Bills set to progress to royal assent include the Victims and Prisoners Bill (which sets up the compensation scheme for victims of the infected blood scandal); the Media Bill, which includes the repeal of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, which would have required news publishers to pay both sides’ costs in libel and privacy actions whether they won or lost; and the Post Office (Horizon Systems) Offences Bill.

Other bills of particular interest to lawyers but now seemingly dead include the Data Protection and Digital Information Bill, the Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill and the post-PACCAR Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill

The work of the Commons select committees, including justice, also ends today. In his last statement as longstanding justice committee chair, Sir Bob Neill MP noted that the committee will not now produce reports arising from its open inquiries. These encompassed: prisons workforce and capacity; use of pre-recorded examination under Section 28 of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act; work of the County Court; probate delays; and the Coroner Service.

Bob Neill

Sir Bob Neill: valedictory message

In a valedictory message praising the work of the committee, Neill said many of the issues it has highlighted remain ’urgent’. He expressed the hope they will influence the work of the next government. 

Another select committee probe halted in its tracks is the home buying and selling inquiry, launched by the levelling up committee in March. 

Hopes of further reforms of legal aid, while not directly linked to the wash-up, are also dashed by the election, as the Gazette reported yesterday. In a statement today, the Law Society criticised the government for ‘failing to deliver results’ following Chancery Lane’s criminal legal aid win at the Supreme Court on 31 January.

Chancery Lane, which met with Chalk at the end of April, said this inaction came despite the lord chancellor being on record saying ’some extremely trenchant, sobering and striking remarks were made by the court [in response to the judicial review], which I have read carefully and very much taken on board’.

Society president Nick Emmerson said today: ’The next government must provide the investment needed to secure the future of the criminal legal aid firms who have reached crisis point.’