The Law Society Gazette, 1 March 2007

Justice divided

Last month Home Secretary John Reid and the Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, revealed proposals to split up the Home Office. The division would give the Home Office responsibility for police, borders and counter-terrorism, with a new ministry of justice overseeing courts, prisons, criminal law and sentencing. Lord Falconer confirmed it was a ‘serious proposal’ which could be implemented in months and without the need for legislation.

26 February 1997

Legal aid extended

Draft regulations laid before both houses of parliament this week will extend legal representation to fine defaulters and transfer responsibility for civil means tests to the Legal Aid Board. The Legal Aid Advice and Assistance Regulations make assistance by way of representation available to people at risk of imprisonment for failing to obey a court order. Prisoners held at Her Majesty’s pleasure who go before the Parole Board will also be covered.

25 February 1987

Postbox: Wine society

I found Simon Walton’s wine-tasting report quite mouth-watering: even reading names such as Lafite and Cheateau Margaux made me envious. But is there really any point in providing a wine for tasting which costs £34.73 a bottle? My cellar holds 500 or so bottles, but nothing at even half that price. Moreover, if any of my wine, long in store, had become worth that much I would be far too mean to drink it.

Have I been slacking all these years?

Sidney Z. Manches, London W1.

2 March 1977

Harmonisation: easier said than done

The European Community may seem to be in a mess, but it would be unfair to ignore its remarkable achievements. It is probably Napoleon’s greatest success. Without the continent-wide installation of the Code Napoléon, the founding fathers for all their idealism and vision might well have recoiled from the project of harmonising the laws of the member states if those laws had been as different from one another as our law is from theirs.