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Law in Action (68)





Joshua Rozenberg presents Radio 4's long-running legal magazine programme, featuring reports and discussion on matters relating to law

From Law in Action at 2022-07-05 16:30:00

Prison education (p0cjzy82.mp3)

Prison education is “chaotic”, says the House of Commons Education Select Committee, and often “inadequate” says Ofsted. Yet, if done right, it can help reduce offending, and the number of victims, by giving prisoners the skills they need to get a job upon release. It’s no small task. Over half of prisoners have reading ages below 11. A large proportion have special educational needs. Many were expelled from school and have no qualifications. Yet education doesn’t seem to have been a priority. Now the government has promised a "step-change" for an improved Prisoners Education Service for England and Wales in its White Paper. Can it deliver? In a special edition of Law in Action Joshua Rozenberg speaks to people whose expertise and experience spans the spectrum of prison education: - Chief Inspector of Prisons Charlie Taylor - Chair of the Education Select Committee Robert Halfon MP, - Leeds Prison Governor Steven Johnson - Open University criminology lecturer, manager for students in secure environments, PhD candidate and former prisoner Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski - former prisoner and prison education campaigner David Breakspear - Joe Tarbert, Employment Support and Partnerships Manager at Redemption Roasters - Nia, former prisoner and trainee barista at Redemption Roasters Joshua puts some of their concerns to the Prisons Minister Victoria Atkins MP, and hears about the government's plans to improve prison education. Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Arlene Gregorius Editor: Hugh Levinson Production coordinator: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross Sound engineer: Rod Farquhar

From Law in Action at 2022-06-28 16:30:00

Human Rights: Reforming the Law (p0chm18b.mp3)

Can the proposed British Bill of Rights be compatible with international law? Joshua Rozenberg speaks to Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law and Chair of the Faculty of Law at the University of Cambridge. How can law firms become more welcoming to people with disabilities? Law in Action's Octavia Woodward tests the wheelchair access at Barristers' Chambers 7 Bedford Row. Plus barristers Holly Girven and Disability's Not a Bar co-host Haleemah Sadia Farooq share their experiences of disability and the law. Do we need a change in the law to bring more cases of corporate fraud to court? The Director of Public Prosecutions sets out his plans. Also what makes a good judge? "If the party that loses pays you a compliment, then I feel that's a job well done." Lady Rose of Colmworth, justice of the UK Supreme Court talks about balancing fairness and empathy. Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Reporter: Octavia Woodward Sound: Neil Churchill Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross Producer: Diane Richardson Editor: Hugh Levinson

From Law in Action at 2022-06-21 16:30:00

Why do so few rape cases go to court? (p0cg5ygh.mp3)

Explaining the barriers to conviction at every stage of the criminal justice system. Prosecutions for the crime have declined by 40% over the last four years in England and Wales, although they have gone up in Scotland and Northern Ireland. And yet the number of cases reported to the police is higher than ever. What is going wrong? And what needs to change so that more survivors get justice - and to reduce the threat from rapists? Joshua Rozenberg is joined by a specialist panel drawn from across the criminal justice system, to find out where the problems lie. They debate what could be done differently, so that fewer cases result in no further action being taken, or with survivors dropping out of the legal process. And he hears first-person testimony from a woman who was raped, who describes her subsequent experience with police and prosecutors. Panellists: - Alice Kelly, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Southeast, Crown Prosecution Service - Betsy Stanko OBE, emeritus Professor of Criminology, strategic advisor to the Home Office's Operation Soteria Bluestone, and formerly of the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime - Claire Waxman OBE, Victims Commissioner for London - Kirsty Brimelow QC, Vice Chair of The Criminal Bar Association - Sarah Crew, Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset police and National Lead for rape and serious sexual offences at the Police Chiefs Council - Wendy Williams CBE, Her Majesty’s Inspector of the Constabulary for the Wales and Western Region Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producers: Arlene Gregorius and Ben Cooper Researcher: Diane Richardson Production coordinator: Maria Ogundele Sound recording: James Beard Sound mixing: Neil Churchill

From Law in Action at 2022-06-14 16:30:00

Investigating War Crimes in Ukraine (p0cdtzf5.mp3)

"We can't conduct effective, timely investigations by remote control in The Hague." International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan QC speaks about the efforts and challenges facing investigators on the ground in Ukraine. Why lawyers in Scotland are boycotting some domestic abuse cases in a dispute about legal aid. Plus, if you place a bet on a winning horse, does the bookmaker have to pay out if they make a mistake? Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producers: Diane Richardson and Arlene Gregorius Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Helena Warwick-Cross Editor: Hugh Levinson

From Law in Action at 2022-03-22 16:30:00

The Justice Secretary's Plans (p0bwv9dz.mp3)

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab speaks to Joshua Rozenberg about the UK's support for the International Criminal Court's efforts to prosecute any Russians who may have committed war crimes in Ukraine. He outlines plans to boost the legal aid budget, and thus the incomes of criminal barristers - but when will they actually get any of the money? Mr Raab also explains why he is replacing the Human Rights Act with a new Bill of Rights. The vast majority of senior judges are former barristers, and most are white men. Is the recruitment system skewed against solicitors and minorities? Solicitors insist it is, but the Judicial Appointments Commission strongly denies this. Joshua hears the arguments on both sides. “No fault divorce” is set to come into effect in April. Will it free couples from unnecessary acrimony and costs, or make it too easy to split up? Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researchers: Octavia Woodward and Imogen Serwotka Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Sound: Rod Farquhar Editor: Hugh Levinson

From Law in Action at 2022-03-15 16:30:00

Libel tourism (p0bvgqmm.mp3)

Has silencing journalists with libel claims now become harder? The High Court dismissed a suit by a Kazakhstan company against journalist Tom Burgis, author of 'Kleptopia'. The phenomenon of foreign individuals or companies using the favourable libel laws and high financial risks of the system in England and Wales is sometimes called "libel tourism" or even "lawfare". Some fear it has allowed Russian oligarchs in particular to stifle criticism. Joshua Rozenberg asks if this case could signal the end of that trend. Class actions, or collective actions as they're called in the UK, are new on this side of the Atlantic. How do they work, and could millions of passengers stand to benefit from a case against some rail companies? A little-noticed part of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill would criminalise trespass and "residing, or intending to reside, on land without consent in or with a vehicle". Gypsy, Roma and Travellers say that threatens their lifestyle and makes nomadism illegal. But the Government argues it would prevent "boundless misery to local communities without consequence". Joshua hears the arguments on both sides. Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researchers: Octavia Woodward and Imogen Serwotka Sound: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Editor: Hugh Levinson

From Law in Action at 2022-03-08 16:28:00

Gender recognition (p0bt53l1.mp3)

Is Scotland's Gender Recognition bill a progressive step forward, or a threat to women? Joshua Rozenberg investigates the legislation, which removes the need for medical evidence when changing gender and reduces the age at which this can be done. Lawyers in the City of London bring in billions of pounds to the UK economy. English law is popular overseas for its predictability and for the independence of its judges. But is this reputation as a beacon for the rule of law being eroded by a lack of court funding and also by what some see as government undermining the judiciary? Fears raised by the Lord Chief Justice and echoed by the body representing City of London solicitors. And why is there still a pay gap between male and female barristers? Producer: Arlene Gregorius Research: Octavia Woodward and Imogen Serwotka Sound: Graham Puddifoot Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Editor: Hugh Levinson

From Law in Action at 2022-03-01 16:30:00

Ukraine: war and law (p0brtz3m.mp3)

How does international criminal law regard Russia's invasion of Ukraine? Joshua Rozenberg speaks to Professor Philippe Sands QC, whose grandfather was forced to flee the Ukrainian city of Lviv over a century ago . Is our democracy being eroded by the government, by reducing parliament’s opportunities for scrutiny? Two reports from the House of Lords Select Committees, titled "Government by Diktat" and "Democracy Denied", say there is an urgent need to return power to parliament. They worry about power grabs and an increased use of secondary legislation - ie laws made by ministers, that can’t be amended by MPs or peers. One recent piece of secondary legislation made it legal in England for children in care aged 16 and above to be housed in unsupervised adult accommodation such as hostels. Joshua hears from a care-experienced writer what that was like, and the risks that vulnerable children might face in such housing. The law is now being challenged in the courts. Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researchers: Octavia Woodward and Matt Toulson Sound: Rod Farquhar Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Jacqui Johnson Editor: Hugh Levinson

From Law in Action at 2021-11-16 14:26:00

Trial and error (p0b4jllq.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg places under the microscope a controversial lawsuit aimed at the governing bodies of rugby. Players diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, believed to be the result of repeated concussions, claim the sport neglected their duty of care. Did they? He also hears polar opposite views on whether or not thousands more civilian magistrates should be recruited to our courts: Justice Haddon Cave, the senior presiding judge for England and Wales, is in favour of the drive, whilst the anonymous and controversial author known as ‘The Secret Barrister’ is against. Finally, Joshua hears from the hugely successful barrister and judge, Barbara Mills QC, about a hard-hitting report which exposes a lack of diversity at the bar. If you need support with dementia, help and support is available via BBC Action Line.

From Law in Action at 2021-11-09 16:32:00

Jailhouse Law (p0b37tv1.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg speaks to a former jailhouse lawyer about his time behind bars and the cases he tackled on behalf of his fellow inmates. He also hears from well-known broadcaster, Stephen Nolan, about the extraordinary steps he took in tracking down, and launching a libel action against, a social media troll. And Lord Pannick QC, one of the most successful barristers of his generation, discusses the lasting value of courtroom advocacy. Producer: Paul Connolly Researcher: Louise Byrne Sound: Andy Garratt Editor: Hugh Levinson

From Law in Action at 2021-11-02 16:30:00

False Memory (p0b1v2g1.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg examines the phenomenon of false memories and the impact they can have on courtroom testimony. Can our recollections ever be trusted fully? And, if not, how profound are the implications for the criminal justice system? He speaks to Sir Andrew McFarlane, the senior family judge in England and Wales, about his plans to open up the family courts to reporting by accredited journalists and specialist bloggers. And Derek Sweeting QC, chair of the Bar Council of England and Wales, tells Joshua why he believes the largest funding increase in more than a decade for the justice system still doesn't go far enough. Producer: Paul Connolly Researcher: Louise Byrne Sound: James Beard Production Coordinators: Maria Ogundele and Sabine Schereck

From Law in Action at 2021-10-26 16:31:00

Judges in Jeopardy (p0b0cfsn.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg speaks to women judges whose lives have been at risk since the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan. Forced to leave their high-profile careers behind, many are faced with an impossible dilemma: do they choose a potential escape to freedom? Or do they stay with their families, in hiding and on the run? Ahead of Cop26, Joshua wades into a burning debate on whether or not fossil fuel companies are entitled to compensation from governments which make the switch to cleaner, renewable energy ahead of schedule. And he speaks to Christian Weaver, a young barrister whose new book aims to educate the public about their legal rights in 60 second bursts. Producer: Paul Connolly Researcher: Louise Byrne Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar

From Law in Action at 2021-06-22 16:30:00

E-scooting through the law (p09m64px.mp3)

It’s illegal to ride a private e-scooter on public roads or pavements – but the rules for the new, council approved e-scooter rental schemes are different. We navigate the maze of laws and regulations to ask what’s allowed, required or illegal. Billionaires are about to fly into space, but what is the legal framework for this? What if your rocket hits my satellite? We boldly go into space law. Why coal tip laws brought in following the Aberfan disaster do not protect the public and need to be reformed. And the changing face of the legal profession – criminal barrister Mark Robinson shows that lawyers come from a greater range of backgrounds now – he didn’t have any GCSEs, but a career as a DJ. Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producers: Diane Richardson and Arlene Gregorius

From Law in Action at 2021-06-15 16:30:00

Covid penalties (p09lkfg6.mp3)

Thousands of people have received fixed penalty notices for breaching Covid-19 restrictions, even though no offence had actually been committed in their cases. Yet there is no appeals procedure, and not paying the fines risks a criminal record. So what should happen with them? Sir Geoffrey Vos, the master of the rolls and head of civil justice, reveals how new online systems are increasingly doing away with the need to go to court. The legal profession used to be dominated by middle-aged, middle-class, white men, but that has been changing, and this year I. Stephanie Boyce became the first person of colour to be elected president of the Law Society, the professional body for solicitors in England and Wales. What are her priorities for her tenure? The recent quashing of the convictions for theft and false accounting of 39 sub-postmasters after Britain's biggest miscarriage of justice has laid open the world of private criminal prosecutions. It was not the Crown Prosecution Service that took the sub-postmasters to court, but the Post Office itself. Should private prosecutions now be regulated? Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2021-06-08 16:30:00

Traumatic brain injury and crime (p09kw9x0.mp3)

Traumatic brain injury can cause neurological changes that make people more impulsive, less able to control their reactions, and less able to understand others. Therefore it's associated with violent crime. An estimated 60% of those in prison have a history of brain injury. But is prison the best place for them, and their rehabilitation? The criminal justice system is taking an ever greater interest in how to deal with traumatic brain injury. We hear about a Thames Valley Police pilot project to keep offenders out of prison, pre-sentence screening in the UK and elsewhere, and about an innovative court for those aged 18-25 in New Zealand. Brain injury is as common among women prisoners, often due to a history of suffering domestic violence. For these women their injuries, compounded by other factors, lead to mental health issues so serious that it's estimated that three quarters of them have tried to take their own lives. What are prisons doing to help them? And what about women prisoners' additional burdens, such as anxiety about separation from their children, which affects them more than men? Can a new report by the Chief Inspector of Prisons point to ways forward for England and Wales? Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2021-06-01 17:29:00

Fighting knife crime (p09k7qjk.mp3)

Fighting knife crime before it happens; Scotland's "not proven" verdicts; and the law on automated cars. Knife crime in England and Wales is at its highest in ten years. Some young people can find it hard to resist gangs or knives for what they see as self-protection. Often they end up in the criminal justice system. Some argue the law is not the answer. But what is the alternative? We hear from a youth worker at the successful youth centre Youth Futures, and from a retired senior criminal barrister, who has launched an online one-stop-shop,, for those seeking or offering help to keep young people out of trouble. In Scotland, juries can find defendants guilty, not guilty or not proven. If guilt is "not proven", the defendant is acquitted and regarded as innocent in law. Should that third option be abolished? Juries often use "not proven" in rape cases, if they feel guilt has not been proven 'beyond reasonable doubt' (the requirement for a guilty verdict) but nor do they want to imply they disbelieved the alleged victim. Now some campaigners want to abolish the "not proven" option, as research has shown that if it didn't exist, more juries would find the accused guilty, even in rape cases. The government has announced that cars will be allowed to steer themselves in slow-moving motorway traffic, so long as they had been approved for use with automated lane-keeping systems. But what does the law say about liability for automated vehicles? Who is responsible if there is an accident? Is it the driver or the car manufacturer? What changes are being introduced by this year's Automated and Electric Vehicles Act and the planned changes to the Highway Code? Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2021-03-23 16:04:00

Reforming Judicial Review (p09bl6y7.mp3)

Judicial Review is a mechanism to check the legality of decisions or actions by public bodies such as the government or parliament. But has this turned into "politics by another means"? The government commissioned Lord Faulks and a panel of experts to examine this question, and to make recommendations for reform. The report was published last week. But does the government now want to go much further than the recommendations in the report? Should there be legal aid for bereaved families whose relative died in the care of the state, such as in prison, a police cell or in a mental health in-patient setting? These deaths trigger "Article 2 inquests", referring to the right to life, protected under the European Convention on Human Rights. The coroner will want to find out what went wrong, so it doesn't happen again. The state has legal representation to defend itself, but the families often can't afford the specialist lawyers that, campaigners argue, are required for a level playing field. Family breakdown can mean former partners end up in court to try and resolve disputes. This can be time-consuming, with long delays, and be very costly. Could family arbitration be the solution? We eavesdrop on a mock arbitration to find out how it works. And how much cheaper are they really? Which UK elections can EU citizens vote in, and in what parts of the country? The answer is surprisingly complex for the votes in May - and will become more so in future elections. Details of organisations offering information and support with bereavement are available at, or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information on 08000 158 707. Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researcher: Diane Richardson (Image: Lord Faulks. Credit: UK Parliament)

From Law in Action at 2021-03-16 16:30:00

Can the law fight climate change? (p099vz6y.mp3)

Around the world environmentalists are taking governments and companies to court to fight climate change. Joshua Rozenberg explores how the law is evolving into a powerful activists' tool. In the first case of its kind, in a ruling that was upheld by the Dutch Supreme Court, the Netherlands were found to have a duty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% compared to 1990, and this by December of last year. What happened? Apart from governments, companies are being sued by individuals or shareholders. For example, a Peruvian farmer has filed a case in a German court against a German electricity company for what he claims is its role in warming up the climate enough for him to be threatened by flooding as a nearby Andean glacier melts. In Poland activist shareholders sued the board of their utility company to stop the development of a new coal mine, claiming an "indefensible" financial risk, due to rising carbon costs and falling renewables prices. And senior lawyers are developing the concept of "ecocide", with the aim to make it an indictable offence at the International Criminal Court, analogous to genocide or crimes against humanity. So how is the law evolving to tackle climate change, asks Joshua Rozenberg. Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2021-03-09 16:30:00

Exclusive interview with the lawyer of Anne Sacoolas (p09953cw.mp3)

Amy Jeffress, the US lawyer of Anne Sacoolas, speaks exclusively to Joshua Rozenberg, about the accident that led to the death of Northamptonshire teenager Harry Dunn, and its aftermath. Scotland needs the agreement of the Westminster-based UK government to hold a referendum about independence legally. So far Downing Street has indicated that the UK would not agree to a second referendum in the short term. But could there be legal options around the need for Westminster's approval? And jabs for jobs? Can vaccination be made compulsory in some circumstances? What are your rights if your employer requires you to be vaccinated to come to work? Or if your employee refuses to be vaccinated? And what about companies - from cinemas to airlines - can they legally require proof of vaccination from their customers? Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Arlene Gregorius Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2021-03-02 16:30:00

Civil Justice for Harry Dunn? (p098h885.mp3)

A civil claim has been launched in the state of Virginia by the parents of Harry Dunn, who was killed in Northamptonshire in 2019 when his motorcycle was in collision with a car driven on the wrong side of the road by Anne Sacoolas. What are Harry's parents hoping to get out of it? Joshua Rozenberg speaks to their American lawyer. Picture Credit: Justice4Harry19 The number of cases waiting to be tried at Crown Courts in England and Wales is now over 56,000. We examine the backlog viewed from the perspective of a juror, a barrister and a judge. We ask what effect the pandemic has had on prisoners, and on those serving indefinite sentences. And the Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC reveals new proposals to allow deaf people to sit on juries, as part of a plan to allow remote juries in England and Wales, even after the pandemic. Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Arlene Gregorius

From Law in Action at 2020-11-17 16:30:00

Jack Merritt's legacy (p08yqxyl.mp3)

Remembering Jack Merritt, who was murdered in the attack at London Bridge in November 2019. He and Saskia Jones, who was also killed, were associated with an offender rehabilitation programme at Cambridge University called Learning Together. The murderer was a former prisoner attending a conference at Fishmongers Hall to mark its fifth anniversary. Earlier in 2019, Law in Action had interviewed Jack Merritt and some of the prisoners he was supporting at Warren Hill Prison in Suffolk. A year on, we hear about his legacy. Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Paul Connolly Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2020-11-10 16:30:00

Good advice (p08y00ls.mp3)

How has the North Kensington Law Centre managed to keep going for 50 years when other social legal advice providers have run out of money? One reason must be the vision of Peter Kandler, 85, who set up the UK’s first law centre in a former butcher’s shop and is still closely involved in running it today. He tells Joshua Rozenberg that, half a century on, the centre is now coping with housing and immigration problems that he thought were a thing of the past. Picture: Peter Kandler, founder of North Kensington Law Centre courtesy of Law Centres Network. The programme includes an Extract from 'North Kensington Law Centre', © Crown copyright/BFI - British Film Institute or BFI Player.

From Law in Action at 2020-11-03 16:30:00

Fire Courts (p08x5x9f.mp3)

The lessons of history: what the Great Fire of London can teach us about dealing with a modern plague. And, as the lord chief justice tells his judges to keep calm and carry on — despite the lockdown to be introduced in England on Thursday — we ask whether the Nightingale courts of England and Wales could learn a thing or two from the Odeon courts of Scotland. Joshua Rozenberg reports. Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2020-10-27 16:30:00

The International Criminal Court (p08wkgrj.mp3)

An independent investigation into the International Criminal Court has revealed examples of bullying, sexual harassment and judicial incompetence. Victims of war crimes are having to wait a lifetime for reparations. But, as Joshua Rozenberg has been hearing, those same victims are hugely grateful to a court that has given them a voice. And with a week to go before the presidential election, courts across the United States have already been dealing with voting-related challenges. Will the next US president be chosen by the judges? The former president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, says the government's Internal Market Bill is a threat to the nation's reputation as a stalwart of the rule of law, especially when it is asking citizens to abide by restrictions during the pandemic. "It is a massive own goal for the government to be announcing to the people of this country that it does not keep its word, that it does not obey international law," he tells Joshua. Extract from video of ICC court proceedings courtesy of the International Criminal Court. Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2020-06-16 16:30:00

Reinventing the law (p08h181l.mp3)

How can the courts cope with the constraints of Coronavirus? That’s the challenge facing Lord Burnett of Maldon, head of the judiciary in England and Wales. Joshua Rozenberg asks the Lord Chief Justice whether new ways of working can deliver justice at a time of crisis. Among those innovations is mediation, Law in Action speaks to a court-based mediator and a court user whose case was resolved without leaving home. And we find out how lockdown is changing the civil courts. Can remote hearings work effectively? Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2020-06-09 16:00:00

Gambling with the law (p08gd24p.mp3)

A poker player who used a Victorian conjuring trick to win £7.7 million from a London casino left court empty-handed in 2017 after a court found he “took positive steps to fix the deck”. But now judges have decided that the ruling in Phil Ivey’s case should be the test for dishonesty. Joshua Rozenberg explains how it works, while a gambler tells us that the courts have got it wrong. Also this week, how do you ensure social distancing in a crowded detention centre? And how is lockdown affecting the work of the civil justice system? Contributors: Dr Natalie Byrom, director of research at the Legal Education Foundation Toufique Hossain, director of public law at Duncan Lewis Solicitors Richard Munchkin, host, “Gambling with an Edge” podcast Professor David Ormerod, University College London Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2020-06-02 16:30:00

Justice in lockdown (p08frdv9.mp3)

Can virtual courts deliver justice? We speak to participants of a mock jury trial held by law reform group Justice, with legal teams and jurors replacing the courtroom with the sitting room. Scotland's second most senior judge, Lord Justice Clerk Lady Dorrian, outlines how socially distanced jury trials can resume safely in July. And Joshua Rozenberg asks Director of Service Prosecutions Andrew Cayley QC if the Service Prosecuting Authority is prosecuting cases of rape and sexual assault effectively and whether charges are likely to be brought against British military personnel accused of offences against Iraqi civilians. Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2020-05-27 14:54:00

Workplace law (p08f8xfs.mp3)

Recent high-profile discrimination claims have cast a media spotlight on the employment tribunals of England, Wales and Scotland. But how good are they are at resolving disputes between employers and staff? How independent are they of the government? And how well have they recovered from fee increases that meant some employment judges had to move jobs? Why an autistic man’s experiments with explosives were lawful. Joshua speaks to Jonathan Hall QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation about the case of Chez Copeland, who spent almost two years in a maximum security prison for setting off explosions in his garden. Also US courtroom drama Judge Judy is to end after 25 years. Joshua asks Adam Benforado, associate professor of law, about the show’s legacy and popularity. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2020-05-27 09:51:00

Deferred Prosecution Agreements: pragmatic but unprincipled? (p08f8c6k.mp3)

Earlier this year, Airbus was ordered to pay nearly €1bn by a criminal court in London. The penalty, for failure to prevent bribery, was more than twice the fines paid by defendants in England and Wales for the whole of 2018. In addition, the global aerospace company was required to pay fines totalling €2.6bn in France and the United States. But Airbus has not been convicted of any crimes and nobody has gone to prison. Joshua Rozenberg Investigates deferred prosecution agreements. Contributors: Tim Bowden, partner, Dechert Alex Brummer, City editor of the Daily Mail Toby Duthie, co-founder, Forensic Risk Alliance Duncan Hames, director of policy, Transparency International Laura Haywood, case controller, Serious Fraud Office Eric Russo, prosecutor, Parquet National Financier Janette Rutterford, emeritus professor of finance and financial history, Open University Business School Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2020-03-11 17:52:00

An Enterprising Court (p086bp93.mp3)

Tucked away in the City of London is one of the UK’s most successful invisible exports. But is the Commercial Court threatened by international developments? Joshua Rozenberg investigates. Italy has extended its emergency coronavirus measures and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has ordered people to stay at home. Lawyer Mariella Melandri tells Law In Action how this is affecting her legal practice and clients. The government is planning emergency legislation allowing people who are forced to self-isolate to appear in court by video link or telephone. Is this an adequate substitute for a face-to-face hearing? Joshua speaks to immigration barrister Colin Yeo. Also, is India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) unconstitutional? Dr Rahul Rao, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University, explains why this controversial law is being challenged in the Indian Supreme Court. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Di Richardson

From Law in Action at 2020-03-03 16:30:00

Supporting evidence (p085j6jw.mp3)

Imagine what it must be like to be a child with autism. Your school won’t give you the support you need. But challenging that decision involves giving evidence at a tribunal where the lighting seems dazzling and the air-conditioning sounds deafening. Joshua Rozenberg reports from a tribunal in Glasgow designed by children for children. He visits a unique sensory room designed to put children with autism at their ease and help them speak for themselves. Also, could Manchester City FC overturn their UEFA ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport? Joshua speaks to Christopher Flanagan, editor of The International Sports Law Journal. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2020-02-25 16:30:00

On parole (p084qgyr.mp3)

The Parole Board will soon have to decide whether it’s safe to release prisoners convicted of low-level terrorist offences. But how effective is it at predicting whether a criminal will reoffend? Joshua Rozenberg visits the Parole Board for England and Wales to find out. Also new legal powers to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Joshua speaks to David Lawson, Barrister at Serjeants' Inn Chambers and Catharine Arnold, author of Pandemic 1918. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2019-11-19 16:30:00

What’s it really like to be in prison? (p07vflsz.mp3)

The secrets of life behind bars, revealed in a new podcast series. Joshua Rozenberg meets the ex-prisoners and others behind the project from The Prison Radio Association and The Prison Reform Trust. The bedroom tax and why the Court of Appeal got it wrong, plus online courts and the future of justice. Photo: Joshua Rozenberg with The Secret Life of Prisons presenters and contributors: Paula Harriott, Head of Prisoner Engagement at Prison Reform Trust. Brenda Birungi, Poet and Founder of Unchained poetry. David Breakspear, Prison Reform Campaigner. Phil Maguire, Chief Executive of the Prison Radio Association. If you are feeling emotionally distressed and would like details of organisations which offer advice and support, go online to or you can call for free, at any time to hear recorded information 0800 066 066. Producers: Diane Richardson and Neil Koenig.

From Law in Action at 2019-11-12 16:30:00

Abusive parents (p07tr6gv.mp3)

Should parents with a history of domestic abuse be allowed to see their children? How can the family courts protect children from further abuse? Joshua Rozenberg asks where the law should draw the line. And he discovers some of the innovative programmes being run in Altcourse Prison near Liverpool - including keeping birds of prey. Presenter: Joshua Rozenberg Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2019-11-05 16:30:00

Help for vulnerable witnesses (p07t278j.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg visits a busy Crown Court where vulnerable or intimidated witnesses can give pre-recorded evidence and face cross-examination before the defendant stands trial. Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2019-10-29 16:30:00

Legal lessons from Brexit (p07sd048.mp3)

In holding the government to account over Brexit, our judges have added new pages to the UK's uncodified constitution. Joshua Rozenberg finds the law more active today than at any time since he launched this programme 35 years ago, and in the first episode of the new series he asks what legal lessons we can learn from the tumult caused by Brexit. Researcher: Diane Richardson Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2019-06-25 16:30:00

Rape Myths (p07f4w6f.mp3)

Do jurors believe in rape myths? A coalition campaigning to end violence against women said a third of people questioned in an opinion poll thought that sex without consent was not rape if there was no physical violence involved. Professor Cheryl Thomas at University College London has interviewed more than 50 real juries about their views. Ahead of publication, she outlines her findings to Joshua Rozenberg. Also this week, the court that can close your business down in a few seconds; and whether contestants on Love Island should have to leave their legal rights at the door of their villa. Producers: Bob Howard and Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2019-06-18 16:30:00

Julian Assange: What next? (p07dh2g2.mp3)

Prosecutors in the United States want Julian Assange extradited to face charges of conspiring to obtain and disclose classified defence documents. What chance does he have of defeating the US extradition request at a hearing planned for next February? Also on Law in Action: if you’ve been turned down for social security payments, how easy is it to take the government to a tribunal? And the Australian defence lawyer who shopped her gangster clients to the police. Producers: Bob Howard and Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2019-06-11 16:30:00

Raising the Bar? (p07cv2xh.mp3)

Should a non-traditional background be a bar to joining the Bar? Barristers want the best recruits. But many law students waste time and money training for a profession they will never succeed in joining. Leading lawyers tell Joshua Rozenberg how they plan to reduce training fees and increase diversity. Also this week: threats and transparency in the Court of Protection. And the law behind the failed attempt to launch a private prosecution against Boris Johnson. Producers: Neil Koenig and Nina Robinson

From Law in Action at 2019-06-04 17:54:00

Brexit and the EU judiciary (p07c77hw.mp3)

What will happen to the European Union judiciary after Brexit? Eleanor Sharpston QC is a British member of the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg. She argues it’s in the interests of both the UK and the EU for British judges to remain at the EU Court after Brexit - at least during a transitional period - because the UK will still be affected by its rulings. Also this week: transparency in the courts. When judges make decisions on sensitive personal and family issues, should their courts be open to all? Or does reporting put justice at risk? Joshua Rozenberg shines a light on this darker corner of the law. Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2019-05-24 12:05:00

Jailhouse Law (p07b7129.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg reports from a prison where inmates study legal issues alongside law students from Cambridge University. The academics who launched this ground-breaking project have found that both groups of students benefit by learning together. Plus, why four doctors have launched a Judicial Review of the Royal College of Physician’s assisted dying poll. Producers: Neil Koenig and Diane Richardson.

From Law in Action at 2019-03-19 16:30:00

Online Abuse and the Law (p07404wb.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg asks whether new laws are needed to protect online and social media users from abuse? Plus, in our latest look behind the scenes of courts large and small, we visit an immigration tribunal in central London. Joshua Rozenberg meets applicants who want to stay in Britain and judges who need an encyclopaedic knowledge of world affairs to decide whether they can remain.

From Law in Action at 2019-03-05 16:30:00

The Family Drug and Alcohol Court (p072nc2m.mp3)

We visit a problem-solving court in Coventry. Joshua Rozenberg speaks to judges, social workers and a mother whose drug addiction put her at risk of losing her children. Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2019-02-26 16:30:00

The Supreme Court (p071zsfr.mp3)

Behind the scenes at the UK's top court: Joshua Rozenberg talks to staff, officials and the court’s most senior justices. Why do they allow some appeals and refuse even to hear others? How activist are they? And what effect did the Brexit challenge of 2016 have on the reputation of the judiciary? Producer: Neil Koenig

From Law in Action at 2018-11-20 16:30:00

Peacemaking, New York style. (p06sbwg8.mp3)

Judge Alex Calabrese can wield the big stick if he needs to. But peacemakers at the Red Hook Community Justice Centre in Brooklyn often find it more effective to pass round what they call a talking stick. Joshua Rozenberg finds out whether a Native American form of dispute resolution can be transplanted to a deprived corner of New York. Also, what the new director of public prosecutions for England and Wales thinks about screening jurors before they try rape cases. And one of the BBC team covering the Grenfell Tower Inquiry brings us up to date with the lines of evidence that have emerged so far. (Picture: Alex Calabrese, Acting Supreme Court Justice for the State of New York and Presiding Judge at Red Hook Community Justice Centre) Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2018-11-13 16:30:00

How did the US Supreme Court become so powerful? (p06rn38p.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg hears the story of the extraordinary case that rewrote the way America is governed - giving the Supreme Court the power to overrule Congress. He discovers what American prosecutors get up to behind the closed doors of the grand jury room. And he asks whether we should be screening jurors in England and Wales for bias before they are allowed to serve on rape trials. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2018-11-06 16:30:00

Can the law rein in Amazon? (p06qy456.mp3)

There is a possibility of a new legal challenge to the tech giants. Early last year, an unknown American law student published a scholarly article in a distinguished journal. Lina Khan argued that competition law – known in the United States as anti-trust law – could be used to rein in the activities of huge enterprises like Amazon. Other lawyers disagree with her reasoning - but the Federal Trade Commission is assessing the arguments. Joshua Rozenberg sounds out opinions in the United States. Also this week: should offences committed in childhood mean a criminal record for life? Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2018-10-30 16:30:00

Should a former soldier be tried without a jury? (p06q94ll.mp3)

Dennis Hutchings, a former soldier charged with attempted murder in Northern Ireland in 1974, says the UK Supreme Court should let him face trial by jury, rather than a hearing at a special court where a judge sits alone. Joshua Rozenberg speaks to Mr Hutchings and his lawyer. And in the first of a series of reports from the US, we investigate whether female lawyers face prejudice in the courtroom - including allegations of using tears to manipulate jurors. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson

From Law in Action at 2018-06-26 16:30:00

Facial Recognition Technology (p06c4ss9.mp3)

Some police forces are using automated facial recognition technology to pick suspects out of a crowd. But is face mapping a valuable tool in the fight against serious crime or a new threat to our civil liberties? And does it work? Joshua Rozenberg investigates. Also in this week's programme... Do body-worn video cameras help police to deal more effectively with domestic violence incidents - or do they make matters worse? And the mysterious case of the "pernicious weed"...who should pay when the wrong kind of vegetation - such as Japanese knotweed - is found on railway lines? Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson.

From Law in Action at 2018-06-19 16:30:00

Social media in the dock (p06bjylv.mp3)

Does social media pose a threat to criminal justice - and can fair trials be ensured? In this week's programme, Sir Brian Leveson, head of criminal justice in the courts of England and Wales, tells Joshua Rozenberg that the law needs updating to cope with the growth in social media. And a retired senior judge from Northern Ireland considers whether more needs to be done to protect complainants - and defendants - in sexual assault trials. Also in this edition of Law in Action: something rather unusual - a private prosecution for fraud. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson.

From Law in Action at 2018-06-12 16:30:00

Should justice move online? (p069vztv.mp3)

Is moving justice online a good idea? In British Columbia they have done just that, with a new online tribunal handling things like small claims and property disputes. Could something like this work in Britain? Joshua Rozenberg reports from Vancouver. Also in this week's programme: law is an immensely popular subject for students, but are they given sufficient warnings about how difficult it will be to find work as a solicitor or barrister - especially in the field of criminal law? And does Donald Trump have the ability to pardon himself were he to commit a crime? Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson.

From Law in Action at 2018-06-05 16:30:00

No-fault Divorce (p0696240.mp3)

Should it be easier to end a marriage? The Supreme Court is currently considering a rare defended divorce. Campaigners hope the case will prompt a change in the law in England and Wales - but others fear this will lead to divorce on demand. Joshua Rozenberg investigates. Also in this week's programme: Christina Blacklaws, incoming president of the Law Society of England and Wales, on the implications of an important milestone. A century after the reform that allowed them to become lawyers, most practising solicitors are now women. And, the Attorney General Jeremy Wright on what to do with the National Fund: nearly 500 million pounds which was meant to pay off the national debt. Producer: Neil Koenig Researcher: Diane Richardson.

From Law in Action at 2018-03-20 16:31:00

Interview with Lord Chancellor David Gauke (p061qn8p.mp3)

David Gauke MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice speaks to Joshua Rozenberg about prisons, modernising the courts system, legal aid and the coroners service. Also: Could plans to change the way solicitors are regulated result in easier and cheaper access to legal services or put consumers at risk? Paul Philip, chief executive of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and deputy vice president of the Law Society, Simon Davis, discuss the pros and cons of the proposed changes. Plus the Secret Barrister, who blogs and tweets about life as a criminal barrister tells Law In Action why the criminal justice system is close to breaking point.

From Law in Action at 2018-03-13 16:30:00

Driverless Cars and the Law (p060zpxn.mp3)

The government wants fully self-driving cars on UK roads by 2021 but which will be ready first - the technology or the law? Who is responsible in an accident - the owner or the manufacturer? Joshua Rozenberg meets the team planning a 200 mile driverless journey across the UK and speaks to barrister Lucy McCormick, co-author of Law and Driverless Cars, who explains how the legal landscape is evolving. Also: this week, the High Court is considering a challenge by two victims of the black-cab rapist, John Worboys. Among the points being considered is a challenge to a Parole Board rule, made by ministers, that says its proceedings must not be made public. Former DPP and chairman of the Parole Board Sir David Calvert-Smith discusses the desirability of a more transparent system. Plus: a new data protection law will soon come into effect. It's called the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, and it's designed to make sure that organisations take more care of how they store and use our personal information. Philip Giles of Giles Wilson Solicitors and Chair of the Law Society's Small Firms Division explains what this means for businesses and the way they handle data, and Deputy Information Commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone reveals the sizeable penalties for failure to comply with the new law.

From Law in Action at 2018-03-06 16:30:00

Sex Discrimination Law (p0607tqs.mp3)

Is sex discrimination law failing women in the workplace? It's more than 40 years since parliament passed the first Sex Discrimination Act, making it unlawful for employers to discriminate against women in the workplace by treating them less favourably than men. Still, allegations of sexual discrimination and sexual harassment have dominated the news over the past few months. Joeli Brearley tells the story of how she lost her job after she told her employer that she was pregnant and Joshua Rozenberg asks former High Court Justice Dame Laura Cox and employment discrimination lawyer Karen Jackson whether the law itself needs reform. Also: Judges ought to know their sentencing law, but it's much harder to get sentencing right than it should be, according to the government's law reform advisers. The Law Commission is recommending a new sentencing code that will be much easier for judges to follow. Law in Action speaks to David Ormerod QC, the law commissioner in charge of the project. Plus the story of how an international group of graffiti artists won nearly $7 million in damages in a New York court after their work was destroyed. We speak to the artist Meres One, curator at the 5 Pointz building which housed the work, and lawyer Eric Baum about the Visual Artists Rights Act which protected the artworks under law.

From Law in Action at 2018-02-27 16:30:00

Failings in Evidence Disclosure (p05zjffh.mp3)

The number of prosecutions in England and Wales that collapsed because of a failure by police or prosecutors to disclose evidence increased by 70% in the last two years. Joshua Rozenberg speaks to the Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders and David Tucker from the College of Policing about their response to this rising concern. He also speaks to those directly affected by the failures - members of the public charged and taken to court because police failed to disclose evidence that would clear them. Such cases are nothing new to the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC), which investigates potential miscarriages of justice. Law in Action speaks to the CCRC's chair Richard Foster about the current wave of cases and his concerns that people are being wrongly imprisoned because evidence is not shared with defence teams. CONTRIBUTORS Clive Steer, businessman Julia Smart, barrister at Furnival Chambers Dr Hannah Quirk, Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law & Justice, University of Manchester Richard Foster, Chair of the Criminal Cases Review Commission Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecution David Tucker, crime and criminal justice lead for the College of Policing.

From Law in Action at 2018-02-07 14:23:00

Trump, the FBI and the Law (p05xdbm9.mp3)

Following the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged links between Russians and Donald Trump's election campaign, Joshua Rozenberg finds out what the role of the special counsel involves, how he will go about his work and how the White House will be affected by the probe. Also in the programme: the BBC's Delhi Correspondent, Sanjoy Majumder, reports on the reaction to a recent Indian Supreme Court decision which has upset drinkers and liquor store owners - but pleased those affected by drink-driving accidents. And, as the African Union prepares to meet later this month, Joshua talks to a leading South African-based lawyer about the fierce debate taking place on whether African countries should continue to be part of the International Criminal Court.

From Law in Action at 2017-11-21 15:14:00

Interview with The Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (p05nrm8f.mp3)

In his first interview since taking office, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Sir Ian Burnett talks to Joshua Rozenberg. He explains what can be done to gain back public confidence. Also, if you are a foster carer, are you an employee or a worker? How a Scottish couple fought to have their status changed. Katie Gollop QC in conversation with Nemone Lethbridge who was called to the Bar nearly sixty years ago. She remembers why she was not allowed to use one particular facility in Chambers. Finally, as Paddington comes to the big screen again, immigration barrister Colin Yeo explains what the Peruvian bear's status is in England. Paddington 2 is directed by Paul King and produced by StudioCanal. Producers: Diane Richardson & Smita Patel Editor: Richard Vadon.

From Law in Action at 2017-11-14 15:20:00

Investigating the Dead (p05n13bb.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg asks what's the point of investigating the dead over allegations of abuse. He speaks to the former judge Sir Richard Henriques, who is critical of recent police investigations into dead people accused of abuse. The programme also explores whether we need new laws to protect cyclists on our roads. Producer: Smita Patel Researcher: Diane Richardson.

From Law in Action at 2017-11-07 13:01:00

Acid Attacks and the Law (p05m9cfp.mp3)

Professor Simon Harding, criminologist at the University of West London, considers proposals to control the sale and possession of corrosive substances with Joshua Rozenberg.

From Law in Action at 2017-10-31 18:05:00

The Lawyers Working for GCHQ (p05llsxk.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg talks exclusively to the director for legal affairs at the government's signals service GCHQ and asks him why the UK's secret intelligence agency needs lawyers.

From Law in Action at 2017-06-27 16:45:00

Interview with the Lord Chancellor David Lidington (p0573jrs.mp3)

Joshua Rozenberg examines the implications for the criminal justice system - especially the courts and prisons - of the growing number of prosecutions and convictions of older people for sexual offences. The programme also discovers the legal implications of the explosion in the theatrical use of holograms of both the living and the dead. And we find out what's on the agenda for the new Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, David Lidington.

From Law in Action at 2017-06-13 18:05:00

The Law After the Election (p055t9ys.mp3)

Following the general election, Joshua Rozenberg introduces a special live discussion programme in which he and his guests consider what the composition of the new House of Commons means for the law. They consider the courts and those who use them, the strained prison system, impending legislative changes to the law - including those required to achieve commitments made on Brexit - and how those seeking access to justice are likely to fare. Producer Simon Coates.

From Law in Action at 2017-03-16 12:37:00

Why Are We Short of Judges? (p04x189g.mp3)

Vacancies for senior Judges and circuit Judges are now at an all-time high - why? The Judiciary is still reeling from last year's "Enemies of the People" headlines and morale is low, with many Judges fed up with the job. Speaking to three senior judges, Joshua Rozenberg asks what can be done to address the situation? Producer: Jim Frank Researcher: Beth Sagar-Fenton

From Law in Action at 2016-11-15 16:00:00

Joint Enterprise and Homicide Law (p04gf1p7.mp3)

Joint Enterprise is the law by which a group of people can be convicted with the same offence and earlier this year the Supreme Court ruled that Joint Enterprise law had been misinterpreted for 30 years. This gave campaigners significant hope as they say Joint Enterprise is an unjust law, especially when applied to murder convictions because all defendants face the same mandatory life sentence even if they were periphery players. But these hopes were dashed when the Court of Appeal announced that it was not going to permit thirteen Joint Enterprise murder convictions to be reviewed. Joshua Rozenberg explores why the court came to this decision - and asks if the perceived unfairness over Joint Enterprise points to bigger problems with the law of homicide. Also on the programme: Soon-to-be President Donald Trump has said one of his most important tasks will be to appoint a judge to the US Supreme Court, which he has said would be pro-life and pro-gun ownership. To what extent can he be sure that the Supreme Justices will do his bidding? And after 500 years, the trial of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark will be heard in London in a mock trial featuring real QCs, and a real judge. Law in Action hears how the prosecution and defence are going to state their case. CONTRIBUTORS Gloria Morrison, campaign co-ordinator for JENGBA (Joint Enterprise, Not Guilty by Association) Alison Levitt QC Bob Neill MP, chair of the Justice Select Committee James Zirin, lawyer and author of Supremely Partisan Ian Winter QC Ruth Brock, chief executive of the Shakespeare Schools Festival Shaheed Fatima QC Lady Justice Hallett PRODUCERS: Matt Bardo & Richard Fenton-Smith EDITOR: Penny Murphy.

From Law in Action at 2016-11-08 16:00:00

Brexit in the High Court (p04fm4bz.mp3)

The High Court has decided that Prime Minister Theresa May cannot trigger Brexit without an Act of Parliament - but what are the legal ramifications of this ruling? This week, Joshua Rozenberg explores this latest chapter in Britain's exit from the EU - the fallout from which has seen highly personal attacks on England's most senior judges, as the ideological divisions seen in the run up to the referendum vote were exposed once more. Following our previous edition of Law in Action, which aired straight after the referendum vote, the programme has gone back to the same leading legal minds to seek some clarity amid the conflicting and confusing media coverage. Has the high court's decision really stalled Brexit as leave voters fear - and some remainers hope? Just how will the so-called 'Great Repeal Bill' work in practice? And will the UK still have to comply with EU laws if it wants to continue to trade with the continent? CONTRIBUTORS Prof Catherine Barnard, Professor of European Law at the University of Cambridge Prof Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law at University of Cambridge Producers: Matt Bardo & Richard Fenton-Smith.

From Law in Action at 2016-11-01 15:16:00

Terrorism, Extremism and the Law (p04dvpr8.mp3)

Do the laws designed to counter terrorism and extremism strike the right balance between stopping violent attacks and protecting our civil liberties? Weighing up this question has been one of the main tasks of David Anderson QC - the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. Mr Anderson is due to step down after six years in the post, and he speaks to Joshua Rozbenberg about the changes he has seen in counter-terrorism law, and whether the net has now been cast too wide in the fight against extremism. One critic of the current law is Salman Butt who is bringing a judicial review case against the Home Office, which he says unfairly labelled him as an extremist speaker. Mr Butt, who is the editor of the website Islam 21c, says the government conflates conservative religious views with extremism and this unfairly targets members of the Muslim community. Next month at the High Court he will be challenging sections of the government's Prevent counter-extremism policy, which he says conflicts with the right to free speech. These concerns are shared by the Home Affairs select committee which has also criticised the policy, with MPs saying that that unless concerns among the Muslim community are addressed, Prevent would continue to be viewed by many as toxic. Law in Action has also discovered that one of the key architects of Prevent also believes it has lost its way. In this programme, Joshua Rozenberg speaks to former GCHQ director Sir David Omand about how the strategy was devised and how it differs to his original vision. Producers: Richard Fenton-Smith & Matt Bardo Editor: Penny Murphy.

From Law in Action at 2016-10-25 18:15:00

Interview with Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions (p04d4l2z.mp3)

Thirty years ago the Crown Prosecution Service was established - the body which acts as a gatekeeper to the criminal justice system of England and Wales. Those three decades have not been an easy ride for the CPS, which faced staffing shortages from the start. What's beyond doubt is that a well-run prosecution service is essential if the criminal courts are going to deliver justice. In this first programme of the new series, Joshua Rozenberg speaks to the current head of the CPS - the Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders. They discuss how the CPS has changed the legal landscape, as well as some of the key areas of work for the CPS in recent years such as increasing the success rate of rape prosecutions; bringing historical child sexual abuse cases to trial; the recovery of proceeds of crime; and the new challenges social media is presenting for the justice system. Producer: Richard Fenton-Smith.