Law Review: History – The European Arrest Warrant – Human Rights – Cyclists who kill

This new series by Obiter J on English legal history is a good read: Our legal heritage – No.1 – Early times and the Anglo-Saxon period

On a slightly more modern note, I was a bit baffled by this rather discouraging  research in The Guardian: Judges are more lenient after taking a break, study finds

“The adage that justice depends on what the judge ate for breakfast may not be far from the truth, according to a study of more than a thousand court decisions.

The research, which examined judicial rulings by Israeli judges who presided over parole hearings in criminal cases, found that judges gave more lenient decisions at the start of the day and immediately after a scheduled break in court proceedings such as lunch. Jonathan Levav, associate professor of business at Columbia University, who co-authored the paper, said: “You are anywhere between two and six times as likely to be released if you’re one of the first three prisoners considered versus the last three prisoners considered.”

Research is research, but, nevertheless, a rather worrying finding?

This post from Informm’s Blog is rather more interesting, given that we are soon to be able to read Lord Neuberger’s report into superinjunctions et al: Anonymised “privacy injunction” hearings – January to March 2011

How to fix the European arrest warrant system

Catherine Heard, writing in The Guardian: As the Commission now acknowledges, the warrant is only for major crimes and is being misused.

The European Arrest warrant came into public view recently in connection with the extradition request by Sweden in relation to allegations made about  Julian Assange. If there is one thing almost guaranteed to let the tabloid press and many others ‘kick off’ it is the activities / antics (Choose to suit your taste) of The European Court of Human Rights, The European Court of Justice, Europe generally, and now the European Arrest warrant.

Catherine Heard writes: “How is the EU going to stop the European arrest warrant, its fast-track extradition system, from being misused to prosecute bike thefts? At Fair Trials International we have been campaigning for years for a fairer European arrest warrant system, with a proportionality test to weed out trivial cases, as well as basic fair trial safeguards for people facing extradition….

And this wonderful extract…. “Take, for example, the case of a retired schoolteacher and grandfather facing extradition to Poland for going over his overdraft limit more than 10 years ago. The entire debt was repaid to the bank but he is still being sought to face trial for “theft”, although he has suffered three strokes and is in fragile health.”

and then this…“Time will tell whether this (building a proportionality test into the system)  is enough to stop the excessive use of this tick-box system by some countries (most notably Poland, which in 2009 issued 4,844 warrants compared to the UK’s 220).”

I’m with those who argue that the EAW should only be used for the more serious crimes. It is not acceptable for people to be extradited for minor administrative crimes like speeding, parking offences, or even minor criminal offences and, arguably, should not be used for matters which are not crimes in the country where the arrestee is resident at the time? .

Regular visits to the UK Human Rights blog are (a) good for the soul or, depending on your political viewpoint, (b) Good to get the blood running:  The sovereignty of parliament and property: this week’s human rights roundup

The UK Blawg Review is very much a new kid on the block. We have a fair way to go to catch up on Blawg Review –  a US centric blog, but generous in inviting law bloggers from many other jurisdictions – which celebrates six years this week of weekly reviews.  I have enjoyed participating in this original carnival of the law blogs six times so far and I very much hope it will continue.

Death by dangerous cycling law would not improve road safety

Erin Gill, writing in The Guardian, argues: Drivers and cyclists need to know dangerous behaviour will get them pulled to the kerb, but this proposed law won’t help

I don’t agree with Erin Gill.  I ride a motorbike.  I have to obey the Highway Code and all other road traffic laws.  I am subject to the full rigour of the law if I injure someone through careless riding.  I can see absolutely no reason why an aggressive cyclist (and they are legion on the road and, sometimes, on the pavements), who injures or kills someone, should not be subject to the specific offence of injuring or killing by dangerous cycling.  We would, of course, need to have registration plates for identification – and enforcement.

I suspect there would be few cases of death by dangerous cycling, but that should not preclude bringing law into play. I would quite like to see cyclists being prosecuted for riding on pavements. But I can’t imagine it will be easy to stop them in ‘full flight’ , and identifying cyclists may be a very real problem without licence plates.

East Park Communications has been a sponsor of my free student materials on Insite Law for some time, so I am more than happy to draw your attention to a series of four District Law Society journals.  I enjoy reading  them and students will also find it useful to have a look at the issues which arise in practice outside the metropolis!

Derby & District Law Society Journal | Norfolk Law Society Journal | Herts Law Society Journal | Worcestershire Law Society The Pears

Do contact Simon Castell at East Park Communications  if your law firm or local law society fancy having a journal.

AND finally… a bit of Muttley Dastardly LLP  on The Banking reforms…. Hugo de Vertback writes…. below…….

5 thoughts on “Law Review: History – The European Arrest Warrant – Human Rights – Cyclists who kill

  1. I would certainly agree that cyclists who cause injuries or death through negligent or dangerous riding should be prosecuted using appropriate laws. The numbers of such deaths to pedestrians per year are fairly low – when I last looked, about three-four per year, although with such low numbers it’s very variable. However, when you do the maths it turns out that pedestrian deaths caused per vehicle mile is about the same for cars as it is for bicycle. That’s because there are many more miles driven by car than ridden on bicycles. Of course old people especially are vulnerable to falls – a 13st man travelling at 15mph on a bicycle can do a lot of damage.

    However, I do not see justification (speaking as an occasional cyclist) for lumbering cycles with ID plates. An ID plate of a size useful enough for identification at anything beyond very close range is going to be a considerable problem on a bicycle, which generally have few places to mount such a thing. Adding various bit of ironmongery to a bicycle is not going to go down well. That’s not to mention the huge cost of doing all this – central databases, registration processes, enforcement etc. Basically all the costs associated with registering cars and motorbikes, all of which would have to be recovered from the user or via the tax system. I can’t think of any country in the world which has such a system for bicycles. It’s also worth noting we don’t require people to carry visible ID plates because they might commit a crime.

    Incidentally, per mile driven, motorcycles account for about three times the number of pedestrian deaths than cars. Maybe that’s because they are just inherently more difficult to see than a car and they turn up in places you wouldn’t expect a car (like between lanes of traffic – a colleague on a motorcycle hit a pedestrian who was emerging between two stationary cars). Worst of all killers of pedestrians are buses on a per-mile driven basis, although if you count it per passenger-mile the position is reversed.

  2. Cycling on pavements is probably my biggest bugbear as it’s quite often a real nuisance even if it’s not dangerous per se. There is of course an offence which criminalises such activity however when I looked at this the Home Office (I think) had issued guidance stating that fines should only be issued if the cycling is dangerous to other users of the pavement. Is this really acceptable? For me cycling on the pavement where there are pedestrians is dangerous, full stop.

  3. Steve / Alex – On reflection, the sheer cost of policing this, for little benefit, makes it impractical. I suspect that a cyclist who injured / killed some would stop or be stopped. There are remedies available.

    I do find aggressive cyclists on pavements tedious. Cuclists who bumble along on a pavement, and are careful don’t, in fact, cause a problem.

    I may have been ‘ranting’. I do, occasionally.

    And.. yes… motorcycles and scooters do cause accidents. There are some shocking riders on the road. Not taking the moral high ground on that one.

    The only accident I have had in 25 + years of bikes (15+ in London) – I was hit from behind by a car driver while I was stationery, waiting to turn right. I had a yellow leather jacket on, a bright yellow helmet and a very large Honda bike! She didn’t see me? I was knocked down the road with the bike on top of me. Luck caused me to release the brake when hit and turn away from oncoming traffic. I suspect, if I had hit the car coming towards me, I wouldn’t be here.


  4. A modest proposal – Pass legislation deeming anyone who cycles on the pavement volenti to having large lumps of vegetable matter thrown at them by nearby pedestrians.

    Problem instantly solved, I suspect.

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