New Secretary of State for Justice

The new Lord Chancellor is Michael Gove. Jack of Kent has a good post with mug shot: A new Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor.

As he writes, we will have to wait and see. He can’t really be any worse than the last one, can he?

But Grayling made things needlessly worse. His grand design for reforming criminal legal aid was unrealistic and botched, and the consultation had to start from scratch. Again and again the High Court found the Ministry of Justice to be acting unlawfully which, if you think of it, is a rather odd thing to happen to this particular department. Scarce departmental resources were used to promote a Bill – an extended press release dubbed the “SARAH Act” – which actually made no change whatsoever to the law of the land. And his personal stubbornness ended up with his spending £72,000 of taxpayers’ money to defend a prison books restriction which the bemused judge regarded as “strange” before quashing it.

It appears that the Human Rights Act is to be repealed pronto. For many myths on human rights and other information, see Adam Wagner’s new site Rights Info. I see that the Daily Mirror says you can live in another EU country if you want to enjoy human rights – thus overlooking the fact that the Council of Europe has 46 members and the EU 28 and that the rights haven’t actually been scrapped, just made harder to get: 13 basic rights you’re going to lose under the new Conservative government

But don’t worry, if you want to keep your absolute human rights, you can still move to the EU.

Or you can stay here and hope for the best.

I’m not sure how to move to the EU.

The Human Rights Act cannot be so easily repealed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There’s a useful post on this in the nicely named blog Lallands Peat Worrier:

Thus far, the Tories have had bugger all to say about the detailed devolved implications of their abolition plan — but they are politically explosive. Thus far, by focussing on the court politics of tactics and slogans, the media have singularly failed to take Conservative ministers to task on their woolly human rights thinking. Like Cameron’s pledge to “renegotiate” the European Union treaties without any real or realisable demands, abolition of the Human Rights Act is a slogan — not a worked out policy.

In other election news, Ronnie Carroll won 113 votes despite having represented Britain in the Eurovision Song Contest and being recently deceased.

From other corners of the internet

1. Per Döhler’s indispensable guide to VAT for translators in Germany has been updated. Umsatzsteuerleitfaden at – click on Mehr, Dokumente – first in the list. The Triacom website has been updated too.

2. reports on the publication of Handbook of Terminology (John Benjamins), online and in print. I’m not sure what it costs and I haven’t got time to read it, but I am interested in the article by Janine Pimentel, who studied in Portugal and teachers in Brazil: ‘Using frame semantics to build a bilingual lexical resource on legal terminology‘. I haven’t got into this any further, but Janine Pimentel’s website has more information, including a link to a Portuguese-English database using semantic frameworks:

The JuriDiCo is a database that describes the legal terminology that can be found in a comparable corpus of judgments produced by the Supreme Court of Canada and by Supremo Tribunal de Justiça de Portugal. The database was elaborated according to the theoretical and methodological principles of FrameNet (Ruppenhofer et al. 2010) and is also partly based on the methodology for compiling specialized dictionaries developed in DiCoInfo (L’Homme 2008). Some minor modifications were made in the DiCoInfo’s database, namely the insertion of a field called frames. For thetime being, JuriDiCo only includes specialized verbs, which were extracted by means of TermoStat (Drouin 2003) and subsequently validated. 200 English and Portuguese terms entries are currently available online as well as about 40 frames that group together not only equivalent terms but also semantically related terms within each language. JuriDiCo allows users to search terms, equivalent terms and frames.

Via the website of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and, some of her publications can be accessed (log in with Facebook or Google). I don’t know my linguistics so I haven’t read about semantic frames before, but in Juridico they seem to be contexts. If you read the articles you will know more than I do.

3. Carl Gardner has published, for Kindle, What a Fix-Up!. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 (the ‘-term’ in the Act seems not to be capitaliized). As he writes, ‘the prospect of a hung Parliament after the 2015 general election has dramatically raised the Act’s profile’.

Listening to Carl Gardner and other lawyers on podcasts was one of the great innovations of internet communication for me – to hear serious yet chatty discussions of UK law and politics. There are links to many Without Prejudice podcasts on Carl Gardner’s blog Head of Legal.

4. Unreliable Evidence – BBC radio programmes with Clive Anderson.