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David Davis vows to lead rebellion against judicial review changes

David Davis

David Davis vows to lead rebellion against judicial review changes

The former cabinet minister David Davis has pledged to lead a rebellion against the government’s changes to judicial review, calling them a worrying assault on the legal system and attempt to avoid accountability.

Before the first major test of the judicial review and courts bill when it is debated in the Commons on Tuesday, Davis wrote in an article that ministers’ plans would “tip scales of law in favour of the powerful”.

He cited the power of judicial reviews to give “a voice to victims”, pointing to the overturning of the Parole Board’s decision to release the serial rapist John Worboys. The Haltemprice and Howden MP also praised the campaigner Gina Miller for challenging the government’s position at the start of the Brexit process that article 50 could be triggered without parliamentary authorisation.

An overhaul of the judicial review process was promised in the 2019 Conservative manifesto, which said the mechanism should be “available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state”, but promised it would not be “abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays”.

Davis said judicial review “delivers for individuals on matters affecting everyday life” and was constantly being used “to correct fundamental and dangerous errors of law”.

“Such attempts to consolidate power are profoundly un-conservative and forget that in a society governed by the rule of law, the government does not always get its way,” he said.

Davis also addressed suggestions that so-called Cart judicial reviews could be abolished, which would let the high court review a decision to refuse someone permission to appeal a case. Davis said ministers viewed these as “expensive and unsuccessful”.

“While the attack on judicial review, and in particular Cart judicial reviews, is a worrying assault on our legal system, it is only part of the picture,” wrote the former Brexit secretary, whose former chief of staff Dominic Raab is now the justice secretary.

Davis said ministers were in effect trying to “deny a court jurisdiction in a certain matter” through a mechanism known as an “ouster” clause.

He wrote: “Left unchecked, the use of these ouster clauses could give a government free rein to designate certain decisions it has made, or the use of certain powers it hands itself, to be unchallengeable in the courts. And the government, through this bill, wants to establish a framework for how ouster clauses can be applied to other areas in future legislation. This is entirely wrong.

“It all too clearly leaves the door open for further ouster clauses to be created that remove the courts from decisions in matters such as employment tribunals or social security.”

Davis said it did “not take a wild imagination to picture a future government, racked by constant losses in the courts on welfare matters, to suddenly legislate to remove the court’s vital oversight functions” in decisions about employment tribunals or benefits.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “This bill delivers on our manifesto commitment to protect the rights of individuals, while ensuring the courts are not open to abuse and delay.

“These changes will give the judiciary the power to hold the government to account, while tackling those who look to frustrate the court process.”

The MoJ has previously claimed the number of Cart judicial reviews that succeeded was just 0.22%, though Davis queried this in his article, saying the figure was “wildly incorrect” and likely to be “much higher” at about 5.7%.

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TCN Restores National Grid

The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has announced the restoration of the national grid after its partial collapse on Monday.

This was made known by Mrs Ndidi Mbah, TCN’s General Manager, Public Affairs in a statement in Abuja.

Mbah said that the national grid experienced partial system disturbance at about 10.51 am, as a result of a sudden drop in system frequency, which created system instability.

She said that the restoration of the affected grid commenced immediately at 11.55 am with Osogbo/Ihovbor, followed by Jebba/Osogbo, Kainji/Jebba, Benin/Onitsha, Shiroro/Kaduna, Shiroro/Katampe and Alaoji/Ikot-Ekpene.

Others are Lokoja/Gwagwalada, Odukpani/Ikot Ekpene, Benin/Omotosho, Oke-Aro/Ikeja west, Egbin/Oke-Aro and Kaduna/Kano.

She said the grid restoration has almost been completed, adding that the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) regrets any inconveniences caused.

Mbah said NESI appreciated the understanding of electricity customers within and outside the country.

According to her, NESI is committed to leveraging the concerted interventions instituted so far to enhance power supply reliability so that the issue of system disturbance will soon become outdated.

She said the National Control Centre would launch a full-scale investigation “to establish and ascertain the cause of the partial disturbance as this unwholesome event has resulted in aggregated generation loss.



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Chukwudi Ajaegbu, 35, Arraigned For $11,000 Fraud

A 35-year-old importer, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, has been arraigned before the Ogba Magistrate’s Court for allegedly obtaining $11,000 fraudulently from one Austine Ukaoha in the Ikeja area of Lagos State.

Ajaegbu appeared before Magistrate F.M. Onamusi on a three count charge.

The defendant, with others at large, were said to have conspired to commit felony, to wit stealing, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 411 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.

According to the police, sometime in 2010 on Bread Fraint Street, in the Balogun area of Lagos, the defendant, with others at large, conspired among themselves to obtain the sum under false pretences.

The charges read in part, “That you, Chukwudi Ajaegbu, on the same date, time and place, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did fraudulently obtain the sum of $11,000 from one Austine Ukaoha, under the pretence of importing goods from China, the presentation known to be false, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 314 (3) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2015.”

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Magistrate Onamusi adjourned the matter till December 7, 2022.

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2023: NBC Tasks Broadcasters On Professionalism

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has tasked broadcasters to handle political campaigns with professionalism.

The director-general of NBC, Balarabe Ilelah said this on Monday at a multi-stakeholders dialogue held in Abuja.

As campaigns for the 2023 elections are set to begin on September 28, Ilelah asked broadcasters to ensure not to allow hate speech or fake news on their platforms.

“This is in addition to ensuring equity in airtime allocation and coverage of political parties’ activities, particularly during prime times,” he said.

“It is also the time for you to make money from political adverts and campaigns, but ensure that this is done within the ambit of law.

“Broadcasters are also required to handle live political rallies with care and due professionalism. This is in addition to studio-based live political interviews/broadcasts. Because of the sensitivities of such programmes, broadcasters are advised to install delay mechanisms.

“Remember that broadcast stations are held responsible for any breach. The stations shall, therefore, assume and accept editorial responsibility”, he added.

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