Coroners and Justice Act 2009

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Coroners and Justice Act 2009[1]
Long title
Chapter 2009 c. 25
Introduced by Jack Straw and Lord Bach
Territorial extent England and Wales
Scotland
Northern Ireland
Dates
Royal Assent 12 November 2009
Commencement 12 November 2009 (in part)
14 December 2009 (in part)
10 January 2010 (in part)
12 January 2010 (in part)
1 February 2010 (in part)
Status: Current legislation
History of passage through Parliament
Text of statute as originally enacted
Revised text of statute as amended

The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (c. 25) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It changed the law on coroners and criminal justice in England and Wales.

Among its provisions are:

The Act makes it illegal to own pornographic pictures depicting under-18s participating in sexual activities, or depictions of sexual activity in the presence of someone under 18.

The Act contains measures to reform the coroner system. According to the Institute of Legal Executives, "There is provision, carefully circumscribed, for the establishment of a judicial inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act to take the place of an inquest, where there is highly sensitive evidence (typically intercept) and it would not be possible to have an Article 2 compliant inquest. These provisions will be used in rare cases only."[3]

The most controversial[citation needed] aspect of the bill are the provisions regarding secret inquests. The provisions had previously been mulled as part of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008, though ultimately they were dropped before the Counter-Terrorism Bill was finalised. Last-minute concessions, as the Coroners and Justice Bill passed through Parliament, included giving the Lord Chief Justice the power to veto any requests for private inquests and also the power to decide who the judge is.[7]

Hate crimes reform[edit]

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 amended Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986 to extend hate crime legislation to cover "hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to sexual orientation (whether towards persons of the same sex, the opposite sex or both)."

To prevent that Act being used to inhibit freedom of speech on the subject of homosexuality, the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act also inserted a new section 29JA, entitled "Protection of freedom of expression (sexual orientation)" but sometimes known as the Waddington Amendment (after Lord Waddington who introduced it). It reads:

During debate on the Coroners and Justice Bill the Government unsuccessfully attempted to repeal section 29JA.[9] Clause 61 (which would have repealed section 29JA) was introduced into Parliament by Jack Straw on 14 January 2009. The clause was voted down by the House of Lords,[10][11][12] reinstated by the House of Commons,[13] and voted down again by the Lords[14] before the Commons finally conceded that section 29JA could remain.[15]

Notable events with respect to the act[edit]

In December, 2012, owners of a family patio and paving business in Bedford, England were successfully prosecuted under the provision criminalising the holding of someone in slavery or servitude, or requiring them to perform forced or compulsory labour. The investigation of forced labour began after the body of one of the family's workers was discovered. The family found using vulnerable mentally ill, alcoholic, and homeless men for forced labour very profitable, holding some men in servitude for decades and paying them as little as £5 a day.[16]

Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour[edit]

Slavery, Servitude and Forced or Compulsory Labour is the name of section 71 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009.[17][18] As the name suggests, it prohibits slavery, involuntary servitude, and forced labour, where the terms are used as defined in Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]