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Weekly Update 15 July 2022

Weekly Update 15 July 2022

Dear Friends,

Parliamentary business slowed down markedly this week, as the Conservative Party leadership contest took centre stage. Disappointingly, two Cabinet ministers withdrew from committee appearances in which they were likely to have been questioned on Rule of Law issues: Home Secretary Priti Patel would have faced questions from the Home Affairs Committee about her controversial policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda, while Justice Secretary Dominic Raab had an appointment next week to discuss his "Bill of Rights" Bill with the Joint Committee on Human Rights.

One of the few Bills that received parliamentary time was the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill. MPs made extensive reference to the Bingham Centre's latest report, in which we consider how the Bill could be amended to prevent the authorisation of international law breaches and also warn against excessive delegation of law-making powers to the Executive.

At the Bingham Centre, we are committed to engaging not only with Rule of Law issues arising from the current parliamentary agenda, but also with long-running debates in other areas that would benefit from independent research and evidence-based inquiry. Counter-terrorism is one such area, as it raises a multitude of Rule of Law issues which the UK and other countries have been grappling with for decades.

This week saw the launch of the Independent Commission on UK Counter-Terrorism Law, Policy and Practice, a major new initiative convened by the Bingham Centre. The Commission, chaired by the Rt Hon Sir Declan Morgan PC QC, former Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, brings together 15 Commissioners with expertise and experience of counter-terrorism law, policy and practice, as well as knowledge and understanding of the groups and communities most directly affected by these measures. They include Sir Peter Fahy QPM, the Rt Hon Dominic Grieve PC QC, Dame Anne Owers, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi PC, and Amanda Weston QC. Analysis and recommendations of the Commission, underpinned by the principles of the Rule of Law (which include the important principles of equality and non-discrimination) and informed by discussion and dialogue with a wide range of stakeholders through a Call for Evidence, international roundtables, evidence sessions and plenary meetings will provide the basis for developing effective policy and practice that has the support and input of all stakeholders.

The Commission has its own dedicated web-pages, where readers can find information on:

Tufyal Choudhury, the Bingham Centre's Senior Fellow in Security and the Rule of Law, will contribute to the intellectual analysis and coherence of the research programme required by the work of the Commission and will work with the Commission in drafting the final report to be published in early 2024. The Commission is supported by the Barrow Cadbury Trust, the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Open Society Initiative for Europe, and Unbound Philanthropy.

This week's Update brings you news of key exchanges in the parliamentary debate on the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which were informed by our report on the Bill. We also bring you the latest news from the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre (Modern Slavery PEC), which is led by the Bingham Centre. This week, the Modern Slavery PEC announces five new research projects focusing on the following issues: people with lived experience of modern slavery in prisons in the UK; the role of adult service websites in addressing modern slavery; trafficking of children with special educational needs in the UK; links between UK agriculture and care visas and vulnerability to exploitation; and harnessing UK trade and investment to address modern slavery risks. We also share a blog with ideas for how Early-Career Researchers can engage in policy-relevant research.

You can read the whole Weekly Update here.

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