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Legal sector warnings over Queens Speech legislation

11th May 2012

There has been a mixed response from lawyers to legislative proposals announced in the recent Queen’s Speech.

Plans to merge the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) with the Competition Commission were confirmed as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, but some in legal jobs have raised concerns over the Competition and Markets Authority potentially removing ‘dishonesty tests’ from criminal cases. This, one partner at a leading firm said, will not be an effective way of solving any prosecuting difficulties the OFT currently has.

Another major issue of debate amongst solicitors recently, the expansion of secret court hearings, was also brought to the forefront again with its inclusion in the Justice and Security Bill. This planned measure has drawn complaints from a number of groups, and human rights lawyers in particular, with accusations that ministers are pressing for the changes simply because of pressure from security services.

The Liberal Reform and Crime Courts bills have been accepted without so much reservation, however, whilst further discussion of the Public Sector Pensions Bill has been urged.