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Great Repeal Bill takes centre stage in Queen’s Speech

25 May 2010

The Freedom (Great Repeal) Bill took centre stage in the legal reforms outlined in the Queen’s Speech today.

The bill would adopt the Scottish model for storing DNA profiles of innocent people, tighten regulation of CCTV cameras and remove limits on the right to peaceful protest.

Bob Heslett, president of the Law Society, said he was delighted by the bill, which would also protect the use of trial by jury, prevent misuse of anti-terrorism legislation and provide a “mechanism” to prevent the proliferation of criminal offences.

“We welcome the action the government has already taken to suspend Home Information Packs and we await further details of the permanent abolition of HIPs,” he said.

“We also look forward to seeing the promised proposals to ensure that the vetting and barring scheme is implemented on a more common sense level.”

The coalition’s plan to scrap ID cards is contained in a separate bill, the Identity Documents Bill.

Employers, including law firms, will benefit from the abolition of next year’s one per cent rise in NI contributions, set out in the National Insurance Contributions Bill. Staff will have to pay an extra one per cent.

Phasing out of the default retirement age a timetable for raising the state pension age will be contained in a Pensions and Savings Bill.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill would create a border police force, as part of a Serious and Organised Crime Agency.

Sweeping reforms of the planning system are set out in the Decentralism and Localism Bill, giving councils more power over housing and planning decisions.

Other important measures, such as imposing a cap on non-EU economic migrants, will be implemented through secondary legislation.

There will also be a draft bill on reform of parliamentary privilege laws.

Muiris Lyons, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said it was “bitterly disappointing” that no room had been made for the previous government’s draft Civil Law Reform Bill.

The bill would have extended bereavement damages to children under the age of 18 and unmarried fathers with parental responsibility for the death of a child.

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