Saturday, August 15, 2009

European Legal Trials Tribulations and Salutations

Having experienced some European based laws in operation in the UK recently I can see why there is a groundswell of opinion in some parts of the UK which favours heading for the exit and regaining control of our own destiny.

My preference remains not to head for the exit. However comparing the old Common Law concept of "innocent until proven guilty" with the European imposed, "reverse burden of proof" in many employment disputes, which essentially judges EC employers guilty unless proven innocent, makes the Common Law far more respectful of personal freedoms, than EC laws.

Also the old UK adage of the "Law of Equity varying with the length of the Chancellor's foot" was gradually whittled down as being unfair and uncertain for defendants. EC Employment Laws however seem to be reintroducing this concept with what the Courts and Tribunals call "taking a purposive approach" to the legislation. In my view that is tantamount to politicising the laws too far. Also worse than the feet of Lord Chancellors of old is the fact that there usually are conflicting views of what the purpose of the EC employment law might be in any given situation. This conflict leads to defendants not knowing in advance exactly what employment strictures they are accused of breaking and is potentially a breach for individual employers of the Human Right to a fair trial.

On the other hand the old Common Law tradition of protagonists' lawyers refering to each other as "my learned friend" or if they are mere solicitors rather than barristers "my friend" happily still prevails.

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