(440) ENGLISH LAW NEWS
Scots Law News has felt increasingly like suggesting the need for an English law counterpart. At least here we may observe that some stories from England seem to have a relevant Scottish dimension or comparison. True, the initial judicial challenge to the validity of the abolition of fox hunting under the Hunting Act 2004 (on the basis that the Parliament Act 1949, under which the measure was forced through the Westminster Parliament over the will of the House of Lords, was itself invalid: see R on the application of Jackson and others v Attorney General  EWCA (Civ), at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2005/126.html for the failure of the action) presented a dimension which had not already been explored in Scotland; but in this it was unlike any forthcoming human rights challenges there may be in the English courts, to say nothing of any attempts to prosecute cases under the Act (see for equivalent earlier Scottish experiences Nos 186, 359, 407; and note further that in January the Crown announced that it would not be pursuing a further criminal prosecution in a second Scottish case, see http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/4209585.stm).
The row over the validity of the planned civil marriage of the Prince of Wales and his friend Mrs Camilla Parker Bowles on 8 April has a potential Scottish dimension too. The Marriage Act 1949, which presents the major obstacle to the wedding plans, applies only in England and Wales, and there would appear to be nothing to stop a Royal civil marriage in Scotland. It is worth noting that of the last four Royal marriages involving a divorced person whose original partner, like Mrs Parker Bowles) was still alive, two took place in Scotland (the other two were celebrated outside the United Kingdom), and of the two in Scotland, one was conducted in a registry office in Leith (the Earl of St Andrews, son of the Duke of Kent). As a final footnote, the reliance on the ECHR right to marry (Article 12) to eliminate the supposed effect of the 1949 Act (see the Lord Chancellor’s statement on 23 February 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4291337.stm) is indeed ironic, given Prince Charles’ view, expressed in 2001, that the longer term effect of the Human Rights Act will be to provide opportunities which will only encourage people to take up causes which will make the pursuit of a sane