UK Laws and English Votes: the aftermath of the Scottish Vow

Date: 9 March 2015

Time: 17:30 - 19:30

Middle Temple Hall, Middle Temple Lane, London, EC4Y 9AT

In September 2014, the leaders of the three main UK political parties agreed a 'vow' to the people of Scotland. They promised the permanency of the Scottish Parliament, more devolved powers and that 'the UK exists to ensure opportunity and security for all by sharing our resources equitably across all four nations to secure the defence, security and welfare of every citizen'.

The vow expressed no commitment in relation to England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, there has since been considerable discussion about its implications outside of Scotland, both by members of all political parties and their respective associations of lawyers. The Society of Conservative Lawyers published a paper supporting its party's position on 'English votes for English laws'  (EVEL) in Our Quasi Federal Kingdom. The Society of Labour Lawyers produced a response, EVEL - a half baked plan. The Liberal Democrat Lawyers have long supported wide-ranging constitutional reform.

Though not at one over future constitutional development, the three lawyer UK party political societies have joined together to make it the subject of their first ever joint event. This reflects the high importance they all attach to the subject. Law is an important element of devolution. Lawyers (of all political persuasions and none) have a particular contribution to make to informed public discussion. That is recognised by the joint sponsorship of this event by the Law Society and Bar Council. The two legal professional bodies share a recognition of the crucial nature of this debate.

Speakers
Chair:
Dinah Rose QC, Blackstone Chambers
Welcome: Andrew Caplen, President, Law Society
Introduction: Roger Smith OBE, solicitor, columnist for the  Law Society Gazette, former director, JUSTICE

Panel Speakers  
The Rt Hon Lord Falconer QC, former lord chancellor and secretary of state for justice
The Rt Hon Dominic Grieve QC MP, Conservative member of parliament for Beaconsfield, former attorney general, chairman, executive committee, Society of Conservative Lawyers
Professor Robert Hazell CBE, director of the Constitution Unit, University College London, author of  The English Question
Stephen Hockman QC, Pump Court, former chairman, General Council of the Bar and Society of Labour Lawyers
Lord Marks QC, 4 Pump Court, former chair of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association
Dinah Rose QC, Blackstone Chambers
Roger Smith OBE, solicitor, columnist for the  Law Society Gazette, former director, JUSTICE
Anthony Speaight QC, 4 Pump Court, co-author of the Society of Conservative Lawyers'  Our Quasi Federal Kingdom
Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, leader, Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, advocate general of Scotland

Conclusion: Alistair MacDonald QC, Chairman of the Bar Council

Timings:
Registration 17:30
Discussion: 18:00 - 19:30
Drinks Reception: 19:30

The event is free to attend. You can book your place on The Law Society website here