Here are this week’s headlines, brought to you by our Student Commercial Awareness Team:
- 'Supreme Court Ruling to Extend Civil Partnerships to Heterosexual Couples
Reported by Sara Saquib
After suffering defeat in the court of appeal last year, couple Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan have won the case for heterosexual couples to enter in a civil partnership.
After taking their case to the supreme court yesterday, they have now won their legal battle, stating that the supreme court termed marriage a “manifest of unequal treatment”. This is an astounding victory for the couple, as it was won 5-0 in the supreme court. The court has also stated that the Civil Partnership Act of 2004, which applies to homosexual couples only, isn’t compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. The couple have stated that they are going to deliver a letter to the Minister for Women and Equalities, Penny Mordaunt asking her to fast track this legislation through parliament, so that a Civil Partnership can become easily accessible to all.
This judgement however, does not necessarily mean that the government will extend the law, however it does put increasing pressure on the government to act. It is unclear how smooth this potential change will be, with many opposing Civil Partnerships altogether. Human rights barrister Adam Wagner has stated that in order for the government to extend the law to everyone, it is going to take “political capital”. That is, those who are in favour of extending civil partnerships to all will need to win the trust of the public and those who are opposed to it.
The couple stated that they did not want to get married as it is a patriarchal institution. One example of the difference between the two being that in a marriage only the couple’s fathers are included on the certificates. However, a civil partnership certificate includes the names of both parents. Unsurprisingly, Rebecca Steinfield and Charles Keidan are not the only couple who would prefer to have a civil partnership in comparison to a marriage.
Many other couples have stated that they would rather enter into a civil partnership instead of getting married. The reasons for this vary, with most stating that they don’t want the baggage that can be associated with marriage. Many couples feel that with the uncertainty of Brexit, if they are not married and not homosexual, there is a lack of legal protection for them. Couple, Paul and Pauline have stated that they are being discriminated against because “we are not married and not gay either” and that the current arrangement of only granting homosexual couples the right to enter into a civil partnership is “grossly unfair.”
Wagner also rightly stated that with any marriage issue there are roots in religious and conservative views. This adding to the difficulty this view will face in government.
- The CO2 Shortage
Reported by Sarah Mullane
The United Kingdom is currently grappling with an unprecedented shortage of CO2, predominantly affecting the food and drinks industries. A prolonged break in production of ammonia is to blame for the shortage, as it is one of the “key sources of Europe’s food grade CO2”, being used to both preserve packaged foods and also to carbonate beverages such as beers and soft drinks.
The disruption to production of these goods could not have come at a worse time, as the UK enjoys a rare spell of sunny weather whilst enjoying England’s successes in the World Cup. Restaurants such as Wetherspoons and Punch Taverns have reported their temporary withdrawal of draught beers and ciders until production resumes. Drinks giant Coca Cola has also reported a pause in some of its production lines but claims that supply will not be disrupted and they will continue to fulfil demand.
In addition to the disruption to the production of drinks, the UKs farming industry has also been severely hit as a result of the shortage. Scotland’s largest pig processing plant has been forced to send animals to England and suspend slaughtering in their home plants, as the shortage in CO2 means they do not have the capability to stun the animals before slaughter, a process which is deemed to be the most humane way to end their life. Nick Allen, the chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association has said that the situation is getting “pretty tight.”
CO2 suppliers have been criticised for their lack of communication, leaving suppliers unsure of what to expect in the near future. Despite this, suggestion has been made that supplies could return to normal by early July, news that has been eagerly accepted by trade groups in both the food and drinks sectors.
- UK Supreme Court to Appoint Third Female Justice
Reported by Jutha Cheewat
Lady Justice Arden, among other male judges, will join the Supreme Court this year.
Arden, who read law at Cambridge and Harvard Law School, has served in Court of Appeal since 2001. Together with Lord Mence, who will be retiring soon, the couple were the first to have served concurrently in the same court.
Lady Hale congratulated the new appointments and said she has confidence in all of the Justices as they each have led ‘a distinguished judicial career’.
The other two UKSC appointments are Lord Justice Kitchin and Lord Justice Sales. Sales sat on the controversial initial Article 50 hearing and was deemed by the Daily Mail, among other two judges, to be ‘enemies of people’.
Lord Sumption and Lord Hugh are also due to retire this year.
For judges appointed before 1995, the retirement age is 75, whilst latter appointments will have to leave the bench at 70. Many have criticised the current policy, as extending the retirement age may alleviate the recruitment crisis.
The appointment alleviated concerns towards gender discrimination in the judiciary, with it being the first time in the history of the court for their to be three female justices.
Read more here.
- EU Receives Warning From Banks on Lack of Brexit Progress
Reported by Dan Petch
The Bank of England has said that the EU has failed to take positive steps when handling financial services surrounding the UK’s departure from the EU while the UK has made progress in reducing risks for the provision of such services.
The bank said that a “material” risk remained to financial contracts equating to trillions of pounds which aid in the support of flow for businesses between the UK and EU.
The bi-annual financial stability report from the Bank of England said that progress has been made in the UK towards preventing end users in the UK from not being able to access financial services when the UK finally leaves the EU.
The report went on to say that the EU has not yet made such progress or put in place similar risk avoidance measures. The Financial Policy Committee therefore stated that a “material risk remains”.
The Bank then went on to outline a number of “red lights” that both the EU and UK faced.
The UK faces one red light regarding the continuing validity of a number of financial contracts which are in place to protect businesses making currency trades between the UK and EU.
The Bank said the EU faces three “red lights”. Two are regarding contracts, similar to what the UK faces, and the remaining one is with regards to clearing – the way in which deals are finalised and banks trade across borders.
If steps are not taken to resolve the issues surrounding these contracts, they will, as it stands, become “unserviceable” after the UK leaves the EU.
See here for more.