Your round-up of the stories that you should discuss at interview this week:
- Land Law
Reported by Dan James
Land Registry Looks to Introduce Technology in a Ground-Breaking Reform
It has been announced this month that the Land Registry will begin to explore the ‘benefits’ of blockchain technology, Chief executive, Graham Farrant, stated it is an ‘ambition to become the world’s leading land registry for speed, ease of use and an open approach to data requires HM Land Registry to be at the forefront of global innovation in land registration’.
The Land Registry’s research and development programme coined ‘Digital Street’, aims to uncover ‘how the innovative use of technology, such as blockchain, distributed ledgers and smart contracts, could revolutionise the land registration and property buy-sell process’.
The project has created a digital register for a small number of properties, which is the first step towards establishing a register that can potentially be fully machine-readable and able to update instantly.
The Registry has outlined that its’ first aim is to reduce the average rate for requests to applicants for further information (requisitions) from 20% to 15%, along with reducing the target for the average cost per register update by 3% in real terms.
Andrew Robertson, head of Customer Policy at the Land Registry said: ‘Every time you receive a requisition it costs you or your firm the time to respond to it. And there’s also the cost to us. In 2017/18 we needed to raise over 4,000 requisitions every day, costing us between £2m and £3m in staff time and resource. Much of this cost to both of us is avoidable.’
The Registry has made plans like the current ones proposed in the past and later abandoned them due to funding and complexity issues but has assured that this is a step in the right direction for the system and has arisen at the right time.
For more information, see Law Gazette.
- Public Law
Reported by Nathan Gore
John Bercow’s future as Speaker remains uncertain
John Bercow’s future as Speaker has been thrown into uncertainty, just under 10 years since taking the office. This is following a ‘damming’ report that high-level figures in Parliament have systematically failed to deal with the bullying of staff in Westminster.
The report, conducted by Dame Laura Cox, was critical of the culture that had developed in which abusive behaviour was often “tolerated and covered up”. This has then led to many calling for his swift resignation.
According to the BBC, Mr Bercow has told friends that he intends to stand down as the Commons Speaker next summer. This means that he would ignore calls for him to resign before that date.
Other people to call for Mr Bercow’s departure include the women and equalities committee chair, Maria Miller, and the departing chairman of the standards committee, Sir Kevin Barron.
- Criminal Law
Reported by Anna Flaherty
Number of Hate Crimes Surges Over Recent Years
A hate crime is “an offence which the victim considers to be driven by hostility towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity.” Hostility to men and elderly people could soon also become hate crimes. Examples of hate crimes may include damage to property, intimidation, verbal abuse, threats, assault, harassment and bullying. The Home Office has released figures which show a surge in hate crime in the UK over recent years. The number of hate crimes, recorded by police, has more than doubled over the last five years. 42,255 hate crimes were recorded from 2012-2013, and 94,098 were recorded in 2017-2018.
Though the surge in number is partly down to improvements in the way crimes are reported, the rise in the number of hate crimes has also been linked to the EU referendum, Brexit and the 2017 terrorist attacks. Last year, police began to log religious hate crime separately from other hate crimes. These crimes have also been shown to have surged, with 52% of religious hate crimes being aimed at Muslims. Furthermore, over three quarters of hate crimes (71,251) were classified as “race hate.”
Chairwoman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Yvette Cooper, stated that “more action is needed, especially online.” MP David Lammy blamed politicians, stating that “Divisive, xenophobic rhetoric from politicians and leaders trickles down into abuse and violence on our streets […] It is no surprise that Islamophobic attacks on Muslim women who wear veils rose in the days following Boris Johnson’s ‘letterbox’ insult.”
For more information, see