Queen’s Speech October 2019 – Domestic abuse and new divorce laws

21st October 2019

The Queen delivered her Speech on 14th October and outlined some key bills that affect the legal sector.

Given the uncertainty about BREXIT and the calls for a general election it is unlikely that the Government will be successful in enacting these new laws, but the first two are likely to be carried forward by the next Government as they are not newly introduced.

  • Domestic Abuse Bill – this bill was carried over from the previous session. It will create new protections for victims of domestic abuse
  • Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill – this bill will aim to minimise the impact of divorce on children, and will provide for divorces on a no-fault basis
  • Serious Violence Bill – this bill will create a new duty on public agencies to put in place plans to prevent serious violence
  • Extradition (Provisional Arrest) Bill – this bill would create a new power to enable the immediate arrest of fugitives after the issuing of an Interpol Red Notice
  • Sentencing Bill – this bill will change the automatic release point for adult offenders serving prison sentences of four or more years for serious violent or sexual offences from halfway to the two-thirds point
  • Foreign National Offenders Bill – this bill would increase the maximum penalty for foreign national offenders who breach a deportation order
  • Victims’ Law – a new Victims’ Law will be consulted on in early 2020, alongside the publication of a new Victims’ Code which will set out the minimum level of service victims can expect from criminal justice agencies
  • Prisoners (Disclosure of Information About Victims) Bill – this bill will ensure that the Parole Board considers whether offenders have disclosed key information about their crimes to victims and their families in assessing them for parole
  • Police Protections Bill – this bill will establish a police covenant on a statutory footing to provide protections for police officers
  • Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill – this bill was carried over from the previous session, and will make technical changes to the law to enable a consolidation of existing law on sentencing. The bill will not introduce any new sentencing law or alter maximum penalties available for offences