Tuesday 19 December 2017

Smoking ban doesn't apply to government property

Not any more, it isn't

What a great month it's been, and it's just got even better...

Smoking ban cannot be enforced in jails, UK supreme court rules 

A prisoner [a sex criminal, to be precise - CJS] suffering from poor health has lost his attempt to enforce the smoking ban in English and Welsh jails after the supreme court ruled that crown premises are effectively exempt from the enforcement of health regulations.

The unanimous judgment from the UK’s highest court will prevent the inmate, Paul Black, from calling the NHS’s smoke-free compliance line to report breaches of the ban.

It will be interesting to see what this does to the government's plans to ban smoking in all prisons. The idea was to roll out the ban to the category B and C jails first because it was assumed that they would put up the least resistance. Maximum security category A prisons were supposed to have been covered by September 2017, but after smoking bans caused riots this summer in HMP Birmingham and HMP Haverigg (categories B and C respectively), we have heard no more about it.

And there's more...

Lady Hale, the president of the supreme court, said she was driven with “considerable reluctance” to conclude that when parliament passed the 2006 Health Act, prohibiting smoking in offices, bars and enclosed areas, it did not mean to extend it to government or crown sites.

The standard practice is that a statutory provision does not bind the crown unless legislation adopts words explicitly stating so or by what is known as “necessary implication”.

“Had parliament intended part 1 of chapter 1 of the 2006 act to bind the crown, nothing would have been easier than to insert such a provision,” Hale explained.

Yes, that really does mean what you think it means. The ban on smoking in public places doesn't actually apply to public places. It only applies to private places, as the sex offender's lawyer explains...

“This judgment has far wider implications than simply the issue of smoking in prisons. It confirms that thousands of government properties, including, for example, courts and jobcentres, are not covered by the provisions of the Health Act prohibiting smoking in enclosed places. While many of these buildings even have signs saying it is against the law to smoke in them, these turn out to be incorrect.”

 Can this year get any better?

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