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Instigate a “sunset clause” or review date for all new laws

Comment 2nd July 2010

Many new laws have been rushed through Parliament without proper scrutiny, in response to a crime or an issue of public concern, and many have been found to have unforeseen consequences, catching innocent people in their net.

Having a review mechanism will help to ensure that laws are fit for purpose and do not criminalise or penalise those for whom they are not intended.

Why does this matter?

The case of the 19-year old Canadian Rochelle Wallis, married to a Welshman but expelled as result of laws designed to prevent forced marriages, is an example of blanket legislation catching the innocent in its net. Where was the humanity in the previous Home Secretary’s decision? This was not a forced marriage yet, because there were apparently problems with her paperwork as she is under 21, Rochelle was forced to leave the UK. They could live anywhere else in the EU or in Canada but not in Britain.

We also have examples of laws intended to combat terrorism being used against bankers, photographers, demonstrators and used by local authorities to spy on their residents.

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