7 Harrington Street Chambers


Surveillance, Organ Donations and Abortion

Topical legal items from the online press

UK surveillance bill

The Investigatory Powers Bill, dubbed a “snooper’s charter”, is intended to legitimise the surveillance regime revealed by Edward Snowden – run in the UK from GCHQ’s base near Cheltenham.

The bill proposes that internet service providers (ISPs) store everyone’s web browsing history for 12 months, accessible by the security services, police forces and tax collectors. The UK government – along with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, its peers in the “Five Eyes” alliance – argues that this surveillance is needed because it will help them to fight terrorism. The problem, of course, is that the evidence that might help us judge whether it really will is secret: so we are simply asked to trust they will do the right thing.

New Scientist

Organ donation law 'revolution' starts in Wales

Wales has become the first nation in the UK to introduce a "revolutionary" new system to increase the number of organ donors.

From Tuesday, adults will be regarded as having consented to organ donation unless they have opted out. More than one million people - 34% of the population - have registered to opt in already and 86,000 have opted out.

Health Minister Mark Drakeford called it a "ground-breaking step which will save lives".


NI abortion law 'breaches human rights'

Abortion legislation in Northern Ireland is in breach of human rights law, the Belfast High Court has ruled.

Currently, termination of pregnancy is only allowed if a woman's life is at risk or there is a permanent or serious risk to her mental or physical health.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) brought the case to extend abortion to cases of serious foetal malformation, rape or incest.

The 1967 Abortion Act does not apply to Northern Ireland.



More news


With 48 Barristers operating across 6 specialist groups offering a fast, efficient advisory service

More about Civil Law


67 Barristers specialising in Criminal Law offering expert advocacy at all times

More about Criminal Law


From leading Queen's Counsel to experienced and flexible juniors covering every aspect of family law

More about Family Law