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How many of you in the UK are ready for Brexit?

How do you think it will all go down?

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  • Britain and the EU would agree to a preliminary Brexit deal 

But that last one is just what went down yesterday. UK Prime Minister Theresa May called an emergency cabinet meeting today to discuss the proposal. And after May held mano-a-minister meetings with cabinet members last night, she'll be hoping for their support on game day.

Remember: Uncertainty over what Brexit would actually look like has put businesses on edge. A Brexit without a deal in place could be a disaster, clogging ports and draining supplies. Cadbury has even stockpiled chocolateprepping for the worst case scenario. 

So that's why this is a big deal. But the process is far from over. First, May will need to get approval from her cabinet...and then get the agreement through a skeptical Parliament. Deal or no deal, Britain's scheduled to leave the EU March 29 next year.

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Negotiating Brexit. 

It was a chaotic week for negotiations

  • UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced a preliminary agreementwith the EU that laid out the terms of Brexit. That deal earned her cabinet's approval.
  • But many in government aren't on board. Two high-ranking ministers resigned (causing the pound to drop), and the deal faces an uphill battle in Parliament. 

Tying it all together: As the March 29 deadline zooms closer and UK officials drop like flies, a "no deal" Brexit seems like a real possibility. 

That's scaring companies

One of the benefits of membership in the EU (besides early bird check-in) is the "Single Market," which allows goods and services to move between countries without being bothered by regulatory hurdles. 

But...if the UK leaves the EU before working out a trade agreement, walls would come back up. And visions of a "Day After Tomorrow"-like scenario, complete with clogged ports and trucks stuck in traffic waiting for customs inspections, are keeping multinational execs up at night. 

Let's make it real with a few examples:

  • BMW is stockpiling parts, warehouse space, and parking lots for its Mini brand (which is produced in England) in case its supply chain grinds to a halt, per the WSJ. 
  • The NYT describes how the flower trade, a global operation spanning from Kenya to the Netherlands to the UK, relies on a "continuous, unimpeded flow of goods." Brexit "looms like a giant speed bump."

Zoom out: While a "no deal" Brexit might eventually be averted, just the possibility that it might happen is already disrupting business operations and causing anxiety over global trade.

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Spanish Government and UK Government reach an agreement on Gibraltar whereby Spain lift the veto on the vote on Brexit on Sunday, supported by European Comissionand European Council and accepting the demands of Pedro Sánchez.

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      “We hope and expect that this judgment concludes the litigation on this matter and allows us, and the charity, to focus our efforts on concluding the Commission’s inquiry.”
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/04/jehovahs-witnesses-congregations-efforts-to-block-inquiry-squashed?CMP=twt_gu
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      The issue of transfusion refusals is becoming increasingly important because the population of Jehovah’s Witnesses is growing, as well as people who refuse blood transfusions for reasons unrelated to religion. And the guidelines make a good attempt to give direction to surgeons who have to grapple with potentially life-threatening situations involving the refusal of blood transfusions using a patient-focused approach.
      Clarity on adults
      There is a very clear picture about how surgeons should manage adults who refuse such intervention, and there is further practical advice on how they should comply with legal, ethical and regulatory obligations. If these adults have capacity, then their wishes should be respected. If they do not have capacity, the surgeons must act in the patient’s best interests. In emergency situations, as well as surgeons acting in the patient’s best interests actions must also be in line with any advance decision by the patient – if a document is available detailing their wishes.
      Adult refusals will be honoured if sufficient documentation exists – even in emergencies. Shutterstock However, the guidelines are too clear cut in the way they depict the issue of refusals in the case of children. They don’t grapple sufficiently with the developments in the law that have happened since the Gillick case in 1982.
      The Gillick case was brought by Victoria Gillick in 1982 in attempt to prevent doctors from giving contraceptive advice and treatment to children under 16-years-old, without informing or receiving consent from their parents. It was eventually dismissed and the judge said that if a child had enough maturity, understanding and intelligence regarding their medical treatment – known as a “standard for capacity” – then they could make decisions on this without parental consent.
      While English law deals with the capacity of 16 to 17-year-old children under the Family Law Reform Act 1969, decisions about children under the age of 16 still rely heavily on the Gillick case and its subsequent developments.
      However, the standard for determining capacity has changed since Gillick and it is now pitched at a higher level – which is more difficult for children to reach because it can include, in some instances, a requirement to demonstrate an ability to understand the implications of the consequences of refusing treatment. This can become an almost unattainable standard. Additionally, case law dealing with children has now shifted much of its focus from respecting the autonomy of children to adopting an increasingly more paternal approach.
      Children – overruled
      In all cases that have been to the English courts, children who have refused transfusions have been found to lack the capacity to make these decisions. Therefore, the courts have consistently overruled the decisions of children.
      The guidelines state that overruling in the courts “has been the outcome of the majority of cases relating to the refusal of blood”. However, the guidelines should have avoided using the phrase “majority of cases”: no case in English law has upheld a child’s wish to refuse a blood transfusion because doing so has been seen, by the courts, to conflict with the child’s best interests.
      Therefore, satisfying the requirements of Gillick in terms of understanding and intelligence is not enough for children under 16. There is a strong likelihood that the wishes of children possessing these characteristics will still be overruled. This means that the standard of capacity under Gillick is not the only yardstick by which the validity of the decision of the child is measured. It is worth noting that cases in English law have also explained that even if a 16 to 17-year-old child has the relevant capacity, his or her wishes may also be overruled by the courts.
      Parents can overrule their child. Shutterstock Refusing a blood transfusion is, of course, a very serious decision to make, and so the guidelines are right to urge surgeons to be mindful of their obligations to patients. However they are not completely up to scratch in terms of how they tease out some nuanced developments in the law that have the potential to impact on children. More needs to be done to determine what decisions could be made in the courts.
      There are, indeed, flaws with the current approach in English law, but the guidelines must work within it and reflect the context of the law as it stands. The guidelines could, however, be more specific in the way in which they discuss the law, and particular focus could be given to legal developments post-Gillick in relation to children under 16.
      THE CONVERSATION
       
    • By Kurt
      An NHS Foundation Trust v T [2016] EWHC 2980 (Fam)
      Decision of Mr Justice Peter Jackson in relation to an application for declarations in respect of treatment, including the administration of blood products, to a two year old boy, T, whose parents are Jehovah's Witnesses.
      An NHS Trust ('the Trust') applied for an order in relation to administration of blood and blood products to T, a little boy who suffers from low blood platelet count. T's treating doctors considered that he may have a medical condition affecting his production of bone marrow, as a result of which T has been the subject of investigation and hospital treatment from time to time.

      The Court had available to it a report from T's Consultant Paediatric Haematologist who indicated that, at the present time and from time to time in the future, T will need to have blood products administered to him in order to prevent a very serious deterioration in his health.

      T's parents were unable to consent to the administration of blood products to T, as they belong to the Jehovah's Witness faith, but they did not oppose the application, instead leaving the decision to the court. Whilst they did not attend court, and were not represented, they sent letters fully explaining the position in which they found themselves. T's parents emphasised that they would want forms of treatment other than the administration of blood products to be considered in any case in which they might be equally effective. That was also the position of the Trust. 

      The court concluded, having read the medical evidence and having considered the view of T's parents, that it is 'overwhelmingly' in T's best interests for him to be able to receive the proposed treatment in order for his health to be supported and further that the inability of the hospital to give him this treatment could lead to 'very serious and possibly even fatal consequences as time went on.' 

      Mr Justice Peter Jackson declared that it is lawful and in T's best interests that he receives blood or blood products should the same be clinically indicated in the opinion of the treating doctors. The order, made under the inherent jurisdiction, recorded that such treatment will only be given after consultation with the parents and that blood products or blood will only be used if there is no clinically appropriate alternative. 

      Summary by Emily Ward, barrister, Broadway House Chambers
      ______________________________________

      Case No: FD16P00641
      Neutral Citation Number: [2016] EWHC 2980 (Fam)

      IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE
      FAMILY DIVISION

      Royal Courts of Justice
      Strand, London, WC2A 2LL

      Date: 18 November 2016

      Before:
       
      THE HONOURABLE MR JUSTICE PETER JACKSON
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

      AN NHS FOUNDATION TRUST Applicant
      - and - 
      (1) MRS T 
      (2) MR T Respondents
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

      Claire Watson (instructed by Capsticks LLP) for the Applicant
      The Respondents did not attend and were not represented

      Hearing date: 18 November 2016
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

      NOTE OF JUDGMENT
      APPROVED BY THE JUDGE
      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

      JUDGMENT 
      MR JUSTICE PETER JACKSON:
      1.  This is an application in relation to a 2-year-old boy known as Child T.  Unfortunately, he suffers from a low blood platelet count, which has led his treating doctors to consider that he may have a medical condition affecting his production of bone marrow. This is causing problems which have led him to be the subject of investigation and hospital treatment from time to time.

      2. I have read reports from the Consultant Paediatric Haematologist who is responsible for T's treatment. He indicates that, at the present time and from time to time in the future, T is going to need to have blood products administered to him in order to prevent a very serious deterioration in his health.

      3. T's parents are fully committed to their son and to achieving the best outcome for him. But the particular form of treatment (by the administration of blood products) causes them problems because they belong to the Jehovah's Witness faith. They have not attended court but have sent letters which fully explain the position they find themselves in. They are understandably unable to consent to what is being proposed but they do not oppose it and leave the decision to the Court. They emphasise that they would want forms of treatment other than the administration of blood products to be considered in any case in which they might be equally effective, and that is also the position of the Hospital Trust bringing the application. 

      4. I should mention that T himself is not legally represented and in the circumstances of the case I do not consider that to be necessary. Further, the Hospital Trust making the application had paperwork in order in case a reporting restriction order was needed but, having heard from Mr Farmer of the Press Association, I am satisfied that none is needed as there is no likelihood of this case attracting significant media attention. At all events this hearing has taken place in private and a judgment which does not name the child or the hospital will be recorded on the BAILII website in due course.

      5. I am in no doubt at all, having read the medical evidence and having considered the views of T's parents, that it is overwhelmingly in T's best interests for him to be able to receive this treatment in order for his health to be supported and that the inability of the hospital to give him this treatment could lead to very serious and possibly even fatal consequences as time went on. I am satisfied that it is necessary for the Court to make the decision instead of the parents. 

      6. I will therefore approve the Order which has been placed before the Court which provides that, notwithstanding the absence of parental consent, it is lawful and in T's best interests that he receives blood or blood products should the same be clinically indicated in the opinion of the treating doctors. The Order will record that such treatment will only be given after consultation with the parents and that blood products or blood will only be used if there is no clinically appropriate alternative. 

      7. The Order will be made under the inherent jurisdiction of the Court and not under section 8 of the Children Act 1989.

      8. I make the procedural orders allowing the Hospital Trust permission to bring this application. 

      9. That is my judgment.
      Family Law
       
    • By Jack Ryan
      Watch Tower’s legal challenges have held up UK investigation into alleged sexual abuse for more than two years

      The charity commission is investigating claims that Jehovah’s Witnesses abuse survivors were forced to face their attackers. Photograph: Fairfax Media/Getty Images
      The UK’s main Jehovah’s Witnesses charity has dropped efforts to block an investigation into how it handled allegations of sexual abuse, including of children, after a legal fight lasting more than two years.
      The Charity Commission launched an inquiry into safeguarding at the religion’s main UK charity in May 2014 after receiving allegations that survivors of rape and sexual abuse, including people abused as children, were forced to face their attackers in “judicial committees”.
      The Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, resisted the investigation into the Watch Tower Bible Tract Society of Great Britain (WTBTS), which oversees the UK’s 1,500 congregations and is believed to play a key role in deciding how claims of abuse are handled.
      The WTBTS, which had a turnover of more than £80m last year, launched a series of legal challenges to the inquiry. These included an attempt to challenge in the supreme court the commission’s decision to start an investigation. The charity also fought in the lower courts against production orders that would oblige it to give the commission access to records showing how it handled the allegations.
      The commission announced last week that, more than two and a half years after the investigation was launched, the WTBTS had shared some of the documents it had been seeking and the commission had since cancelled the production order. The charity had also dropped the last of its legal cases against the inquiry, the supreme court having refused to hear that particular case in July.
      Although charities do sometimes challenge the commission’s decisions in court, the extent and length of the Jehovah’s Witnesses litigation were unprecedented in recent times, a commission spokesman told the Guardian last year.
      A spokesman for the WTBTS said: “In light of the progress of the inquiry and the information obtained by the commission from Watch Tower and other sources, the commission has agreed to revoke the production order. Watch Tower has therefore agreed to withdraw its application for judicial review of the production order and a consent order has been filed with the high court to conclude the proceedings.
      “Watch Tower will now work with the commission to explore the issues that are the subject of the statutory inquiry and to address the commission’s regulatory concerns.”
      The commission is conducting a separate investigation into the Manchester New Moston congregation, where three adult survivors of child sex abuse were allegedly brought face-to-face with their abuser shortly after he was released from prison after being jailed for attacking them.
      He was later “disfellowshipped”, or expelled, from the church. But two women in separate cases told the Guardian last year that although the church can disfellowship people from the tight-knit congregations for minor offences, such as gambling, their abusers had been allowed to remain in the church. One, who was raped as an adult, said she had been urged by senior congregation members, known as elders, to face her rapist at a private hearing, leaving her “completely traumatised” and leading to the breakup of her marriage.
      A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses said last year: “We are in no position to, and neither would we wish to, force any victim of abuse to confront their attacker.”
      Thomas Beale, of AO Advocates, who last year won a civil case that found the Jehovah’s Witnesses had failed to protect a woman from sexual abuse that began when she was four, said the commission’s decision to drop its production order could allow the charity to withhold further information.
      “Of course we welcome the ongoing statutory inquiry into Jehovah’s Witnesses’ safeguarding policies and look forward to reviewing its findings,” he said.
      “However, given our experience with Jehovah’s Witnesses in litigation, we struggle to see how a thorough and robust investigation can occur now that the Charity Commission has decided to revoke its production order. We think the chance of full disclosure now by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is very small.”
      The organisation has faced similar claims overseas. Last year an inquiry in Australia found the organisation failed to protect children from sexual abuse, and that its weak internal procedures left abusers at large. Similar claims have emerged in Canada.
      A spokesman for the Jehovah’s Witnesses told the Guardian last year: “Congregation elders do not discourage [reports to the authorities] or shield abusers from the authorities or from the consequences of their actions.”
      Fay Maxted, the chief executive of the Survivors Trust, said the WTBTS should apologise to those affected for the “appalling delays” caused by its litigation.
      “Faith groups need to really take on board the huge damage and pain caused to victims and survivors when appeal after appeal is pursued in an attempt to prevent them from having to share information,” she said. “It is very difficult in such circumstances to believe that the best interests of the victim or survivor are in any way being considered.”
      Maxted said she hoped the decision to share information with the commission signalled a change in their approach to the needs of victims and survivors.
      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/23/jehovahs-witnesses-charity-drops-attempts-to-block-abuse-inquiry
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