Scuffle of the week

Lord Irvine is embroiled in a human rights battle with the Law Society, which claims his legal aid legislation, the Access to Justice Bill, breaches the Government's flagship civil liberties' reforms, the Human Rights Act. To back its case, the society has secured the opinion of former Law Commissioner Jack Beatson QC, who says the Bill denies both legal aid and no win, no fee funding to people claiming against their landlord for property repairs. This is the second consecutive week that Lord Irvine has taken flak over human rights. He also incurred the wrath of rights group Justice for insisting on sitting as a judge in a House of Lords appeal despite claims that this will conflict with his role as cabinet minister.