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The changing law - Essay Example

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Changes in a country's set of laws are usually driven by a multitude of factors that places pressure in its current legal system to institute legal development. In the case of the United Kingdom, pressure can come from a number of sources, and legal development proceeds through a number of instruments that leads to a change in the law…
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Download file to see previous pages This is illustrated in the manner that an impetus for change is met with either acceptance or reservation by the public to be directly affected, and the legal system who will implement such change. In this regard, this essay aims to discuss the manner that legal change proceeds in the British legal system to illustrate how legal changes are dynamically linked with the society at hand through the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.
Anti-social behaviour is defined as a behaviour that is "capable of causing a nuisance or annoyance to another person", and "directly or indirectly relates to or affects the housing management functions of a relevant landlord" or that "consists of or involves using or threatening to use housing accommodation owned or managed by a relevant landlord for an unlawful purpose" (Anti-social Behaviour Act [2003] s.153A; s.153B). As a public offence, it has been dealt with by Common Law as public nuisance, considered as both a crime and a tort. Thus, given its potential to harm individuals and communities, and disrupt peace and order, it is of no surprise that the British government pays due attention to this problem by passing the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.
Prior to 1996 and the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003, anti-social behaviour is address...
This was followed by the Noise Act (1996) and Protection from Harassment Act (1997) to address non-tenure behaviour; and Crime and Disorder Act (1998), which created the Anti-Social Behaviour Order as well as the Police Reform Act (2002) to increase local authorities' enforcement powers.
Despite such comprehensive legislations and precedents, however, there are numerous problems that surround both the implementation of the law, on the part of authorities; and prevention of the problem, within the society. This is illustrated in a study conducted by the British Crime survey, where it was reported that except for nuisance and litter, the percentage of individuals perceiving anti-social behaviour as a serious disorder has been rising (cited in Hunter 2003). Furthermore, as evidenced by Nixon and Hunter's study (cited in Hunter 2003), the number of reported complaints for every 1,000 tenancies by housing landlords, has also risen from 1998 to 2003.
In addition, there has also been a growing concern among intellectuals that the laws governing anti-social behaviour have the potential to conflict with human rights (Wright, H & Sagar, T 2000, 'Out of Sight, Out of Mind', NLJ, no. 150, p. 1792; Collins, D 2001, 'Anti-social Behaviour Orders - a new false dawn', NLJ, 15 June 2001). In contrast to the human rights argument, however, law enforcement officers and local authorities complain that there is not enough "bite" with the existing laws, such that they are prevented from persecuting offences by juveniles (Wookey v Wookey [1991] Fam 121), and persecuting offenders that persistently commit anti-social behaviour in the totality of their offence (Criminal Justice and Public Order Act [1994] s.5).
All the aforementioned problems created a tremendous amount of pressure ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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