Welcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your weekly bulletin of human rights news. The full list of links can be found here. You can also find our table of human rights cases here and previous roundups here.
In the news
The European Court of Human Rights has refused the request of Abu Hamza and four others to refer their extradition appeal to its Grand Chamber for another hearing, meaning that their routes of appeal have finally (probably) come to an end. In other news, the Chagos refugees have gone to court over a note to Baroness Amos concerning their resettlement and teachers have been granted anonymity when facing criminal charges.
End of the appeal line for Abu Hamza
As reported on by Adam Wagner on the UKHRB, the European Court of Human Rights has refused the request of Abu Hamza and four others to refer their extradition appeal to its Grand Chamber for another hearing, which means that their case (decided in the Government’s favour in April – see here) is now final and there are no remaining barriers to their extradition to the United States to face terrorism charges. His post focuses on the length of time it has taken to decide the case, also focused on by the Lord Chief Justice in his press conference (see below).
Adam has written another post on the Hamza situation this week, this time focusing on the fact that the extradition has been put on hold whilst a Judicial Review claim concerning his passport is dealt with this coming Tuesday. He is also challenging the extradition on the grounds of deterioration of mental health, all of which makes my headline, in retrospect, somewhat misleading. Watch this space.
Also see A Human Rights Court Gives Torture the Green Light from U.S.-based The Nation, lamenting the European Court of Human Rights’ failure to classify conditions in U.S. Supermax prisons, where the terrorist suspects are likely to be held. as torture: ”The European Court allowed itself to be misled—accepting facts and figures roundly disputed by human rights advocates and researchers and ignoring an intervention submitted by the UN special rapporteur on torture.”
Gathering the threads of the Justice and Security Bill
In the first of three posts by Obiter J this week, he takes a look at the Justice and Security Bill, from the germs of its inception in Al Rawi v The Security Service and others  UKSC 34 (where the Supreme Court held that it was for Parliament to order a closed material procedure it was thought necessary) to the progression from green paper to bill. He also provides a variety of links to articles about the Bill so useful both as an aide memoire and a source of other commentary. Also on this topic, the Guardian has published a guide to secret courts here.
The Lord Chief Justice’s Press Conference
In the second of three posts by Obiter J, he sets out some of the questions and answers asked at the Lord Chief Justice’s Press Conference, held on Thursday 27th September (transcript here). It provides for fascinating reading and is highly recommended, particularly the comments on lengthy appeals and burglary.
Anonymity to be granted to teachers
In the third and final post, Obiter J discusses a new piece of legislation (Education Act 2011, section 13) that has come into force which provides automatic anonymity to teachers accused of a conduct amounting to a criminal offence, intended to avoid the devastating impact that sometimes false allegations have on teachers’ careers and lives, and asks whether it will create a new trend towards protection of individuals once an allegation involving criminality is made against them. He notes that this measure was pushed through Parliament despite considerable resistance in the House of Lords.
The Panopticon blog looks in depth at the recent decision of the First Tier Tribunal in Chagos Refugees Group in Mauritius and Chagos Social Committee (Seychelles) v IC and FCO (EA/2011/0300). The case concerned the withholding by the FCO of information requested by the Chagos refugees that concerned studies relating to their resettlement (a note sent to Baroness Amos). The Tribunal upheld the Chagossians’ appeal in part, on the basis that the weighty public interests served by disclosure of the contents of the Baroness Amos note outweighed the public interest in maintaining the exception for internal communications. David Hart QC on the UKHRB has also posted on this here.
Human rights and the UK constitution
On the Oxford Human Rights hub, Colm O’Cinneide has written a piece about his new report, Human Rights and the UK Constitution, that aims to clarify the central issues at stake in the debate. It examines the state of human rights law in the UK and takes a very close look at the criticisms sustained, and discusses the new proposed Bill of Rights. Adam Wagner has also noted the report’s publication and summarised its findings on the UKHRB here.
In the first of two posts by Joshua Rozenberg this week, he writes in Standpoint on the subject of religion. He starts with the case of Julius Meinl and links his case somewhat curiously to the four claims against the British government that the court heard in early September on freedom of religion. He outlines the basis of the four claims but goes on to say that he does not think the European Court of Human Rights should find in their favour.
Defining the coroner’s role
The second post by Joshua Rozenberg on the topic of the coroner’s role – he takes the reader on a journey throughout the various pieces of legislation setting out the duties of coroners and notes how slowly changes are made.
Retirement of president of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice
The Ministry of Justice website announced the retirement of Sir Nicholas Wall, the President of the Family Division and Head of Family Justice for England and Wales, on grounds of ill health.
Article 8 and possession
Nearly Legal has posted on the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Buckland v UK, reproduced on the UKHRB here. The post notes that it demonstrates again how wonderfully delphic the subject of housing and Article 8 rights has become and provides an analysis of the judgment that will be of particular interest to those in the property field.
Finally, the Jobsworth blog by Michael Scutt reviews the law blogs, kindly placing the UKHRB in his favourite five.
In the courts
Re J (A Child: Disclosure) (Rev 1) EWCA Civ 1204 (21 September 2012). The High Court was wrong not to order disclosure of substance of sex abuse allegations against father in care proceedings. The judge wrongly conflated issue of disclosure with question of whether complainant could give oral evidence. Articles 3 and 6 engaged and pointed towards disclosure.
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- Freemen on the Land are “parasites” peddling “pseudolegal nonsense”: Canadian judge fights back September 30, 2012 Adam Wagner
- All about killing badgers September 28, 2012 David Hart QC
- Sex abuse allegations against parent should be disclosed in contact proceedings September 28, 2012 Matthew Flinn
- Abu Hamza wants his passport back September 27, 2012 Adam Wagner
- Human rights and the UK constitution (or, why turkeys don’t vote for Christmas) September 27, 2012 Adam Wagner
- Failure to stop disability harassment is inhuman treatment, rules Strasbourg September 26, 2012 Maria Roche
- The Erika: Cour de Cassation finds against Total, big time. September 25, 2012 David Hart QC
- Interfering with electricity meters is a matter of EU law – although not in the way you think September 25, 2012 Rosalind English
- Bye bye Abu Hamza – but why did it take so long? September 25, 2012 by Adam Wagner
- Time to untangle the debate over secret courts – Angela Patrick September 24, 2012
- More from Strasbourg on possession and Article 8 – Nearly Legal September 24, 2012
- When indefinite becomes arbitrary: James, Wells and Lee v UK September 24, 2012 by Jim Duffy