Twitter Trolls, Tribunal Online (Finally), Don’t go Home – The Human Rights Roundup

TrollWelcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your regular menagerie of human rights news and views. The full list of links can be found here. You can also find our table of human rights cases here and previous roundups here. Links compiled by Adam Wagner, post by Sarina Kidd.

This week, judicial review continued to take a beating, the Home Office backed down over their ‘Go Home’ campaign and the legal implications behind the twitter threat debacle were considered. And, finally, the immigration and asylum tribunal launched a useful online search service.

In the News

Judicial Review attenuation

Judicial review, the means by which individuals and groups can challenge the decisions of public authorities in court, has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent months. The latest challenge to the process was Chris Grayling’s announcement to restrict the ‘sufficient interest’ test to one of a ‘direct link’ to what was being challenged.  This week, Jamie Beagent of Leigh Day & Co analysed the impact of such an announcement,and discussed a number of changes that had already been introduced: reducing the time limits for bringing judicial review for certain cases; removing the right to a hearing in some cases; and, removing legal aid from significant areas of legal work. He also looked at future proposals, and concluded that these changes ‘are an ideological attack on the ability of citizens to hold our government to account which threaten lasting damage to the rule of law in this country’.

Judicial review was also been in the media this week due to the case of Ignaoua, R (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department. The case revolved around a new certification power under the Justice and Security Act 2013, which allowed the Home Secretary to terminate the applicant’s judicial review proceedings. The court was required to find whether the certificate had been lawfully made and was not an abuse of power. Cranston J acknowledged that there were ‘disturbing features’ in the statutory scheme, but as there was clear Parliamentary intention, the claimant failed. To see the UKHRB post on this, click here.

Over at the Public Law for Everyone Blog, Mark Elliot discussed how the most concerning feature of the decision was that ‘the High Court has upheld the lawfulness of an executive decision to, in effect, divert a judicial review claim into a statutory procedure the rule-of-law adequacy of which cannot yet be determined’. Richard A. Edwards at Eurorights also emphasised how concerning the mechanism was, giving the executive the power to determine a class of judicial review proceedings. He also considered a number of important findings, such as how under the 2013 Act the Home Secretary could ‘terminate qualifying judicial review applications no matter at what stage they might be’ and questioned the proportionality of the Act.

Finally, a decent search engine for Tribunal decisions

The headline speaks for itself. The MoJ has released two new beta services: Court and Tribunal Finder and Tribunal Decisions. The Tribunal decisions site only includes Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) for now but hopefully this will expand with time to other tribunals. Check them out and please comment so as to make the service better.

Go Home

After vociferous complaints and a legal battle over the ‘Go Home’ advertisements, the Home Office backed down, in part, after Ministers were threatened with court action. The advertisements appeared on vans and warned illegal immigrants to go home. Clients of the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London argued that the wording breached the government’s duties on equality. The government agreed to have ‘due regard’ to its duties under the Equalities Act, ‘including the need to eliminate discrimination and harassment based on race and religion, as well as to foster good relation between people from different racial and religious groups’.

Twitter Threats

This week, David Banks looked at the legal implications behind the twitter threats frequenting the news. He firstly took issue with the term ‘troll’ because of the significant difference between ‘typical trolling and making a specific threat of sexual violence against an individual’. Secondly, he looked at the complications that arose when considering the criminal offence of these threats, as Twitter has such an amplification effect. He also wondered whether the suggested abuse button would be feasible with the large amount of tweets. He further discussed a preference for seeing how the current law dealt with the present situation, rather than instantly implementing new legislation

Thieves and Fraudsters

Professor Ashworth, a leading criminal lawyer, was in the news this week for saying that thieves and fraudsters ‘should not be jailed’ and that the priority with pure property crimes should be to ensure victims are adequately compensated for their losses and that ‘perpetrators make amends for the harm they cause’. He said that this could be achieved through fines and community sentences, which would ‘not require a total loss of liberty’.

In other news

  • A controversial stop and frisk program conducted by the New York City Police department was deemed unconstitutional by a federal court (decision here). The program was criticised for its indirect racial profiling of blacks and latinos.
  • The Health Select Committee published a report of its post-legislative scrutiny of the Mental Health Act 2007. Lucy Series wrote that ‘what the Committee had to say about the deprivation of liberty safeguards (DOLS) was striking’ – see also her post on UKHRB.
  • Suesspicious Minds ran through the implications of the mooted proposals from Worcestershire to charge parents for voluntary foster care.
  • Jack of Kent looked at Bradley Manning’s apology at the military tribunal. It seems that instead of denying all charges, Manning admitted the lesser charges, choosing to focus the defence on the more serious ones.
  • Claire McGregor, ‘a highly rated practitioner with a burgeoning international environmental and public law practice’ joined 1 Crown Office Row from Garden Court Chambers. Her move will strengthe 1COR’s public law team, ‘in particular, its reputation and practice in claimant work in this field’.

Case Comments

  • Rowena Moffatt looked at the judgment of R(Oao MM & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department.  The ruling focused on the lawfulness of the new maintenance requirements for family visa applications and gave guidance on the significance of British citizenship in proportionality under Article 8 ECHR.
  • The case of R(AA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] concerned the lawfulness of detaining a person believed to be an adult but later assessed to be a child. Anita Davies noted that the decision was ‘disquieting’.
  • Frank Cranmer examined a recent judgment granting the Plantagenet Alliance (involving the ‘living, collateral descendants of King Richard III’) permission to bring judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State for Justice and the University of Leicester.

In the Courts

Upcoming Events

To add events to this list, email Adam Wagner. Please only send events which (i) have their own webpage which can be linked to, and (ii) are relevant to topics covered by the blog.

UKHRB posts 

One thought on “Twitter Trolls, Tribunal Online (Finally), Don’t go Home – The Human Rights Roundup

  1. Brilliant round up very worrying the way law flouted by HO on equality and determining judicial reviews!

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