Court of Appeal rules on police duty to suspects in detention – Diarmuid Laffan

man_in_prisonZenati v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and another [2015] EWCA Civ 80 – read judgment

Matthew Donmall appeared for the Crown Prosecution Service in this case. He had nothing to do with the writing of this post.

In a recent judgment, the Court of Appeal held that where a criminal suspect is remanded in custody, Article 5 of the Convention requires the police to notify the court as soon as possible if there is no longer a reasonable basis for suspecting them. It also held that the police and CPS must aid the court in observing its duty to show ‘special diligence’ in managing a suspect’s detention, by investigating the case conscientiously and by promptly bringing relevant material to the court’s attention. Continue reading

President of Family Division inveighs against social engineering in adoption proceedings – Marina Wheeler

adoption
In the matter of A (A Child) v Darlington Borough Council and (1) M (2) F (3) GM and GF and (4) A (by his children’s guardian) [2015] EWFC 11 (“Re A”) – read judgment

In a scathing judgment, the president of the Family Division has condemned as “social engineering” a local authority’s application to remove a baby boy permanently from the care of his father and place him for adoption.

The case was, he said,

an object lesson in, almost textbook example of, how not to embark upon and pursue a care case.

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Sir Robert Francis’ Review of Whistleblowing Processes in the NHS – Joanna Glynn QC

stream_imgIt has long been recognised that enabling healthcare professionals to speak up about concerns at work is a key element of the promotion of patient safety. The Final Report of the Freedom to Speak Up review of whistleblowing processes in the NHS was published on 11 February 2015.

Sir Robert Francis recommends the implementation of twenty “Principles” and “Actions” by organisations which provide NHS healthcare and by professional and systems regulators. These measures are to address “an urgent need for system wide action,” in spite of some positive developments in the handling of whistleblowing processes since the February 2013 report of the public inquiry into the failings at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

The Principles and Actions appear under five “overarching themes” which are addressed at chapters 5-9 of the 222 page report, each chapter describing the Principles that should be followed to bring about the change required, and the Actions which follow from each. Annex A to the report is a summary of good practice which cross refers to the Principles. Continue reading

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal and the rule of law – Natasha Simonsen

gchqLiberty & Ors v GCHQ [2015] UKIPTrib 13_77-H (6 February 2015) – read judgment

Despite being hailed as an ‘historic victory in the age-old battle for the right to privacy and free expression’, closer examination of a recent ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (‘IPT’)  reveals it to have been a hollow victory.

The case arose from the Snowden leaks, which unveiled a vast communications interception program led by the US National Security Agency (‘NSA’). Intercepted communications can include the content of emails as well as ‘metadata’, and can extend to purely internal communications as well as communications with a US connection. For example, an email exchange between Leeds and London may be liable to interception by the NSA simply because it happens to be routed through a US server at some stage along the line. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’) establishes a framework for interception of communications by UK authorities, but of course those provisions don’t apply to interceptions by foreign state authorities in their own territory. Once intercepted by the NSA, mutual intelligence sharing arrangements can lead the same Leeds-London email to be handed over to the UK authorities, notwithstanding that the UK authorities would have needed a RIPA warrant had they wished to conduct the interception themselves. Continue reading

Court of Appeal strikes down state immunity rules that prevent embassy employees seeking justice – Diarmuid Laffan

SudanBenkharbouche & Anor v Embassy of the Republic of Sudan [2015] EWCA Civ 33, 5th February 2015 – read judgment

This judgment concerned the conjoined appeals of Ms. Benkharbouche and Ms. Janah which arose from employment law claims brought against, respectively, the Sudanese and Libyan embassies. Certain of their claims, such as those for unfair dismissal, were founded on domestic law. Others, such as those under the Working Time Regulations 1998, fell within the scope of EU law. All were met with pleas of state immunity under the State Immunity Act 1978.

The Court of Appeal’s judgment provides a neat illustration of the relative remedial potency, on the one hand of human rights claims based on the European Convention on Human Rights by way of the Human Rights Act 1998, and on the other, those based on the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights via the doctrine of ‘horizontal direct effect’. Continue reading

DNA sample taken for criminal purposes may not be used for paternity test – Amy Woolfson

dna-evidenceX & Anor v Z (Children) & Anor [2015] EWCA Civ 34 – read judgment

The Court of Appeal has ruled that it would not be lawful for DNA originally collected by the police to be used by a local authority for the purposes of a paternity test. 

Factual and legal background

X’s wife had been found murdered.  The police took DNA from the crime scene.  Some of the DNA belonged to X’s wife and some was found to be X’s.  X was tried and convicted of his wife’s murder.

X’s wife had young children and they were taken into the care of the local authority.  During the care proceedings X asserted that he was the biological father of the children and said he wanted to have contact with them.  He refused to take a DNA test to prove his alleged paternity.  The local authority asked the police to make the DNA from the crime scene available so that it could be used in a paternity test.  The police, with the support of the Home Secretary, refused on the grounds that they did not believe that it would be lawful to do so. Continue reading

The worrying new anti-terrorism measures that are set to become law – Angela Patrick

Credit: guardian.co.uk

Credit: guardian.co.uk

The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill begins its final stages in the House of Lords today. This blog considered the Bill on its introduction to the Lords. In the interim, both the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Constitution Committee of the House of Lords have reported, both recommending significant amendments.

Despite repeat flurries of excitement as a coalition of Peers suggest time and again that most of the controversial Communications Data Bill – popularly known as the Snoopers’ Charter – might be a late-stage drop in; the press has, perhaps regrettably, shown little interest in the Bill.

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