Passports at the junction of international and domestic law – Richard Alton

0304367Western governments are increasingly concerned to establish that they have the power to prevent individuals from traveling to the Middle East to engage in terrorism-related activity (see Rosalind English’s recent post on Jihadi Brides). This has resulted in a spike in passport seizures, especially on the domestic level.  Under Chapter 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 the UK government has the authority to seize UK passports

where a person is suspected of intending to leave Great Britain or the United Kingdom in connection with terrorism-related activity.

These events encouraged me to revisit a 2010 publication I co-authored with my colleague Jason Reed Struble, entitled ‘The Nature of a Passport at the Intersection of Customary International Law and American Judicial Practice’ (16 Ann. Surv. Int’l & Comp. L. 9 (2010)). In that piece we discussed the very nature of a passport and its role in both international and United States domestic law. This article focussed on the seizure of foreign passports by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the subsequent tribulations that follow. Thus, the work focused on a different spectrum of passport seizures, i.e. a government seizing another government’s passport, as opposed to a government seizing passports of its own nationals. Continue reading

Emily Thornberry MP – Human rights conventions: when some are more equal than others?

crc_logoWhen a legal challenge to one of the coalition Government’s flagship welfare reforms – an overall cap of £26,000 per year on the amount any family could receive in benefits – was reviewed by the Supreme Court earlier this year, the resulting judgment left many observers scratching their heads. Had the Court declared the cap unlawful or not? The answer seemed to be a mixture of yes and no. Continue reading

On fairness and principle: the legacy of ZZ re-examined – Michael Rhimes

PAjusticeKiani v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 776 (21 July 2015) – read judgment

In my last post on UKHRB I commented on developments in UK, ECHR and EU jurisprudence relating to procedural fairness in the context of national security.

The developments in this recent case offer some further interesting thoughts on the topic. To explain the case, and put its ramifications in a broader context, this post will be divided into three parts.  In the first I outline my original argument as set out in the earlier post. The second will explain the case itself. The third will offer five brief comments on the broader issues the cases touches upon.

In brief, the court in Kiani followed Tariq and held that AF-type disclosure (see below) was not a universal requirement of fairness; the interests of justice could require a lower standard of disclosure without violating the absolute right to a fair hearing. Continue reading

Sport, public/private law, and a judge waxing lyrical – Diarmuid Laffan

imageO’Connell & anor v the Turf Club [2015] IESC 57read judgment

This recent judgment of the Irish Supreme Court addressed the issue of whether the decisions of a sport’s organising body should be amenable to judicial review. This is an issue of some vintage and vexation in this jurisdiction’s legal debate, that provides a useful backdrop against which to ask what exactly it is that makes a decision-making duty or power ‘public’.

Continue reading

Don’t Say ‘Snooper’s Charter’: Dutch Dairy-Rooms and British Political Language – Dr Cian Murphy

No_snoopers_homeMuch has been said about our surveillance law and much more will be said in Parliament’s debate on Thursday. And yet, how we talk about surveillance law merits at least as much concern as what we say about it. Over-intrusive government surveillance is a problem. But so too is loose language in opposition to it.

The Oxford English Dictionary (Online) describes a ‘snooper’ as ‘one who pries or peeps; spec. one who makes an intrusive official investigation. orig. U.S.’ So it is, at best, an American term for an officious busy-body and at worst someone prying or peeping. This is hardly an administrative accolade or term of endearment – unless one has rather curious definitions of government and/or courtship.

Further etymological investigation reveals that the term ‘to snoop’ is Dutch in origin, and one use would be to describe a servant “slyly going into a dairy room and drinking milk from a pan.” It seems a Dutch Downton Abbey would have even more intrigue than the English one does. For none of these definitions or descriptions would we want Parliament to legislate. No-one is on the side of the ‘snooper’. Continue reading

Strasbourg Court opens door to complaints by refugees displaced during conflict – Aarif Abraham

032bb0281e611647bb7f32ea4dae3488_normalChiragov and Others v. Armenia (App No 13216/05) – read judgment

In two important decisions, the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court has held that the forced displacement of peoples from the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh during the armed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia constituted a violation of Article 1 of Protocol 1 (right to the peaceful enjoyment of property) and Article 8 (right to a private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case of Chiragov which concerned the forced displacement of Azerbaijani nationals was decided in parallel with the Grand Chamber judgment in Sargsyan v Azerbaijan (found here). Sargsyan was delivered on the same day and reached the same conclusions in respect of Armenian nationals forced to flee from Azerbaijani territory. Continue reading

UK courts are bound by UK rulings, not Strasbourg decisions, says Admin Court – Leanne Woods

keep-calmR (Victor Nealon) v Secretary of State for Justice : R (Sam Hallam) v Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 1565 (Admin), 8 June 2015 –  read judgment 

As Michael Gove contemplates the future of the Human Rights Act 1998, the High Court has considered how far the presumption of innocence in Article 6(2) ECHR spreads into decisions on payment of compensation for a miscarriage of justice. In doing so, Burnett LJ also managed to find some less than complimentary sentiments about the Strasbourg court’s decision-making.

Sam Hallam was convicted of murder in 2011. Victor Nealon was convicted of rape in 1997. Both successfully appealed against their convictions and then applied to the Secretary of State (‘SoS’) for compensation under s133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (the ‘1988 Act’’), as amended by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (the ‘2014 Act’). Both men were refused compensation on the basis that their circumstances did not meet the s133 statutory test (as amended). Continue reading