X AND OTHERS v. AUSTRIA – 19010/07 – HEJUD  ECHR 148 (19 February 2013) – Read judgment
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (by 10 votes to 7) has found that Austrian law discriminated against a same sex couple as it prevented them from adopting jointly the biological child of one of them (what we would call a second-parent adoption). The Court found a violation of Article 14 (anti-discrimination) in conjunction with Article 8 (respect for private and family life) protection because this was less favourable treatment than if they were an unmarried different sex couple who would have been permitted to adopt together.
The narrowness of the majority might have had something to do with the fact that the father of the Child had been a party to the case in the domestic courts and opposed the adoption (although the fact that the child of the lesbian couple in Gas and Dubois v France had been conceived through anonymous donor insemination had not helped that case). In the event, the Grand Chamber decision was based on the fact that the Austrian Supreme Court had referred to the “legal impossibility” of the proposed same sex adoption in this case.
Pharmacists Defence Association Union v Boots Management Services Ltd – Read judgment
The consequences of the change of approach of the European Court of Human Rights in the Article 11 case of Demir has definitely washed up on the shores of the UK
In a recent decision of the Central Arbitration Committee presided over by Mary Stacey, it was decided that it was necessary to amend the wording of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (Sched 1A para 35) to make it compliant with Article 11 of the ECHR and the decision of the Strasbourg Court in Demir and Baykara v Turkey.
The decision of the CAC is a report from the front line of the battle between independent unions and employers about granting the former recognition.
REDFEARN v. THE UNITED KINGDOM – 47335/06 – HEJUD  ECHR 1878 – read judgment / press release
The BNP has been a relentless opponent of Human Rights Act and its manifesto for the 2010 General Election made no less than three separate declarations of its intention to scrap the Act and abrogate the European Convention of Human Rights which it described charmingly as being, “exploited to abuse Britain’s hospitality by the world’s scroungers.”
This has not stopped the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) riding to the rescue of one of their erstwhile councilors in Redfearn v United Kingdom
The ECtHR, by a majority of four to three (with British judge Sir Nicolas Bratza being one of the dissenters), decided that, despite the margin of appreciation, the positive obligation placed on the UK by Article 11 (right to free assembly and association) meant that a person dismissed on account of his political beliefs or affiliations should be able to claim unfair dismissal despite not having the qualifying one year’s service then applicable.
Mattu v University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust - read judgment
For a government much divided about rights of employees and the Beecroft Report that proposes curtailing them, some relief is provided by this Court of Appeal ruling, a further blow to those who have argued that Article 6 can be deployed against their employers.
The judgment represents the latest round in the saga of Dr Mattu’s dispute with his former employers which commenced with his suspension in 2002 and included an unsuccessful attempt to force the Trust to prevent disciplinary proceedings and then a challenge to his dismissal.The Court unanimously concluded that the procedure by which Dr Mattu was dismissed did not attract the protection of Article 6 as an employer who dismisses with or without the benefit of a formal hearing is not determining the employee’s civil rights. Rather the employer is exercising a contractual power. The disciplinary proceedings of an employer and a decision to dismiss summarily may give rise to civil rights, namely proceedings for unlawful dismissal and unfair dismissal and those concerned with professional and regulatory standards but they do not determine such rights. In those circumstances Article 6 will be engaged before the Courts, Tribunals and Regulatory Panels but not in disciplinary proceedings before an employer. Continue reading
R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School  UKSC 30 – Read judgment
On 4 October 2007 the parents of a 15 year old boy complained that he had been kissed by his 22 year old school sessional music teaching assistant (G).
After an (inconclusive) Police investigation, the school held a disciplinary hearing and dismissed G. They also referred his case to the Secretary of State with a view to him being barred from working with children. The Claimant appealed to the school governors. He also sought to be represented by his solicitor. In this he was successful on judicial review and at the Court of Appeal.
The question for the Supreme Court was, did Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights (the right to a fair trial) mean that G was entitled to be legally represented at the hearing before the school governors?
R (on the application of Rajiv Puri) v Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC 970 (Admin) Judgment of Mr Justice Blair given on 15 April 2011 - Read judgment
This claim for judicial review is the latest skirmish in The Wars of the HC  9 Succession between doctors and NHS trusts about what procedural safeguards they are entitled to if investigated, suspended or dismissed for misconduct since the introduction of Maintaining High Professional Standards in the Modern NHS (MPHS) in 2005.
It is also a blow for those who believe that professionals facing serious allegations that may have adverse consequences for their ability to practise in their chosen field should be entitled to be judged by a panel independent of their employer.