A child (SM) who was adopted in Algeria by a French couple living in the UK was refused an application for a right of entry as a family member. Having been overturned in the Upper Tribunal, the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) successfully appealed to the Court of Appeal. SM was not, the court held, a family member of Mr M. A keen human rights observer might think this was an apparent infringement of article 8 ECHR (the right to family life). Continue reading
In the News:
At the Howard League for Penal Reform AGM last week, Michael Gove held his own when challenged about criminal justice reform. Despite his Making Prisons Work speech in July, and his successful overturning of his predecessor’s prison book ban, Gove has remained relatively reticent on his plans for the criminal justice system. Speaking for some 30 minutes, Gove addressed the “need to move away from the sterile debate of ‘lock people up or let them out’”, and summon a “new era of talking about crime and punishment”. His audience, many still bristling from Grayling’s stringency in office, were won over by the Lord Chancellor’s more peaceable approach to penal reform. In addition to emphasising the need for a more sensitive sentencing framework, Gove urged for the causes of criminality to be tackled, including the “moral absence” experienced by many offenders growing up in care. In contrast to Grayling’s perceived complacency over prison conditions, Gove recognised the current “crisis”, pledging his commitment to his “new for old” prisons policy – replacing ineffective Victorian prisons with functional new ones – as well as to improving the autonomy of prison governors. The Lord Chancellor also proposed the use of more advanced technology in prisons, in order to improve the safety of staff and inmates, and to meet the particular educational needs of prisoners with learning difficulties. The conference ended on an especially poignant note, with Gove expressing his admiration for social workers – words which left Frances Crook, Chief Executive of the Howard League “blown away”.
It remains to be seen whether the Autumn Statement, unveiled later this month, will affirm Gove’s ambitious plans. Yet his moral framework for policy choices bodes well, informing the ongoing debate on the prison system with a quieter rhetoric of hope and realism. Continue reading
Richardson v Facebook  EWHC 3154 (2 November 2015) – read judgment
An action in defamation and under the right to privacy against Facebook has been dismissed in the High Court. The Facebook entity named as defendant did not “control” the publication so as to allow liability; and even if it did, no claim under the Human Rights Act could lie against FB as it could not be described as any sort of a public authority for the purposes of Section 6 of the Act.
The claimant, acting as a litigant in person, sought damages in respect of the publication in 2013 and 2014 of a Facebook profile and a posting on the Google Blogger service. The Profile and the Blogpost each purported to have been created by the claimant, but she complained that each was a fake, created by an impostor. She claimed that each was defamatory of her, and infringed her right to respect for her private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Continue reading
The High Court in Belfast will sit on Monday 9 and 10th November to hear a challenge by a same sex couple now living in Northern Ireland who seek recognition of their English marriage. The current legal dispensation in the Province is that an English same sex marriage is recognised as a civil partnership in Northern Ireland.
The Petition is resisted by the Attorney General and government of Northern Ireland and the (UK) Government Equalities Office (which reports to Nicky Morgan, the Minister for Women and Equalities). It is anticipated that Judgment will be reserved. Continue reading
The Queen (on the application of LF) v HM Senior Coroner for Inner South London  EWHC 2990 (Admin)
Where a coroner has reason to suspect that a person has died in custody or “otherwise in state detention” and that the death was violent, unnatural or by way of unknown cause, the coroner must hold an inquest with a jury (section 7 Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (“CJA”)). The interesting issue in this case was whether and/or in what circumstances a person who has died whilst in intensive care will be regarded as having died “in state detention”, thus triggering a jury inquest. Continue reading
On behalf of Professor Van Bueren and the Human Rights Collegium at the School of Law, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is featuring a theatre play and expert discussion on child refugees to honour the life of Lisa Jardine (pictured).
The Human Rights Collegium is hosting this event with the theatre group Ice and Fire to raise awareness about the situation of child refugees in the current refugee crisis. This multimedia initiative, featuring a theatre performance followed by discussion and Q&A, offers an opportunity to reflect upon the journeys of children in flight, from the moment they start their journey to the point they reach their destination in Europe and the UK, tracing their experiences of the asylum process and their life after status recognition and/or as failed applicants.
Tuesday 17 November 2015, 6:30-9pm
Arts Two Lecture Theatre
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road, E1 4NS
To register for this event, please visit the QMUL Department of Law Eventbrite page.