R (On the Application of Gureckis) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 3298 (Admin)
Read the judgment here: http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/3298.html
Recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of people sleeping on the streets in Greater London — the figure has more than doubled since 2017. This includes people of all nationalities, and a significant number of EEA nationals.
The High Court has quashed policy guidance which set out the circumstances in which “rough sleeping” would be treated as an abuse of EU Treaty rights, rendering an EEA national liable to removal if this would be proportionate .
The Claimants were two Polish nationals and one Latvian national against whom removal notices had been served. They challenged the legality of the policy on the basis that it was contrary to EU law.
On 5th December 2017, the Divisional Court gave judgment in Power v HM Senior Coroner for Inner London  EWHC 3117 (Admin), directing that an inquest held in 1998 into a road traffic accident following a police chase had been insufficient and a fresh inquest needed to be held.
On 1 December 2017 an event in Temple Church with the Bar Council in collaboration with Refugee Tales, an outreach project whose aim is to see the end of indefinite immigration detention, saw an announcement of new recommendations for reform of the system of immigration detention.
This followed from the publication on 30 November 2017 of ‘Injustice in Immigration Detention, Perspectives from Legal Professionals’, an independent report by Dr Anna Lindley of SOAS. Read the report here: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media/623583/171130_injustice_in_immigration_detention_dr_anna_lindley.pdf
The Bar Council, led by Andrew Langdon QC, is making a series of recommendations in light of the report, as follows:
- A 28-day time limit for administrative detention;
- Automatic judicial oversight of the arrangements for holding people in administrative detention;
- Adequate legal aid for advice and representation for those held in immigration detention to challenge the loss of their liberty;
- A ban on the use of prisons for the purposes of administrative detention;
- Special care for vulnerable people and victims of torture held in administrative detention; and
- Review and clarification of the criteria for administrative detention. The relevant policy and rules need to be accessible and intelligible so that all those who are affected by the exercise of powers to detain understand the reasons for the exercise of those powers and can challenge decisions where appropriate.
TBS v Metropolitan Police Commissioner  EWHC 3094 – read judgment
The High Court has refused an application to strike out a claim in negligence and misfeasance in public office taken by someone born as a result of a liaison between an activist in the animal liberation movement and a man who subsequently turned out to be an undercover police officer.
Although this is not a full trial of the merits, the ruling from Nicol J triangulates on very interesting questions relating to “wrongful life” claims, legal duties owed by people in public office, and the predictability of harm as well as the identity of potential victims. It also touches on the character of psychiatric harm, and how difficult it is to identify the point at which it can legitimately be said to arise. Whatever the results of the ultimate litigation, the arguments here raise sharp questions of public policy as to who, and what, should be compensated from the public purse. There is also a deep philosophical question underlying the whole argument which is known as the “non-identity problem”. Can you harm somebody by bringing them into existence? Continue reading
Belhaj and Boudchar v. Director of Public Prosecutions (Foreign Secretary intervening)  EWHC 3056 (Admin) – read judgment here.
The Justice and Security Act 2013 introduced the idea of Closed Material Proceedings (CMP) to civil litigation in a significant way for the first time. This is a procedure (which had previously only used in a small number of specialist tribunals) whereby all or part of a claim can be heard in closed proceedings in order for the court to consider material which, if disclosed publicly, would risk harming national security. These hearings exclude even the claimant, who is represented instead by a Special Advocate who takes instructions and then is unable to speak to his or her client again once they have seen the sensitive material.
This system is obviously far from ideal. Indeed it is a major deviation from the usual (and very important) principle that justice must not only be done, but be seen to be done. It was introduced because the alternative in some cases involving national security matters was no justice at all. But it must be used sparingly. In particular, the 2013 Act allows its use only in civil litigation and not in “proceedings in a criminal cause or matter” (section 6(11)). The question that the Divisional Court had to consider in this case is how wide that exception for criminal matters should be.
On 5th December 2017, an event exploring the current political situation in Cambodia was held at Chatham House. The discussion was led by Sam Rainsy, a key member of Cambodia’s recently dissolved opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP). The discussion touched on a plethora of issues relevant to politics and human rights in Cambodia, ranging from the impact on Cambodia of China’s dam-building project to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
This article will provide a brief history of Cambodia before reviewing four topics which were considered at the event: (1) the influence of China; (2) the power of the army; (3) sanctions and aid; and (4) the 2018 election.