5 March 2010
Re W (Children)  UKSC 12 [On appeal from  EWCA Civ 57]
The Supreme Court has ruled that refusing an application for a child to give evidence in a trial may contravene Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
At issue in this case is the care of five children. All the children were taken into foster care and the four younger children are having supervised contact with both parents. The father has since been charged with 13 criminal offences and is currently on bail awaiting trial.
In the family proceedings the parties originally agreed that there would be a fact finding hearing in which the 14 year old girl would give evidence via a video link. In November 2009 the judge decided to refuse the father’s application for her to be called. Instead, she would rely on the other evidence, including a video-recorded interview with the child.
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2 March 2010
The proposals for a UK Bill of Rights will be an important issue in the coming election, and we aim to keep you updated on developments. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published a research report on a potential UK Bill of Rights. All three of the major UK political parties have pledged to institute a bill of rights in some form. The Report summarises the position:
The Labour Government is consulting the public on a UK Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, while maintaining its commitment to the HRA, including both the rights enshrined in it and the mechanisms used to implement those rights. The Conservative Party has pledged to repeal the HRA and replace it with a ‘modern British Bill of Rights’. Repealing the HRA would mean that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) would no longer be incorporated into domestic law; the party has not indicated whether, or how, a future Bill of Rights might incorporate the ECHR using a different mechanism. The Liberal Democrats are committed to a written constitution with, at its heart, a Bill of Rights which would strengthen and entrench the rights guaranteed in the HRA.
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