Human Rights roundup: Supreme Court for MP expenses, ‘spent’ convictions and opening up family justice

17 September 2010 by

Some of this week’s human rights news, in bite-size form. The full list of our external links can be found on the right sidebar or here:

New human rights body must be independent, says Law Society: The Foreign Secretary announced a new independent advisory group, including non governmental organisations and independent experts, to advise ministers on human rights issues (see our post). The Law Society says it should be on it.

Rehabilitation of Offenders – (1) Overview – Law and Lawyers: The first part of interesting overview of this complex area by the Law and Lawyers Blog. In the last human rights roundup, I highlighted a campaign by Nacro, a campaigning organisation, to reform this area on the basis that it discriminates against ex-offenders and is compounded by Criminal Record Bureau checks which are often used unlawfully to expose spent crimes or non-disclosure where people have been too worried to admit their past. From my personal experience, this area is in urgent need of clarification, as the proliferation of Criminal Records Checks means that people are sometimes being refused jobs on the basis of a minor offence committed 20 years ago. This is surely disproportionate and these offences should be completely quashed, rather than remaining at the discretion of the police.

MoJ to review media reporting in family courts – The Law Gazette: We posted a few months ago that the opening up of family courts had led to closed justice. It looks like the Ministry of Justice are going to review this, amid pressure from family lawyers.

MPs’ expenses case hinges on limits of parliamentary privilege – Joshua Rozenberg: The parliamentary privilege MP expenses case will, as was predictable, end up at the Supreme Court. See our post on the Court of Appeal case here. The Court of Appeal ruled very robustly against the four ex-MPs. It seems unlikely that the Supreme Court would disagree – surely the 1688 Bill of Rights was not meant to protect ‘parlyament’ from expense fiddling.

Grand Chamber Judgment on Protection of Journalists’ Sources – ECHR Blog: We will be featuring this case soon. In Sanoma Uitgevers B.V. v. the Netherlands, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found, unanimously, a violation of article 10 ECHR. According to Antoine Buyse (and the Guardian) the judgment can be seen as a reinforcement of the protection of journalistic sources.

Media watch: a “new judge in charge of the Jury List” – Inforrm’s Blog: We posted earlier this week on the replacement of Mr Justice Eady with Mr Justice Tugendhat as the top judge in media, libel and defamation cases. Inforrm analyse the media reaction. Mr Justice Eady was not always Mr Popular amongst some newspapers…

Questioning the Statehood of the Vatican – EJIL: Talk! An interesting discussion of Geoffrey Robertson QC and others’ argument that the Pope should be arrested as he is not a head of state subject to diplomatic immunity. See our post from yesterday.

And don’t forget our recent posts…

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