Human rights roundup: Control orders, Google rapped and Henry VIII clauses

5 November 2010 by

Updated | For your weekend reading pleasure, 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.

Abu Hamza wins passport appeal – BBC: Radical Muslim cleric Abu Hamza has won his appeal in the Special Immigration Appeals Commission against government attempts to strip him of his British passport. Apparently he won as taking his passport away would have rendered him “stateless”. We will comment on the case once the judgment is released (update – judgment is here and our post is here). In the meantime, you can read the background to his extradition appeal here.

A breathtaking Bill of which even Henry VIII would have been proud – Law and Lawyers: The Public Bodies Bill is making its way through Parliament, and the Law and Lawyers blog has sounded the alarm that the bill, if passed into law, will amount to a “permanent extension to Ministerial powers exercisable with quite minimal Parliamentary oversight.” It is “replete” with so-called Henry VIII clauses, which could provide unchecked power to the Executive. I discussed the issue of Henry VIII clauses in July, in light of the Lord Chief Justice’s comments on the issue.

Ruling of Lady Justice Heather Hallett on secret evidence in 7/7 inquests – We will have more on this next week. The court of appeal judge who is taking charge of the 7/7 inquests (inquests website here) has ruled that she does not have the power to hold closed hearings at which evidence is called from which Interested Persons can be excluded. Whilst not a ‘court’ decision, this is certainly of interest in light of the recent open justice trend in the civil courts (see my post on the Binyam Mohamed litigation).

Google escapes fine over Street View cars, but must sign undertaking – Panopticon Blog Google has been censured by the Information Commissioner’s Office for accidentally (it says) collecting private data which could be traced to individuals whilst taking photographs for its Street View mapping feature. It has escaped a fine, however, and need only sign an undertaking to not do it again. Junior barristers who are instructed in road traffic accident claims can breath a sigh of relief that the service is still available…

Control orders are like nothing I have experienced in my career – Matthew RyderControl orders have been back in the news recently, as members of the government are apparently arguing over whether to scrap, diminish or keep intact the controversial anti-terrorism measure (see our most recent post on the topic for the background).

The Observer called this a “fierce battle behind the scenes for the coalition’s soul “. This may be putting it a bit strongly. Control orders have only affected around 50 people since their introduction in 2005, so surely the economic cuts and the state of the justice system will be the true measure of this government’s ‘soul’. But the debate is important and the ultimate decision may set the tone for the rest of the coalition’s term, particularly on anti-terrorism issues (see Alasdair Henderson’s post).

Meanwhile, Bagehot, in this week’s Economist suggests that the issue shows how much of an influence the Liberal Democrats have on “life and death” issues, as compared to economic ones.

Equality Act 2010 – Nearly LegalThe Nearly Legal blog provides an excellent analysis of the main provisions of the new Equality Act – our post is here.

Human rights and constitutional reform – Halsbury’s Law ExchangeSimon Hetherington at the HLE discusses Jack Straw’s recent article. My comment on the topic is here.

LSC rules out appeal against family tender judgment – The Law GazetteThis means the Law Society has won its challenge against the Legal Services Commission family legal aid tender. The background is here. The LSC will now rethink the tender, but given the cuts to the legal aid budget this is no guarantee that family lawyers will end up any better off in the end.

Lord Phillips: “There is a risk that cuts will go too far and have a damaging impact on the administration of justice.” – UKSC blogThe head of the Supreme Court adds his voice to the many worrying about what effect the 25% justice budget cuts will have on the administration of justice.

And don’t forget our posts, including some new authors…

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