A stormy week for European human rights – The Roundup
21 February 2011
It’s time for the human rights roundup, a regular bulletin of all the law we haven’t quite managed to feature in full blog posts. The full list of links, updated each day, can be found here.
by Melinda Padron
A hot topic this week was the proposed reforms to public protection contained in the Protection of Freedoms Bill, which is interestingly open to public comments via the internet. The Bill is composed of seven parts: regulation of biometric data; regulation of surveillance; protection of property from disproportionate enforcement action; counter-terrorism powers; safeguarding vulnerable groups/criminal records; freedom of information and data protection; and miscellaneous. See our recent posts on the Bill, including Dr Cian Murphy’s opinion as to its constitutional relevance.
Have lawyers really “cleared” the government to defy Strasbourg over prisoners’ votes? – Carl Gardner, Head of Legal
An eight-page memo prepared for Nick Clegg seems to “clear” the government to defy the ECtHR over prisoners’ votes (see Rosalind English’s most recent post). Although part of the document reveals the widely known fact that a decision by the UK not to comply with the court would be subject to political rather than legal consequences, the memo reveals three interesting points.
In the recent case of Tovey, two prisoners who brought a claim on the basis of having been denied their vote in the 2010 elections, were not entitled to damages. In light of the prisoners’ votes controversy, was this another blow to the ECHR/HRA? Yaaser Vanderman explains the judgment. See also our recent post on the Tovey judgment here.
Jean-Paul Costa, president of the ECtHR, argued it would be a disaster for the UK if it decided not to comply with the court’s ruling on prisoners’ votes. The Economist’s Bagehot argued in a recent article that this would amount to a failure by the UK to lead the Council of Europe by example (in particular, those members with an unsatisfactory standard of compliance with the Convention). However, the current government seems to be more concerned with the public’s lack of confidence with the institution. But is tailoring the ECtHR to UK demands really an answer to the popular lack of confidence? See our recent post on this discussion.
The Supreme Court’s decision that a review mechanism should be put in place for those whose names are indefinitely on the Sex Offenders List has not only generated further criticism of the ECHR, but prompted strong (and unfortunate) condemnations by the coalition government of our own judiciary. See some of our recent posts, both on the decision and on the coalition government’s reaction to the ruling.
A commission to investigate a British Bill of Rights will be set up “imminently”, David Cameron has said. See Adam Wagner’s post.
The current case is brought by two public bodies to clarify whether a woman with a learning disability can be forcibly sterilised.
The Ministry of Justice Consultation on Civil Litigation Funding closed last Monday 14/02. Thousands are reported to have responded to the consultation, and some are summarised in Maria Roche’s recent post. One of the main points of discussion and subject of numerous consultation responses was the impact of the Jackson Report to access to justice in defamation cases. Some of these responses were made public and their highlights were summarised in this post.
It may come as a surprise to some that the judges of the ECtHR are appointed via an election process. Find out how by reading this information sheet prepared by the Council of Europe. See Adam Wagner’s post on some media misrepresentations on the topic.
In the courts
Upper Tribunal: Being Iranian Arab does not itself generate risk of persecution upon return to Iran. See Alasdair Henderson’s post.
Iranian who demonstrated against regime in UK is at real risk of being persecuted as a result upon return. Tribunal gives general guidance on such cases. See Alasdair Henderson’s post.
Euro Court of Human Rights: Eviction of New Age Traveller from unauthorised campsite not breach of aritcle 8 right to family life. Comment but not conclusion on whether NATs have equivalent rights to ethnic gypsies.
Criminal charges against men who shouted “murderers”, “baby killers” etc. at Army homecoming parade not breach of free expression rights. See Isabel McArdle’s post from today.
And don’t forget our recent posts…
- Prisoners not entitled to compensation for voting ban February 19, 2011 Rosalind English
- Access to justice 2.0 February 18, 2011 Adam Wagner
- That was the future of legal blogging February 18, 2011Adam Wagner
- Beware the poor lawyer: the legal aid reform responses February 18, 2011 Maria Roche
- The future of legal blogging – Tonight at 6pm February 17, 2011 1 Crown Office Row
- Protection of Freedoms Bill: A new dawn for privacy? – Timothy Pitt-Payne QC February 17, 2011 1 Crown Office Row
- Go compare February 17, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Right of appeal for sex offenders register February 16, 2011 Adam Wagner
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