Even the judges are getting angry – The Roundup

28 February 2011 by

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

#Without Prejudice – The Law Podcast 1: Assange, EAW, British Bill of Rights, Oversupply of lawyers and Silk

Listen to a one hour discussion between David Allen Green, Carl Gardner, Charon QC and guests about this week’s topical legal issues.

Adoption: new guidance to break down barriers

In order to address the fall in number of children placed for adoption, the government has issued guidance to local authorities whereby people wanting to adopt can no longer be turned away on the grounds of race, age or social background.

Response of the Judges’ Council to Government’s consultation paper on legal aid

The judges of England and Wales have issued a joint response to the proposed legal aid cuts. They are not happy with the proposals. See this summary by Afua Hirsch in the Guardian. By way of example, the judges are worried about the unintended effects of more people representing themselves in court (paras 59 to 70 and 109 to 113), the effects on family justice (75 to 76),  and the exclusion of clinical negligence from legal aid support (37 to 47 – see Henry Witcomb’s excellent post making similar points).

NationalJournal.com – Obama Won’t Go to Court Over Defense of Marriage Act

President Obama believes that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and will no longer defend the 15 year old law in federal court, the Justice Department announced today. Meanwhile, the UK Home Secretary announced that the government was bringing changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which would allow the registration of civil partnerships to take place in religious premises. Would this mean churches may be sued if they refuse to do so? See our recent post on the issue.

Pickles: councils should allow meetings to be recorded

Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles and Local Government Minister, Bob Neill are supporting greater openness in local councils’ decision making by urging that they allow not only mainstream media, but also ‘citizen journalists’ (bloggers and local news journalists) into their meetings and they will increase accountability of local councils’ decisions. See our post on the future of legal blogging and how legal blogging is hopefully doing a similar job in the legal arena.

Forced sterilisation case heard in public

The hearing of a case which could lead to the sterilisation of a 21-year-old woman with severe learning disabilities was ordered to be held in open court before the Court of Protection. Although such cases are normally heard privately due to the sensitive nature of the medical information, Hedley J argued there was a legitimate public interest in the case, in particular with regards to the Court’s powers to take such measures.

A further bout with Strasbourg coming up? Compensation for miscarriage of justice and Cornish Pasties

Obiter J brings three interesting news. First, the admission of hearsay evidence in criminal trials (Criminal Justice Act 2003 (Part 11, chapter 2)) and its compatibility with article 6 may be the next subject of impasse between the ECtHR and the UK. As the UK awaits the ECtHR Grand Chamber’s decision in Khawaja and Tahery v UK, both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal have held that hearsay evidence was compatible with article 6. Second, the Supreme Court will in the near future decide a case on the subject of compensation for miscarriage of justice in the case of R (Adams) v Secretary of State for Justice. Finally, Cornish pasties have been given protected status under EU law.

Blogging for lawyers « Law, Justice and Journalism

On 17 February, 1 Crown Office Row chambers held an event where tweeters, bloggers and journalists discussed the future of legal blogging. See here the coverage of the event by several legal blogs, as well as a transcript of all the 364 Tweets posted about (and during) the discussions.

British bill of rights ‘will put judges in a difficult position’

Lord Woolf, a former senior law lord warned that a British bill of rights would complicate the position of courts, which would have to consider the two conventions when deciding cases. He added that the UK had the stark options of either accepting the ECHR, or not accepting it and leaving the Council of Europe, but expressed relief at Kenneth Clarke’s pledge that the UK would not withdraw from the ECHR.
In the case of Sharon Horie v UK, the ECtHR held inadmissible an application made by a new traveller challenging the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold the use of a prospective possession order against a group of new travellers, preventing them from occupying any land owned by the Forestry Commission. The ECtHR stated in obiter that there was a difference between living a nomadic lifestyle as a result of choice and by virtue of being born into an ethnic or cultural group.

In the courts:

Case Preview: FA (Iraq) (FC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department

This case concerns the impact of EU law on the availability of an appeal in a case where humanitarian protection is sought under the EU Qualification Directive (2004/83/EC). It was heard by the Supreme Court on 23 and 24 February.

London Borough of Hounslow v Powell [2011] UKSC 8 (23 February 2011)

This judgment gives guidance as to when eviction from local authority housing amounts to a breach of a tenant’s human rights and confirms that courts should have the power to consider the proportionality of previously automatic possession orders relating to council properties. See Adam Wagner’s post on Hounslow, as well as a detailed discussion in light of recent related jurisprudence on the matter.

Forsyth, R v [2011] UKSC 9 (23 February 2011)

Men charged with breaching sanctions against Iraq in 2002 fail to convince Supreme Court that the UK had no power to create a criminal offence under the United Nations Act 1946.

PO (Nigeria) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 132 (22 February 2011)

Decision to send  a woman brought from Nigeria to be a sex slave back was flawed as there was insufficient evidence she would be protected there and would not be in danger from trafficking gang.

Kulasekara v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 134 (18 February 2011)

Immigration Tribunal was right to refuse leave to remain application as business degree had been forged.

Garry Norman MANN v Portugual and the United Kingdom – 360/10 [2011] ECHR 337 (1 February 2011)

Gary Mann, sentenced to 2 years in Portuguese jail for football riot in 2004, loses case before ECtHR against extradition. See Adam Wagner’s post on this case here.

And don’t forget our recent posts…

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