Even the judges are getting angry – The Roundup
28 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
Listen to a one hour discussion between David Allen Green, Carl Gardner, Charon QC and guests about this week’s topical legal issues.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In the courts:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
- “Torture is wrong”: Discuss February 28, 2011 Adam Wagner
- When does life mean life? February 28, 2011 Adam
- Julian Assange must face rape charges in Sweden, rules court February 24, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Will churches really be sued for not allowing civil partnerships? February 24, 2011 Matthew Flinn
- When eviction breaches human rights February 23, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Football “rioter” Garry Mann loses Euro human rights appeal February 23, 2011 Adam Wagner
- A stormy week for European human rights – The Roundup February 21, 2011 Melina Padron
- “British soldiers go to hell” and free speech February 21, 2011 Isabel McArdle
- Prisoners not entitled to compensation for voting ban February 19, 2011 Rosalind English
- Access to justice 2.0 February 18, 2011 Adam Wagner
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