Prisoners, Parliament et une interdiction – The human rights roundup

18 April 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 Graeme Hall

In the news:

Prisoner voting remains in the headlines and given that the European Court of Human Rights has refused the UK government’s request to reconsider Greens and MT v UK, it’s not going to stray far. Benn Quinn, writing in the Guardian, notes that the UK is one of very few signatories to the Convention on Human Rights which has a blanket ban; a point picked up by Adam Wagner in his recent post.

Strasbourg’s refusal to reconsider means that a blanket ban on prisoner voting amounting to a human rights violation is now a final decision. The Law and Lawyers blog reports that whilst it is disappointing Strasbourg did not give reasons for its refusal (an issue discussed in detail by Dr Ed Bates), the UK government’s reaction is awaited with interest; particularly as it takes the reins of the Council of Europe this October.

Chris Morris, in an interesting article for the BBC, reports that a major reason for the negative reaction to this judgment and other similar judgments is that they have emanated from international courts prefixed with the word “European”.  However, as The Lawyer notes, the UK judiciary and parliament’s relationship is at the very least becoming more fraught and the Inforrm blog, shedding some light on the number and types of privacy injunctions currently before the High Court, reminds us of the UK judiciary’s continued difficult relationship with the media.

Further, as Rosalind English reports, the UK judiciary’s relationship with the Strasbourg judiciary is not always plain sailing. Perhaps, as Geoffrey Robertson QC argued in the Mail Online, a British Bill of Rights is the best way forward?

While on the subject of blanket bans and the Strasbourg court, Joshua Rozenberg concludes that the Strasbourg court would find France’s ban on women wearing the burqa to be a human rights violation. The Human Rights in Ireland blog as well as Halsbury’s Law Exchange offer comprehensive analyses of this ban. See also our cross-post from Eoin Daly.

In the courts:

H and L v A City Council [2011] EWCA Civ 403 (14 April 2011) : Local authority’s disclosure of sex offender’s conviction to charities he worked with was unlawful as he didn’t work with children

Inzunza & Ors v United States of America & Ors (Rev 1) [2011] EWHC 920 (Admin) (14 April 2011): Extradition of 3 criminal suspects (2 of murder, 1 drug dealing) would not be inhuman & degrading punishment contrary to Article 3 ECHR

Moos & Anor, R (on the application of) v Police of the Metropolis [2011] EWHC 957 (Admin) (14 April 2011): High court: Police “kettle” (containment” of Climate Camp protesters on 1/4/09 was unnecessary and unlawful. Tactics “unduly inflexible” and used “unjustified force”

Secretary of State for the Foreign Office & Commonwealth Affairs v Maftah & Anor [2011] EWCA Civ 350 (13 April 2011) : Court of appeal: Review of financial anti-terror sanctions imposed on 2 Libyans not a determination of article 6 ECHR civil rights

Rahman, R (on the application of) v Birmingham City Council [2011] EWHC 944 (Admin) (31 March 2011): High Court rules Birmingham council’s decision to cut legal advice centres funding was unlawful as failed to discharge equality duties (old rules)

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  1. dora435 says:

    If you want to get behind micarraige of justice, take this case for starters, young black man in wrong place at wrong time when a house is being broken into. police arrested him contrary to eyewitness account,is the crime solved ? but this young man is an immigrant with student visa, no immigration laws broken but he was convicted due to police lies and ineptness of the barrister involved.he has no money now and locked up for nearly 2 an 1/2years even though securing a case review, 3 judges turn him down for bail to fight this case an dont seem to care he has a review pending.
    immigration reps even link him to gangs,this young man needs help, all the solicitors he had let him down.

  2. John Hirst says:

    Graeme Hall: “Strasbourg’s refusal to reconsider means that a blanket ban on prisoner voting amounting to a human rights violation is now a final decision”.

    Hirst v UK (No2) was appealed by the UK to the Grand Chamber, and the GC rejected the appeal therefore it was a final decision over 5 years ago!

    Obiter J: As Dr Ed Bates points out “The Rules of the Court state it is not obliged to give reasons for its refusal to accept a referral (Rule 73(2))”.

    Whilst seeing the reason(s) might be interesting, personally I am more interested in the fact that the UK has failed to provide reasons for not fulfilling its obligations under the Convention.

    1. ObiterJ says:

      I am aware that the GC is not obliged to accept a referral. I also know that they are not obliged to give reasons. I merely think that the latter is fudamentally wrong in any modern system of law which requires decision-makers (including courts) to give reasons.

      I think we have the government’s reasoning. Basically, they disagree with the ruling for entirelyu political reasons. The recent Parliamentary debate saw Ministers setting out their position.

  3. ObiterJ says:

    Many thanks for the mention of Law and Lawyers. In my view, it was definitely a mistake not to give reasons for deciding against the UK’s request for a referral to the GC. We need to know the reasoning involved. I am not so sure it is as entirely obvious as some think.

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