Film those pesky judges?.. The Human Rights Roundup
6 June 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 Graeme Hall
In the news:
Joshua Rozenberg, critical of the decision to appoint Jonathan Sumption QC to the Supreme Court, reports that Parliament is consulting on whether it should intervene in judicial appointments. Indeed, a guardian.co.uk Editorial has suggested that the best way for the judiciary to defend itself against accusations by Parliament of over-stepping its authority, is to make itself more diverse. Adam Wagner has previously blogged about the (lack of) diversity in the upper echelons of the judiciary and has also published a two-part series on the power of unelected judges here and here.
This comes against the backdrop of the First Minister of Scotland appointing a panel of experts to consider the future role of the Supreme Court within Scots law. Whilst The Economist has stated that Alex Salmond may have ulterior motives, a conclusion also remarked upon by blogger Charon QC, the decision to review the Supreme Court’s position comes in response to judgments which will substantially affect suspects’ access to lawyers (see Adam Wagner’s post), as well as the quashing of Scottish convictions (see Rosalind English’s post).
Further, in a detailed discussion of the Court of Appeal’s decision which found that Sharon Shoesmith was unlawfully dismissed, the Law and Lawyers blog also picks up on the current tension between Parliament and the judiciary, arguing that the judiciary must reaffirm its place as a reviewer of ministerial decisions. The Fighting Monsters AMHP blog offers a social worker’s opinion on Shoesmith’s sacking which, whilst supportive of the Court’s decision, is not necessarily supportive of Shoesmith, herself.
Judith Townsend, writing on Inforrm’s blog, attempts to get to the bottom of the number of Super-Injunctions granted by the courts. James Wilson, writing for the Halsbury’s Law Exchange blog, concludes that whatever our feelings about the protection of celebrities’ private lives, the deliberate disregard of court injunctions is ultimately damaging to the rule of law. A further piece on Inforrm’s blog, develops the privacy debate by considering the justifications for State surveillance.
At a time when the UK Border Agency has reportedly granted an amnesty to thousands of asylum seekers, the Free Movement blog summarizes the “depressing” ‘Lives in the Balance’ Report by the Refugee Council. As well as highlighting dubious practices by legal advisors, the report concludes that separated children in asylum cases receive legal representation of, at best, questionable quality.
Finally, Guardian.co.uk has published some interesting articles questioning whether, following the roll out out Supreme Court Live (currently in recess until Wednesday), more court hearings should be broadcast live: See Should TV cameras be allowed inside UK law courts?by James Robinson and Cameras in court: trial by boredom? by David Banks.
Another succinct roundup of legal news can be found on ObiterJ’s blog: Law and Lawyers.
In the courts:
RG v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and North Wiltshire District Council (HB)  UKUT 198 (AAC) (05 May 2011): Failure to provide family with enough housing benefit to give disabled daughters separate bedrooms not breach of human rights
Parker Rhodes Hickmotts Solicitors v The Legal Services Commission  EWHC 1323 (Admin) (25 May 2011): Immigration solicitor fails in challenge to Legal Aid contract – “sad” but could have done more to get application points
R v Lord John Taylor (MP expenses) – Sentencing remarks of Mr Justice Saunders
R. AND H. v. THE UNITED KINGDOM – 35348/06  ECHR 844 (31 May 2011): Order that Northern Irish child be “freed” from family for adoption not breach of parents’ human rights. 2-stage process where child first freed & then adoptive parents found was appropriate.
E.G. v. THE UNITED KINGDOM – 41178/08  ECHR 846 (31 May 2011): Asylum seeker’s political affiliations and war scarring not likely to lead to detention & ill-treatment if sent back to Sri Lanka
Shoesmith, R (on the application of) v OFSTED & Ors  EWCA Civ 642 (27 May 2011): Direction under Education Act 1996 to remove Director of Children’s Services was unlawful as did not follow fair procedure
Bashir, R (on the application of) v The Independent Adjudicator  EWHC 1108 (Admin): Prison rules conviction for failure to provide urine sample quashed as Muslim prisoner legitimately fasting before court appearance. Article 9 breached
…and remember to take a look at our recent posts:
- ROC Sugar: keep the swings and ignore the roundabouts? June 3, 2011 David Hart QC
- Blogging (and maybe tweeting) should be part of Continuing Professional Development June 3, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Panorama at Winterbourne Park: the human rights angle – Lucy Series June 3, 2011 1 Crown Office Row
- The Adoption Dilemma: the rights of parents v child’s interests June 2, 2011 Rosalind English
- And about time for rights to nature? By Begonia Filgueira June 2, 2011 1 Crown Office Row
- Effective “amnesty” in UK asylum system, says report June 2, 2011 Adam Wagner
- When detaining foreign criminals the rules are the rules, says Supreme Court June 2, 2011 Matthew Flinn
- Is it time for a crime of ecocide? – Frances Aldson June 2, 2011 1 Crown Office Row
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