Bailii needs money and Eady speaks – The Human Rights Roundup

13 June 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:

The big UK Human Rights Blog news is the launch of our new Case Table. Click here to see it.

Writing for the UK Constitutional Law Group blog, Professor Gordon Anthony summarizes the Supreme Court’s decision in Re. McCaughey. Following developments in the European Court of Human Rights’ case-law, the Supreme Court ruled that under article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to life), the procedural obligation to investigate deaths possibly caused by State agents is “detachable” from the State’s substantive obligation to protect the right to life of its citizens.

Whilst concluding that the implications of the McCaughey judgment are probably straightforward, the post outlines the Supreme Court’s criticisms of the European Court’s reasoning, as well as some of the possible consequences of its poorly reasoned judgments. See also Matthew Hill’s post today on this blog.

The European Court of Human Rights is also discussed by Timothy Garton Ash. Writing in the Guardian, Ash argues that although the European Court should remain a court of “last resort”, significant reform of the European court is needed, along with a British Bill of Rights to help placate the Daily Mail-reading public. However, as the Nearly Legal housing blog hasreported, there are instances where Daily Mail readers appear to be supportive of human rights. Click here for Adam Wagner’s post with links to articles concerning criticism of the European Court. For two differing opinions on the subject of reform of the European Court, see the guest post by Aidan O’Neill QC and my response.

Writing on Inforrm’s blog, Tim Lowles gives an excellent summary of the privacy developments within the “May Madness” month. The Guardian reports that the Attorney General has reminded Tweeters that they, too, are subject to privacy injunctions and that he will take action if necessary to “uphold the rule of law”. Essentially, flouting injunctions may leave Tweeters vulnerable to contempt of court proceedings – click here for Adam Wagner’s tips to avoid being found in contempt.

Also relevant to the ongoing privacy debate, legal journalist Joshua Rozenberg has interviewed Sir David Eady, formerly responsible for the key privacy judgments. Eady is sometimes painted as the architect of a “privacy law through the backdoor”. This wide-ranging interview is well worth reading. A few choice quotes: “There are lots of judgments that have been criticised where it’s quite apparent that people haven’t read them“; “Judges are human… but they make a pretty good fist at not being influenced by personal, political or religious views“; Privacy law “not a precise art and you can’t legislate for a precise outcome”.

For anyone needing clarification about the UK legal system, the Law and Lawyers blog has produced a comprehensive and accessible three-part series examining UK legal practitioners;courts; and, judges. The UK Supreme Court blog also has an interesting editorial about “the politics of the judiciary”.

Finally, a reminder of BAILII’s Appeal for Funding. BAILII provides members of the public and the legal profession with free access to thousands of national and international judgments. It is an invaluable public service (see Adam’s post on it is so valuable) which ensures that access to the law is not the preserve of a privileged few; making our society a bit more democratic. Whilst mainly looking for donations from sets of Chambers, law firms, legal associations and academic institutions, all donations are welcome so please give generously!

In the courts (also see our new Cases Table):

E & Ors, R (on the application of) v The Director of Public Prosecutions [2011]EWHC 1465 (Admin) (10 June 2011): Administrative Court: Decision to prosecute child for sexually abusing her younger sisters was unlawful and should be quashed. CPS failed to follow own guidance on sexual prosecutions.

E (Children), Re [2011] UKSC 27 (10 June 2011): Supreme Court: Court right to rule children taken by mother from father in Norway must be returned so allegations against father can be verified. Supreme Court press summary can be found here.

London Borough of Hillingdon v Neary & Anor [2011] EWHC 1377 (COP) (09 June 2011): Steven Neary, 21-yr-old with autism and severe learning disability, unlawfully detained contrary to art 5 of European Convention for over 11 months.

MGN LIMITED v. THE UNITED KINGDOM – 39401/04 [2011] ECHR 919 (9 June 2011): Daily Mirror’s win in European Court of Human Rights Naomi Campbell costs case becomes final – no further appeal.

RU (Bangladesh) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] EWCA Civ 651 (08 June 2011): No error of law deporting Bangladeshi man convicted of complicity in shooting. Interesting comments by Court of Appeal on meaning of “public interest”.

…and remember to take a look at our recent posts:


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