Please release me (on bail) – The Human Rights Roundup
4 July 2011
Welcome back to 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:
Having had its second reading in the House of Commons, one of this week’s legal hot potatoes is the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. A detailed analysis of the Bill can be found on the Law Society Gazette’s website. Of interest, the government’s proposal to provide up to £20million extra for the provision of social welfare legal advice received a cautious welcome from Steve Hyne, director of Legal Action Group. Nonetheless Hyne, writing for the Guardian.co.uk, concludes that the extra funding is no replacement for the continued provision of legal aid, particularly if the money is a one-off. Adam Wagner summarizes early responses to the Bill from the legal-world here.
Also, responding to Lady Hale’s speech to The Law Society on legal aid cuts, the UKSC blog remarks that the Supreme Court Justice took an “unusual” step by implicitly endorsing criticisms levelled at the government’s justice policy, leaving her vulnerable to a potential application for recusal should legal proceedings on the policy ever reach the Supreme Court. Adam Wagner has also posted on this speech, although offers the slightly differing view that Lady Hale “just about stops short of criticising the current government’s plans“.
The Supreme Court again features in the headlines as the BBC reports that the government is asking it to stay (that is, temporarily suspend) a 6-week old decision of the High Court which overturned a long-standing practice in relation to police bail, pending an appeal. If unsuccessful, the government is likely to introduce emergency legislation to reverse the decision; an action supported by Simon Hetherington of
Halsbury’s Law Exchange blog to ensure that ongoing investigations are not “thrown into jeopardy“. A detailed background to the decision can be found on ObiterJ’s Law and Lawyers’ blog, and Michael Zander QC (who has written a book on police custody powers, amongst other things) has written a critical article in the Criminal Law and Justice Weekly. Zander says:
This is a very unfortunate decision if it is not quickly overturned on appeal it will need to be speedily reversed by legislation.
Finally, the Attorney General has given a speech to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe stating that nation States bear the primary responsibility to protect human rights under the European Convention and that the European Court of Human Rights “must be careful to respect that primary role.” This could be viewed as a warning-shot given that this Thursday, 7 July, the Grand Chamber of the European Court will deliver its much-awaited, seminal judgment concerning the extra-territorial applicability of the European Convention, which will in turn affect the applicability of the Human Rights Act outside of the UK. Click here for the Court’s press release, here for Adam Wagner’s recent post on the subject, and here for the European Journal of Internal Law blog’s detailed preview.
In the courts:
CASE OF ORLIĆ v. CROATIA (Application no. 48833/07): Where an occupier faces loss of their home by action by a public body, it must be possible for the proportionality of the eviction to be considered by an independent tribunal – see Nearly Legal
Flinders, R (on the application of) v The Director of High Security & Ors  EWHC 1630 (Admin) (30 June 2011): Murderer who put victim in crucifix shape should have been given oral hearing re prisoner categorisation decision. Decision quashed but no human rights damages.
Smith & Ors v Ministry of Defence  EWHC 1676 (QB) (30 June 2011): Human rights claims of 6 soldiers killed or injured in Iraq allegedly due to faulty equipment/ poor training struck out following decision in R(Smith) in Supreme Court. Negligence claims mostly survive. See Adam Wagner’s post.
Manchester Police, R (On the Application Of) v Hookway & Anor  EWHC 1578 (Admin) (19 May 2011) : High Court: Police must release suspect after 96 hours, even if they are on bail for part of that period – see above and in particular, Obiter J and Michael Zander QC
Sufi and Elmi v. the United Kingdom (application nos. 8319/07 and 11449/07): European Court of Human Rights: Deportation of two Somalis back to Mogadishu would breach article 3 protection against ill-treatment / article 2 right to life. Important case, over 200 similar cases behind it. See Adam Wagner’s post.
… and don’t forget to take a look at our recent posts:
- Hockeysticks: Climategate Unit told by Information Commissioner to produce weather data July 2, 2011 David Hart QC
- Where in the world does the Human Rights Act apply? July 1, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Deportation, secrecy and knowing the case against you July 1, 2011 Matthew Flinn
- More poor human rights reporting on Somali foreign criminals case June 30, 2011 Adam Wagner
- No removal of foreign criminals to failed states June 30, 2011 Rosalind English
- Human rights in some but not all disciplinary hearings at work, rules Supreme Court June 29, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Lady Hale on access to justice, legal aid and staying at The Ritz June 28, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Lord Rodger passes away June 28, 2011 Adam Wagner
… and why not take a look at other legal news roundups including the Law and Lawyers’ Weekend items … Saturday 2nd July … and Blogtour as well as Law Think’s Latest human rights developments in the UK.