Hacking, torture and legal aid – The Human Rights Roundup

18 July 2011 by

In the week that saw the UK Human Rights Blog reach half a million hits, we welcome you 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. You can also find our table of human rights cases here.

by Graeme Hall

In the news:


With the resignation of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, and the arrest of the former Chief Executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, the phone-hacking scandal revelations continue to snowball. Adam Wagner considers what role human rights may have played in the News of the World’s demise, here.

The RPC Privacy Blog reports on the Inquiry set up to investigate phone-hacking. The Inquiry will focus on two areas. First, “a full review of the regulation of the press”; and, second, “an investigation into the wrongdoing of the press and police, including the failure of the first police inquiry”. Bagehot, writing in The Economist, considers how (and whether) the press ought to be regulated independently. In particular, Bagehot considers the Prime Minister’s comment that a body akin to the Advertising Standards Authority could offer the best solution.

RPC Privacy Blog also notes that Lord Justice Leveson, judge of the Court of Appeal, will head the phone-hacking Inquiry. Whilst Dominic Carman, writing in the Guardian, purports to outline some of Leveson’s flaws, the appointment of a judge to preside over the Inquiry has led Joshua Rozenberg to write that “when people can no longer trust the press, police or politicians, only a judge will do.” This is an interesting observation given recent murmurings about unelected and unaccountable judges, as well as an article in the UK Constitutional Law Group blog calling for Parliament to have greater input into the selection of senior judges.

Torture allegations

Human Rights Watch published a report, Getting Away with Torture, calling for George W. Bush and other senior members of the Bush administration to be the subject of criminal investigations into their roles in the alleged torture and ill-treatment of detainees. HRW’s press summary states that there is

substantial information warranting criminal investigations of Bush and senior administration officials, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and CIA Director George Tenet, for ordering practices such as “waterboarding,” the use of secret CIA prisons, and the transfer of detainees to countries where they were tortured.

Richard Moorhead, writing for the Lawyer Watch blog, focuses on the report’s allegations that lawyers tailored legal advice to suit the aims of the Bush administration, as well as the mirror-image excuse given by Bush and others that they always followed legal advice.

HRW’s report comes at a time when the UK Supreme Court has ruled that the courts have no common law power to use “closed material procedures” (that is, secret evidence) when assessing compensation claims against the UK government for alleged involvement in torture (see Rosalind English’s post). Owen Bowcott, writing in the Guardian, describes the judgment as a “significant victory for open justice”, but then continues to mention another decision of the Supreme Court (see also Rosalind English’s post) which ruled that such closed procedures can be used in employment tribunals. For an explanation of the apparent contradiction, see the Law and Lawyers’ post, and Rosalind English’s post, here.

Legal aid

In response to the news that the Immigration Advisory Service has gone into administration (a decision tentatively criticised by the Free Movement blog as “questionable”), the government issued a statement saying that the IAS’ work would be distributed among other providers. However, this offers cold comfort given the impending legal aid cuts.

Indeed, a post by barrister Nick Armstrong on the Law Watch blog describes the government’s Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill as having “the effect of completely removing legal aid from all non-asylum, non-Article 3 claims”.

The chair of The Bar Council, Peter Lodder, also criticises the government for misrepresenting the statistics on legal aid to galvanise support for cuts, while also highlighting the negative effects legal aid reductions will have on access to justice for the young and vulnerable in our society. For our overview of the Bill, see Adam Wagner’s post, here.

Take a look at other legal news roundups:

Obiter J’s Law and Lawyers’ blog offers a concise roundup of legal news, answering the rhetorical question What has happened apart from the “phone-hacking” debacle? Inforrm’s Blog has also published its regular Law and Media roundup here.

In the courts:

Duncombe & Ors v Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families [2011] UKSC 14 (30 March 2011): Supreme Court: Teachers employed by Sec of State to work abroad at European Schools entitled to the protection against unfair dismissal – see the Education Law Blog.

Al Rawi and others v The Security Service and others [2011] UKSC 34: Supreme Court: Courts have no inherent power to order closed material procedures. See Rosalind English’s post.

Home Office (Appellant) v Tariq (Respondent) [2011] UKSC 35: Home Office wins on Supreme Court appeal – No absolute requirement for claimant to know gist of case against them in civil proceedings if national secrets involved. See Rosalind English’s posts here and here.

NM, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Justice [2011] EWHC 1816 (Admin) (12 July 2011): Prison acted lawfully in deciding not to investigate allegations of sexual assault on prisoner with learning difficulties. See Lucy Series’ reproduced post, here.

Case-law commentaries from across the blogosphere:

Duncombe (No. 2) [2011] UKSC 36 Education Law Blog

Quader, R (on the application of) v SSHD Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

R (NM) v Secretary of State for Justice [2011] The Small Places blog

Home Office v Tariq Daniel Barnett’s Employment Law Archive

Thamby, R (on the application of) v SSHD – LTTE, nationality, naturalisation and “good character” United Kingdom Immigration Law Blog

Class Conflict: R (G) v the Governors of X School [2011] UKSC 30 Solicitors Journal

… and don’t forget to look at out recent posts:


  1. bobby cracknell jnr says:

    sack the lot

  2. John Dowdle says:

    Apparently, Yates of the Yard is being interviewed by an ethics committee today and there is also the case of another former senior police officer who was appointed to a position with News International after leaving the Met.
    This latest set of events looks likely to continue running for some time to come before any further enquiries are held.

Comments are closed.

Welcome to the UKHRB

This blog is run by 1 Crown Office Row barristers' chambers. Subscribe for free updates here. The blog's editorial team is:
Commissioning Editor: Jonathan Metzer
Editorial Team: Rosalind English
Angus McCullough QC David Hart QC
Martin Downs
Jim Duffy

Free email updates

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog for free and receive weekly notifications of new posts by email.




Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption AI air pollution air travel ALBA Allergy Al Qaeda Amnesty International animal rights Animals Anne Sacoolas anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 article 263 TFEU Artificial Intelligence Asbestos Assange assisted suicide asylum asylum seekers Australia autism badgers benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery British Waterways Board care homes Catholic Church Catholicism Chagos Islanders Charter of Fundamental Rights child protection Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Commission on a Bill of Rights common law communications competition confidentiality consent conservation constitution contact order contact tracing contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus coronavirus act 2020 costs costs budgets Court of Protection covid crime criminal law Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty defamation DEFRA deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention Dignitas diplomacy diplomatic relations disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA domestic violence duty of care ECHR ECtHR Education election Employment Environment Equality Act Equality Act 2010 Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Facebook Facial Recognition Family Fatal Accidents Fertility FGM Finance foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy France freedom of assembly Freedom of Expression freedom of information freedom of speech Gay marriage gay rights Gaza Gender genetics Germany Google Grenfell Gun Control hague convention Harry Dunn Health HIV home office Housing HRLA human rights Human Rights Act human rights news Human Rights Watch Huntington's Disease immigration India Indonesia injunction Inquests insurance international law internet inuit Iran Iraq Ireland islam Israel Italy IVF ivory ban Japan joint enterprise judaism judicial review Judicial Review reform Julian Assange jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Bill Law Pod UK legal aid legal aid cuts Leveson Inquiry lgbtq liability Libel Liberty Libya lisbon treaty Lithuania local authorities marriage Media and Censorship mental capacity Mental Capacity Act Mental Health military Ministry of Justice modern slavery morocco murder music Muslim nationality national security naturism neuroscience NHS Northern Ireland nuclear challenges nuisance Obituary ouster clauses parental rights parliamentary expenses scandal patents Pensions Personal Injury physician assisted death Piracy Plagiarism planning planning system Poland Police Politics Pope press prison Prisoners prisoner votes Prisons privacy procurement Professional Discipline Property proportionality prosecutions prostituton Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest Public/Private public access public authorities public inquiries quarantine Radicalisation refugee rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion RightsInfo right to die right to family life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania round-up Round Up Royals Russia saudi arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice Secret trials sexual offence shamima begum Sikhism Smoking social media social workers South Africa Spain special advocates Sports Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance sweatshops Syria Tax technology Terrorism The Round Up tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine universal credit universal jurisdiction unlawful detention USA US Supreme Court vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Weekly Round-up Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wildlife wind farms WomenInLaw Worboys wrongful birth YearInReview Zimbabwe


This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.

Our privacy policy can be found on our ‘subscribe’ page or by clicking here.

%d bloggers like this: