Hallett, Hookway and Hacking – The Human Rights Roundup
25 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. You can also find our table of human rights cases here.
by Melinda Padron
In the news last week…
In a short speech to the Lord Mayor’s dinner for HM Judges, Lord Judge LCJ referred to 2011 as a difficult year for the judiciary amid attacks on individual judges and the judiciary as a whole for doing what is appropriate for judges to do: applying the law as they find it to be. The LCJ, however, reminded all that in a moment of crisis, such as the phone hacking scandal, the judiciary has a key role to play because of its recognised independence and impartiality.
The Government has accepted all recommendations made by Lady Justice Hallett, the coroner in the 7/7 inquests (see our previous post for the full recommendations), all of which are aimed at improving the work of the security services and medical emergency services. Whilst within the subject of terrorism, Simon Hetherington wrote a post for Halsbury’s Law Exchange regarding emergency extension of custody limits of suspects in terrorism investigations from 14 to 28 days. In such procedure there is a balancing exercise to be made between the competing interests of an individual’s liberty and national security. Hetherington then considers what happens to this balancing exercise when Parliament is not involved in scrutinising a given case and concludes that the balance tilts in favour of security. See also Adam Wagner’s review of recent developments in terrorism law.
Vicky Conway in the Human Rights in Ireland Blog considers whether all the fuss generated by the High Court decision in Manchester Police v Hookway (the 96-hour bail ruling – see this post for the background) was even necessary and suggests the focus should perhaps be on the fairness of the low evidential threshold required to arrest someone on grounds of mere suspicion.
Finally, a question about the nature of our relationship with legal decisions from Europe (very familiar, no?) will be decided this week, this time by the European Patent Office in Human Genome Sciences Inc v Eli Lilly and Company  EWCA Civ 33. For further information, see a preview of the case in the UK Supreme Court Blog here.
Coverage of the phone hacking scandal continues
Last week, and more precisely last Tuesday (or even, “Super Tuesday”), we witnessed Rebekah Brooks and Rupert and James Murdoch give evidence before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport. Whilst many considered this a victory in a way, some like Carl Gardner of Head of Legal felt a certain uneasiness about it. The Jack of Kent blog, by David Allen Green, noted that during the Select Committee hearing, James Murdoch seemed to attribute a lot of the blame to “distinguished external counsel” and questioned what would happen if the given lawyers were summoned to give evidence before the Committee. What would be the outcome of a clash between Parliamentary privilege and legal professional privilege?
For some the highlight of the scandal last week was the pie incident followed by Wendi Murdoch “bear-clawing” the pie-thrower to prevent his escape (and to find out what may happen to him, see Obiter J’s posthere). For others the highlights may have been the release of a report by the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee (click here for commentary on the findings by the Inforrm’s Blog) and the unveiling of the final terms of reference of the inquiry into phone hacking by David Cameron, including the nomination of those who will assist Lord Justice Leveson in what will surely be a very challenging task. Whilst the terms of reference seem very broad and now also include broadcasters and social media, those part of the Hacked-Off campaign are not satisfied with the terms. To find out about the aspects of the terms of reference (or aspects which are lacking) see an interesting post in the Inforrm’s Blog.
But is the most difficult part of the scandal yet to come? Siobhain Butterworth discusses in an article for the Guardian the issue of reform of the press regulatory framework. She shares some ideas of what may happen to the PCC and comments on Peter Mandelsson’s suggestions of reform of the said body.
If you have a particular interest in media law cases, the Inforrm Blog has a very useful table of cases which can be found here.
In the courts:
Control order of man accused of undertaking terrorist activities during trip to Pakistan was lawful. Secretary of state had reasonable grounds for suspecting BF involved in terrorism.
Interest on £100m+ costs claimed by Leigh Day in group action against Trafigura runs from date of interim or final costs certificate, not compromise agreement.
Gordon Ramsey’s father-in-law and former business partner fails to maintain privacy injunction preventing Sun from publishing details of secret family. See Rosalind English’s commentary to this case here.
Sun and Daily Mail get £15,000 contempt fines for publishing online picture of defendant with gun during his criminal trial. See coverage in the Guardian by Joshua Rozenberg here, and Adam Wagner’s commentary to the judgment here.
Claims relating to retention of DNA samples, fingerprints or associated data struck out of European Court of Human Rights.
Alleged Mau Mau uprising abuse victims can bring assault, battery and negligence claims against UK government on 4 out of 5 bases proposed.
Ratcliff-on-Soar environmental protest convictions quashed by Court of Appeal: “something went seriously wrong with the trial”. Crown failed to make proper disclosure re role and activities of undercover police officer, Mark Kennedy and materials potentially providing support to defence. See David Hart QC’s commentary to this case here.
Supreme Court: by 3-2 majority, it was right to order retrial of man accused of murder despite gross police misconduct
In a post on some of the interesting judgments which came out last week, Obiter J described R v Smith as a case concerning Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) under the Criminal Justice Act 2003 s225(3) as amended by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 s13(1). A “lifer” prisoner was released on licence and committed robberies. He was recalled to prison. When sentencing for the latest offences, the judge imposed a sentence of imprisonment for public protection. This was challenged but the Supreme Court has held that the sentence was in order. For more details see the UK Supreme Court Blog’s post here.
The Supreme Court (by a 4:1 majority) decided, overturning a decision by the Court of Appeal, that a teaching assistant’s rights under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights had been breached by the school’s decision to prohibit legal representation at an internal disciplinary hearing. See the UK Supreme Court Blog’s commentary to this case here.
…and don’t forget our recent posts:
- Religious freedom does not stop at the prison gates – Part 2 July 21, 2011 Rosalind English
- The book that all family practitioners wish they had written July 21, 2011 1 Crown Office Row
- Ratcliffe climate change protesters acquitted on appeal July 20, 2011 David Hart QC
- Terrorism off the agenda, for now July 20, 2011 Adam Wagner
- A leap of faith? July 20, 2011Alasdair Henderson
- The scoop, the chef, his wife and her father July 19, 2011Rosalind English
- Sun and Mail fined £15,000 for contempt of court July 19, 2011 Adam Wagner
- Electric shock collar ban has bite July 19, 2011 Rosalind English
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