Occupy, kettling and Strasbourg stress – The Human Rights Roundup

23 January 2012 by

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 can be found here. You can also find our table of human rights cases here and previous roundups here.

by Wessen Jazrawi

In the news


First, a plea from the Pink Tape family law blog to donate to BAILII, particularly if you run a blog that links to BAILII or if you are a lawyer who relies on BAILII for transcripts, or to simply do their online survey: BAILII – Pink Tape. This blog would not exist without the excellent service provided by BAILII – please help them by donating and doing the survey.

Wilton Park

The report from the Wilton Park conference, where the good and great of Europe met to discuss the future of the European Court of Human Rights, has been published. Suggestions included requiring individuals to show that non-examination of the case would cause a “significant disadvantage” and introducing a “universal periodic review” procedure, such as that used by the UN. It was recognised that national implementation was by far the biggest challenge that the system faced.  The full report can be found here.

Stress in Strasbourg

Also on the topic of reform of the European Court of Human Rights, Prime Minister David Cameron is to give a speech in Strasbourg on Wednesday, and this has been heavily trailed by the media. See Cameron to tell Europe’s judges to stop interfering in British law (Daily Mail), Britain challenges power of human rights court (Telegraph) and PM to Euro court: Stop the meddling (Sun).

The Prime Minister will be well aware that the controversial court issued 3 judgments concerning the UK this week. In a ruling that has caused controversy, the Court found that suspected terrorist Abu Qatada could not be deported to Jordan because there remained the risk that evidence obtained using torture would be used against him. For an analysis of the judgment, click here: Suspected terrorist may not be deported to Jordan Strasbourg rules. For commentary by the Guardian, click here.

In another ruling, the Court approved UK justice when it found that “whole life” tariffs for murder with no hope of release (except by the Secretary of State on compassionate grounds) was not a breach of Article 3. For an article by UKHRB, click here: Whole life sentences for murder not in breach of Convention says Strasbourg and for an article by the Justice Gap, click here. For commentary by Liberty on both judgments, click here: Court of Human Rights prefers British style justice to Jordanian law.

Finally, in the third case, the Court found that the Article 3 rights of 2 men indicted for murder in the United States would not be violated if they were extradited, despite risking death penalty or sentences of life imprisonment without parole.

For a summary of all three cases, see Adam Wagner’s post Strasbourg: L’enfant terrible. See also this article by the Guardian on the wider context of the power struggle between the UK and Strasbourg.


More hacking news: a great article by David Allen Green in the New Statesman on the question of what the Times did or did not know about computer hacking when it went to the High Court to defend their outing of Nighthawk, an anonymous police blogger: What did the Times know about computer hacking and when?

370,000 migrant workers on the dole?

And here’s a great article by jwci debunking the Telegraph article on migrant workings claiming the dole: 370000 migrants on the dole. Really?

Sharia law

Click here for an interesting piece on sharia law and whether decisions taken by sharia tribunals are binding as regards divorce. Legal blogger Carl Gardner has queried whether some of the claims in the article are legally correct, in particular whether Sharia law have “legal force” in divorce proceedings.

More on the Children Rights Alliance judicial review

For an article discussing the Children’s Rights Alliance attempts to force the Ministry of Justice to track down and contact people who may have been subjected to unlawful restraint while in Secure Training Centres as youths – which failed because CRA was not itself the victim of any human rights breach – click here. See also Rosalind English’s post

In the courts

City of London v Samede [2012] EWHC 34 (QB). Occupy London is to be evicted. The court held that the extent and duration of the Occupy encampment and the public nuisance inherent in their obstruction of the highway, amongst other factors, warranted the eviction. According to a post by Nearly Legal, permission to appeal was refused but the High Court has stayed enforcement for 7 working days, to 4 pm on 27 January, to allow them to challenge that decision.

R (on the application of Associated Newspapers Ltd) v Leveson (As Chairman of the Leveson Inquiry [2012] EWCA 57 Admin. Associated Newspapers loses its application for judicial review of Lord Leveson’s decision to allow journalists to give evidence anonymously.

R (on the application of McClure and Moos) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2012] EWCA Civ 12. Metropolitan Police win their appeal against the High Court ruling that the tactic used had been unlawful. The Court of Appeal took into account the fact that the Divisional Court had substituted its own view of whether a breach of the peace was imminent, instead of assessing whether the police had been reasonable in their view.

The Government of the United States of America v  Richard O’Dwyer. Richard O’Dwyer’s attempt to resist extradition failed. He attempted to block his extradition by relying on a combination of human rights and other objections relating to the manner and circumstances surrounding the request.

Joseph Lennox Holmes (Appellant) v Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (Respondent) [2011] UKPC 48. The disciplinary procedures of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons did not give rise to any appearance of bias so as to breach a practitioner’s right to a fair trial.

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