Brighton bombshells, Justice vs Security, Legal Aid U-turns – The Human Rights Roundup

4 March 2012 by

Welcome back to your weekly helping of human rights news. The full list of links can be found here. You can also find our table of human rights cases here and previous roundups here.

In the news

The biggest news of the week was the leak of the Draft Brighton declaration, the UK’s proposals for the reform of the European Court of Human Rights. In other news, a spotlight finally began to shine on the Government’s Justice and Security Green Paper, with the Daily Mail suggesting that it might do anything but promote justice and security.

by Wessen Jazrawi

Draft Brighton declaration

Should you wish to read the Draft Brighton declaration in full, it’s available on the Guardian website. Otherwise, for an excellent summary and analysis of the most salient parts, look no further than the UK Constitutional Law Group Blog. This outlines, in particular, the emphasis on subsidiarity, proposals aimed at strengthening national systems through their implementation of the ECHR, an advisory opinion mechanism, and a new approach to admissibility whereby an application would be inadmissible unless (i) the national court “erred” in interpreting ECHR rights; or (ii) the application “raises a serious question” relating to the interpretation or application of the ECHR. For more on this, see blogs from Obiter J and ECHR Blog.

Justice and Security Green Paper

As blogged on by Adam Wagner this week, the general silence that has met the Government’s Justice and Security Green Paper has finally ended with the influential Daily Mail reporting that the Special Advocates themselves have warned (you read it here first – see the UKHRB scoop on the Special Advocates response from early January) that introducing closed material procedures into civil trials could lead to fundamental unfairness. See also previous posts by Adam Wagner here and here. Hopefully this will mark the start of a national debate on an issue that should be of concern to us all.

Legal aid reforms

The Guardian reports on the Government’s u-turn on legal aid provision for brain-damaged babies and victims of domestic violence, noting that the amendments abandoned plans to remove entitlements for these highly emotive cases in the hope of heading off defeat in the House of Lords next week – see also our post.

Conflict of rights

Sarah Plaka on the Halsbury’s Law Exchange blog takes issue with the comments of Sir Trevor Philips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, made at a seminar on “super-diverse” societies. In particular, she offers a rebuttal to his statement that no real example exists to show that discrimination against one group on the grounds of religion or belief might lead to some consequent disadvantage on the part of another.

Right to independent living

The JCHR published a report on the right to independent living this week, noting that the rights of disabled people may be at risk. The excellent Small Places blog has followed up on this with another excellent blogpost, which not only focuses on the use of CPRD before the domestic courts but also discusses the issue of reliance on international treaties in domestic courts more generally.

Strasbourg and freedom of expression

Inforrm‘s blog has analysed the recent Tuşalp v. Turkey judgment from the European Court of Human Rights, noting that it continues a strong tradition in European Court jurisprudence where freedom of expression prevails in cases of insult or defamation of heads of state, presidents or high-ranking politicians.

New ECHR factsheets

The ECHR Blog has published a useful list of the new or updated factsheets about the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights produced by the court itself. The fact sheets are a fantastic resource and should be taken advantage of whilst they are being regularly updated.

Principle of non-refoulement 

Finally, a blogpost from EJIL: Talk on the Strasbourg judgment of last week that Italy had breached non-refoulement obligations by intercepting migrants’ boats at sea, also blogged on by UKHRB.

In the courts

W, R (on the application of) v Warwickshire Police [2012] EWHC 406 (Admin) (02 March 2012) March 2, 2012. The High Court held that the issue by the police an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate for a supply teacher was not unlawful.

Shakeel Ahmad and Syed Mubarak Ahmed v R [2012] EWCA Crim 391 March 2, 2012. Court of Appeal quashes the two largest ever proceeds of crime confiscation orders of £92m each and replaces with orders for £12.6m.

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