Twitter arrests, religion and the law, and Article 8 applications
5 August 2012
Welcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your weekly bulletin 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.
by Wessen Jazrawi
In the news
It has been a quiet week in the blogosphere which suggests that everyone else has been as glued to the Olympics as I have. This week has seen the arrest of a 17 year old following abusive tweets to Tom Daley and a case looking at the interesting question of whether a Jewish girl could be allowed to have herself baptised, as well as cases concerning Article 8 applications. This week also marks the start of Parliamentary recess and the end of the Trinity legal term. The next couple of months will be quiet as the courts and parliament take their summer breaks.
Contractual security vetting
David Hart QC considers on the UKHRB the implications of the recent judgment in R (on the application of A) v. Chief Constable of B Constabulary  EWCA 2141 (Admin), 26 July 2012 which concerned the award of a subcontract which was subject to vetting by the police. The police refused to give the subcontractor clearance and refused to say why, stating that it was a contractual matter. For a thorough analysis of the case, including the extent of the public law duty of fairness owed by the police, see David Hart QC’s post here.
Jewish girl may be baptised
Also by David Hart QC is a post looking at the interesting case of A Mother v. A Father  EW Misc 15 (CC), 11 May 2012, where a Jewish mother went to court to stop her child being baptised before the age of 16. The judge looked to the Children Act 1989 to determine what was in the best interests of the child and held that the baptism could go ahead, if that was what the child wished. For more detail, see here.
Twitter abuse and Tom Daley
In an article on the Guardian, Joshua Rozenberg considers the arrest of a 17 year-old boy following abusive messages he sent to Tom Daley via Twitter. He considers the arrest in the light of the recent judgment in the Paul Chambers case, which cleared him of sending a menacing communication, and notes that what Twitter users have to understand is that a tweet is not an email – it is a broadcast that can be seen by anyone.
Where to make an Article 8 application from
The UK Immigration Law Blog examines the recent case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v Hayat (Pakistan)  EWCA Civ 1054 which turned on the case of Chikwamba (FC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKHL 40 and the question of whether those here unlawfully should go home and seek entry clearance, or whether they can stay and make an Article 8 application from here. A number of issues were taken into account, not least the extent of disruption to family or private life if they were sent back, of which children played an important part.
Law and Media roundup
For an excellent roundup of news in the media law world, see the Inforrm Blog’s post – it covers the Leveson inquiry, statements in open court and apologies, journalism and recent cases.
World War II obsession distorts human rights debate
Finally, in a post on the UKHRB, Rosalind English provides an analysis of an article by SOAS EU law expert Dr. Gunner Beck which looks at the problems created by British hostility to Germany since World War II. She addresses the fact that there is a tendency to denounce anyone who criticises modern human rights legislation as a “crypto-Nazi, a racist, and a divisive and dangerous right-winger”. A recommended read for those interested in what lies beneath human rights law and theory.
In the courts
Secretary of State for the Home Department v Hayat (Pakistan)  EWCA Civ 1054. Court of Appeal considers proper application of Chikwamba in two linked appeals about when it is appropriate to send someone back to their home country to bring an Article 8 claim from there.
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The Tom Daley Twitter affair was perhaps the most controversial. Freedom of expression is a virtue, abuse it and the consequences will be severe. For a respective sportsman to come out and personally criticize an individual going through a difficult time is simply not on. Twitter is a great platform since it allows people of various societal ranks to interact. It would be a shame to see anything happen to it.
Your heading above “Jewish girl may be baptised” is correct. But the description beneath the heading is, at best, highly ambiguous. I refer to your sentence: “The judge looked to the Children Act 1989 to determine what was in the best interests of the child and held that the baptism should go ahead.” [My emphasis]
The judge decided that the girls wishes should be respected, ie that she could be baptised, if she wanted it, not that she should be. It was the respecting of her wishes which he determined was in her best interests, not the baptism.
I don’t wish to sound picky, but I think it would be unhelpful if people are given the impression that the court had decided to order the baptism of a Jewish child.
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