Debating the Abu Qatada affair – Gavin Phillipson

26 November 2012 by

I watched the BBC’s flagship political debate Question Time last week and saw a panel of senior politicians from the three main parties plus UKIP debate the implications of the Abu Qatada affair with the audience. You can watch it here (starts at 8 mins 27 seconds) and I urge you to do so. I found the debate illuminating and alarming in equal measure; it made me reflect seriously on how precarious Britain’s interwoven system of international and domestic protection for human rights may actually be these days.

It seems a long time ago that we naively thought that repeal of the Human Rights Act was “unthinkable” – now withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) itself must seemingly be taken as a serious possibility, depending on the outcome of the next election.  The failure of the HRA to implant itself into our political, still less our popular culture was starkly apparent from the debate: I don’t think anyone even mentioned it. A statute that should surely be an important reference point in any discussion of a contemporary UK human rights issue has become so marginalised and misunderstood that it simply didn’t come up. Can one imagine American – or German – politicians discussing such an issue without mentioning their constitutional Bills of Rights – or Canadians, without mentioning the Charter?

Also striking was the virtual unanimity in the panel and amongst the audience that Qatada should be on a plane to Jordan or at least that he should be behind bars – but apparently without the inconvenience of having to convict him of any offence. From a human rights perspective, it is perhaps hard to say which was the more depressing low-light of the debate: Harriet Harman for Labour seemingly calling for the return of internment of foreign nationals or Chris Grayling for the Tories explicitly leaving open the possibility of complete withdrawal from the ECHR. Every speaker was sure that Qatada was a dangerous terrorist (or least “not conducive to the public good” as Harman put it); despite the fact that he has never been convicted of a terrorist offence in this country, no-one allowed themselves to be troubled by the presumption of innocence.

The legal aspects of the latest judgment in the Qatada saga, delivered by SIAC, were ably analysed by Tom Hickman on this blog last week. The point of this post is not to consider this judgment, the Strasbourg one that preceded it, or the legal incongruities they throw up – something Hickman dissected well. Rather it is simply to point out how rapidly and radically human rights arguments seem to be losing the day – and to consider what lessons we can draw from this sobering snapshot of political attitudes towards rights in the post-Blair era.

The Question Time “debate”

What then were the lines taken by the speakers? Nigel Farage for UKIP called for the British Government to “show a bit of spine” and simply defy Strasbourg. He ended by saying – to loud applause – “to hell with the European Court of Human Rights”. Predictable enough, we might say.

Tessa Munt, for the Liberal Democrats at least knew that the most recent judgment blocking Qatada’s deportation was by SIAC, not Strasbourg. But she devoted most of her comments not to supporting the rule of law or arguing for the sanctity of the anti-torture norm, but to say that it was “extraordinary” that Qatada was free to “walk the streets” during daytime hours and calling for him to be arrested. She didn’t say what for;  the fact that in 10 years the prosecuting authorities have not thought it possible to charge Qatada with anything, suggesting that the evidence is simply not there, didn’t seem to trouble her. (Qatada was arrested and questioned in February 2001 about a German terrorist cell. Due to a lack of evidence he was never charged). As well as failing to defend the anti-torture norm, she made no attempt to stand up for either the Convention or the Strasbourg Court.  And this from the pro-civil liberties, pro-European Liberal Democrats.

The Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, as Lord Chancellor has particular duties by convention and under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 to uphold the rule of law and judicial independence, so he was careful not to criticise any individual judges. He was clear that the government and other authorities had to obey rulings of a British court – but didn’t say whether the same applied to Strasbourg judgments. In relation to the European Convention he said repeatedly that the current “human rights framework” in Europe was not working and must be changed. He clearly and explicitly stated that outright withdrawal from the Convention was one of the options he was considering – the first time I have heard a sitting Lord Chancellor float this possibility. The clear reversal of the pro-Convention attitude of the previous Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke was starkly apparent.

Harriet Harman’s remarks on behalf of Labour were in some ways the most startling and depressing, both for their authoritarian tendencies and their seeming ignorance of the legal framework.  While Grayling is a known right-winger and Euro-sceptic, Harman has a strong background in human rights – she was a legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties – now Liberty – and has taken the British Government to Strasbourg and won cases there concerning both contempt of court and the legal status of MI5.

One might therefore have hoped for a robust defence of human rights and the rule of law from one of Labour’s most seasoned campaigners for civil liberties. She did say – almost in parentheses – that we shouldn’t deport people to countries where they could be tortured or have torture evidence used against them in court.  But the main thrust of her remarks, like those of her Liberal Democrat colleague, was directed against the fact that Qatada was “walking around free”.

But whereas Muntappeared to be calling for Qatada to be put on trial, Harman explicitly and repeatedly called for a return for internment.  “We did have a system in the past” she said, for detaining non-British citizens whom the authorities consider a threat to national security but can’t deport because of the risk of torture.  Later remarks clarified that this did not refer to detention with a view to deportation (lawful under Article 5(1)(f)) but rather to detention of those we know we cannotdeport. It was also clear that it referred to those who we cannot convict in a court of law.  Seemingly, therefore she was calling for something like the re-enactment of the powers under Part IV of the Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001 to detain foreign terror suspects indefinitely without charge.

To have a Labour Shadow Minister calling for a return of this draconian and discredited power was alarming enough. Worst still was her seeming ignorance of the legal background (Harman has served as Solicitor General and holds the honorary title of QC).  First, the introduction of detention without trial would plainly violate Article 5 of the Convention, and therefore require the UK to derogate from it (as in 2001), something in turn which requires there to be “a public emergency threatening the life of the nation.”   But Harman never acknowledged this, or suggested that such an emergency exists.

Second, although she was a member of the Government at the relevant time, she seemed not to know why the Part IV ACTSA power had been withdrawn. Harman said was that it was a judgment of the Strasbourg court that  prevented detention without trial of foreign nationals. She said several times that the remedy for this was that all the European countries for whom this judgment was a problem should go “back to Strasbourg” and say “we must have the right to determine our own immigration processes,” including – seemingly – the power to detain those who cannot be deported.  What is baffling about this is that it was of course a judgment by a British court – the then House of Lords in what we like to call the “famous” Belmarsh judgment – that found the Part IV indefinite detention powers unlawful under the Convention; the House found that even assuming that there was a public emergency, detaining only non-nationals was irrational, discriminatory and disproportionate.  Yes, Strasbourg endorsed that finding five years later in A v UK (2009) but it is the Belmarsh judgment that led to the withdrawal of Part IV, and which still stands as a precedent binding on lower courts.

The third point relates to the grounds that Harman gave for detaining Abu Qatada without trial. She complained several times about the cost of keeping him under surveillance and concluded (this is a quote): “We wouldn’t feel unsafe and it would be cheaper.” Aside from the fact that these are somewhat flimsy grounds on which to introduce so grave a step as internment, Harman must surely know (mustn’t she?) that they could never justify a derogation. Finally, none of the politicians mentioned the UN Convention Against Torture, to which the UK is a signatory, Article 3 of which specifically prohibits deportation to torture.

In all of this, it was left to the non-politician guest – the CEO of Saatchi, Moray MacLennan, to, as he put it, introduce a small note of dissent by mildly querying why, if Qatada was such a notorious terrorist, he had never been charged with any criminal offence.  In contrast, all the comments from the audience were hard-line. One man said, to applause, “we’re a soft touch –everyone in Europe knows we’re a soft touch”; an Asian teenage boy said firmly that foreign nationals engaged in terrorism-related activity should be locked up. Since he mentioned nothing about a charge, trial or a conviction, this appeared to be a pro-internment comment – also applauded. Meanwhile another man said simply that there must be some way of sending Qatada back to Jordan while another bizarrely said that Qatada’s fate should be decided by a referendum.

Comment

What are we to make of the above? Am I being alarmist, or overly pessimistic? After all, both the Labour and Liberal Democrat spokeswoman did say that we shouldn’t send Qatada to Jordan, which is something.  Perhaps also, someone might say, Harman was not seriously calling for a return to internment (even though that is what she said). She just knew that Qatada and his rights are wildly unpopular and thought that anything other than sounding “tough” about him would be political suicide; besides Labour would never be held to her call for the return of internment. Perhaps even the Tories would never really pull us out of the ECHR – perhaps they just make vague threats to appease press and popular anger – about Qatada, and about prisoner’s voting rights.

Even granted all these things, as a snapshot of contemporary political attitudes about rights, the Question Time debate was still deeply disturbing. Even if Harman didn’t mean what she said, the fact that she felt she had to call for detention without trial just to keep Labour on the right side of public opinion on the Qatada issue would still be deeply disturbing in showing where the centre of gravity now lies in public discussion of human rights.

Moreover, even if some of the Tories don’t really mean it when they threaten to pull out of the Convention (and I think at least some of them are in deadly earnest), their comments steadily chip away at the legitimacy of the Convention, rapidly making what was previously unthinkable – save for those on the really hard-core anti-European Right – a mainstream policy option.  Such calls also steadily build up expectations amongst the right-wing media and sections of the public that this will actually happen.

The Tories have now been making angry noises about the HRA and the Convention for a long time: they won’t be able to fob off their supporters, UKIP, the Sun and the Mail for much longer with Bills of Rights Commissions and vague promises of a “British” Bill of Rights. Even when politicians say things they don’t mean to appease an angry electorate it still confirms my suspicion that in many, perhaps most cases, when it comes to the rights of unpopular minorities like terrorism suspects and asylum seekers, votes lie in restricting, not upholding rights.

Finally, for those of us who do not vote Conservative, and are desperate to see a more progressive Government after 2015, we are left gloomily watching debates like this, and Yvette Cooper outflanking the Coalition to the right by repeatedly attacking the Government for removing the power to impose internal exile on terror suspects subject to a TPIM (which replaced Control Orders). The removal if this power, found to be peculiarly destructive of controlees’ lives, was one of the few concrete ways in which TIPMs improved upon Control Orders. Political constitutionalism calls for questions of rights to be determined not in the courtroom but through democratic means. If the only sure way to get a better government is to vote Labour, but Labour is in some respects at least, profoundly illiberal and authoritarian, then many of us will hold our noses and vote Labour anyway. But in what real sense is that a democratic determination of rights issues? When all politicians on a panel agree on an illiberal line, where is the real political debate about rights?

The purpose of this post is not argue that we should give up on political protection of rights and trust the judges instead.  Regardless of whether our preferences in political philosophy lean towards Dworkin or Waldron, in a country such as ours at least the argument for rights has got to be won in the political sphere. This is so if only for the practical reason that, were our elected representatives to withdraw their support for the human rights project, the judges will have their legal rights-protecting tools – the ECHR and the HRA – taken away from them.

While common law norms might stage a limited fight-back in such circumstances, ultimately it is the political domain that will decide whether the UK will continue to accept the judgments of Strasbourg, whether some prisoners get the vote, and whether we lock up terror suspects without trial because it’s cheaper and makes us feel safe. As Conor Gearty has said, we must therefore “fight the good fight” for human rights in the political realm. But it’s important to know just how uphill a struggle it will be – just how entrenched ignorance and contempt for human rights norms may be becoming – even these we like to think of as both elementary and central to our democracy.

This post by Professor Gavin Phillipson of Durham Law School was originally posted on the UK Constitutional Law Blog and is reposted here with permission and thanks.

Sign up to free human rights updates by email, Facebook, Twitter or RSS

Related posts

4 comments


  1. James Lawson says:

    Question Time on TV and on Radio 4 is an illuminating exercise in the distinction that exists between what British Politicians say in public and how they act in office. In public, they wait for the first applause and then tailor their response to accord with its sentiment. While in office, they often act quite differently.

    The Human Rights Act will not be repealed. Neither will we withdraw from the Council of Europe or from the European Union for that matter. Once you leave, you’ve ‘shot your Bol’t and whatever political influence you once had is greatly diminished. Not something that the political establishment in this county will readily relinquish.

    Political Poker both at home and abroad is something the British are particularly good at. It allows us a much greater degree of political influence than we might otherwise be able to obtain as nation with a very weak industrial base. Maintaining a degree of domestic hostility allows Ministers to obtain far more concessions at a European level than we could otherwise obtain from the Council of Europe and the European Council.

    At home, the maximisation of political and commercial capital by the privately educated is accomplished through the exploitation of ignorance provided in abundance by the state education system which denies millions of its citizens the power of critical thought and a proper insight into the way in which we are governed by those we choose to elect.

    While Human Rights and Civil Liberties may continue in form, their substance continues to change as large areas of State activity are placed beyond accountability to Parliament and the public while ‘rights,’ however they are defined in their political and social context, will continue to be made more difficult to discern, more expensive and procedurally difficult to vindicate while the remedies derived therefrom, will continue to be made valueless.

    It is this latter process, the way in which the State will retain a system of political and social ‘paper’ rights, while it organises its affairs to place its activities beyond reach, that is rather more deserving of analysis in my view.

  2. John D says:

    Nigel Farage made the same point during the discussion, i.e. that it is not possible to be a member-state of the EU without being bound by EU law, which now includes the Charter too. Clearly, Lord Denning was right when he predicted that European Community (as it then was) Law would gradually creep across the Channel and up through our mighty and lesser rivers, then up the large and small streams until such time as we were all completely taken over by European Law. Whether this is a good or a bad thing is for others to decide, though I have my own views too.
    On the substantive point of emprisoning and/or deporting Qatada, I too kept having the same question arise in my mind over and over again: if he is suspected of being engaged in illegal activities here, then why has he not been brought to trial? All the politicians kept repeating he was an awful and evil character but produced no evidence to support what are mere assertions.
    It has been said that bad cases make bad laws, and it seems Qatada may end up proving the truth of this saying. He has spent the best part of 7 years in custody for no fathomable reason that I can see. If he set out to undermine British justice then the politicians have all acted like his underlings in this regard, have they not? Either charge him or let him go. This is supposed to be a free country – let us prove that it is.

  3. Signing up the the ECtHR is in practice a condition of joining the EU – although it doesn’t follow that denouncing it would automatically mean you leave or get thrown out. It would mean a political crisis within the EU – though the EU has lots of crises. It might or might not be a major one.

    You’re right that ECHR rights would remain enforceable in the UK though the EU law “gateway”. Again this shouldn’t be exaggerated: EU law doesn’t cover the whole of UK law. But there would be major areas (discrimination at work is an example, and free movement of EU citizens and their families) where ECHR rights would apply. This would be the position even if there were no Charter of Fundamental Rights – it made much less difference than most people assume.

  4. Something that bothers me about the proposal to withdraw from the ECHR:

    Article 6(2) and (3) of the Treaty of Lisbon provide that the Union “shall accede” to the ECHR and that “[f]undamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, shall constitute general principles of the Union’s law”. The Preamble to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CFREU) declares that the Union “reaffirms … the rights as they result, in particular, from the constitutional traditions and international obligations common to the Member States, the Treaty on European Union, the Community Treaties, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Social Charters adopted by the Community and by the Council of Europe and the case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Communities and of the European Court of Human Rights”.

    EU law takes precedence over domestic law, So do Article 6(2) and (3) of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Preamble to the CFREU constitute fundamental rights under the Treaties – and if they do, are they not at least in some sense mandatory? And moreover, if the provisions of the ECHR cease to be directly justiciable in the UK, might not claimants begin to plead the Charter of Fundamental Rights instead, arguing for its direct applicability under s 2(1) European Communities Act 1972 as “rights, powers, liabilities, obligations and restrictions from time to time created or arising by or under the Treaties”?

    You can see where this is leading to: is it a necessary condition of membership of the EU to be a party to the ECHR? I assume that is it – but I’m pretty much an amateur on human rights law and I’d appreciate an expert view.

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.

Subscribe

Categories


Tags


#50cases #catgate #fighthatewithhumanrights #lawblogs 7/7 7/7 bombing 7/7 inquest 7/7 inquests 9/11 100 years of women in law 1688 bill of rights 2010 General Election 2012 in review 2012 year in review 2017 @Iamspartacus a1p1 a1p1 breach A1P1 damages Aarhus Aarhus Convention A B and C abbas hall Abid Naseer ablyazov abortion Absent Witness Abu Hamza abu qatada abuse of dominant position abuse of private information abuse of process academic freedom access to courts access to information Access to justice accountability acoustic shock acquired disorder AC v Berkshire Addison Lee Adetoro v United Kingdom adjudication administrative law admissability criteria adoption adoption orders advance decision advance directive advertisements advertising affirmative action Afghanistan age assessment agency age of criminal responsibility aggravated damages agreement Agriculture Ahava Ahmad Faraz Khan AI air noise air pollution air quality air travel Al-Saadoon and Mufdhi Alan Turing ALBA alcohol dependence algorithm algorithms Alien Tort Statute alignment problem Al Jedda allergy allocation of resources Al Qaeda Al Quaeda Al Rawi Al Skeini alternative medicine alternative therapy altruism American Declaration of Independence Amnesty International Amnesty International 2010 Report amphibians amusement parks ancillary relief Andy Coulson animal cruelty animal culls animal rights Animals animal welfare anonymising anonymity anonymous website anorexia nervosa an rights Ansari ANS v ML [2012] UKSC 30 anti-blasphemy laws anti-discriminatiom anti-semitism anti-terrorism review anti-terrorist legislation antibody antiretrovirals anxious scrutiny AONB A P Herbert appeal Appeals archeology Arctic charr Arhuus Convention Armed forces army arrest Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 article 3 UNCRC article 5 Article 5 ECHR article 5(3) Article 6 article 6 criminal Article 6(3) Article 8 Article 8 claim against council Article 8 protection of privacy Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 Article 50 article 263 TFEU artificial hydration and nutrition Artificial Intelligence artificial nutrition and hydration Artile 8 asbestosis Assange Assange extradition assisted reproduction assisted suicide assisting suicide associated newspapers asylum asylum amnesty asylum claim asylum law asylum seeker asylum seeker death driver asylum seekers ATE premiums atheism Atul Gawande audio Australia australian constitution autism autonomy axel springer axel springer ag ayslum Azelle Rodney babar ahmad baby Baby P badger cull badgers Badger Trust bad judges bad tackle Baha Mousa Public Inquiry Bahta & Ors bail BAILII bailout Balen Report ban bankers bonuses Bank Mellat baptism barclay brothers barristers bats' rights battlefield BBC beaches bedroom tax beijing belief benefit cap benefits bereavement damages best interests big business bike training service bilateral trade treaty bill of right Bill of Rights Bill of rights commission Bingham Rule of Law Centre Binyam Mohamed bioethics biology biomedicine biometric data biotechnology bipolar disorder birds directive birmingham birth certificate births deaths and marriages BJ (INCAPACITATED ADULT) sub nom SALFORD CITY COUNCIL v BJ Black & Morgan v. Wilkinson blawg blawg review blight blogging blogosphere blogs blood Bloody Sunday Bloody Sunday findings BNP boaters boats Body scanners Boris Johnson bovine TB bradley manning BRCA BRCA gene BRCA mutation breach of Article 6 breach of Article 6(1) breach of confidence breast cancer brevet brexit Brian Haw bribery Bribery Act 2010 Brighton Conference Brighton Declaration British Airways British Airways v Unite British Bill of Rights British Chiropractic Association British citizenship British constitution British embassy british lawyers British soldiers Broadmoor bronze soldier brownlie browsing BSkyB BUCKLAND v. THE UNITED KINGDOM - 40060/08 - HEJUD Buddhism budget Bull v Hall burkha Burnham Market Book Festival Cadder Cafcass Canada canal cancellation cancer CAP capacity carbon capture cardio-pulmonary resuscitation Care and Support Bill care home care home; elderly people; dementia; capacity; deprivation of liberty care homes care order Care orders care proceedings car insurance carnivores Carson v UK case law Case Note Catholic Care Catholic Church catholic midwives CBI CCTV cerebral palsy CETA CFAs chagos Chagos Islanders charitable objects charity Charity Commission Charles J read judgment Simon Lewis Charlie Hebdo charter Charter of Fundamental Rights chemotherapy chief coroner child child's best interests child abduction child poverty Child Poverty Action Group child protection Children children's homes children's rights Children Act children giving evidence child welfare chimpanzees China Chindamo Chris Grayling Chris Packham Christian christianity church church of scientology CIA circumcision citizens advice bureau citizenship citizens rights civil liberties civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships civil proceedings civl partnerships CJEU CJEU rule of law class of degree client earth climate change climate change sceptic climategate climate research unit clinical need clinical negligence cloning closed material procedure Closed Material Procedures Coalition agreement Coalition Government Code Civile code of conduct Coercive and controlling behaviour cohabitees cold calling Cologne combat immunity comments comment thread commission Commission for Equality & Human Rights Commission on a Bill of Rights common buzzard common law common law rights communications Communications Act 2003 communications data Communications Data Bill 2008 Compassion in World Farming compelementary medicine compensation competition complementary medicine compulsory detention compulsory labour computer hacking computer science concentration camps conditional fee agreements conditions Confederation of British Industry confidentiality confiscation order conscience conscience clause conscientious objection consent conservation Conservative Party Conservatives constitution constitutional court of south africa constitutional disorder construction consultation consultation responses contact order contact point contempt of court contempt of court act content neutrality content providers contingency fee arrangements contract control and restraint Control orders Convention system of protection Conway cookies copying Copyright copyright infringement cornrows coronavirus coroner Coroner's inquest coroners Coroners and Justice Act 2009 corporal punishment cosmetics testing costs Costs and Procedure costs budgets council Council of Europe Counter Terrorism and Security Bill cour de cassation court Court of Justice of the European Union Court of Protection Court of Session Court Orders court procedure Courts Bill Courts Martial Covent Garden Coventry Council CPR gateway CPS CRB challenge credibiility] credibility cricket crime crimes against humanity Criminal criminal conviction Criminal Courts Charge criminal justice Criminal Justice and Courts Bill criminal law Criminal Legal Aid criminal prosecution criminal records criminal responsibility criminal sentencing Cross Examination Crown Prosecution Service crr crucifix cryonic preservation custody custody dispute cuts Cybersecurity D daily mail Daily Mirror Dajid Singh Shergill Dale Farm evictions damage Damages dangerous nonsense database data controller data processing data protection data retention data sharing data snooping date rape david cameron David Chaytor David James David Kelly David Miranda day care closures death death match death penalty Debbie Purdy declaration declaration of incompatibility defamation Defamation Act Defamation Bill defaming the dead defence of illegality defendant's costs order deficit defmation DEFRA delegated legislation democracy Democracy village demolition order demotion Dennis Gill dentist's registration fees Department of Health deportation deportation cases deprivation of liberty deprivation of property derogations Detainee inquiry Detention determinism devolution devolved government Dewani diagnosis Diane Pretty Dica diego garcia Digital Economy Act 2010 Digital Economy Bill Dignitas dignity Dignity in Dying diplomacy diplomatic immunity direct action Directive direct marketing director of public prosecutions disability Disability-related harassment disabled claimants disciplinary hearing disclosure Disclosure of Previous Convictions discretionary leave to remain discretion to quash Discrimination Discrimination law disease dismissal disqualification dissenting judges Divisional Court divorce DNA DNA database DNA home-testing DNA retention DNA testing doctor doctor-patient relationship doctors doctrine of double effect doctrine of state act does it matter? domestic violence domestic workers Dominic Grieve don't ask don't ask don't tell don't tell donor Do Not Resuscitate Notices Doogan and Wood do trees have rights? double conviction DPP guidelines Dr Chhabra dripa driving licence driving penalty Drones Drone strikes drug dealer damages drug offence Dr Zakir Naik Dublin Convention Dublin II Dublin III regulation Dublin II Regulation Dublin Regulation Dudko duties duty of care duty to investigate duty to rescue eastenders eating horses ECHR economic and social rights economic loss economic rights ECtHR Ed Snowden Education Edward Snowden EHRC elderly election election court election results Electoral Commission report Electoral law electric cars electricity Elizabeth Warren ellie butler el masri embryo embryonic stem cells embryos emergency budget emissions trading employers Employment employment appeal tribunal employment disputes employment law employment rights Employment Tribunal fees employment tribunals employment vetting English Defence Leauge English translation enhanced criminal record checks entitlement Environment environmental challenges environmental impact assessment environmental information environmental justice Environmental law environmental law foundation environmental liability directive environmental protection environmental rights environment brexit Envrionmental Information Directive epa endangerment finding eployment Equality Act Equality Act 2010 Equality and Human Rights Commission Equality and Human Rights Commission v Prime Minister & Ors [2011] EWHC 2401 (Admin) - equality of arms equal marriage equal marriage consultation equal treatment erika espionage ethics EU eu and strasbourg EU Charter EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms eu commission EU competence eu costs eu courts EU criminal Law opt out eu documents eu law Europe european european arrest warrant European Charter European Charter of Fundamental Rights European Charter of Fundamental Rigths European Commission European Communities Act European Convention European Convention on Human Rights European Court European Court of European Court of Human Rights European Court of Human Rights reform European Court of Justice european disability forum European law European Sanctions Blog European Social Charter european union Eurozone EUSFTA eu state liability euthanasia EU transparency EU Turkey summit EU waste directive eviction evidence evidence-based medicine Evidence-based policy evidence of torture evironmental assessment evolution ex-pats exceptional case funding exceptionality excessive taxes exclusion exclusion order executions exhaustion of domestic remedies expenses expenses scandal expert evidence Expert evidence on foreign law Express extinct extinction rebellion extra-jurisdictional reach of ECHR extra-territoriality extradition extradition act extradition procedures extradition review extraordinary rendition Eyjafjallajökull volcano Facebook Facebook contempt facial recognition factitious disorder factory farming fair procedures Fair Trial faith courts fake news false imprisonment false passport Families Need Fathers Family Family Court family courts Family Courts without a Lawyer: A Handbook for Litigants in Person family division Family Justice Review family law family legal aid Family life farage farm farm animals farming fast-track removal fatal accidents act fathers fathers rights feature fertility treatment FGM finance Financial Conduct Authority financial dependency financial harm financial information Financial Services Authority Firat Dink First Amendment first publishers fisheries fishing claims fishing industry fishing quota fishing rights fitness to practise Flood v The Times Flood v Times foetus foia food banks forced marriage force feeding foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy forensic science format shifting Fourteenth Amendment fracking France francovich freedom freedom of assembly Freedom of Association freedom of conscience Freedom of Expression freedom of information Freedom of Information Act 2000 freedom of movement freedom of speech freedom of the press free expression Freemen of the land free movement of goods free speech free will freezing assets French schools FTP fundamental rights Funeral pyre Future of legal blogging G (Children) G4S G20 protest Gabrielle Giffords Gaddafi regime gainsborough game birds Gamu Nhengu gangbo gang injunctions Garry Mann gary dobson Gary McFarlane gay couple gay discrimination Gay marriage gay rights gay soldiers Gaza Gaza conflict gazza GCHQ gdpr GE 2017 gearbox Gender gender reassignment General Dental Council General Duty General Election general election 2010 general election 2019 General Medical Council genes genetic affinity genetic discrimination genetic disorder genetic engineering genetic information Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act genetic modification genetics genetic testing Geneva Convention genome genome sequencing Geoff Hoon George Osborne German Chancellor German court Germany germ line mutation Ghailani GlaxoSmithKlein gmc Goldman Sachs golf course Google government governmental bodies GP privacy grayling consultation Great Repeal Bill green belt grenfell Gresham College grooming gross offence Guantanamo Bay Guardian News and Media Ltd guernsey G v E & Ors G v E & Ors [2011] EWCA Civ 939 gwyneth paltrow gypsies H1N1 habeas corpus habitats Habitats Directive habitats protection hackgate Halsbury's Law Exchange hammerton v uk hancock Haney happy new year harassment Hardeep Singh Haringey Council haringey council tax benefit Harkins and Edwards hate speech Health healthcare health insurance hearing loss Heathrow heist heightened scrutiny Henry VII Henry VIII herd immunity hereditary disorder High Court of Justiciary high speed train route Hindu Hirst No. 2 Hirst v UK HIV HJ Iran HM (Iraq) v The Secretary of state for the home department [2010] EWCA Civ 1322 Holder holkham beach holocaust home homelessness Home Office Home Office v Tariq homeopathy Homo Deus homophobia homo sapiens homosexual hooding horisontality horizontal application horizontal effect horsemeat hospitals Hounslow v Powell House of Commons Housing housing benefit housing benefits Howard Donald Howard League for Penal Reform how judges decide cases hra damages claim HRA incorporation Hrant Dink HRLA HS2 hs2 challenge hts http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2011/04/11/us-state-department-reports-on-uk-human-rights/ human being human dignity Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority human genome humanism human rights Human Rights Act Human Rights Act 1998 human rights advocacy Human rights and the UK constitution human rights commission human rights conventions human rights damages Human Rights Day human rights decisions Human Rights Information Project human rights in private disputes human rights news human rights record Human Rights Watch human right to education Human Tissue Act human trafficking hung parliament hunting Huntington's Chorea Huntington's Disease HXA hyper injunctions Ian McEwan ICAO Igor Sutyagin illegal immigration illegality illegality defence illegitimacy image rights imaginary litigation immigration Immigration/Extradition Immigration Act 2014 immigration appeals immigration detention immigration judge immigration rules immunity Imports incorporation HRA increase of sanction indefinite leave to remain indian advocates indian supreme court indirect discrimination Indonesia Industrial Action informed consent Infrastructure Planning Committee inherent jurisdiction inherited disease Inhuman and degrading treatment injunction injunction continued inland revenue Inquest inquest law Inquests inquiry insanity inshore fleet insult insurance insurmountable obstacles intellectual property intelligence intelligence services act intensive care intercept evidence interception interests of the child interim remedies international international comity international conflict international court of justice international criminal court international humanitarian law international human rights international human rights law International Labour Organisation international law International Stem Cell Corporation international treaty obligations internet internet libel internet service providers internment internship interrogation intrusion inuit invasive species invention investigation investigative duty in vitro fertilisation Iran iranian bank sanctions Iranian nuclear program iran sanctions Iraq Iraqi asylum seeker Iraq War Ireland Irish Constitution irrationality ISC ISIL islam isolated nucleic acids isolation Israel israeli palestinian conflict italian ships Italy iTunes IVF ivory ban Jack Dorsey jackson reforms Janowiec and Others v Russia ( Japan japanese knotweed Jason Smith jean charles de menezes Jeet Singh Jefferies jehovah's witnesses Jeremy Clarkson Jeremy Corbyn jeremy hunt jihad Jihadi brides jihadists JIH identity jim duffy job jobseekers' allowance Jogee John Hemming John Terry joint enterprise joint tenancy jonathan sumption Jon Guant Joseph v Spiller journalism judaism judges Judges and Juries judging judgment judgment in default Judicial activism judicial brevity judicial deference Judicial immunity judicial no-mans land judicial oversight judicial power judicial review Judicial Review reform Judicial Studies Board judiciary Julian Assange Julian Asssange Juncker jurisdiction jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Act Justice and Security Bill Justice and Security Green Paper Justice Cameron Justice Human Rights Awards JUSTICE Human Rights Awards 2010 justiciability justification just satisfaction Kant Katyn Massacre Kay v Lambeth Kay v UK kazakstan Ken Clarke Ken Pease Kerry McCarthy Kettling Khan v Advocate General for Scotland khordokovsky Kings College Kiobel Klimas koran burning laboratory animals laboratory test Labour labour law lack of reasons Lady Hale land landfill gas landowner landowners language lansley NHS reforms LASPO Law Commission Law Pod UK Law Society Law Society of Scotland leave to enter leave to remain Lee Rigby legal advice privilege legal aid legal aid cuts Legal Aid desert Legal Aid Reforms legal blogs Legal Certainty legality legal naughty step Legal Ombudsman legal privilege legal profession legal professional privilege legal representation legitimate expectation let as a dwelling Leveson Inquiry Levi Bellfield lewisham hospital closure Lewis Malcolm Calver liability Libel libel reform Liberal Democrat Conference Liberal Democrats liberal humanism Liberty libraries closure library closures licence conditions licence to shoot licensee life insurance life orders life sentence life support limestone pavements limitation lisbon treaty Lithuania litigant in person litvinenko live exports livestock livestock trade living instrument living will LME local authorities local government locked in syndrome locus standi london borough of merton London Legal Walk London Probation Trust Lord Bingham Lord Bingham of Cornhill Lord Blair Lord Carey Lord Goldsmith lord irvine Lord Judge Lord Judge speech Lord Justice Jackson Lord Kerr Lord Lester Lord Mance Lord Neuberger Lord Phillips Lord Rodger Lord Sales Lord Saville Report Lord Sumption Lord Taylor LSC tender luftur rahman MAGA Magna Carta Magna Carter Mail Online mail on sunday Majority Verdict Malcolm Kennedy male circumcision malice malicious falsehood mandela M and Others v Her Majesty’s Treasury manifestation of belief manifestos Margaret Thatcher Margin of Appreciation margin of discretion Maria Gallastegui Marie Colvin marine conservation marine environmental law marine sanctuaries Mark Kennedy mark twain marriage marriage act 1949 material support maternity pay Matthew Woods Mattu v The University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2068 (QB) Maya the Cat Mba v London Borough Of Merton Mcfarlane McKenzie friend me/cfs research Media and Censorship media judge Medical medical confidentiality medical ethics medical evidence medical liability medical negligence medical profession medical qualifications medical records medical treatment medicine mental capacity mental capacity; press; reporting restrictions Mental Capacity Act Mental Capacity Act 2005 Mental Health mental health act mental health advocacy mental health awareness Mental Health Courts mental health hospital Mental illness merits review mesothelioma metgate MGN v UK michael gove Middle Temple Midwives Milly Dowler minimally conscious minimum income minimum sentence Ministerial Code Ministry of Justice Ministry of Justice cuts miscarriage of justice misfeasance in public office missiles misuse of private information mitochondrial disease MMR MMR vaccination modern slavery Mohamed monitoring powers monsanto montgomery mooring moral circle morality morocco mortgage fraud mortuaries motherhood motor neuron disease Motor Neurone disease Moulton Mousa movement for democratic change MP expenses Mr Brewer Mr Gul Mr Justice Eady Mr Justice Sharp MS (Palestinian Territories) (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Munchausen Munchausen by proxy murder murder reform music Musician's Union Muslim mustafa kamal mutation mutations myanmar MY Cannis my kingdom for a horse Myriad NADA v. SWITZERLAND - 10593/08 - HEJUD [2012] ECHR 1691 Nadja Benaissa naked rambler Naomi Campbell narcolepsy National Health Act nationality National Origin National Pro Bono Week national security national sovereignty Natural England natural rights nature nature conservation naturism Nazi neanderthals necessary implication need for legal aid needs assessment negligence neighbour dispute Neuberger neural degeneration neurogenerative disease neuroscience Newcastle university news News of the World news roundup new Supreme Court President NGO standing NHS NHS Risk Register NICE Nick Clegg Nicklinson Niqaab niqab No Angels Noise Regulations 2005 non-justiciability nonhuman animals non voluntary euthanasia Northern Ireland Northern Irish Assembly notification requirements nuclear challenges nuisance nurse nursing nursing home obiter dicta Occupy London offensive jokes Offensive Speech offensive t shirt official solicitor of Rights Commission oil and gas oil spill olympics open justice oppress oppressive treatment OPQ v BJM orchestra orthodox schools Osama Bin Laden Osborn v The Parole Board [2013] UKSC 61 ouster clause overseas aid Oxford University Palestinian Territories palliative care palliative sedation paramount consideration paramountcy principle parental responsibility order parental rights parenthood parents responsibility parking spaces parliament parliamentary expenses parliamentary expenses scandal Parliamentary sovereignty Parliament square parole parole board party funding passengers rights passing off passive smoking passport passport seizure pastor Terry Jones patent patents paternity Pathway Students patiets' rights Patrick Quinn murder Paul Chambers PCOs peace-keeping operations Pensions people for the ethical treatment of animals (Peta) performers' rights permanent injunction persecution persistent vegetative state personal data personal information Personal Injury personality rights Personal life perversity Pet Animals Act 1951 Peter and Hazelmary Bull Peter Gibson pet shops PF and EF v UK Philip Lawrence Phil Woolas phone hacking phone taps photos photovoltaics physical and mental disabilities physical restraint physician assisted death Pinnock Piracy PJS placement order planning planning human rights planning system planning time limits plantagenet plebgate pleural plaques POCA podcast points poison Poland Police police investigations police liability police misconduct police powers police surveillance policing Policy Exchange report political advertising political judges political persecution politicians for hire Politics Politics/Public Order pollution polonium poor reporting Pope Pope's visit Pope Benedict porsche 917 portal possession order possession proceedings post mortem Posts power of attorney PoW letters to ministers pre-nup pre-nuptial Pre-trial detention predator control pregnancy preliminary reference prerogative powers press Press Association press briefing press freedom Priest priests primary legislation Prince Andrew Prince Charles prince of wales princess caroline of monaco principle of subsidiarity prior restraint prison Prisoners prisoners rights prisoners voting prisoner vote prisoner votes prisoner voting prison numbers prison rules Prisons prison vote privacy privacy injunction privacy law through the front door private disputes Private life private nuisance private use procedural unfairness Procedure proceeds of crime Professional Discipline professional indemnity Professional life Property property rights proportionality prosecution Protection of Freedoms Act Protection of Freedoms Bill protective costs Protest protest camp protest rights Protocol 15 psychiatric hospitals psychology psychotherapy Public/Private public access publication public authorities public authority public bodies Public Bodies Bill public figure public funding public inquiries public inquiry public interest public interest environmental litigation public interest immunity public interest litigation publicity public law unfairness Public Order public powers public procurement Public Sector Equality Duty Public Services Ombudsman Putin putting the past behind quango quantum quarantine Queen's Speech queer in the 21st century R (on the application of) v Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts & Anor [2012] EWCA Civ 472 R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors [2011] EWCA Civ 895 R (on the application of) v The General Medical Council [2013] EWHC 2839 (Admin) R (on the application of EH) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWHC 2569 (Admin) R (on the application of G) v The Governors of X School Rabone Rabone and another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust [2012] UKSC 2 Race race relations Rachel Corrie racial discrimination Racial equality radio radiotherapy Radmacher Raed Salah Mahajna Raed Saleh Ramsgate randomised controlled trial rape rape case raptors Ratcliffe 6 Ratcliffe on Soar Ratcliffe power station rating rationality rcs RCW v A Local Authority reasonableness reasons reasons challenges recent case law and news Recent posts reception conditions recognition of judgments recreational rights Redfearn v UK referendum reform refugee applications refugee crisis refugee status refusal of treatment Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages registration regulatory rehabilitation of offenders Reith Lectures Re J (A Child: Disclosure) [2012] EWCA Civ 1204 relgious freedom Religion religion in the courts religious beliefs religious discrimination religious freedom religious prosecution remedies renewables subsidies rent repeal reporting restrictions representation reproductive rights reproductive technologies reproductive wrongs rescue rescuer's claim resettlement of offenders resource allocation respect for family life responsibility in tort restrictions on exports restrictions on liberty results 2010 resuscitation retrospective application of the Human Rights Act retrospective legislation retrospective penalty retrospectivity rev paul nicholson reynolds Reynolds defence Re [2012] EWCA Civ 1233 richard III Richard O'Dwyer right of appeal rightsifno RightsInfo rights of children Right to a fair hearing right to a fair trial right to a home right to a remedy right to artistic expression right to a student loan right to autonomy right to autonomy and privacy right to die right to dies right to die with dignity right to dignity right to education right to expression right to family life right to food right to free enjoyment of possessions right to information right to liberty right to life right to peaceful enjoyment of property Right to Privacy right to private and family life right to refuse treatment right to respect for private life right to silence right to strike right to swim right to truth right to vote Rihanna Rio Ferdinand riots ripa rise of fascism risk risk assessment rival supermarkets Roma Roman Catholic Roman Catholic Church roman catholic schools Romania Rooney's Gold roundup roundup ready Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust royal dutch petroleum royal name Royal Oper House Royal Prerogative rule of law Rupert Jackson Rusal Russia russia and human rights Russian Federal Security Service Rutherford Ryanair s sadie frost Safari same-sex same sex parents same sex partnerships same sex relationship sanctions set aside sanctity of life Sandiford Sapiens Sarah Ferguson sark satire saudi arabia Savage (Respondent) v South Essex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust Saville Report schedule 7 schizophrenia school building school surveillance schrems science scientific atheism scientific research scientology Scoppola Scotland Scotland Act Scotland Act 1998 Scotland Bill Scottish Government Scottish Human Rights Commission scottish landlord and tenant Scottish Parliament SCOTUS sea fishing seals Seal v UK search engines search powers secondary legislation secondary smoking secrecy Secretary of State Secretary of State for the Home Department v AP secret courts secret criminal trial secret evidence secret justice Secret trials sectarianism secularism security security cameras security services security vetting Sedar Mohammed segregation Select Committee on AI self-defence self-incrimination seminar sentencing September 11 serco serious harm sermon Seroxat service outside jurisdiction set-off Sewel Convention sex abuse sex ban sex ban low IQ sex offender Sex offenders sex register sexual abuse Sexual Offences sexual orientation sexual orientation regulations SFO investigation sfo unlawfulness shaker aamer Shamima Begum sham marriage shared residence order Sharon Shoesmith shetland shipping shipwreck Shirley Chaplin shooting shoulder shrug should trees have rights SIAC sihkism Simon Singh sir alan ward Sir Nicholas Wall Sir Peter six months rule slander slaughterhouses slavery smacking small claims court small solar Smith Smith & Ors v The Ministry of Defence [2012] EWCA Civ 1365 smog smoking ban Snyder v Phelps social and economic rights social benefits social housing socialite social media social security law social welfare social workers Solicitorsfromhell website solitary confinement soma somali pirates sources South Africa south african constitution sovereignty Sovereignty clause soviet union soybean Spanish properties spare room subsidy special advocate special advocates species specific performance spending cuts spielmann squatters Standing standing rules starvation state immunity statelessness statute statutory power Statutory purpose stay of execution stem cell research stem cells stem cell therapy Stephen Gough stephen sedley stepping hill hospital Sterilisation steve macqueen Steven Neary stobart-law stop and search stop powers Stormont Assembly storms Strasborug Strasbourg Strasbourg Court strasbourg damages pirates strasbourg law Strasbourg terminology strategic environmental assessment strike strike out Strikes student loans sturgeon subsidies Sugar v BBC suicide suicide act 1961 super injunction super injunctions supermax prisons superstition Supreme Court Supreme Court Live Supreme Court of Canada Supreme Court Scotland surgery surrogacy surrogacy arrangement surveillance swine flu Syria systemic violence Take That tallinn tariff Taser Tax tax avoidance tax discrimination tchenguiz technology Telegraph telephone preference service television justice tenancy tent city termination termination of pregnancy terror asset freezing Terrorism terrorism act terrorism act 2000 terrorism legislation terrorism prosecution terrorist finance terrorist threat terry pratchett Tesla testamentary dispositions The Bike Project the Catholic church The Corner House theism The Law in These Parts therapy Theresa May the right to privacy The Stig The Sun third countries third party appeals three way case time limits time limits in human rights Tobacco tobacco cartels Top Gear tort Torture torture inquiry totally without merit TPIM TPP tracking trade trade secrets trades unions trade union congress Trade Unions transexual transsexual transsexuals travel travellers travel restrictions treason treatment treaty treaty accession trial by jury trolling TTIP TTM v London Borough of Hackney & Ors Tugendhat tumour Turkey tweeting in court Twitter twitter in court Twitter Joke Trial UK UK citizenship uk constitution UK election UK Human Rights Blog UK Human Rights Roundup UKIP UK Jewish Film Festival ukraine UK Supreme Court UK Uncut ultra orthodox jews ultra vires UN unable to vote unacceptable behaviour policy unaccompanied minors unborn child UN Convention on the Rights of the Child unelected judges unemployment unfair consultation unfair dismissal unfairness at hearing Unison Unite United Against Fascism Group United Kingdom United Nations United States United States v Windsor universal declaration of human rights universal jurisdiction Universal Periodic Review University University Fees university of east anglia University of Southampton unjust and oppressive unlawful arrest unlawful detention unpaid work schemes UN Resolution unsolicited calls UPR US aviation US Constitution use as of right US Supreme Court vaccination Valkyries variants veganism vehicle breakdown vetting and barring vicarious liability victim victim status Victoria Climbie victorian charter Vienna airport vigilantism villagisation vinton cerf violence violist visa scheme vivisection voluntary euthanasia Volunteers voter compensation voters compensation voting voting compensation vulnerable Wagner Wakefield Wales War war correspondents ward of court War Horse water utilities Watts Wayne Rooney Websites welfare of child welfare of children welfare of the child welfare state welsh bill western sahara whaling What would happen if the UK withdrew from the European Court of Human Rights whimbrel whisky Whistleblowing WHO who is JIH whole gene sequencing whole life orders whorship Wikileaked cable Wikileaks wiklleaks Wild Law wildlife Wildlife and Countryside Act will William Hague William Marbury wills wind farms wind turbine Winterbourne View witchcraft withdrawal of treatment wolves women's rights Woolas worboys Workers working time directive wrongful birth wrongful conception wrongful life WTO wuhan X AND OTHERS v. AUSTRIA - 19010/07 - HEJUD [2013] ECHR 148 X Factor XX v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2012] EWCA Civ 742 X Y and Z v UK Yemshaw Yildirim v Turkey Your freedom website YouTube yukos Yuval Noah Hariri Zakir Naik Zanu-PF Zero Hours Contracts ZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department Zimbabwe Zimbabwe farm invasions ZN (Afghanistan) (FC) and others ZZ [2015] CSIH 29 [2015] CSOH 168 £750

Disclaimer


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: