The biggest human rights stories of 2012 – Part 2

30 December 2012 by

UKHRB 2012 year in review2012 has been a busy year on the UK human rights front, never short of controversy, hyperbole and even some interesting points of legal principle along the way.

Here are some of the biggest stories from April to June 2012. The first part of this post, January to March, is here. Feel free to comment on my choices, and add your own if you think something is missing.

April (read all posts from that month here)

  • Freedom of information – Not the most glamorous of rights, but one of the most important. In a decision which may represent a landmark, the High Court confirmed the principle of open justice in ordering that the Guardian should have been granted a request to see key court documents in an extradition case. Some great statements of principle for journalists and bloggers to keep in their back pockets when faced with intransigeant judges.

May (all posts here)

  • Retreat but no surrender on prisoner votes – The European Court of Human Rights resolved some of the mess over prisoner votes by reinstating the broad discretion enjoyed by states following the 2005 judgment in Hirst (No. 2). This meant that the UK’s six month time limit for putting a law before Parliament to allow prisoners to vote was back in place… as we know now, things are still unresolved on that front.

June (all posts here)

  • Naming and shaming immigration judges – Poor stuff from the Sunday Telegraph, although to their credit the journalist concerned responded to the article in the comments. Recommended reading for an interesting debate on lies, damn lies and statistics.
  • Article 8 an a half. Or 7 and a quarter? – The Home Secretary announced significant reforms to the Immigration Rules, most notably an attempt to ‘codify’ the way in which Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Can you really do that? The effects are still being ironed out by the Courts, with only a November Upper Tribunal decision so far addressing the issue. No doubt more to come.

Part 3, July to September, is here.

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  1. Gillian King says:

    Excellent as usual! Very grateful for this blog which makes the law far more assessible. My worry as a practising Christian, which is well articulated by CoE is that the law seems to be moving in the direction of narrowing the right to freedom of religion. This is not just due to human rights law admittedly, but the decisions coming of the courts, both European and domestic seems to imply that people should be content to have freedom of worship. The issue of gay marriage seems to be an example of this. I have to disagree with your analysis that a case against a church in an equality case would only have a ‘reasonable’ chance of succeeding. Surely in light of discrimination laws and decisions made in those cases, it is more likely that a court will view a convention state’s decision to legislate for ‘ equal marriage’ no less, as an intention to create equality between all sexes when it comes to marriage and thus the religious doctrine of not allowing same sex marriage will become analogous to human sacrifice! I may be overstating, but such is the nature of deeply held beliefs, which are a part of one’s being and which when threatened cause more harm than would praying in a council chamber. The right to religious freedom should not be relegated to freedom of worship because religious belief is part of the human condition. I recommend a book called Religion and Law produced by the think tank Theos for shedding more light on the matter.
    Thank you once again for your excellent analyses and being a source of an intellectual banquet.

  2. Miguel Cubells says:

    Cheers Adam, another interesting case picked up on via your blog that escaped my attention – “MM and AO (a child), R (on application) v SoS for HD [2012] EWCA Civ 668” in respect of the investigative obligation. Another handy case for reference as per application to the ECtHR in respect of our case. Keep um coming.

  3. Geraldine Ring says:

    Hello, I am wondering if fracking features anywhere in your stories.

    1. Adam Wagner says:

      No – but we have regular posts on environmental rights (see here) so I am sure it will come up in the future if the issue reaches the courts, which seems likely.

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