The biggest human rights stories of 2012 – Part 3
1 January 2013
Happy new year! I hope that none of your new year’s eves were ruined by worrying when the next instalment of my year in review would arrive in your inboxes. Anyway, here we go with July to September.
If you need to catch up:
Now on to Part 3…
July (read all posts)
- Yes, it was a joke (!) –The biggest news of July was the important decision of the High Court to overturn the conviction of a man who tweeted, on discovering a week before he was due to take a flight that the airport was closed due to adverse weather conditions, that he was “blowing the airport sky high!!” Lots more to come on s.127 of the Communications Act 2003 before the end of 2012 – Twitter users “free to speak not what they ought to say, but what they feel”
- The freedom not to believe – In a fascinating judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that it is no answer to a refugee claim to say that the individual concerned should avoid persecution by lying and feigning loyalty to a regime which s/he does not support.
- Two other important Supreme Court judgments – Scottish adoption law compatible with human right to family life and the court dismisses a self-incrimination appeal by Glen Mulcaire, a private investigator who hacked celebrities’ phones for newspapers.
- Newspapers in contempt of court –The Attorney General was certainly proactive in enforcing contempt of court rules in 2012. In this case, the High Court found that articles about Levi Bellfield, Millie Dowler’s murderer, were in contempt of court
- Recommended reading – (1) Don’t believe everything you read: there is a case for socio-economic rights – Professor Aoife Nolan and (2) The conservative case for gay marriage
- Abuse victim can sue Church for actions of dead priest – Another complicated but important ruling on vicarious liability: Church has employer’s duty of liability for parish priests
August (read all posts)
- Assange keeps us interested –August is traditionally a quiet time in the legal calendar as the higher courts shut for business (so few judgments). But an intrepid band of UK legal bloggers were kept busy by Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the legal issues surrounding his sojourn at the Ecuadorian embassy: The Assange Reality Distortion Field
- Locked in sufferers challenges fail – Two men failed in their challenges to the assisted suicide laws; the High Court said the issue was proper one for Parliament. Rosalind English questioned whether it was time for the courts to go further.
- Judges banned from blogging – … unless they do it anonymously. I said the move was shortsighted and that judicial blogging should be seen as an opportunity rather than a threat.
September (read all posts)
- Those crazy Freemen – Have you ever been tempted by websites which offer to miraculously solve your legal and financial problems? Resist the temptation, for the reasons set out in this comprehensive Canadian judgment: Freemen on the Land are “parasites” peddling “pseudolegal nonsense”: Canadian judge fights back
- Recommended reading – Human rights and the UK constitution (or, why turkeys don’t vote for Christmas)
- Abu Hamza finally extradited to USA – … after his application to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights was turned down. But why did it take so long?
- Indefinite detention is bad – In an important judgment of principle, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the UK violated the Article 5(1) ECHR rights of three prisoners sentenced to indeterminate sentences for public protection, where reasonable provision for their rehabilitation was not made.
- Some great posts on the European Court of Human Rights – Interested in how the Strasbourg Court works? Here is your starter kit… (1) The UK and Strasbourg: a victim fantasy; (2) Is the UK listening to the European Court of Human Rights? (3) A bluffer’s guide to human rights courts; (4) Strasbourg applications: some aspects of the “six months” rule; (5) How do you “exhaust local remedies” for the purpose of applying to Strasbourg?; (6) More on admissibility, the view from the Court – Paul Harvey and Pamela McCormick.
- The increasing use of the Courts to redress historical grievances – No public inquiry into alleged 1948 massacre by British troops, yet
- Director of Public Prosecutions announces social media guidelines – More to come in December when the interim guidelines were announced. In the meantime – Free speech and prosecution in the age of Twitter
- Bulldozer death in Gaza – I strayed outside of my UK comfort zone to look at this interesting and poorly reported Israeli judgment: The troubling case of Rachel Corrie
- All change at the top – Former lawyer Ken Clarke out as Justice Secretary and Lord Chancellor, non-lawyer Chris Grayling in. British Sir Nicolas Bratza out as European Court of Human Rights President, Luxembourgish (if that’s the right adjective) Dean Spielman in
Part 4, October to December, is here.
Sign up to free human rights updates by email, Facebook, Twitter or RSS