Acronym Redux: JSA, IPPs and GCSEs – The Human Rights Roundup

18 February 2013 by

Christian rights case rulingWelcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your regular booster shot 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

Survey on LASPO impact

ilegal founders Patrick Torsney and Colin Henderson have launched a survey in collaboration with Centre for Human Rights in Practice researchers at the University of Warwick, focused on discerning the impact of LASPO legal aid cuts to professionals working in relevant sectors and their clients. Participation has been encouraged by both the Legal Voice and Pink Tape blogs, and the survey itself may be found here.

Opportunities

The Ministry of Justice is looking for applicants for the position of UK Member of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. See here for more information, and to apply. Meanwhile, the House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution is looking for expert constitutional lawyers to work part-time as a legal adviser. See here for details. Finally, the writers of the Freemovement immigration law blog have arranged a training course on the subject of urgent immigration injunction applications to prevent unlawful removals.

Home Secretary attacks immigration judges

See Adam’s post and various comments elsewhere (Telegraph, BBC, Times, Guardian, Independent). More analysis coming soon.

Coroner appointed for Hillsborough inquest

As I’m sure you are all aware, new inquests into the victims of the Hillsborough football disaster were ordered in December 2012 after the publication of a report revealing a police cover-up in September of that year. The new inquest will be conducted by Lord Justice Goldring, as reported here on the BBC News website.

Work Experience Unlawful?

The regulations providing for the mandatory work experience scheme for JSA claimants have been ruled unlawful as not meeting the requirements of the governing statute, the Jobseekers Act 1995. The decisive factor was that the schemes that the applicants were required to embark on or lose their unemployment benefit did not meet the statutory requirements of advancing career prospects. The court specifically rejected arguments based on Article 4 ECHR (no forced labour) provided the work experience served the statute’s actual purpose of advancing career prospects. For more in-depth discussion of this case, see Rosalind English’s post on UKHRB. Adam Wagner has also commented on the case, both on Newsnight (from the start) and in The Times (£). See also this piece by Isabel Hardman in The Spectator.

ECHR ruling on IPP cases stands

Strasbourg judges have refused a UK request for a Grand Chamber hearing on the James, Wells and Lee case, which saw the court rule that sentences of imprisonment for the public protection (IPP sentences) breached Article 5 (1) ECHR (right to liberty and security) given that the applicants did not have access to the courses they would need to demonstrate to the Parole Board their eligibility for release following the expiry of their minimum prison terms (tariffs). For more detailed analysis of the implications of this decision, see this post by Pete Weatherby QC on the Garden Court North Chambers blog; see also this post on the Human Rights Europe website which explains IPPs and why they were held to breach the ECHR in greater depth.

GCSE Judicial Review rejected

The High Court has dismissed the claims for judicial review of the award of English GCSE qualifications in the summer of 2012, which provoked controversy as pupils got grades that were lower than expected. Lord Justice Elias conceded that there was some unfairness demonstrated, but that this was a consequence of the structure of the qualification itself, not any unlawful action by exam regulator Ofqual or any exam boards. This decision has been analysed on 11KBW’s Education Law Blog; see also BBC News’s coverage of the case.

Employer guidance on religious expression

New guidance has been issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission following the decision by the European Court of Human Rights in the Eweida and Others case on religious expression in the workplace, which was discussed on this blog last month by Rosalind English. When the decision was handed down, many commentators were concerned over the lack of certainty for employers in dealing with questions of religious expression in the workplace. This guidance is therefore likely to be welcome – though as the Commission points out, the case may yet be referred to the Grand Chamber.

Obituaries for Ronald Dworkin

Ronald Dworkin, renowned legal scholar, died of leukaemia this week aged 81 in London. Dworkin is probably best known for his theory that law should be founded on integrity – that the rule of law has a moral foundation – and is widely regarded as one of the greatest legal philosophers of the age. The New York Times has run a two-part obituary (first part here, second part here); see also this piece in the Guardian and this piece on the European Courts blog.

In the Courts

Reilly & Anor, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2013] EWCA Civ 66 Regulations underlying Government’s back to work schemes quashed as they were not laid before Parliament in sufficient detail and therefore fell without the discretion granted to the Secretary of State by Primary Legislation. Human rights ground (article 4) fails.

KS (Burma) & Anor v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWCA Civ 67 Court of Appeal considers cases of two Burmese who protested here purely to prevent their return. Court held notwithstanding motives, still a risk of being returned to Burma & Country Guidance case had been flawed.

London Borough of Lewisham & Ors), R (on the application of) v Assessment And Qualifications Alliance (AQA) & Ors [2013] EWHC 211 (Admin) Judicial Review challenge to grading of English GCSEs fails.

RCW v A Local Authority [2013] EWHC 235 (Fam) Foster mother obtains injunction under Human Rights Act to keep baby despite fact that she was recently blinded.

The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis -v- ZH and Liberty and Equality and Human Rights Commission [2013] EWCA Civ 69 Human rights and disability discrimination damages awarded against police for “wholly inappropriate” restraint of autistic, epileptic boy at swimming pool upheld by CoA.

Tamiz v Google Inc [2013] EWCA Civ 68 Arguable that Google is a “publisher” of Blogger comments within meaning of Defamation Act, but in any event the comments in this case would only have a trivial effect so appeal dismissed.

Upcoming Events

To add events to this list, email Adam Wagner. Please only send events which (i) have their own webpage which can be linked to, and (ii) are relevant to topics covered by the blog.

UKHRB posts

by Sam Murrant

1 comment;


  1. busybeebuzz says:

    I would love to attend the ALBA event (Justice and Security Bill – Closed hearings in civil cases) to give Ken Clarke a piece of my mind on secret justice, but unfortunately it is not open to HRs hot heads like me. Sadly the only bar I’ve ever entered serves beer! Thanks for the link The Power of Literature and Human Rights. Novel Rights might be the only place that this philosopher poet with a passion for human rights can make a contribution. Legal philosophy is fascinating. Perhaps I could write something about that cool dude Ronald Dworkin who died at a ripe old age on Valentine’s Day.

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