EU Controversy, Churchill and the Charter – The Human Rights Roundup

20 November 2013 by

Human rights roundup (NEW)Welcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your regular glass menagerie of human rights news and views. The full list of links can be found here.  You can find previous roundups here.  Links compiled by Adam Wagner, post by Celia Rooney [note from Adam Wagner – a warm welcome to Celia Rooney, our new rounder upper]

This week, Chris Grayling and the Court of Justice go head to head over the domestic status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, while the ghost of Winston Churchill comes back to haunt the ‘United States of Europe’ debate.  Meanwhile, Theresa May’s plans to deprive terrorist suspects of their British citizenship are under fire, while calls for press accountability are repeated.

In the News

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: Did the UK ‘Opt-out’ at Lisbon?

When the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU was agreed, both the UK and Poland secured what was claimed to be an ‘opt out’, under a Protocol to the Lisbon Treaty.  This, they suggested, meant that British people could not rely on Charter rights.  Not so, however, said the Court of Justice of the European Union in  the 2011 case  NS v Secretary of State for the Home Department.  Instead, the Court said that the Protocol simply explains the extent of Charter rights, and provides no exemption for the UK.

The potential significance of this ruling was noted by Mostyn J in the recent case of R (AB) v Secreatary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 3453 (Admin) (our post here). He said that since the Human Rights Act did not incorporate all of the rights in the European Convention, the ruling of the Court of Justice had allowed the Charter to fill in these gaps.  This, he contends, is despite the fact that the parties contracting in Lisbon did not agree to such an effect.  In light of this ruling, Chris Grayling has suggested that he intends to challenge the current interpretation, which he asserts has ‘duped’ the UK into accepting the Charter via the backdoor, and has deprived the British public of a referendum on this issue.

Commenting on these developments, Obiter J remind us that it was Labour who negotiated to so-called ‘opt out’ from the Charter, and that as such, this is not simply a Conservative issue.  Mark Elliott has also notes the importance of these cases, suggesting that, even if the UK does repeal the Human Rights Act, it may be more difficult to get rid of European rights than first thought – see further Rosalind English’s post.

Churchill and the ‘United States of Europe’ 

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, caused controversy in the UK this week after he called for the UK to endorse ‘Churchill’s vision of a United States of Europe’, in a speech delivered in Zurich entitled “From 1946 to today – a European success story.  Why leadership matters’.  The speech provoked a strong reaction amongst the UK press, and also from the leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage, the latter of whom accused the President of the Commission of ‘hijacking’ Churchill’s words and taking them out of context.

Jon Danzig has commented on the affair, suggesting that Churchill was not a Eurosceptic, nor would he have voted for UKIP if alive today.  In his recent post on the Euro Rights Blog, Danzig points to Churchill’s endorsement of a Franco-British Union as evidence of this fact, and argues that the wartime leader supported the idea of the EU.

Stateless Terrorists

Faced with the decision of the Supreme Court in Al Jedda [2013] UKSC 63, which said that section 40(4) of the British Nationality Act 1981 prevents the Home Secretary depriving someone of citizenship if it would render them stateless, Theresa May has announced her intention to repeal the statutory provision in question.  A post on Human Rights in Ireland this week considered the potential impact of these proposals, arguing that it would enhance the already wide discretionary powers that the Secretary of State has in this field.  Although the UK have tabled reservations to some of the international legal provisions against statelessness, it is suggested by the authors that the current proposals go beyond these reservations, and have potentially severe consequences for a wide category of ‘suspects’.

Calling for Media Accountability

Last week, in a post on the UK Human Rights Blog, Adam Wagner argued that the a correction by the Daily Mail to a headline which misrepresented the compensation ‘handed out’ to criminals by the European Court of Human Rights was ‘too little, too late’.  In a similar vein, this week Guy Taylor, from the joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, has argued for the need for greater press accountability in light of a series of inaccurate publications on migration.  Looking at the press through the migration lens, he goes on to suggest that that ‘the outfit that replaces the PCC’ (Press Complaints Commission) must ‘have migration representation included’. 

In Other News

  • Paul Mahoney, the UK’s judge at the European Court of Human Rights, has spoken to the Law Society Gazette about the continued importance of the Strasbourg court in insuring that the states do not slide back to totalitarianism, how the court will overcome the challenges it faces in the future, and the role of Strasbourg case law as ‘almost the common law of Europe’.
  • The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have published a new report on the need to reinforce the independence of the European Court of Human Rights.
  • The Telegraph ran an article entitled “The Government’s attack on Barristers is a looming disaster”, commenting on what is suggests is the increasingly inevitable clash between the Ministry of Justice, which has proposed cuts to fees in order to reduce the legal aid budget, and the Criminal Bar Association.
  • The international community’s response to recent discoveries of spying on the part of the US National Security Authority is discussed on in an article entitled “Security versus Article 8 – how far is too far?”
  • The London School of Economics is leading a new project, under the direction of Professor Conor Gearty, which aiming to ‘crowd-source’ a British constitution.  In essence, the project seeks public participation in shaping the values that a potential codified British constitution would be shaped by.  In light of this, David Allen Green has taken some time to reconsider the nature of the British constitution, which he describes as a ‘conceptual mess’.
  • University College London and King’s College London recently collaborated to screen the film ‘The Response” – a courtroom drama based on the official transcripts of the military tribunals of Guantanamo Bay.

Case Comments

  • R v Mohammed Gul [2013] UKSC 64

In an article published on the European Journal of International Law’s blog this week, Antonio Coco discusses the Supreme Court case of R v Mohammed Gul, which considered the definition of terrorism in situations of non-international armed conflict.  He notes that, although the Supreme Court recognised that the wording of the domestic definition of terrorism was of concern, it nonetheless went on to rely on that definition to uphold the conviction in that case.

  • Webber v IC and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust (GIA/4090/2012) and M v IC and Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Authority (GIA/3017/2010)

Robin Hopkins, barrister at IIKBW, examines two recent decision of the Upper Tribunal which consider whether or not an obligation to disclose information, where the disclosure would involve a breach of confidence, remains after the death of the person who confided the information. 

In the Courts

Upheld the decision of the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, which found that an advert by a Christian publisher seeking the experiences of marginalised Christians contravened the ban on political advertising under the Communications Act 2003 (Elias LJ dissenting).

Upcoming Events

To add 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 the topics covered by this blog.

UK Human Rights Blog Posts

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.




7/7 Bombings 9/11 A1P1 Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption AI air pollution air travel ALBA Allergy Al Qaeda Amnesty International animal rights Animals anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 article 263 TFEU Artificial Intelligence Asbestos Assange assisted suicide asylum asylum seekers Australia autism badgers benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology birds directive blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery British Waterways Board Catholic Church Catholicism Chagos Islanders Charter of Fundamental Rights child protection Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Commission on a Bill of Rights common buzzard common law communications competition confidentiality confiscation order conscientious objection consent conservation constitution contact order contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus costs costs budgets Court of Protection crime criminal law Criminal Legal Aid criminal records Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty declaration of incompatibility defamation DEFRA Democracy village deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention devolution Dignitas dignity Dignity in Dying diplomacy director of public prosecutions disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA doctors does it matter? domestic violence Dominic Grieve don't ask don't ask don't tell don't tell Doogan and Wood double conviction drones duty of care ECHR economic and social rights economic loss ECtHR Education election Employment Environment environmental information Equality Act Equality Act 2010 Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Convention on Human Rights European Court of Human Rights European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Facebook Family Family life fatal accidents act Fertility FGM Finance fishing rights foreign criminals foreign office foreign policy France freedom of assembly Freedom of Association Freedom of Expression freedom of information Freedom of Information Act 2000 freedom of movement freedom of speech free speech game birds gangbo gang injunctions Garry Mann gary dobson Gary McFarlane gay discrimination Gay marriage gay rights gay soldiers Gaza Gaza conflict Gender General Dental Council General Election General Medical Council genetic discrimination genetic engineering genetic information genetics genetic testing Germany Google government Grenfell grooming Gun Control gwyneth paltrow gypsies habitats habitats protection hammerton v uk happy new year Hardeep Singh Haringey Council Harkins and Edwards Health healthcare health insurance Heathrow heist heightened scrutiny Henry VII Henry VIII hereditary disorder 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 Office Home Office v Tariq homeopathy hooding Hounslow v Powell House of Commons Housing housing benefits Howard League for Penal Reform how judges decide cases hra damages claim HRLA HS2 hs2 challenge hts Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority human genome 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 news Human Rights Watch human right to education human trafficking hunting Huntington's Disease HXA hyper injunctions Igor Sutyagin illegality defence immigration Immigration/Extradition Immigration Act 2014 immigration appeals immigration detention immigration judge immigration rules immunity India Indonesia Infrastructure Planning Committee inherited disease Inhuman and degrading treatment injunction Inquest Inquests insurance insurmountable obstacles intelligence services act intercept evidence interception interim remedies international international criminal court international law international treaty obligations internet internet service providers internship inuit investigation investigative duty in vitro fertilisation Iran Iranian nuclear program Iraq Iraqi asylum seeker Iraq War Ireland irrationality islam Israel Italy iTunes IVF ivory ban jackson reforms Janowiec and Others v Russia ( Japan Jason Smith Jeet Singh Jeremy Corbyn jeremy hunt job Jogee John Hemming John Terry joint enterprise joint tenancy Jon Guant Joseph v Spiller journalism judaism judges Judges and Juries judging Judicial activism judicial brevity judicial deference judicial review Judicial Review reform judiciary Julian Assange jurisdiction jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Act Justice and Security Bill Justice and Security Green Paper Justice Human Rights Awards JUSTICE Human Rights Awards 2010 just satisfaction Katyn Massacre Kay v Lambeth Kay v UK Ken Clarke Kerry McCarthy Kettling Kings College koran burning Labour Lady Hale LASPO Law Pod UK Law Society of Scotland leave to enter leave to remain legal aid legal aid cuts Legal Aid Reforms legal blogs Legal Certainty legal naughty step Legal Ombudsman legal representation legitimate expectation let as a dwelling Leveson Inquiry Levi Bellfield lewisham hospital closure lgbtq liability Libel libel reform Liberal Democrat Conference Liberty libraries closure library closures Libya licence conditions licence to shoot life insurance life sentence limestone pavements lisbon treaty Lithuania Litigation litvinenko live exports local authorities locked in syndrome London Legal Walk London Probation Trust Lord Bingham Lord Blair Lord Goldsmith lord irvine Lord Judge speech Lord Kerr Lord Lester Lord Neuberger Lord Phillips Lord Sumption Lord Taylor luftur rahman MAGA Magna Carta mail on sunday Majority Verdict Malcolm Kennedy malice Margaret Thatcher Margin of Appreciation margin of discretion Maria Gallastegui marriage material support maternity pay Matthew Woods Maya the Cat Mba v London Borough Of Merton McKenzie friend Media and Censorship Medical medical liability medical negligence medical qualifications medical records medicine mental capacity Mental Capacity Act Mental Capacity Act 2005 Mental Health mental health act mental health advocacy mental health awareness Mental illness merits review MGN v UK michael gove Midwives migrant crisis Milly Dowler Ministerial Code Ministry of Justice Ministry of Justice cuts misfeasance in public office modern slavery morality morocco mortuaries motherhood Motor Neurone disease Moulton Mousa MP expenses Mr Gul Mr Justice Eady MS (Palestinian Territories) (FC) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for the Home Department murder murder reform Musician's Union Muslim NADA v. SWITZERLAND - 10593/08 - HEJUD [2012] ECHR 1691 naked rambler Naomi Campbell nationality National Pro Bono Week national security Natural England nature conservation naturism Nazi negligence Neuberger neuroscience Newcastle university news new Supreme Court President NHS NHS Risk Register Nick Clegg Nicklinson Niqaab Noise Regulations 2005 Northern Ireland nuclear challenges nuisance nursing nursing home Obituary Occupy London offensive jokes Offensive Speech offensive t shirt oil spill olympics open justice oppress OPQ v BJM orchestra Osama Bin Laden paramountcy principle parental rights parenthood parliamentary expenses parliamentary expenses scandal Parliamentary sovereignty Parliament square parole board pastor Terry Jones patents Pathway Students Patrick Quinn murder Pensions persecution personal data Personal Injury personality rights perversity Peter and Hazelmary Bull PF and EF v UK Phil Woolas phone hacking phone taps physical and mental disabilities physician assisted death Pinnock Piracy Plagiarism planning planning human rights planning system plebgate POCA podcast points Poland Police police investigations police liability police misconduct police powers police surveillance Policy Exchange report political judges Politics Politics/Public Order poor reporting Pope portal possession proceedings power of attorney PoW letters to ministers pre-nup pre-nuptial Pre-trial detention predator control pregnancy press press briefing press freedom 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 Prisons prison vote privacy privacy injunction privacy law through the front door Private life private nuisance private use proceeds of crime Professional Discipline Property proportionality prosecution Protection of Freedoms Act Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest protest camp protest rights Protocol 15 psychiatric hospitals Public/Private public access publication public authorities Public Bodies Bill public inquiries public interest public interest environmental litigation public interest immunity Public Order Public Sector Equality Duty putting the past behind quango quantum quarantine Queen's Speech queer in the 21st century 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) Rabone and another v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust [2012] UKSC 2 race relations Rachel Corrie Radmacher Raed Salah Mahajna Raed Saleh Ramsgate raptors rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion resuscitation RightsInfo right to die right to family life right to life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania Round Up Royals Russia saudi arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice Secret trials security services sexual offence Sikhism Smoking social media social workers South Africa south african constitution Spain special advocates spending cuts Sports Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance Syria Tax Taxi technology Terrorism terrorism act tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine universal jurisdiction unlawful detention USA US Supreme Court vaccination vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wildlife wind farms WomenInLaw Worboys wrongful birth YearInReview Zimbabwe


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: