Incoherent, incomplete and disrespectful: The Conservative plans for human rights – Angela Patrick

3 October 2014 by

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 22.47.13“Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. … Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” Eleanor Roosevelt (1958).

For human rights to matter, they must be made real first, at home, in those small places that matter to us all. After almost four decades of debate, it was in this vein that the Westminster Parliament, with Conservative Party support, voted to “Bring Rights Home” in the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”). As we wake this morning to the front pages of two national newspapers decrying human rights “madness” and welcoming freshly minted (but fairly familiar) Conservative Party policy plans to condemn the HRA to history, this is a good message to remember.

The proposals are incoherent in their consideration of domestic law, incomplete in their engagement with the devolved constitution and disrespectful to the UK’s commitments in international law. They undermine the cause of bringing rights closer to home and seemingly have no care for progress of minimum standards in the wider world.

What rights?

The proposals would “Put the text of the original Human Rights Convention into primary legislation” but “clarify the Convention rights, to reflect a proper balance between rights and responsibilities”

The rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) and the HRA provide a starting point. No new rights will be added (in the now familiar short hand, there will be no “ECHR plus”). However, new qualifiers would limit the substance of Convention rights recognised in domestic law.   In practice, this means rewriting – or undercutting – the Convention rights for domestic application: compiling an “ECHR minus” set of UK guarantees. The few examples given suggest that the rewrite could be extensive and could include changes to absolute inviolable rights protected by the ECHR and customary international law. For example:

  • Revising the “real risk” test used to determine whether someone is at risk of torture on deportation “in line with our commitment to prevent torture and in keeping with the approach taken by other developed nations: The UK argued this point before the European Court of Human Rights in Saadi, It is clear that there is no form of internationally acceptable test that will allow the lawful return of an individual to a real risk of torture.   If there is evidence that an individual faces a real risk of torture on return, should the UK seriously be seeking shortcuts?
  • “Some terms used in the Convention rights would benefit from a more precise definition, such as ‘degrading treatment or punishment’.” Again, the example given targets the prohibition on torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment in Article 3 ECHR. The examples given again refer to deportation cases. Yet, what would the drafters’ more precise definition include? Would, for example, leaving a disabled person in prison without care or support suitable to their needs be deemed acceptable? (See Price v UK)
  • Only the “most serious cases”: The proposals would impose a new “threshold” to prevent courts considering “trivial” cases.

The ECHR and the HRA already recognise competing individual and community rights, recognising that proportionate limits to some rights are plainly justifiable to protect the public interest or the rights of others. The proposals are critical of this threshold and this provision is clearly designed to allow greater scope for authorities in the UK to act without consideration of individuals’ rights. It is altogether unclear what this might mean in practice, but it implies that an individual might have a valid claim that their rights have been violated but have a remedy refused. This echoes the suggestion of an earlier conservative Private Members’ Bill, which would have permitted violations of Convention rights which were deemed “reasonable” (see Clause 6).   Reasonableness, seriousness and triviality are all highly subjective concepts new to these proposals. Who would you trust to assess whether a violation of your rights was trivial?

Whose rights?

In line with international law, everyone within the jurisdiction of the UK benefits from the protection of the HRA. In very limited circumstances this includes some individuals within the responsibility of the UK but located overseas, including, in some circumstances, UK troops operating in theatre.

The proposals explain “The Convention recognises that people have civic responsibilities, and allows some of its rights to be restricted to uphold the rights and interests of other people. Our new Bill will clarify these limitations on individual rights in certain circumstances.” This would introduce further qualifiers designed to restrict the application of the new Bill to exclude certain categories of individuals or to offer lesser protection to some groups in some circumstances.   Examples are given in the text and the accompanying Press Release:

  • “the Bill will stop terrorists and other serious foreign criminals who pose a threat to our society from using human rights to prevent deportation”
  • “Ensure that those who pose a national security risk to this country or have entered it illegally cannot rely on questionable human rights claims”
  • “limit the ability of those who threaten British citizens or society to use human rights laws to protect their interests”

This sliding scale of eligibility for rights protection erodes the nature of unalienable, universal human rights. As the Joint Committee on Human Rights explained in its 2007 report on a Bill of Rights for the UK (see paras 264 – 267):

Human rights are rights which people enjoy by virtue of being human: they cannot be made contingent on the prior fulfilment of responsibilities.

Expressly legislating to prevent the application of domestic law to troops operating in theatre would leave soldiers – in the limited circumstances they may have a claim – to go to Strasbourg for a remedy. Removing the remedy at home will not change the scope of the Convention.

Any of these substantive changes could mean that a person could have a perfectly valid right under the Convention but no enforceable right in domestic law. Applicants to the European Court must exhaust all effective domestic remedies before taking the road to Strasbourg (Article 34). If a remedy is clearly excluded in domestic law, it cannot be considered effective. An unintended consequence of these changes might be that more frequently individuals could leap-frog the domestic courts entirely. Ironically, the impact of these limitations could be to limit the engagement of domestic courts in the development of Convention law in precisely those cases which its critics find politically difficult.

Who decides?

“The UK Courts, not Strasbourg, will have the final say in interpreting Convention Rights”

There is nothing in the HRA that binds the UK Courts to apply Strasbourg jurisprudence. Section 2 of the Act requires judges to “take into account” case-law from Europe, nothing more. While individual judges have historically interpreted this obligation restrictively, this interpretation is outdated and domestic judges are increasingly confident in their ability to depart from decisions from Strasbourg. The proposals would repeal this obligation.   It is unclear whether judges will retain full discretion to consider Strasbourg jurisprudence or other comparative material should they choose, or whether a new restriction will be imposed.

Domestic courts’ duty to interpret the law compatibly with Convention rights (section 3 HRA) would be removed.   This suggests that the primary power of domestic courts under a new Bill would be declaratory. An increased number of declarations of incompatibility would place greater responsibility on Parliament to respond (Parliament, thus far has never failed to respond to a declaration made under the HRA). However, if a declaration is the only remedy available, there is clear case-law to suggest that a domestic claim needn’t be pursued before a claim at Strasbourg (Burden v UK). An individual applicant might see little benefit in the expense of pursuing a domestic declaration which will have no immediate impact on their circumstances.

Is it all about the judges?

Some of the most important features of the HRA have nothing to do with judges, whether domestic or international. Its responsibilities are tripartite, with clear roles for Government, Parliament and the judiciary.

Section 6 of the Act places an important duty on all public authorities to respect our rights in discharging their functions. This replicates constitutional limitations on public power the world over. No equivalent is addressed in these proposals.

Section 19 of the HRA requires Ministers to certify that legislation presented to Parliament is Convention compatible. This section provides the foundation for enhanced legislative scrutiny performed by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights. While the proposals explain “Parliament will consider the Convention rights set out in the law in all the legislation it passes”; no Ministerial duty is considered.

The proposals will revise the Ministerial code to “remove any ambiguity” about the duty of Ministers to act in accordance with the will of Parliament.   The current Ministerial code makes clear that Ministers are intended to discharge their duties in a manner consistent with the international obligations of the United Kingdom. This proposal appears to give lie to the true intention of the proposals. Not to enhance the role of Parliament, but to ease the limits on executive action.

The proposals promise to “End the ability of the European Court of Human Rights to force the UK to change the law.” They elaborate: “Every judgement that UK law is incompatible with the Convention will be treated as advisory and we will introduce a new Parliamentary procedure to formally consider the judgement. It will only be binding in UK law if Parliament agrees that it should be enacted as such.”

There is nothing in the HRA which requires the domestic courts or the UK Parliament to act on a decision of the European Court. The HRA expressly preserves parliamentary sovereignty by ensuring that domestic courts decisions are limited to “declarations of incompatibility” (Section 4, HRA). Incompatible legislation remains in force – with continuing effects on the lives of the individuals affected by it – until Parliament chooses to act. While the HRA provides a parliamentary procedure – the remedial order – to allow Parliament to consider a fast-track response to Strasbourg decisions (Section 10, HRA), there is nothing in the Act that requires any judgment to be formally considered.

This package of measures seems destined to deter individuals from pursuing a remedy at all. Domestic courts’ ability to provide a remedy will be constrained. Leapfrogging the domestic courts to secure a decision at Strasbourg could lead to an interminable negotiation on whether the judgment should be considered ‘advisory’ or binding. On both counts, making it more difficult for people in the UK to hold Government and public agencies to account.

Article 46 of the ECHR places a binding international law obligation on the UK to implement the adverse judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. However – as the prisoners’ votes saga illustrates – this process can involve a significant degree of political discretion on the part of national parliaments in respect of how and when they respond.

By declaring that all – or at least some – judgments will be considered non-binding, these proposals create an inevitable clash with the requirements of Article 46. These measures seem designed to provoke a crisis for relatively little return.

The Nuclear Option?

A Conservative Government would negotiate with the Council of Europe to secure recognition that this “new approach is a legitimate way of applying the Convention”. If an agreement is not reached, it will withdraw from the ECHR. This has unavoidable echoes of the commitment on the EU. The terms of this new “approach” make accommodation infeasible.   The option to carve out exceptions to the rights protected and to “pick and mix” the judgments we accept would undermine the Convention system entirely.

The proposals cite the example of the German management of constitutional conflict within the Convention system as a comparator. The comparison is not a helpful one. The German constitution has grown up alongside the ECHR and there is no evidence that it has ever taken steps to expressly disavow its obligations to meet the standards by which all Council of Europe members are bound. In the last Parliament, the then Secretary of State for Justice told Parliament:

“The standard of protection given to individuals by the German Basic Law is greater, and less flexible than that given by the ECHR. As such, decisions made by the German Court are therefore rarely overturned by the European Court of Human Rights because they do not fall below the minimum floor of rights which the ECHR seeks to establish” (See paras 39 – 40)

By design or naiveté, withdrawal seems the end goal of these proposals. The Council of Europe will not accept the clear circumvention of Article 46. Withdrawal from the ECHR – and the Council of Europe – would put the UK in the company of Belarus. The only known example of a modern democracy publicly downgrading their commitment to international human rights standards is Venuzuela, which took similar steps to avoid the scrutiny of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The question is whether a future Conservative Government would see the UK painted as the Venuzuela of Europe?

The Bigger Picture

The proposals give cursory consideration to the relationship between the HRA and the ECHR, wider domestic constitutional law, EU law and the wider international obligations of the United Kingdom:

  • How British is the Bill? In short, we just don’t know. The proposals explain that the goal is to negotiate a settlement which respects existing arrangements for devolution. Aileen McHarg, in this blog, has already dissected the difficulties that the proposals pose for our devolution settlement. Does the Conservative Party envisage a Bill which only relates to reserved matters or do they plan to unpick the devolution arrangements in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? While the first option could lead to police officers subject to different standards depending on the offence under consideration, the latter could undermine the Good Friday Agreement. JUSTICE highlighted these problems before the last election. In light of the proximity to the independence referendum, it appears constitutionally blinkered to fail to grapple with the geographical extent of the proposals.
  • Greater focus on EU rights under a British Bill? Whole papers will have been written on the implications of these proposals for our relationship with not just the Council of Europe, but the EU. However, if these changes are implemented, people with a complaint in EU law may find greater protection in our domestic courts relying not on the somewhat more limited protection of the would-be Bill of Rights but on the application of the 1972 European Communities Act and the direct effect of the EU Charter.
  • Beyond Europe: Many of the substantive changes proposed will directly engage the wider international obligations of the United Kingdom. For example, lowering the threshold for deportation fails to consider that the relevant ECHR obligations in mirror those in the UN Convention against Torture and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Yet, nothing in the proposals address the constitutional significance of acting inconsistently with these binding treaties voluntarily entered in good faith.

The majority partner in the coalition Government is sending a global message that national parliaments – and by extension, the popular majority – should have the first and last say on human rights standards. If this selective approach to international human rights standards works for us, it also works for Moscow, Tehran and Beijing. Our Government might seek to carve out special exceptions for criminals, alleged terrorists or violators of planning legislation; another might direct their courts to refuse protection to dissidents or journalists. It is difficult to see how the UK might credibly object. That is not only damaging to the reputation of the UK, but to the viability of international human rights law.

The case for change

The paucity of the case for change has been dissected at length both in this blog and elsewhere.

The small handful of cases which the UK Government has found politically, if not legally, difficult cannot be used to justify sweeping constitutional change. There will always be hard cases. Any human rights instrument which didn’t create tension for Government wouldn’t be doing its job.

The European Court of Human Rights is accused of “mission creep”; using the doctrine of the “living instrument” to expand the reach of the Convention. This criticism would see the Convention frozen for all time in 1950, neglecting to protect the rights of disabled and homosexual people, continuing to sanction laws on legitimacy and refusing to consider the issues raised by the DNA database.  As common lawyers, we should shy away from encouraging such a formalistic, literal approach to the law.

Conclusion

Between this eight page outline and a major constitutional shift lies the ballot and the dispatch box. Several members of the cabinet lost their jobs in order that these proposals could make it to print, including the Attorney General and a former Lord Chancellor.  If these proposals were ever to be placed before Parliament, they’d face a rough ride in both Houses, with no guaranteed welcome even from the “blue” benches.

This new packaging may be politically attractive to some, but constitutional changes should be carefully considered not actively mis-sold. That the Prime Minister failed to publish these proposals for consideration by the membership during the party conference says much about the party leadership’s commitment to consult on the substance of these measures.

The plans appear legally and politically unworkable. If they were to be implemented, the offer on the table seems a rough deal. Not bringing rights close to home, but closer to Government. Not bringing rights home, but bringing rights to heel.

We must all be concerned citizens.

Angela Patrick is the Director of Human Rights Policy at JUSTICE. Full information on JUSTICE’s response to the Bill of Rights debate can be found here. For further information about the work of JUSTICE see www.justice.org.uk or follow @JUSTICEhq.

On 20 October 2014, JUSTICE will host its Annual Human Rights Law Conference. 6.5 hours CPD with leaders in the field and debate with representatives of all three main political parties. Book your place, now

6 comments


  1. Craig Nelson says:

    No good can come of this strange obsession. Are we to conceive of one party acting alone revoking protections of family life, from torture and to a fair trial for all citizens? What if the Lords demur, as they may (either by rejecting or heavily amending)? Are we to expect use of the Parliament Act to enable one party in the Commons to act unicamerally on such an important matter? Such a thing is clearly unthinkable.

    What do we anticipate our own Supreme Court whilst this human rights vandalism takes place? I would expect them to become more vigilant – the prohibition of torture is a core precept in modern societies and I do not see our Supreme Court allowing that precept to be blithely undermined for one party’s political advantage. Doubtless then the attacks will be turned on our own Supreme Court as well as the Strasbourg Court.

    The Human Rights Act represents a matter of balance and proportion in our constitutional arrangements, which when once thrown out will lead to unending mischief some of which is pointed out in the article e.g. people being increasingly forced to go direct to Strasbourg because of there being no domestic remedy available.

  2. johnmmorrison7 says:

    I’m a former political journalist not a lawyer, but I once wrote a chapter on the HRA in a book I wrote on constitutional reform under Blair. I see this more in political terms. Dictators around the world will now gleefully point to David Cameron’s example every time they want to resist international pressure over a human rights issue. If the UK is lining up to argue that national sovereignty trumps international human rights obligations, then that is a fantastic argument for China, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Belarus, Russia and everywhere else. The appalling Jacob Rees-Mogg was on Newsnight last night and described the UK’s international obligations under the ECHR and the Court of Human Rights as ‘outsourcing’ which was quite unnecessary. That just about sums up the Conservative viewpoint. This isn’t really about legal niceties. It’s about currying favour with the Mail, Express and Sun and fending off UKIP. The ‘hated Human Rights Act’ is a political football for those whose real agenda is to leave the EU. If we quit the ECHR that is incompatible with membership of the Council of Europe and thus of the EU.

  3. jonholbrook says:

    For a different perspective, which is critical of the entire human rights discourse & of the Tories, see my article on politics.co.uk:

    http://www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2014/10/03/comment-human-rights-are-a-proxy-war-for-the-political-class

  4. m kitson says:

    While I understand your points and in the main agree. Two point’s leap out in my view, one that any organisation wholly based in human rights law and predominantly composed of people who earn a living from it are most likely biased in favour of strengthening not weakening said act. Secondly our nation is clearly amongst the most open and fair minded so possibly we need not expect public lynchings.

  5. Tobias Thienel says:

    It seems to me the end result of the proposed changes will a sort of blame-game. The UK will continue to be subject to the jurisdiction of the ECHR, but the unpopular decisions will have to be taken at Strasbourg, as in pre-HRA times. This would remove from the Convention any inherent legitimacy that the domestic courts might yet be perceived to have, and would allow the Camerons and Murdochs to squeal even more loudly.

    Also, the citation to a decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court is correct as far as it goes, but seriously misleading (nothing new there, then…). The Court has indeed held in the Görgülü case of October 2004 that the Basic Law outranks the Convention in domestic law. It does. International treaties have the force and rank of a federal statute in domestic law, but not constitutional rank (this follows from Article 59(2) of the Basic Law). But the Court has also held that the Basic Law itself should, as far as possible, be interpreted to comply with the ECHR. This is remarkable for two reasons. It means that an instrument of lower domestic rank is held to affect the interpretation of the highest-ranking instrument. Moreover, this duty of interpretation, with which the Court itself has complied in numerous occasions (some of them politically controversial), rather constrains the possibility of outright conflict between the Convention and the Basic Law. Indeed, in the Görgülü case itself, the whole point about the Basic Law outranking the Convention in domestic law was technically obiter. The decision of the lower court that was at issue there was quashed for failure to consider the Convention. The Basic Law did not help there.

    Also, the point about the Basic Law affording more generous protection of human rights is clearly correct, as well. This means that any reservations of the Federal Constitutional Court about the Convention, as arguably expressed in the (obvious) holding that the Basic Law outranks the Convention in domestic law, are not about giving the authorities greater leeway in violating the Convention. The Basic Law does not do that, so its higher domestic rank does not nearly achieve what the Conservatives might like it to achieve. What the higher rank of the Basic Law actually does is preserve the greater protection of human rights under the Basic Law. This might in practice entail (but this has not yet been tested in that the greater rights under the Basic Law are preserved where they come in conflict with the Convention rights of a third private party. But this has nothing to do with any political concerns over giving rights to prisoners and extremists. If anything, it is about guarding Germany’s capability to grant more such rights.

  6. Jon Danzig says:

    Why is the European Convention on Human Rights such a problem for us, and not the other 46 countries who have also signed up to it?

    See my commentary:

    http://www.humanrights.mythexploder.com

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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

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