Monthly News Archives: August 2015


Immigration proposals under scrutiny – the Round-up

31 August 2015 by

Photo Credit: The Guardian

In the news

Immigration Minister James Brokenshire has announced proposals to make Britain “tougher on those with no right to be here’. The new measures are to be included in an Immigration Bill due this Autumn. Working illegally in England and Wales is set to be an offence punishable by a sentence of up to six months in prison and an unlimited fine. In addition, businesses suspected of failing to comply with immigration rules could face closure for up to 48 hours.

Policy Director at Focus on Labour Exploitation, Caroline Robinson, is critical of plans for a “labour market enforcement agency”. Far from preventing illegal working, “policies and practices putting immigration control above all else will result in increased forced labour and modern-day slavery in the UK”. Forthcoming research by the organisation highlights the dangers of blurring lines between immigration enforcement and labour inspection, with victims of labour exploitation more likely to avoid inspectors where they fear being reported to immigration officials.

The current system of immigration detention in the UK has also come under close scrutiny this week. Writing for Halsbury’s Law Exchange, Mark Lilley-Tams and Stewart MacLachlan identify potential opportunities for reform. Noting that the UK is unique within Europe in that an individual may be detained under the Immigration Acts for an indefinite period, the authors suggest a review of current government policy “to avoid unnecessary suffering to those being detained, and unnecessary use of public resources where detention is being used”.

Other news

Law Society Gazette: A Home Office report has highlighted ‘significant shortcomings’ in the provision of appropriate adults for vulnerable people in custody, putting them at risk of miscarriages of justice and lengthening custody times. Solicitors have called for urgent action to be made on the report’s recommendations.

A leading disability charity has been notified that the UN will be conducting an investigation into whether the UK government’s welfare reforms have caused “grave or systematic violations” of disabled people’s human rights. Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions have revealed that between 2011 and 2014, 2,380 people have died within six weeks of being found ‘fit to work’. The Independent reports.

The Guardian: The newly appointed UN special rapporteur on privacy, Joseph Cannataci, has called for a universal law on internet surveillance. Cannataci has singled out the oversight mechanism in the UK as being one of the weakest in the western world, describing it as “a rather bad joke at its citizens’ expense”.

Local Government Lawyer: The Court of Appeal has rejected an appeal brought by Unison against rulings of the Divisional Court that the Government’s introduction of employment tribunal fees had not been unlawful. The union has applied for permission to take its legal challenge to the Supreme Court.

Sir John Chilcot is facing legal action to compel publication of his long-delayed report into the Iraq war. A statement by Sir John has attributed the delay in part to the ‘Maxwellisation’ process, in which individuals are given the opportunity to respond to criticism made against them. The BBC reports here.

UK HRB posts

Passports at the junction of international and domestic law – Richard Alton

ISIL child brides: a big care problem for the Family Court? – Rosalind English

Does Article 5 apply to extended sentences? – David Scott

Human Rights Conventions: when some are more equal than others? – Emily Thornberry MP

Events

The Liberty Human Rights Awards will take place on 7 September at London’s Southbank Centre. Tickets for the ceremony can be booked here.

If you would like your event to be mentioned on the Blog, please email the details to Jim Duffy, at jim.duffy@1cor.com.

Hannah Lynes

Passports at the junction of international and domestic law – Richard Alton

30 August 2015 by

0304367Western governments are increasingly concerned to establish that they have the power to prevent individuals from traveling to the Middle East to engage in terrorism-related activity (see Rosalind English’s recent post on Jihadi Brides). This has resulted in a spike in passport seizures, especially on the domestic level.  Under Chapter 1 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 the UK government has the authority to seize UK passports

where a person is suspected of intending to leave Great Britain or the United Kingdom in connection with terrorism-related activity.

These events encouraged me to revisit a 2010 publication I co-authored with my colleague Jason Reed Struble, entitled ‘The Nature of a Passport at the Intersection of Customary International Law and American Judicial Practice’ (16 Ann. Surv. Int’l & Comp. L. 9 (2010)). In that piece we discussed the very nature of a passport and its role in both international and United States domestic law. This article focussed on the seizure of foreign passports by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the subsequent tribulations that follow. Thus, the work focused on a different spectrum of passport seizures, i.e. a government seizing another government’s passport, as opposed to a government seizing passports of its own nationals.
Continue reading →

ISIL child brides: a big care problem for the Family Court?

27 August 2015 by

isis-islamic-state-528116London Borough Tower of Hamlets v B [2015] EWHC 2491 (Fam) 21 August 2015 – read judgment 

When a judge waxes lyrical about a child, garlanded with starred GCSEs, their intelligence, their medical school ambitions, you wonder what is coming. It’s the judicial equivalent of those blurred reproductions in the press of murder victims’  graduate portraits. In this case, a sixteen year old girl “B”, the subject of a careful but nevertheless alarming judgment in the Family Division, turned out to be one of the many girls groomed by their family for exodus to Syria; all of whom appear to be:

intelligent young girls, highly motivated academically, each of whom has, to some and greatly varying degrees, been either radicalised or exposed to extreme ideology promulgated by those subscribing to the values of the self-styled Islamic State.

B herself seemed unoppressed by the situation she was in and indeed wrote to the judge in those terms. She and her family refused to give evidence and sat impassively whilst Heydon J gave judgment.

They have betrayed no emotion; they have been impassive and inscrutable as I have faced the challenge of deciding whether their family should be fragmented and their children removed. Their self discipline is striking. They have listened carefully. The mother has taken careful notes. They have revealed nothing in their responses.

These cases differ from the common run of family abuse cases in that these young women, in the judge’s words, have “boundless opportunities, comfortable homes and carers who undoubtedly love them”. But they have been seduced by a belief that travelling to Syria to become what is known as ‘Jihadi brides’ is somehow romantic and honourable both to them and to their families.
Continue reading →

Adam Wagner shortlisted for prestigious human rights award

25 August 2015 by

Liberty_britainA hand of applause for our Chief Ed Adam Wagner who’s just been  shortlisted for the 2015 Liberty Human Rights Lawyer of the Year Award in recognition of his innovative efforts to bring human rights to life by correcting misinformation and explaining why human rights matter for everyone – the full list of nominees is here.

Adam Wagner founded the UK Human Rights Blog five years ago and more recently the new human rights information project RightsInfo, indefatigably combining all this writing and editing with his busy career as a barrister.

As Liberty’s press release says,

The barrister and campaigner has devoted his time and energy to debunking the myths which have grown up around our Human Rights Act, making the law more accessible to all in the process.

The Liberty Human Rights Awards celebrate the achievements of organisations and individuals from all walks of life who have worked tirelessly to protect and promote fundamental freedoms at a time when the post-war human rights consensus faces an unprecedented attack.

The award ceremony is open to the public (you can get tickets here) and will take place on 7 September at London’s Southbank Centre. It will be hosted by writer, actor and comedian Jo Brand.

Does Article 5 apply to extended sentences?

24 August 2015 by

Photo credit: Guardian

Photo credit: The Guardian

Brown v Parole Board for Scotland, [2015] CSIH 59 – read judgment

Scotland’s civil appeal court, the Inner House of the Court of Session, has refused a prisoner’s appeal for damages resulting from an alleged failure to afford him a reasonable opportunity to rehabilitate himself during his extended sentence.

by David Scott

Continue reading →

Emily Thornberry MP – Human rights conventions: when some are more equal than others?

24 August 2015 by

crc_logoWhen a legal challenge to one of the coalition Government’s flagship welfare reforms – an overall cap of £26,000 per year on the amount any family could receive in benefits – was reviewed by the Supreme Court earlier this year, the resulting judgment left many observers scratching their heads. Had the Court declared the cap unlawful or not? The answer seemed to be a mixture of yes and no.
Continue reading →

GTMO hunger strike and DWP make-believe

24 August 2015 by

Photo credit: Guardian

Photo credit: Guardian

Alex Wessely brings you the latest Round-up.

In the news

Guantanamo Bay was back in the headlines this week, after the Obama administration responded to a legal request to free a hunger-striking detainee “entirely in secret”. Tariq Ba Odah has refused to eat voluntarily since 2007, and now weighs a “shockingly frail”  74.5 pounds (33.8kg).
Continue reading →

The Round-Up: Janner’s debut, and the plight of relying on Dignitas.

17 August 2015 by

2138Laura Profumo serves us the latest human rights happenings.

In the news:

Lurid show-trial of a vulnerable man, the timely vindication of justice being done, and being seen to be done, a CPS volte-face.

Whatever you think of the Janner trial, it’s now in full swing. The former Labour Peer made his first appearance in court on Friday, facing 22 historic child sex abuse charges. The 87 year old’s committal hearing lasted some 59 seconds, after weeks of legal grappling with his defence lawyers. Any doubt over Janner’s dementia was “dispersed instantly” by his arrival, writes The Telegraph’s Martin Evans: flanked by his daughter and carer, Janner appeared frail and “confused”, cooing “ooh, this is wonderful” as he entered the courtroom. The case will now pass to the Crown Court, with the next hearing due on September 1, where a judge will decide whether the octogenarian is fit to stand trial, or whether a trial of fact is a suitable alternative. If the latter course is taken, a jury will decide if Janner was responsible for his charged actions – no verdict of guilt will be found, and no punishment will be handed down.
Continue reading →

The Round-up: Controversy over the Courts Charge and Serdar Mohammed

10 August 2015 by

Photo credit: The Guardian

In the news

The Howard League for Penal Reform has called for a review of the “unfair and unrealistic” Criminal Courts Charge, which “ penalises the poor and encourages the innocent to plead guilty”. The mandatory charge of up to £1,200 is imposed on those who admit committing minor misdemeanours, regardless of their circumstances.

The charity has compiled a list of cases where heavy financial charges have been demanded of people convicted of low-level offences. These include the case of a 38-year-old homeless man who admitted persistently begging in Oxford, and breaching an Asbo prohibiting him from sitting within 10 metres of a cash machine. He was jailed for 30 days and ordered to pay a £150 criminal courts charge.

Continue reading →

On fairness and principle: the legacy of ZZ re-examined – Michael Rhimes

6 August 2015 by

PAjusticeKiani v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2015] EWCA Civ 776 (21 July 2015) – read judgment

In my last post on UKHRB I commented on developments in UK, ECHR and EU jurisprudence relating to procedural fairness in the context of national security.

The developments in this recent case offer some further interesting thoughts on the topic. To explain the case, and put its ramifications in a broader context, this post will be divided into three parts.  In the first I outline my original argument as set out in the earlier post. The second will explain the case itself. The third will offer five brief comments on the broader issues the cases touches upon.

In brief, the court in Kiani followed Tariq and held that AF-type disclosure (see below) was not a universal requirement of fairness; the interests of justice could require a lower standard of disclosure without violating the absolute right to a fair hearing.
Continue reading →

The legal fog of war among the people

5 August 2015 by

NDS_2387497bSerdar Mohammed and Others v Secretary of State for Defence [2015] EWCA Civ 843 – read judgment

The Court of Appeal has held that UK armed forces breached both Afghan law and Article 5 of the ECHR by detaining a suspected Taliban commander for longer than the 96 hours permitted by ISAF policy.

The MOD was therefore potentially liable at both public and private law for the failures to make arrangements for extended detention and to put in place such procedural safeguards as were required by international human rights law. Moreover, the defence of ‘act of state’ was not available against either the public or private law claims.
Continue reading →

When can the courts rule on the legality of future behaviour?

4 August 2015 by

toad_white_natterjackKent & others v Arun District Council and others [2015] EWHC 2295 – read judgment

Iain O’Donnell of 1COR acted for the Council in this case: he played no part in the writing of this post.

This case concerned the application of the law in relation to future conduct, in particular, the role of the judicial review procedure in determining what precisely is meant by the prohibition on the selling of live animals under the Pet Animals Act 1951.

This is a detailed statutory provision inspired by welfare and conservation concerns. It has a complicated legislative history, and essentially the judge hearing the application was being asked to decide whether certain future activities might be caught by it.

For the record, the statute was introduced to protect the welfare of animals sold as pets. It requires any person keeping a pet shop to be licensed by the local council, which will only license such a business if they are satisfied as to the suitability of the accommodation, nutrition and safety of the animals concerned. Section 2 bans the selling of animals in the street, including on barrows and markets.

Councils are responsible for enforcing the law in this area.
Continue reading →

Supreme Court: a right to a student loan?

3 August 2015 by

Supreme-Court-5-e1435307932368R (Tigere) v. Secretary of State for Business [2015] UKSC 57, 29 July 2015 read judgment here

Ms Tigere is 20.  She arrived in the UK from Zambia when she was 6. She did very well at school. In 2013, she applied for a student loan to fund a university place.

The current English system does not allow her to apply for a loan, because of her immigration status. In particular, she did not

(1) have Indefinite Leave to Remain  (ILR) here (and so did not comply with the “settlement rule”), and

(2) have three years of “lawful” ordinary residence here (so did not comply with “the residence rule”).

In a very close run thing, the Supreme Court decided that the application of the settlement rule was incompatible with her Convention rights, under Article 2 of the First Protocol and/or Article 14. By contrast, the residence rule was not incompatible with her rights.

The result was 3-2, and Lord Hughes (of the majority) disagreed with important elements of the reasoning of Lady Hale and Lord Kerr who found for Ms Tigere.

The case is a perfect example of the difficulties of deciding human rights cases in the context of social benefits, as we shall see.

Continue reading →

Round-up: Obama in Africa, and Supreme Court on solitary confinement

3 August 2015 by

2015-07-africa-kenya-kenyatta-obamaIn the news:

President Obama made a historic trip to Kenya this week, and called upon African states to abandon anti-gay discrimination (watch the full speech here). In a speech welcomed by Human Rights Campaign, he urged Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to stop treating people differently based on their sexuality, comparing the effects of this to racial segregation in early 20th century America.

Continue reading →

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

Categories


Disclaimer


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: