The Round-Up: Holyrood’s Hard-line, and Sumption’s Long Game

29 September 2015 by

SumptionLaura Profumo brings you the latest human rights happenings.

In the News: 

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, announced last week that it was “inconceivable” that the SNP would support the Conservative plans to scrap the Human Rights Act. Talking to an audience in Glasgow on Wednesday, Sturgeon pledged her unequivocal commitment to block the HRA-repeal. Sturgeon warned that human rights remained a “devolved issue”, meaning that Scottish opposition might well hamper Gove’s forthcoming efforts. Many find sympathy with Sturgeon’s stance. Sturgeon values the HRA as a “careful model” which incorporates human rights protection into UK law, without upsetting our constitutional bedrock, writes Alex Cisneros in The Justice Gap.

The Government’s reply to Sturgeon’s snub included its statement that the Bill of Rights will “restore common sense” to the application of human rights law. But as UKHRB’s own Fraser Simpson observes, some of Sturgeon’s concerns may well ring true. Failing to consider the international impact of UK withdrawal from the ECHR would be both naïve, and “incredibly isolationist”, he writes.  The First Minister also warned the Bill would “damage relations with devolved governments”, namely those of Scotland and Wales. Whilst the Sewel Convention will likely require Scottish consent for the HRA-repeal, a Bill of Rights could be introduced solely for Wales and England. Yet Sturgeon maintained she had “no interest” in brokering a deal to protect the current Act in Scotland alone, upholding that the dilution of human rights, in any part of the UK, would be firmly opposed by Holyrood. The spectre of a second independence referendum also looms large. The First Minister has already confirmed the SNP will specify the conditions for another referendum in their 2016 election manifesto. Whilst Britain leaving the EU, against a Scottish majority, and Trident renewal, have been identified as possible grounds for a re-vote, HRA-repeal might well become another trigger.

The next few months will, it is hoped, see Gove adding more flesh to the bones of the Conservative proposals.

In Other News….

  • David Anderson QC, the terrorism legislation reviewer, has warned that proposals to curb extremism could alienate affected communities. The proposed measures include banning extremist organizations, and implementing Extremism Disruption Orders to restrict activities of specific individuals. For the legislation to prove viable, Anderson has urged for the link between extremism and terrorism to be clarified and for the ambit of such surveillance powers to be clearly defined. If not carefully drafted, the new laws may risk stoking the image of an illiberal government, playing into the hands of terrorist recruiters.
  • Supreme Court judge Lord Sumption has offered his own position on gender equality in the judiciary. Speaking to the Evening Standard, he has warned that too heavy a pro-female bias, placing more women in senior judicial positions, might dissuade talented male candidates from applying. To rush such a change would likely have “appalling consequence(s)” for a profession which remains a “terrific public asset”. Suggesting it may take some 50 years to achieve true equality, Sumption insisted that the lack of female judges was down to a “lifestyle choice”, with women more reluctant to work long hours. Though rubbishing claims that the Bar remained a glorified “old boy’s network”, his comments will likely refuel the debate on sexism in the wake of the Charlotte Proudman case. In a letter to the Guardian, Professor Helen Carr laments what a “depressing” message Sumptions’ remarks convey to aspiring female lawyers: “curtail your expectations, for the sake of the legal system”.
  • Lord Pannick QC has weighed in on the RAF drone strike that killed two British Isis fighters in Syria. Writing for The Times, Pannick agreed with former government lawyer, Carl Gardner, that article 51 of the UN Charter sanctions pre-emptive self-defence of a state, where necessary and proportionate. Yet for such a response to prove lawful, it necessitates a high degree of procedural protection, under domestic and ECHR law. This requires guidelines on a state’s power to take action to be published, Pannick urges, both to satisfy public interest, and to uphold a rigorous decision-making process. Yet Gardner queries Pannick’s second proposal – that an independent judicial authority must first approve any drone strike. Why such additional scrutiny is reserved for terrorist targets, and not for “every choice of target by British forces” which involves loss of life appears ill-advised. Furthermore, Gardner continues, it might not even prove “appropriate” – judgments on defensive military force remaining the purview of our executive, not the judiciary.
  • The Upper Tribunal has reached a decisive ruling on whether human rights grounds can be argued in an EU rights of residence appeal. In the determination, Amirteymour and others, it was ruled that an appellant can not challenge a decision to remove under the EEA Regulations on human rights grounds. The decision conjures a curious sense of déjà vu, notes Garden Court barrister Colin Yeo, raising several familiar problems. The attempt to dissociate refusal of EEA residence from a decision to remove is a “bizarrely impractical notion”, Yeo writes, in marked contrast to the CJEU ruling in Dereci. The Home Office’s estranging of EU and ECHR law issues means those facing current EEA appeals, which rely on human rights grounds, will be forced to make a second application. This will simply invite further delays, occupying additional courts resources – “it is spiteful self harm by the Home Office”, Yeo warns.
  • Another, more welcome Upper Tribunal judgment, in SSWP v SSF and others, has established that female EU citizens can expect to retain ‘Worker’ status for a year when off-work for maternity reasons. This means they will continue to be lawful UK residents during that time, and able to access a range of social benefits, including income support, which impose a right to reside test. For a further analysis of the case, in light of the ‘St Prix’ precedent, read Adrian Berry’s fine blog here.
  • Fears over Turkey’s human rights violations continue to mount, following a recently published report by senior British lawyers. The survey, commissioned by one of Erdogan’s exiled critics, catalogues the abuses of the AK party government, including restricting the freedom of speech, censoring websites, and subjecting detainees to degrading treatment. Lord Woolf and Professor Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC were amongst those contributing to the inquiry. The report describes the systematic purges of some 40,000 public sector employees, marking a “serious setback for Turkish democracy”. With Turkish courts being particularly targeted, ECtHR remains a final bastion for legal remedies. Last year alone the Court handed down 101 judgments to Turkey confirming human rights violations.


In the Courts..

  • Lavrentiadis v. Greecethe detention of a person who suffers from a chronic auto-immune disease, without adequate medical treatment, violates ECHR Articles 5, 3 and 13, ECtHR ruled last week. The applicant, a sufferer of the mobility disease, relied on Article 5 § 4 (the right to a swift review of the lawfulness of his detention) to argue that the Greek criminal court had contravened ECHR law, in taking 87 days to reach a determination on his detention. Relying on Articles 3 and 13, the applicant also succeeded in alleging that his detention adversely affected his health, and that no effective remedy was available to him.
  • Da Silva Carvalho Rico v PortugalA case concerning the reduction of pensions following Portuguese austerity measures was ruled inadmissible in an ECtHR decision last week. Following negotiations to receive EU financial support, the Portuguese Government implemented the relevant economic measures from 2011 to 2014. The applicant, a recipient of a public-sector pension scheme, argued such measures breached her ECHR right to protection of property under Article 1 of Protocol 1. Noting the prevailing public interests in Portugal, at a time of financial crisis, and the temporary nature of the budgetary measures, the Court held the pension reduction to be a proportionate restriction on the applicant’s Protocol 1 right, in order to stimulate economic recovery.
  • Dorado Baúlde v. SpainECtHR has declared inadmissible a case concerning the right to have one’s conviction and sentence reviewed. The applicant complained that his right to have his conviction and sentence for drug trafficking reviewed was violated by the Spanish Supreme Court, as no possibility of a re-evaluation of evidence was permitted. The Court emphasized that the right of appeal in criminal matters, under Article 2 of Protocol 7, can be confined to points of law alone, with no need to revisit the factual determinations of the lower courts. In allowing Contracting States a wide margin of appreciation for criminal appeals, ECtHR held the Supreme Court judgment to conform with international standards.

If you would like your event to be mentioned on the Blog, please email the details to Jim Duffy, at


  1. S England says:

    Who are these … communities…… I live in the community, no special rules for anyone. This means protect the followers of religions. I think you will find a long time ago, it was decided that cultural and religious ideologies are not allowed to override basic human rights, particularly for women who always bear the brunt of this.

    Could this strange man explain how in law ‘communities’ are defined?

  2. Captain Sensible says:

    I often visit this blog in the vain hope that there will be at least one article with some sort of balance. Sadly I’m yet to find it after reading the above. Its naive to think that Sturgeon’s stance on human rights is anything but another political stick to fight the Tory government she hates. Would she make such public criticism if say France were planning a French Bill of Rights? I think not.

  3. Karen Jane Harkins says:

    I find it “inconceivable” that I am unable to assert my human rights in Scotland, that government delegated bodies can walk right over you without having to justify their conduct. What’s the point of being entitled to human rights if the latter are merely words that can never be translated into facts?

  4. daveyone1 says:

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

Comments are closed.

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 circumcision citizenship civil liberties campaigners civil partnerships climate change clinical negligence closed material procedure Coercion Cologne 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 Disability-related harassment disciplinary hearing disclosure Discrimination Discrimination law 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 DPP guidelines drones duty of care ECHR economic and social rights economic loss ECtHR Education election Employment Environment environmental information Equality Act Equality Act 2010 ethics 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 european disability forum European Sanctions Blog Eurozone euthanasia evidence Exclusion extra-jurisdictional reach of ECHR extra-territoriality extradition extradition act extradition procedures extradition review extraordinary rendition Facebook Facebook contempt facial recognition fair procedures Fair Trial faith courts fake news Family family courts family law family legal aid Family life fatal accidents act Fertility fertility treatment FGM fisheries 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 Google government Grenfell grooming Gun Control gwyneth paltrow gypsies habitats habitats protection Halsbury's Law Exchange hammerton v uk happy new year harassment Hardeep Singh Haringey Council Harkins and Edwards Health healthcare health insurance Heathrow heist heightened scrutiny Henry VII Henry VIII herd immunity hereditary disorder High Court of Justiciary 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 homelessness 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 Hrant Dink 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 increase of sanction India Indonesia Infrastructure Planning Committee inherent jurisdiction inherited disease Inhuman and degrading treatment injunction Inquest Inquests insult insurance insurmountable obstacles intelligence services act intercept evidence interception interests of the child interim remedies international international conflict international criminal court international humanitarian law international human rights international human rights law international law international treaty obligations internet internet service providers internment internship inuit investigation investigative duty in vitro fertilisation Iran iranian bank sanctions 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 Jefferies 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 Ken Pease Kerry McCarthy Kettling Kings College Klimas koran burning Labour Lady Hale lansley NHS reforms LASPO Law Commission Law Pod UK Law Society Law Society of Scotland leave to enter leave to remain legal aid legal aid cuts Legal Aid desert 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 life support limestone pavements limitation lisbon treaty Lithuania Litigation litvinenko live exports local authorities locked in syndrome london borough of merton London Legal Walk London Probation Trust Lord Bingham Lord Bingham of Cornhill Lord Blair Lord Goldsmith lord irvine Lord Judge speech Lord Kerr Lord Lester Lord Neuberger Lord Phillips Lord Rodger Lord Sumption Lord Taylor LSC tender luftur rahman machine learning 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 Mattu v The University Hospitals of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust [2011] EWHC 2068 (QB) 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 Health Courts 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 News of the World 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 Oxford University paramountcy principle parental rights parenthood parking spaces parliamentary expenses parliamentary expenses scandal Parliamentary sovereignty Parliament square parole board passive smoking 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 Pope's visit Pope Benedict 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 prison numbers 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 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 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 Standing starvation statelessness stem cells stop and search Strasbourg super injunctions Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance swine flu Syria Tax Taxi technology Terrorism terrorism act tort Torture travel treason treaty accession trial by jury TTIP Turkey Twitter UK Ukraine unfair consultation 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: