Shaker Aamer’s release: What happens next?

And so, thirteen years after his capture, eight years after the US Government cleared him for release, and seven years after President Obama’s spectacularly broken promise to shut down Guantánamo, Shaker Aamer has left the prison, as innocent as the day he went in.

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Radicalism and the Family Courts

schoolgirls_3208827bMarina Wheeler

Remember the three girls from Bethnal Green Academy, who in February slipped through Gatwick security to join so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)? If, watching the footage, you exclaimed, “how can we stop this?”, then read on. Eight months and a massacre in Tunisia later, the Courts have intervened in more than 35 cases to prevent the flight of children to Syria or to seek their return.

In the very first cases, in which Martin Downs of these Chambers appeared, the High Court’s inherent jurisdiction was invoked to make the children wards of court. The value of this mechanism, previously used in child abduction cases and to thwart forced marriages, is that the ward requires permission of the Court to leave the jurisdiction, and passports can be seized. (See, for example, Re Y (A Minor: Wardship) [2015] EWHC 2098 (Fam)). Continue reading

The UK Human Rights Blog turned five, and we’re celebrating!

No particular reason

No particular reason….

We’re about to have a fifth birthday party for the UK Human Rights Blog (a bit late – we turned five at the end of March…) so it seems like as good as time as any to reflect on what we have achieved. 

First, some numbers.

  • Five years and seven months
  • 2,245 posts
  • 4.7 million hits
  • 6,258 comments
  • 13,273 subscribers (just email – loads more on Facebook and Twitter)

Not bad, eh? I started this blog towards the end of my pupillage (year of training) at 1 Crown Office Row in 2009. Thanks to the incredibly hard work and dedication of our dedicated band of authors and editors, the UKHRB has become a key source of human rights information in the UK and also across the world. Particular thanks to Angus McCullough QC, Rosalind English, David Hart QC and Martin Downs who have been total champions.

After five years on the job, you will probably noticed that I have drawn back my involvement to concentrate on my new project, RightsInfo, which fills in some gaps which the blog couldn’t have, without changing its basic nature. Into the breach has stepped another 1COR hero, Jim Duffy, who has brought a fresh approach and a lot of fantastic new authors. We are very grateful to him.

Anyway, keep reading and thanks for all of your support, comments and bizarre emails. See you at our 10 year party.

Saudi blogger awarded Sakharov prize

isThe European Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Saudi Arabian blogger, Raif Badawi. The Prize, named after Andrei Sakharov who spoke out publicly against the nuclear arms race during the Cold War and criticised Soviet society, is awarded to those who “have made an exceptional contribution to the fight for human rights across the globe, drawing attention to human rights violations as well as supporting the laureates and their cause.” Continue reading

Court of Session: Partners in Crime Have no ‘Family Life’

O’Neill and Lauchlan v Scottish Ministers [2015] CSOH 93, 28th October 2015 – read judgment

The Outer House of the Court of Session has dismissed challenges brought by two convicted paedophiles to the Scottish Prison Service’s refusal to allow them to visit each other in prison. The decisions were challenged under articles 8 and 14 ECHR, as it was claimed that the prisoners were in a homosexual relationship. Continue reading

Bank Mellat and disclosure in closed material proceedings

brown-blanket-ray-of-lightBank Mellat v HM Treasury [2015] EWCA Civ 105, 23 October 2015  read judgment

Bank Mellat is an Iranian bank, initially subjected to a 2009 order which prohibited anybody in the UK from dealing with it – until the Supreme Court quashed it:  here, and my posts here and here.  

The Treasury tried again, by orders made in 2011 and 2012 addressed at all Iranian banks, not just Bank Mellat. The EU has now taken over regulation of these banks.

In the current proceedings, the Bank seeks to set the 2011 and 2012 orders aside. These restrictions are, the Treasury says, addressed at the financing of Iran’s nuclear programme, in which all Iranian banks are complicit. Bank Mellat denies this, and the conundrum in the case is how to make sure that the challenge is fairly tried.  Collins J (my post here) thought that the Treasury had not revealed enough about its case, and, in substance, on appeal the CA agreed.

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