Election Round-Up: Ripping Up the Rulebook on Human Rights?

9 June 2017 by

Image result for polling station

It has been widely reported that Theresa May will stay on as Prime Minister following the election on June 8th. The Conservative PM will seek to form a government with the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (the DUP).

A recent Round-Up by Poppy Rimington-Pounder highlighted some welcome changes in the parties’ approaches to human rights in the pre-election manifestos. With the recent shift in political climate it seems that changes may be on the horizon.

What does the election result mean for human rights?

Changes under the Tories?

Theresa May has been scant on detail up to now, but has indicated some specific changes to be considered.

In light of the terrorist attacks in recent weeks, Theresa May has signalled changes to anti-terror legislation and human rights. The Prime Minister explained “I mean longer prison sentences for people convicted of terrorist offences. I mean making it easier for the authorities to deport foreign terror suspects to their own countries.”

So far, so familiar. But what could Mrs May mean specifically? The Guardian explains that the statement suggests a strengthening of terrorism prevention and investigation measures (“TPIMS”). TPIMs’ predecessors include Labour-introduced ‘control orders’, which introduced by the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005. Control orders were used to resitrict and monitor those suspected of terrorism. They were struck down as unlawful in a number of judgments, as explained on this blog here.

The successor to control orders, TPIMs, have had a smoother journey through the courts. Adam Wagner, barrister at One Crown Office Row and founder of this blog, has explained that in 2013 David Anderson QC, then Independent Reviewer of terrorism legislation, stated in his first report into TPIMs that the measures were “broadly acceptable.”

Theresa May also indicated that she would investigate whether it is now appropriate to detain terror suspects without trial for up to 28 days. The current maximum is 14 days. The 28-day limit was an invention of Blair’s Labour government. The legislation lapsed, and the limit returned to 14 days in 2011, when Theresa May was Home Secretary.

One wonders whether the focus on such measures, whose efficacy in preventing terrorism may be debated, is intended to deflect attention from the policing cuts for which the Tories have been criticised.  It has been suggested that better resourced and therefore more effective community policing, in particular, would lead to earlier intervention in preventing terror attacks.

Coalition with the DUP

Given the liklelihood of a prominent role in policy over the coming years, it is a good time to pause on the DUP’s stance on human rights in recent years.

On terrorism legislation, the DUP’s manifesto proposes an “updated legal framework for intelligence led anti-terrorism investigations and operaitons in the U.K.” While the substance is as yet unclear, this might sit comfortably along May’s proposals for a terrorism shake-up in light of the recent attacks.

More generally, the manifesto is silent on human rights. However, the party has been critical of the effect of human rights on combatting terrorism.

Speaking in 2015, DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson shared concerns that the Human Rights Act “has been abused by criminals and terrorists and it has failed to protect the rights of innocent victims adequately.” The party is in favour of a “British Bill of Rights” to replace the Human Rights Act.

Broadly speaking, the DUP’s stance has clashed with Westminster over human rights issues. The party has long been a vocal critic of the extension of the Abortion Act 1967 to Northern Ireland. Arlene Foster, the party leader, explained last year that she does “not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England…” Abortion in Northern Ireland will be the subject of a Supreme Court judgment next Wednesday, 14th June. Watch this space.

Derogation from the ECHR?

The Conservative Party’s manifesto has promised that the part will not repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the government is negotiating Brexit. It also promises that the country will remain signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights during the next parliament. How, then, can human rights law be avoided in the fight against terrorism?

It remains a possibility that the future government will attempt to derogate from some of the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is process by which the government uses Article 15 of the Convention to withdraw from its obligation to secure certain human rights. This is only possible during wartime, or is times of public emergency. This briefing by human rights NGO Liberty explains the process.

In 2001, in the wake of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, the Labour government invoked its right to derogate, and extended its powers of detention through the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

The right time for change?

The past week has seen a flurry of articles by lawyers on the human rights implications of changes to human rights anti-terrorism law.

Cathryn Evans has drawn attention to human rights issues surrounding detention for Rights Info. The article cites a number of perceived weaknesses in the extension of detention without charge, and provides a summary of a number of court cases which have found the measures to be unlawful. Cathryn Evans also describes certain technical difficulties surrounding internment, arguing that a number of historical examples highlight that introduction of similar measures during the Troubles and during the Gulf war were proved to be counter-productive.

Sir Keir Starmer QC, shadow Secretary of State of Exiting the European Union and former Director of Public Prosecutions, has written for the Guardian explaining his concerns over May’s proposed changes. He argues that the Prime Minister’s comments are “a dangerous distraction, designed to deflect attention from the serious questions that have been asked about the cuts she has made to police numbers…and resources in her seven years as home secretary and prime minister.” We can expect significant Labour opposition if reforms are proposed.

David Allen Green has written for the Financial Times on the issue. The article reminds us that almost every right in the European Convention on Human Rights is ‘qualified’. This means that the state is entitled to interfere with the right under certain circumstances. In this sense, argues Green, the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights cannot be seen as a bulwark against government policy on tackling extremism: “the qualified nature of most of the rights means that it takes nothing more than a sensible approach and boilerplate language about something being “necessary and proportionate” for the UK state to comply with the Act and still get its way.”

An uncertain future

Is now a good time to take stock of human rights law in the UK? On one view, the attacks in London over the weekend should bring the effect of human rights legislation sharply into focus. On another, the wake of a series of politicised murders is precisely the time to resist knee-jerk changes to our legal system. Law should not wield to panic. Its central virtue is that it is dispassionate, predictable, and guards us against our lesser instincts in times of crisis.

Time will tell.

Elsewhere in the news

Legal Futures reports that the Law Society has published its first statement on slavery and human trafficking. The group, which is the professional and representational body for solicitors in England and Wales, has issued the statement up to 31st October 2016

The group, which includes the Solicitors Regulation Authority, said that it had reviewed its templates of standard terms and conditions for the procurement of goods and services. These require suppliers to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The Society’s interim Chief Executive, Paul Tennant, said that a number of other amendments have been made, to “inform, on a case-by-case basis, the group’s decision whether to engage further with potential suppliers of goods and services.”

The Guardian reports that anti-Muslim hate crimes have increased five-fold since the attacks on London bridge last weekend. The number of reported incidents of hate crime has risen to 54 a day, while the figures also show a 40% increase in racist incidents compared with the daily average for the rest of this year. Police sources told the Guardian that recorded crime where an anti-Muslim motive was identified has reached 20 per day, while the year’s daily average was under four.

Elsewhere on the UKHRB 

Munira Ali has written an article examining the dissolution of the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ inquiry into mental health and deaths in custody. The article explains that the decision to call a general election cut short the inquiry.

Rosalind English explains a recent Court of Appeal judgment, and upcoming application to the Supreme Court, concerning the parents of a seriously ill boy who wish to take their child to the USA for experimental treatment.  David Hart has also earlier today posted on the Supreme Court’s application to refuse permission to appeal.

by Thomas Beamont

1 comment;


  1. NMac says:

    Tories in coalition with the Ulster Unionists who are linked with violent paramilitaries. They falsely denigrated Jeremy Corbyn for “links with terrorists” – …the irony of it.

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.

Subscribe

Categories


Tags


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 deficit DEFRA Democracy village Dennis Gill dentist's registration fees deportation deprivation of liberty derogations Detention devolution Dignitas dignity Dignity in Dying diplomacy director of public prosecutions disability Disability-related harassment disabled claimants 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 http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2011/04/11/us-state-department-reports-on-uk-human-rights/ 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 justification 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

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: