Smith v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Ors (Rev 2)  EWCA Civ 1916 – read judgment
In a landmark decision handed down on 28th November 2017 the Court of Appeal ruled that cohabiting couples should have a right to claim bereavement damages, putting them in a position analogous to spouses and civil partners.
Updated: Brexit, Article 13, and “animal sentience” in law (28 November 2017) – Animal Law’s Expert Briefing Note
In November 2017 a vote took place in the House of Commons on a proposed amendment to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. The Commons Library briefing paper was published on 7 December: Animal Sentience and Brexit. The amendment sought to incorporate into UK law a provision in the European treaty that stated the EU and its member States “shall, since animals are sentient beings, pay full regard to the welfare requirements of animals” when formulating and implementing the EU’s policies. The vote was defeated by 313 to 295 votes.
The story of this debate has prompted a great deal of comment in newspapers and on social media, mostly critical of the UK Government’s position. The coverage reflects much of the prejudice and confusion attaching to animals reared for our use, be it for medical therapy, food or companionship. That is to be expected. But what is less excusable is that most of the coverage was based on misunderstandings of both the Treaty Article and other EU provisions relating to animals.
So may I put in a plea for anyone who is interested to read the clear and balanced account of this issue set out by the UK Centre for Animal Law in their Briefing Note, which I will attempt to summarise here. I do urge reading the original document, which is an excellent summary of the legal and factual issues involved.
A quick reminder
When the Brexit vote came in, I wrote a post under the heading of One Trade Freedom We can Do Without. Maybe not tactful timing then, but this question is now ripe for consideration, with DEFRA secretary Michael Gove promising better protections for animals raised for food, and even for companion animals such as dogs and horses, once they are no longer trapped in the imperative of free movement of goods under the EU Treaty provisions. Continue reading
Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills v The Interim Executive Board of Al Hijrah School  EWCA Civ 1426 – read judgment
Update: Listen to the Law Pod UK podcast episode 20, available for free download from iTunes or from Audioboom here.
This fascinating judgment, delivered by the Court of Appeal on 13 October 2017, found that a policy of gender segregation in a co-educational school amounted to unlawful gender discrimination.
Al-Hijrah School taught children from ages 4-16 according to an Islamic ethos. At age 9, children were segregated completely by gender in lessons, breaks, school trips, clubs etc. Following an inspection in June 2016, Ofsted published a report criticising segregation as gender discrimination. Continue reading
Meadows v Khan  EWHC 2990 (QB) (23 November 2017) – read judgment
Can a mother who consults a doctor with a view to avoiding the birth of a child with one disability recover damages for the costs associated with another disability?
The claimant sought damages arising out of the wrongful birth of her son Adejuwon. She had become pregnant after being reassured that there was no risk of haemophilia. Her child was born with the condition, and it subsequently turned out that he suffered from autism as well. The costs of bringing up a child with haemophilia were estimated at £1,400,000. The additional costs of autism amounted to £9,000,000. Continue reading
If you download Episodes 17 and 18 from iTunes or Audioboom, you will hear Jim Duffy discussing the proposed inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal which took place during the eighties and nineties. Episode 18 features a discussion between former historians now barristers Matthew Hill and Gideon Barth on inquiries in general, particularly ones that have been set up to investigate events which took place in the distant past.
Law Pod UK Episode 7: Prospects for the Tainted Blood Inquiry
Law Pod UK Episode 8: Do Judge Led Inquiries Work?
R (on the application of Holborn Studios Ltd) v Hackney LBC; R. (on the application of Del Brenner) v Hackney LBC  EWHC 2823 (Admin) – John Howell QC sitting as a High Court Judge read judgment
Update: Listen to the Law Pod UK podcast episode 19, available for free download from iTunes or from Audioboom here
The High Court has just ruled that the public should be reconsulted on a planning application which has been amended. Failure to do so may be procedurally unfair and therefore unlawful.
This important case will signal to public authorities the need to consider carefully their procedural obligations when determining the outcome of planning applications. They will now need to be alive to the risk that a court will substitute its own view of whether “fairness” requires that the public be re-consulted where a planning application has been amended.
In two judicial review applications the claimants challenged the process by which Hackney London Borough Council gave planning permission to a proposed development.
The development would have replaced a number of industrial buildings in the Eagle Wharf area of Regent’s Canal in Hackney. It is a listed area of local architectural and historic interest and lies within the Regent’s Canal Conservation Area. Continue reading
I wanted to alert you to a campaign RightsInfo has been running called #FightHateWithRights.
It’s about fighting the rise of extremism by standing up for human rights. Because social breakdown and even genocide don’t happen overnight – they are the result of the steady denial of rights over months or years. By protecting human rights, we also protect against the small cuts to liberty which can lead to far worse.
You can see all of the videos and resources here.
I have posted some of the key video content below the break, including a film featuring three genocide survivors spanning 70 years, a film featuring Professor Philippe Sands and a short video where I sum up the points of the campaign.