Monthly News Archives: August 2018


Bereaved mother entitled to widow allowance – Supreme Court

31 August 2018 by

Hero_Landscape_Supreme_Court_rule_unmarried_mother_widowed_parents_allowanceCredit_PA.jpgIn the matter of an application by Siobhan McLaughlin for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2018] UKSC 48- read judgment

An unmarried mother has won a landmark Supreme Court case which could allow cohabitees to claim Widowed Parent’s Allowance, a benefit previously only applicable to married parents.

Background

Widowed Parent’s Allowance (“WPA”) is a contributory non-means-tested, social security benefit payable to men and women with dependent children, who were widowed before March 2017. The widowed parent’s entitlement depends upon the contribution record of the deceased partner. Under the relevant law  (“s39A”) the widowed parent can only claim the allowance if he or she was married to or the civil partner of the deceased.

The issue before the court was whether this requirement was an unjustifiable discrimination against the survivor and/or the children on the basis of their marital or birth status, contrary to Article 14 of the Convention on Human Rights together with the right to respect for family life under Article 8, or the protection of property rights in Article 1 of the First Protocol ECHR.
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The Intricacies of Proportionality – Katherine Barnes

12 August 2018 by

CRBR (AR) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police  [2018] UKSC 47 – read judgment

The Supreme Court has given important guidance on the correct approach of the appellate courts to assessing proportionality under the ECHR. The main issue before the court was whether an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate (“ECRC”) issued in respect of the appellant, AR, under s.113B of the Police Act 1997 is compatible with Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights.

Background

AR was a married man with children, of good character, and a qualified teacher, and worked for a time as a taxi driver. It had been alleged that, in the early hours of 4 November 2009, he raped a 17 year old woman, who was a passenger in his taxi. AR’s defence was that there had never been sexual contact with the alleged victim. In January 2011 he was acquitted of rape by the Crown Court.

AR subsequently applied for an ECRC in connection with an application for a job as a lecturer. The police duly issued the ECRC which contained details of the rape charge for which AR had been acquitted. A second ECRC which also contained this information was later issued in respect of an application by AR to work as a private hire driver.

Having exhausted the various internal appeal mechanisms available to him, AR issued a claim for judicial review. Amongst other matters he argued that the inclusion in the ECRC of information concerning the rape charge and acquittal was procedurally unfair because it had been disclosed without consulting him. It was also said that the disclosure amounted to a substantive breach of Article 8.
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New podcast on legal milestones to Brexit

9 August 2018 by

 

preparing_for_the_brexit_negotiations_tjeerd_royaards.jpgIn our ongoing reposts of Professor Catherine Barnard’s series 2903 CB, Catherine discusses her reaction to the publication of the government’s White Paper, the Cabinet resignations of David Davis and Boris Johnson, and the negotiating positions of the EU since the UK triggered Article 50 in March 2017.

Listen to Episode 41 of Law Pod UK Brexit – The White Paper, now available for free download from iTunes, Audioboom, or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Mau Mau litigation: fear is not a personal injury

7 August 2018 by

shoutKimathi & Ors v Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2018] EWHC 1305 (QB) – read judgment.

Stewart J has recently dismissed the first test case in this group litigation, in which over 40,000 Kenyans bring claims for damages against the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, alleging abuse during the Kenyan Emergency of the 1950s and early 1960s, in Kimathi & Others v The Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2018] EWHC 2066 (QB). Jo Moore discusses this in her blog post of 6 August 2018.

Earlier this year however he considered, as a preliminary matter, whether fear, caused either by the tort of negligence or trespass, amounts to personal injury so that the Court has the discretionary power to exclude the 3-year limitation period which arises under section 11 of the 1980 Act. Stewart J concluded that “despite the comprehensive and innovative submissions of the Claimants” (para 37), which included arguments on human rights grounds, fear did not amount to a personal injury.
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Kenyan “Mau Mau” claim dismissed: Fair trial not possible because of half century delay

6 August 2018 by

article-0-0B84CC4D00000578-861_634x400Kimathi & Others v The Foreign and Commonwealth Office [2018] EWHC 2066 (QB) read judgment 

Stewart J has dismissed the first test case in this group litigation, in which over 40,000 Kenyans bring claims for damages against the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, alleging abuse during the Kenyan Emergency of the 1950s and early 1960s.

The mammoth hearing lasted 223 days, and the judgment accordingly runs to nearly 500 paragraphs. The decision turns on whether the judge should allow the claim to be heard over 50 years after the primary deadline expired.

In personal injury claims, section 33 of the Limitation Act 1980 provides that in certain circumstances, a claim which would otherwise be out of time (“statute-barred”) can nevertheless be heard. The court has a discretion to disapply the usual three-year time limit where it is equitable. This involves balancing the prejudice to the defendant of facing a late claim against the prejudice the claimant will suffer if the claim is statute-barred.

In this test case, Stewart J determined that it would not be equitable to extend time in the claimant’s favour. The severe effects of the passage of time on the defendant’s ability to defend the claim was a crucial factor, particularly due to the depleted cogency of the evidence available, as were the lack of good reasons for the delay, and the very substantial length of the delay itself. This carefully reasoned judgment will provide detailed guidance for the trial of ‘stale’ claims.
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No need for court order for withdrawal of nutrition in case of PVS patients – Supreme Court

2 August 2018 by

persistent_vegetative_state1344818676044NHS Trust v Y (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) and Others, Supreme Court 30 July 2018 – read judgment

The question for the Court was a simple but important one: whether the permission of a court was always required by law before doctors could withdraw feeding from a person in a persistent vegetative state.

Background

The patient at the heart of this case, known only as Y, had been an active man in his 50s before suffering a cardiac arrest which led to severe brain damage. He never regained consciousness and needed to be fed through a tube (known technically as “clinically assisted nutrition and hydration” or “CANH”) to stay alive.

Doctors had determined that Y was suffering from a “prolonged disorder of consciousness”known as “PDOC”.PDOC covers those who are in a persistent vegetative state and also those in a minimally conscious state, what we might informally call a coma.
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