The Weekly Round-up: Protest injunctions, EU law overhaul, and UN reviews human rights in UK
16 November 2022
Source of photograph: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-63533012
In the news
The High Court has granted an injunction preventing M25 protests in response to Just Stop Oil activists gluing themselves to motorways in the past weeks. The injunction means that anyone fixing themselves to the road, or anyone assisting someone else in doing so, can be held in contempt of court and thus face imprisonment, an unlimited fine, and the seizure of assets. The decision follows a previous court order obtained against Insulate Britain who partook in similar protests earlier in the year. The existing injunctions now cover the M25, the M25 feeder roads, and major roads in Kent and around the Port of Dover until May 2023.
The proposed bill to overhaul EU law, the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, could have devastating impacts on legal certainty in the UK, the Law Society have warned. The measures would allow ministers to overhaul laws without appropriate parliamentary scrutiny or public oversight, raising concerns over parliamentary sovereignty, legal certainty, and the rule of law, according to Society president Lubna Shuja. A clause in the bill would mean that many retained EU laws will expire at the end of 2023, with them going many basic protections. The Society has called for this ‘arbitrary and unrealistic’ 2023 deadline to be removed in order to allow a more measured review of the laws and what reform is necessary.
In other news
- A coroner has determined in a pre-inquest hearing that there was no evidence that Archie Battersbee partook in the TikTok blackout challenge. While Archie did access TikTok on the day of his tragic injuries, there was nothing to suggest his accident was connected to the trend in question. The finding was based on photographs and videos downloaded from his phone.
- The UN Human Rights Council have reminded that the UK’s treatment of asylum seekers must comply with international law in their review of the human rights situation in the UK. The statement came alongside a call on the Government to give some certainty to asylum seekers by speeding up approvals instead of housing people in motels, stating the temporary accommodation they are kept in is ‘grim’. The examination was against the backdrop of plans to send migrants to Rwanda.
- The Government have been accused of ‘rolling back’ on tackling modern slavery by the charity Anti-Slavery International. It is claimed that the UK has attempted to reclassify modern slavery as an immigration issue and that a rhetoric of ‘abusing the system’ diverts attention from the important issues. The charity says that the Rwanda scheme, for instance, fails to provide safeguards to prevent victims of modern slavery being targeted for relocation.
In the courts
- In Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis v A Police Conduct Panel  EWHC 2857 (Admin), the High Court ordered that a new panel redetermine whether an officer’s behaviour amounted to gross misconduct in relation to the unauthorised use of firearms. The officer in question falsely stamped his personal firearms authorisation, meaning whenever a weapon was withdrawn by him, he used a false document authorising him to carry it. The Commissioner claimed judicial review of the panel assessing his conduct (who did not dismiss him) on 2 grounds: (i) the process by which his sanction was reached was unlawful; and (ii) the sanction awarded was irrational. Ground 1 was accepted on the basis that the Panel erred in law by considering testimonials when assessing the misconduct. Ground 2 was accepted on the basis that the only reasonable sanction was dismissal, whereas the panel only issued a written warning.
- In Modi v Government of India  EWHC 2829 (Admin), the High Court dismissed an appeal against a ruling ordering the Claimant to be extradited to India, who seek him for criminal proceedings. The appeal submitted that the extradition was oppressive within the meaning of s91 of the Extradition Act 2003 by virtue of his physical or mental condition. The court determined that while the risk of suicide is high, there are suitable medical provisions and an appropriate plan in place to mitigate this risk. The risk therefore did not cross the high threshold required to satisfy that the claimant’s condition is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him.
- In AB v Chief Constable of British Transport Police  EWHC 2749 (KB), the High Court dismissed an appeal against a judge’s declaration that the retention of records in relation to an incident involving the claimant was unlawful. The claimant has Asperger’s and experiences high levels of anxiety. Two women complained to the police that he had touched them inappropriately, but he was not charged with any offence. The police retain information about the complaints, which the claimant submits is unlawful on 2 grounds: (i) it is inaccurate, and the retention is therefore in breach of data protection; and (ii) it is a disproportionate interference with his Article 8 Convention rights. The appeal was dismissed for the fundamental reason that the records were intended to reflect the information provided to the police, rather than detailing the underlying facts of what happened.
Elsewhere on the UKHRB
- Rosalind English discusses the HS2 protest injunction here.