Re M (Children)  EWCA Civ 2164, 20 December 2017, read judgment
The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment of the High Court that a transgender father from the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community should not have direct contact with her children. The case was remitted to the Family Court for reconsideration.
The factual background is fully set out in the High Court judgment of Peter Jackson J (as he then was). The parents and their five children are all from the ultra-Orthodox Charedi Jewish community of North Manchester. The mother and children remain there, while the father no longer lives within the community after leaving in June 2015 to live as a transgender woman. Both parents agree that the children should be brought up within the community.
R (on the application of Black) v The Secretary of State for Justice  UKSC 81
Is the Crown is bound by the prohibition of smoking in most enclosed public places and workplaces, contained in Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Health Act 2006 (“the smoking ban”)?
This was the question asked of the Supreme Court by a prisoner serving an indeterminate sentence at HMP Wymott. As Lady Hale noted in the judgment: this issue affects all premises occupied by the Crown, including central government departments, and that it is important to determine whether the ban can be properly enforced in these places.
The answer the court gave is ‘no’, as this provision does not bind the Crown, of which HMP Wymott is an institution.
On 1 December 2017 an event in Temple Church with the Bar Council in collaboration with Refugee Tales, an outreach project whose aim is to see the end of indefinite immigration detention, saw an announcement of new recommendations for reform of the system of immigration detention.
This followed from the publication on 30 November 2017 of ‘Injustice in Immigration Detention, Perspectives from Legal Professionals’, an independent report by Dr Anna Lindley of SOAS. Read the report here: http://www.barcouncil.org.uk/media/623583/171130_injustice_in_immigration_detention_dr_anna_lindley.pdf
The Bar Council, led by Andrew Langdon QC, is making a series of recommendations in light of the report, as follows:
- A 28-day time limit for administrative detention;
- Automatic judicial oversight of the arrangements for holding people in administrative detention;
- Adequate legal aid for advice and representation for those held in immigration detention to challenge the loss of their liberty;
- A ban on the use of prisons for the purposes of administrative detention;
- Special care for vulnerable people and victims of torture held in administrative detention; and
- Review and clarification of the criteria for administrative detention. The relevant policy and rules need to be accessible and intelligible so that all those who are affected by the exercise of powers to detain understand the reasons for the exercise of those powers and can challenge decisions where appropriate.
On 5th December 2017, an event exploring the current political situation in Cambodia was held at Chatham House. The discussion was led by Sam Rainsy, a key member of Cambodia’s recently dissolved opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP). The discussion touched on a plethora of issues relevant to politics and human rights in Cambodia, ranging from the impact on Cambodia of China’s dam-building project to the Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
This article will provide a brief history of Cambodia before reviewing four topics which were considered at the event: (1) the influence of China; (2) the power of the army; (3) sanctions and aid; and (4) the 2018 election.
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.
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
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