Media By: Guest Contributor


The Forum Bar: it does exist — Bruno Min

9 February 2018 by

Fly Aircraft Transport Jet Aeroplane ManchesterOn 5th February 2018 the Divisional Court gave judgment in Love v USA [2018] EWHC 172 (Admin), holding that the forum bar operated against the extradition of Lauri Love to the United States to face charges of making a series of cyber-attacks on the computer networks of private companies and US Government agencies.

This is the first reported case in which the ‘forum bar’ has been applied to block an extradition.

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The Henry VIII powers in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill: Political and Legal Safeguards — Antonios Kouroutakis

7 February 2018 by

Parliament debate.jpgWhen Britain joined the European Economic Community in 1973 along with Ireland and Denmark, it marked the first enlargement of what we today call the European Union.  Since 1973, the club of the nine members has become a union of 28 member states. Most importantly, the law of the EU has developed significantly in terms of validity, scope and substance.  What we were studied in the law school with EU law was in essence the institutions, the processes and the tools that are available for the European integration. And in fact EU law has achieved a remarkable degree of integration in some areas such as the Eurozone and the internal market. However, with Brexit, a new chapter is in the writing, this time on the withdrawal from the EU.

 

A constitutional pathology

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union after 44 years poses unprecedented legal challenges but provides useful lessons for the withdrawal process. Until today, this issue was a footnote in the textbooks, with the case of Greenland (which left in 1985) being the only precedent. Greenland joined the European Economic Community in 1973 with Denmark, then gained its autonomy (home rule) from Denmark in 1979 and in a referendum that took place in 1982, 53% percent of the population voted in favour of leaving the European Community. But it is beyond doubt that the exit of Greenland was much less complex, with the main topic for negotiation being the fishing industry.

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Sovereignty or Supremacy? Lords Constitution Committee Reports on EU (Withdrawal) Bill — Mark Elliott and Stephen Tierney

29 January 2018 by

EU flagThe House of Lords Constitution Committee today issues its main report on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. This follows the preliminary and interim reports on the Bill that the Committee published last year. The new report is wide-ranging and hard-hitting, the Committee’s view being that the Bill ‘risks fundamentally undermining legal certainty’.

In this post, we make no attempt to summarise the report. Rather, we focus on two key and interlocking chapters that address the legal nature and constitutional status of the new body of domestic law — ‘retained EU law’ — that the Bill will create. In doing so, we highlight the Committee’s view that central parts of the Bill are ‘conceptually flawed’ and that relevant retained EU law should be reconceived by treating it as if it were contained in an Act of Parliament enacted on ‘exit day’.

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High wire walking without a mat: doctors, patient safety and public confidence

27 January 2018 by

General Medical Council v.  Dr Bawa Garba, Divisional Court, 25 January 2018 – read judgment here

By Jeremy Hyam Q.C. of 1 Crown Office Row: see end of post for his involvement.

On 4th November 2015, Dr Bawa Garba was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter of a 6 year old boy. She was sentenced to two years of imprisonment suspended for two years. On 29 November 2016 the Court of Appeal Civil Division refused her leave to appeal against her conviction.

This case concerns proceedings before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), the MPTS’s decision to suspend her, and the GMC’s successful appeal on the basis that Dr Bawa Garba should have been erased from the register.

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High Court decision refusing ultra-Orthodox transgender father access to children quashed — Paul Erdunast

22 December 2017 by

Open_Torah_scroll.jpg

Re M (Children) [2017] 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.

 

Facts

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.

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Supreme Court holds that the smoking ban cannot be enforced in prisons — Hannah Wilce

21 December 2017 by

R (on the application of Black) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2017] UKSC 81

Read Judgment

cigarette 2Is 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.

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Indefinite Detention and the Rule of Law — Catherine Jaquiss

12 December 2017 by

temple church.jpgOn 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:

 

  1. A 28-day time limit for administrative detention;

 

  1. Automatic judicial oversight of the arrangements for holding people in administrative detention;

 

  1. Adequate legal aid for advice and representation for those held in immigration detention to challenge the loss of their liberty;

 

  1. A ban on the use of prisons for the purposes of administrative detention;

 

  1. Special care for vulnerable people and victims of torture held in administrative detention; and

 

  1. 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.

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The Current Situation in Cambodia — Rajkiran Barhey

6 December 2017 by

cambodia image

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.

 

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Cohabiting partners should have same rights as spouses to claim bereavement damages — Lucy Eastwood

30 November 2017 by

House

 

Smith v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Ors (Rev 2) [2017] 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.

 
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Separate but not equal? – Rajkiran Barhey

30 November 2017 by

Chief Inspector of Education, Children’s Services and Skills v The Interim Executive Board of Al Hijrah School [2017] 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.

Background

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.
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Re-consultation for planning applications: how to do it – Charlotte Gilmartin

28 November 2017 by

(on the application of Holborn Studios Ltd) v Hackney LBC; R. (on the application of Del Brenner) v Hackney LBC [2017] 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.

Factual Background

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.
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Equal Civil Partnerships: Implications of Strasbourg’s latest ruling for Steinfeld and Keidan – Helen Fenwick & Andy Hayward

21 November 2017 by

Ratzenböck and Seydl v Austria (ECtHR) 26 October 2017 – read judgment

Equal civil partnerships divide opinions. For their proponents, access to such a status, and the legal benefits that follow, allows couples critical of marriage – whether same or different-sex – the ability to express their relationship through (in their view) a more appropriate, modern and egalitarian legal institution. Opponents question such a need in light of the availability of civil marriage, which has over centuries evolved and may not now necessarily be perceived as embodying the patriarchal or heteronormative values that its critics challenge. Calls for allowing different-sex as well as same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships in England and Wales have grown louder recently following the failed Equal Love case (Ferguson v UK), the production of several Private Members Bills and the on-going litigation in Steinfeld and Keidan v Secretary of State for Education, due to be heard by the Supreme Court in Spring 2018. The desire, however, for different-sex civil partnerships is not limited to this jurisdiction, and was recently explored for the first time by the Strasbourg court in Ratzenböck and Seydl v Austria. After exploring the background to this legal challenge, this post will critically analyse the reasoning of the Strasbourg Court and assess its implications for the challenge in Steinfeld.

The key argument this piece puts forward is that states should not maintain asymmetry of access to formal relationship statuses based on sexual orientation: if a state has introduced registered (civil) partnerships it should open them to both different and same-sex couples, an argument that also applies to marriage. The term ‘asymmetry of access’ will be used to cover: offering access to marriage for different-sex couples and no such access to same-sex ones who also cannot access any registered partnership scheme; offering access to marriage to different-sex couples and access to such a scheme to same-sex ones; offering access to either of two formalised relationship statuses to one group of couples, based on gender and sexual orientation, and access to only one such form to the other group.
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Lucy Eastwood – “A law on the move: Are Local Authorities vicariously liable for abuse committed by foster parents against children in their care?”

23 October 2017 by

Supreme Court

“The law of vicarious liability is on the move” proclaimed Lord Phillips in the last judgment he delivered as President of the Supreme Court: Various Claimants v Catholic Child Welfare Society [2012] UKSC 56, (“the Christian Brothers case”). In a judgment recently handed down by the Supreme Court in the case of Armes (Appellant) v Nottinghamshire County Council (Respondent) [2017] UKSC 60, His Lordship has been proved correct.

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Implementation of ECHR judgments – have we reached a crisis point?- Lucy Moxham

7 July 2017 by

In recent years direct challenges to the authority of the Court within a handful of member states have also become more explicit and vocal” and “the Convention system crumbles when one member state, and then the next, and then the next, cherry pick which judgments to implement.

So said Nils Muižnieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, last year. This raises the question of whether the Convention system is facing an implementation crisis and what more might be done by the Committee of Ministers, the regional body responsible for supervising the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

Last month, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and Leicester Law School convened a public event that asked an expert panel to consider these issues. Speakers included Merris Amos (Queen Mary University London); Dr Ed Bates (Leicester Law School); Eleanor Hourigan (Deputy Permanent Representative, UK Delegation to the Council of Europe); Nuala Mole (The AIRE Centre); and Prof Philip Leach (EHRAC, Middlesex University London and the European Implementation Network). Murray Hunt (Legal Adviser to the UK Joint Committee on Human Rights and incoming Director of the Bingham Centre) chaired the event.

While a detailed summary of the presentations is available on the Bingham Centre website, this post highlights some of the headline points from the conversation.
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The role of employee legitimate expectations in unfair dismissal claims – Lauren Godfrey

30 June 2017 by

A recent EAT ruling JP Morgan v Ktorza continues a line of decisions which limit the role of employee expectations in the determination of unfair dismissals claims further curtailing the extent to which employees can rely on public law notions or human rights principles to challenge their dismissals.

In this case HHJ Richardson re-affirmed the correct approach to dismissal claims: (1) it is the employer’s view objectively judged which falls to be considered not the expectations of the employee; (2) the Employment Tribunal is not to substitute its own view; and (3) the s 98(1)-(2) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, gateway of ‘conduct’ as the reason for a dismissal should not be conflated with the band of reasonable responses test under s 98(4).

Background facts and law

Mr Ktorza was a highly paid sales executive in the trading arm of JP Morgan Securities Plc before his dismissal after an incident of alleged misconduct triggering an earlier (unrelated) final written warning. The more recent incident which resulted in JP Morgan deciding to dismiss Mr Ktorza was a practice known as ‘short-filling’ in respect of trades; a practice which carried financial and regulatory risk for JP Morgan.
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