By: Adam Wagner


Justice in the age of insecurity

9 February 2011 by

Two of the UK’s top judges have given fascinating speeches this week on justice in the age of insecurity. One by the head of the supreme court warns that budget cuts will imperil the independence of the judiciary. The other, by the head of the court of appeal, argues that despite not being able to tell the government what to do, UK courts can provide effective protection of fundamental rights.

The speeches offer fascinating and sometimes controversial perspectives on our odd but in many ways admirable constitutional system, as well as warnings that strained budgets and political meddling could do it damage.

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Daily Mail back on naughty step over low-IQ sex ban case

8 February 2011 by

I posted last week on the interesting and morally complex case in which a judge in the Court of Protection ruled that a 41-year-old man with a mild learning disability did not have the mental capacity to consent to sex and should be prevented by a local council from doing so.

The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail have picked up on this story. The Mail’s Richard Hartley-Parkinson appears to have based his article solely on the Telegraph’s, in light of this paragraph:

Mr Justice Mostyn said the case threw up issues ‘legally, intellectually and morally’ because sex is ‘one of the most basic human functions’ according to the Daily Telegraph.

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Radical cleric European human rights claim rejected

8 February 2011 by

Mustafa Kamal MUSTAFA (ABU HAMZA) (No. 1) v the United Kingdom – 31411/07 [2011] ECHR 211 (18 January 2011) – Read judgment

The European Court of Human Rights has rejected radical preacher Abu Hamza’s claim that his 2005-6 trial, at which he was convicted of soliciting to murder, inciting racial hatred and terrorism charges, was unfair. He claimed that a virulent media campaign against him and the events of 9/11 made it impossible for the jury to be impartial.

Abu Hamza has lived in the UK since 1979. from 1997-2003 was Imam at the Finsbury Park Mosque, London. Between 1996 and 2000 he delivered a number of sermons and speeches which later formed the basis for charges of soliciting to murder, using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent to stir up racial hatred, possessing a document or recording with the same intent.

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Julian Assange extradition hearing: what’s going on

7 February 2011 by

Updated | Julian Assange, the founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, is in court today for the beginning of a two-day extradition hearing. Sweden have issued a European Arrest Warrant against Assange on suspicion of sexual assault.

Journalist tweeters at Assange’s bail hearings prompted a flurry of new court guidance on tweeting in court, culminating last week with the Supreme Court.

Unsurprisingly, a number of people are tweeting from the hearing, including the Times’ Alexi Mostrous, Joshua Rozenberg, the Guardian’s Esther Addley and Channel 4’s Marcus Edwards (click on their names to see their Twitter feeds). Guardian.co.uk is also publishing live updates.

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Rights breach council must pay out

7 February 2011 by

G v E & Ors [2010] EWHC 3385 (Fam) (21 December 2010) – Read judgment

Manchester City Council has been ordered to pay the full legal costs of a 20-year-old man with severe learning disabilities who was unlawfully removed from his long-term foster carer. The council demonstrated a “blatant disregard” for mental health law.

The case has wound an interesting route through the courts, with hearings in the Court of Protection, Court of Appeal, and also a successful application by the Press Association to reveal the identity of the offending local council in the interests of transparency. In August, Siobhain Butterworth wrote that the decision to name and shame the council was a “good” one which “marries the need for transparency in the treatment of vulnerable people with the right to a private life“.

Now, Mr Justice Baker has taken the unusual step of ordering that Manchester City Council pay all of E’s family’s legal costs. The general rule in the Court of Protection is that costs should not be awarded, but as the judge ruled it can be broken in certain circumstances:

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Supreme Court welcomes tweeters

3 February 2011 by

Updated | The UK Supreme Court has released guidance on the use of “live text-based communications” from the court. Put simply, tweeting will be allowed in most cases.

The UK’s highest court of appeal has sensibly said that since its cases do not involve interaction with witnesses or jurors, subject to limited exceptions “any member of a legal team or member of the public is free to use text-based communications from court, providing (i) these are silent; and (ii) there is no disruption to the proceedings in court“.

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Should people with low IQs be banned from sex?

3 February 2011 by

D Borough Council v AB [2011] EWHC 101 (COP) (28 January 2011) – Read judgment

In a case which is fascinating both legally and morally, a judge in the Court of Protection has ruled that a 41-year-old man with a mild learning disability did not have the mental capacity to consent to sex and should be prevented by a local council from doing so.

The case arose when a local council, following allegations that a mentally disabled man made sexual gestures towards children, sought a court order stating that “Alan” (a false name) did not have the mental capacity to consent to sexual relations. The council ultimately wanted Alan to be banned from having sexual relations with his former house-mate and sexual partner.

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Supreme Court bolsters rights of children in deportation cases

1 February 2011 by

Updated | ZH (Tanzania) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2011] UKSC 4 (1 February 2011) – Read judgment / press summary / our analysis

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that in cases where a parent is threatened with deportation, the best interests of their child or children must be taken into account, particularly when the children are citizens by virtue of being born in this country.

Following her leading judgment in last week’s domestic violence case, for which she has been dubbed the “Brilliant Baroness”, Baroness Hale has delivered another wide-ranging, principled judgment which will bring immigration courts into line with current thinking on child welfare and article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to family life). The basic point is that children’s views must be taken into account, and this should include asking them what they think.

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No religion in court please

31 January 2011 by

Shergill v Purewal & Anor [2010] EWHC 3610 (QB) (15 December 2010) – Read judgment

In the commotion surrounding the Christian hotel gay discrimination case, it is easy to forget that there is a long-standing principle that English courts will not decide matters of religious doctrine. This principle has been in play in a run of recent cases involving an Indian holy man and libel claims against journalists.
The most recent case was brought by Dajid Singh Shergill, a UK-based Sikh activist suing the Panjab Times in relation to 3 articles published in the summer 2008, relating to His Holiness Sant Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj (Jeet Singh), an Indian based preacher. The articles claimed, amongst other things, that Jeet Singh had “abandoned Sikh Principles“, that he and his supporters were a “sham“, that Shergill had “sought to instigate serious riots and create an atmosphere of terror” by proclaiming that Baba Jeet Singh had won a court case in India and was seeking to misappropriate local Sikh temples.

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Daily Mail on the naughty step over domestic violence case

30 January 2011 by

In an entertaining post which also raises the serious issue of journalistic responsibility, the Nearly Legal blog has put a Daily Mail “family law expert” on the naughty step in relation an article on a recent Supreme Court decision on the meaning of domestic violence in housing cases.

According to the respected housing law blog, the Mail article, entitled Shout at your spouse and risk losing your home: It’s just the same as domestic violence, warns woman judge, demonstrates“why the Mail is not a paper of record for case reports”. And

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Counter-terrorism review published

26 January 2011 by

The Home Office has published its long-awaited review of counter-terrorism and security powers. The review findings and recommendations are here.

Other key documents can be found via the following links:

The Home Office’s summary of the key recommendations is reproduced below:

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Supreme Court extends meaning of domestic violence

26 January 2011 by

Yemshaw (Appellant) v London Borough of Hounslow (Respondent) [2011] UKSC 3 – Read judgment / press summary

The Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that “domestic violence” in section 177(1) of the Housing Act 1996 includes physical violence, threatening or intimidating behaviour and any other form of abuse which, directly or indirectly, may give rise to the risk of harm.

The effect of the decision is that anyone threatened with domestic violence, within the Supreme Court’s wider meaning, will not be expected to remain in local authority housing with their abuser. Although the judgement, given by Baroness Hale, did not mention human rights, it clearly impacts on article 8 rights to family life, and alongside the recent decision in Pinnock, could greatly increase the number of people to which local authorities are obliged to provide housing.

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Supreme confusion

26 January 2011 by

As the UK Supreme Court Blog points out, our highest court of appeal has updated the “frequently asked questions” section of its website.

Of particular interest are the answers to two questions. The first is probably the most important question the public ever asks about the court, namely whether, once a case has wound its way through the expensive and long-winded English court system, the final decision of the court can overrule the UK Parliament. Appropriately, the question is the first on the list. The answer is no:

 

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Expenses peer Taylor convicted, but will he be jailed?

26 January 2011 by

Ex-Tory peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has become the first parliamentarian to be found guilty by a jury of making false parliamentary expenses claims. He now faces sentencing. Given the recent case of former MP David Chaytor, it seems unlikely that he will escape jail.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court found Taylor guilty of six counts of false accounting under section 17 of the Theft Act 1968, by a majority of 11 to 1. The expense at issue totalled £11,277. Mr Justice Saunders, who also sentenced Chaytor, presided over the trial.

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Aarhus Abortion Abu Qatada Abuse Access to justice adoption ALBA Allison Bailey Al Qaeda animal rights anonymity Article 1 Protocol 1 Article 2 article 3 Article 4 article 5 Article 6 Article 8 Article 9 article 10 Article 11 article 13 Article 14 Artificial Intelligence Asbestos assisted suicide asylum Australia autism benefits Bill of Rights biotechnology blogging Bloody Sunday brexit Bribery Catholicism Chagos Islanders Children children's rights China christianity citizenship civil liberties campaigners climate change clinical negligence Coercion common law confidentiality consent conservation constitution contempt of court Control orders Copyright coronavirus Coroners costs Court of Protection crime Cybersecurity Damages data protection death penalty defamation deportation deprivation of liberty Detention diplomatic immunity disability disclosure Discrimination disease divorce DNA domestic violence duty of care ECHR ECtHR Education election Employment Employment Law Employment Tribunal Environment Equality Act Ethiopia EU EU Charter of Fundamental Rights EU costs EU law European Court of Justice evidence extradition extraordinary rendition Family Fertility FGM Finance football foreign criminals foreign office France freedom of assembly Freedom of Expression freedom of information freedom of speech Gay marriage Gaza gender genetics Germany Google Grenfell Health high court HIV home office Housing HRLA human rights Human Rights Act human rights news Huntington's Disease immigration India Indonesia injunction Inquests international law internet Inuit Iran Iraq Ireland Islam Israel Italy IVF Japan Judaism judicial review jury trial JUSTICE Justice and Security Bill Law Pod UK legal aid Leveson Inquiry LGBTQ Rights liability Libel Liberty Libya Lithuania local authorities marriage Maya Forstater mental capacity Mental Health military Ministry of Justice modern slavery music Muslim nationality national security NHS Northern Ireland nuclear challenges Obituary ouster clauses parental rights parliamentary expenses scandal patents Pensions Personal Injury Piracy Plagiarism planning Poland Police Politics pollution press Prisoners Prisons privacy Professional Discipline Property proportionality Protection of Freedoms Bill Protest Public/Private public access public authorities public inquiries rehabilitation Reith Lectures Religion RightsInfo right to die right to family life Right to Privacy right to swim riots Roma Romania Round Up Royals Russia Saudi Arabia Scotland secrecy secret justice sexual offence Sikhism Smoking social media South Africa Spain special advocates Sports Standing statelessness stop and search Strasbourg Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada surrogacy surveillance Syria Tax technology Terrorism tort Torture travel treaty TTIP Turkey UK Ukraine USA US Supreme Court vicarious liability Wales War Crimes Wars Welfare Western Sahara Whistleblowing Wikileaks wind farms WomenInLaw YearInReview Zimbabwe
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