Here at the UK Human Rights Blog, we love justice, and we also love JUSTICE. Let’s all go to their annual conference, 12 October 2015. All details here and below.
One of the highlights of the human rights lawyer’s calendar, the JUSTICE Annual Human Rights Conference offers a key opportunity to update your legal knowledge and gain valuable insight into the human rights issues of the year.
The Rt. Hon. Sir Brian Leveson and Natalie Lieven QC will be joining us as our keynote speakers and the programme for this year’s event will focus on the challenges facing practitioners and the wider public policy debate on human rights law in the UK.
A quick note to say RightsInfo is having a summer party on 13 August. If you want an invite, sign up to the newsletter here, the invitations will be going out at midday today. It’s going to be great, sun guaranteed. We will be also launching an exciting new project… wait and see!
Since RightsInfo launched two months ago, we have had over 300,000 hits and now have over 10,000 followers across social media. It has already been an amazing journey and we feel that this is the beginning of something very special.
#50cases has been contributed to by top legal academics, writers and human rights experts through crowdsourcing on this blog. Along with our amazing infographic, each of the 50 landmark cases has also been translated into a plain-English, bitesize story. It is by the most comprehensive study so far as to what human rights have done for Britain.
As the government seeks to reform human rights laws, it is crucial for people to understand what effect human rights have had on our society. This project shows that the European Convention on Human Rights and Human Rights Act have had a profound impact on British society. The #50cases project shows that human rights are not just for terrorists and criminals, but affect all of us.
The RightsInfo volunteer team, Information is Beautiful Studio and I have put a lot of work into this project. Please explore, engage and, most of all, enjoy.
These are difficult times for bringing public interest legal cases. The withdrawal of legal aid from many areas has meant that it has become a lot more difficult to fund cases. And the lawyers who are the experts in this kind of litigation are finding it harder and harder to keep practising in the area.
So bravo to a new initiative, CrowdJustice, a crowdfunding platform for public interest litigation. For those who don’t know about crowdfunding, it has been a huge success for other kinds of projects through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. CrowdJustice is already fundraising for its first case, Torres v BP and Others, and there is a nice video on the site which has been cross posted by The Guardian.
Crowdfunding isn’t going to replace Legal Aid, nor is it going to become the main or perhaps even a major source of public interest litigation funding. But in cases that interest the public (is that the same as public interest?), it could become a really important resource. In the age of social media, a cleverly pitched campaign can raise a decent amount of money quickly. And wouldn’t it be interesting if someone could figure out a way of building a kind of crowd funded conditional fee agreement, whereby people get back their money or even a share of the damages if the case is successful?
Good for CrowdJustice – go to the site, share, and if you want to, contribute!
I’m delighted to say that I will be giving the keynote address at the UK Constitutional Law Association‘s one-day conference at the University of Manchester on the subject of “Debating the Constitution after the Election”. Topical, eh?
The conference is on Wednesday 24 June. My keynote is entitled: The slow death of the UK Human rights system: Is it just a matter of time or can the UK learn to love human rights? I wrote that before the Election, so perhaps remove “slow”.
Full details and line up here and below. There are two ways to attend the conference:
(1) Be a member of the UKCLA (here’s how) and attend for free by simply e-mailing UKCLACON15@manchester.ac.uk ; OR
(2) Pay the £10 registration fee and register via this EventBrite link.
As I am sure will not have escaped you, these are interesting times for human rights. We still await the detailed Conservative proposals for replacing the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights, so it is difficult with any certainty what will happen.
I wanted to gather together a few pieces of commentary and media appearances I have done in the past week, so here they are. We will, of course, be following closely what comes next.
BBC’s The Big Questions (iPlayer) on Sunday 10th was about human rights are religion. It was recorded before the Election results. Don’t hold your breath for me to speak – it happens about 30 minutes in.
There has been a huge amount more already. Some illuminating pieces (certainly not comprehensive):
“Our aim is a straightforward one”, New Labour Party told us in October 1997 “[it is] to bring those rights home”. In 2000, the Human Rights Act came into force. For the first time, people in the UK had human rights which could be enforced in UK courts. The right to life, the right not to be tortured, to free speech. What was not to love?
If only it was that simple. 1997 seems a very long time ago. Now, in the final few hours before the 2015 Election, we see the major parties fundamentally divided on human rights.I haven’t written about the Election and human rights yet, mainly because I have been setting up a wonderful new human rights website, rightsinfo.org (more on that later).
RightsInfo (www.rightsinfo.org) has just had its first full week and I wanted to update you on how things are going.
Have you seen our brand new launch film,This is RightsInfo? It has just been released, and we love it – it explains what RightsInfo is about and how we are going to change the way we communicate about human rights. If you were at the launch party, you may even spot yourself on the film.
I am delighted to announce the launch of my new human rights initiative, RightsInfo. The site has just gone live at www.rightsinfo.org. Visit, share, subscribe by email and enjoy!
RightsInfo will use social media to improve public understanding of human rights. Our brilliant new website provides clear, reliable and beautiful human rights information to share.
I have been working closely with a large team of volunteers and the amazing Information is Beautiful Studios to build a space which looks and feels like nothing that has come before it. Here are some of RightsInfo’s great features:
Human Rights Stories: We are translating hundreds of major human rights cases into plain-English short stories. Four of these will be available on launch and then one will be published each weekday;
Just a quick update on RightsInfo, my new human rights information project. As you can see, we now have a logo. The design is a clue to the look and feel of the site – all will be revealed when we launch on Tuesday 21 April.
RightsInfo will provide clear, reliable and beautiful human rights information to share. I am particularly excited that we have been working closely with the amazing Information is Beautiful Studios to build some fantastic infographics and other fantastic resources… I will say no more, just wait until a week on Tuesday!
If you would like to come to the launch party, there are around 20 spaces left and a final invitation will be going out via the RightsInfo mailing list shortly. If you want to receive it, and get general updates, sign up to the mailing list at rightsinfo.org.
An update on my new human rights project, RightsInfo.
You may have noticed the name change. The Human Rights Information Project is no more. A bit of a mouthful. So, RightsInfo.
More importantly, we have a launch date: Tuesday 21 April 2015. If you are interested in coming to the launch party then please sign up to the email updates via www.rightsinfo.org, I will be sending out details shortly. And sign up anyway if you want to know more about the project.
On yesterday’s Newsnight (from 7 minutes 20 seconds in), Britain’s foremost legal commentator Joshua Rozenberg revealed that he resigned as the Telegraph’s legal editor in 2007 after the news desk sexed up a human rights story with false information.
The story is still on the Telegraph’s website here. It was a report of the 2007 House of Lords decision in Secretary of State for Defence v Al-Skeini & Ors  UKHL, a case about whether the Human Rights Act applied to actions of the British Army in Iraq. The House of Lords ruled that the Act did apply in British detention facilities, but that it did not apply in the streets of occupied Basra. There is an excellent summary of the case by Rozenberg here.
Followers of the blog will know I am developing a new initiative, the Human Rights Information Project (HRIP). The aim is to radically rethink the way we communicate about human rights.
I need some help from you. I want to crowd-source data from readers of this blog about the 50 human rights cases absolutely everyone needs to know about. All contributors will be attributed on the HRIP site and I will publish the text of the best nominations.
This data is going to be a central the project so I would really appreciate you taking the time to help out.
This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.