Media By: Catriona Murdoch


The Return of Famines and the Pursuit of Accountability

11 July 2019 by

The ‘F’ word is back in use, famines have returned. In 2017 the UN identified four situations of acute food insecurity that threatened famine or breached that threshold, in north-eastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. In December 2018 famine was formally declared across regions of Yemen, this is likely to be the famine that will define this era. Starvation is also being used as a weapon of war in Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. People living in the Gaza Strip and in Venezuela also suffer from the manipulation, obstruction and politicization of food and humanitarian aid. 


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Analysis: US State Department’s review of UK Human Rights

14 April 2011 by

As we posted earlier this week, US State department has released its 35th annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, including an in-depth analysis of human rights in the UK.

The report overall gives a balanced view of the Human Rights Practices in the UK, with some criticism but also some praise. It touches upon many of the issues reported in the UK Human Rights Blog but also misses some important topics that have emerged since the last annual country report.

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A Cornish hotel and the conflict between discrimination law and religious freedom

24 January 2011 by

Hall & Anor v Bull & Anor [2011] EW Misc 2 (CC) (04 January 2011) – Read judgment

Judge Andrew Rutherford in the Bristol County Court has held that the devout Christian couple who ran their Cornish hotel according to their Christian principles directly discriminate against a homosexual couple in a civil partnership, when they refused accommodation to them on the basis that they only let double rooms to married couples.

The couple had planned for a short break in Cornwall and, after some internet research, chose the Chymorvah Private Hotel. They booked two nights over the telephone and arrived a few days later. They were met by the owner of the hotel and told in the public reception area in front of at least one other guest, the hotels policy with regard to double rooms. The online booking form stated

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When asylum seekers commit war crimes

17 December 2010 by

Secretary of State for the Home Department v DD (Afghanistan) [2010] EWCA Civ 1407 (10 December 2010) – Read judgment

It is a sometimes controversial aspect of immigration law that asylum seekers facing a real risk of persecution will nevertheless be denied the protection of the Refugee Convention, through the application of Article 1F of that Convention.  One of the bases for exclusion from protection is Article 1F(c), which applies where a person “has been guilty of acts contrary to the principles of the United Nations”. How does a court decide such cases?

The Court of Appeal has reversed the decision of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) in a case involving an Afghani asylum seeker. The AIT had ruled that Article 1F did not apply, and so DD was entitled to refugee status.  The AIT’s conclusion was reached despite DD admitting a history of involvement with organisations engaged in violent activities against the Afghan Goverment and UN-mandated forces:  Jamiat-e-Islami, the Taliban, and Hizb-e-Islami. The Home Secretary’s appeal was allowed and the case was remitted to the AIT for a limited reconsideration.

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Mr Justice Coleridge: family judges should express themselves forcefully and publicly

3 December 2010 by

Family law judges have been unusually vocal recently in sharing their ideas for family justice reform. The latest to put his case is the High Court judge Mr Justice Coleridge, in a speech entitled Lets hear it for the Child; Restoring the Authority of the Family Court, Blue Skies and Sacred Cows given at the Association of Lawyers for Children’s 21st Annual Conference last week.

The traditional role of judges is to speak out in court and stay silent outside of it. But the relatively new head of the family courts, Sir Nicolas Wall, has set a strong example of judicial outspokenness, and it appears that the other judges are following suit in the face of large cuts to the family justice budget. That being said, Mr Justice Coleridge has been a vocal advocate for family justice reform for a number of years.

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Electric shock pet collar ban did not breach human rights

23 November 2010 by

Petsafe Ltd, R (on the application of) v The Welsh Ministers [2010] EWHC 2908 (Admin) (16 November 2010) – Read judgment

The High Court has ruled that a Welsh ban on the use of collars designed to administer electric shocks to cats and dogs does not breach Article 1 of the First Protocol of the ECHR or impinge upon the free movement of goods protected under European Union Law.

The Judicial Review application was brought by two interested parties, Petsafe Ltd and The Electronic Collar Manufacturers Association against the Welsh Ministers who after a lengthy consultation period dating from 2007, brought into force the Animal Welfare (Electronic Collars (Wales)) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/934) (“the 2010 Regulations”) which banned the use of electric collars. The 2010 Regulations were created under the powers conferred to the Welsh Ministers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (“AWA 2006”). A breach of the 2010 Regulations is an offence punishable with up to 51 weeks imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding Level 5 (£5,000).

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Exclusion of Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik was lawful, says High Court

10 November 2010 by

Dr Zakir Naik and The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Entry Clearance Officer, Mumbai India [2010] EWHC 2825 (Admin) – read judgment

As we reported last week, the High Court has approved the exclusion of Dr Zakir Naik, a popular Indian television Islamic preacher, from the UK on the grounds that his presence would not be conducive to the public good.

Despite the High Court finding that the initial decision to exclude Dr Naik was procedurally unfair and that Article 10 ECHR (the right to freedom of expression) was engaged in relation to his supporters, his challenge to the exclusion was rejected. This case focuses the spotlight once more on the somewhat limited territorial reach of the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention, as well as the wide discretion of the Home Office to exclude radicals which it considers have displayed ‘unacceptable behaviours’.

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Non independent tribunal can curtail young offenders’ rights

20 October 2010 by

Ben King and Secretary of State for Justice [2010] EWHC 2522 (Admin) – Read Judgment

True or False: 1. A non-independent tribunal can determine your civil rights? 2. A non-independent tribunal can curtail your civil rights?

The high court has answered “true” to both of these questions . The non-independent tribunal in this case was the adjudication system in young offender institutions (YOI). The high court ruled that whilst the governor adjudicator was not an independent tribunal for the purposes of Article 6(1) ECHR, it could still determine and ultimately curtail an inmates civil rights.

The case of “King” raises important issues concerning the regime for adjudication of disciplinary charges brought against inmates at prisons and young offender institutions across England and Wales. In 2008 alone 190,192 punishments were imposed for disciplinary offences in young offender institutions.

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