Media By: Caroline Cross


Is a school responsible for assault on foreign expedition?

26 March 2012 by

XVW and YZA v Gravesend Grammar School for Girls and Adventure Lifesigns PLC [2012] EWHC 575 (QB) – read judgment

In 2005 a group of schoolgirls were taken on a school trip to Belize. While working on a resort, three girls, aged between 15 and 17, were violently raped by the manager of the site.

The question before the High Court was this: were the school or travel company responsible for the actions of someone they had not employed, abroad, on a school expedition where decisions had to be made about unforeseen contingencies when the party had arrived at their destination?

Background facts

The school had arranged an expedition through the travel company ‘ALS’. The twelve pupils were accompanied by a teacher and two experienced employees of the travel company. The group initially arrived in Mexico but could not proceed with the itinerary because of a hurricane. The teacher and travel guides, in looking for alternative itineraries, were recommended a project called Maya Walks, run by Jimmy Juan and his son Aaron. It was agreed that the group would help construct buildings at the farm resort owned by Jimmy and Aaron and in exchange they received free accommodation.
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Claim fails against Belfast police on protection of school walk from violence

15 December 2010 by

PF and EF v UK (Application No. 28326/09) – Read judgment

The European Court of Human Rights has dismissed an application brought against the police in Northern Ireland by a mother and her daughter who argued the police had failed to take sufficient action to protect them from loyalist riots on their route to primary school.

The court held that the police must be afforded a degree of discretion in taking operational decisions, and that in this case the police took all “reasonable steps” to protect the applicants.

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Was local authority responsible for harassment campaign against vulnerable adults?

25 November 2010 by

Application no. 32666/10 by X, Y & Z against the UK, lodged on 8 June 2010 – Read statement of facts

In a potentially landmark case, the European Court has been asked to determine the extent to which a local authority is under a duty prevent a breach of a person’s rights under Articles 3 (against inhuman and degrading treatment) and 8 (home and family life) in a case where two people with learning difficulties were violently harassed and threatened by a group of teenage youths.

The case concerns vulnerable adults who rely on social services. X and Y, who are married, both have learning difficulties. Z is the mother of X, and acted as a carer and advocate for both X and Y. X and Y lived in Hounslow Borough with Y’s two young children. Three local authority departments were involved with X and Y’s family, providing for their housing needs and allocating social workers for both the adults and children. Over a period from August 1999 until November 2000, X and Y were continually harassed and threatened by a group of teenage youths, who used the flat as a general ‘doss house’, dumping stolen goods, having sex and staying overnight.

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Iraq not violent enough to prevent asylum seekers being sent back

5 October 2010 by

HM and Others (Article 15(c)) Iraq CG [2010] UKUT 331 (IAC) – Read judgment

In a long-awaited decision on country guidance on Iraq, the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) has held that the degree of indiscriminate violence in Iraq is not so high that the appellants were entitled to subsidiary protection under Article 15(c) Qualification Directive.

However, the IAT indicated that, should the degree of violence become unacceptably high, Article 15(c) might be engaged. The Upper Tribunal also used the opportunity to provide general advice as to how to approach country guidance cases.

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Contraception, capacity and coercion: when does a woman lack capacity to decide whether to use contraceptive treatment?

25 August 2010 by

A Local Authority v Mrs A, by her Litigation Friend, the Official Solicitor, and Mr A [2010] EWHC 1549 (Fam) – Read judgment

In the first case of its kind, the court was asked to consider whether a young married woman lacks capacity to decide whether to use contraception, and whether it would be in her interests to be required to receive it.

Mrs A was a 29-year-old woman who suffered from serious learning difficulties, which put her intellectual functioning at approximately 0.1% of adults her age. In 2004 she gave birth to a daughter, and in 2005 she had a son. Both children were removed from her at birth because she did not have the capacity to take care of them.

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When is a human rights claim a human rights claim?

12 August 2010 by

Shirin Jisha v The Secretary of State for the Home Department [2010] EWHC 2043 (Admin) – Read judgment

When is a human rights claim a human rights claim in an immigration context? The High Court has recently considered this question in the case of a Bangladeshi citizen who had her visa cancelled when returning from a trip abroad.

This case related to the proper meaning of section 113(1) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. The Secretary of State had argued that the claimant’s claim was not a “human rights claim” because the claim was not made “at a place designated by the defendant” but served as part of her appeal to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal against the defendant’s refusal to grant her leave to enter. It was held that the claim was a “human rights claim” within the terms of section 113(1).

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