Media By: conormonighan


Round Up: detainees, Grenfell, and discrimination in UK pension law.

2 July 2018 by conormonighan

In the News:

The Intelligence and Security Committee found that the UK had allowed terrorism suspects to be treated unlawfully.

Following a three-year investigation, it published two reports examining the extent to which Britain’s intelligence agencies were aware of the mistreatment of suspects. The reports found no evidence that British officers took part in the torture themselves. Neither was there clear evidence of a policy which sought to deliberately overlook mistreatment.

However, the Committee found that British intelligence officers had witnessed prisoners being tortured. They had seen detainees being mistreated at least 13 times, were told by prisoners that they were being abused at least 25 times and were informed of ill-treatment by foreign agencies 128 times. British agents also threatened detainees in nine cases.

Despite being aware of the mistreatment from an early stage, UK agencies continued to provide questions for interrogations. The Committee chairman, Dominic Grieve, said that the UK had tolerated ‘inexcusable’ actions.

Furthermore, British agencies assisted in the rendition of suspects to countries with ‘dubious’ human rights records. MI5 and MI6 subsidised, or offered to subsidise, the rendition of individuals on three occasions. They also provided information for the rendition of 28 people, proposed/ agreed to rendition in 22 cases and failed to stop the rendition of 23 others (including cases involving British nationals).
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The Round Up: Grenfell, lost DVDs, and a Deputy Judge who erred in law.

21 May 2018 by conormonighan

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law.

Grenfell

Credit: The Guardian

In the News:

An independent report into building regulations, commissioned by the government in the wake of the Grenfell disaster, has called for the current regulatory system to be overhauled.

However, the report surprised some because it did not recommend a ban on flammable cladding. It also declined to recommend stopping so-called ‘desktop studies’, where materials are tested without setting them on fire. The chairman of Grenfell United expressed disappointment at this conclusion. The Royal Institute of British Architects expressed support for banning inflammable cladding and the government has said it will consult on the issue. The Prime Minister has also pledged £400 million to remove flammable cladding from tower blocks.

The author of the report, Dame Judith Hackitt, said that banning the cladding was insufficient. Instead, she stated that a ‘whole system change’ is needed. Dame Hackitt warned that cost was being prioritised over safety and that ‘banning activities and particular materials […] will create a false sense of security’.

The report recommended fundamental changes to building regulations, saying that the process which drives compliance with the regulations are ‘weak and complex’. Dame Hackitt found that there was a ‘race to the bottom’ in the building industry that was putting people at risk. She also wrote that product testing must be made more transparent, and that residents’ voices were not being listened to.

The Grenfell Inquiry will open this week. For the first two weeks, the lives of those who died will be remembered in a series of commemorations.
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The Round Up: An anonymity injunction, the role of assurances in extraditions, and when a person’s refugee status can end.

8 May 2018 by conormonighan

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law

Blog James Bulger

Credit: The Guardian

In the News:

In the matter of the person previously known as Jon Venables, Application by Ralph Stephen Bulger and James Patrick Bulger: Sir James Munby, sitting in the High Court, rejected a legal challenge to release the new identity of one of James Bulger’s killers.

Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss issued an injunction in 2001 conferring lifelong anonymity on Bulger’s killers. A number of Bulger’s relatives subsequently issued an application seeking to vary the injunction, though Bulger’s mother was not a party to it.

The application was considered by Edis J earlier this year, who made an order that it be considered by the President of the Family Division at the first available opportunity. The application requested that the court “consider that over 17 years on and with serious offending the experiment of ‘anonymising’ Jon Venables has not worked”. The application was made in light of child sex offences committed by Venables since 2001.

However, the bundle prepared for the hearing by the applicants did not comply with the relevant Practice Direction’s mandatory requirements. In particular, the applicants did not outline how the injunction should be varied or discharged. Compliance, the court held, was important to achieve the aims of bringing down waiting times and delays in hearing cases. Sir James Munby expressed regret that the Practice Direction was still not being adhered to 18 years after it was first issued. Secondly, a witness statement did not comply with Family Procedure Rule 25.4(2). If the applicants wished to reply on expert evidence, they should have made an application to do so. The court recognised that the application had been prepared in haste but noted that deficiencies remained three months later.

In light of this, counsel for Mr Venables and the Attorney General were severely disadvantaged in their understanding of the case. An order was therefore made to remedy the deficiencies in the relatives’ application.
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Headline- Round Up: Sir Cliff Richard’s case against the BBC reaches the High Court

23 April 2018 by conormonighan

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law

cliff

Credit: The Guardian

In the News:

The legal battle between Sir Cliff Richard and the BBC has begun in the High Court.

In August 2014, police raided Sir Cliff’s home based on an allegation of historic child sexual abuse. The BBC broadcast live footage of the raid filmed from a helicopter. The singer was interviewed under caution, but never charged.

Sir Cliff alleges that the BBC’s coverage of the police raid on his home was a serious invasion of his right to privacy, for which there was no lawful justification. He also alleges breaches of his data protection rights. The singer seeks substantial general damages, plus £278,000 for legal costs, over £108,000 for PR fees which he spent in order to rebuild his reputation, and an undisclosed sum relating to the cancellation of his autobiography’s publication. He began giving evidence on the first day of the hearing.
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Round Up- Do trained lawyers have a human right to represent themselves in court?

9 April 2018 by conormonighan

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law

The High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court are not sitting at present (Easter Term will begin on Tuesday 10th April). Accordingly, this week’s Round Up focuses largely on the ECHR.

European-court-of-human-r-009

Credit: The Guardian

Correia De Matos v. Portugal

This week, the ECHR held that requiring defendants to have legal representation does not violate Article 6. The vote was split by nine votes to eight.

The applicant, a lawyer by training, alleged a violation of Article 6 s.3(c) of the Convention. This was on the basis of a decision by Portuguese domestic courts which (i) refused him leave to conduct his own defence in criminal proceedings against him, and (ii) required that he be represented by a lawyer.
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Round Up- Fried eggs, Facebook, and the right to choose one’s counsel

26 March 2018 by conormonighan

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law

fb

Credit: The Guardian

In the News:

The consultancy company Cambridge Analytica has come under fierce criticism for its treatment of Facebook users’ data. A whistle-blower, Christopher Wylie, alleged that Cambridge Analytica had gathered large amounts of data through a personality quiz, posted in Facebook, called ‘This is Your Digital Life’. Users were told the quiz was collecting data for research.
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The Round Up – Strikes, detainees, and was it a poison plot?

11 March 2018 by conormonighan

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law

Abbott

Photo credit: The Guardian

In the News:

Over 100 female detainees have gone on hunger strike at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

The women began their strike on the 21st February, over “inhuman” conditions, indefinite detentions, and a perceived failure to address their medical needs. The UK is the only European state that does not put a time limit on how long detainees can be held.

This week, the strikers were given a letter from the Home Office warning their actions may speed up their deportation. Labour criticised the letter, but Caroline Nokes, the Immigration Minister, said the letter was part of official Home Officer guidance and was published last November on its website.
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Round Up: Worboys, air pollution, and Germany’s social media law

25 February 2018 by conormonighan

In the News:

taxi

Credit: Garry Knight, Flickr

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v DSD

The Supreme Court ruled that the police have a positive obligation to conduct an effective investigation into crimes involving serious violence to victims, in line with Article 3 of the ECHR.  In this case the obligation had been breached.

The case concerned the police’s investigation into the ‘black cab rapist’, John Worboys. Two of his victims brought a claim for damages against the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), on the basis of an alleged failure of the police to conduct an effective investigation into Worbys’ crimes. The victims were awarded compensation in the first instance. The Court of Appeal dismissed the MPS’ appeal, and the case came before the Supreme Court.
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The Round Up: Instagramming claim forms, procedural unfairness, and what happens when ‘pragmatism’ meets human rights.

11 February 2018 by conormonighan

Conor Monighan brings us the latest updates in human rights law.

Image result for police lady uk

Credit: Wiki Commons

In the News:

Robinson v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire

Covered by the Blog here

There is no general immunity for police officers investigating or preventing crime. In this case, Mrs Robinson suffered injuries when two police officers fell on top of her, along with a suspected drug dealer resisting arrest. The officers had foreseen Williams would attempt to escape but had not noticed Mrs Robinson  (who was represented by 1 Crown Office Row’s academic consultant Duncan Fairgrieve).

The recorder found that, although the officers were negligent, Hill v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire [1989] gave them immunity from negligence claims. The Court of Appeal ruled the police officers owed no duty of care, and even if they did they had not broken it. It also found most claims against the police would fail the third stage of the Caparo test (i.e. it would not be fair, just and reasonable to impose a duty of care upon the police in these situations). The Court found Williams had caused the harm, not the police, so the issue was based on omission rather than a positive act. Finally, even if officers had owed the Appellant a duty of care, they had not breached it.

Mrs Robinson appealed successfully to the Supreme Court.

It held:
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