Contaminated blood: statutory inquiry announced

Adam Wagner acted for victims of the Blood Contamination scandal in a proposed Judicial Review of the refusal to hold an inquiry. He is not the author of this post

Amid the blizzard of news stories circling Westminster on Friday, it would have been easy to miss an announcement of considerable significance to victims of the contaminated blood scandal and their families.

In a written statement to Parliament, Damian Green confirmed that the inquiry into the scandal – announced by the Prime Minister in July – will take the form of a UK-wide, statutory inquiry.

Not only that, it will no longer be set up by the Department of Health (DoH), but by the Cabinet Office. Campaigners for the victims and their families had boycotted talks with Downing Street, arguing that the DoH would have a conflict of interest, due to the need for the inquiry to investigate the actions of health officials.

However, there was yet more disappointment and frustration over the continued failure to appoint an inquiry chair or to announce terms of reference. Continue reading

Defying convention: Supreme Court puts Sewel on the sidelines

unknownIn the new age of alternative facts, even Sean Spicer might struggle to spin Tuesday’s Supreme Court judgment as anything other than a comprehensive defeat for the government.

Yet, as my colleague Dominic Ruck Keene’s post alluded to, the ultimate political ramifications of Miller would have made the Article 50 process appreciably more turgid had the Justices accepted the various arguments relating to devolution.

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Unelected judges decline to prevent deportation of foreign criminal

unknownAmid a level of scrutiny unprecedented in the Supreme Court’s seven-year history, that is a headline unlikely to make it into tomorrow’s tabloids.

Nevertheless, as Lord Wilson explains in Hesham Ali (Iraq) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2016] UKSC 60:

Today is an important day in the life of our court. For it is the first occasion upon which either we or our predecessors in the House of Lords have had occasion to address the interface between the power of the Secretary of State to deport a foreign criminal and the latter’s ability to resist deportation by reference to his right for respect for his family life under article 8 of the ECHR.

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de Menezes: No individual prosecutions, but an effective investigation – ECtHR

This week, the mosaic shrine adorning the wall outside Stockwell underground station once again became the focal point for difficult questions surrounding the police response the terrorist attacks of 2005.

The judgment of a Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Da Silva v the United Kingdom draws a line under a long legal battle mounted by the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the young Brazilian electrician shot dead by the Metropolitan Police on 22 July 2005 having been mistaken for a suicide bomber. Continue reading

10 human rights cases that defined 2015

Supreme Court

Photo credit: Guardian

It has been a fascinating year in which to edit this Blog. Political and social challenges – from continued government cuts to the alarming rise of Islamic State – have presented new human rights conundrums that have, as ever, slowly percolated to the doors of the country’s highest courts. And all this during the year of an astonishing General Election result and amid continually shifting sands around the future of the Human Rights Act. Continue reading

Shaker Aamer’s release: What happens next?

And so, thirteen years after his capture, eight years after the US Government cleared him for release, and seven years after President Obama’s spectacularly broken promise to shut down Guantánamo, Shaker Aamer has left the prison, as innocent as the day he went in.

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