Media By: Jim Duffy


Corona-vires: Has the Government exceeded its powers?

13 February 2020 by

Diagram of the structure of the Coronavirus

This Government’s key message has been its ability get things done, whether it be Brexit, HS2 or stopping the spread of Coronavirus.

Indeed, if the new high speed trains move as swiftly as the Health Secretary did on Monday, then they might break the sound barrier: the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 were enacted at 6.50am on Monday and laid before Parliament by 2.30 that afternoon.  Their preamble states that

the Secretary of State is of the opinion that, by reason of urgency, it is necessary to make this instrument without a draft having been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

One can appreciate the desire to bypass the cumbersome mechanics of Parliament to save the country from a potentially deadly virus. But in the fullness of time, the resulting Regulations might well be held up as an excellent advertisement for Parliamentary scrutiny.


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No-deal Brexit and the right to life

5 September 2019 by

One intervention that did not quite make it onto this week’s packed Parliamentary highlights reel came from Emily Thornberry MP.

The Shadow Foreign Secretary suggested that deaths caused by a lack of basic medicines following a No-deal Brexit would entitle coroners to reach a finding of ‘neglect’ in future inquests.  She added that it was her understanding the government had received legal advice to that effect.

Her remarks follow the leak two weeks ago of government documents prepared as part of ‘Operation Yellowhammer’. These reportedly predicted severe, extended delays to the supply of medicines in the event of a No-deal departure.

Neglect

Depending on the content of the warnings about medicines, Ms Thornberry may be right.  An argument that a deceased’s death has been caused or contributed to by neglect is usually levelled against a local police force that fails to provide basic medical attention to a detainee in need, or a hospital that does not act to counter a life-threatening illness in a patient. It is not commonly deployed against central government on the basis of a decision said to have denied basic medical attention to whole sections of the population.


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UK Human Rights Blog seeks Scots, NI law and ECtHR contributors

10 July 2019 by

The UK Human Rights Blog – edited by barristers at 1 Crown Office Row – is seeking recent law graduates to contribute regular articles on human rights cases handed down by the courts in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Strasbourg.

We are looking for about five contributors in total to assist us for a period of up to a year, with each contributor focusing on a particular jurisdiction.   Contributors would be expected to produce about five to ten blog posts over the course of the year.

If you are interested, please email Jim Duffy (jim.duffy@1cor.com) with a copy of your CV and an article relating to a recent human rights case handed down in one of the above jurisdictions (word limit: 1,000 words).

Please note that contributors should hold a law degree or graduate diploma in law as of this summer, and that the Scottish/NI contributors will be law graduates from universities in those countries.

The closing date is 31 July 2019.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The UK Human Rights Blog team

Vicarious liability: Banking on bright lines

24 July 2018 by

the-royal-courts-of-justice-1648944_1280A bank requires its would-be recruits and some of its existing employees to undergo a medical. It sends them to the home of one particular, self-employed doctor. There, they undergo a medical examination, unaccompanied by anyone from the bank.

 

The doctor completes the bank’s proforma examination form, headed with its logo and entitled “Barclays Confidential Medical Report”. The form is detailed. It includes sections on chest “Inspiration” and “Expiration”, “Abdomen (including Genito-Urinary System)”. It contains a section for “Female applicants only”, asking whether they have suffered from menstrual or pregnancy disorders.

The doctor – Gordon Bates – subsequently dies. A large group of women sue the bank alleging that it is liable for sexual assaults carried out by the doctor during the examinations. The question for the Court of Appeal in Barclays Bank plc v Various Claimants [2018] EWCA Civ 1670 was whether the bank could be vicariously liable.

Background

Following Dr Bates’ death in 2009, 126 women came forward alleging that he had abused them during medical examinations carried out on behalf of Barclays between around 1968 and 1984. The police concluded in 2013 that, had he been alive, there would have been sufficient evidence to pursue a criminal prosecution against him.

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Contaminated blood: statutory inquiry announced

7 November 2017 by

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.
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Defying convention: Supreme Court puts Sewel on the sidelines

26 January 2017 by

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

16 November 2016 by

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

1 April 2016 by

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.
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10 human rights cases that defined 2015

23 December 2015 by

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.
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The Blog is 5. And this is your last chance to come to the party!

23 October 2015 by

ann-marie-calilhanna-mardigras-party-2012_1514-banner

After 2,237 posts and 4.6 million visits from readers all over the world, the UK Human Rights Blog is 5 years old.  

As we announced last month, we at 1 Crown Office Row are marking the occasion with a party next Thursday (29 October). 

There are still a few places available for this free event featuring drinks, food and live music. It’s open to all our readers.

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The private lives of child rioters

8 July 2015 by

Derry riotsIn the matter of an application by JR38 for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) [2015] UKSC 42

Does the publication of photographs of a child taken during a riot fall within the scope of Article 8 ECHR?

It depends, says a Supreme Court majority, specifically on whether there was a reasonable expectation of privacy. Either way, the Court in J38 agreed that whether or not the 14 year-old Appellant’s right to respect for private life was in play, the publication of police photographs of him was justified in the circumstances.

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Not dumping on anyone’s living tree: Scalia visits UK

3 July 2015 by

Photo credit: Guardian

Photo credit: Guardian

Last week’s decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell v Hodges has been lauded across the world as a quantum leap for equality and human rights – “a victory for America”, according to President Obama. The Court held by a 5-4 majority that, pursuant to the 14th Amendment, same-sex couples across the United States have a constitutional right to marry. You can read my colleague Matthew Flinn’s analysis of the ruling here.
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Debate: Europe’s Justice Deficit?

1 June 2015 by

The General Court

The General Court

An interesting event – particularly in the current political context – takes place this Thursday at LSE. Hart Publishing will be marking the launch of a new book, Europe’s Justice Deficit?‘, with a debate between Justice Guiliano Amato of the Constitutional Court of Italy and Professor Christian Joerges of the Hertie School of Government. Justice Amato twice served as Prime Minister of Italy.

Together with the book’s co-editors (Dimitry Kochenov, Gráinne de Búrca and Andrew Williams) and authors, Amato and Joerges will consider whether the EU is simply a political and legal order, whether it undermines the pursuit of justice by Member States, and whether scholars and policy-makers have paid sufficient attention to questions of justice in the EU context.

Date and place: Thursday June 4, 2015, London School of Economics and Political Science; 3-6pm, room 32L.G.03 (on the South side of the Lincoln’s Inn Fields). The event will be followed by a reception.

If you would like to attend, email Sarah Lee at s.lee33@lse.ac.uk

 

 

 

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