On 17 February the Home Secretary announced that the government was moving ahead with changes to the Civil Partnership Act 2004 which would allow the registration of civil partnerships to take place in religious premises.
While welcomed by many, some have voiced concerns that permission will inevitably become coercion. They fear that religious organisations may face legal action if they refuse to facilitate civil partnership ceremonies, a claim the Government denies. But will they?
R (on the application of Guardian News and Media Limited) v City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court  EWHC 3376 – Read judgment
The Guardian newspaper has failed to convince the High Court that it should be able to see key documents in the trial of three men threatened with extradition to the United States on charges of corruption and bribery. The case highlights the finely balanced right to freedom of information.
Since the European Convention of Human Rights came into force in 1953, the scope of the rights contained within it has grown along with the jurisprudence it has given rise to. As times have changed, the Article 8 right to respect for private life has, for example, grown to encompass increased rights for both pre- and post-operative transsexuals. More recently, the Article 10 right to freedom of expression has also been said by the European Court of Human Rights to include a right to access certain kinds of information. The scope of human rights, like many legal definitions, appear to have a metastatic tendency. However, in a recent case involving Art 10 the High Court drew a line in the sand, at least as regards the limited sphere of access to court documents in extradition cases.
Secretary of State for Justice v RB  UKUT 454 – Read judgment
In a fascinating recent case, the Upper Tribunal has departed from a line of court authority to decide that where a patient has been detained under the Mental Health Act 1983, conditionally discharging that patient from hospital subject to conditions which might themselves amount to a form of detention is compatible with Article 5 of the European Convention of Human Rights, the right to liberty .
RB, who was aged 75, had been detained under the Mental Health Act on 30 June 1999 following a conviction for indecent assault on a boy aged under 16. He suffered from a persistent delusional disorder, which rendered him a “strongly misogynistic”, lifelong paedophile.
R (on the application of Daniel Faulkner) v Secretary of State for Justice and Anor  EWCA Civ 1434 – Read Judgment
The Court of Appeal has upheld the appeal of prisoner who spent 10 more months in prison than he should have, due to unjustified delay in having his case heard by the Parole Board. The court found that there had been an infringement of his rights under Article 5(4) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
In 2001 Daniel Faulkner was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent (an offence under section 18 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861). As this was his second offence of this nature, he was sentenced to custody for life, with the minimum period he had to spend in custody being set at two years, eight and a half months. That period expired on 18th April 2004 and he became eligible for parole.
In January of this year Paul Chambers used Twitter to express his feelings about the possible closure of Robin Hood Airport due to snow, which he feared would thwart his trip to Belfast to meet his new girlfriend, a fellow twitterer going by the name @Crazycolours.
A week later, he was arrested at work by five police officers, questioned for eight hours, had his computers and phones seized and was subsequently charged and convicted of causing a “menace” under the Communications Act 2003 .
Broom v Secretary of State for Justice  EWHC 2695 (Admin) – Read Judgment
When he was transferred from Whitemoor prison to Wakefield Prison in May 2008, Mr. John Broom had 24 historical photos of his children and nieces confiscated. He had been in possession of those photographs for 18 years. He challenged the decision not to return the photos to him by way of judicial review, claiming that it breached his right to respect for his private or family life. Mr Justice Behrens concluded that there was no infringement of Article 8 of the ECHR in this case.
Mr. Broom is currently serving a discretionary life sentence following his conviction in 1992 for buggery and rape of a female. There were two females involved, one of whom was 16. The nature of this conviction was central to the decision to withhold Mr. Broom’s photographs. The Safeguarding Children Panel said that:
CA v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 2278 (10 September 2010) – Read judgment
The High Court has ruled that a a control order which required the “controlee” to relocate and live at an address in Ipswich, away from his family in Crawley, was unlawful.
In Secretary of State for the Home Department v AP  UKSC 24, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal of a man subject to a control order based on the argument that confinement to a flat 150 miles away from his family amounted to a breach of his human rights under Article 5 of the ECHR (right to liberty). The case of CA provides another example of the court striking down a relocation provision in a control order, and is the latest in a long series of court judgments which have chipped away at the controversial scheme.
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