Media By: Thomas Hayes


Round Up 10/6/19: New guidance on the liability of local authorities and trials without jury for historical allegations in Northern Ireland…

10 June 2019 by

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Dennis Hutchings outside the Supreme Court. Credit: The Guardian.

In a week where the Prime Minister’s departure seemed to make barely a ripple, sifting out the key developments could be considered something of an unenviable task. Luckily, establishing the importance of the weeks events was made considerably simpler on Thursday, after judgement was handed down in the case of Poole Borough Council (Respondent) v GN (through his litigation friend “The Official Solicitor”) and another (Appellants) [2019] UKSC 25. The case concerned alleged negligence on behalf of Poole Council in placing a family in social housing on an estate next to neighbours known to persistently engage in antisocial behaviour, and the council’s liability for subsequent harm suffered by the vulnerable children in that family. Elizabeth-Anne Gumbel QC, Iain O’Donnell, Duncan Fairgrieve and Jim Duffy of 1 Crown Office Row represented the family, with Philip Havers QC and Hannah Noyce appearing on behalf of the AIRE Centre and Martin Downs making written submissions for the Coram Children’s Legal Centre.

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Round Up 27.05.19 – Child asylum seekers gain greater protections, clarification of the law on repatriations to dangerous states, a victory for car owners everywhere and some political matters…

28 May 2019 by

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Theresa May resigns during a speech in Downing Street, May 24th 2019. Credit: The Guardian

It would be virtually impossible for readers of this blog, unless they have recently returned from the International Space Station, awoken from a coma or been rescued after two weeks in the Hawaiian jungle, to have failed to notice this week’s political developments. Dispensing with them briefly, this week saw the Prime Minister announce her departure, and the subsequent commencement of a Conservative leadership campaign to appoint a new PM. Into this mix was thrown Sunday’s European Parliament elections, which saw Nigel Farage’s World Trade Organisation terms advocating Brexit Party finish first, albeit in a poll that saw advocates of a “no-deal” Brexit obtain fewer votes than those committed to preventing Brexit, if you take the combined Brexit Party and UKIP vote compared to combined Liberal Democrat, Green Party and Change UK vote.

More on Britain’s political machinations can be found courtesy of wall-to-wall coverage available pretty much everywhere.
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This week’s round up – Williamson fired over Huawei and the courts return after Easter

7 May 2019 by

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Former Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson. Credit: The Guardian.

Despite the return of the courts on Monday, it was another relatively light week in terms of decisions in the fields of public law and human rights. However, the High Court decided a number of interesting clinical negligence cases, whilst the Court of Appeal gave judgement in the case of TM (Kenya), R (On the Application Of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] EWCA Civ 784.

TM (Kenya) concerned a 40 year old Kenyan woman who faced deportation after her applications for leave to remain and asylum were rejected by the Home Office. She had been detained at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre in advance of proceedings to remove her from the country, during which time she had been uncooperative with staff. In light of her behaviour and in advance of her removal to Kenya, she was removed from free association with other detainees. Such detention was authorised by the Home Office Immigration Enforcement Manager at Yarl’s Wood, who was also the appointed “contract monitor” at the centre for the purposes of section 49 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

She sought judicial review of the decision to deprive her of free association. The initial application was refused. She appealed to the Court of Appeal where she advanced three grounds, including that her detention was not properly authorised.

The court found no conflict in the dual positions held by the manager at Yarl’s Wood. The Home Secretary had legitimately authorised her detention under the principles described in Carltona Limited v Commissioners of Works [1943] 2 All ER 560. In addition, there was no obligation to develop a formal policy concerning removal from free association, as Rule 40 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 was sufficiently clear to meet the needs of transparency.
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Round Up 29.04.19 – Domestic courts on Easter vacation but the ECtHR keeps on…

29 April 2019 by

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Mourners including Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald, DUP leader Arlene Foster and SNP leader Ian Blackford give a standing ovation after Fr Martin Magill’s speech at the funeral of journalist Lyra McKee in Belfast –  April 24th 2019. Credit: The Guardian.

This week saw the senior courts continue their Easter vacation between the Hilary and Easter Terms. Consequently, neither the Supreme Court, Civil Division of the Court of Appeal or Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court recorded any new decisions in the week commencing April 22nd.

Luckily for the writer of this Blog, the European Court of Human Rights does not share the relaxed attitude of the domestic courts towards Easter working, and on the April 25th gave judgement in the case of VM v United Kingdom (No 2).

The case concerned a Nigerian woman who entered the United Kingdom illegally in 2003. She subsequently pleaded guilty to cruelty to her son and was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment with a recommendation she be deported at the end of her sentence. Pursuant to this, upon her release, she was detained under immigration powers for two years and ten months.

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Round Up 10/03/19: Criticism of cabinet ministers and a glut of judgments in the senior courts…

11 March 2019 by

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Home Secretary Sajid Javid. Credit: The Guardian

After some quieter times earlier in the year, last week saw no fewer than two Supreme Court judgements and twenty Court of Appeal (Civil Division) decisions.

However, the dominant legal and political story of the week (the ubiquitous Brexit aside) concerned criticism of the Home Secretary Sajid Javid, after reports emerged about the death of the child of Shamima Begum. The 19-year-old left East London to travel to Syria and join the Islamic State aged 15. Javid had stripped Begum of her British Citizenship on the basis that she was a dual national of Bangladesh. News broke this morning that the Home Office had removed citizenship from a further two individuals who had left under similar circumstances.

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The Round Up: Return from Syria and Immigration, Immigration, Immigration…

18 February 2019 by

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Renu Begum holds a photograph of her sister Shamima, taken prior to the then school girls travel to Syria to support the Islamic State. Credit: The Guardian

Immigration cases have dominated human rights case law this week. However, perhaps the greatest controversy concerned the Home Secretary’s intervention in the case of Shamima Begum. News broke on Sunday morning that the nineteen-year-old had given birth in Syria to baby boy, having travelled to the country to support ISIS as a school girl three years ago.

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Round Up: Heated politics, immigration matters, and a win for The Mail Online

21 January 2019 by

Budapest

Photo credit: The Guardian

In his 1748 text ‘The Spirit of the Laws’, Montesquieu proposed his initial concept of what would ultimately become known amongst political scientists as the separation of powers. Mercifully, for both the writer of this blog and the time poor reader, this weekly round-up of events need only concern itself with one of those branches of government…

Despite best efforts however, the topic of European politics is never truly out of the picture. This week saw judgement given in a series of cases by the European Court of Human Rights concerning Article 6 rights in Hungary – Boza and Others, Kurmai and Others, Csontos and Others, Kvacskay and Others, Bartos, Kovács-Csincsák and Komlódi, and Borbély and Others v. Hungary. The EU member state has increasingly been the focus of continent-wide concerns about the rule of law in central Europe, which in particular relate to the policies of Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Fidesz party. Similar concerns have spread to neighbouring countries including regional heavyweight Poland, where the ruing Law and Justice Party has repeatedly clashed with both Brussels and the country’s judiciary over suggestions that judicial appointments have become politically motivated.
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Round Up: Brexit and Barrymore both make appearances in a busy week…

17 December 2018 by

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This week the eyes of the United Kingdom, and quite possibly the whole of Europe, were trained on Luxembourg for an eagerly awaited judgement from the Court of Justice of the European Communities. However, before we embark on a lengthy and forensic analysis of the German/Slovakian case of AlzChem v Commission (State aid – Chemical industry – Judgment) [2018] EUECJ T-284/15 (13 December 2018), we should pay some attention to the week’s legal Brexit developments…

The CJEU this week delivered judgement in the case of Wightman and Others – (Notification by a Member State of its intention to withdraw from the European Union – Judgment) [2018] EUECJ C-621/18 (10 December 2018). The case had been referred to the Luxembourg court by the Inner House of the Court of Session and addressed the feasibility of unilateral revocation of Article 50 TEU. The UK government sought to have the application ruled inadmissible on the grounds that the question posed was hypothetical, no such revocation of Article 50 having been attempted or even contemplated. The European Council and Commission meanwhile contended that although revocation was possible, the right was not unilateral. They appeared to fear abuse of Article 50 by member states who could unilaterally seek to terminate their membership of the European Union, revoke that termination and then repeat the exercise as necessary to circumvent the two-year time limit imposed by Article 50 on withdrawal negotiations.
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The Round up: UAE pardons British spy suspect, Interpol gets a new president, Court of Appeal overturns damages in haemophilia/autism case

26 November 2018 by

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New Interpol President Kim Jong-Yang – credit The Guardian

From Strasbourg to the Strand, this week saw a plethora of judgements delivered in cases with notably interesting facts. However, arguably the most widely reported legal news concerned two stories, neither involving judgements in the UK courts. The case of six-year-old girl sexually assaulted by other pupils at a primary school made headlines after a local authority, whilst not admitting liability, settled her claim following a round table meeting in March this year. The High Court has now approved this settlement to make it binding on the parties (a necessary move when one party is a child to prevent them seeking further damages when they attain a majority) in litigation which some consider may contribute to legal precedent. More on that here. Meanwhile, the case of Matthew Hedges, a British academic jailed for life in the UAE on spying charges widely considered unfounded, appears to be resolved.  Reports this morning indicate Mr Hedges has been unconditionally pardoned and is likely to be released imminently. This case raised profound questions about the rule of law and reliability of the judiciary in a Middle East country considered one of the West’s closest and most reliable partners.
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Blasphemy in Pakistan, Arron Banks investigated by the NCA and immigration cases dominate…

4 November 2018 by

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After the flurry of excitement we were treated to earlier in October, last week afforded observers of the Supreme Court and legal news an opportunity to relax and catch their breath. However, the Court of Appeal proved to be a bountiful source of judgements, and reliable as always, Brexit continued to occupy the minds of journalists, politicians and lawyers alike.

However, perhaps the biggest story of the week originated in Pakistan. The case of Asia Bibi raises not only profound questions regarding the protection of human rights in the country, but also more substantial concerns about the rule of law, constitutional balance and ability of the government and courts to impose their will in a nuclear armed state at the forefront of some of the world’s most acute geo-political challenges.

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The Weekly Round up: cakes, emergency services and legal advice all in the limelight

14 October 2018 by

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Baking takes up supreme court time on both sides of the Atlantic, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees makes an appearance in the Court of Appeal, Unexplained Wealth Orders make an entrance and more…

The biggest news of the week arguably came out of Northern Ireland. However, mercifully this blog can ignore the ongoing speculation regarding a Brexit settlement, the attitude of DUP MPs, the potential presence of border infrastructure and whether or not veterinary inspections and customs checks are of loose equivalence (well, at least for now…).
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The Round up: statelessness, Romanian prisons, parental vaccine dispute and UN

23 September 2018 by

CHILDRENRIGHTSDECLARATIONThis week, two Scottish children are playing a key role in the development of the UN Day of General Discussion (Friday, Sept 28). They are the only children from the UK represented, working alongside children from across the world, including Moldova, Norway and India. See below for more details of this event.
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