Does a judge have to consider Article 8 in possession proceedings brought by a private landlord? – Millie Polimac

Image result for front doors terrace guardian

Photo credit: the Guardian

No, said the Supreme Court in McDonald v McDonald [2016] UKSC 28 – read judgment.

Facts

Fiona McDonald was a private sector tenant.  The landlords were her parents who had purchased the property by obtaining a secured loan from a private company.  They fell into arrears of the monthly payments, and the company sought possession pursuant to a s.21(4) Housing Act 1988 (‘HA 1988’) notice. The arrears were not substantial, but they had persisted for some time.

An Article 8 defence was raised as Fiona had mental health problems in the form of psychiatric and behavioural issues.

The Supreme Court rejected her defence for the following reasons.

No Article 8 assessment

The appellant argued that the court, as a public authority under s.6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 (‘HRA 1998’), was required to carry out an Article 8 assessment in such circumstances. Continue reading

No protection for Indy Camp under Articles 10 and 11

q-icon-scottish-flag-3Petition of the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body for an Order under Section 46 of the Court of Session Act 1988 [2016] CSOH 113 – read the judgment here

The Court of Session recently ruled in favour of the eviction of the Indy Camp outside Edinburgh Parliament.

Background

Since November 2015, the foot of Arthur’s Seat has been home to a continuous encampment, known as Indy Camp, promising to remain stationed until a second referendum on Scottish independence is called.  In December 2015 the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body brought proceedings seeking the eviction of the camp, as it encroached on the property of the Parliament.

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Successful compensation appeal by rape victim

By Pritesh Rathod

RT v (1) The First-Tier Tribunal (Social Entitlement Chamber) and (2) Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority [2016] UKUT 0306 (AAC) – read judgment.

The Upper Tribunal has ruled that, in deciding whether or not an applicant has cooperated with the prosecution of her assailant where she made and later retracted an allegation of rape, it was necessary to see why that retraction was made and whether it was done truly voluntarily, rather than simply assessing whether she was responsible for the retraction.

Background facts

The Applicant (“RT”) was married to H and had four children with him between 2001 and 2008.  From 2004, she was subject to physical and mental abuse by H, culminating in three incidents of rape.  What followed was a somewhat protracted and complicated course of events relating to H’s prosecution.

Initially, H was arrested and charged with six counts of rape.  He was bailed subject to certain conditions.  While H was in custody, RT wrote to him saying that she missed him and wanted him back home.  Over Christmas 2009, H returned home and he and RT had “something of a reconciliation”, including having consensual sexual intercourse.

By January 2010, RT sought to withdraw the complaint (she had commenced divorce proceedings against him).  In February 2010, RT telephoned the police to ask what would happen if she had lied about the rapes.  Later that month, she retracted her allegations, saying that all of them were untrue.  H appeared at the Crown Court and was acquitted after the prosecution offered no evidence. Continue reading

Is it within the remit of the NHS to commission and pay for preventative HIV drugs?

National Aids Trust v National Health Service Commissioning Board (NHS England)  [2016] EWHC 2005 (Admin) (Local Government Association intervening)

Summary

In this case NHS England argued it lacked the power to commission (and be responsible for paying for) preventative HIV drugs. It said this was solely the responsibility of local authorities and, in so doing, disavowed any responsibility for preventative medicine.

The High Court rejected this. It undertook a purposive interpretation of the legislation and found that NHS England had broad and wide-ranging powers of commissioning, and could commission preventative HIV drugs. NHS England is appealing.

The interest in this case extends beyond Mr Justice Green’s interpretation of the particular provisions. The judge was ready to find that the provisions were to be interpreted purposively, and was then very ready to look to the overall objectives and duties of the NHS as expressed in other parts of the relevant legislation, and in the NHS Constitution and Mandate.

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CA orders release of court judgment on Ellie Butler’s death

benbutler2106aC (a child) [2016] EWCA Civ 798  read judgment

This is the most recent in the long series of legal steps touching on the violent career of Ben Butler, recently convicted of the murder of his daughter, Ellie. 

Butler was convicted for Grievous Bodily Harm, and then cleared on appeal. Care proceedings were commenced at the end of which Ellie was ordered to be returned to her parents by Hogg J in October 2012. A year later, on 28 October 2013, Ellie was found dead.

C, the subject of this appeal, is Ellie’s younger sister. In June 2014, Eleanor King J, in the family courts, found that Butler had caused Ellie’s death, Ellie’s mother (Jennie Gray) had failed to protect her from Butler, and C had been the victim of physical and emotional abuse. This judgment had been the subject of reporting restrictions.

Immediately after Butler’s conviction in June 2016, media organisations applied for the release of Eleanor King J’s judgment to Pauffley J in the family court. Pauffley J dismissed this application. Her decision was roundly reversed in this decision of the Court of Appeal.

The human rights clash is the familiar one of freedom of expression under Article 10 versus the right to a fair trial under Article 6 ECHR.

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The Environmental Law Foundation

elf_mainMany readers will know that I have banged on, long and hard, via this blog about the constant problem we have in the UK trying to ensure that the cost of planning and environmental litigation is not prohibitively expensive for ordinary people. The UK system has been held repeatedly to be in breach of Article 9 of the Aarhus Convention, which says that members of the public should be able to challenge environmental decisions, and the procedures for doing so shall be adequate and effective and “not prohibitively expensive”. For Aarhus beginners, have a look at my bluffers guide – here 

So I was delighted to be asked recently to chair the Environmental Law Foundation whose main role is to help out people, for free, with their planning and environmental problems. ELF is going to have its 25th birthday next year, and this short post is an unashamed plug for the job that it does – together with an invitation to contact it (see below) if you have a problem you think they may be able to help with, or if you want to volunteer to assist on someone else’s problem.

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Escaping “the jungle” must be done in an orderly manner

SSHD v ZAT (Syria) and ors (UNHCR and anor intervening) [2016] EWCA Civ 810

Court of Appeal decides, in the absence of an application under the Dublin III regulations, asylum seekers can only succeed on article 8 ECHR grounds in “exceptional circumstances”

Four asylum seekers, namely three unaccompanied minors and one disabled adult, were in “the jungle” – the (increasingly permanent) temporary refugee and migrant camp in Calais – since October 2015. Having fled from war-torn Syria, they were trying to join their siblings in the UK. The problem was that the French system for processing asylum claims under EU rules would involve considerable delays and the evidence showed that the conditions in the camp were wholly inadequate: these children experienced physical violence and their medical needs were unmet. So they ignored the EU rules and issued a claim in the UK.

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