RightsInfo is recruiting a Chief Executive


I am delighted to share that RightsInfo, the UK Human Rights Blog’s sister site, is recruiting a Chief Executive.

RightsInfo’s build support for human rights in the UK by producing engaging, accessible and beautifully presented online human rights content. In just a year and a half, we have built a new digital media space for human rights, featuring award-winning infographics, video, animation and news content. Now we are recruiting a Chief Executive to drive the project to the next level.

Here are the headlines:

  • Hours: Full time
  • Location: Central London
  • Salary: £50k-£60k per year dependent on experience
  • Closing date for applications: Friday 4 November 2016, 5pm

Full details, including how to apply, are here

A new animation about the birth of the European Convention on Human Rights

Almost six years ago, not long after this blog started, we published a lovely post by Tom Blackmore, the grandson of David Maxwell Fyfe. Maxwell Fyfe was a Conservative lawyer and politician who went from being the British Deputy Chief Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes trials to being instrumental in drafting the European Convention on Human Rights.

Since then, I have been trying to find an opportunity to bring this fascinating story to life. So I am delighted to share this short film which RightsInfo, along with the Met Film School, have just released to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Nuremberg Trials. Please share widely and enjoy! If you are looking for a subtitled version, click here.


  • Read more about David Maxwell Fyfe here
  • Read Tom Blackmore’s original post here

Duplication in inquests

The Divisional Court in R(Secretary of State) v Her Majesty’s Chief Coroner for Norfolk (British Airline Pilots intervening) – read judgment here – made some potentially noteworthy comments regarding the coronial role and the need to avoid duplicating previous investigations.

The case was largely about whether a Coroner could order disclosure of the transcript and/or recording from a cockpit flight recorder by virtue of her powers under the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. HM Senior Coroner for Norfolk was investigating the deaths of four men in a helicopter crash that had previously been investigated by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (the AAIB).

Continue reading

Developments in the oversight of British Troops abroad – the Roundup



In the news

The oversight of the conduct of British soldiers in Iraq has been subject of two recent developments. The first is political, as Prime Minister Theresa May has renewed criticism of investigations into allegations of criminal behaviour of British troops. The second is legal, with the Court of Appeal offering clarification as to the role of the ECHR in conflicts abroad. However, comments by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon have since thrown into doubt the future role of the ECHR in conflicts abroad.

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I have a right not to know Elena Ferrante’s real name* – George Szirtes


I have so many rights I am thinking of flogging some off on eBay. Though I have the right not to do so.

Stop telling me whatever it is you may be telling me. I have a right to tell you not to tell me.

I have the right and you have the right. What we have rights to may be different but let’s pool our rights and make one big right.

My right to have rights is being threatened by people who claim they have the right to other rights. Other people are bastards.

My rights are constantly threatened by people claiming to have rights. They have no right to such rights.

I have the right to stamp my foot. If I am not granted the right to stamp my foot I will stamp my foot. That is my right / my foot.

Everyone has the right to have rights. They are right to have rights. It is right to have rights. It is right to be everyone.


*Article in Guardian to this effect. ‘Stop telling X what to do’ is a favourite Guardian meme to be fully explored another time.

Poem posted with permission of the author. George Szirtes is a British poet and translator from the Hungarian language into English

Concrete Walls and Bureaucratic Barriers to Access to Justice for Migrants


calais-421331Work recently began on a wall in Calais, funded by the UK government, to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from crossing the Channel to Britain. Nearly simultaneously, the government announced that it would increase immigration tribunal fees by over 500%, erecting a different type of barrier—to access to justice. It was claimed that doing so would bring in an estimated £34 million in income annually and preserve the functioning of the tribunals.

The decision to increase fees was made despite the fact that responses to a public consultation conducted by the government overwhelmingly disagreed with the proposals. The suggestion to increase fees in the First-tier Tribunal (the first port of call when a person wants to challenge an immigration or asylum decision by the state) was opposed by 142 of 147 respondents. Introducing fees in the Upper Tribunal (where appeals against decisions in the First-tier Tribunal are heard) was opposed by 106 of 116 respondents, and the introduction of fees for applications for permission to appeal in both Tribunals was opposed by 111 of 119 respondents. In partial concession to critics of the proposal, the government has said it will introduce fee waiver and exemption schemes in certain cases. However, these plans are as yet unspecified and are likely to increase the bureaucratic burden on migrants. Continue reading

“British Troops to be Exempted from Human Rights Law”

british-army-troops-iraq..is the headline of the leading article in The Times today.

Theresa May vows to end ‘vexatious claims’ against service personnel. In the UK about £100 million has been spent since 2004 dealing with thousands of cases lodged against soldiers who served in Iraq. Many were launched under ECHR laws on rights to life and liberty.

Apparently the Prime Minister will announce today that under proposals she has put forward, Britain plans to opt out of international human rights law when it goes to war. British troops will be free to take “difficult decisions” on the battlefield without fear of legal action when they come home. This move follows an outcry over investigations into thousands of claims against soldiers by a government body examining alleged human rights abuses in Iraq. Mrs May said that the plan would

put an end to the industry of vexatious claims that has pursued those who served in previous conflicts.

Britain will put in place temporary derogations against parts of the Convention before planned military actions.

Since the Convention has been extended to cover actions by soldiers outside the jurisdiction of the UK and other signatory states, many senior officers have warned that operations will be undermined by soldiers wary of taking risks. Continue reading