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Human rights for kids

1 January 2014 by

to-kill-a-mockingbird-first-edition1UKHRB editor Adam Wagner asked Twitter for suggestions of human rights kids for books… and Twitter responded! Here are some of those responses, compiled by Thomas Horton.

‘Whether Maycomb knows it or not, we’re paying the highest tribute we can pay a man. We trust him to do right. It’s that simple.’ (Harper Lee, Nelle ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, Ch. 24)

Whether Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ (as recommended by @Kirsty_Brimelow) will impact a child so much that they want to become a human rights lawyer is not a given. Yet there are plenty of classic novels and human rights-centered literature aimed at a younger audience which give children the opportunity to learn human rights principles. The legal twittersphere responded in their droves to suggestions of such literature, and below are just a selection of what is available:

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Reforms, flooding, and deckchairs – The Human Rights Roundup

2 April 2012 by

Welcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your weekly bulletin of human rights news. The full list of links can be found here. You can also find our table of human rights cases here and previous roundups here.

In the news

This week we have further developments in freedom of information (both in terms of the right to free speech and the right to receive information under Article 10 of the Convention) and on the reform of courts, both at home and in Strasbourg. Also making news this week: the new Terrorist Prevention and Investigation Measures and flooding in Vladivostock.

Freedom of speech and freedom of information

This week, judgment was given in the case of Cairns v. Modi, in which Chris Cairns, former New Zealand cricketer, successfully won £90,000 in damages from Modi, the former Chairman of the Indian Premier League, who published a defamatory statement about Cairns on Twitter. Inforrm’s blog provides a case summary with a bit more detail, for those interested. Rosalind English commented on this case, and on libel cases in the context of instantaneous Internet publishing more generally, for the UK Human Rights blog on Wednesday, in which she likens the current judicial attitude to rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic.
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Joint tenancy rule has nothing to do with Convention rights

25 January 2013 by

first-home-buyersMichael Sims v Dacorum Borough Council [2013] EWCA Civ 12 – read judgment

This was a property dispute which broke out on the marriage breakdown of two joint tenants of council property.  The wife who sought termination of the periodic secure joint tenancy by unilateral notice. The husband, as the other joint tenant still living in the property, maintained that he was entitled remain there as a sole tenant.

In fact, the point had already been settled in the case of Hammersmith and Fulham LBC v. Monk [1992] AC 478 which established that at common law, a periodic joint residential tenancy is terminated automatically, if one joint tenant, without the concurrence of the other joint tenant, or tenants serves a notice to quit on the landlord.
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Who’s the master now?

8 April 2011 by

The Master of the Rolls Lord Neuberger is either the busiest judge in England or relies heavily upon his assistant John Sorabji for his consistently thoughtful and excellent speeches. Either way, he has given another fascinating speech. Who are the masters now?

The question posed in the title is paraphrased from one asked in Parliament in 1946, which itself paraphrased Humpty Dumpty (see para 3). Neuberger used the second annual Lord Alexander of Weedon lecture (Lord Philips gave the first) to speak about the topical but, as I have posted, slippery issue of Parliamentary sovereignty. So, who is the master: the unelected judge or the elected politician?

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Times can use leaked Police documents in libel defence

25 October 2011 by

Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis & Anor v Times Newspapers Ltd & Anor [2011] EWHC 2705 (QB) (24 October 2011) – Read judgment.

Mr Justice Tugendhat has held that, with restrictions, The Times Newspapers Ltd (TNL)  should be allowed to use information from leaked documents in its defence to a libel claim brought by the Metropolitan Police Service and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). However, proportionality limited the reach of this judgment to the next stage in the libel claim, after which reassessment may be necessary.

It was held that restrictions in the order made did not interfere with TNL’s right to a fair trial in the libel case nor offend its right to freedom of expression. Decisions on specific documents was dealt with in a closed judgment because of the sensitivity of the subject matter.


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Smells and mosquitoes but no extra damages under the Human Rights Act

2 January 2012 by

Dobson and others v Thames Water Utilities Ltd [2011] EWHC 3253 – read judgment

David Hart QC acted for the defendants in this case. He has played no part in the writing of this post.

An operator carrying out activities authorised by legislation is immune from common law nuisance liability unless the claimant can prove negligence. Any damages for such a nuisance will constitute “sufficient just satisfaction” for the purpose of the Human Rights Act; even if breach of a Convention right is proved, no further remedy will be available.

Background

It has been a long established canon of common law that no action will lie in nuisance against a body whose operation interferes in one way or another with neighbouring land, where Parliament has authorised the construction and use of an undertaking or works, and there is a statutory scheme in existence which is inconsistent with such liability.

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European Convention on Human Rights applied in Basrah, UK failed duties to Iraqi civilians

7 July 2011 by

Al-Skeini v. United Kingdom, European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber (Application no. 55721/07) – Read judgment / press release

Al-Jedda v. the UK (Application No. 27021/08)- Read judgment / press release

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that from 1 May 2003 to 28 June 2004 the UK had jurisdiction under Article 1 (obligation to respect human rights) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of civilians killed during security operations carried out by UK soldiers in Basrah.

The court went on to find in Al-Skeini that there had been a failure to conduct an independent and effective investigation into the deaths of the relatives of five of the six applicants, in violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the Convention. The court awarded 17,000 euros to five of the six applicants, in addition to 50,000 euros in costs jointly.

In Al-Jedda, the court found a violation of Article 5 (1) (right to liberty and security) of the European Convention in relation to the internment of an Iraqi for more than three years (2004- 2007) in a detention centre in Basrah.

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UK Human Rights Blog reaches half a million hits

14 July 2011 by

According to our statometer, the UK Human Rights Blog by 1 Crown Office Row chambers has just surpassed 500,000 hits. 

This is a bit of a landmark for a site which launched at the end of March 2010. We had hoped that the blog would be useful for lawyers and the general public, and that it would in part compensate for some of the mischievous and misrepresentative reporting of human rights law. But we never expected it to take off in the way that it has.

It is a happy coincidence that we have reached this landmark in a week which has seen the two most important courts for UK human rights – the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights – both releasing pairs of landmark judgments in Al Rawi / Tariqon the use of secret evidence in civil proceedings, and Al-Skeini / Al-Jedda, on where in the world the European Convention applies.

We now have 1,558 subscribers by email (you too can subscribe for free), 1,065 on Facebook, and 2,991 via my account on Twitter. We also have recently updated our introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights and introduced a human rights case table. As always, your comments are gratefully received.

This is our 853rd post. In the tradition of such posts, here are our top 20 all time greatest hits:

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