The Mayor Commonality and Citizens of London – v – Samede, Barda, Ashman, Randle-Jolliffe, Moore and Persons Unknown  EWCA Civ 160 – Read judgment
Members of the Occupy London Movement who have been occupying an area close to St Paul’s Cathedral have had their applications for permission to appeal the decision of the lower court to evict them refused by the Court of Appeal. The judgment of Mr Justice Lindbolm was deemed ‘very full and careful’by the Master of the Rolls. Shortly after midnight yesterday police began evicting occupants at the site.
In January we reported on the High Court battle between the City of London and the Occupy London Movement who had been occupying an area close to St Paul’s Cathedral. Mr Justice Lindbolm’s well-reasoned decision to grant possession, interlocutory and declaratory relief to the Mayor Commonality and Citizens of London meant that the Occupy Movement were to be evicted.
This is a rare example of an interview with a serving judge. It was conducted on 11 April 2011 – before heat was turned up in the “Superinjunction Spring”. Despite the worst efforts of the “Sunday Times” – of which more in a moment – the interview contains few surprises for those who have taken the trouble to read Mr Justice Eady’s judgments (and lectures) on the subject of privacy.
Legal Services Commission v Humberstone, R.( On the application of)  EWCA Civ 1479 (21 December 2010) – Read judgment
The high court was right to quash the decision of the Legal Services Commission not to recommend public funding for a mother to be represented at the inquest into the death of her 10-year-old son. However, the court of appeal has ruled that the judge’s conclusions on when the state was obliged to conduct an expanded inquest into a death were confused.
The court of appeal has upheld the decision of Mr Justice Hickinbottom in the high court, although Lady Justice Smith came to her decision by a different route and criticised his reasoning. The case is important as it lays down guidelines for when legal representation for relatives of the dead should be funded at inquests, an often controversial issue, and how this fits with the state’s duties to investigate deaths under the European Convention on Human Rights. These duties have, partly as a result of Mr Justice Hickinbottom in this case, fallen into confusion, and the court of appeal has given a welcome clarification.
Tackling the problem of delay seems to be the heart of the Family Justice Review’s proposals, evidenced by this piece, written by David Norgrove, who chaired the Family Justice Review, about the need to tackle the problem of delay in the family justice system when it comes to child protection cases. Norgrove says such delays are damaging to children and suggests, amongst other things, that children’s welfare should not be trumped by parents’ rights in these circumstances.
Transport for London (TfL) v Griffin & Ors  EWHC 1105 (QB) – Read Judgment
Transport for London (TfL) have succeeded in their High Court application for an injunction restraining Addison Lee Taxis from encouraging drivers to use London bus lanes. Mr Justice Eder ruled that the injunction would not breach Addison Lee Chairman John Griffin’s free expression rights.
This case is about traffic regulation orders (TROs) made by TfL dealing with the use of designated bus lanes. TfL’s policy is that private hire vehicles (PHVs – or mini-cabs in ordinary parlance) can only enter bus lanes to pick up or set down whereas taxis can use them as a through-route. The adopted definition of “taxi” means only Hackney Carriages qualify (reg. 4 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions). Failure to comply with, or acting in contravention of, TROs is an offence under s8(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
There is a lot in the bill. In terms of its long term effect on the justice system, the most important parts relate to legal aid and litigation funding; that is, the options available to claimants to fund their cases – for example, no-win-no-fee arrangements or government funding. The reforms have been long-heralded, and the government has now responded to its consultations on both (see here for legal aid and here for litigation funding).
Though strategic litigation and test cases make essential contributions to the rule of law, there’s concern that they’re being abused. And, as funding comes under attack, there’s a greater need than ever for pro bono lawyers to take on test cases to ensure access to justice and accountability.
Following the fall of communism, the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) identified a significant problem with the educational segregation of Roma children in parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Roma children were ending up in what were termed ‘special schools’, supposedly set up for children with intellectual disabilities, and thus segregated from mainstream schooling. In 1998, the ERRC decided to investigate.
To try and bring about reform, it became apparent that the ERRC needed to identify a test case to put before the courts. In order to find the right applicant it interviewed hundreds of Roma families in the region and found 18 Roma children in the Czech Republic to be the test case. The legal angle the ERRC adopted was indirect discrimination: entry tests to mainstream schools were set for all children but they were biased against Roma children because they focused on Czech customs and language. The Roma children often failed and so were subsequently put in the special schools. The centre found that Roma children were twenty-seven times more likely than non-Roma children to be sent to a special school. Continue reading →
In a complicated but very important decision, the High Court has ruled as a preliminary issue that the procedural protections under Article 6 which require a person to be given sufficient information about the allegations against them so they can give effective instructions to their lawyers will apply to a challenge to conditions imposed by order on a man suspected to have affiliations to Al-Qaeda.
This ‘extended look’ will explain the background to the issues in play and the way that a powerful ‘cocktail’ of rights under Articles 6 and 8 ECHR operates to try to ensure that a balance is struck between the rights of the individual and the collective interest in security.
Temporary Exclusion Orders
The claimant, QX, is a British national. He is married with three children who are all of toddler age. In October 2018, he and his wife were arrested in Istanbul.
On 26 November 2018 the Secretary of State successfully applied to the court for permission to impose a Temporary Exclusion Order (TEO) on QX for two years on grounds of national security. This was granted by the court and on 9 January 2019 QX was returned from Istanbul to the UK under the terms of the TEO.
A TEO is an order which may be imposed under the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (“the 2015 Act”) in order to temporarily disrupt the return and activities of a citizen suspected of being involved in terrorist-related activity abroad to manage the risk that they may pose to the public. It is an offence triable in either the Magistrates’ or the Crown Court with a maximum sentence of 5 years if a person does not comply with TEO conditions without reasonable excuse.
Special Immigration Appeals Commissionand Secretary of State for the Home Department v R (Begum)  UKSC 7
Since 2019 when Shamima Begum was found in a camp in north Syria, her hopes of returning to the UK have ebbed and flowed (see here and here). Stripped of her British citizenship, she brought three sets of legal proceedings. Last week, after a ruling by the Supreme Court, her hopes receded once more. The Home Secretary was entitled to refuse her entry to the UK to pursue her appeal against the loss of citizenship, the Court ruled. So, Ms Begum’s appeal has been stayed, pending some change in her circumstances which will enable her to participate in a hearing – albeit from outside the UK.
The importance of the Judgment goes well beyond Ms Begum’s own circumstances.
It underlines an important constitutional principle about the separation of powers, at a time when the Government is carefully scrutinising such matters: the executive, not the judiciary, is the primary decision-maker when assessing risks to national security.
In failing to acknowledge this, said the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal erred when it ruled last summer that fairness required Ms Begum be permitted into the UK to pursue her citizenship appeal, notwithstanding the national security concerns.
Al Rawi & Ors v the Security Service & Ors  EWHC 1496 (QB) (21 June 2010) – Read judgment
The Government has received another in an increasingly long line of blows in the Al Rawi & Others foreign torture case, with Mr Justice Silber ordering a closed hearing to see whether two key security service documents are to be disclosed to the claimants. If the Government chooses not to claim public interest immunity, which is unlikely, the documents will be disclosed immediately.
The compensation claim involves six claimants who were detained at various locations, including Guantanamo Bay and Bagram in Afghanistan, alleging various forms of mistreatment. They claim to have been subjected to false imprisonment, trespass to the person, conspiracy to injure, torture, breach of contract, negligence, misfeasance in public office and breaches of their rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.
The Government has recently ordered a public inquiry into the security services’ alleged complicity in torture, but this is not likely to start until after the Al Rawi claims are resolved.
There is a long history of crossover between lawyers and politicians; more members of parliament come from the law than almost any other profession. But the relationship – never totally tranquil – has become more strained in recent years.
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.
by Wessen Jazrawi
In the news
A bumper edition this week. The European Court of Human Rights elected a new president and the Government finally apologised for the Hillsborough disaster. Its report on Hillsborough was published this week and provides illuminating reading. In other news, the DPP has published guidelines on the approach prosecutors should take when assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media and the UKBA has published guidance for caseworkers following the Alvi judgment. Finally, questions are asked about Chris Grayling’s qualifications for his new role of Lord Chancellor.
Human Rights Tour
First, the British Institute of Human Rights is bringing the 2012 Human Rights Tour to a city near you soon: see here for further detail on the programme, dates and venues.
Welcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your regular booster shot 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
Survey on LASPO impact
ilegal founders Patrick Torsney and Colin Henderson have launched a survey in collaboration with Centre for Human Rights in Practice researchers at the University of Warwick, focused on discerning the impact of LASPO legal aid cuts to professionals working in relevant sectors and their clients. Participation has been encouraged by both the Legal Voice and Pink Tape blogs, and the survey itself may be found here.
AHK and Others v The Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 1117 (Admin) – Read judgment
Secrecy and secret justice are rarely out of the public eye. The Queen’s speech included plans to allow secret hearings in civil claims, at a time when their use is highly controversial. The government argues they are necessary to safeguard national security. Civil liberties groups and even the Special Advocates who help administer them, regard them as a bar to real justice and fair hearings.
So it seems appropriate at this time that the High Court has handed down an important decision on the use of Closed Material Procedures (CMP) in Judicial Review claims relating to naturalisation (the process by which foreigners can be ‘naturalised’ as British citizens). In simple terms, this is a variety of procedure where the government can rely on evidence which it has not disclosed to the opposing party, in a closed hearing. In the closed proceedings, the Claimants are represented by Special Advocates, who are subject to strict rules relating to what they can and cannot tell their clients.
His speech was an unusual one, given that judges generally refrain from commenting on the important issues of the moment. Lord Judge was supportive of Lord Justice Leveson and of the Press Complaints Commission, both targets of criticism in the context of the inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press and the Leveson inquiry.
This blog is maintained for information purposes only. It is not intended to be a source of legal advice and must not be relied upon as such. Blog posts reflect the views and opinions of their individual authors, not of chambers as a whole.