human rights news


Leveson Lands, Cameras in Court and Secret Courts – The Human Rights Roundup

3 December 2012 by

Leveson inquiryWelcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your weekly smorgasbord 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.

A bumper edition this week, mostly thanks to Lord Justice Leveson and his long-awaited report, released this week to a tumult of online commentary. In overshadowed, but potentially no less significant news, the House of Lords approved amendments to the “secret courts” Justice and Security Bill; the Joint Committee on Human Rights reported on the Crime and Courts Bill, and we have another round of arguments for and against the UK’s continuing association with the European Court of Human Rights.


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Stalking, Judicial Review threatened and Prisoner Voting (Again) – The Human Rights Roundup

25 November 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.

The government was on the defensive this week on a number of fronts.  It suffered significant defeats in the House of Lords over its proposals for secret civil trials under the Justice and Security Bill.  Prime Minister David Cameron has also received a barrage of criticism over his calls for tightening the criteria for judicial review applications.  Meanwhile, the prisoner voting saga continues, with Justice Secretary Chris Grayling (on the eve of the deadline) giving Parliament (or, more accurately, a Parliamentary committee) three options on the issue. Meanwhile, a new criminal offence of stalking has been introduced.

by Daniel Isenberg


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Abu Qatada, Facebook at work and prisoner votes – The Human Rights Roundup

19 November 2012 by

This is the first post by the blog’s new rounder-uppper Daniel Isenberg, who joins Sam Murrant. Welcome, Daniel! 

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.

This week’s human rights news was dominated by the man who has become the Home Secretary’s bête noire, Abu Qatada.  Elsewhere the UK’s relationship with the Strasbourg Court was addressed by Jack Straw and the Court’s recently-retired President, whilst the Court, itself, criticised the UK’s policy on criminal records data retention.  Meanwhile, in speeches two Court of Appeal judges have made expressed views on human rights and the principle of proportionality.


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BNP bus driver, legal aid bills and Abu Qatada – The Human Rights Roundup

11 November 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.

The Rahmatullah Supreme Court judgment remained in the spotlight this week, but had to share it with old faces such as Abu Hamza (whose case has managed to keep outraging the public despite his extradition to the US), the loudly ticking clock of prisoner voting and the attendant debate over whether the UK should replace the Human Rights Act with a “British” human rights statute. Meanwhile, the ruling on whether Abu Qatada can be deported to Jordan is coming tomorrow (Monday).


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Habeas corpus, trolling and secret court conspiracy theories – The Human Rights Roundup

5 November 2012 by

A troll

This is Wessen Jazrawi’s final roundup on the UK Human Rights Blog as she is moving onto pastures new. Thanks to Wessen for her fantastic series of fortnightly roundups – Adam and the UKHRB team.

Welcome back to the UK Human Rights Roundup, your weekly smörgåsbord 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.

The most significant news of the week has been the decision by the Supreme Court in the case of Yunus Rahmatullah which we consider below. In other news, time is fast running out for the UK government to act on prisoner voting and the European Court displayed the limits of its intervention on domestic violence. Also in today’s roundup is the inaugural list of upcoming UK human rights events – if you would like to add an event to the next roundup, please email.


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When human rights hit the private law of damages for death

24 July 2012 by

Swift v. Secretary of State for Justice [2012] EWHC 2000 (QB) Eady J, read judgment

This decision involves the intersection of Articles 8 (family) and 14 (discrimination) of the ECHR with the law governing who can recover damages for the death of a relative. This law is the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 (for the text see [10] of the judgment – embarrassingly, the one freely available on the internet is out of date). One does not to think for very long before realising that the FAA is underpinned by an idea that one ought to respect the rights of the family, and to pay the family when one has negligently caused the death of a family member. But like all such laws, there is the problem of where to stop – where does the family stop for these purposes?

Ms Swift had been living with Mr Winters for 6 months when he was killed at work. She was pregnant with their child. Under FAA rules, her child had a claim for financial dependency against his father’s employer – what he expected to derive from his father had his father lived – even though he was not born at the date of his father’s death. Indeed, her son recovered £105,000. But, says the FAA, Ms Swift does not have a claim. s.1(3) requires an unmarried partner to have been living with the deceased for 2 years before his death before they can become a “dependant”, and no amount of re-writing via  s.3 of the Human Rights Act  (to make the FAA  rights-compliant “so far as possible”) can make “2 years” read as “6 months” . Had she qualified as a dependant, she would have had a claim for about £400,000.

So Ms Swift’s claim was against the Secretary of State for a declaration that the FAA was incompatible with her Article 8 and 14 rights.

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Will neuroscience revolutionise the law?

13 December 2011 by

You don’t need to be a brain scientist to see that lawyers would benefit from a more sophisticated understanding of the human brain. Neuroscientists seek to determine how brain function affects human behaviour, and the system of law  regulates how those humans interact with each other. According to a new Royal Society report, lawyers and neuroscientists should work together more.

The report, Neuroscience and the law, argues that neuroscience has a lot to offer the law, for example:

might neuroscience fundamentally change concepts of legal responsibility? Or could aspects of a convicted person’s brain help to determine whether they are at an increased risk of reoffending? Will it ever be possible to use brain scans to ‘read minds’, for instance with the aim of determining whether they are telling the truth, or whether their memories are false?

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