Faulkner, R (on the application of ) v Secretary of State for Justice and another  UKSC 23 – read judgment
The Supreme Court has taken a fresh look at what is meant by the Human Rights Act exhortation to take Strasbourg jurisprudence “into account” when fashioning remedies for violations of Convention rights, in this case the right not to be arbitrarily detained under Article 5.
These appeals concerned the circumstances in which a prisoner serving a life sentence or an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection (“IPP”), who has served the minimum period specified for the purposes of retribution and deterrence (the “tariff”), and whose further detention is justified only if it is necessary for the protection of the public, should be awarded damages for delay in reviewing the need for further detention following the expiry of the tariff.
Appellate courts do not ordinarily interfere with an award of damages simply because they would have awarded a different figure if they had tried the case. However, as the Supreme Court was being asked in this case to give guidance on quantum, the Court determined the level of the award that would adequately compensate the appellants. Continue reading
Liberty, the human rights advocacy organisation, is currently recruiting for trainees, pupils, solicitors and barristers to volunteer on its evening Advice Line.
The Advice Line runs on Mondays and Thursday 6:30pm – 8:30pm and gives advice to members of the public on human rights and civil liberties (members of the public can call on 0845 123 2307 or 020 3145 0461).
For further information contact Laura Milne (LauraM@liberty-human-rights.org.uk). I volunteered at the Advice Line for a year during my pupillage (training) and it was a great experience. It is a perfect way to learn more about human rights law, meet lawyers of all levels of seniority and help people with interesting problems for whom Liberty is usually the last resort. You will also get to see Liberty’s flash new offices!
Stellato v Ministry of Justice  EWCA Civ 1435 – Read judgment
The court of appeal has ruled that when a court set a deadline for a prisoner’s release, that deadline could was not lawfully extended simply because a court needed time to hear an appeal against the decision to release him.
In other words, prisoners must be released on time unless a court explicitly rules otherwise. Absent such a ruling, any additional time spent in custody waiting for a hearing will be unlawful detention and could trigger damages.
The new government is currently undertaking a review of anti-terrorism legislation, and Liberty, the human rights organisation, have been asked to contribute.
Update: The full Liberty response, ‘From War to Law’ can be downloaded here.
The response is predictable, which is unsurprising given how much time and effort the organisation has put into speaking out against New Labour’s more controversial anti-terror policies. Control orders, 28 day detention without charge, the use of wide stop and search powers (currently suspended anyway) and surveillance powers are all mentioned.
More interesting are the organisation’s comments on proposals to ban non-violent groups promoting hatred. This would, say Liberty, be a step too far and would risk “including innumerable organisations, potentially including political and religious bodies.”