February 13, 2012 Off

Latest human rights developments in the UK: 6/2/2012 – 12/2/2012

By Justin Glenister in Weekly human rights updates

Mon 6/2/2012

Abortion: House of Lords
The UK does not consider that there is any general right to an abortion under international humanitarian law or international human rights law.
Baroness Northover, Government Whip, Lib Dem
Full transcript

Deportation: Judiciary
In Gurung v Sec of St for the Home Department, the Court of Appeal has articulated the principles to be applied when considering whether automatic deportation of a foreign criminal was ‘proportionate’ for the purposes of Article 8.
Judgment | UKHRB | Guardian

Tues 7/2/2012

European Court of Human Rights: House of Commons
A short discussion was held on the Court’s reform. Topics covered the steps being taken to promote reform, possible solutions to the current case backlog and the need to retain its autonomy.
Dominic Grieve, Attorney-General, Conservative (responding)
Full transcript

Extradition: House of Commons
The Home Secretary is currently considering the recommendations of the independent review panel. She will discuss the Government’s proposed response with Cabinet colleagues before announcing to Parliament the next steps to be taken.
Dominic Grieve, Attorney General, Conservative
Full transcript

Deportation: House of Commons
A detailed discussion was held on the situation of Abu Qatada following the ECtHR’s decision that the UK may not deport him and the subsequent granting of bail by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
Theresa May, Home Secretary, Conservative (responding)
Full transcript | BBC

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill: House of Lords
Line by line examination of the Bill took place during the eighth day of committee stage.
Full transcript

Deportation: House of Lords
A detailed discussion was held on the situation of Abu Qatada following the ECtHR’s decision that the UK may not deport him and the subsequent granting of bail by the Special Immigration Appeals Commission.
Lord Henley, Min of St for Crime Prevention and ASB Reduction, Conservative (responding)
Full transcript

Export Control: House of Lords
The Government will consider the ‘respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination’ and will not issue a license where there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression.
Baroness Wilcox, Under-Sec of St for Business, Innovation and Skills, Conservative
Full transcript

Indefinite Detention: Judiciary
In Othman v Sec of St for the Home Department, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that in light of the recent Strasbourg ruling Abu Qatada could not be returned to Jordon, his detention could not continue.
Judgment | BBC | UKHRB

Control Orders: Judiciary
In AT v Sec of St for the Home Department, the Court of Appeal has upheld a challenge to a control order on the basis that the person subject to the order had not been given sufficient information about the case against him.
Judgment | UKHRB

Supreme Court: Media
The UK Supreme Court has started tweeting, making international news and setting the international standard for open justice.
@UKSupremeCourt | UKHRB

Contempt of Court: Media
The Government has decided not to take legal action against footballer Joey Barton who said last week that he would ‘be a martyr’ over contempt and publish his views on John Terry’s alleged racism.
BBC

Phone Hacking: Media
The Metropolitan Police failed to warn people they were the victims of phone hacking by the News of the World, a judicial review has ruled.
BBC

Deportation: Media
Attorney General Dominic Grieve voiced concern over Abu Qatada’s release on bail but said people cannot be held without trial indefinitely.
Guardian

Wed 8/2/2012

Deportation: House of Commons
The Government are doing everything they can to get Abu Qatada deported. The key thing is to get an agreement with Jordan and then he can be on his way because the ECtHR has made a very clear judgment, one which I think is wrong and regret.
David Cameron, Prime Minister, Conservative
Full transcript | BBC

Blasphemy (NI): House of Lords
Policy relating to the law on blasphemy in Northern Ireland is a matter for the Department of Justice., who have been notified of the UNHRC recommendations on freedom of opinion and expression and the obligations imposed by the ICCPR and ECHR.
Lord Shutt of Greetland, Deputy Chief Whip, Lib Dem
Full transcript

Contempt of Court: Judiciary
In Seckerson and Times Newspapers v UK, the ECtHR has rejected as ‘inadmissable’ Times Newspaper’s challenge to its 2009 conviction for contempt of court.
Judgment | UKHRB

Jurisdiction: Judiciary
In Ravat v Halliburton Manufacturing and Services, the Supreme Court ruled an industrial tribunal does have the jurisdiction to consider a case of unfair dismissal of an employee who worked some of the time in Libya, job-sharing with another employee. The company itself was a UK subsidiary of a US corporation.
Judgment | UKHRB

Mental Health / Right to Life: Judiciary
In Rabone and another v Pennine Care, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a mental health hospital had an ‘operational’ obligation under Article 2 to protect a voluntary patient from suicide.
Judgment | BBC | Guardian | UKHRB

Bail Conditions (Scot): Judiciary
In Cameron v Procurator Fiscal, the Jusiticiary Appeal Court  ruled Holyrood legislation which took away certain decisions over criminal bail conditions from judges and gave it to police is ‘not law’.
Judgment | BBC | UKHRB

Export Control: Media
Sec of St for Business Vince Cable has admitted to a crossparty group of senior MPs, ‘We do trade with governments that are not democratic and have bad human rights records… We do business with repressive governments and there’s no denying that’.
Guardian

Thurs 9/2/2012

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill: House of Lords
Line by line examination of the Bill took place during the ninth day of committee stage. Committee stage continues on 15 February when more amendments will be discussed.
Full transcript

Extradition: House of Lords
The Extradition Act 2003 provides for a person’s human rights to be considered by a court. If extradition would breach the person’s human rights, a District Judge must order the person’s discharge. This decision is subject to appeal to the High Court.
Lord Henley, Min of St for Crime Prevention and ASB Reduction, Conservative
Full transcript

Air travel: Judiciary
In Stott v Thomas Cook and British Airways in the Court of Appeal, it was demonstrated that in spite of fierce consumerist legislation, air passengers have no cause of action for damages if their feelings are injured in the course of boarding.
Judgment | UKHRB

Supervision Orders: Media
A solicitor has failed in his bid to win a court battle to challenge a supervision order imposed on a convicted rapist. Tony Kelly argued that the terms of the order imposed on Robert Greens contravened his client’s human rights.
BBC

Deportation: Media
David Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordon have agreed to work on finding a ‘solution’ to the Abu Qatada case.
BBC | Guardian

Fri 10/2/2012

Religion: Judiciary
In R (on the app of the National Secular Society and Clive Bone) v Bideford Town Council, the High Court ruled the Devonshire Council had overreached their powers by insisting on the practice of prayers as part of their formal meetings.
Judgment | UKHRB

Deportation: Media
Director of Liberty Shami Chakrabarti cited Winston Churchill as she put the case against deporting Abu Qatada to Jordon where he is wanted to face trial. This was followed by a debate where she argued with former Home Secretary Alan Johnson.
BBC

Religion: Media
The High Court ruling that councils have no statutory rights to hold prayers at meetings has been strongly criticised by the Sec of St for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles.
Guardian

Unpaid Labour: Media
Unions have called on Britain’s biggest high street chains to withdraw from government programmes that make the unemployed work for up to six months unpaid or face losing their benefits.
Guardian

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