Friday 27 February 2015

Human Rights - 11 real-life examples

Adam Wagner, of UK Human Rights Blog fame, has a new project: the Human Rights Information Project. The aim of the project is to ‘change the face of human rights’ and counteract poor public understanding of human rights. 
Adam has asked people to nominate upto fifty human rights cases by 5pm today.  The criteria are that the case must be a domestic or European human rights case, and it must have had a ‘profound impact on people in the UK’ or have the potential to do so.

Here's the eleven I submitted:

1. Regina v Brown and others [1992] UKHL 7 (11 March 1993)
An imperfect case in many ways but the first which made me seriously consider the dividing line between the rights of the state and the rights of the individual with respect to an individual's own body. A group of homosexual sadomasochists met in private for what they considered to be fun but the courts considered malicious wounding.
R v Brown was concerned with the individual's wish to abuse his own body. This case concerns the state's wish to abuse his body. A 15 year old on the Isle of Man was sentenced to three strokes of the birch, a punishment which the ECHR ruled amounted to degrading punishment within the meaning of Article 3

After 9/11 the government took power to detain indefinitely on reasonable suspicion without charge or trial “ suspected international terrorists”. The House of Lords ruled that the state had effectively ordered arbitrary detention without trial and did so on a discriminatory basis contrary to ECHR Articles 5 & 14.

4. Young, James and Webster v. The United Kingdom (7601/76) (13 August 1981)  
The ECHR found breach of Article 11 (right to [not] join trade unions) with respect to closed shop agreement at British Rail upholding the rights of the individual over the majority.

The ECHR found breaches of Articles 6 (fair hearing) and 8 (respect for family life) in respect of a child removed from its mother at birth and giv en up for permanent adoption.

The ECHR found breaches of Articles 3 (inhuman or degrading treatment) and 13 (effective remedy) in respect of social services failure to protect children from neglect amounting to inhuman treatment.

7. Mcshane v. The United Kingdom (43290/98) (28 August 2002)
The ECHR found breaches of Articles 2 (right to life) and 34 (interference in due process) in respect of the death of a civilian caused by negligent or intentional action of a soldier in Londonderry.

The Supreme Court ruled deprivation of liberty in two cases of mentally incapacitated individuals living in warden-controlled restricted housing.

9. Hatton and others v. The United Kingdom (36022/97)  (8 July 2003)
Night flights at Heathrow increased. ECHR approved consultation process and found no breach of Article 8 (respect for home and family life) but breach of Article 13 (remedy). The ECHR's approach involved examining UK procedure, not second-guessing outcome.

10. Bull and another (Appellants) v Hall and another (Respondents)  (27 November 2013)
 Christian hoteliers refused double bed to same-sex couple in civil partnership. Convention Articles 9 (religious freedom), Article 14 (discrimination) and Article 8 (private life) were considered by the House of Lords finding against the hoteliers and in favour of the couple.

11. R (on the application of Laporte) (FC) (Original Appellant and Cross-respondent) v. Chief Constable of Gloucestershire (Original Respondent and Cross-appellant) (13 November 2006)
Three coachloads of anti-war protestors turned away to prevent breach of peace. House of Lords found breaches of Articles 10 (Freedom of expression) & 11. (Peaceful assembly).
The Human Rights Act 1998 established right to assemble & protest, proper test of police action was imminence of breach of peace and necessary restrictions not reasonableness of response.

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