Tag Archives: Law

grayling_2196719bby Joseph Markus

The Criminal Bar go on ‘strike’ today in protest at the Government’s cuts to legal aid, the simple effect of which will be to reduce access to justice and increase the risks of the guilty going free and the innocent going to prison.

This strike is about proposed fee cuts of between 17.5 and 30%. (Don’t forget, as well, the cuts that came in on 2 December 2013 of 47% to civil barrister fees.) Cuts of this level compare particularly unfavourably to the de facto cuts for the public sector workers, where pay rises have been tied to 1%.

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By Alexander Green

800px-Azaz_Syria_during_the_Syrian_Civil_War_Missing_front_of_HouseThe obvious should go without saying. However, sometimes it goes much better with saying. It should be obvious, at least to every right-thinking international lawyer, that Western military intervention in Syria would be illegal at this time. Someone had better tell Messrs Obama and Cameron before they do something we all might regret.

This article will first provide a brief summary of the facts before examining the legal position. I will argue, based upon a normative interpretation of international law, that any military action without the consent of the UN Security Council would be illegal even if a deliberate chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government on its civilian population.

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ECHRby Joseph Markus

This comment concerns two recent cases decided by the European Court of Human Rights. Those cases are Babar Ahmad and Others v the United Kingdom (2013) 56 EHRR 1, [2012] ECHR 609 and Vinter and Others v the United Kingdom [2013] ECHR 645. The second of these – Vinter – was decided by the Grand Chamber of the Court on 9 July following a hearing in November last year.

These two cases grapple with starkly similar issues, albeit there is one distinguishing feature. In Babar Ahmad, the applicants faced extradition; in Vinter they did not.

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Theresa-May_1716248cby Joseph Markus

In short, the answer has got to be no.

Theresa May – who is known for advocating withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights and from the jurisdiction of its court – is taking too much from what is really the limited significance of all this. What looks to be taking place is that she is using the deportation as a political football under the cover of the handy cross-party unity over whether it was – broadly defined – “a good thing”.

Let’s take each of her claims in turn.

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border2-thumbnailby Joseph Markus

Contrary to what the BBC has been reporting (it’s now fixed it), the High Court on Friday 5 July upheld claims that aspects of the new Immigration Rules – contained in an Appendix FM to the Rules – fell foul of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In particular, what Mr Justice Blake decided, in a long and detailed judgment, was that the range of new financial requirements for spouses coming to join their partners in the UK (who in this case were either refugees or British citizens) were more than was necessary for the legitimate end of managing migration.

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grayling_2196719bby Sarah Walker

The UK government and their sympathetic media would have you believe that current legal aid provisions allow unpopular members of our society to greedily grab what they can get, much like an unsupervised child at a pick ‘n’ mix. The truth is that this government is systematically dismantling a safeguard of access to justice that is essential if we are to ensure that the rights of vulnerable members of society are protected.

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by Joseph Markus

A human right to wear a cross?

Today a Chamber of the Fourth Section of the European Court of Human Rights released its judgment in the much-anticipated cluster of cases, Eweida and Others v. the United Kingdom. These cases courted controversy in the domestic courts due to what many on both sides of the debate saw as an important and apparently irresoluble conflict between the rights to manifest religious belief and the rights to non-discrimination held by, in these cases, homosexual individuals. Put into legal terms: the cases were about the alleged conflict between the rights of the applicants under Articles 9 and 14 of the Convention and the rights of others (broadly speaking – though never explicitly defined as – falling under Articles 8 and 14).

Four applicants meant four distinct groups of facts, although a number of common threads.

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By Sophie Goodrich

Ne me quitte pas

The debate on the UK’s membership to the EU has been raging this week prompted by indications from Prime Minister David Cameron that he would allow a public referendum on the issue and an opinion poll claiming a majority of Britons would support a withdrawal from the EU. Being a Brit living in Switzerland, effectively an island surrounded by the EU, the Alps provide an ideal place to briefly consider the types of issues which the UK may face if it chooses to withdraw from the EU.

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By Kevin Smith

For a glorious, fleeting period spanning late elementary school and the early teenage years, the stylish response whenever objections were voiced regarding one’s playground conduct was to invite litigation.

Well… kind of. But not really. While the response “Oh yeah? So sue me!” was thrown around with casual off-handedness, it was of course a taunt. You don’t like it? So sue me. What are you going to do about it? I took your place at the lunch table? So sue me. I stole your snacks? So sue me. Pretty heady stuff, you’ll agree. Indeed, it’s hardly surprising that this flurry of prepubescent litigiousness was exciting enough to convince a few of those involved to pursue a professional career in the field.

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by Stuart Withers

On Tuesday afternoon Theresa May, the Home Secretary, announced that she would block Gary McKinnon’s extradition request to the US. This is certainly joyous news and should be celebrated. But celebrated for what reason? The most alarming aspect about this decision is that in a period of less than two weeks two very starkly different results have occurred for the two highest profile extradition cases in the past decade. Both concerned extradition to the US, and only one extradition request was refused. Why is it that McKinnon’s case appears to be the antithesis of the terrorism cases of Abu Hamza, Babar Ahmad and Talha Ahsan? What has changed so significantly between the Secretary of State’s decision yesterday and the Home Office’s gleeful extradition rhetoric concerning the other case nearly two weeks ago? In a previous article Sarah Walker and I focussed on the challenges that extradition law faced in the aftermath of the recently extradited terrorist suspects. In light of that article, this one will pick up where we left off, looking at what has changed between now and then and whether McKinnon’s case has actually changed anything for the better.

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