Lords Woolf and Brown on proposed limitation of judicial review

I have written before about (what is now) clause 64 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill. If enacted, it will insert new provisions into s 31 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 such that relief must be refused

if it appears to the court to be highly likely that the outcome for the applicant would not have been substantially different if the conduct complained of had not occurred.

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Cambridge Public Law Conference: Detailed programme published

The full programme for the 2014 Cambridge Public Law Conference has now been published. It provides details of all plenary sessions and parallel panel sessions, and will enable those attending the conference to plan their time ahead of arrival in Cambridge. The programme can be accessed via the conference website or viewed below. Registered participants will shortly be able to access, via the conference website, copies of the papers that are due to be delivered at the conference.

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The Canadian human-rights model: a brief response to Richard Edwards

In one of several recent blog posts about the possibility of UK withdrawal from the ECHR, Richard Edwards — responding to earlier posts by Gavin Phillipson and me — considers the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, section 33 of which, in effect, allows struck-down rights-incompatible statutes to be reinstated by the legislature, “notwithstanding” the incompatibility. Edwards makes some interesting points in his post, but there are two with which I take issue.

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ECHR withdrawal and a British Bill of Rights: some resources

There have been a number of recent blog posts in recent days considering different aspects of the possibility of UK withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights — a hare that was set running by media reports that the Conservative Party might be contemplating something along these lines. Here is a list of the ones I have come across (including my own contributions):

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Human rights reform and the role of the Strasbourg Court

I wrote last week about the dismissal of Dominic Grieve as Attorney-General and subsequent indications as to the likely direction of Conservative Party policy in relation to human rights. As noted in the latter post, the plan—such as it is at present—appears to countenance the possibility of the UK’s departure from the European Convention on Human Rights, the argument being that it is intolerable for the UK to be beholden to the judgements of the Strasbourg Court. The agenda underlying agitation in favour of a UK exit is not always easy to discern, but generally appears to consist of two strands of thought that are respectively opposed to judicial “interference” in matters that are regarded as political, and to European involvement in decisions that (on this view) ought to be taken in Britain. British membership of the ECHR thus finds itself in an uncomfortable position, sitting vulnerably between the twin pincers of de-Europeanization and de-juridification.

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A hardening of Conservative human rights policy: what are the options?

I noted earlier this week that the dismissal of Dominic Grieve as Attorney-General was likely to foreshadow a significant hardening of the Conservative Party’s stance in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights. Today, the BBC is reporting—following Grieve’s removal, the departure of arch-Europhile Kenneth Clark and William Hague’s move from the Foreign Office—that:

The Conservatives have drawn up plans designed to limit the power of the European Court of Human Rights and to reassert the sovereignty of Parliament. David Cameron has been presented with the proposals that would mean Parliament decided what constitutes a breach of human rights.

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