The Immigration Act 2014: A sequel to the prisoner-voting saga?  

Section 19 of the Immigration Act 2014 raises some important constitutional questions about the respective roles of courts and legislators in relation to human-rights matters. When it enters into force, section 19 of the 2014 Act will insert a suite of new provisions into the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 concerning the way in which courts and tribunals deal with … Continue reading The Immigration Act 2014: A sequel to the prisoner-voting saga?  

The “vigour” of common law rights and values: A v BBC [2014] UKSC 25

Earlier this week, I wrote in my review of recent developments that it is possible to identify a stream of jurisprudence that has emerged from the UK Supreme Court over the last year which places particular and renewed emphasis on the common law as a source of fundamental constitutional values and rights. I cited Osborn … Continue reading The “vigour” of common law rights and values: A v BBC [2014] UKSC 25

Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference talk: The UK’s (unusual) constitution

This post is aimed mainly at those who attended my recent talk at the Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference on "The UK's (unusual) constitution". The talk's point of departure was Lord Neuberger's recent (and surprising) suggestion that the UK has no constitution. I argued that this goes too far, but that the UK's constitution is … Continue reading Cambridge Sixth Form Law Conference talk: The UK’s (unusual) constitution

The Miranda case, the fair-balance test, and deference

The Divisional Court’s judgment in the David Miranda case—Miranda v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 255 (Admin)—has already attracted a considerable amount of comment, including by Fiona de Londras, Rosalind English, Colin Murray, Carl Gardner and Jake Rowbottom. I want to highlight only one aspect of Laws LJ’s judgment (with which … Continue reading The Miranda case, the fair-balance test, and deference

Whole life tariffs: Court of Appeal differs from, but does not defy, Strasbourg

The Court of Appeal has just given judgment in Attorney-General's Reference No 69 of 2013 [2014] EWCA Crim 188. It has held that the whole-life-tariff regime laid down in UK primary legislation is compatible with Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In doing so, the Court of Appeal differs from the view set … Continue reading Whole life tariffs: Court of Appeal differs from, but does not defy, Strasbourg

Ministerial changes at the MoJ and the implications for human rights reform

Some potentially significant changes to the ministerial team at the Ministry of Justice have been announced. Along with the appointment of Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes – who replaces Lord McNally – as Minister of State, Lord Faulks QC is joining the department as a further (and unpaid) Minister of State. The former appointment – given … Continue reading Ministerial changes at the MoJ and the implications for human rights reform

The three dimensions of the relationship between UK law and the ECHR

Lectures by senior judges on the relationship between UK and European law are rather like the proverbial bus: you wait around for one, and then several arrive almost simultaneously. In the last few weeks, the nature of that relationship has been considered, extra-judicially, by Lord Sumption (on which see this post), Laws LJ (on which … Continue reading The three dimensions of the relationship between UK law and the ECHR

Law, Rights and Constitutional Politics: reflections on the Human Rights Act’s past and future

I have just finished work on a chapter for a collection of essays – Democracy in Britain: Essays in Honour of James Cornford – which will shortly be published by the Institute for Public Policy Research. In my chapter, "Law, Rights and Constitutional Politics", I reflect on the ongoing debate concerning the protection of human … Continue reading Law, Rights and Constitutional Politics: reflections on the Human Rights Act’s past and future

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and UK law

Earlier this week, the Daily Mail ran a story under the headline: "Dozens of EU human rights are smuggled into the UK: Grayling attacks Brussels after claims by top judge". The "top judge" in question is Mostyn J, whose "claims" were made in the case of R (AB) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2013] EWHC 3453 … Continue reading The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and UK law

Osborn: The common law, the Convention, and the right to an oral hearing

http://youtu.be/V11oUQC4aP0 I wrote recently about the what might happen if—as is an increasingly less-fanciful prospect—human rights law in the UK were to be fundamentally altered through repeal of the Human Rights Act 1998 and perhaps even withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights. In that piece, I suggested that while such changes would be far from … Continue reading Osborn: The common law, the Convention, and the right to an oral hearing