March 2012

Written constitutions: a warning from America

March 28, 2012

The United States Supreme Court is currently hearing Department of Health and Human Services v Florida, in which President Obama’s Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is appealing the decision of a Federal Court of Appeals that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – Obama’s healthcare reform legislation, and his major achievement in domestic social policy […]

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Rights Gone Wrong?

March 17, 2012

On Thursday night the BBC screened Rights Gone Wrong? presented by Andrew Neil and produced by Matthew Laza. I’m glad my mum reminded me to see it. The human rights debate in this country seems to have got unfortunately bogged down into a dispute between some, mainly on the right, who think the European Convention […]

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A pointless constitutional abuse

March 16, 2012

By convention, the Queen grants Royal assent to legislation passed by the Lords and Commons. It’s only a constitutional convention that she does so: in other words, she does so because she herself, ministers, MPs and the public regard it as her constitutional obligation to do so. But as a matter of strict constitutional law, […]

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Humphreys v HMRC: Supreme Court, Day 2

March 15, 2012

Yesterday I explained the facts and legal background to this case, and a short account of the first day of the hearing, which concluded just after 1 pm today. I was again in court to hear Jason Coppel complete his submissions for HMRC, and Richard Drabble briefly respond. Jason Coppel began by stressing how little […]

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My tweets from the Humphreys hearing

March 15, 2012

Having live-tweeted the Humphreys v HMRC hearing in the Supreme Court yesterday and today, I thought I’d experiment with Storify so that if you’re interested, you can get a sense of the hearing by reading through my tweets and links. You can either shuffle through them in the viewer below or click through to see […]

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Humphreys v HMRC: Supreme Court hearing

March 14, 2012

Today was the first day of the Supreme Court’s hearing in the case of Humphreys v HMRC, about sex discrimination in the child tax credit system. Mr Humphreys is complaining about the fact that HMRC refused him child tax credit in 2004-5. His children were staying with him 3 days a week – and 4 […]

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Without Prejudice

March 9, 2012

In Without Prejudice this week Charon QC chairs a free speech special. Nick Cohen, writer, journalist and author of You Can’t Read This Book joins barrister, policymaker and former Conservative candidate Joanne Cash, David Allen Green and me to talk about free speech in Britain today including: threats to free speech from extreme religion, the […]

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Karen Murphy’s costs

March 8, 2012

When I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Karen Murphy’s successful appeal against conviction for dishonestly receiving a broadcast with intent to avoid payment under section 297(1) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, I mentioned that there was a long argument about costs: Martin Howe QC, for Ms. Murphy, argued that the case […]

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Attorney General “considers concerns” over Akers’ evidence to Leveson

March 6, 2012

When I saw Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers give evidence to the Leveson inquiry last week, I did wonder for half a moment whether it could be sensible or right for her apparently to make statements about what had happened at the Sun as though it were fact – when people had reportedly been arrested […]

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BT & TalkTalk v Business Secretary

March 6, 2012

The Court of Appeal has today rejected the appeal by BT and TalkTalk in their judicial review of the Digital Economy Act 2010. This is a disappointment for digital rights campaigners, but not legally surprising – the arguments made by BT and TalkTalk never looked strong, and Mr Justice Kenneth Parker’s original judgment in the […]

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