Carl Gardner

Why Michael Gove should drop his Bill of Rights plans

May 9, 2016

Today the House of Lords EU committee has published its report on “The UK, the EU and a British Bill of Rights”. It’s quite a wide-ranging report covering for example the respective scope of the ECHR and the EU Charter of fundamental rights, the enforcement of each in national law, and the impact of any […]

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Let’s have proper no-fault divorce

March 11, 2016

MPs are due today to debate the principle of Richard Bacon MP’s No-fault Divorce Bill. What’s interesting about this bill is how very unradical it is. When we talk about “no fault divorce” most of us mean taking any notion of fault out of the divorce process altogether so that when you decide you want […]

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Gove can roll his own smoking ban:
R (Black) v Justice Secretary

March 8, 2016

Does the smoking ban in public places apply to prisons? No, the Court of Appeal has said, in a judgment today. The ruling doesn’t lay down any “groundbreaking” precedent (it has no wider legal effect beyond determining that the smoking ban doesn’t apply) but is a fascinating reminder of an old-school principle of constitutional law, […]

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What Boris told us about the “sovereignty plan”

March 7, 2016

Since I wrote about David Cameron’s “sovereignty plan”, it seems to have been forgotten. It’s clear the idea was aimed at keeping politicians in the Remain camp, and has failed. @carlgardner I understand it is an utter mess, and that it is hoped we all forget it ever happened.#journalism — David Allen Green (@DavidAllenGreen) February […]

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What is Parliamentary sovereignty, anyway?

February 23, 2016

As we await David Cameron’s sovereignty plan this week, it might help to explain what we mean by “Parliamentary sovereignty”. When we talk about Parliamentary sovereignty, we don’t mean a general notion of political sovereignty—a nation’s right to be recognised as a state, and its rulers’ power within its borders. All states have sovereignty in […]

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Cameron’s sovereignty plan: what to hope for, and what to fear

February 21, 2016

David Cameron’s EU deal has been published. But there’s a missing piece of his jigsaw: a “sovereignty plan” that he hoped would reassure waverers like Boris Johnson. On today’s Andrew Marr show, the Prime Minister hinted at what this plan might be (from 49 minutes 10 seconds into the programme; a sound recording is here). […]

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The UN working group’s Assange opinion

February 5, 2016

Here’s the opinion of the UN working group on arbitrary detention, which has concluded that Britain and Sweden have arbitrarily detained Julian Assange. It calls on both countries to release him, and pay him compensation. UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Assange Opinion (PDF) UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Assange Opinion (Text) I wondered […]

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Julian Assange’s submission to the UN working group

February 4, 2016

We awoke to the extraordinary news that Julian Assange had announced he’d leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London tomorrow and submit to arrest if the UN working group on arbitrary detention turned down his complaint to them. Shortly afterwards, the BBC reported that the working group has come down in his favour. That would be […]

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Miranda: the Court of Appeal’s interpretation of “terrorism”

January 19, 2016

I’ve already criticised what I think is a fundamental contradiction undermining the Court of Appeal’s judgment in the Miranda case. But there’s another aspect of the judgment that I must mention, which may well be of more lasting importance. The power used to stop and question David Miranda is conferred by paragraph 2(1) of Schedule […]

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The self-contradictory Miranda appeal ruling

January 19, 2016

I’ve been following for some time David Miranda’s challenge to the lawfulness of his questioning at Heathrow airport in 2013. I wrote shortly after his detention; I covered his application for an injunction; I published his grounds for judicial review; I live-tweeted the judicial review hearing and analysed Lord Justice Laws’s judgment against Miranda; and […]

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