Assisted suicide, human rights and Parliament: a wrong turning by the Supreme Court

July 8, 2014

In their recent ruling on assisted suicide, in R (Nicklinson) v Ministry of Justice and R (AM) v DPP, our highest judges have for the second time settled on a fudge. The first time they did so, in 2009, was bad enough – they got the DPP to sort-of tinker with the law by stealth. Worse, this time, they’ve […]

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The French niqab ban: BBC Radio Wales discussion with Faeeza Vaid and Bénédicte Paviot

July 3, 2014

I took part in a BBC Radio Wales discussion yesterday following the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling upholding the French “blanket ban” on wearing full-face veils, including the niqab and burka. Steffan Garrero was presenting the Jason Mohammad show, and the other participants were Faeeza Vaid of the Muslim Women’s Network UK, and the […]

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The state of freedom in Britain, at LSE

June 11, 2014

Last week at LSE, Professor Conor Gearty chaired an event on “the state of freedom in Britain” at which Professor Nicola Lacey and Liberty’s director Shami Chakrabarti (who’s a bit of a guest star on this blog at the moment) each looked at liberty in the UK from their own angle. You can watch the […]

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Gordon Brown: strange, vague and wrong on the constitution

June 10, 2014

In an article in today’s Guardian, Gordon Brown argues that Scotland should stay in the UK because of its “social union” with England, and our shared welfare state. Fair enough. That’s essentially the Labour case for the Union. But what really interests me in his piece is the thread of hostility to the British constitution that runs […]

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Shami Chakrabarti: I haven’t heard a single promise from Mr Khan

June 8, 2014

Speaking to the Tory Reform Group yesterday, Liberty’s director Shami Chakrabarti attacked not just the coalition government for its legal aid cuts, but Labour and the political class as a whole – which she said doesn’t really believe in the rule of law. Showing frustration with Labour’s front bench, she said she’d not heard any positive promise on legal aid […]

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Sir Ivan Lawrence QC: The government’s legal aid cuts are “total madness”, “weakening” and “betraying” the rule of law

June 7, 2014

Speaking to members of the Tory Reform Group today, the former Conservative MP Sir Ivan Lawrence QC attacked what he called the “total madness” of the government’s legal aid policy, saying it was “fatuous”, will make at best “pitiful” savings, and is “against all we stand for”. Sir Ivan tried to speak for five to […]

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The SARAH Bill: a victory for common sense!

June 5, 2014

This is the Justice Secretary, Chris Grayling, explaining what he calls his “Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill”, trailed in the Queen’s Speech this week. It is, he says, all about tackling the elf ‘n’ safety jobsworth culture in our society that leaves all too many people who want to do the right thing, who […]

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Sadiq Khan: let me guide you where I think you’re going

June 4, 2014

Writing in the Telegraph yesterday, Labour’s shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan said that when the Labour government in 1998 brought in a British Bill of Rights – the Human Rights Act – we deliberately drafted the wording to protect British courts. It meant they’d be free to disagree with the European Court of Human Rights […]

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Supreme Court judgment: R (Barkas) v North Yorkshire

May 22, 2014

How can you tell whether you’re doing something as of right, or doing it by right? Yesterday the Supreme Court gave judgment addressing that question in a case about Helredale playing field, in Whitby – and has strengthened the hand of councils and developers against local green space campaigners. The question’s a tricky and quite confusing one, and […]

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Pfizer’s placebo promises

May 19, 2014

In front of the Commons Business committee last week, Ian Read, chairman and chief executive of Pfizer, made two points in relation to Pfizer’s commitments, assuming it succeeds in acquiring the Anglo-Swedish drug manufacturer AstraZeneca. It’s pledged, you may remember, over a minimum period of five years, to: complete the investment in major new Cambridge […]

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