UK Supreme Court judgment: R (Chester) v Justice Secretary, McGeoch v Lord President

October 16, 2013

It’s no surprise that the Supreme Court has today unanimously dismissed appeals by two prisoners who wanted various remedies under the Human Rights Act and EU law for being denied the vote in Parliamentary, local, Scottish Parliament and European election. These cases were always weak. Lord Mance gave the leading judgment and all the justices […]

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Vinter, Bamber & Moore v UK: whole life prisoners must have the “experience of hope”

July 9, 2013

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the system of “whole life orders”, whereby in England and Wales a mandatory life sentence may be imposed and the possibility of early release denied under section 269(4) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, amounts to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment in breach of article […]

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Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill

November 22, 2012

Here is the government’s draft bill offering Parliament a menu of options on prisoners’ votes. <a href=””>Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill (PDF)</a> <br /> <a href=””>Draft Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill (Text)</a>Adam Wagner at the UK Human Rights Blog wondered what if any significance there might be in the that fact that the “status quo” option […]

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No bail-out for Strauss-Kahn

May 16, 2011

The IMF boss and front-runner to be the French Socialist Party’s presidential candidate next year, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has been refused bail by a court in New York, according to the BBC. As has been widely reported he’s facing a charge of attempted rape. It may be that the defence can appeal the decision on bail; […]

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Have lawyers really “cleared” the government to defy Strasbourg over prisoners’ votes?

February 18, 2011

Today the Times is running a (£) story headlined: Cameron is cleared to defy Europe on human rights The story is based on an eight-page memo prepared for Nick Clegg that Sam Coates has published on Twitter: [blackbirdpie url=”[blackbirdpie url=”″] It’s not clear who the advice is from or to (although its file name beginning […]

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Charon QC podcast: prisoners’ votes

February 11, 2011

Today I talked to Charon QC on the issue of prisoners’ votes, following MPs vote yesterday in favour of defying the European Court of Human Rights, and retaining the UK’s current “blanket ban”. We explain what the ECtHR is and its role as an international court, consider what if any difference MPs decision yesterday might […]

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MPs vote on prisoners’ votes: how to square the circle

February 10, 2011

MPs in the Commons will today debate the motion put down by David Davis, Jack Straw and others (main business, over half way down the order paper), which is in these terms: That this House notes the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst v the United Kingdom in which it held […]

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Prisoners’ votes: another dodgy ruling from the European Court

January 18, 2011

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled today that an Italian prisoner’s rights were breached where he was sentenced to prison for life, and as a result lost the right to vote indefinitely. The ECtHR’s ruling in Scoppola v Italy (the judgment is only available in French for the moment, I’m afraid) will cause […]

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Assange “objected to segregation”, says lawyer

December 22, 2010

So Mark Stephens has told me in a tweet within the last half hour. Here’s his response yes. They had a long discussion about it. to my follow-up inquiry One more point, Mark: did JA object to the governor’s segregation decision? Earlier today I told you Mark Stephens had denied Assange himself asked to be […]

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Assange’s lawyer denies he requested segregation

December 22, 2010

Julian Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens made the denial in a tweet to me this morning: he didn’t Carl. Have confirmed to anyone who asked. It was the Governors decision, sd to be for safety. For a few days now I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of how Assange came to be held “in […]

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