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[ 15 Apr 2014 | No Comment ]
ECJ outlaws “snoopers’ charter” – but snoop they shall yet

By Richard Allison
The European Court of Justice has invalidated the European Parliament’s Data Retention Directive. The decision, following requests from the Irish and Austrian courts, is a blow to Theresa May’s plans to push through a data retention scheme which would indiscriminately collect and store data from UK citizens’ internet and phone use for up to 12 months for later examination.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are considering the judgment and its implications carefully. The retention of communications data is absolutely fundamental to ensure law enforcement have the powers they …

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[ 14 Apr 2014 | One Comment ]
Eve’s Law: addresses of domestic violence victims must be kept secret

By Christine Land
In busy working environments it is easy to make mistakes but some mistakes are more costly than others. An inadvertent disclosure of a domestic violence victim’s safe address to their abuser, for instance, could cost someone their life. Now signed by 87 MPs, Early Day Motion 900 so called “Eve’s Law” is calling for the greater protection of safe addresses.
The motion comes as a result of the tireless campaign of Eve Thomas, herself an escapee of domestic violence. In August 2012, Eve faced being sent to prison for …

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[ 10 Apr 2014 | No Comment ]
Should judges question vulnerable witnesses?

By Matthew Seys-Llewellyn
Sir Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, has been in the news this week with the suggestion that vulnerable witnesses should be questioned by the Judge in the case rather than by counsel, and this idea should give us pause to reflect on both the role of the judge and the role of the advocate.
The English have traditionally viewed judges with a certain amount of distrust, perhaps because one man seemed easier to bribe than 12 men of the jury, or possibly because judges can become …

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[ 4 Apr 2014 | One Comment ]
Shocking justice gap for disabled prisoners

By Benjamin Burrows
It is Prison Service policy that prisons provide a fair and equal service to all prisoners, including to those who are disabled. The purpose of this policy is to make sure that the Prison Service meets its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA). However, for many disabled prisoners, these obligations are not being met.
The Chief Inspectorate of Prisons carried out a thematic review of disabled prisoners in March 2009, and found that, on the whole, disabled prisoners reported that they had a worse prison experience, across all …

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[ 3 Apr 2014 | One Comment ]
Mr Grayling: why he’s wrong about the Human Rights Act

By Stephen Hockman QC
The recent debates between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg highlight once again how difficult it is to persuade the British public to embrace anything European. In his appearance on 26 March 2014 before the House of Lords Constitution Committee, the Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling MP showed clearly that the Conservatives intend to capitalise on this at the next general election.
Mr Grayling stated that “My position has been very clear all along, I have no issue with the (European Human Rights) Convention, which I regard as a laudable …