October 2013

Health Department reveals new guidelines on abortion are to be sent to the Executive within weeks

The Department of Health has confirmed that it intends to circulate new guidelines on the circumstances when a pregnancy can be terminated in Northern Ireland to the Executive in the next number of weeks.

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Local Developments

Judicial review against the retention of lifetime blood ban for gay men successful

In a decision that has attracted a high local media profile ,the Minister for Health, Edwin Poots has been told that his decision to retain the permanent ban on gay men donating blood is irrational.

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Local Developments

Uncertainty remains as unpaid fines can still result in imprisonment

In many criminal cases, before the Magistrates’ Courts and the Crown Courts, a judge can punish those guilty of committing offences through the imposition of fines. Should those fines not be paid within a certain period of time, a person can be ordered to serve time in prison instead of paying the fine.

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Local Developments

Lord Neuberger attacks further curbs to judicial review

The President of the UK Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, has criticised proposals to introduce further limits on the availability of judicial review.

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Legal Profession

European Court of Human Rights speaks out about coverage in the UK media

Various organisations have raised concerns on many occasions over how cases involving human rights, whether decided upon by UK courts or Strasbourg, are reported on by the UK media.

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Legal Profession

Investigation into death of Jane Antoniou was compliant with Article 2 of the Convention

Jane Antoniou was a campaigner for the rights of those with mental health difficulties. Mrs Antoniou herself was schizophrenic and spent a number of periods in mental health facilities, as a voluntary patient and as a person detained under the Mental Health Act. She was detained in a hospital when she took her own life, on the 23rd October 2010. The claimant in this case was the deceased’s widower.

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Health

Employment Tribunal holds that EU law trumps diplomatic immunity

The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) considered 2 appeals. The appellants both worked as staff in foreign diplomatic missions. Before 2 separate tribunals, their claims were dismissed as state immunity under the State Immunity Act (SIA) was applicable.

The EAT were asked to consider the European Convention of Human Rights. However the Convention and the Human Rights Act could not be applied. In order for the courts to read the SIA as convention compliant, would require the courts to amend the legislation, essentially going further than the courts were able to.

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Immigration & Asylum

Recent decision on the impact of the new immigration rules on the role of Article 8 in immigration cases

An area of some controversy has been the interpretation of Article 8 of the Convention in cases where an individual seeks to contest a deportation order. The difficulties in this area have been exacerbated by the Home Office introducing amendments to the immigration rules regarding the interpretation of Article 8.

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Immigration & Asylum

Decision by London Transport to carry pro-gay adverts on buses threatens to re-activate legal proceedings

In previous editions of the Update, we referred to a judicial review brought on behalf of a Christian organisation. The challenge related to a decision by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, to refuse to allow London buses to carry adverts that claimed gay people could be ‘cured’. These adverts were modelled on the Stonewall pro-gay advert: ‘Some people are gay. Get over it’.

The High Court upheld the Mayor’s decision to ban the adverts. However that decision is currently subject to appeal. The appeal itself is scheduled to be heard at the start of December 2013.

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LGBT

Sacked Greek worker who was HIV positive awarded €14,000 by European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)

A Greek jewellery worker who was HIV positive, was sacked after co-workers voiced their objections to his continued employment. The domestic courts dismissed his complaints on what the ECtHR described as ‘clearly inaccurate information’. This included the contagious nature of the illness and the fact they had failed to explain how the interests of the employer outweighed those of the employee.

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LGBT

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