Human rights and civil liberties in the UK


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It is a guideline to use which includes statutes and case law relating to the UK but perhaps relevant for other EU countries. Only looks closely at 3 issues!

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Human rights and civil liberties in the UK

  1. 1. Human Rights and Civil Liberties inthe UK RevisionExam revision – 1SLC651
  2. 2. European Convention on HumanRightsArticle 2-18
  3. 3. Absolute Rights• Right to LifeArticle 2• Prohibition of TortureArticle 3• Prohibition of Slavery and Forced LabourArticle 4• Right to Liberty and SecurityArticle 5• Right to a Fair TrialArticle 6• No Punishment without LawArticle 7
  4. 4. Qualified Rights• Right to Respect for Private andFamily LifeArticle 8• Freedom of Thought, Conscienceand religionArticle 9• Freedom of ExpressionArticle 10• Freedom of Assembly andAssociationArticle 11
  5. 5. Other Rights• Right to MarryArticle 12• Right to an Effective RemedyArticle 13• Prohibition of DiscriminationArticle 14• Derogation in Time of EmergencyArticle 15• Restrictions on Political Activity of AliensArticle 16• Prohibition of Abuse of RightsArticle 17• Limitation on Use of Restrictions on RightsArticle 18
  6. 6. Human Rights Act 1998Recap
  7. 7. History 1941 Atlantic Charter Post-war blue print1. No key territorial gains2. All people have the right to self determination3. Freedom from want and/or fear 1948 – Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) 1950 – European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) British led document (Sir Maxwell Fife 1966 – access to redress 1997 – Rights Brought Home (New Labour WhitePaper) Rationale was about time and cost of going to Court of Justice 1998 – Human Rights Act (HRA)
  8. 8. Human Rights Act 1998 Applies to: Public bodies Central government Local government Public service providers Agencies of public bodies Does NOT apply toParliament Anti-terrorism andnational security arecontested areas Habeas corpus = article 6 Internment reintroduced “Victim test” – section7, article 34 Have to be a victim orpotential victim Exhausted all otheravailable proceedingsdomestically Apply no more than 6months after matterconcluded in domesticcourts
  9. 9. Benefits (principally):1. Ensures consistent legal interpretation2. Obliges public authorities to comply Refers to all public bodies and their agents Legal and political debate given definition3. Delay and cost reduced4. Symbolically – cultural shift5. Better dialogue between UK judiciary andEuropean Court of Human Rights Mutual respect
  10. 10. Case LawTerrorism and national security• Ireland v UK 1980• Internment – articles 3 and 6Criminal law – procedure and sentencing• Attorney General Reference 2004• Delay – article 6• R v Loosley 2002• Entrapment• Bulger and Criminal Justice Act 2003• Crime and Disorder Act 1998• Abolished doli incapaxImmigration and asylum• Afghan hijack affair• torture• Soering 1989• Death penaltyFamily, gender and child law• ResMental health lawsTravellers rights and free movement
  11. 11. More detailed look at somearticlesFreedom of expression – article 10National securityPrivacy – article 8
  12. 12. Article 10 – Freedom of Expression Article 10 is a qualified right 1-7 absolute rights 8-11 subject to exceptions Provided in common law and ECHR, and then theHRA 1998 Lord Steyn – “primary right” in democracy Relates to National Security Privacy
  13. 13. Statute and Case LawStatute Cases Contempt of Court Act1981 Official Secrets Act 1989 Data Protection Act 1998 Human Rights Act 1998 Freedom of InformationAct 2000 Racial and ReligiousHatred Act 2006 R v. Advertising StandardsAuthority Ltd, ex parte VernonsOrganisation Ltd. 1992 Silverton v Gravett 2001 Wagstaffe 2001 A v. B plc (Flitcroft v. MGN Ltd)2002 R v. Perrin 2002 R v. Shayler 2002 Hammond v. DPP 2004 British American Tobacco 2004 Attorney General v. Scotcher 2005 CTB v. News Group Newspapers2011
  14. 14. Key points National security vs. freedom of expression Freedom of the press/ social media Public interest Public disorder, potential for crime Tolerance of others Article 17 and 18 ECHR Problematic legislation Vague, broad, interpretation
  15. 15. National Security Relates to (not exclusive): Article 10 – freedom of expression Article 8 – privacy Article 5 – liberty and security MI5, MI6, GCHQ – security agencies Work with criminal intelligence agencies (special branch) Funded by War Office but part of Foreign Office National security main reason for withholdinginformation
  16. 16. Statute and Case LawStatute Case Official Secrets Act1911, 1989 Public Records Act1958 Data Protection Act1984, 1998 Intelligence ServicesAct 1994 Freedom of InformationAct 2000 R v. Ponting 1985 The Observer andGuardian v. UK 1990(Spycatcher 1986) R v. Shayler 2002 Katharine Gun 2003 Attorney General v.Scotcher 2005
  17. 17. Article 8 and Privacy No comprehensive legislation in UK No action for breaches Glidewell Report 1991 called for statute ECHR and HRA 1998 allow for privacy Qualified right – states can interfere with this right Open to wide interpretation Law of confidence developed from commercial andcorporate law No comprehensive law, statute provides some measure ofprotection Relates to: Article 10 – freedom of expression National Security Prisoner‟s Rights
  18. 18. Statute and Case LawStatute Case Consumer Credit Act 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act1974 Data Protection Act 1984 Interception of TelecommunicationsAct 1985 Security Service Act 1989 Broadcasting Act 1990, 1996 Police Act 1997 Protection Against Harassment Act1997, 2012 Human Rights Act 1998 Regulation of Investigatory PowersAct (RIPA) 2000 Bernstein of Leigh v. Skyviews andGeneral Ltd. 1978 Malone v. Met Police 1979 Kaye v. Robertson and SportNewspapers Ltd 1991 Douglas v. Hello! Ltd 2001 A v. B plc (Flitcroft v. MGN Ltd) 2002 Wainwright v. Home Office 2003 HRH Prince of Wales v. AssociatedNewspapers Ltd. 2006 Mosley v. News Group NewspapersLtd. (No. 3) 2008 AMP v. Persons Unknown 2011 CTB v. News Group Newspapers Ltdand Anor 2011
  19. 19. Other Points All 3 things need to be proven prior to court Information is confidential There is a duty to keep information confidential The proposed use of information is incompatible with thisduty Lots of these cases are about celebrities and themedia Naomi Campbell case – photographed coming out ofrehab Duchess of Cambridge case – photographed topless onholiday, and published in various European countries Issues about the internet – social media e.g. Giggs case
  20. 20. Case Law SummariesChronological Order
  21. 21. Bernstein of Leigh v. Skyviews and GeneralLtd. 1978Article 8 - Privacy Aerial photograph taken of house Question about airspace ownership No trespass – did not invade privacy Adjoining owners have no right to obstructneighbour‟s land Plane did not effect the use of the land
  22. 22. R v. Ponting 1985National Security Civil servant leaked confidential documents toopposition MP To raise issue in Parliament – Parliamentary privilege Concerned lying about the sinking of a ship duringFalklands Charged under Official Secrets Act 1989 Found not guilty by jury Judge clear there was an offence committed
  23. 23. The Observer and Guardian v. UK 1990Spycatcher case 1986Article 10 – Freedom of Expression Memoirs of former secret service member living inAustralia Parliament sought injunction Published elsewhere Lord Goth: In a free society there is a continuous public interest that theworkings of government should be scrutinised Violation of article 10 No violation of article 14 (discrimination) and not necessary tolook at article 13 Compensation awarded for costs and expenses
  24. 24. Kaye v. Robertson and Sport NewspapersLtd. 1991Article 8 – PrivacyArticle 10 – Freedom of Expression Journalists gained access to a private hospitalroom where celebrity actor was recovering Conducted photographs and interview Threatened to publish interview Actor sought an injunction Any article implying consent to the interview wouldamount to falsehood No actionable right of privacy in English law
  25. 25. Douglas v. Hello! 2001Article 8 – PrivacyArticle 10 – Freedom of Expression Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones‟wedding photographs in Hello! but had agreementwith OK! Interim injunction awarded, Hello! appealed Organised publicity surrounding wedding tippedbalance in favour of allowing publication Damages adequate Injunction discharged
  26. 26. Wagstaffe Case 2001Article 10 – Freedom of Expression Shipman inquiry should be a public not private as thereis a right to the information found Victims families not consulted – 70 approved Private so it would be quicker and more likely to havewitnesses Press sought judicial review National Health Act 1977 did not apply because it involvedagencies outside the NHS Public interest Application for judicial review allowed Allowed to be held in public – important right for public toknow
  27. 27. R v. Perrin 2002Article 10 – Freedom of Expression Distribution of content via the internet Pornographic images Servers not in the UK “Downloading” in the UK is “publication” Irrelevant where it was uploaded Offence had been committed
  28. 28. A v. B plc (Flitcroft v. MGN Ltd) 2002Article 8 – PrivacyArticle 10 – Freedom of Expression Married footballer sought injunction from the mediadisclosing information of sexual activities Freedom of press vs. Privacy Even when there is no public interest in information Defendants‟ appeal allowed The more stable the relationship the more significancegiven to it Marriage permanent vs. affairs
  29. 29. R v. Shayler 2002Article 10 – Freedom of ExpressionNational Security Former member of secret services disclosedinformation and charged under the Official SecretsAct 1989 Question whether he could have public interestdefence, if not use article 10, if not then use adeclaration of incompatibility Should have used appropriate channels Article 10 not absolute Sufficient safeguards available
  30. 30. R v. Secretary of State 2004British TobaccoArticle 10 – Freedom of Expression Tobacco Advertising and Promotion (Point of Sale)Regulations 2004 allowed Aimed at deterring pubic from smoking Not a disproportionate restriction of commercial freespeech 5 companies involved Acknowledged health risk and preventing influencingchildren Unimpressed with deterring adults as smoking is legal Application refused due to health and social policy
  31. 31. Attorney General v. Scotcher 2005Article 10 – Freedom of ExpressionNational Security Juror wrote to mother of convicted disclosing jury‟sdeliberations Intention to expose injustice Not a defence of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 Could have written to judge, lawyer, Court of Appeal, etc. Guilty verdict Only because it was written to the wrong authority Little can be done to expose injustice in this process
  32. 32. Mosley v. News Group Newspapers Ltd (No3) 2008Article 8 – PrivacyArticle 10 – Freedom of Expression President of FIA filmed engaging in sado-masochistic activities in private flat Claimed there were Nazi elements/role play withpublished video on NGN website Interim injunction denied as access to footage wasalready widely accessible Mosley award £60,000 damages Nazi element could not be proven If there had there would have been public interest
  33. 33. R v. Perrin 2002Article 10 – Freedom of Expression Distribution of content via the internet Pornographic images Servers not in the UK “Downloading” in the UK is “publication” Irrelevant where it was uploaded Offence had been committed
  34. 34. R v. Perrin 2002Article 10 – Freedom of Expression Distribution of content via the internet Pornographic images Servers not in the UK “Downloading” in the UK is “publication” Irrelevant where it was uploaded Offence had been committed
  35. 35. Wainwright v. Home Office 2003Article 8 – Privacy Mother and son stripped searched on prison visit fordrugs Breach of Prison Rules, humiliated and distressed Son mentally impaired and developed PTSD Trespass against both persons had been committed.Son‟s “trespass” amounted to battery Awarded £2,600 and £4,500 respectively Appealed trespass charges No common law tort of invasion of privacy Needed legislation not common law Used ECHR and HRA 1998 to fill gaps
  36. 36. Katharine Gun Case 2003Article 10 – Freedom of ExpressionNational Security GCHQ worker Leaked emails about spying intimidation surge priorto invasion of Iraq UK-US Deemed in national interest Not prosecuted, case dropped Lots of public/internet support
  37. 37. HRH The Prince of Wales v. AssociatedNewspapers Ltd 2006Article 8 – PrivacyArticle 10 – Freedom of Expression Extracts of a journal by Charles written on hisofficial visit to Hong Kong in 1997 were published Breach of confidence and copyright Public interest defence by newspapers Court held that publication would be restrained „an arguable case that they contain private confidentialinformation of a sensitive nature‟
  38. 38. CTB v. News Group Newspapers Ltd 2011Ryan Giggs CaseArticle 8 – PrivacyArticle 10 – Freedom of Expression Article published in The Sun about footballer‟saffair – defendant not named but right expired nextday Giggs wanted injunction Appeared Giggs was blackmailed with information Giggs would get injunction but information alreadyin public (Twitter etc.) Nothing left to protect
  39. 39. AMP v. Persons Unknown 2011Article 8 – Privacy Phone stolen at university contained privateimages of family and friends, and sexual Images uploaded to web, images removed by hostbut used by „persons unknown‟ to blackmailclaimant Images uploaded to „BitTorrent‟ with claimant‟s nameattached „Persons unknown‟ as it is lengthy to find IPaddresses and names Reasonable expectation of privacy for images
  40. 40. Past papers
  41. 41. 20121. „The Human Rights Act 1998 and the Police and Criminal Evidence Act1984 are wholly ineffective as a means of preventing miscarriages ofjustice.‟ Do you agree with this statement? Justify your answer2. „Enjoyment of civil liberties no longer stops at the prison gates.‟ Explainand assess this statement.3. To what degree is a balance struck between the interests of a state inwithholding information and the interest of the individual in acquiringgovernment information?4. Is there a proper balance between freedom of the press and privacy?5. Why despite recent changes to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and RaceRelations Act 1976 do applicants still face difficulties in bringing a case?
  42. 42. 20111. “One of the hallmarks of a free society is the ability of its citizens to go about theirbusiness without the need to explain to anyone in authority what they are doing.”(Stone, 2004). Critically evaluate this statement in the context of the use of policepowers in the UK2. After reviewing the current legislation on freedom of expression, critically assesswhether it manages to find a balance between important conflicting interests.3. Critically examine the achievements and failures of the Commission for RacialEquality, and the Equal Opportunities Commission, in preventing discrimination andprotecting civil liberties in the UK.4. Do you agree with the argument that, prior to the Human Rights Act 1998, Englishlaw did not recognise a right to privacy? If so, on what basis?5. Critically assess the role which the European Convention on Human Rights hasplayed in strengthening and defining the rights of prisoners.6. „The general attitude towards official government information in the UK hastraditionally been one of secrecy and denial.‟ Critically assess this claim.
  43. 43. 20101. The introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 was superfluous, as citizens of the UK havehistorically always enjoyed guaranteed civil liberties. Discuss.2. The civil rights of prisoners are left at the prison gates. Critically evaluate this statement.3. The widespread use of CCTV in the UK is essential to the government‟s fight against crime andposes no threat whatsoever to individual privacy. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.4. The serious miscarriage of justice cases during the 1970s have led to increased scrutiny ofpolice powers of detention and questioning along with greater safeguards for suspects. Discuss.5. Critically examine the success of the Human Rights Act 1998 as our human rights guarantee.6. Do you agree that the longstanding tradition of official government secrecy in the UK is finallycoming to an en? Give reasons for your answer.7. The strict regulatory system for broadcasting in the UK may be at odds with Article 10 of theEuropean Convention on Human Rights (Freedom of Expression). Discuss.8. “English law has intervened to control unjustifiable discrimination in only a limited way. It onlyapplies to certain types of discrimination, and only in relation to discrimination for certainpurposes” (Stone, 2009). Critically evaluate this statement.