Exceptional legal aid funding should not be limited to extreme cases – Court of Appeal

UK Human Rights Blog

legal-aidR (on the application of) Gudanaviciene and others v The Director of Legal Aid Casework and others [2014] EWCA Civ 1622 – read judgment

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the Lord Chancellor’s Guidance on exceptional funding in civil legal aid is incompatible with the right of access to justice under Article 6 of the ECHR and Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Court has further decided that this Guidance was not compatible with Article 8 of the ECHR in immigration cases; in other words, that legal aid should not be refused when applicants for entry to the UK seek to argue that refusal of entry would interfere with their right to respect for private and family life.

This was an appeal against a ruling by Collins J in the court below that the appellant Director’s refusal to grant the respondents exceptional case…

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Apatridas: El Casa de los Descendientes Haitianos Nacidos en la Republica Dominicana

Derecho Internacional Matters se complace en dar la bienvenida a este puesto de invitado de Luisa Pereira da Rocha Giannini . Luisa es una estudiante de segundo año de estudios de Derecho en el Centro Universitario La Salle de Rio de Janeiro . Obtuvo su licenciatura en Relaciones Internacionales en 2012. Ella es fluido en Inglés , español , francés, inglés y portugués. Síguela en twitter @LuisaGiannini

Luisa Pereira da Rocha Giannini

Actualmente, en la República Dominicana hay un debate jurídico sobre la decisión del Tribunal Constitucional (TC) sobre la nacionalidad de descendientes de haitianosnacidos en territorio dominicano.

Juliana Deguis Pierre es la joven que se tornó la cara de la lucha de los haitianos que sufren el riesgo de se tornaren apátridas. Juliana nasció en la República Dominicana y, mientras intentava sacar su documento de identidad, en 2008, tuvo su acta de nacimiento retenida por las autoridades, en razón de su apellido, que evidenciaba que su familia tenía origen haitiana. Fue notificada que no podía sacar su identidad por no ser dominicana.

Entonces, en 10 de diciembre de 2012, Juliana Deguis recurrió a la Cámara Civil, Comercial y de Trabajo en la Primera Instancia del Distrito Judicial de Monte Plata por su derecho a una cédula de identidad dominicana. Pero, la Cámara, en la sentencia 473/2012, recusó la solicitación de Juliana por no haber presentado el documento original de su acta de nacimiento. Ante la negativa, Juliana apeló al Tribunal Constitucional, la más alta corte del Estado dominicano. Este también negó su petición y recomendó – en la sentencia TC/0168/13 – que acciones fuesen tomadas con relación a todos los individuos que estuviesen en la misma situación de Juliana Deguis en el país. Continue reading

Stateless: The Case of Haitian Descendants Born in the Dominican Republic

International Law Matters is pleased to welcome this guest post from Luisa Pereira da Rocha Giannini.  Luisa is a second-year student studying law at the Centro Universitario La Salle do Rio de Janerio.  She earned her BA in International Relations in 2012.  She is fluent in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese.  Follow her on twitter @LuisaGiannini

Luisa Pereira da Rocha Giannini

There is currently a legal debate in the Dominican Republic regarding the decision of the Constitutional Court on the nationality of Haitian descendants born in the Dominican territory.

Juliana Deguis Pierre became the face of the struggle of Haitian descendants who suffer the risk of becoming stateless. Juliana was born in the Dominican Republic in 1984.  In 2008, she went to the identification office with her birth certificate to request an identification card.  However, the office refused to issue one and retained her birth certificate because her surname demonstrated that her family had Haitian origins.

On December 10th, 2012, Juliana appealed to the Civil, Commercial and Labor Court in the First Instance of the Judicial District of Monte Plata for her right to a Dominican identification card. The Court, in 473/2012, refused Juliana’s case because she did not present her original birth certificate. Juliana then appealed to the Constitutional Court, the highest court in the Dominican Republic. The Constitutional Court also denied Juliana’s request and recommended that actions be taken with respect to all individuals who were in the same situation as Juliana in the country. The Constitutional Court ruled, in TC/0168/13, that all children of foreigners born in the Dominican territory after 1929 are not Dominican nationals. Continue reading

Supreme Court finds third way between Strasbourg and House of Lords

UK Human Rights Blog

ukSupremeCourt_2288070bR (Haney and others) v. Secretary of State for Justice, 10 December 2014read judgment

Indeterminate sentences and the inadequate funding of rehabilitation during them has posed problems since Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) sentences hamstrung the system. The courts here and in Strasbourg have been in two minds what to do about cases where prisoners have not received the assistance they ought to have received – and hence are not, by domestic standards, ready for release.

Two solutions have been proposed to date. The House of Lords in R (James)  [2009] UKHL 22 decided that this did not amount to a breach of Article 5 of the Convention. When James got to Strasbourg, the ECtHR (2013) 56 EHRR 12 disagreed; continued detention was unlawful.

The Supreme Court found a third way, as we shall see. Another example of our courts’ increasing confidence when confronted with a Strasbourg decision they think…

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Restrictions on books in prisons declared unlawful by the High Court

UK Human Rights Blog

Cornerstone-bookshopR (on the application of Gordon-Jones) v Secretary of State for Justice and Governor of HM Prison Send [2014] EWHC 3997 (Admin)read judgment

Contrary to what some media reports would have us believe, Prison Service Instruction (“PSI”) 30/2013 did not impose an absolute ban on books in prisons. It did, however, impose severe restrictions on the possession or acquisition of books which a prisoner can treat as his or her own. The High Court has found that those restrictions could not be justified by the limited provision of prison library services and are therefore unlawful.

The Claimant is a prisoner serving an indefinite sentence for the protection of the public at HMP Send. She has a doctorate in English literature and a serious passion for reading. The books she wants to read are often not the sort which are required by fellow prisoners or readily available through the…

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Malala and the Post-Postcolonial Child

Article by Sarah M. Field (Cross-posted, courtesy of Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights, University College Cork, Ireland.)

‘Malala is not alone’ said the deliverer of the 2014 Annual Grotius Lecture of the American Society of International Law — Radhika Coomaraswamy. Held within these four simple words are children’s indivisible worlds, where embodied vulnerability lives in continuous, dynamic juxtaposition with their evolving capacities. So too, are ‘the interrelations of subjugation and independence’ of the distinguished discussant’s response — Diane Marie Amann. Subjugated, Malala seized, shaped, and expressed her right to education. And for this act of subversion she was silenced; or at least the ultimate silencer was triggered and failed. Herein the depth of the connection between aspects of those interrelations (those of subjugation and self-determination) is held within the individual of Malala. However those four words (‘Malala is not alone’) also illumine their broader dimensions.

In her word-selection, Radhika, evokes both presence and absence (the presence of Malala and absence of others). And, in so doing, she provokes reflection, illumining the subjugation in presence and self-determination in absence. Of the two, the invocation of absence is perhaps the most powerful. In suggesting the unseen it conjures those intimate relations of subjugation: invisibility, exclusion and above all silencing. However this absence subsists also within the presence of Malala: less the individual and more her celebrated status. Viewed another way, the latter, lives, at least partially, because of absence: the perception of absence; the perceived exceptionality of Malala’s status as child, her gender identity and position as a child human rights defender. However the former Special Representative only evokes absence: she speaks of presence — the presence of other child-human rights defenders. Continue reading

Why Somali pirates got damages from Strasbourg

UK Human Rights Blog

disaster2008_Ponant14Ali Samatar and others v. France, 4 December 2014, ECtHR, Fifth Section, read judgment 

There is a good deal of froth about this case in the media, with little of it looking at what our pirates got their damages for. I also suspect that some of the hostility comes from elements who may not wish to trouble themselves with a judgment only in French. So let’s have a quick look at what the case was actually about. 

The surrounding facts are terrifying but France’s liability to pay damages occurred for mundane reasons, as we shall see.

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