What is the future for UK human rights?

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Human Rights analysis: What does the future hold for human rights in the UK? Stephanie Harrison QC at Garden Court Chambers warns repealing the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998) would be a seriously retrograde step, that would reverberate around the world.

What does the current legal framework for human rights look like in the UK?

The legal framework for protecting fundamental human rights contained in HRA 1998 achieved an unusual balance between incorporating international human rights standards with existing domestic constitutional arrangements. While requiring judges in HRA 1998, s 3 to take account of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and its jurisprudence in interpreting domestic law as far as possible, it also preserved Parliamentary sovereignty in respect of legislation that was incompatible with the ECHR. Continue reading

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The gaps in the welfare ‘safety net’ and the scope for using judicial review

Desmond Rutledge considers the use of judicial review as a remedy of last resort in welfare benefits cases where the claimant is in financial crisis

The growth of gaps in the welfare safety net – the political backdrop

Since coming into office in May 2010, the Coalition Government has introduced a series of radical and far-reaching changes to the welfare benefits system.  The programme of ‘welfare reform’ is part of a broad-based strategy that aims to address perceived problems in the welfare benefits system, such as high expenditure and poor work incentives.  But the Government maintains that the reforms will not penalise those ‘in genuine need’ (DWP reform: DWP’s welfare reform agenda explained, April 2014, p 3).  Continue reading

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How housing practitioners can use public law arguments to resolve housing benefit issues where a tenant’s home is under threat

Desmond Rutledge explains how housing practitioners can use public law arguments to resolve housing benefit issues where a tenant’s home is under threat due to possession proceedings.

In an article published in this month’s Legal Action Group Magazine (July/August p 24), Desmond Rutledge considers the circumstances in which housing practitioners can use judicial review as a ‘remedy of last resort’ in order to resolve outstanding housing benefit issues where these are the sole cause of the rent arrears which have led to the landlord taking action to repossess the claimant’s home. Continue reading

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What legal aid is still available for work undertaken on welfare benefits post-LASPO?

Desmond Rutledge examines the availability of public funding for welfare benefits cases in the Upper Tribunal and by way of judicial review.

The proposal to remove legal aid for welfare benefits cases

In November 2010, the Government published Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales (Cm 7967), in which it announced that  all work done under the category of welfare benefits would be removed from the scope of civil legal aid.  The stated aim was to ensure that legal aid was targeted for those who need it most.  Work undertaken in relation to welfare benefits was deemed to be of low importance because it is concerned with financial issues rather than with issues of “safety or liberty”Continue reading

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Player Contracts: Football transfers v European Union law: analysis

FIFPro’s recent challenge to the international football transfer system has highlighted that there are a number of issues with the compatibility of the current system with European Law. Ifeanyi Odogwu, a Barrister with Garden Court Chambers, examines FIFPro’s challenge in the light of previous challenges to the international transfer system based on its incompatibility with EU law, and assesses some of the issues that need to be considered.

With the January transfer window closed, the latest criticism of the football transfer system is timely and poses difficult questions for the sport’s governing bodies in relation to compatibility with EU law. FIFPro, the international players’ union, recently released a scathing statement on football transfer policy, announcing a series of challenges aimed at reforming the global transfer system and ‘the current economic make-up’ of the professional game1. Continue reading

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Challenging discretionary housing payments by way of judicial review

Desmond Rutledge looks at the role discretionary housing payments (DHPs) have assumed in the wake of the Government’s welfare reform programme and examines the scope for challenging DHP decisions.

The changing role of discretionary housing payments

The discretionary housing payments (‘DHP’) scheme was established in 2001 under sections 69-70 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000 to enable local authorities to provide further financial assistance to claimants in receipt of housing benefit who required additional help with their housing costs due to a shortfall in the rent due and the amount of housing benefit they receive.  Historically, DHPs have provided short term help to allow applicants extra time to consider their housing options and take reasonable steps to resolve their situation.  Continue reading

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‘Let’s Talk FGM’

Garden Court co-hosts an evening of inspiring talks and lively debate about the issue of FGM with the Fabian Women’s Network. Here, Maria Moodie gives her take on the evening.

Last week, Garden Court Chambers was delighted to welcome the Fabian Women’s Network for an evening of discussion about the pressing issue of female genital mutilation (FGM). On the panel, experts from the fields of law, politics, civil society campaigning and the health services talked about their experiences regarding FGM and made recommendations about what the Government must do if it is serious about ending the practice in the UK. Continue reading

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