In this week’s Digest, the Supreme Court gave judgment in three cases on whether diplomats are immune from claims for their employees, the radical cleric Anjem Choudary was refused application to appeal his conviction, and the Court of Appeal considered costs in private prosecutions.
In the matter of an application by Jason Loughlin for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland)  UKSC 63
Judgment (available here) handed down by Lord Kerr in the Supreme Court on 18 October 2017
This appeal arose out of judicial review proceedings commenced in Ireland. The question for the court concerned the circumstances in which sentences, which had been passed on offenders who had assisted the authorities, should be referred back to the sentencing court under s. 74 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.
In August 2008, the Stewarts, former members of a loyalist paramilitary organisation in Northern Ireland, arrived at a police station in Northern Ireland and informed police of their involvement in the commission of a number of offences, including a murder in 2000. They also provided information regarding the alleged involvement of others in those offences. On the basis of the information provided, the Stewarts entered into agreements with the prosecuting authorities to help with the ongoing investigation, provide truthful evidence at trial, and plead guilty to the offences they had committed. In return, their sentences would be reduced. These agreements expressly stipulated that failure to comply with those agreements could result in their sentences being remitted back to the sentencing court for review pursuant to s. 74 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police (SOCP) Act 2005. In this case, in recognition of their assistance, the tariff for the Stewarts’ life sentences was reduced by 75% and they both served three years in prison.
A number of people were charged on the information provided. However, after a long trial, only one person was convicted but this was not on the basis of the information provided by the Stewarts. One of the acquitted, the applicant for judicial review in this case, sought to review the decision of the prosecutor not to refer the case of the Stewarts back to the sentencing court on the basis they had not provided truthful information and so were in breach of the agreement. The application succeeded before the Divisional Court and the prosecutor appealed.
The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the appeal, Lord Kerr giving the judgment of the court. s. 74 of the SOCP Act 2005 provided that before deciding to refer a sentence back to the sentencing court, a prosecutor must be satisfied that (i) the assisting offender had knowingly failed to comply with the terms with the terms of the agreement made with the prosecuting authorities and (ii) such a referral was in the interests of justice. In this case, the prosecutor had taken the view that it would not be in the interests of justice to refer the decision back to the sentencing court and, in doing so, she identified five factors: (i) the nature and extent of assistance provided; (ii) the time which had elapsed since the original sentence had been passed; (iii) whether the imposition of a revised sentence might be considered oppressive; (iv) the potential damage to public confidence in the justice system if a referral was not made; and (v) the prospects of a successful application to the reviewing court.
The Divisional Court had erred in considering that the key question was whether circumstances had changed since the original sentence had been passed. This suggested that the prosecutor must first consider whether there had been a change of circumstances and then, if a change had occurred, unless there were countervailing circumstances, she was bound to conclude that it was in the interests of justice that the case be referred. This was the wrong approach, since it would require the prosecutor to refer any case wherein there had been a change of circumstances. Thus, the second question, whether the referral was in the interests of justice, would be deprived of any meaningful content. s. 74 does not impose any constraints on how the prosecutor should approach the ‘interests of justice’ question.
Benkharbouche v. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and Libya (Appellant) v Janah (Respondent)  UKSC 62
Judgment (available here) handed down by Lord Sumption in the Supreme Court on 18 October 2017.
This appeal concerned whether Libya and Sudan were entitled to rely on the State Immunity Act 1978 in the actions brought by the respondents for breach of contract and EU rights; the appeal was unanimously dismissed – Libya and Sudan were not entitled to rely on that provision
Ms Janah is a Moroccan national, who was recruited in Libya to work as a domestic worker for the Libyan government at its London embassy. Ms Benkharbouche is also a Moroccan national. She was recruited in Iraq to work for Sudan at its London embassy. Both were dismissed from their employment and then issued claims in the Employment Tribunal against each country respectively. Their claims were based on breach of contract and domestic UK statutes, but also breach of EU law. At first instance the Employment Tribunal dismissed the claims on the basis that Libya and Sudan were entitled to state immunity under the State Immunity (SI) Act 1978.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) heard the appeals and allowed them, holding that the those sections of the SI Act on which Sudan and Libya sought to rely were incompatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, which reflects the rights in EU law to a remedy before a tribunal. The EAT consequently disapplied ss. 4(2)(b) and 16(1)(a) of the SI Act insofar as those section barred the claims which were based on EU law. Those sections, respectively, provided for immunity where the claimant either (i) at the time of the contract is neither a UK national nor UK resident; or (ii) works for the foreign state’s diplomatic mission. On appeal to the Court of Appeal, the judgment of the EAT was affirmed and those sections of the SI Act were declared to be incompatible with the right to access a court under article 6 of the ECHR.
On appeal to the Supreme Court, their Lordships and Ladyship concurred that the correct test to be applied was whether the relevant provisions was inconsistent with international law. On a customary view of international law, a foreign state is immune where a claim is based on sovereign acts. Thus, there is no rule of blanket immunity, as the Secretary of State had argued. Whether a foreign state’s employment of the claimant constitutes a sovereign act depends on the nature of that employer-employee relationship. The employment of domestic staff in a diplomatic mission is a private act, rather than an inherently sovereign act. Thus, in respect of s. 16(1)(a), the court rejected the appellant’s submission that a state is entitled in international law to absolute immunity in respect of the employment of embassy staff.
As for s. 4(2)(b), it was held that a person’s nationality and residence at the date of the employment contract are not proper grounds for denying a person access to the courts. Thus, neither Sudan nor Libya were entitled to immunity in respect of these claims. The sections were held to be incompatible with article 6 of the ECHR and, since EU law prevails, disapplied. Thus, those parts of the claim based on EU law were remitted to the tribunal for determination.
Reyes v. Al-Malki and another  UKSC 61
Judgment (available here) handed down by Lords Sumption and Wilson in the Supreme Court on 18 October 2017.
This appeal concerned whether the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 applied to the respondents to give them diplomatic immunity such that the Employment Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to determine the appellant’s claim. The respondents had cross-appealed on the grounds they had not been validly served with the claim form; the appeal was allowed, the respondents did not have diplomatic immunity, and the cross-appeal dismissed.
Between January and March 2011 the respondents had employed the appellant at their London residence. The respondent was a member of the diplomatic staff at the Saudi Arabian Embassy in London. The appellant alleges that the respondent mistreated her during the course of her employment and that she is a victim of trafficking. She thus issued proceedings in the Employment Tribunal [“ET”].
The Court of Appeal had held that ET did not have jurisdiction over the claim since the respondent was entitled to diplomatic immunity under article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 (“the convention”), which was incorporated into UK law by section 2(1) of the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964. Under Article 37(1) of the convention, the respondent’s wife also benefited from the same immunity. The appellant appealed to the Supreme Court and the respondents cross-appealed on the basis that, in any event, they had not been served with the claim form correctly.
The court dealt first with the cross-appeal. The service of a claim form had been by post. It was argued that this violated the protections conferred on diplomats and their residences by articles 29 and 30 of the convention. It was held that the use of post does not involve any trespass against the diplomat’s residence or person, it merely conveys information. The cross-appeal was accordingly dismissed.
In respect of the substantive appeal, the court emphasised the distinction the convention draws between the acts of diplomats that are performed in the exercise of an “official function” and those that are not. It is only the former that attract diplomatic immunity when a diplomat’s post has come to an end (so-called “residual immunity” under article 39(2)). The respondents were only protected by residual immunity, as Mr Al-Malaki’s posting had come to an end. The employment of the appellant as domestic staff did not fall within the “official functions” exception. Therefore, the respondents were not entitled to rely upon their residual immunity and the appeal was allowed.
Lord Sumption, with whom Lord Neuberger agreed, expressed the view (obiter) that the respondents would have been entitled to rely on their immunity under article 31(1) of the convention had he still been in his post (see paras 51 et seq.). The exception under article 31(1)(c) of the convention, which purports to provide an instance where immunity would not apply because the diplomat was carrying on some other commercial activity, did not apply. In the view of Lord Sumption, the employment and treatment of the appellant did not constitute a different (commercial or business) pursuit to his diplomatic duties.
Lord Wilson, with whom Lady Hale and Lord Clarke agreed, welcomed the lack of any binding decision as to whether the respondents would have been immune. There were a number of reasons for this: (i) the exploitation of migrant domestic workers by diplomats is a significant problem; (ii) there is a global determination to combat human trafficking; (iii) the employment of trafficked persons may form part of wider commercial activity and so fall within the exception to blanket immunity under article 31(1)(c); and (iv) it is not clear how recognition of the respondent’s immunity would help further the aims of the convention.
Armes v. Nottinghamshire County Council  UKSC 60
Judgment (available here) handed down by Lord Reed in the Supreme Court on 18 October 2017.
This appeal raised the question of whether a local authority could be liable, either on the grounds of (a) breach of a non-delegable duty or (b) vicarious liability, for the abuse that a foster child had suffered at the hands of foster parents; the appeal was allowed by a majority of 4 – 1 (Lord Hughes dissenting) on the basis of vicarious liability.
The appellant was in the care of the respondent local authority from the age of seven to eighteen. She was placed with foster carers by the respondent and was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused. The case proceeded on the basis that the local authority was not negligent in the selection or supervision of the foster parents, but that it was nevertheless liable for the abuse perpetrated by the foster carers.
Leave to appeal was given on two grounds:
- the local authority are in breach of a non-delegable duty to ensure reasonable care is taken for the safety of children in care while they are in foster care; and further, and in the alternative
- applying the principles set out in Cox Ministry of Justice  UKSC 10, the local authority are vicariously liable for the acts of foster carers.
The appeal did not succeed on the first ground as such a proposition would fix local authorities with too wide ranging and onerous a duty. The court gave three reasons. The first was that imposing strict liability on local authorities for the lack of care would create a conflict with the their statutory duty under s. 18(1) of the Children Act 1980, to give first consideration to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of the child, and their interests in avoiding exposure to such liability. Second, the Children Act 1980 required the local authority to ‘discharge’ the duty to provide accommodation and maintenance for a child, including placing the child with foster parents. This implies that duty is not to provide the child with day to day care, but rather to arrange for and monitor the performance of that function by the foster parents. Third, the Secretary of State makes regulations under s. 22 of the Children Act 1980, imposing obligations on local authorities in respect of the boarding out of children. This implies that the duty is discharged by the boarding out of a child in accordance with those regulations and it does not impose any obligations in respect of day to day care of the child. Thus, there could not be said to be any delegation since no statute fixed the local authority with responsibility for the day to day care of children.
In respect of the second ground, the court held that, applying the principles laid down in Cox v. Ministry of Justice  UKSC 10 the respondent local authority was vicarious liable for the acts of its foster parents; considering:
- the relationship between the activity of the foster parents and the local authority, it could be properly said that the torts of the foster parents were committed in the course of activity carried on for the benefit of the local authority;
- the creation of potential risk, the local authority’s placement of children in care with foster parents created a relationship of authority and trust in circumstances where close control cannot be exercised by the local authority and thus children were particularly vulnerable to abuse;
- control, the local authority exercised a sufficient degree of control over the foster parents; and
- ability to pay damages, most foster parents would not have sufficient means to meet a substantial award of damages, but local authorities could more easily compensate claimants.
Lord Hughes dissented on the basis that the imposition of vicarious liability would extend liability to family and friend placement scenarios under the current statutory regime and so would affect a local authority’s willingness to exercise that option.
Anjem Choudary and Mohamed Mizanur Rahman v. Regina  EWCA Crim 1606
Judgment (available here) handed down by Sharp LJ in the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) on 19 October 2017. Alison Morgan and Ben Lloyd appeared for the Crown.
These proceedings concerned renewed applications for permission to appeal against convictions for offences contrary to s. 12(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000; the application was unanimously refused as there were no grounds on which the convictions could be considered unsafe. The judgement is complex.
The applicants were convicted in July 2016 on separate counts of inviting support for a proscribed organisation contrary to s. 12(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000 (“the 2000 Act”). The conviction was founded upon evidence that they had offered support for ISIS in a number of talks posted on the internet and an Oath of Allegiance ceremony. The applicants were subsequently sentenced to five and a half years’ imprisonment. The applicants renewed their applications for permission to appeal against their convictions after that permission was refused by the single judge.
Before the substantive trial, during a preparatory hearing, the then defendants asked the judge to rule on the legal ingredients of the offence with which they were charged; i.e. one contrary to s. 12(1)(a) of the 2000 Act. The judge ruled that the prosecution was required to prove that:
- the organisation in question was a proscribed organisation within the meaning of the 2000 Act;
- a defendant used words which in fact invited support for that proscribed organisation; and
- the defendant knew at the time he did so he was inviting support for a proscribed organisation.
Permission to appeal against that ruling was granted. In the Court of Appeal, the defendants argued that the judge’s broader interpretation of “inviting support was incompatible with article 9 and 10 of the ECHR and that the criminalisation of speech inviting support for a proscribed organisation was disproportionate unless the speech advocated or encouraged violence. The court rejected those arguments and dismissed the appeal (see R v. Choudary and Rahman  EWCA Crim. 61;  3 All ER 459). Importantly, in respect of the ECHR arguments raised, the court held that ‘the right to freedom of expression is not absolute. Interference with that right may be justified, if it is prescribed by law, has one or more the legitimate aims specified in article 10(2), is necessary in a democratic society for achieving such an aim or aims … and is proportionate to the legitimate aim or aims pursued’ (see R v. Choudary, para. 67); such interference was justified on the facts.
At the close of the trial, after the evidence, the judge gave ruling on submissions made by the applicants as to the terms in which the jury should be directed. At that stage, the applicants contended that the jury should be directed that they could not convict either defendant solely on the basis of one of one or both of his lectures, and if they were unsure that a defendant was a party to the Oath of Allegiance they would be bound to acquit him. This position was based on the sufficiency of the evidence, having regard to the content of the talks. In the alternative, it was said that to permit a conviction on the talks alone would be an infringement of the applicants’ article 10 right to freedom of expression. These arguments were rejected, the judge bound by the judgment of the Court of Appeal in R v. Choudary.
Against this background, the court turned to consider the grounds of appeal.
Choudary 1 – the judge was wrong to permit the jury to convict on the basis of the talks alone since these “merely sought to assess from a religious perspective, the legitimacy or otherwise of the Caliphate declared by ISIS, and the offence under s. 12 does not encompass mere objective assessment”. This was rejected on the basis it merely invited the court to substitute their own view for that of the jury’s.
Rahman 1 – the judge was wrong to reject the submission made on behalf of Rahman that he should direct the jury that neither two talks relied on against him went beyond an expression of his views on Sharia Law. This was a question for the jury to assess.
Choudary 2; Rahman 4 – the judge was wrong to direct the jury that mere failure to denounce a proscribed organisation could amount to “support” under s. 12. This was not what the judge directed (see judgment para. ).
Choudary 3 – the judge was wrong to hold that his talks included any invitation to others to support ISIS. This, again, was an issue for the jury to assess.
Choudary 4; Rahman 5 – the judge was wrong to rule that the prosecution did not violate articles 9 and 10 of the ECHR. This was unarguable as it seeks to go behind the decision of the Court of Appeal (see above).
Choudary 6; Rahman 2 – the judge was wrong to admit evidence said to be probative of their support ISIS before it was proscribed and at a time when inviting support of ISIS was therefore lawful. The judge was right to admit such evidence since it was relevant to show the applicants’ view of the organisation.
Choudary 7; Rahman 3 – the judge was wrong to direct the jury that the background evidence could itself found the basis for conviction. The court were not convinced that this was arguable since there was no error in the judge’s approach: he directed that the jury should decide on all the evidence whether the offence was made out over the indictment period.
R (R) v. The National Police Chief’s Council and another  EWHC 2586 (Admin)
Judgment (available here) handed down by Green J in the High Court on 17 October 2017.
These judicial review proceedings concerned whether the disclosure to and use of information by the police, which was held on and retrievable from police records, interfered with the claimant’s article 8 rights; the claim succeeded.
The claimant had received a reprimand when she was thirteen for helping three other girls, of similar age, to steal a sarong from Primark (“the reprimand”). The claimant had no other contact with the criminal justice system. However, when she applied, in April 2015, for a job with South Wales Police as a service support officer, her application was rejected in accordance with the police’s extant policy – ‘Convictions and Cautious Criteria – Recruitment Vetting and NPPV Levels 2 and 3’ (“the policy”). The claimant subsequently applied to have the reprimand removed, but this application was rejected and the claimant was informed that the reprimand would, in accordance with policy, not be removed until the claimant reached one hundred years of age. Subsequently, the claimant was referred to a consultant psychiatrist, who had not doubt in concluding that the reprimand’s effect on the claimant’s ability to find jobs had been a ‘major factor in continuing her depression’, such that ‘it [was] essential for her mental health that this “reprimand” is removed such that she can continue with a productive working life’ (judgment, para. , citing expert’s report).
The court held that the decision letter was adopted in violation to article 8 in that it reflected a policy whereby historical low-level reprimands served to preclude employment in a supporting role within the police. Further, the policy itself was held to be unlawful in that it contravened article 8 in that it prevented the employment of a person in the position of the claimant in either a supporting role or as an officer or a cadet.
The NPCC informed the court that a new Vetting Code of Practice is imminently to be placed before Parliament which has been approved to the home secretary. The form of declaratory relief granted was limited, since the policy in question was currently under scrutiny.
Kalah Liban v. Secretary of State from the Home Department  EWHC 2551 (Admin)
Judgment (available here) handed down by Laing J in the High Court on 18 October 2017.
This decision relates substantively to a challenge to the defendant’s refusal to (i) accept the claimant’s representations regarding a fresh claim and (ii) revoke a deportation order made in November 2012. Permission to apply for judicial review was granted in respect of (i), but was refused in respect of (ii).
The claimant entered the county on a false passport in January 2005 and claimed asylum on 1st February 2005. The defendant refused that claim and the claimant appealed to the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (“AIT”). This appeal was dismissed and the claimant then applied, unsuccessfully, for statutory review of that decision.
On 23rd March 2006, the claimant was convicted of three counts: destroying property, possessing an imitation firearm at the time of arrest and reckless arson. He was sentenced to imprisonment for public protection and the court recommended his deportation. A deportation order was signed in November 2012 and the claimant appealed successfully to the First Tier Tribunal (“FTT”). At that hearing, the FTT accepted that the claimant was Christian, but had concealed that fact for fear of consequences of disclosure. This fact disclosed grounds for concern that the claimant might face persecution if deported. This decision was, however, reversed on the defendant’s appeal to the Upper Tribunal (“UT”): the FTT had not heard any expert evidence on the status of Christian persecution in the claimants area of residence (Puntland) and there was evidence to suggest that such persecution did not happen in Puntland.
Following the claimant’s period of detention, he was released on direction of the parole board but detained, under immigration powers, pending his deportation pursuant to s. 36 of the UK Borders Act 2007. The defendant further considered and rejected submissions from the claimant – which included an expert report – and concluded that the claimant had not demonstrated that he had a well-founded fear of persecution or that there was a risk of engaging articles 2 or 3 of the ECHR if he were deported (this constitutes “the first decision”).
The claimant again availed himself of the opportunity to make further representations to the defendant regarding his deportation and these were accompanied with a second report from the same expert. This report concluded that the claimant, as a Somali Christian, would certainly face serious persecution and harassment in Puntland. The defendant, however, reached the same conclusion as in the first decision, and further added that these representations did not constitute a ‘fresh claim’ within the meaning of paragraph 353 of the Immigration Rules HC 395 (“the rules”) (this constitutes “the second decision”).
The court held the defendant was entitled to conclude, in line with the test in paragraph 353 of the rules, that the new material, taken with the material she had already considered, did not create a real prospect of the claimant succeeding before the FTT, as is required by the second limb of the test at paragraph 353 of the rules. But, the judge went on to say that, since the defendant was disagreeing with the report of someone who was ostensibly an expert, permission to review that aspect of the decision – that is that the representations did not give rise to a ‘fresh claim’ within para. 353 of the rules – would be granted.
With regard the substantive application, i.e. in respect of the deportation order, permission was refused. The claimant had argued that deportation would breach his article 8 rights. Even though the claimant’s challenge to the defendant’s second decision was not framed in the manner of an article 8 challenge, and an article 8 argument had been dealt with in previous appeals, the judge nevertheless considered whether there was any substance to that particular submission. The judge determined that there was no way that the claimant’s article 8 rights could outweigh the public interest considerations of deporting the claimant, given the claimant’s previous convictions for dangerous crimes.
Alisson Soares Pimenta v. Government of The Republic of Brazil  EWHC 2588 (Admin)
Judgment (available here) handed down by Hamblen LJ in the High Court on 19 October 2017.
This is the appeal against a decision of the Deputy Senior District Judge to refer the appellant’s case to the Secretary of State to consider his extradition; the decision was challenged on the grounds extradition was incompatible with his rights under Article 3 and/or Article 6 of the ECHR; the appeal was dismissed.
The appellant is the subject of an accusation extradition request from the Respondent government, which alleges that the appellant committed two offences of murder on 17th August 2013. The appellant is accused of shooting two individuals in their home during a family celebration. On February 6th 2013, an Interpol Red Notice was issued and on 17th August 2015 the appellant was arrested and appeared before the Westminster Magistrates Court. If convicted, the appellant would be sentenced to a term of up to 30 years.
The grounds on which the appellant appealed to the High Court were two fold; namely that:
- extradition to Brazil would engender a real risk of detention in prison conditions so materially poor, overcrowded, violent, and detrimental to his welfare as to constitute a breach of his rights under Article 3 ECHR (“the article 3 challenge”); and
- there was a real risk that lengthy pre-trial delays and the conduct of trial by video-link amounted to a breach of the appellant’s rights under Article 6 ECHR (“the Article 6 challenge”).
The Article 3 challenge
The judge who referred the appellant’s case to the Secretary of State to consider his extradition had a view to a number of expert reports. On appeal, the court also had a view to a recent supplemental report which confirmed that, although prison conditions in the prison in Agreste – where the authorities had confirmed the appellant would be held – had deteriorated, they did not disclose substantial enough grounds to believe that the appellant’s article 3 rights would be infringed. The legal principles to be applied were clear (see Elashmawy v. Italy  EWHC 28 (Admin)) and there was nothing to suggest that the appellant’s detention would lead to any treatment which went beyond what was unavoidable as being inherent in detention. In addition, the appellant had been guaranteed a single holding cell by the Brazilian authorities and this obviated many of the issues raised. The appeal failed on this ground.
The Article 6 challenge
The test for violation of Article 6 rights in the context of extradition was set out in Othman v. UK  55 EEHR 1, paras 258 – 261; generally an Article 6 violation will be made out ‘where the fugitive ha[s] suffered or risked suffering a flagrant denial of justice in the requesting country’ (Othman, para 258). It is, as the court emphasised, a high threshold test.
On the evidence provided, it was clear that the authorities had gathered all the relevant evidence against the appellant and that there had been no delay in bringing their case, nor was there any chronic or systemic delays in the courts trying murder cases where the appellant was to be tried. The fact that he did not have a trial date was unsurprising given that he had yet to be extradited.
As to the issue of trial by video-link, it was recognised that the appellant had a choice as to whether he attended in person or not. Since there was an assurance that, if he chose to do that he would be held in an article 3 compliant establishment, the complaint fell away. In any event, the authorities had agreed, should he choose to appear by video-link, that he would have the benefit of two lawyers to ensure effective communication. The appeal on this ground failed and accordingly was dismissed.
Home Office consultation: Offensive and dangerous weapons new legislation
On 14 October 2017 the government published a consultation relating to legislative proposals on offensive and dangerous weapons. The consultation can be found here.
Consultation Description (taken from gov.uk):
Stopping serious violence is a priority for the government and we are determined to take effective action to protect the public. Police recorded violent crime has increased since 2014 and in the 12 months period ending March 2017, violent crime recorded by the police increased by 18 percent.
The Office for National Statistics have said some of this increase can be attributed to:
- improvements in how police forces record crime
- more victims of domestic violence being willing to come forward to the police
- the creation of new offences and greater awareness of these crimes.
However, some of the increases in certain types of violent crime are thought to be genuine, including rises in offences involving knives and firearms.
The government has already been taking significant action including:
- supporting police enforcement action through ‘Operation Sceptre’ – an ongoing series of weeks of intensified action on knife crime, including:
- targeted stop and searches
- targeting habitual knife carriers
- weapon sweeps
- test purchases of knives from retailers
- surrender bins
- legislating where necessary (for example banning zombie knives in August 2016)
- working with retailers to enforce sales restrictions
- working on prevention through engaging with young people through voluntary sector groups. This was set out in the government’s Modern Crime Prevention Strategy, published in March 2016.
- an action plan to stop the use of acid and other corrosives in violent attacks which is based on:
- support for victims and survivors
- effective law enforcement
- ensuring legislation is applied effectively
- working with retailers to restrict access to acid and other corrosive substances of concern
It is vital that we ensure we do all we can to prevent these horrendous attacks from happening in the first place.
Cherif Bassiouni dies (22 October 2017)
The Egyptian law professor, Cherif Bassiouni, whose work led to the creation of two international criminal courts, has died aged 79. The legal academic is most widely renowned for his contribution to the struggle for global justice and to the revival of the Nuremberg legacy.
The full obituary can be read here.
Russia puts British Putin critic on Interpol wanted list (21 October 2017)
A man who has led an international campaign against the Russian government for the killing of jailed Moscow lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, has been placed on the Interpol wanted list in retaliation. Prominent British businessman Bill Browder was placed on the list as part of a third attempt by Putin to get the activist arrested. Each time, Putin has failed to convince the organisation that his actions are not politically motivated and has thus been criticised for abuses of the system.
The full piece can be read here.
#metoo raises awareness (21 October 2017)
The hashtag ‘metoo’, a phenomenon on social media after the break of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, has dragged the spotlight to less glamorous work places, where the same abuses are taking place. There is outrage that taking sexual abuse to court still poses so many problems.
The full piece can be read here.
Victoria votes to approve voluntary euthanasia bill (20 October 2017)
After a four-day debate, Victoria’s Lower House voted to approve assisted dying legislation. This clears the way for the Upper House to approve the bill and it is believed that there is strong enough support that it will be passed in a few weeks’ time.
The full piece can be read here.
Does Trump’s ownership of hotels violate the constitution? (19 October 2017)
A law suit brought in New York purports to clarify whether, by owning hotels which foreign government officials patronise, the US president is in breach of the Constitution’s “emoluments clause”, which exists to prohibit the bribery of federal officials by foreign governments.
The full piece can be read here.