Is religious affiliation a private matter? JR20 v Facebook Ireland

In JR20 v Facebook Ireland Ltd [2017] NICA 48, the Court of Appeal was asked to rule on whether the respondent, J20, could have a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to the religious affiliation of his adult children. At first instance, Colton J had ruled in favour of J20 and awarded him £3,000 general damages in respect of Facebook Ireland’s misuse of private information. Facebook appealed [1]. Continue reading

“Assisted dying” and Article 8 again – Conway v S of S for Justice

Mr Noel Conway, who is 67 and suffering from motor neurone disease, has lost the latest round in his bid to allow doctors to prescribe him a lethal dose of drugs when his health deteriorates further. His legal team had argued that he faced a stark and unfair choice: he could either bring about his own death while still physically able to do so, or await death with no control over how and when it came. Continue reading

Supreme Court to hear appeal on opposite-sex civil partnerships

S 1(1) Civil Partnership Act 2004 stipulates that only a same-sex couple may conclude a civil partnership: “A civil partnership is a relationship between two people of the same sex…”. Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan have sought judicial review of that provision and have been unsuccessful both at first instance and in the Court of Appeal.

The BBC now reports that the Supreme Court has given them permission to appeal against the ruling in Steinfeld & Anor v The Secretary of State for Education [2017] EWCA Civ 81, Continue reading

The Prevent Duty, free speech and privacy: Butt

In Butt v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2017] EWHC 1930 (Admin), Dr Salman Butt, a British citizen and practising Muslim, challenged the lawfulness of revised Prevent Duty Guidance and the role of the Home Office Extremism Analysis Unit (EAU) in collecting and storing personal data. Continue reading

Strasbourg upholds Belgian niqab ban: Belcacemi and Dakir

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled on two Belgian cases involving bans on wearing the niqab in public.

The background

In Belcacemi and Oussar v Belgium [2017] ECHR 655 [in French], the applicants – Ms Samia Belcacemi (a Belgian national) and Ms Yamina Oussar (a Moroccan national living in Belgium) – challenged the Belgian Law of 1 June 2011 banning the wearing in public places of clothing which partially or totally covers the face. Continue reading

Abortion and human rights in Northern Ireland [updated]

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal by the Attorney General, John Larkin QC, against the Order made by Horner J at first instance in which he held that the abortion law in Northern Ireland was incompatible with the UK’s obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 in the circumstances where the foetus was diagnosed with a fatal foetal abnormality or where the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest. It quashed the declaration and concluded, by a majority, that the Court should not intervene in what was a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly to decide. Continue reading

Access for Northern Ireland women to free abortion in England: R (A and B)

By a 3-2 majority, the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal in R (A and B) v Secretary of State for Health [2017] UKSC 41.

Background

In 2012, A, a 15-year-old woman resident in Northern Ireland became pregnant. She used the services of a private clinic in England to secure an abortion accompanied by B, her mother (and litigation friend), at a total cost of £900 including travel. She did so because she reasonably believed that she would not be able to obtain an abortion in Northern Ireland or through the NHS in England because she was ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland.
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