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April 2015

ECtHR refuses Stephen Gough permission for a new hearing.

Case of GOUGH v. THE UNITED KINGDOM (Application no. 49327/11)

In our October 2014 Update we covered the case of Stephen Gough, aka ‘the naked rambler’.  Mr Gough claimed that his repeated convictions and imprisonments for offences associated with being nude in public violated his rights under Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Criminal Law, ECHR Art. 8

Landmark judgment on informed consent in medical cases

Montgomery v. Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11

On 11th March 2015 the UK Supreme Court overturned the 1980s Sidaway judgment on informed consent in medical cases.  In Sidaway the House of Lords held that it was, on the whole, a matter for doctors to decide how much to tell patients about the risks of treatment, and that therefore you could not sue your doctor in negligence for failing to inform you of a risk if other reasonable doctors would not have informed you of the risk.

Medical Law

Court finds legal aid rules in domestic violence cases lawful

R (on the application of Rights of Women) v The Secretary of State for Justice [2015] EWHC 35 (Admin)                                           

In our September Update we confirmed that permission had been granted for a judicial review, challenging the lawfulness of legal aid changes affecting victims of domestic violence in England and Wales. 

Family Law, Legal Aid

Successful challenge to judicial review legal aid regulations

R (on the application of Ben Hoare Bell Solicitors and others) v The Lord Chancellor (2015) EWHC 523 (Admin)

On 3rd March 2015 the High Court of England and Wales held that judicial review regulations, introduced in April 2014, are unlawful.

Legal Aid

UK Supreme Court rules ‘benefits cap’ lawful

R (on the application of SG and others (previously JS and others)) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2015) UKSC 16

The UK Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal on the ‘benefits cap’ which limits the benefits an out-of work family can receive to £500 per week.  The cap was introduced in 2013 and is applied regardless of family size or circumstances such as rental costs.

Budget Cuts & Welfare Reform

Education Minister’s decision to close rural primary school quashed

On Friday 27th March 2015 Mr Justice Treacy handed down judgment in the judicial review taken by Clintyclay PS over a decision by John O’Dowd to close the catholic-maintained primary school.

With Clintyclay’s enrolment having dropped below 30 pupils, the Council for Catholic Maintained Schools (CCMS) had proposed that it should close. An alternative proposal advanced by the school’s Board of Governors to change its management to grant-maintained integrated status was rejected.

Education, Local Developments, Northern Ireland High Court