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October 2015

House of Commons MPs reject ‘right to die’ legislation

On 11th September the House of Commons rejected legislation to allow adults with fewer than 6 months to live the right to ask for medical help to end their own life. 

The Assisted Dying Bill was introduced following last year’s UK Supreme Court decision, R (Nicklinson & Anor) v Ministry of Justice [2014] UKSC 38, which stated that Courts did not have the authority to rule on the right to die; it was a matter for Parliament to decide through legislation.  


Domestic Servitude victim awarded damages in UK’s first caste discrimination claim

On 17th September, an Employment Tribunal awarded £184,000 in unpaid wages to an Indian woman of low caste kept in domestic servitude by her UK employers for 4 ½ years. 

Ms Tirkey was recruited from one of India’s poorest states as her employers wanted someone of a low caste who would be ‘…not merely of service but servile’.  Caste is a hereditary division rooted in Hindu society, based on factors such as wealth, rank or occupation. 

Discrimination, Slavery & Human Trafficking

Withdrawal of DLA for children in hospital can amount to human rights breach

The UK Supreme Court has ruled that the withdrawal of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) from a child in hospital for more than 84 days can amount to a breach of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

Cameron Mathieson, a 3 year old child who was born with bowel problems and cystic fibrosis, was hospitalised from July 2010 to August 2011.  During this time his parents continued to be Cameron’s primary caregivers including administering twice daily physiotherapy and feeding him via a tube. 


IVF sector errors led to doubts over legal parental status

Judgment was handed down in the family division of the High Court in England and Wales on 11th September in a case where seven couples, who had assisted reproduction through sperm donor, issued proceedings for a declaration that they were the legal parents of their offspring.


Family Law

Court quashes PSNI’s decision to give Informed Warning to youth

Criminal Law, Right to Fair Trial