Advancing human rights and equality
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October 2016

Law prohibits cohabitee from claiming bereavement damages under Fatal Accidents Act

Smith v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust [2016] EWHC 2208

The High Court found that while the Fatal Accidents Act 1976 prevented unmarried couples from claiming an entitlement to bereavement damages, the right to privacy and family life under the Convention was not engaged.  The Court indicated that it hoped the outcome of this case would provoke further discussion in Parliament about possible reform of the law.

Discrimination, ECHR Art. 8

High Court rules that doctor’s privacy right should be considered prior to disclosing patient report

Private Information & Data Protection

Leave granted to judicially review request for recordings of testimony of NI conflict

A man who had been formerly linked to the IRA was granted leave to judicially review the PSNI and the Public Prosecution Service for issuing an International Letter of Request (ILOR) concerning recordings held at Boston College.

Local Developments

European Court finds that UK breaches right to liberty due to six-month delay

V.M. v the United Kingdom, Application No. 49734/12

The European Court of Human Rights found that part of an individual’s detention prior to deportation violated the right to liberty under Article 5 of the ECHR.  The applicant entered the UK illegally in 2003 with her son.  Shortly afterwards she was charged with and pleaded guilty to child cruelty.  She was granted bail after which she absconded for two years.

Deportation, ECHR Art. 5, Right to Liberty

Temporary absence of legal advice for terror suspects does not violate Article 6

ECHR Art. 6, Right to Fair Trial

Irish High Court rules: no duty on Facebook to remove defamatory material

Fred Muwema v Facebook Ireland Limited [2016] IEHC519

The High Court of Ireland ordered Facebook to disclose the identity and location of an individual who was operating a page containing defamatory content.  However, it did not grant injunctions requiring Facebook either to remove the posts or to prevent the material in them from being re-posted, given that the defendant could rely on statutory defences.


European Court finds that inability to cross-examine witness does not result in unfairness

Simon Price v United Kingdom, Application no. 15602/07

The European Court of Human Rights unanimously decided that proceedings which led to the conviction of the applicant for drug trafficking offences did not infringe Article 6.  This was despite the fact that the applicant was unable to cross-examine a key prosecution witness due to his refusal to attend court.

ECHR Art. 6, European Law, Right to Fair Trial

European Court finds that British Gurka pension scheme is not discriminatory

British Gurkha Welfare Society and others v The United Kingdom, Application No. 44818/11

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that while Gurkha pension entitlements are less than those of other soldiers in the British Army, it made no finding of unlawful discrimination.  The applicants were two former Gurkha soldiers and the British Gurkha Welfare Society (BGWS).

Discrimination, Pensions

Leave granted to judicially review law criminalising those who pay for sexual services

The High Court has granted leave for a judicial review against the Department of Justice, concerning the Human Trafficking and Exploitation (Criminal Justice and Support for Victims) Act (NI) 2015.  The legislation allows people to be convicted for paying for sexual services in Northern Ireland.  The legislation was introduced in 2015 by a private member’s bill.


• Leave granted to judicially review law criminalising those who pay for sexual services