DNA retention by police

January 7, 2007

What is DNA? DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, the chemical that carries the genetic code for all human life. The study of DNA is important not only for increasing medical knowledge, but also for forensic purposes: because each individual’s DNA is both highly complex and unique to that person (or, at the very least, shared […]

Deportation on grounds of national security

What is deportation on grounds of national security? Under section 15 of the Immigration Act 1971, the Home Secretary has a very broad power to deport any foreign national whose removal from the UK he or she believes would be ‘conducive to the public good’. In Secretary of State for the Home Department v Rehman,(([2001] […]

Intercept evidence

What is intercept evidence? An ‘intercept’ is the technical term for the covert interception of private messages (whether via phone, post or email) by police and intelligence services. The most well-known form of interception is a telephone tap. However, with the rise of new technologies, increasing numbers of intercepts are made on electronic communications, such […]

Jury trial and serious fraud

January 6, 2007

Why is jury trial a human rights issue? Neither the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) nor the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) expressly guarantee the right to jury trial. This is unsurprising, given the different legal systems in place across the world and in the Council of Europe. Further, it is […]

Public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998

Why does the definition of ‘public authority’ matter? S6 Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) makes it unlawful for a public authority to act in a way that is incompatible with a person’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. Another way of putting this is to say that s6 imposes a duty on all […]

Equalities review

What is the Equalities Review? The Equalities Review was set up two years ago by the government in order to provide an understanding of the long-term, underlying causes of disadvantage, make practical recommendations on key policy priorities and inform the modernisation of equality legislation and the development of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights […]

Discrimination law review

What is the Discrimination Law Review? The Discrimination Law Review (DLR) was set up in February 2005 to ‘undertake a fundamental review of discrimination and legislation in Great Britain, and bring forward proposals for a clearer and more streamlined equality legislation framework, which produces better outcomes for those who experience disadvantage.’ The government asked it […]

Pre-charge detention in terrorism cases

What is pre-charge detention? Pre-charge detention is a shorthand term for the period that a person can be detained by the police between being arrested and being either charged with a criminal offence or released. What is the difference between pre-charge and post-charge detention? Once a person has been charged with a criminal offence, they […]

Legal aid and human rights

January 7, 2006

Is legal aid a human right? Yes, in certain circumstances. Under Article 6(1) ECHR everyone has the general right is ‘to a fair … hearing’ in the determination of civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge. This implies an appropriate degree of ‘equality of arms’. In relation to criminal offences, Article 6(3)(c) everyone […]