Tag Archives: High Court

Terminally-ill woman wins discrimination court case against DWP. What about those like her who have already died?

Lorraine Cox.

This is a genuine landmark judgement against the Department for Work and Pensions, and a boost for anyone with a terminal illness who cannot predict when the end will come.

It is also a blow against the tastelessness with which the Tory-run government department carries out its affairs, without the slightest pang of sensitivity about demanding that someone identifies the moment of their own death.

(For a similarly tone-deaf attitude, consider the rule that says single mothers must provide details of their rape before receiving child benefit for a third child.)

But what struck This Writer most about the story was the number of people who were shocked to read it, after I published my piece about it last week.

Lorraine Cox is only the latest in a long line of people with terminal illnesses to have suffered prejudice from the DWP, yet it seems many readers were learning about it for the first time.

The ruling that people with terminal illnesses can only receive PIP if they are likely to die within six months has been in place for years – as has the list of such illnesses on which the DWP relies.

The government has used it to discriminate against thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people before Ms Cox won her case.

What about them? What about their family and/or carers if they have passed on.

Are they due for compensation after the DWP ignored their pleas for support in their/their relatives’/friends’ twilight days?

Will they be permitted to demand recompense and restitution from the Tory-run DWP? Or will they be ignored?

I hope these are all matters the judicial review will consider.

A woman who has motor neurone disease was unjustifiably denied fast-tracked disability benefits because it was not clear how long she would survive, the High Court has ruled.

In a landmark verdict, the judge ruled Lorraine Cox, 40, suffered a breach of her human rights.

While other people with life-limiting conditions had the immediate right to enhanced payments, she was refused.

This was “manifestly without reasonable justification”, said the judge.

In court on Wednesday, Mr Justice McAlinden ruled the difference in treatment for terminally-ill claimants who cannot reasonably meet the six-month life expectancy rule was discriminatory.

He granted her leave for a judicial review.

Source: Motor neurone disease: Six-month death rule ‘discriminatory’ – BBC News

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Riley libel: her team just made a terrible mistake

Rachel Riley is a serial litigant; besides suing me, she is also pursuing Laura Murray, who bit back at one of the Countdown co-presenter’s tweets in March last year.

Referring to the incident in which Jeremy Corbyn had been punched by an egg-wielding man in a London mosque, Ms Riley had dug up an old tweet by Owen Jones which said “If you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi. Seems fair to me.” To this, she added the comment: “Good advice.”

Ms Murray, who was working in Mr Corbyn’s Labour Party office at the time, tweeted her opinion that Ms Riley was saying Corbyn was a Nazi who deserved to be attacked violently. She added that, in her opinion, Ms Riley was a dangerous and stupid person who risked inciting unlawful violence – and nobody should engage with her in any way.

Mr Justice Nicklin, in a judgement based on paper evidence due to the coronavirus pandemic, ruled that Ms Murray had made a statement of fact when she said Riley had stated that Corbyn deserved to be attacked violently.

That’s the extent of the difference.

His statement that the words have a tendency to be defamatory isn’t a ruling that Ms Murray is guilty of libel; the defendant may say that her statement was factually accurate and back it up with evidence, and she may also provide information to support the opinions that she expressed.

Riley hasn’t won the case; this was a ruling on the meaning of Ms Murray’s words and whether they were statements of fact or expressions of opinion. There will be a trial at some point in the future.

But Ms Riley and her friends seem to have started celebrating victory prematurely.

And someone went one step further – by publicising the case prematurely.

The image above shows that the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog ran an initial piece on the ruling on April 23, albeit with no further information than a claim that Riley had won. The Mail went further, publishing at 6.21am the following:

 

But the ruling was not published by the High Court until 10am on April 24 – more than a day later.

So it seems somebody has committed contempt of court.

This was a reserved judgement. That meant that the hearing was some time ago and the judge prepared a written judgement to be handed down on April 24. Prior to handing down, the judge would have sent a draft to the parties. The rules on drafts say:

2.4 A copy of the draft judgment may be supplied, in confidence, to the parties provided that—

 (a) neither the draft judgment nor its substance is disclosed to any other person or used in the public domain; and

 (b) no action is taken (other than internally) in response to the draft judgment, before the judgment is handed down.

 2.8  Any breach of the obligations or restrictions under paragraph 2.4 or failure to take all reasonable steps under paragraph 2.6 may be treated as contempt of court.

I imagine Mr Justice Nicklin would be very keen to find out who’s been playing fast-and-loose with court rules and his judgement. And I can’t blame him.

I can’t comment on who leaked the story to the press too soon – but I will keep an eye on it.

As for people who prematurely claim a legal victory that they haven’t won … if you’re as nauseated by this as I am, then please remember that Ms Riley is attacking me in the same way she is attacking Ms Murray – and I don’t have the cash to fight her.

If I can win my case in court, then it should discourage Ms Riley and her friends – harshly – from this vile behaviour. But I can only do it with your help.

Please consider making a donation yourself, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email five of your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

It would be bad enough if Ms Riley had won. The fact that she hasn’t, and is claiming she is, is toxic. In my opinion.

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Court rules that current NI abortion law breaches human rights in blow to anti-abortionists targeting Stella Creasy

Stella Creasy: the pregnant MP was targeted by anti-abortion campaigners after she sponsored an amendment decriminalising it.

This is important: the High Court in Northern Ireland has ruled that current laws that criminalise abortion are in breach of the UK’s human rights commitments.

It comes after an amendment sponsored by Labour MP Stella Creasy was passed by MPs, decriminalising abortion if there is no deal to re-establish the devolved government in Northern Ireland by October 21.

Ms Creasy, who is pregnant herself, has since been targeted by an anti-abortion organisation calling itself the Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform (CBR) with a series of posters in her Walthamstow constituency.

She raised the fact with a point of order in the Commons yesterday, prompted Speaker John Bercow to describe the campaign as “vile, unconscionable and despicable”.

The case was taken in Belfast by Sarah Ewart, who challenged the law after she was denied a termination.

The judge said she ruled in Mrs Ewart’s favour as it was not right to ask another woman to relive the trauma that she had already experienced.

A formal declaration of incompatibility would not be made at this stage, the judge said.

Mrs Justice Keegan made that decision in light of impending legislation, already passed at Westminster.

Source: Abortion: NI law ‘breaches human rights’ – BBC News

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Universal credit claimants win five-figure damages over unlawful discrimination

Suck on that, Esther McVey!

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey must pay damages to two severely disabled men who lost £170 a month when they were moved onto universal credit (UC).

The pair will be paid a total of just over £11,000 to compensate their financial losses and the resultant “mental suffering, distress, anxiety, humiliation and disruption to life,” the High Court heard today.

Last month, the High Court ruled that the two men were unlawfully discriminated against as they were moved onto UC simply because they moved between local authority areas.

TP, a terminally ill 52-year-old, had his payments cut under UC while undergoing “gruelling chemotherapy” because he briefly moved from London to live with his parents in Dorset.

AR, a 36-year-old suffering from bipolar disorder, was forced to use foodbanks when his support was cut after the bedroom tax forced him to move from Middlesbrough to Hartlepool.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) agreed to pay TP and AR damages but sought to keep the sum confidential.

Source: Universal credit claimants unlawfully discriminated against win five-figure damages | Morning Star

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Torture survivors were wrongly imprisoned – but that’s no surprise with Amber Rudd

Yarls Wood immigration Removal centre in Clapham near Bedford in Bedfordshire [Image: Sean Dempsey/PA Images via Getty Images].

The Home Office does not intend to appeal against the court’s decision – but what does that mean, with Amber ‘Lock-Em-Up’ Rudd in charge?

Ms Rudd has already come under fire for failing to release an asylum-seeker who had been tortured in a Libyan prison – a valid definition of torture, even under the Home Office’s now-discredited Adults At Risk policy.

A court order was made for Ms Rudd to release that person but she ignored it. The Home Office then failed to provide written reasons for failing to comply with the order.

So – moving on to the current case – why would anybody believe the Home Office would act on a High Court ruling, even after saying it would not challenge the verdict?

Torture survivors have won a High Court challenge against the Home Office over policy which saw asylum seekers fleeing persecution wrongly locked up in immigration detention centres.

Mr Justice Ouseley ruled that the Home Office policy “lacked a rational or evidence basis” and wrongly allowed many who had been tortured overseas to be imprisoned.

The Adults at Risk policy, introduced in September 2016, had redefined torture to refer to violence carried out only by official state agents.

The charity Medical Justice and seven former immigration centre detainees argued the legal definition was too narrow.

The detainees included victims of sexual and physical abuse, trafficking, sexual exploitation, homophobic attacks, a child abused by loan sharks and a young man kidnapped and abused by the Taliban. The Home Office’s narrowed definition of torture excluded the seven from being recognised as torture victims.

The judge stated that the definition of “torture” intended for use in the policy would require medical practitioners to “reach conclusions on political issues which they cannot rationally be asked to reach”.

Source: Torture Survivors Were Wrongly Imprisoned, High Court Rules


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Why is Amber Rudd still detaining a torture victim, despite condemnation from the judiciary?

Rudd is not disputing that the man, from Chad, is a victim of torture but has not abided by orders to release him [Image: Andrew Milligan/PA].

This is inexcusable behaviour from the holder of one of the highest offices in the UK government.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has made no attempt to justify her continued imprisonment – let’s call it what it is – of an asylum-seeker from Chad, in Africa.

She has ignored repeated court orders requiring her to do so, and couldn’t even be bothered to send a Home Office barrister to the hearing yesterday (August 23).

Are the Conservatives now showing open contempt for the law?

A high court judge has said she is “deeply concerned” about the behaviour of Amber Rudd for failing to release a survivor of torture from detention despite repeated court orders requiring her to do so.

On Wednesday Mrs Justice Nicola Davies DBE presided over an emergency high court hearing to examine the home secretary’s delay in releasing an asylum seeker who had been tortured in a Libyan prison with electric shocks and falaka – beating on the soles of the feet.

“The court is deeply concerned,” she said. “Four weeks have elapsed since an order was made.”

She added that the home secretary had failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the delays in releasing the man from detention.

It is unusual for a high court judge to condemn a senior government minister in such strong terms. In a mark of her disquiet about the secretary of state’s conduct she not only awarded costs against her but also made an indemnity order – something reserved for conduct or circumstances that take a case “out of the norm” and a mark of disapproval by a judge.

Source: Judge condemns Amber Rudd for ignoring orders to release torture victim | UK news | The Guardian


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#Brexit court ruling: Media finally realise Liz Truss may have acted unlawfully over ‘Enemies of the people’ headlines

The Lord Chancellor waited nearly 48 hours before responding to backlash against the High Court Brexit ruling [Image: Getty].

The Lord Chancellor waited nearly 48 hours before responding to backlash against the High Court Brexit ruling [Image: Getty].

This Blog raised concerns about Lukewarm Liz and the legality of her response in this matter – more than two weeks ago!

Why have the mainstream media been quiet since then? Were they waiting for people to forget about the story?

Were they afraid of the reaction from people who agreed with the Mail‘s ‘Enemies of the people’ headline – who, I understand, we are to describe as “alt-right” rather than as “Nazis”?

Were they afraid to stand up and demand that a minister of the Crown defend the letter of the law – to the limit of her abilities, rather than with a mild sop?

It’s hard to support the government, the law, a vocal but vicious minority, and the people in general, all at the same time. Perhaps these jellyfish should choose a side.

Liz Truss has failed in her statutory duties and may have broken the law by keeping a near-silence in the face of a torrent of abuse targeting three high court judges, a former Lord Chief Justice has warned.

Source: Liz Truss may have broken law in failing to defend Brexit judges, warns former lord chief justice | The Independent

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Liz Truss had to defend the judiciary – it was that or resign as justice secretary

Justice Secretary Liz Truss: Is she all smiles now, I wonder? [Image: Getty.]

Justice Secretary Liz Truss: Is she all smiles now, I wonder? [Image: Getty.]

It is her constitutional duty.

Under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Justice Secretary, who is also the Lord Chancellor, you see, must uphold the independence of the judiciary, must defend that independence, must not seek to influence judicial decisions, must provide support to allow the judiciary to exercise their functions, and must give the public interest proper regard in matters relating to the administration of justice.

Here is the relevant part of the legislation (Part One, s.3):

161105-judicial-independence-cra-2005

In short, when the newspapers scream that judges are “enemies of the people” for upholding the law of the United Kingdom, Liz Truss must – as Justice Secretary – publicly rebuke them.

She would be breaking her Lord Chancellor’s oath if she failed to do so.

Curiously, it is hard to find a reference to any enforcement/penalty clause. Perhaps somebody in the judiciary or the Labour Government of 2001-2005 could help out?

I think her resignation would have been forced out of her if she had not obeyed the letter of the law.

That’s all she did though – the bare minimum. Odd, considering she’s a Remainer.

Is she afraid of the press? Probably? Of the public reaction? Almost certainly. So it was probably too much to ask for passion from her.

At least she can still get het up about cheese:

It might be a disgrace but so was her hesitation over the Brexit ruling.

The Lord Chancellor has backed the independence of the UK’s judiciary but stopped short of condemning attacks on senior judges over the Brexit ruling.

The Bar Council had demanded Liz Truss respond to criticism from some MPs and newspapers over the decision that MPs should vote on triggering Article 50.

The Daily Mail branded judges “Enemies of the people”; the Daily Express said it was “the day democracy died”.

Ms Truss said the “impartiality” of the courts was “respected the world over”.

Source: Brexit ruling: Lord Chancellor backs judiciary amid row – BBC News

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Irrational responses to Brexit high court ruling

The Question Time panel included Conservative communities secretary Sajid Javid, Labour’s Lisa Nandy, editor-in-chief of the Economist Zanny Minton Beddoes, talk show host Charlie Wolf, and radio presenter Huey Morgan.

The Question Time panel included Conservative communities secretary Sajid Javid, Labour’s Lisa Nandy, editor-in-chief of the Economist Zanny Minton Beddoes, talk show host Charlie Wolf, and radio presenter Huey Morgan.

Isn’t it sad that the most wacked-out and loopy responses to the high court’s ruling – that Parliament has the final say on Brexit – have come from some of the most influential people?

Look at Sajid Javid on the BBC’s Question Time. He said the court’s decision was an attempt to “thwart the will of the British people”.

How is that, exactly? Isn’t it easier to “thwart the will of the British people” by making sure the British people don’t know what the government is doing?

Isn’t it harder to “thwart the will of the British people” if the British people know what is going on and are able to express their opinion on it?

No wonder he was mauled by the Watford audience.

But he wasn’t alone in overreacting. Here’s the front page of the Express:

161104-express-front

It is as gross a misrepresentation as you’re ever likely to see.

Firstly, the high court judges didn’t block Brexit. They merely asserted the sovereignty of the UK Parliament, as enshrined in the law of the land. If the editors of the Express don’t like it, they can always move somewhere else (which would be ironic in the circumstances).

Secondly, the story’s intro paragraph is so hyperbolic it is hilarious! “Today this country faces a crisis as grave as anything since the dark days when Churchill vowed we would fight them on the beaches.” What?

Is this silly hack-rag actually comparing the high court to Nazis? In this astonishing fantasy world, what does its editor imagine will happen next? Thousands of Remainer stormtroopers parachuting into ‘Leave’ areas, or merely leaflet-bombing them with “propaganda” about the harmful effects of hard Brexit?

The Daily Mail went one step further beyond the pale by attempting to shame one of the judges for being “openly gay”. So what?

161104-terrence-etherton-daily-mail-gay

The Heil took another step towards open fascism with its claim that the three high court judges who handed down the ruling were “Enemies of the People”.

This Writer agrees with the Angry Yorkshireman who writes Another Angry Voice. He wrote on his Facebook page:

“It’s pretty difficult to ignore the fascist undertones here.

“The Daily Mail want Theresa May to be able to bypass all forms of democratic accountability and behave like a dictator by making up her own laws to suit herself and her party donors.

“These three judges have stood up for democracy and parliamentary sovereignty so now they’re under sustained attack as ‘enemies of the people’ by the right-wing press.

“Thus anyone who doesn’t agree that Theresa May should be allowed to behave like a dictator by bypassing democratic accountability and making up the law as she goes along is an ‘enemy of the people’ (as decided by a bunch of right-wing hacks working for a billionaire sociopath who lives in Monaco to avoid paying British taxes!).”

Not today, thank you! At least, not in our democracy-loving, free-thinking, law-abiding United Kingdom.

You want to get rid of “enemies of the people”?

Don’t buy the Mail or Express, ridicule those who do, and vote Sajid Javid and his democracy-destroying friends out of Parliament. Consider it your democratic duty.

Conservative minister Sajid Javid has been savaged by the audience of Thursday night’s BBC Question Time.

The Business Secretary was repeatedly berated by attendees, with his words repeated back at him as tensions rose around the High Court’s ruling on Friday to refer Article 50 to parliament.

“Public money has been wasted fighting this that could have been spent on public services,” one woman at the Watford debate said. “And Sajid Javid, I don’t know why you aren’t more embarrassed to represent your party today, it’s an embarrassment”.

Javid dismissed suggestions the government was in disarray over Brexit – drawing noises of derision from the audience.

Another member of the audience said the government “doesn’t have a clue” what it’s doing over Brexit.

“We all know the reason the government and the cabinet don’t want this going to the Houses of Parliament and that’s because they haven’t got a clue what they’re doing,” the woman said. “The devil’s in the detail and they have not got a clue what they’re doing.”

Javid responded to say he “understands” what the woman said. “It’s not the same thing as saying the government doesn’t have a plan,” he said to growing heckles from the audience. “You wouldn’t expect a running commentary on this.”

Source: BBC Question Time Sajid Javid Berated By Audience Over Brexit | Huffington Post

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Sad state of Britain: Someone stands up for democracy so she gets racist abuse

 

Gina Miller spoke outside the high court after the ruling [Image: PA Images].

Gina Miller spoke outside the high court after the ruling [Image: PA Images].

Really, Britain? Is this the best you can be?

The evidence here just goes to show how gullible people are; how quick to judge others; and how wrong their reactions can be.

Firstly, Gina Miller is not a “traitor to democracy”. It would have been undemocratic to allow Theresa May to plan whatever she, personally, wanted for the UK’s departure from the European Union and then present it to the rest of us as a fait accompli. That’s undemocratic. In fact, it is despotism.

If you oppose Gina Miller’s court action, you oppose democracy.

To those complaining that she is a foreigner telling the UK what to do: Would these sheep-in-human-form rather have Theresa May dictating what will happen to them? This Writer is happy that someone pointed out that the Tories were going about Brexit the wrong way. I wonder who put them up to this abuse?

As for rape and death threats – these are criminal offences and it is to be hoped that the culprits will be found and prosecuted.

The businesswoman whose court action led to three judges ruling that MPs must authorise the start of the Brexit process has spoken of the “hatred and anger” she has faced on social media.

Gina Miller was bombarded with rape and death threats from abusive trolls following the ruling, with one Facebook user commenting “I hope she gets shot”, while another said “she should be hung as a traitor to democracy”.

The Guyana-born investment banker was also subject to a stream of racist abuse, with comments such as “why doesn’t she f*** off back where she came from”, while another added “we’ve had enough foreigners telling UK what to do gina miller [sic].”

The campaigner today pinned the blame for the angry reaction on “irresponsible” UKIP leader Nigel Farage and the tabloid media.

“Yes there has been a deluge of hatred and anger but this is because people were lied to in respect to the EU referendum, and because (of) irresponsible figures like Farage and tabloid media who lack any understanding of parliamentary democracy and the rule of law that is the bedrock of our civil society”, she told the International Business Times.

Source: Gina Miller hits back at ‘hatred and anger’ from online trolls | PoliticsHome.com

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