Aug 14 2009

Forthcoming conference: Changes to the Tribunal System

Published by under Events,Scots law

I will be speaking on issues relative to the new Upper Tribunal at this conference, organised by the Legal Services Agency, on 14 September.

Changes to the Tribunal System: The New Two-Tier System and Its Implications

On 3 November 2008 the UK Tribunals Service experienced its most radical change in 50 years when key aspects of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 were implemented. Continue Reading »

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Aug 14 2009

Forthcoming conferences: Professor Hathaway on asylum law

Published by under Events,International law,Scots law

Professor James Hathaway of Melbourne University, author of “The Law of Refugee Status”, “The Rights of Refugees under International Law”, and many other leading texts on asylum law; editor of the Refugee Caselaw website; and a world renowned authority on the law of international protection, will be addressing an all-day seminar in Glasgow on Monday 5 October on issues as to refuge status and internal relocation. His work is constantly cited in, and by, courts throughout the common law world; a quick search on BAILII throws up no less than 180 cases in which he is cited as an authority. Continue Reading »

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Aug 12 2009

Use of Wikipedia and hyperlinks in Scottish courts

Published by under Info law,Scots law

Gordon v Lynch, 2009 CSOH 116, is a decision of Lord Woolman on quantum in a personal injuries case notable only, so far as this blog is concerned, for its use of a hyperlink: something I have never seen before in a Scottish Courts decision. The third paragraph begins “ As a result of the accident, Sean sustained traumatic brain injury.” Continue Reading »

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Jul 03 2009

Albie Sachs, childrens’ representation, and fundamental rights

Published by under Events,International law,Scots law

Albie Sachs, Justice of the South African Constitutional Court, is one of the great judges (and in one of the great courts) of our time. On 24 June he was in Edinburgh, first speaking to the first joint meeting of the four UK and Ireland Human Rights Commissions (I wasn’t there) and then at a meeting organised by the Scottish Commissioner for Children and Young Persons (I was). The topic at the second talk was how the landmark decision in the case of S v M, 2007 ZACC 18, in which the South African Constitutional Court held that the rights of children had to be taken into account in criminal proceedings against their mother (in their own right and not merely as an aspect of the mother’s rights), came to be made, and its resonance for Scotland. Jackie Kemp’s already written a good account of the event as a whole, and I intend here to pick up some miscellaneous issues rather than duplicate that. Continue Reading »

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Jul 03 2009

Consultation on new rules for the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal’s replacement

Published by under Scots law

On 1 July, the Tribunals Service launched a consultation as to the rules to be used for asylum and immigration cases in the Upper Tribunal when the AIT merges with it next year. There is to be no consultation on the rules for asylum and immigration cases at first instance: the Tribunals Service notes without comment “The Government has confirmed that the current Asylum and Immigration Tribunal rules will be amended to become procedure rules for the First-Tier Immigration and Asylum Chamber.”

The consultation exercise runs for twelve weeks, and views are apparently sought from “stakeholders” although goodness knows whether they have been told this. This is the full consultation paper, with proposed rules and practice statements. There are knock-on changes in the provisions for appeal to the Court of Session. Rather gallingly, Rule 18 refers to legal aid funding being “granted by the Scottish Legal Aid Board” although there is still no provision for legal aid before the Tribunal in Scottish cases.

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Jun 19 2009

Does legal representation in tribunals make a difference?

Published by under Scots law

Two recent studies suggest that the answer largely depends on the tribunal.

In one, ‘Tribunals Ain’t What They Used To Be‘, which is summarised in the March 2009 edition of the newsletter of the Administrative Justice & Tribunals Council, Professor Michael Adler of Edinburgh University looked at five tribunals. These were the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeal Panel; the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal; the Additional Support Needs Tribunal (Scotland); Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunals (England); and the Employment Tribunal. As he comments, “research and ‘experience’ seemed to have made it clear that having a representative (although not necessarily a legal representative) greatly increased the prospects of a successful tribunal outcome… across the board, the ‘premiums’ associated with representation were 15-18 per cent.” Continue Reading »

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May 13 2009

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children seminar, 5 June

Published by under Events,Scots law

The increasingly important issue of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children (UASCs), children under 18 who are not cared for by any adult in this country, is the topic of a seminar on Friday 5th June 2009 organised jointly by the Glasgow Immigration Practitioners’ Group, the Murray Stable, and the Scottish Refugee Council. Continue Reading »

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May 13 2009

Scottish Human Rights Law Group formed

Published by under Events,Scots law

The nascent Scottish Human Rights Law Group is intended to bring together Scots lawyers and those working in and around the law in Scotland with an interest in human rights issues. Its website, in the course of development, is ambitiously intended to provide a database of law reports, articles, textbook updates, and other items, categorised by area of law and by Convention article; there will be ‘contributing editors’ for particular sections, each responsible for updating his or her assigned area of the law and in a position to receive comments, submissions, and suggestions for updating from other parties/members of the group. The proposed categorisations, which are flexible, can be seen by browsing its sidebar. Continue Reading »

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May 07 2009

Asylum and Immigration Tribunal: the end of the line

Published by under Scots law

Following last year’s sham consultation, from which even the judiciary were excluded until they heard of it by chance, and a set of responses which even the Home Office could only describe as “mixed”, the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal has today circulated some of its “stakeholders” to inform them that the tribunal will be merged into the unified tribunal structure early next year: no earlier, it says, than February 2010. My thanks to the anonymous correspondent who passed a couple of its internal circulars to me, including a set of FAQs, supposedly from the Tribunals Service but pretty obviously written by the Home Office, as to the move. Continue Reading »

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May 05 2009

Time limits and the Scotland Act

Published by under Scots law

A guest post by Aidan O’Neill QC

Jonathan Mitchell writes: In the first guest article to appear on this site, Aidan O’Neill QC, a leading advocate in human rights litigation in Scotland, who successfully acted in Somerville v Scottish Ministers, argues that the proposed introduction of a one-year time limit on human rights claims under the Scotland Act is a wrong move and concludes “this is being done without any public consultation, in what looks like a helter-skelter rush to change the constitution to the Scottish Government’s advantage before anyone apparently notices the implications of what is being done“. Update: the day this was published, the Justice Committee recommended that the draft Scotland Act 1998 (Modification of Schedule 4) Order 2009 be approved. Over to Aidan: Continue Reading »

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