This course will focus on the latest developments and emerging issues in European and international human rights practice: themes and systems, law and practice. It is a collaboration course between Middlesex University School of Law, Matrix Chambers and The Law Society, who will host each session.
The course is aimed at a broad range of participants, including students, practising lawyers, NGOs, civil servants and academics. There will be nine two hour sessions (on Thursdays, 18.00 -20.00) running from January to April 2015.
The Old Council Chamber holds 65 capacity and 2 CPD points are available on request from The Law Society per session. Places are free, but registration is required. To register, sessions need to be booked individually, each session can be found on the Law Society website using The Law Society events webpage link: https://events.lawsociety.org.uk/
Session One: Thursday 22 January 2015, 18.00 - 20.00
Migrants, refugees and the right to family life
- Samantha Knights, Matrix Chambers
- Dr. Helena Wray, Middlesex University
- Alastair Logan OBE, Law Society Human Rights Committee Member
The talk will explore the right to family reunion in international law, under the Refugee Convention and domestic law following consideration of the issue by the Court of Appeal in the recent case of B v Director of the Legal Aid Agency and discuss recent developments in family migration rights for the spouses of UK residents and citizens, in particular the cases of MM v SSHD (minimum income requirement), Bibi v SSHD (English language test) and the ECtHR judgment in Biao v Denmark.
Session Two: Thursday 29 January 2015, 18.00 -20.00
The UK and the European Court of Human Rights.
- Dr Alice Donald, Middlesex University
- Richard Hermer QC, Matrix Chambers
- Tony Fisher, Law Society Human Rights Committee Member
The UK’s troubled relationship with Strasbourg has taken a critical turn with the Conservative proposals to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights if its unilateral proposals to weaken the authority of the European Court of Human Rights are rejected by the Council of Europe. This session will explore the future of the UK-Strasbourg relationship in the light of the UK parties’ manifesto positions. It will also examine the wider reform process within the Council of Europe, which seeks to secure the future of the Court in the face of multiple institutional and political pressures.
Session Three: Thursday 5 February 2015, 18.00 - 20.00
‘The Global Quest for Effective Equality: Perspectives from Comparative Constitutional Law’
- Professor Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University
This session will seek to asses and categorize the extent to which global constitutions tackle the question of equality of opportunity, by focusing on the provisions made within them for minorities and indigenous peoples, and the extent to which these promises are further reflected in administrative, legislative and judicial measures.
Session Four: Thursday 12 February, 18.00 - 20.00
Gender & Human Rights: The Successes and Challenges Confronting the International Legal Framework.
- Dr. Elvira Dominguez Redondo, Middlesex University
- Professor Christine Chinkin, Matrix Chambers and The London School of Economics and Political Science
The session aims at exploring the incorporation of women’s human rights and the concept of gender equality, within the political and normative agenda of the United Nations. The first part of the session will examine relevant international human rights standards and jurisprudence regarding women’s rights in times of peace and conflict. The second part of the session will evaluate the impact of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review, operative since 2008, in facilitating the debate about gender and sexual orientation in intergovernmental fora. Special attention will be paid to the approach of the United Kingdom and other European Union States in setting and advancing global standards for gender equality. The session is ultimately designed to provide participants with working knowledge of the tools and insights into the added value and impact of United Nations actions in the quest for gender based equality.
Session Five: Thursday 19 February 2015, 18.00 -20.00
‘Freedom of religion vs the right to be free from sexual orientation discrimination – clashing rights?’
- Laura Prince, Matrix Chambers
- Dr Erica Howard, Middlesex University
Is there a conflict between freedom of religion and the right to be free from sexual orientation discrimination or can these rights be reconciled? In Eweida and Others v UK, two of the applicants refused to work with same sex couples because they believed homosexuality was against God’s law. Should such objections be accommodated in the workplace? Both ECHR and EU case law will be discussed.
Session Six: 5 March 2015, 18.00 - 20.00
The European Court of Human Rights and international criminal law.
- Roger Jairaj Sahota, Partner BSB Solicitors, Law Society Human Rights Committee Member
- Professor William Schabas, Middlesex University
In recent years, the European Court has addressed cases concerning genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as the application of the Geneva Conventions in the interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights. The relevant cases will be examined.
Session Seven: Thursday 12 March 2015, 18.00 -20.00
Recent Developments at the European Court of Human Rights
- Jessica Simor QC, Matrix
- Professor Philip Leach, Middlesex University/EHRAC
This session will discuss some key recent developments in the law and practice of the European Court of Human Rights, including jurisdictional issues and extra-territoriality and the Court’s approach to systemic human rights.
Session Eight: 26 March 2015, 18.00 - 20.00
The role of the Charter of Fundamental Rights within the EU legal framework and its relevance for the UK legal order.
- Aidan O’Neill QC (Scot), Barrister, Matrix Chambers, London
- Laurent Pech, Jean Monnet Professor of EU Public Law, Head of the Law and Politics Department at Middlesex University London.
Respect for fundamental rights is one of the basic principles on which the European Union is based. This joint-lecture will first examine the Charter’s key features, its role within the human rights protection regime of the EU and the remedies available at EU level for violations of human rights. The relevance of the Charter for UK lawyers and judges will be subsequently discussed. Special focus will be given to the following issues: The application of the Charter in national proceedings; the potential for (vertical and/or horizontal) direct effect of Charter rights and the effect of the UK/Polish protocol relating to the EU Charter.
Session Nine: 16 April 2015, 18.00 - 20.00
‘Business and Human Rights’.
- Julian Knowles QC,Matrix Chambers
- Juliya Arbisman, Senior Associate at Amsterdam & Partners, Law Society human rights committee member and member of the Law Society Business Human rights Advisory Group
- Dr Nadia Bernaz, Middlesex University
Business’ impact on human rights around the world, both positive and negative, is well documented. Multinational corporations provide jobs and opportunities but can also negatively impact human rights, as the Bhopal tragedy, the Rana Plaza disaster, and the situation in the Niger Delta acutely demonstrate. “Business and human rights”, as a field of study, focuses on the various ways in which businesses can be held accountable for their actions, from CSR policies to litigation. It challenges the state-centred international human rights framework by looking into direct obligations of non-state actors, private corporations.