High court

No, Hancock’s PPE contracts haven’t been ruled ‘unlawful’

The High Court has said the government acted unlawfully. It is important that is understood, because ‘unlawful’ is a word that can easily mislead. Above all, no one should accidentally think the Court has said that any of the PPE contracts are unlawful. They are not. What the Court has said is that because, on average, the contracts were published on a website after 47 days, the Department of Health and Social Care was unlawful because it promises to publish within 30 days. The government promised 30 days and 47 days is more than 30: that is unlawful. PPE was needed because of the pandemic and, due to the global

Meghan Markle and the trouble with human rights law

Meghan Markle hailed her victory in a high court privacy case as a ‘comprehensive win’ over the Mail on Sunday’s ‘illegal and dehumanising practices’. But is that right? If you dig beneath the headlines and read the judge’s ruling, it becomes clear that her victory has much to do with a burgeoning expansion of privacy rights based on human rights law. This change in the law has taken place with little fanfare and the victim – the press – generate little sympathy. Yet it is something that should worry any supporter of free speech. Until about twenty years ago, the English courts were pretty robust about celebrities’ privacy suits, then known as

Let’s end the criminal record trap for sex trade survivors

Today the High Court in London hears a landmark legal challenge. It relates to the policy for criminal records for prostitution to be held on file until those convicted are 100 years old. Currently, women who have escaped the sex trade and have convictions for street soliciting will have to live with this record for ever. And it’s not only the police that can access these records – so too can bodies including the Royal Mail, trading standards and credit checking organisations. This is not just a gross violation of human rights, but also deeply unjust.  As I have discovered during the vast amount of in-depth research on the global sex