We believe that transparency in family justice relies on recognition of human rights. Essentially, achieving transparency in a way that balances everyone’s rights (including the rights of children) can be explained through three important Articles in the European Convention of Human Rights:

  • Article 6: everyone has a right to a fair trial
  • Article 8: everyone has a right to a private and family life
  • Article 10: everyone has a right to freedom of expression

RightsInfo is a new website which provides clear and reliable information about why human rights matter.

It launched on 22 April and has amassed over 300,000 hits since then.

The #50cases project has been contributed to by legal academics, writers and human rights experts through a crowdsourcing exercise. Each case has been translated into a plain-English, bitesize story, one each day, here – http://www.rightsinfo,org/stories

The project will get to Case Number 1 on Friday 26 June.

The 50 Cases Project –

  • Is by the most comprehensive study so far as to what human rights have done for Britain
  • As the government seeks to reform human rights laws, it is crucial for people to understand what effect human rights have had on our society. This project shows that during the 15 years since it came into force, the HRA has had a huge impact for ordinary people, as had the European Convention on Human Rights.
  • The project also shows, for the first time, the influence each case has had on the legal system, measured by citations in other cases.
  • The #50cases project includes the controversial cases such as Abu Qatada and Hirst (the prisoner voting case), but also shows the huge range of important wins for other groups.

The aim of the #50cases project is to show that human rights are not just for terrorists and criminals, but affect all of us. There have been some big wins for every section of society (the ones marked “HRA” are cases brought after the Human Rights Act came into force):

For children:

  • It is illegal for parents, teachers and police to beat children (A v UK and Tyrer v UK)
  • Local authorities can be liable for child abuse where they have failed to act (Z v UK)
  • Child victims of trafficking are treated as victims, not criminals (L) [HRA]
  • Children have to be listened to when their parents are being deported (ZH (Tanzania)[HRA]

For people with disabilities

  • Councils must provide adequate housing for people with disabilities (Bernard[HRA]
  • Families and disabled people must have a say on decisions about care (Neary[HRA]
  • Residents of private care homes must be protected by human rights laws (YL[HRA]
  • People with impaired mental capacity have the right to liberty (Cheshire) [HRA]

For free speech

  • Journalists are protected from having to reveal their sources (Bill Goodwin)
  • Newspapers are free to publish public interest investigations even if they conflict with private rights (Sunday Times ‘thalidomide’ case)
  • Police powers to prevent protects have been limited (Laporte[HRA]
  • Offensive ideas must be protected in law (Handyside)

For privacy

  • People are protected from unnecessary intrusions into their private lives by the press (Campbell[HRA]
  • Government powers to spy on our emails and texts have been limited (Liberty)
  • Police need a warrant to tap our phones (Malone)
  • Police cannot keep the DNA of innocent people indefinitely (S & Marper)
  • Public bodies cannot misuse CCTV footage of the public (Peck)
  • Police must have effective procedural safeguards in place to protect us from   misuse of stop and search powers(Gillan and Quinton)

For LGBT rights

  • The ban on gay soldiers serving in the armed forces was lifted (Smith and Grady)
  • Northern Ireland decriminalised homosexuality (Dudgeon)
  • Transsexuals have the right to marry and have full legal rights in their chosen gender (Christine Goodwin)
  • Same sex couples get the same rights in private law as everyone else (Ghaidan[HRA]
  • Gay and lesbian people can’t be returned to persecution (HJ (Iran))

For justice

  • Police must investigate rape claims (DSD[HRA]
  • The security services cannot shoot to kill without good reason (McCann)
  • The blanket ban on prisoners voting is unlawful (Hirst)
  • Prisoners must be able to contact their solicitors (Golder)
  • “Deep interrogation” techniques previously used by the Army are illegal (Ireland)
  • Public officials can’t hide behind immunity in war crimes cases (Pinochet)

A lovely new graphic has been created to mark the completion of the #50cases project on the RightsInfo website.  Do follow the link and have a look.