The European Court of Human Rights reverses its position on the UK’s life-sentencing regime.

Hutchinson v. the United Kingdom (application no. 57592/08) [2016] ECHR 021 (January 2017)

Four years after its decision in Vinter, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has revisited the UK’s life-sentencing regime, reversing its earlier position and holding that the regime does not contravene the European Convention on Human Rights.

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US Supreme Court confirms equal gender protection in immigration law but plaintiff deported as less favourable test followed

Sessions v Morales-Santana, 582 U.S Supreme Court (12 June 2017)

The US Supreme Court has held that different citizenship rules for children of unmarried mothers and fathers unlawfully infringes the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of equal gender protection. However, the Court determined that the less favourable test should be followed, resulting in the respondent's deportation from the United States.

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Victorian Supreme Court finds establishment of youth justice centre at Barwon adult prison contrary to human rights and unlawful

Certain Children by their litigation guardian Sister Marie Brigid Arthur v Minister for Families and Children & Ors [2017] VSC 251 (11 May 2017)

The Victorian Supreme Court has found for the third time that the Victorian government acted unlawfully with children's human rights and best interests in breach of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 by establishing the Grevillea unit at Barwon prison as a youth justice centre and remand centre, transferring children to the Grevillea unit and using OC spray and extendable batons on children.

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European Court of Justice clarifies scope of workplace bans on religious headscarves

Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions NV (European Court of Justice, C-157/15, 14 March 2017) and Bougnaoui v Micropole SA (European Court of Justice, C-188/15, 14 March 2017)

The European Court of Justice has clarified European law surrounding workplace prohibitions on wearing religious symbols in customer facing roles. The Court held that workplace bans on religious dress based on legitimate and objective aims can lawfully prohibit employees wearing visible signs of their religious, political or philosophical beliefs. However, workplace policies based on subjective criteria or which disadvantage people with particular religious beliefs would constitute indirect discrimination.

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Victorian Supreme Court rules that courts have fair hearing and equality obligations to assist self-represented litigants

Matsoukatidou v Yarra Ranges Council [2017] VSC 61 (28 February 2017)

The Supreme Court of Victoria has delivered an important decision on the obligations of courts to ensure fair hearing and equality rights under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic) (Charter) in the context of unrepresented litigants, and in particular where a litigant has a cognitive disability.

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South African High Court blocks executive withdrawal from International Criminal Court

Democratic Alliance v Minister of International Relations and Cooperation and Others (Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution Intervening) (83145/2016) [2017] ZAGPPHC 53 (22 February 2017)

The High Court of South Africa has found that the decision by the national executive to sign and deliver a notice of withdrawal from the Rome Statute without prior parliamentary approval was unconstitutional and invalid.

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US Court of Appeal halts President Trump’s controversial immigration order

State of Washington & State of Minnesota v Trump No. 2:17-cv-00141 (W.D.Wash. 2017) (9 February 2017)

In a unanimous 3-0 decision, the United States Court of Appeal maintained the freeze on US President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order suspending entry of people from 7 countries for 90 days, indefinitely suspending the entry of Syrian refugees and suspending the United States Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days.

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