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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UN finds that Australia breaches right to equality in same-sex divorce

United Nations Human Rights Committee – Views adopted by the Committee under article 5(4) of the Optional Protocol (CCPR/C/119/D/2216/2012)

The UN Human Rights Committee has held that Australia violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by failing to provide access to divorce proceedings for same-sex couples married overseas. The Committee reasoned that the differential treatment of same-sex couples as compared with overseas polygamous and adolescent marriages (between persons aged from 16 to 18 years) constituted discrimination under article 26 of the Covenant.

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UK High Court finds that arms trade to Saudi Arabia can continue

R (on the application of Campaign Against Arms Trade) v The Secretary of State for International Trade and Intervenors [2017] EWHC 1726 (QB)

The English & Wales High Court has found that the UK's Secretary of State decision not to suspend a licence to export arms to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was valid. The Campaign Against Arms Trade and a number of intervenors unsuccessfully argued that the export licence should be suspended on the basis that there was a clear risk that the arms could be used in the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law.

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UK Supreme Court finds that refusing free abortion services to women travelling from Northern Ireland to England is lawful

R (on the application of A and B) v Secretary of State for Health [2017] UKSC 41

A slim majority of the UK Supreme Court has upheld the UK Secretary of State for Health’s decision not to provide free of charge abortion services to women travelling from Northern Ireland to England. The court found that the Secretary was entitled to consider the Northern Ireland Assembly’s decision not to provide abortions and the devolved government model for providing health services. Further, that treating UK citizens who usually reside in Northern Ireland differently was justified in the circumstances.

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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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