Victorian Supreme Court holds electroconvulsive treatment ordered against patients’ wishes a breach of human rights

PBU & NJE v Mental Health Tribunal [2018] VSC 564 (1 November 2018)

The Victorian Supreme Court has confirmed that the capacity test under the Mental Health Act 2014 (Vic) (MHA) must be interpreted and applied in a way that is compatible with the human rights of persons receiving compulsory mental health treatment under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Charter). This decision has significant implications for the human rights of persons with mental illness, and particularly for patients who may be subject to compulsory mental health treatment under the MHA.

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Bakery's refusal to supply cake with messages supporting gay marriage not discriminatory, UK Supreme Court holds

Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd [2018] UKSC 49

In a unanimous decision, the United Kingdom Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal that found a bakery's refusal to supply a cake with the message "support gay marriage" to a gay man amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. The United Kingdom Supreme Court found that the bakery's refusal was centred on promoting the message and the bakers would have come to the same decision regardless of who requested it. In the Court's opinion it did not amount to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, or religious beliefs or political opinion.

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Human Rights Charter demands access to Koori Court, Victorian Supreme Court holds

Cemino v Cannan and Ors [2018] VSC 535

The Victorian Supreme Court has confirmed that courts must consider the distinct cultural rights of Aboriginal people under the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (the Charter) when making decisions in relation to an Aboriginal person’s request to be heard in the Koori Court. This decision has significant implications for Aboriginal people across Victoria and for decisions in the Courts about whether an Aboriginal person has access to the Koori Court.

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UK Surveillance Regime Violates Human Rights to Privacy and Free Speech, European Court of Human Rights holds 

Big Brother Watch and Others v The United Kingdom (Applications nos. 58170/13, 62322/14 and 24960/15) (13 September 2018)

The European Court of Human Rights has found that the UK's bulk interception regime violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect private and family life)because of insufficient safeguards governing the selection of intercepted communications and related communications data. Further, the Courtheld that the regime for obtaining data from communications providers violated Article 8 of the Convention because it was not in accordance with EU law that requires data interference to combat "serious crime" (not just "crime"), and for access to retained data to be subject to prior judicial or administrative review. Finally, the Court found that the bulk interception regime and the regime for obtaining communications data from communications service providers violated Article 10 (right to freedom of expression) because of insufficient safeguards for confidential journalistic material. 

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UK High Court finds BBC broadcast breaches Cliff Richard’s right to privacy

Sir Cliff Richard OBE V The British Broadcasting Corporation; The Chief Constable Of South Yorkshire Police [2018] EWHC 1837 (Ch)

The UK High Court has found that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) infringed the privacy of renowned musician Sir Cliff Richard (Sir Cliff) by broadcasting a raid by the South Yorkshire Police (the SYP) following an allegation of historical sexual offences.

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European Court of Human Rights finds Russia breached human rights of Pussy Riot members

Case of Mariya Alekhina and Others v Russia (ECHR, Third Section, Application no. 38004/12, 17 July 2018)

The European Court of Human Rights has found that Russia breached human rights conventions in the prosecution and imprisonment of feminist protest band Pussy Riot.

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Victorian Supreme Court finds Charter does not protect right to wear nikab in Court

The Queen v Chaarani (Ruling 1) [2018] VSC 387 (16 July 2018)

Justice Beale of the Victorian Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to an earlier order prohibiting the wearing of a nikab by a spectator during the trial of three men accused of plotting a Christmas bombing of Federation Square in Melbourne's CBD. Ms Aisha Al Qattan, the wife of one of the accused, submitted that a prohibition against wearing the nikab while in the public gallery of the court breached Ms Al Qattan's right of religious freedom and right to participate in public life. Both rights are enshrined in the Victorian Charter of Human Rights (Charter).

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Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal finds immigration policy unlawfully discriminatory against same-sex couples

QT v Director of Immigration [2018] HKCFA 28 (4 July 2018)

A landmark decision of the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal has found that the Director of Immigration acted unlawfully by administering an immigration policy in a manner that discriminated against same-sex couples. The policy had prevented dependant visas from being granted to the same-sex spouse of a person resident in Hong Kong on an employment visa.

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