Alison Young: Towards an Expository Justice Approach to Human Rights Adjudication? – UK Constitutional Law Association

‘The recent Supreme Court Case of R (Johnson) v Secretary of State for the Home Department, [2016] UKSC 56, appears at first glance to be a straightforward human rights claim. Lady Hale, giving the agreed judgment of the court, concluded that Johnson’s Convention rights had been breached. Because of the specific nature of the challenge brought by Johnson, the breach of his Convention rights could be remedied by quashing a decision of the Home Secretary. However, Lady Hale then went on to discuss whether a declaration of incompatibility should still be made, concluding that paragraph 70 of Schedule 9 of the Immigration Act 2014 was incompatible with Convention rights, and therefore ‘[t]he court will make a declaration to that effect, although it is not necessary to do so in order to dispose of this case.’ This calls into the question the nature and role of human rights adjudication: should courts merely provide remedies for those whose rights have been infringed, or should they also prompt action to remedy potential infringements of rights, or both?’

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UK Constitutional Law Association, 25th October 2016