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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Why have a European Court of Human Rights? – Dr Ed Bates

Why have a European Court of Human Rights? – Dr Ed Bates


As I did not attend the Inner Temple hall event I have no idea whether Laws LJ, declared his conflict of interest. I suspect he did not. What my case exposes is not only corrupt politicians but also corrupt judges. I refer to the Chester case at the CofA covered in this post and added my criticisms in the comments section

Ed Bates asks a silly question which deserves a silly response, but I won’t lower myself to his level. The role and purpose of the ECtHR is clearly explained on the Court’s website and also explained on the Council of Europe’s website. I suggest that Ed Bates asks his easy, wrong question because it is easier than him asking the tough, right question. That is, ‘Why hasn’t the UK fully complied with Hirst No2?’. The fact that the UK is dodging the question and the fact that the media are not asking the question should be ground enough for Ed Bates to ask the question and not let up until he gets an answer. This week I commenced proceedings in Hull County Court in an attempt to force the UK to answer the question.

Ed Bates is wrong to claim that there is disagreement over whether convicted prisoners should be able to vote. The disagreement was settled in my favour in Hirst No2. The disagreement is whether the UK should fully comply with the judgment.

Of course there are limitations upon the Court’s authority and jurisdiction. However, the UK has signed up to accept both the Court’s authority and jurisdiction. The UK signed up to the Court’s Grand Chamber judgment is final. The UK must accept this position or withdraw from the Council of Europe and the EU. Hirst No2 will remain even if the UK withdraws or is expelled. Ed Bates suggestion is wrong, what lies at the heart of this is my desire to reform Parliament. There is raging a battle of wills, my will for Parliamentary reform and Parliament’s lack of will for reform:

“There are supposed to be ‘no votes in prisons’ and no political prizes for doing something about them. Any politician brave enough either to tell the truth about them or grasp the nettle and try to change the way they are run is likely, so it is believed, to run into difficulties with public opinion” (Vivien Stern, Bricks of Shame – Britain’s Prisons, Pelican 1989, p.133).

Ed Bates conveniently ignores that my case is one of the Individual v the State. That is, the Executive, Parliament and Judiciary. Baroness Stern was referring to there being no votes in prisons for MPs. She went on to explain that actually public opinion is not against prison reform. So, the MPs fears are groundless. I turned around Baroness Stern’s quote to fit my Prison Law Inside Out school of thought. That is, ‘Why are there no votes in prison for prisoners?’. I also turned around my life from a law breaker to a law-maker. That is, I reformed. If I can reform then why cannot Parliament and the prison system? MPs and the media keep trying to hide behind public opinion, but the Court excluded public opinion as being a justification to deny convicted prisoners the franchise. Therefore, the 3 arms of the State are the guilty parties in Hirst No2 and they are required to remedy the breach of human rights disclosed in my case. It is not for the losing guilty parties in a case to question the authority and jurisdiction of the Court. If this was the case, the innocent would suffer.

Ed Bates questions whether it was appropriate for the Court to take the stance it did. Of course it was appropriate. Parliament and the domestic courts abdicated responsibility. Parliament did not debate the issue, and the High Court deferred to Parliament. The Court grasped the nettle. Now the UK is complaining about getting stung having been whipped with it!

Ed Bates fails to point out that the motion in the HoC was unlawful.

Ed Bates also fails to point out that the High Court not only abdicated responsibility but that its decision erred in law.

Ed Bates is wrong to suggest that the answer to his question is not within the Convention. Not only is it within the Convention, but it is also within other documents relating to the Council of Europe. Whilst minority opinions maybe interesting reading, what really counts are the majority opinions. In my view, the Court is the Supreme Court of the United States of Europe.

In my view, the UK has failed to take into account the views I hold on the issue. From a Prison Law Inside Out perspective I formed the conclusion that prisoners’ rights would fare better under European law as opposed to English law. Therefore, my case and legal arguments were designed to appeal to those judges more familar with European law. I succeeded. I was conscious of the Treasury Solicitor’s booklet Judge over your shoulder. I employed the same tactic with prison governors during adjudications, my case was not for their benefit but instead for those entrusted with guarding the guards.

When I studied law I rejected the traditional black letter of the law teaching in favour of law in context or ‘living law’, and took in European law. On the other hand, Lord Falconer who read law at Queen’s College Cambridge was not schooled in European law. Therefore, his education was inferior to mine from the “University of Crime”. English law recognises the doctrine of the supremacy of Parliament, whereas under European law the sovereignty of the people is supreme. Under English law we have a fusion of powers whereas under European law there is the separation of powers. I played on these differences successfully. I embrace Europe whereas the UK tries to be both in and out of Europe at the same time. The UK says one thing in Europe and another thing in the UK. The media and MPs fail to tell the truth to the UK public. There is also a lack of understanding of the European law principles of the margin of appreciation and subsidiarity. Even the Court’s judgments must be read differently because they do not follow the English law judgments with ratios and obiters, rather within them are European law principles.

I look forward to Ed Bates response.

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