From the bizarre to the ridiculous

Yes, we know the phrase is technically “from the sublime to the ridiculous” but we simply couldn’t bring ourselves to use the word sublime in relation to Human Rights law in the way it is being applied in Europe. Readers of this blog will know that we tend to be critics and to highlight the absurd attempts to use the legislation and the fact that the European Court often thinks the attempted applications are meritorious !

In a case reported this week, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that in criminal cases if a witness is not available to give oral evidence, either due to refusing or having passed away this is a breach of the accused’s human rights. This goes against UK law which is entirely sensible and provides that where there is a written statement and for whatever reason the witness is not at court for cross examination, appropriate directions and warnings are given to a jury as to the weight which can or should be given to that evidence.

The first instance decision in Europe will either be ratified or overturned by the upper tier of the ECHR this week, and if the decision is ratified, it would on the face of it impose a major change on the English Legal System. If the European ruling is ignored by Judges in England & Wales, then yes, you guessed it, it will lead undoubtedly to a raft of new Human Rights challenges in the UK.

Judging (excuse the pun) by recent comments made by a number of the most senior judiciary in this country, they are becoming sick and tired of the impositions from Strasbourg so it won’t be a surprise if this ends up in a scrap between the UK and Europe. Sound familiar ?!