iStock_000012523590XSmall-300x208The most commonly relied upon articles from the Human Rights Act in current English legal proceedings tend to be :-

Article 6 – Right to a fair trial

This is an absolute right and applies to both civil and criminal legal proceedings. It includes such aspects as a right to have a case dealt within a reasonable period of time, by an independent and impartial tribunal and not to suffer a substantial disadvantage compared to the other party. This does not necessarily mean fairness in terms of overall resources but a good example would be if a party needs an interpreter just to understand what is happening. The right has also been found to incorporate a right to be advised of the reasons for any decision and cases brought under this article commonly involve issues surrounding appeals from original decisions.

Article 8 – Right to respect for private life, family life and the home

A common example of the application of this right relates to issues of data protection and there have been some very high profile recent issues involving this right, in particular the notorious News of the World phone hacking case. The family life right has come into cases involving, amongst other things pollution or anti-social behaviour. Article 8 is known as a qualified and not absolute right and consequently there are instances when the right is effectively legally overruled by more important social issues or national issues. This right has also been argued in relation to recent social housing cases.

Article 14: Not to suffer discrimination

There are obvious connotations and uses of this right and it dovetails with many rights now enshrined in employment law and the Equality Act. In terms of the breadth of application, it relates to :-

sexual orientation
political views
personal characteristics generally


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iStock_000003805380XSmall-300x201Freedom of movement is perhaps the single biggest consequence of the European Union, with hundreds of thousands of individuals moving in some cases from, one country in the EU to another, often in search of better life prospects. Those of us that live in the Uk will be very aware of the massive influx of people from eastern european countries in particular.

Incredibly, it seems that the very powerful and life changing effects of freedom of movement do not apply to the benefit of disabled people, who, whilst they have the same rights as non-disabled, in reality cannot use them without additional rights applicable throughout the EU and this is nothing short of scandalous.

This topic has been the subject of much needed profile raising in the last week at the European disability Forum. On the positive side, the European Commission (EC) will apparently put forward some proposals within the next year as part of a planned European Accessibility Act, which will hopefully finally deal with the inequality of the freedom of movement position.

Disability campaigners are already lobbying the Commission re the proposed new Act in relation to :-

The Act including a legal duty on all members states to ensure accessibility, but with each country having flexibility of implementation.
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Fotolia_14126269_Subscription_L-300x225A fascinating new report suggests that disabled people are being exploited when it comes to debt and provision of credit..

The Citizen’s Advice report, entitled “Double Disadvantage” claims that the exploitation of disabled people takes many forms, which can include :-

pressure selling techniques
inappropriate and exploitative methods of debt collection
lending at excessive and unfair interest rates to disabled people.
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