Elizabeth Robinson, a Yorkshire woman now in her eighties, has absolutely nothing in common with the ‘Black Cab rapist’ John Worboys – other than the fact that both of them are at the heart of two important Supreme Court decisions this month concerning the legal liability of police forces for harm to members of the public. Both decisions look to have extended forces’ liability, albeit in quite different areas.
The Conservative’s general election manifesto included a proposal in relation to the Human Rights Act ECHR and the Prime Minister has stated that “Our intention is very clear: it is to pass a British Bill of Rights, which we believe is compatible with our membership of the Council of Europe.” Some six months after the election, no such Bill has emerged despite this being an apparent Government priority. However, The Sunday Times of 8 November carried a story on its front page headed “Human rights law to be axed”. How is the topic now developing?
The Supreme Court’s dismissal of an attack on rules about legal costs enacted back in 1999 was hardly likely to generate as much as coverage as, say, the publication early this month of Harper Lee’s follow-up to her 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird. As sequels go, some may feel that the Court’s further decision in Coventry v Lawrence fails to live up to the promise of its 2014 judgment, which had raised the possibility of the costs regime in the Access to Justice Act 1999 being judicially struck down as being incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998. On 22 July, however, that prospect was dismissed by a majority of five to two.