Courts Move away from EU Law to Common Law

Courts move away from EU Law Brenda Hale

Supreme Court Vice President Lady Brenda Hale in a keynote address to the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Association Conference 2014 questioned whether there has been a move away from EU law to common law due to the rise of anti-EU sentiment.

After many years of the courts considering EU legal principles, Lady Hale has suggested that recent decisions highlights the fact that UK constitutionalism is ‘on the March’.

Lady Hale wished to classify this theme as ‘UK Constitutionalism on the March’ rather than Richard Clayton’s description ‘The Empire Strikes back’.

She described this theme as:

“after more than a decade of concentrating on European instruments as the source of rights, remedies and obligations, there is emerging a renewed emphasis on the common law and distinctively UK constitutional principles as a source of legal inspiration”

This renewed emphasis is documented in the list of cases that Lady Hale discusses in her keynote address to the Constitutional and Administrative Law Bar Conference 2014. Cases such as A (No 2), HM Treasury v Ahmed, Osborn v Parole Board, A v BBC and the HS2 case according to Lady Hale demonstrates the move away from European principles and back to UK constitutional principles. It highlights Lady Hale’s argument that there is a growing awareness that ‘UK constitutional principles should be at the forefront of the court’s analysis’.

Litigants and litigants have been reminded to look ‘first to the common law to protect their fundamental rights’.

Hale questioned whether it was the anti-EU sentiment amongst MPs that has caused this development in Courts, or whether it was judges philosophies influencing the court, or simply that the law was returning to the traditions of UK Constitutionalism.

What are your thoughts? Is this trend a response from anti-EU sentiment amongst parliamentarians, or whether judges opinions are pushing this development, or it is just looking back to common law principles. Or is it even mix of the three, a mix of two or none of these responses.

You decide!

Landmark ‘Right to be forgotten’ ruling against Google

Larry Page Google 

(Larry Page, CEO of Google)

A landmark ruling against Google will give people the ‘right to be forgotten’.

The American company Google has launched a service which is available from Friday. It would allow Europeans to ask Google to censor links that hold personal data. Personal data would be able to be removed from online search results. This follows the landmark EU ruling where the court gave individuals the ‘right to be forgotten’. This means that ‘irrelevant’ links and outdated data should be removed if requested, the court ruled this on the 13th May. The case concerned a Spanish man who complained that an auction notice of his repossessed property which was on Google results, infringed his privacy.

Google has said that people who wish to remove their personal data from online can do so by an online form. People who wish to remove their personal data would need to provide links they want removed, the country they are from and the reasoning behind their request. In addition to this, individuals will have to provide a valid photo identity.

In an interview with Financial Times, Larry Page (see picture above) warned that the court’s ruling could restrict innovation and strengthen repressive governments who restrict online communications.

Mr Page said Google will comply with the ruling and promised to be involved in the privacy debate “I wish we’d been more involved in a real debate . . . in Europe,” he said. “That’s one of the things we’ve taken from this, that we’re starting the process of really going and talking to people”.

Larry Page also said the company will try to ‘be more European’.