The European Court of Human Rights court held in Gaughran v United Kingdom  ECHR 144 that the police’s indefinite retention of DNA profile, fingerprints and photographs of person convicted of a minor offence without a possibility of review constituted an infringement of Article 8 ECHR (respect for private life). This is the latest in a number of cases where the ECtHR has disagreed with a decision of the Supreme Court and represents a further development of the meaning of “private life”.
Applications for forced marriage protection orders (“FMPO”s) made pursuant to s.63A of the Family Law Act 1996 are on the rise: in 2018, the government’s Forced Marriage Unit provided advice or support in 1,764 possible forced marriage cases; a significant increase from the following 1200-1400 cases in 2017. Also in 2018, Family Court statistics indicate that 322 applications were made and 324 orders granted. Despite applications being made by police, who must seek leave to make such an application under s.63C(3) of the Family Law Act 1996, and local authorities, the legislation itself does not provide clear guidance as to how the court should deal with such applications. The President of the Family Division, Sir Andrew McFarlane, has now done so in Re K (Forced Marriage: Passport Order) EWCA Civ 190.
The case of R (Bridges) v Chief Constable of South Wales Police & Information Commissioner  EWHC 2341 (Admin);  1 WLR 672 is said to have been the first claim brought before a court anywhere on planet earth concerning the use by police of automated facial recognition (“AFR”) technology. There could be nothing wrong with posting scores of police officers with eidetic memories to look out for up to a 800 wanted persons at public gatherings. So why not use a powerful computer, capable of matching 50 faces a second with a database of (under) 800 suspects, to do this job much more cheaply and instantaneously, flagging any matches to a human operator for final assessment? According to the Divisional Court in Bridges, this may, depending on the facts of each particular deployment, be lawful.
Two recent cases have required the High Court and Court of Appeal to consider in detail the use by local authorities of different powers contained in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (“ASBCPA”) to limit or prevent protests that have contained a strong religious or moral element. To what extent are the courts prepared to sanction the use of these powers in relation to types of activities that perhaps would not immediately spring to mind when the words ‘anti-social behaviour’ are heard? The answer, in two words, is ‘very prepared’, judging by the decisions in the cases of Dulgerhiu v London Borough of Ealing  EWCA Civ 1490 and Birmingham City Council v Asfar  EWHC 3217 (QB).
The first case concerned a challenge to the imposition by the London Borough of Ealing of a Public Spaces Protection Order. In the second the High Court granted a final anti-social behaviour injunction, sought by Birmingham City Council under section 1 of the 2014 Act. While the cases raise real issues as to the balancing of the Human Rights Act 1998 articles 9, 10 and 11 rights of the ‘protestor’ against those affected by the protests, as will be seen the Courts have had little hesitation in approving or taking action where there was evidence of real harm being caused.
The Court of Appeal has held in Re M (Children) (Disclosure to the Police)  EWCA Civ 1364, that the Re C test for disclosure of material from care proceedings to the police remains good law after 23 years, and in the light of the Human Rights Act 1996, but with the qualification that disclosure must be necessary and proportionate.