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The rule of law fights back

The recent Supreme Court decision on employment tribunal fees is a victory for our constitution. This is the rule of law, in action.

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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

“Blood on our hands” - the sorry state of UK mental health services

Nobody doubts there is a problem – so why isn’t more being done to protect survivors of abuse?

The rule of law fights back

The recent Supreme Court decision on employment tribunal fees is a victory for our constitution. This is the rule of law, in action.

Shocking new evidence could overturn Northern Ireland ruling that became an international blueprint for torture

I “felt like I was drowning or suffocating until I fell on the floor unconscious” - new testimony from survivors of torture in Nothern Ireland goes to the heart of British colonial myth-making.

Why the ICC examination into torture and other abuses by UK soldiers in Iraq must continue

The Office of the Prosecutor is under pressure to conclude the examination. It must remain open. The Prosecutor should be taking it to the next logical step – a full-blown investigation. 

Human rights protection at home and abroad: lessons to be learned from the Colombian peace process

Human rights abuses in Colombia can serve as a stark reminder of what the UK has to lose. 

Acid attacks are on the rise – the government must act now

Perpetrators of hate crime and gang violence are turning to easily available weapons. Muslim communities are frightened.

The terrible consequences of deregulation and cutting corners

After Grenfell, it’s time for the government to urgently rethink its attitude to regulation.

The fight against torture should preoccupy us all

Torture is a calculated act of cruelty and brutality that degrades us all and weakens the rule of law. On International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, let's eradicate complicity with torture.

One law for the poor at Grenfell Tower

In austerity Britain, can justice and accountability be served for the victims of the Grenfell fire? Or are our laws already too much shaped to the needs of the business class?

A poor track record and a worrying manifesto on civil rights

After the surpising 2017 general election, opposition parties have a golden opportunity to stand up for the rights of UK citizens.

Do more police mean less crime?

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are both pledging an increase in police officer numbers. Are these plans a welcome investment or a symbolic bit of electioneering?

The fate of the 'jungle' children

A study of the experiences of children from the Calais 'jungle', now claiming asylum in the North West of England, shows why we must speak up for the rights of refugees.

Civil liberties and human rights – what’s at stake in the UK's 2017 General Election?

Human rights are important for everyone, because without the right to protest against particular policies it is much more difficult to influence and hold to account whichever government is elected on 8 June.

The quiet revolution that could transform lives

Most people can't afford a transcript from their own trial even when it's the only thing that could prove their innocence. We need to move beyond the status quo.

 

What would true court modernisation look like?

Plans to modernise the courts in England and Wales may change how the justice system looks and feels, but it may not provide the forward thinking justice really needs.

We don't need more police, we need a shift of responsibilities

As services were withdrawn from vulnerable people, the police occupied the gap. Election campaigns should concentrate not on the police budget, but on rebalancing responsibilities.

How to make the roads safer

As the number of UK cyclists soar, so do death and injury on the roads. These are two simple rules that would reduce accidents and simplify a victim's claim.

It's about time our judiciary started to reflect the people it serves

A senior judiciary that so clearly fails to reflect the ethnic, gender and social composition of the nation seriously undermines justice in England and Wales.

Draconian cuts to legal aid for prisoners found to be unlawful by Court of Appeal

A rare thing: some good news for prisoners and legal aid. 

Do fewer lawyers and judges of colour mean more prisoners of colour?

When professionals within the criminal justice system cannot relate to the ordinary people that come before them, justice cannot be done.

How safe is the legal aid 'safety net'?

When the government decimated legal aid, they created a ‘safety net’ for human rights related cases. Has the scheme really helped to protect the rights of those most in need?

Hope for access to justice?

Against a backdrop of cuts and closures, the Greater Manchester Law Centre opened its doors last year - an inspiration for grass-roots community organising. This is their story.

The dark corners of our justice system

By failing to allow access to prisons and youth detention centres, the Ministry of Justice is allowing abuse and violence to flourish.

UK government wants to move justice online - but can computers perform essentially human functions?

Online courts may replace justice, empathy and judgment with compromise and efficiency.

Our criminal justice system is hiding its mistakes

If wrongly convicted of a crime, you would hope to find a transparent justice system that will help prove your innocence. But you might be better off in the Deep South.

The far right must stop talking about the death penalty in Europe

From Marine Le Pen to Paul Nuttall, the far right has resurrected the idea of the death penalty in Europe. But it’s wrong – even for the most heinous crimes.

When no good deed goes unpunished

Families in the UK that open their doors to child relatives fleeing the camps of Calais are being penalised by stringent rules on legal aid.

UK government will be held accountable for complicity in torture and rendition

As Trump swears to bring back torture, the UK Supreme Court has held that the UK government will be held accountable for its complicity in torture and rendition committed by foreign states.

Asylum seekers are left destitute and homeless due to a lack of legal aid

One of the least reported devastations caused by government legal aid cuts has been on asylum seekers. Vulnerable people seeking refuge in the UK are left destitute and homeless.

Justice - open to all, like the Ritz hotel

The government has committed to reviewing cuts to legal aid and the fight for justice and government accountability has just begun.

It is the prisons, not the prisoners, that are to blame for record number of deaths

There were a record number of deaths in prison in 2016. The problem lies not with the vulnerability of prisoners or lack of staff but with the deprivation that defines prison life.

What we can learn from the Supreme Court decision on Article 50

The Miller case teaches us about the British Constitution and exposes alarming ignorance from those at the top.

To understand women's rights we must look at gendered laws

Following the global march for women's rights on Saturday, we must look more closely at the subtle but profound ways in which inequality is perpetuated by the law.

Can technology save access to justice?

In the tsunami of austerity cuts, technology provides one of the few possible islands from which we can rebuild acceptable levels of assistance and, indeed, resistance.

Make justice great again

openJustice had its official launch party this week. Helena Kennedy talked about access to justice, justice post-Brexit and the future of human rights in the UK. Watch it here.

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