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Human rights/open justice—the wider use of court documents relied on to obtain Human Rights Act Declarations (UXA v Merseycare NHS Foundation Trust)

Published on: 18 January 2022
Published by: LexisPSL
  • Human rights/open justice—the wider use of court documents relied on to obtain Human Rights Act Declarations (UXA v Merseycare NHS Foundation Trust)
  • What are the practical implications of this case?
  • What was the background?
  • What did the court decide?
  • Human Rights Act Declarations ‘by Consent’
  • Judicial determinations without a hearing
  • The open justice principle
  • Use of documents relied on by the court in making human rights declarations
  • Case details

Article summary

Dispute Resolution analysis: Having made declarations that the defendant NHS Trust had breached the claimant’s human rights under Articles 2, 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and therefore acted unlawfully under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA 1998), without a hearing (because the parties had agreed the basis of such declarations in a negotiated settlement), the court was required to determine the contested issue of what wider use could be made by the parties of the documents relied on by the court to support those declarations. Mr Justice Fordham held that transparency and the ‘open justice principle’ applied to substantive judicial determinations made without a hearing and that those principles required that the parties should be able to use the documents relied on in support of Human Rights declarations other than for the purposes of the proceedings, including to disclose the same to third parties (including media organisations). Those documents included the parties’ skeleton arguments, which referred extensively to the underlying disclosure documents, the agreed joint statement of the psychiatric experts and a report of an independent investigation commissioned by the defendant Trust. Written by Peter Edwards, barrister, Devereux Chambers, who was junior counsel for UXA. or take a trial to read the full analysis.

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