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Weekly Update 26 November 2021

Weekly Update 26 November 2021

Dear Friends,

This morning brought news headlines of a significant Coronavirus variant, B.1.1.529, which has been identified in Southern Africa. While this intensifies the public health crisis in that region, already the worst affected on the African continent, the rest of the world is moving swiftly to counter the spread of this variant. The 'red-listing' travel restrictions announced by the UK government have been matched by similar measures taken by many other countries, and the WHO will discuss these developments today. It is to be hoped that international co-operation will focus not only on travel regulations but also critical issues of global vaccine equity and supporting the refinement of vaccines in the search for continued effectiveness against new variants.

Improving international co-operation in combatting public health emergencies is the subject of two papers which the Bingham Centre published this week (see COVID-19 and the Rule of Law section below).

The Bingham Centre has also engaged closely with other Rule of Law developments in the news this week.

In Poland, the Constitutional Tribunal delivered a decision rejecting the application of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) to determine issues of judicial independence in Poland. The Bingham Centre was requested by the Polish Ombudsman to provide an analysis of the applicability of the ECHR to constitutional courts across Europe under the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg court. Our analysis was submitted to the Constitutional Tribunal and this week we published it online, together with a blog discussing the importance of the case.

Closer to home, the Northern Ireland High Court this week heard a judicial review challenge to the UK Government's Legacy Proposals, which envisage a bar on further criminal, civil or inquest proceedings arising from incidents during the Troubles. Earlier in the week, the Bingham Centre convened an event in the Stormont Parliamentary buildings with senior members of civil society, the military, and experts to discuss the proposals. We also share a blog by the Bingham Centre's Ronan Cormacain which was cited in the judicial review proceedings.

Other news in this Update includes our participation in a high-level roundtable on justice and anti-corruption reform hosted by the Prime Minister of Moldova, and a public engagement event with students at the University of East London.

Youth engagement with Rule of Law issues is one of the subjects of our 3rd December conference (open to online bookings), which examines the Future of European Youth, in light of developments such as the end of UK participation in Erasmus+ and its replacement by the new Turing exchange programme. We also remind readers that they are welcome to book for livestream access to our British Academy event on the The Future of the Rule of Law and Democracy with Sir Jack Beatson, Professor Aileen Kavanagh and UK Supreme Court Justice, Lord Sales, on 9th December. Booking details are at the end of this email.

You can read the whole Weekly Update here.

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