Human rights

Having personally witnessed the eviction of Jimmy Connors and his family from the Leeds City Council’s Gypsy & Traveller site on 1 August 2000, before the Human Rights Act came into force, Keith challenged the UK in the European Court of Human Rights. The judgment almost 4 years later, in Connors v UK [2004] HLR 52, was a landmark case on Article 8 and ranks as one of Keith’s major highlights of his career.

His numerous challenges based on Article 8 ECHR and proportionality also include Price v Leeds CC (in Kay v Lambeth; Price v Leeds), and JL v Secretary of State for Defence. The ramifications have gone beyond human rights defences in housing possession proceedings and developed the domestic law on human rights in England.

Keith conducted the case of McGlinchey & Ors v UK in the ECtHR concerning a prison death and Article 3 which resulted in government implementation of a programme to improve prison health policy for drug addicts, getting health services for prisoners to be maintained within the NHS, and measures including £40 million more for prison health services, £28 million for clinical drug services in prisons in 2006 with £60 million in 2007 and continuing, and drug rehabilitation programmes in 103 prisons.

In recent years Keith has brought judicial reviews concerning the incompatibility with European Convention rights of the statutory regime for disclosure in DBS certificates, both as to discretionary police information and lifelong disclosure of convictions.

As a keen supporter of legal aid provision for access to justice by vulnerable people Keith has sought to protect people’s rights and successfully judicially reviewed the Legal Services Commission (LSC) over legal aid contract tendering. He successfully judicially reviewed the Legal Aid Agency over its interpretation of LASPO concerning abuse of power and its decision to refuse to fund High Court statutory appeals for people struck off the NMC register. He was less successful in a judicial review against the Legal Aid Agency over its decision to stop funding advice and assistance to people for applications to the European Court of Human Rights.