Each year, at least 1000 young women, but perhaps as many as twice that number, travel from Northern Ireland to another part of the United Kingdom in search of an abortion. They do so to avoid the criminal liability that (in most cases) still attaches to terminations of pregnancy in Northern Ireland, and to rely instead on the more liberal legal regime prevailing in England, Scotland and Wales.
Should they be entitled to obtain abortions free on the National Health Service?
The answer to this question, which was considered by the Court of Appeal in A (a child) v Secretary of State for Health, reveals the full extent to which, under the UK’s devolution settlement, the disaggregation of the NHS into four discrete health services – one for each of the four constituent territories* of the United Kingdom – is now legally entrenched. By implication, it also asks important questions about the effect of future devolution within England.
Continue reading A v Secretary of State for Health – The NHS, Devolution and Human Rights
There are many things that seem unsatisfactory about the judgment of the High Court in RWE Generation v Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, apparently reflecting the judge’s own evident dissatisfaction with aspects of the claim.
However, in spite (or perhaps because) of this, the case has important things to say about how the courts treat discrimination claims in complex regulatory cases, both in the energy industry and beyond.
Sometime between 1am and 7am on 11 May 2009, Renford Braganza, the chief engineer aboard the MV ‘British Unity’, stepped out of his cabin. The ship, an oil tanker, was in the middle of the North Atlantic. He was never seen again.
How Mr Braganza’s employers, BP, responded to the unsolved mystery of his disappearance was the subject of the Supreme Court judgment in Braganza v BP Shipping Limited  UKSC 17. The Supreme Court held that fundamental principles of public law governing the exercise of discretion by public authorities can be equally applicable in private law to the exercise of discretion by one of the parties to a contract.
Continue reading Braganza – Using public law principles in contractual disputes