This week, The Justice Beat focuses on rights in the news: from women in the workplace, to those in prison, to our post-Brexit world.
1. Hollywood A-Listers have decided that "#TimesUp" on sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. In a high profile campaign, 300 women who work in film, television and theatre (including celebs like Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston) have set up a legal defence fund in America to help less privileged women fight workplace sexism. The Atlantic writes that “it is an effort, significantly, that aims to combat workplace sexism at its foundations: through legal recourse.” The movement calls for legislation to penalise companies that tolerate harassment, and to fight against the use of non-disclosure agreements to silence victims.
2. Meanwhile Iceland has become the first country to make the gender pay gap illegal; companies will have to prove that they offer equal pay to their employees. This stands in stark contrast to the UK’s approach, which will soon require companies larger than 250 people to publish information about their gender pay gap. Some wonder whether the disclosure exercise will be merely an ineffective “naming and shaming” campaign.
Women on their period in police custody
3. Menstruating women and girls in police custody are not being given adequate sanitary products, reports Buzzfeed. The Independent Custody Visiting Association (ICVA) has written to the Home Office calling on a review and introduction of minimum standards. Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, advising the ICVA, told BuzzFeed News there are “a number of basic human rights violated by the current, unacceptable position”.
Prisoners to get legal aid (sometimes)
4. Following the ruling by the Court of Appeal in the crowdfunded judicial reviewbought by The Howard League earlier this year, legal aid will be restored for three areas of prison law. The Law Society Gazette reports that the amending statutory instrument has now been laid before Parliament. According to the Howard League, almost 300 people have taken their own lives since eligibility for criminal legal aid in certain prison law matters was removed in December 2013.
5. Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer calls the Government’s analysis of how the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will be incorporated into British law “woefully inadequate”. Starmer says Labour would force a vote on the issue this month at the next stage of the EU withdrawal bill, as the government is refusing to transpose the charter into UK law, reports the Guardian.
This week on CrowdJustice, the Helena Kennedy-endorsed case of Stephen Hawking and others hit its target of £144,000, and we do a festive round up of 2017.