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Major breakthrough as HIV/AIDS case is put before European Court of Human Rights

Publication date:

Puzzle Pieces Spelling HIV/AIDS

The first ever case relating to HIV/AIDS discrimination in the workplace was declared admissible and is to be heard before the European Court of Human Rights following work by Dr George Letsas and Dr Virginia Mantouvalou, Co-Directors of the UCL Institute for Human Rights.

The case concerns applicant I.B. – a HIV-positive individual, who was dismissed from his job when colleagues found out that he had HIV, and refused to work with him.

I.B. challenged the dismissal as unlawful. However, the Greek Court of Cassation upheld the dismissal on the ground that the employer was not motivated by hostility towards his HIV status, but by the desire to ensure the peaceful running of her business.

Speaking about the case, on which the court is expected to rule in 2013, the Co-Directors said:
"We are very pleased that the Court has declared the case admissible, not least because some 90% of the applications submitted are declared inadmissible. Our claim is that the applicant suffered discrimination on the basis of his HIV-status. This remains the case even though his employer did not have discriminatory motives, and only cared about business efficiency. There is widespread discrimination and social exclusion in Europe towards persons with HIV/AIDS. States have positive obligations to take action."

IHR's Judicial Visitor Dean Spielmann elected President of the European Court of Human Rights

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Judge Dean Spielmann

Judge Spielmann, Judicial Visitor at the UCL Faculty of Laws and the UCL Institute for Human Rights, was elected President of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.  He has been a judge at the Court since 2004, Section President since 2011 and was elected Vice-President in July 2012. He succeeds Sir Nicholas Bratza whose mandate will come to an end in October 2012.

“Judge Spielmann is an outstanding judge, whose judicial and extra-judicial writings have been pivotal to the continuous development of the case law of the Court. His election to President is fantastic news for human rights advocates in Europe. It is also great news for our Faculty with which he has strong links”, said the Co-Directors of the UCL Institute for Human Rights, George Letsas and Virginia Mantouvalou.

Dean Spielmann has written the preface of George Letsas’s book, A Theory of Interpretation of the European Convention on Human Rights (2009, Oxford University Press). He has also judged the annual UCL Human Rights Moot Competition in Strasbourg since 2008.  In 2012, Judge Spielmann co-edited the book The European Convention on Human Rights: A Living and Dynamic Instrument, with contributions by Virginia Mantouvalou and George Letsas. The book was launched at UCL in February 2011.

Fellow and member of the steering group of the Institute for Human Rights, Dr Ronan McCrea, co-authors Report on Controversial Judicial Reform in Hungary

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Dr Ronan McCrea

The Hungarian government should respect the ruling of the Constitutional Court and repeal controversial new legislation lowering the mandatory age of retirement for judges to 62, according to a new report co-authored by Dr Ronan McCrea, fellow and member of the Steering Group of the Institute for Human Rights.

The report, Courting Controversy: the Impact of the Recent Reforms on the Independence of the Judiciary and the Rule of Law in Hungary, undertaken by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), outlines a number of recommendations in the wake of controversial legislative reforms, including a new Constitution, which came into force at the beginning of 2012.

Containing the findings of the IBAHRI fact-finding delegation which visited Hungary in March of this year, the report acknowledges that although the rationale behind the attempts to make the judicial system faster and more deficient are to be welcomed, several key legislative aspects pose a severe threat to judicial independence.

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