New Conversation Blog: on GCHQ, data collection, and effectiveness

On Monday a new post from me was published on The Conversation. It is reproduced below.

The release of yet more of Edward Snowden’s leaked files reveals the still-astonishing scale and breadth of government surveillance after more than a year of revelations. These recent papers revealed to The Intercept website discuss a programme within Britain’s GCHQ known as “Karma Police”, in which the intelligence agency gathered more than 1.1 trillion pieces of information on UK citizens between August 2007 and March 2009.

Spurred on by the expansion of intercept warrants under the Terrorism Act 2006, this information is users’ internet metadata – details of phone calls, email messages and browser connections that includes passwords, contacts, phone numbers, email addresses, and folders used to organise emails, but not the actual content of messages or emails. Continue reading “New Conversation Blog: on GCHQ, data collection, and effectiveness”

Zappone & Gilligan v Revenue Commissioners: a feminist re-writing

7556549414_8ae6e03336_bOver recent years, Máiréad Enright, Aoife O’Donoghue and Julie McCandless have been leading the excellent Northern/Ireland Feminist Judgments Project. This takes the core idea of feminist judging from the original project of Rosemary Hunter, Clare McGlynn and Erika Rackley and applies it, with particular variations, to Ireland and Irish cases. Enright, O’Donoghue and McCandless have led the development of a close and intellectually challenging community of feminist scholars from, in and interested in Ireland, developed an excellent website, and edited what promises to be an excellent book bringing feminist judgments, commentaries and critical perspectives together. My contribution to that book was to attempt a feminist rewriting of Zappone & Gilligan v Revenue Commissioners & Ors. Continue reading “Zappone & Gilligan v Revenue Commissioners: a feminist re-writing”

New publication: On ‘judicial innovation’ and self-restraint in the ECtHR

ecthr-european-court-of-human-rightsMy latest article, co-authored with Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (Surrey, but soon to be of Liverpool) has been published in advance access format by the Human Rights Law Review. The paper is entitled “Managing Judicial Innovation in the European Court of Human Rights” and can be download (££) here. The abstract is as follows:

Since its establishment, the European Court of Human Rights has developed into a constitutionalist actor within and beyond the continent of Europe; a development that is in no small part due to judicial innovations, such as evolutive interpretation. Such innovation has resulted in a tension between the Court and the contracting parties that may conceivably call into question states’ diffuse support for the Court. We argue that this tension is addressed by the Court by means of a nascent model of judicial self-restraint discernible from the Court’s docket management, its cognisance of non-legal factors in particularly contentious cases and its use of consensus-based interpretation. While arguably necessary, such a model is not cost-free; rather, it may have implications for the quality of the Court’s decision-making and its standing in the eyes of other stakeholders, such as non-governmental organizations and complainants.

Continue reading “New publication: On ‘judicial innovation’ and self-restraint in the ECtHR”

New chapter: In Defence of Judicial Innovation and Constitutional Evolution

BWslider1Last September I spoke at a conference in Dublin City University entitled ‘Judges, Politics and the Irish Constitution‘. The conference brought together dozens of lawyers and political scientists from and in Ireland with an interest in the dynamics of constitutional interpretation, collaboration, evolution, politics and law. The organisers of that conference-Laura Cahillane (of UL), and Tom Hickey and James Gallen (both of DCU)–have now brought a number of the papers presented at the conference together into an edited collection. The book, also entitled Judges, Politics and the Irish Constitution–will be published next year by Manchester University Press. Continue reading “New chapter: In Defence of Judicial Innovation and Constitutional Evolution”