Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Victim Status, Extraterritoriality and the Search for Principled Reasoning

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Abstract

In Human Rights Watch v Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office the UK Investigatory Powers Tribunal found that the relevant standard of victim status' that applies in secret surveillance cases consists in a potential risk of being subjected to surveillance and that the European Convention on Human Rights does not apply to the surveillance of individuals who reside outside of the UK. This note argues that the Tribunal's finding regarding the victim status of the applicants was sound but that the underlying reasoning was not. It concludes that the Tribunal's finding on extraterritoriality is unsatisfactory and that its engagement with the European Court of Human Rights case law on the matter lacked depth. Finally, the note considers the defects of the Human Rights Watch case, and the case law on extraterritoriality more generally, against the backdrop of the place of principled reasoning in human rights adjudication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-524
Number of pages15
JournalModern Law Review
Volume80
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • European Convention on Human Rights
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000
  • extraterritoriality
  • privacy
  • surveillance
  • victim status

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