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Scottish Elections 2007

lipu

Posted 24 January 2007 - 06:22 PM

An important development was announced today regarding the Scottish Elections in May 2007:

QUOTE
Legal action is being considered which could stop the Scottish Parliament election from taking place because prisoners are excluded from voting.
It follows a ruling at the Court of Session in Edinburgh that the elections would be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The UK Government had set up a consultation process following a European Court ruling in 2005.

But legislation would not be introduced before Scotland's elections in May.

It is understood that a number of prisoners are already undertaking legal action to prevent the poll from taking place.

Three judges at Scotland's supreme civil court issued a declaration that the blanket ban on convicted prisoners voting was incompatible with their human rights.

A former prisoner, who was denied the right to vote in the last elections for the Holyrood parliament, took his case to the Registration Appeal Court in Edinburgh.

Lord Abernethy, who heard the appeal with Lord Nimmo Smith and Lord Emslie, said the May elections would take place in a way which was not compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The judges said they had come to the view that they "should make a formal declaration of incompatibility to that effect".

The appeal arose after a serving prisoner, William Smith, had his application to be included on the electoral roll in 2003 rejected.

Lord Abernethy said Mr Smith's case was "of far-reaching importance".

"It is accepted by the government that there will be no amending legislation before the Scottish parliamentary election in May 2007," he said.

"We fully understand why the Government does not at this stage wish to rush forward with amending legislation but the fact remains that the Scottish parliamentary election in May 2007 will take place in a manner which is not Convention-compliant."

In 2005 a prisoner in England, John Hirst, who was serving life for manslaughter, won a decision over voting rights at the European Court of Human Rights.


source: BBC News Online (Scotland)

AppleCore

Posted 24 January 2007 - 11:03 PM

will be interesting to see the outcome of this case.

John

Posted 25 January 2007 - 01:25 AM

I see no justification for such a case to even be considered.

They are prisoners for a reason, and should not have a say in how the country will be governed.


Though, I would say some prisoners do have such a right. Such prisoners would be ones held in prison while awaiting trial, on remand, or in prison for non-payment of fines, amongst others.

lipu

Posted 25 January 2007 - 12:18 PM

The Scottish Parliament elections are not an issue as they are governed by the Scotland Act 1998. The Scotland Act 1998 is an Act of the UK parliament, which does not need to be compatible with ECHR rights.

It's the local elections where the issues arise. They are the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament. All legislation from the Scottish Parliament must be compatible with the HRA and the ECHR. The major Article causing problems is:

QUOTE(European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Article 14))
The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.


ermd

Posted 07 February 2007 - 01:32 AM

QUOTE(John @ Jan 25 2007, 01:25 AM) View Post
I see no justification for such a case to even be considered.

They are prisoners for a reason, and should not have a say in how the country will be governed.


But are you not then detaining them as much as political prisoners as anything else? Breaking the law should not prevent one from voting I don't think.

What if the law you broke was an unjust one, and then your voting rights (best way of getting the law changed, no?) are removed? Seems a bit messed up.

John

Posted 18 February 2007 - 05:44 PM

That's why you would have a lawyer.

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