Aisling appeals to the European Court of Human Rights

28 July 2017

Roger Kiska comments on the Christian Legal Centre’s filing an application to the European Court of Human Rights regarding the case of Aisling Hubert.

On the same day that the Supreme Court has ruled that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful as they create a chilling effect on access to justice, the Christian Legal Centre has filed a claim to the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Aisling Hubert and the prohibitive costs she suffered as a result of her private prosecution.

Aisling filed a private prosecution against two doctors who had verbally agreed to perform sex-selected abortions in breach of the Abortion Act 1967. The admissions were made on video during a Daily Telegraph undercover story about gender based abortion in the United Kingdom. While the Director of Public Prosecutions admitted that evidence did exist to bring a case against the two doctors, it decided it would not do so based on the public interest. In other words, it refused to act not because the evidence to convict was not present, but because of political and policy reasons. As such, exercising her fundamental right to pursue a public prosecution, Aisling Hubert knew it was incumbent on her to defend the plight of unborn baby girls.

The Christian Legal Centre argues in its application to the Strasbourg court that the statute governing private prosecutions is very clear that costs from Aisling’s case should have been drawn from the central fund which was created for cases exactly like hers. Both the statute and caselaw surrounding private prosecutions are adamant that courts must protect the right of access to private prosecutions by not assessing punitive costs against the person seeking justice unless the case is frivolous and never should have been brought. And just like the ruling from the Supreme Court held, that access to justice in the United Kingdom must be available and affordable to all.

The application also notes that if not for the generosity of Christian Concern supporters, Aisling would not have had the means by which to pay the draconian costs orders made against her. It therefore asks the European Court to rule that the British courts violated the European Convention of Human Rights for taking action against Aisling because of its discriminatory views relating to abortion. The ultimate goal of our application is to ensure that no courts in the future will punish an applicant simply for seeking to protect the most vulnerable and wanting to stop a serious wrong from being perpetrated in breach of the law. We will continue to keep you updated as to the progress of the case.

Find out more about Aisling Hubert
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