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Article

Meetings between victims and offenders suffering from a mental disorder in forensic mental health facilities: a qualitative exploration of their subjective experiences

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2022
Keywords Victim-offender meetings, restorative justice, forensic mental health, victimology, perception
Authors Mariëtte van Denderen and Michiel van der Wolf
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most studies about victim-offender meetings have been performed within prison populations, with little reference to offenders diagnosed with mental disorders. In establishing the effects of such meetings, these studies often use quantitative measures. Little is known about meetings between victims and offenders with mental disorders and about the more qualitative subjective experiences of the participants regarding these meetings. In this interview study, we inquired into the subjective experiences of sixteen participants in victim-offender meetings, six of whom are victims and ten offenders of severe crimes, currently residing in forensic mental health facilities. Topics of the interviews included benefits of the meeting and perceptions of each other prior to and after the meeting. Important benefits that participants experienced from meeting each other were reconnecting with family, processing the offence and contributing to each other’s well-being. Such benefits are comparable to those mentioned in studies on meetings with offenders without a mental disorder, challenging the practice that mentally disordered offenders are often excluded from such meetings. Most victims experienced a positive change in perception of the offender owing to the meeting. They perceived the offender as a human being and associated him less exclusively with his offence. Implications for clinical practice are addressed.


Mariëtte van Denderen
M.Y. van Denderen is criminologist and senior researcher at the Forensic Psychiatric Centre Dr. S. van Mesdag, Groningen, the Netherlands.

Michiel van der Wolf
M.J.F. van der Wolf is Professor of Forensic Psychiatry at Leiden University and Associate Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Corresponding author: M.Y. van Denderen at m.van.denderen@fpcvanmesdag.nl. Funding: This work was supported by an international, non-governmental, organization that prefers to stay anonymous (more information is available at request). Acknowledgements: We want to thank the victims, bereaved individuals and offenders who shared their experiences about the meeting. We would also like to thank the social workers of the FPC Dr. S. van Mesdag and FPC the Oostvaardersclinic, among which H. van Splunter, and Perspectief Herstelbemiddeling for their cooperation. We thank F. Fierstra, L. Gunnink, E. de Jong and F. Drijfhout for transcribing the interviews. Disclosure statement: No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

    Restorative justice has frequently been presented as a new criminal justice paradigm, and as something that is radically different from punishment. I will argue that this ‘oppositioning’ is problematic for two reasons: first, because some cases of restorative justice constitute de facto punishment from the perspectives of some positions on what punishment is; second, because restorative justice could reasonably be more widely adopted as a new form of de jure punishment, which could potentially increase the use of restorative justice for the benefit of victims, offenders and society at large. In connection with the latter, I want to present some preliminary thoughts on how restorative justice could be incorporated into future criminal justice systems as de jure punishment. Furthermore, I will suggest that by insisting that restorative justice is radically different from punishment, restorative justice advocates may - contrary to their intentions − play into the hands of those who want to preserve the status quo rather than developing future criminal justice systems in the direction of restorative justice.


Christian Gade
Christian Gade is an Associate Professor of Human Security and Anthropology at Aarhus University and a mediator in the Danish victim-offender mediation programme (Konfliktråd). Corresponding author: Christian Gade at gade@cas.au.dk. Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Pernille Reese, head of the Danish Victim-Offender Mediation Secretariat, for our many dialogues about restorative justice and punishment. Furthermore, I am grateful to Søren Rask Bjerre Christensen and Isabelle Sauer for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this article. Last but not least, I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback.
Article

Access_open Retribution, restoration and the public dimension of serious wrongs

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2022
Keywords public wrongs, R.A. Duff, agent-relative values, criminalisation, punishment
Authors Theo van Willigenburg
AbstractAuthor's information

    Restorative justice has been criticised for not adequately giving serious consideration to the ‘public’ character of crimes. By bringing the ownership of the conflict involved in crime back to the victim and thus ‘privatising’ the conflict, restorative justice would overlook the need for crimes to be treated as public matters that concern all citizens, because crimes violate public values, i.e., values that are the foundation of a political community. Against this I argue that serious wrongs, like murder or rape, are violations of agent-neutral values that are fundamental to our humanity. By criminalising such serious wrongs we show that we take such violations seriously and that we stand in solidarity with victims, not in their capacity as compatriots but as fellow human beings. Such solidarity is better expressed by organising restorative procedures that serve the victim’s interest than by insisting on the kind of public condemnation and penal hardship that retributivists deem necessary ‘because the public has been wronged’. The public nature of crimes depends not on the alleged public character of the violated values but on the fact that crimes are serious wrongs that provoke a (necessarily reticent) response from government officials such as police, judges and official mediators.


Theo van Willigenburg
Theo van Willigenburg is Research Fellow at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Faculteit Religie en Theologie, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Corresponding author: Theo van Willigenburg at t.van.willigenburg@vu.nl.

    Western Australia is experiencing high rates of recidivism among Aboriginal offenders. This challenge can be partly addressed by delivering culturally relevant programming. Its dearth, however, suggests two questions: what is culturally fit in the context of the prison, and how might such programming be constructed? This article responds to these questions by focusing on one element of culture, ‘values’, that is influential ideas that determine desirable courses of action in a culture. Firstly, a review of the literature and comparative analysis is given to the respective key values of Aboriginal culture and European and Anglo-Australian cultures. It also highlights the importance of repairing Aboriginal values with implications for providing culturally relevant prison programming. Secondly, a report is given on how an in-prison Aboriginal restorative justice programme (AIPRJP) was co-designed by Noongar Elders and prisoners and me, an Anglo-Australian restorativist. Using an ethnographic approach, the project identified a set of Aboriginal values for addressing the harms resulting from historical manifestations of wrongdoing by settler colonialism and contemporary crimes of Aboriginal offenders. Brief commentary is then given to the delivery of the AIPRJP, followed by a summary of findings and recommendations for using culturally relevant programming.


Jane Anderson
Jane Anderson is Adjunct Research Fellow at School of Population and Global Health, The University of Western Australia, Australia. Corresponding author: Jane Anderson at jane.a@westnet.com.au. Acknowledgements: I extend my appreciation to the Noongar Elders and prisoners of the South West of Western Australia who co-designed the AIPRJP. My thanks go to the prison superintendent and staff for supporting the initiative. I am grateful to the peer reviewers for their constructive criticism which has led to substantial improvements to this article.

    Terms-of-service based actions against political and state actors as both key subjects and objects of political opinion formation have become a focal point of the ongoing debates over who should set and enforce the rules for speech on online platforms.
    With minor differences depending on national contexts, state regulation of platforms creating obligations to disseminate such actors’ information is considered dangerous for the free and unhindered discursive process that leads to the formation of public opinions.
    Reactions to the suspension of Trump as not the first, but the most widely discussed action of platform companies against a politician (and incumbent president) provide a glimpse on the state of platform governance debates across participating countries.
    Across the countries surveyed politicians tend to see the exercise of content moderation policies of large platform companies very critically
    The majority of politicians in European countries seem to be critical of the deplatforming of Trump, emphasizing fundamental rights and calling for such decisions to be made by states, not private companies
    These political standpoints stand in an unresolved conflict with the constitutional realities of participating countries, where incumbents usually cannot invoke fundamental rights when acting in their official capacities and where laws with “must carry” requirements for official information do not exist for social media and would likely only be constitutional for narrowly defined, special circumstances such as disaster prevention.
    Facebooks’ referral of the Trump-decision to its Oversight Board sparked a larger debate about institutional structures for improving content governance. The majority of participating countries has experience with self- or co-regulatory press-, media- or broadcasting councils to which comparisons can be drawn, foreshadowing the possible (co-regulatory) future of governing online speech.
    Media commentators in participating countries interpreted the deplatforming of Trump as a signal that far-right parties and politicians around the world may face increasing scrutiny, while conservative politicians and governments in multiple participating countries instrumentalized the actions against Trump as supposed proof of platform’s bias against conservative opinions.
    Even without specific legal requirements on content moderation, submissions from several countries refer to a general – often: constitutional – privileging of speech of politicians and office holders. This could potentially support or even compel the decisions of platforms to leave content of political actors up even if it violates their terms of service.


Martin Fertmann
Martin Fertmann is a PhD student at the Leibniz-Institut für Medienforschung | Hans-Bredow-Institut’s research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces”

Matthias C. Kettemann
Prof. dr. Matthias C. Kettemann, LL.M. (Harvard) is head of the research programme “Regulatory Structures and the Emergence of Rules in Online Spaces” at the Leibniz Institute for Media Research | Hans-Bredow-Institut.
Article

Access_open Victim-Offender Contact in Forensic Mental Health

Resocialisation and Victim Acknowledgement During the Execution of the Dutch TBS Order

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2021
Keywords victim-offender contact, resocialisation, victim acknowledgement, forensic psychiatry, mentally disordered offenders
Authors Lydia Dalhuisen and Alice Kirsten Bosma
AbstractAuthor's information

    Crime victims have gained a stronger position in all phases of the criminal procedure, including the post-sentencing phase. It is in this phase specifically that victims’ needs and interests relating to acknowledgement interplay with the offenders’ needs and interests relating to resocialisation. In the Netherlands, offenders who suffer from a mental disorder at the time of the offence limiting their criminal accountability and pose a significant safety threat, can be given a TBS order. This means that they are placed in a forensic psychiatric hospital to prevent further crimes and receive treatment aimed at resocialisation. As resocialisation requires the offender to return to society, contact with the victim might be a necessary step. This article focuses on victim-offender contact during the execution of this TBS order, and looks at risks and opportunities of victim-offender contact in this context, given the particular offender population. Offenders are divided into three groups: those with primarily psychotic disorders, those suffering from personality disorders and those with comorbidity, especially substance abuse disorders. The TBS population is atypical compared to offenders without a mental disorder. Their disorders can heighten the risks of unsuccessful or even counterproductive victim-offender contact. Yet, carefully executed victim-offender contact which includes thorough preparation, managing expectations and choosing the right type of contact can contribute to both successful resocialisation as well as victim acknowledgement.


Lydia Dalhuisen
Lydia Dalhuisen, PhD, is Assistant Professor at the Utrecht University, the Netherlands.

Alice Kirsten Bosma
Alice Kirsten Bosma is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of Tilburg University, the Netherlands.
Article

Restorative justice practice in forensic mental health settings: bridging the gap

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue Online First 2021
Keywords restorative justice in mental health, evidence-based practice, institutional settings, victims, ethics
Authors Gerard Drennan and Fin Swanepoel
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ‘clinic’ has developed sophisticated systems for responding to the challenge of serious mental health conditions. Mental health services combine hierarchical decision-making processes, with clear medical authority, with interventions that are required to be evidence-based to the highest standard. This is a system in which ethical, defensible practice is imperative to protect the public and to protect practitioners from legal liability in the event of adverse outcomes. Restorative justice interventions are powerful ‘medicine’. At their best, they change lives. However, the evidence base for formal restorative justice interventions when ‘administered’ to people with severe mental health difficulties is almost non-existent. It is into this relative vacuum of empirical support that initial steps are being taken to formalise access to restorative justice for mental health populations. This article will consider the challenges for applications of restorative justice in mental health settings and how the gap between the principle of equality of access and actual practice could be conceptualised and bridged. Recommendations include a rigorous commitment to meeting the needs of victims; a focus on the mental health patient’s capacity to consent rather than the capacity to benefit; practice-based evidence development and the inclusion of restorative justice awareness in all mental health practitioner training.


Gerard Drennan
Gerard Drennan is Head of Psychology & Psychotherapy at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom.

Fin Swanepoel
Fin Swanepoel is a Restorative Justice Practitioner at South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, London, United Kingdom. Corresponding author: Gerard Drennan at Gerard.Drennan@slam.nhs.uk. Acknowledgements: We wish to thank the reviewers of the first submission of this article for their helpful comments and suggestions as the article was significantly improved by their guidance. We also wish to thank our colleagues in forensic mental health services who are also working to introduce restorative justice practices in their settings. We have learnt so much from their vision and commitment. We have been sustained in our journey because we journey with them.
Annual lecture

Access_open Transforming restorative justice

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2021
Keywords relational theory, transformative justice, systemic injustice
Authors Jennifer J. Llewellyn
AbstractAuthor's information

    From the global pandemic to the Black Lives Matter, the Me Too/Times Up and Indigenous reconciliation and decolonisation movements, the systemic and structural failures of current social institutions around the world have all been brought to our collective consciousness in poignant, painful and urgent ways. The need for fundamental social and systemic transformation is clear. This challenge is central to the work of dealing with the past in countries undergoing transition and in established democracies confronting deep structural inequalities and injustices. Rooted in lessons from the application of restorative justice across these contexts, this article suggests that grounding restorative justice as a relational theory of justice is key to understanding and realising the potential of a restorative approach for transformation. It also explores the implications of this transformative imperative for the growth and development of restorative justice


Jennifer J. Llewellyn
Jennifer Llewellyn is Professor and Chair in Restorative Justice at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Director of the Restorative Research, Innovation and Education Lab. www.restorativelab.ca. Contact author: Jennifer.Llewellyn@Dal.Ca.
Article

An exploration of trauma-informed practices in restorative justice: a phenomenological study

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 2 2021
Keywords restorative justice, trauma, trauma-informed care, interpretative phenomenological analysis
Authors Claudia Christen-Schneider and Aaron Pycroft
AbstractAuthor's information

    While several studies identify trauma as a main risk factor for developing offending behaviour, the criminal justice system still largely ignores the problem, and the same seems to be true of restorative justice. This article offers a critical exploration of trauma-informed work with offenders using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The interviewees perceive a growing interest in the topic of trauma and trauma-informed care (TIC). However, they also identify several areas that seem to hinder a trauma-informed approach, not only with offenders but also with victims. One concern is the tendency to institutionalise restorative justice with an emphasis on efficiency, effectiveness and outcome orientation. The interviewees also perceive a revengeful and retributive attitude in their societies that does not condone restorative measures that seemingly favour offenders. This tendency appears even stronger in societies that have suffered from collaborative trauma and not recovered from it. Interviewees therefore advocate for raising awareness of trauma, the consequences of unhealed trauma and the need to work trauma-informed with all stakeholders, including offenders and the extended, affected community. They also appeal for increased training to be provided for practitioners in TIC and self-care as these areas seem essential to provide safe and beneficial processes for all stakeholders.


Claudia Christen-Schneider
Claudia Alexandra Christen-Schneider is president of the Swiss RJ Forum.

Aaron Pycroft
Aaron Pycroft PhD is Reader in Criminal Justice and Social Complexity at the University of Portsmouth, UK. Contact author: Claudia Alexandra Christen-Schneider at swissrjforum@gmail.com.
Case Reports

Access_open 2021/13 Equal Treatment Authority’s decision does not bind the court (HU)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2021
Keywords Race, Nationality Discrimination, Discrimination General
Authors Zsofia Olah
AbstractAuthor's information

    This case involved an employee who claimed that her two consecutive employers breached the principle of equal treatment during their employment relationships in relation to her belonging to the Roma minority. The employee built her case on the decision of the Equal Treatment Authority, which declared that her employers discriminated against her. The Curia (the highest judicial authority in Hungary) found that the decision of another authority has no binding effect on a court according to Act III of 1952 on Civil Procedure and that in cases concerning equal treatment, the burden of proof lies on the defendant (employer) to prove that there is no link between the disadvantage suffered by the plaintiff (employee) and her protected characteristic. The Curia and regional courts also found that the employer fulfils this obligation if it successfully proves that it assessed the applicant’s qualifications, professional suitability and attitude towards work when it decided on the question of whom to employ.


Zsofia Olah
Zsofia Olah is a partner at OPL Law Firm.
Article

Restorative justice in schools: examining participant satisfaction and its correlates

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 3 2021
Keywords restorative justice, school-to-prison-pipeline, satisfaction
Authors Ph.D. John Patrick Walsh, Jaclyn Cwick, Patrick Gerkin e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Schools in the United States are implementing restorative justice practices that embrace student responsibility and reintegration to replace the zero-tolerance exclusionary policies popularised in the 1980s and 1990s. However, little is known about what factors are related to these and other restorative outcomes. The present study utilises 2017-2018 survey data (n = 1,313) across five West Michigan schools to determine how participant and restorative circle characteristics contribute to participant satisfaction within ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models. Findings show that several characteristics of restorative circles, including the number of participants, time spent in the restorative circle, number of times respondents have participated in a circle, and whether an agreement was reached, are significantly related to participant satisfaction. In addition, gender and participant role interact to have a significant effect on satisfaction. And models disaggregated by incident type indicate that the interaction between race and participant role has a significant effect on satisfaction, but only among restorative circles involving friendship issues. Suggestions for future research, as well as strategies aimed at improving participant satisfaction within restorative circles, are discussed.


Ph.D. John Patrick Walsh
Dr. John P. Walsh is professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States.

Jaclyn Cwick
Dr. Jaclyn Cwick is assistant professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States.

Patrick Gerkin
Patrick Gerkin, PhD, is professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States.

Joshua Sheffer
Joshua Sheffer is assistant professor at the School of Criminology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies of the Grand Valley State University in Allendale, United States. Contact author: walshj@gvsu.edu.
Article

What Roles Do Forgiveness and Reconciliation Play in Corporate Mediation?

The Relevance of Forgiveness in The Work of Mediators in the Field of Corporate Mediation

Journal Corporate Mediation Journal, Issue 1 2021
Keywords forgiveness, reconciliation, corporate mediation
Authors Klaartje Freeke
AbstractAuthor's information

    The terms forgiveness and reconciliation are not the most frequently used words at the corporate mediation table. However, having been a conflict advisor and mediator for the last 17 years in both corporate and criminal cases, I know that the phenomena of forgiveness and reconciliation exist in all domains. Forgiveness can be found in everyday life, in small gestures and words. While researching this article, I spoke to three corporate mediators to find out what forgiveness and reconciliation look like in their fields of work, and it turns out that they might indeed be more present than one might think.


Klaartje Freeke
C.R.H. (Klaartje) Freeke, attorney and mediator at Freeke & Monster, Amsterdam.
Article

Comments and Content from Virtual International Online Dispute Resolution Forum

1-2 March 2021, Hosted by the National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR)

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2021
Authors David Allen Larson, Noam Ebner, Jan Martinez e.a.
Abstract

    For the past 20 years, NCTDR has hosted a series of ODR Forums in locations around the world. For 2021, the Forum was held virtually, with live presentation over a web video platform, and recorded presentations available to participants. A full recording of the sessions can be found through http://odr.info/2021-virtual-odr-forum-now-live/. The following items are narrative notes from some of the presentations:

    • David Allen Larson – ODR Accessibility

    • Noam Ebner – Human Touch

    • Jan Martinez & Amy Schmitz – ODR and Innovation

    • Frank Fowlie – Online Sport Dispute Resolution

    • Larry Bridgesmith – AI Introductory Notes

    • Julie Sobowale – AI and Systemic Bias

    • Clare Fowler – DEODRISE

    • Michael Wolf – ODR 2.0 System Design

    • Chris Draper – Algorithmic ODR

    • Zbynek Loebl – Open ODR


David Allen Larson

Noam Ebner

Jan Martinez

Amy Schmitz

Frank Fowlie

Larry Bridgesmith

Julie Sobowale

Clare Fowler

Michael Wolf

Chris Draper

Zbynek Loebl

Tanya Jones
Tanya Jones is a PhD researcher, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom. Contact author: t.w.jones@dundee.ac.uk.

Annette Hübschle
Annette Hübschle is a senior research fellow in the Global Risk Governance Programme in the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

Ashleigh Dore
Ashleigh Dore is the wildlife and law manager at the Endangered Wildlife Trust and heads the Restorative Justice Project, South Africa.

Harriet Davies-Mostert
Harriet Davies-Mostert is the head of conservation at the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the senior manager of the Restorative Justice Project, South Africa and a Fellow of the Eugène Marais Chair of Wildlife Management at the Mammal Research Institute, University of Pretoria.
Article

Restorative justice conferencing in Australia and New Zealand

Application and potential in an environmental and Aboriginal cultural heritage protection context

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords restorative justice conferencing, environmental offending, Aboriginal cultural heritage offending, connection to the environment
Authors Mark Hamilton
AbstractAuthor's information

    Indigenous people may suffer harm when the environment, sacred places and sacred objects are destroyed or damaged. Restorative justice conferencing, a facilitated face-to-face dialogue involving victims, offenders, and pertinent stakeholders has the potential to repair that harm. This article explores the use of conferencing in this context with case law examples from New Zealand and New South Wales, Australia. As will be discussed, the lack of legislative support for conferencing in the Land and Environment Court of New South Wales means it is doubtful that such conferencing will develop past its current embryonic state. As well as using restorative justice conferencing to repair harm from past criminality, this article suggests that further research should explore the use of restorative justice to resolve present conflict, and prevent future conflict, where there is a disconnect between non-Indigenous use of the environment and Indigenous culture embedded in the environment.


Mark Hamilton
Mark Hamilton, PhD, is a lawyer and teaching fellow in the Criminology and Criminal Justice programme and the Law programme at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Contact: mark.hamilton@unsw.edu.au.

Lawrence Kershen
Lawrence Kershen QC is a mediator and restorative justice facilitator in London, United Kingdom. Contact author: kershen@europe.com.
Article

Imagining a community that includes non-human beings

The 1990s Moyainaoshi Movement in Minamata, Japan

Journal The International Journal of Restorative Justice, Issue 1 2021
Keywords restorative justice, community, environmental damage, spirituality, Japan, the Moyainaoshi Movement
Authors Orika Komatsubara
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article offers a vision of a community that includes non-human beings. After suffering environmental damage, a community is often harmed and confused. Restorative justice may have the potential to intervene in divisions with a community approach. However, though environmental damage affects both human and non-human beings, restorative justice typically concerns itself with human communities. Therefore, through a review of the literature I consider what non-human beings mean for a community, focusing on the Moyainaoshi Movement (MM) in Minamata, Japan, in the 1990s. This movement aimed to reconstruct the community after severe, long-term pollution. First, I examine the motivations of several stakeholders that worked to reconstruct the Minamata community in the 1990s. Second, I clarify the role of non-human beings in the vision of community as practiced by the MM. I find that non-human beings served as symbols to connect human beings within the community. Finally, I conclude that a vision of a community that includes non-human beings can propel community reconstruction in our current political realities, and I reveal that in studying this concept of community in restorative justice, listening to victims’ voices is of paramount importance.


Orika Komatsubara
Orika Komatsubara is working under a Research Fellowship for Young Scientists from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). This study was supported by Grant Number 20J00091. Contact author: orika1982@gmail.com.
Article

The Windrush Scandal

A Review of Citizenship, Belonging and Justice in the United Kingdom

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Windrush generation, statelessness, right to nationality, genocide, apologetic UK Human Rights Act Preamble
Authors Namitasha Goring, Beverley Beckford and Simone Bowman
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article points out that the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 does not have a clear provision guaranteeing a person’s right to a nationality. Instead, this right is buried in the European Court of Human Rights decisions of Smirnova v Russia, 2003 and Alpeyeva and Dzhalagoniya v. Russia, 2018. In these cases, the Court stretched the scope of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 1953 on non-interference with private life by public authorities to extend to nationality. The humanitarian crisis arising from the Windrush Scandal was caused by the UK Government’s decision to destroy the Windrush Generation’s landing cards in the full knowledge that for many these slips of paper were the only evidence of their legitimate arrival in Britain between 1948 and 1971.
    The kindling for this debacle was the ‘hostile environment policy’, later the ‘compliant environment policy’ that operated to formally strip British citizens of their right to a nationality in flagrant violation of international and domestic law. This article argues that the Human Rights Act, 1998 must be amended to include a very clear provision that guarantees in the UK a person’s right to a nationality as a portal to a person’s inalienable right to life. This balances the wide discretion of the Secretary of State under Section 4 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act, 2002 to deprive a person of their right to a nationality if they are deemed to have done something seriously prejudicial to the interests of the UK.
    This article also strongly recommends that the Preamble to the UK Human Rights Act, 1998 as a de facto bill of rights, be amended to put into statutory language Independent Advisor Wendy Williams’ ‘unqualified apology’ recommendation in the Windrush Lessons Learned Report for the deaths, serious bodily and mental harm inflicted on the Windrush Generation. This type of statutory contrition is in line with those of countries that have carried out similar grievous institutional abuses and their pledge to prevent similar atrocities in the future. This article’s contribution to the scholarship on the Human Rights Act, 1998 is that the Windrush Generation Scandal, like African slavery and British colonization, has long-term intergenerational effects. As such, it is fundamentally important that there is a sharp, comprehensive and enforceable legal mechanism for safeguarding the rights and interests of citizens as well as settled migrants of ethnically non-British ancestry who are clearly vulnerable to bureaucratic impulses.


Namitasha Goring
Namitasha Goring, Law and Criminology Lecturer Haringey Sixth Form College, LLM, PhD.

Beverley Beckford
Beverly Beckford, Barrister (Unregistered) (LLM).

Simone Bowman
Simone Bowman, Barrister (LLM Candidate DeMontford University).

Mark Walters
Mark Walters is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Contact author: Mark.Walters@sussex.ac.uk.
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