Census objector allowed to challenge the Census Act

Really really big news here! I’ll just quote the recent Guardian article Census objector granted leave to challenge Census Act:

The government’s prosecution of census objectors is in jeopardy after a Birmingham man was granted a judicial review to challenge the legality of the act that makes it an offence not to complete the 10-yearly survey.

Privacy campaigner Nigel Simons, who did not fill out the census, argues that section 8 of the 1920 Census Act conflicts with his right to privacy guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Sam Walton of the census campaign group Count Me Out highlighted one of the potential effects of the judicial review: “The ONS are scared that if they lost this case all government contracts involving the public interacting with arms companies would have to be torn up.”

In his legal submissions, Simon points to the recent bid by US defence contractor Kellogg Brown & Root for the £1.5bn contract to run West Midlands and Surrey police. The US company, a former subsidiary of the Halliburton group, built the Guantánamo detention facility in Cuba.

“These cases being dropped shows that there is a strong legal argument to say that conscientious objectors should never have been forced to associate with weapons dealers like Lockheed Martin in the first place,” said Walton.

If you read up on judicial reviews, then you’ll find things saying they’re more for determining whether the process of a decision is valid, rather than the actual morality of the outcomes. That’s not what this one is about.

This judicial review is about investigating the actual law, and whether it contravenes the EU human rights guarantees laid down in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Watch this space…

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