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Petitions

Volume 592: debated on Thursday 12 February 2015

Petitions

Thursday 12 February 2015

Presented Petition

Petition presented to the House but not read on the Floor

UK Petitions to the European Court of Human Rights

The Petition of Jonathan Roger Steinberg,

Declares that the Petitioner is a resident of both London and New York; further that the Petitioner and his mother were forced to leave their home; further that the Petitioner believes that he was deprived of his home and assets as a result of a malicious vendetta carried out by a solicitor in over half a dozen pieces of litigation concluding with Pritchard Englefield v. Steinberg HQ02X01159; further that the Petitioner believes that each such action over a 15 year period was commenced in abuse of process by a firm of solicitors acting for their own benefit; further that in that litigation, the solicitor succeeded by applying to various courts for various ex parte and without notice judgments often by presenting falsified evidence and at a time when they knew the Petitioner was unable to take part in the litigation for medical reasons; further that the UK judge assumed a right to handle the solicitor’s application because he said he had power after a few weeks wait to “decide the time had come” to dispense with the strictures of Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights and pass judgment against a party who could not take part in the proceedings for medical reasons and deprive that party and his family of their home contrary to Article 8(1) of the Convention without giving that party any opportunity to present opposition to such application or applications; further that the Petitioner believes that without any or proper reference to judicial staff, the European Court of Human Rights wrongly struck out the Petitioner’s petition to that court without any hearing and without being able to write any judgment in the case with the statement that the petition disclosed no breach of any Convention right; and further that the Petitioner believes that litigation before courts of the UK should be properly and fairly disposed and that applications should not be left undecided for any reason.

The Petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons urges the Government to strengthen the procedures for requesting the Master of the Rolls to review a litigation case under Section 54(4) of the Senior Courts Act 1981; further requests that the House requests that the Government press the Council of Europe to review the Petition process of the European Court of Human Rights to establish whether UK Petitions are properly treated when tested against whether a violation of rights is alleged and to establish what further steps could be taken to strengthen the rights of UK subjects who have Petitions before the European Court; and further requests that the House urges the Government to consider whether steps should be taken to strengthen the rights of UK subjects who have Petitions wrongly culled from European Court lists without regard for the rights of those UK Petitioners; further requests pursuant to the facts and matters set out herein the House of Commons set up a full inquiry.

And the Petitioner remains, etc.—[Presented by John Hemming.]

[P001437]

Observations

Education

Closure of Glenburn Sports College

The Petition of residents of West Lancashire,

Declares that there are plans to close Glenburn Sports College; further that the Petitioners do not support the closure of Glenburn Sports College but wish to keep it as the local school in the Skelmersdale area; further that the Petitioners deplore the high-handed way that Lancashire County Council decided to consult on the possible closure of the school; and further that a local petition on this matter was signed by 2,759 individuals.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Lancashire County Council to have a genuine consultation about the possible closure of Glenburn Sports College in order to listen to the pupils and parents of the school and to explain the decision-making process behind the plans to close the school; and further request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage Lancashire County Council to give time and support to Glenburn Sports College to enable the school to improve its performance and financial position.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Rosie Cooper, Official Report, 16 December 2014; Vol. 589, c. 1375.]

[P001415]

Observations from the Secretary of State for Education:

The Government are committed to transforming the schools system to ensure that not only are there a sufficient supply of schools places but that these places are of the highest quality.

Decisions relating to school closures are taken locally following a well-established five-stage statutory process. The process includes an early consultation period to allow those affected by the closure proposals to submit views and comments. The proposals must then be published in a number of places and a formal representation period follows. This allows a further opportunity for views and comments to be submitted.

The Decision makers’ guidance document issued by the Department gives a full and comprehensive explanation of all of the issues and considerations which the decision-maker must take into account when considering statutory proposals. They must be fully satisfied that the appropriate statutory process has been carried out, that all views submitted have been considered and all issues surrounding the closure, especially alternative and suitable provision for displaced pupils, have been explored and planned.

Lancashire County Council is proposing the closure of Glenburn Sports College due to concerns over educational standards, falling pupil numbers and financial viability. The stage one (informal) consultation period closed on 14 December 2014. The Council will consider the comments received and decide if they wish to move forward with the closure proposal. A final decision to close Glenburn Sports College has not yet been made.

If the Council decides to proceed with the closure of Glenburn Sports College, then they will be responsible for making a final decision on the closure proposals. However if they do not decide the proposal within two months; the decision is taken by the Schools Adjudicator. As Glenburn is a foundation school, if the Council does take a decision to close the school, then the Governing Body could appeal to the Schools Adjudicator, within four weeks of the decision being made.

As these decisions must be made locally, the Government are unable to influence the outcome. The Secretary of State’s intervention powers in matters such as these are extremely limited. She may only intervene where the local authority has acted in breach of its statutory duties, or acted in a way that is so unreasonable that no other authority would have acted in such a way.

Home Department

Rules on Marches and Demonstrations

The Petition of residents of the UK,

Declares that the threshold to ban marches and demonstrations is currently measured in terms of public safety, not economic impact; further that there are currently no restrictions on the frequency, location, time and date of marches; further that the Petitioners believe that marches and demonstrations are having an impact on the lives and trades of residents in Rotherham; further that the Police and local council in Rotherham have tried their best to minimise the disruption to traders in Rotherham of marches and demonstrations to ensure that businesses stay open; further that when marches and demonstrations occur in Rotherham significant parts of the town have to close; further that the Petitioners believe such protests and marches are having a devastating impact on local communities; and further that a local petition in Rotherham on this subject has received nearly 300 signatures.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to consider the rules regarding marches and demonstrations, including looking specifically at the thresholds that are used to ban marches and demonstrations so that they include a provision to consider the economic impact of such marches as well as looking at the restrictions that are in place on the frequency, location, time or date of marches and demonstrations.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Sarah Champion, Official Report, 21 January 2015; Vol. 591, c. 334.]

[P001425]

Observations from the Secretary of State for the Home Department:

The Government recognise the concerns raised about the impact of recent protests in Rotherham.

This country has a longstanding tradition of giving people the freedom to gather together and to demonstrate, provided that they do so within the law. A balance has to be struck between protecting the rights of businesses undertaking lawful activities, the rights of residents to go about their business without fear of intimidation, and the rights of protesters.

The management of protests and demonstrations is an operational matter for the police, who work with local partners to reduce the impact of disruptive protests on the community. The Public Order Act 1986 provides the police with a range of powers to deal with marches and static protests. Under section 12 and section 14 of the Act, chief officers may impose conditions on marches and static protests to prevent serious public disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community, or intimidation. Under section 14 the conditions can relate to the location of the protest, the maximum duration, and the maximum number of participants. Under section 13 of the Act, if the police assess a march will cause serious public disorder, despite conditions being set, the police can apply to the local authority for an order banning all marches in a district for up to 3 months. The banning order can only be made with the Home Secretary’s approval.

The Government keep the public order legislation under review to ensure its effectiveness.