@suey2y @bendygirl @theyoungjane @blacktriangle1 @MidWalesMike
Date: June 6, 2013
Ms. Rosa Curling, Solicitor
25 St John's Lane
Subject: Would you be interested in filing a United Nations inquiry submission?
Dear Ms. Curling,
I am interested in hiring a UK human rights lawyer to formally request that the United Nations open an inquiry into benefit sanctioning and mandatory consideration without timescale. The solicitor would have to agree to a flat fee billing arrangement, and his/her fee would be raised via crowdfunding sites, and deposited directly into the law firm's account.
I'm also interested in investigating whether an American-style class-action lawsuit can be pursued against Atos Healthcare UK and the DWP for medical malpractice, benefit sanctioning resulting in destitution, hastened and wrongful death, immense hardship and suffering.
I am a 56-year-old Disability Studies specialist and disability activist from Montreal, Canada who has been reporting frequently and voluntarily, since January 2012, to senior United Nations officials (primarily UNCRPD Secretary Jorge Araya; see attached) on the crisis for the United Kingdom’s sick and disabled. Austerity measures, consisting of draconian welfare reforms and “sham” means-testing (Atos Healthcare U.K. and the Department for Work and Pensions) are ostensibly to blame for their plight—with disability hate crime and inflammatory media attacks factored into this mix.
My legal standing in British affairs may be questionable. I previously consulted with Ravi Malhotra, a University of Ottawa law professor specializing in human rights and disability law (see http://www.commonlaw.uottawa.ca/en/ravi-malhotra.html), and he in turn sought the legal opinion of a British lawyer; see correspondence below:
Ravi Malhotra <Ravi.Malhotra@uottawa.ca>
Here is what a British lawyer says. Again this does not constitute legal advice.
There's no general rule on standing in international human rights law;
it varies from conventtion to convention.
Looking at the first few articles of the Optional Protoctol, however,
article 1 says that only those "who claim to be victims of a violation
by that State Party" can make a complaint. It's hard to see how
someone in Canada could say they were a "victim" of UK cuts.
Article 2(d) is an inadmissibilty clause; it presents claims when "All
available domestic remedies have not been exhausted."
I don't know the law of this convention but certainly in the ECHR
jurisprudence, where there is similar wording, you wouldn't expect
Strasbourg to hear a claim unless you had brought a claim, lost, and
appealed so far as was possible - before referring the decision to the
Of course most of the disability-relevant cuts in the UK could be
litigated, generally by way of JR, so I would have thought a failure
to JR would "probably" be fatal.
All the best,
Mr. Jorge Araya, UNCRPD Secretary, has provided the requirements for a UNCRPD complaint/inquiry in the following letter:
Jorge Araya <JAraya@ohchr.org>
I refer to my past messages on the subject.
If you intend to submit an individual complaint you need to comply with the admissibility requirements set up in the Optional Protocol of the UNCRDP (inter alia, a written submission, sufficient power of attorney or representation from alleged victims, exhaustion of domestic remedies, substantiation of allegations, information on any other remedy you have pursued, etc.
If you intend to request an inquiry, you need to prepare a submission in which you need to explain in detail :
1) What is the practice you are complaining about.
2) whether this practice is wide-spread in the country or in some regions of the country.
3. What is the involvement of the government of the State party,
4) What are the legislative texts (laws and regulations) have been used to justify the practice; please provide a full account of when the legislation entered into force, the full text of the laws and regulations, etc.
5) What kind of judicial or non-judicial redress is available for the alleged victims of this practice and what have been the results so far, (e.g., how many appeals have been successful, how many have failed)
6) please provided concrete figures about the extent to which the alleged practice is affecting the rights of persons with disabilities
United Nations Human Rights
Secretary of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Groups in Focus Section
Human Rights Treaties Division
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel: +41 22 917 9106
Fax: +41 22 917 9008
Mailing Address: OHCHR-Palais des Nations, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
In closing, Solicitor Curling, I look forward to any comments or suggestions that you might have regarding this matter. Would you be interested in filing a UN inquiry submission?
Communication via e-mail is preferred. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Blog: Hephaestus: Disability Studies
Blog: My Disability Studies Blackboard