|London School of Economics|
So what about the rule that says a sex offender cannot adopt? I am certain that the public would be outraged by the mere suggestion that someone who has previously been convicted of a sex offence would be allowed to adopt. Stage left Helen Reece of the London School of Economics who says otherwise in her November 2010 article "Sex offenders should not be banned from looking after children".
|Helen Reece, LSE|
Actually, Ms Reece's point here is not that sex offenders should be allowed to adopt, it is the fact that they are automatically banned. It's the same issue that faced the automatic ban on prisoners voting, and is one of proportionality. For a decision to be proportionate, it must be no more than is necessary. What is necessary for one, may not be necessary for another and therefore each case must be assessed individually. The resulting limit on their rights should be no more than is necessary to achieve a 'legitimate outcome'.
This is yet another example of potential conflict between European states and the ECtHR. Anyone who studies law can appreciate that the natural conclusion of the European case law is that a sex offender should be assessed individually on their suitability to adopt. Anyone with common sense, and i don't mean the Daily Mail's definition of common sense, will see that this is potentially dangerous. My regular readers will know that i am dead against the the risk averse society, but in this case i do think we should be on the side of caution. There exist arguments about re-offending rates, but they just don't wash with me as I don't think we can ever know if someone will re-offend. Their rights must be limited to protect our children.
|Ian Huntley - Red flags missed|
But i am now presented with a personal conflict. Previously i have not agreed with any suggestion that the European Convention on Human Rights should be replaced by a Bill of Rights. I think it is a strong document, and despite its weaknesses, we need to hold onto it. Yet my argument above leads me to think that the ECHR presents us with a conflict between moral justice and legal justice that cannot be reconciled. We need to be able to opt out of an ECtHR decision.
See below the response from Ms Reece. It's nice to hear from readers, especially when its from the people i am blogging about!
Dear DietJustice Blog
Thank you for sending me this interesting post. I am afraid I don't have time to reply to it, and in a way my response is contained in the full paper that I published in the CFLQ, but I was interested to read it.