sociology essay

Submitted By rhkhan123
Words: 1134
Pages: 5

Covert participant observation has a number of advantages over both more traditional methods of research like interviewing and questionnaires and the related form of overt participant observation.
For example, this method makes it possible for the researcher to gain access to groups that would not normally allow them to be studied. In addition, since the group under observation are not aware they are being researched; the problem of an observer effect is avoided. Finally, by becoming a member of a group the researcher can personally experience incidents and events and, by so doing, arrive at a richer, more detailed, account of the factors that promote and motive people's behaviour.
The UK judiciary has several methods at its disposal that provide an effective protection of civil liberties in the UK. However, in practice there are several shortcomings that make these protections weak in the face of Parlimanetary pressure, which will be demonstrated in this essay.

In terms of rights protections, perhaps the most important development in the protection of rights in the UK has been the installation of the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law via the Human Rights Act 1998. This act effectively has provided a concrete document that outlines the rights of citizens. Since the passing of this act, judges have been able rule more confidently based on the legislation rather than using complex declarations of the common law via precedents. The increased ease for judges and clarity for citizens has increased the effectiveness of rights protection by the judiciary because now the judiciary can use articles in the HR Act to rule in favour of individuals. For example, in the case of Catherine Zeta Jones v. Hello Magazine 2001, the court was able to rule clearly that the article 8 right to privacy outweighed the magazine's article 10 right to expression and thus Zeta Jones' wedding was allowed to remain private. This clearly shows an effective protection of liberty by judges.

Furthermore, a vital protection of liberties can be exercised via judicial review. Judicial review is a process that is conducted in the Supreme Court that hears an appeal over lawfulness of a case. It is not focused on the rights and wrongs of a case, this would be a case for appeal courts following the above methods, judicial review is simply an examination of the lawfulness of a case. For example, in the case of Home Secretary v. AP 2010 an appeal allowing the government to detain AP on a control order was taken to the Supreme Court to review its lawfulness. The Supreme Court ruled that in fact, based on the 2008 JJ case as a precedent, the appeal court's ruling in fact constituted a breach of article 5, and that the article 5 interests also contributed to breaches under article 8 of the act. The resulting ruling was that the government control order was 'ultra vires' and had to be rescinded. In this way, the judiciary's ability to reverse executive action by ruling it beyond its powers provides a very effective protection of liberties in the UK. Other examples of ministers being ruled ultra vires and ordered to reverse actions following judicial review include the freezing of terrorist assets with parliamentary approval in 2005, and more recently the reversal of Theresa May's immigration points system which again had not consulted Parliament.

Finally, if both the above methods fail then the individual can take their appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Rulings from Europe are effectively binding on government and often defend the individual. Examples include the Hurst case in 2004 where voting bans for prisoners were ruled in breach of the ECHR, and more recently in 2012 with the blocking of Home Office attempts to deport terror suspect Abu Qatada to Jordan. Both of these cases have proved effectively binding on Parliament and while the prisoners votes issue is still ongoing, Qatada has avoided deportation since 2001 via the