EUROPEAN human rights laws are 'plainly not applicable' to Sark, according to a UK Government lawyer. Defending proposed constitutional changes in the island, Jonathan Crow QC told London's High Court yesterday that Sark was an 'overseas territory' in which the UK Government was responsible only for international relations and defence.
Arguments by lawyers representing Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay that the UK's Human Rights Act applied to the island were 'plainly wrong', said Mr Crow. He added that the Brecqhou owners' claims that Sark's reformed constitution would violate the European Convention on Human Rights were simply 'not justiciable' in an English court.
Mr Crow said the UK Government favoured 'incremental reform' on Sark. And he told Mr Justice Wyn Williams that, once the new constitution began operating in December, it would be up to Sark's assembly – the Chief Pleas – to decide on any further reforms, in particular to the offices of Seigneur and Seneschal.
The millionaire twins argue that the wide-ranging constitutional changes – approved by the Queen last month – do not go far enough as they leave relics of feudalism in place.