JUSTICE on the “Bill of Rights” debate

Reports suggest repeal of the Human Rights Act will be a priority for the Queen’s Speech.

JUSTICE is committed to ensuring that human rights are protected and respected by each of the institutions of Government in the UK. Individuals should have a right to an effective remedy in our domestic courts for violation of those rights and, in practice, should enjoy each of the substantive human rights enshrined the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the UN human rights treaties to which the UK is a party.

The Human Rights Act (HRA) performs the core functions of a bill of rights for the UK. There is no evidence-based argument for change to the substantive and procedural guarantees in the Act.

The protection of individual rights and respect for international obligations are cornerstones of modern democracy, designed to protect us all from the excesses of unrestrained executive power. The protections of the ECHR mirrored in the HRA are woven into our constitutional arrangements, in the devolution settlements for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

From journalists protecting their sources and the right to free expression, to bereaved families seeking the truth about the death of their loved ones at the hands of the State, the HRA and the ECHR have worked to secure the rights of individuals across our society against excess.

Tinkering with our constitutional framework for the protection of individual rights will do little to address myths and political anxieties about the scope of these most fundamental of guarantees. It will instead undermine the ability of the UK to speak credibly about human rights and the rule of law on the global stage.

Andrea Coomber, Director of JUSTICE, said:

Protecting victims of phone-hacking; securing equal protection for gay people, residents of care homes, victims of domestic violence and child abuse, and ensuring that the CPS take steps to more effectively protect the victims of crime. JUSTICE is yet to see any case for the repeal of the Human Rights Act. The positives of the Act are many. A handful of hot-potato cases cannot make a credible case for constitutional reform.

Read more about JUSTICE and the Bill of Rights debate: