Government plans changes to Human Rights Act

By 7 April 2022News

The government has announced plans to revise the Human Rights Act, making Parliament the ultimate arbiter in human rights case rather than the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

According to the Ministry of Justice, the “far-reaching proposals” would, however, maintain a firm commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights, on which the Human Rights Act 1998 was based, incorporating its provisions into UK law.

Contrary to popular belief, the European Court of Human Rights is a separate organisation, unconnected with the European Union, and the UK remains a member. But the revised legislation would, the Ministry claims “restore a proper balance between the rights of individuals, personal responsibility and the wider public interest.”

A recently launched public consultation addresses a variety of issues associated with the Act, including “those quintessentially UK rights, such as freedom of speech and the right to trial by jury.”

The consultation document explains:

“We examine problematic areas, including the challenges in deporting foreign national offenders. We consider in detail the procedural framework of the Human Rights Act.”

The changes outlined would give the Supreme Court greater leeway, allowing Justices to apply a UK perspective to human rights issues like deportation or forced marriage without intervention by the European Court.

Responses are invited from parties with direct experience of human rights legislation, alongside those who hold views on broader issues associated with human rights.

The Consultation closed on March 8.