The Joint Committee on Human Rights is committed to increasing parliamentary involvement in deciding the appropriate response to court judgments about human rights. It believes that Parliament has an important role to play in scrutinising the Government’s response to such court judgments
That role includes considering whether a change in the law is necessary to protect or promote human rights and, if so, what that change in the law should be. The Committee aims to facilitate democratic input into legal changes following court judgments by scrutinising the Government’s proposed responses and reporting to Parliament on the adequacy of those responses.
The Government publishes an annual report to the Committee setting out the Government’s position on the implementation of adverse human rights judgments from the European Court of Human Rights and the domestic courts. The last report was published in September 2012.
The Committee is actively seeking to encourage more input from civil society into its work on human rights judgments. The Committee would welcome submissions from individuals or organisations with an interest or expertise in human rights in relation to:
- the Government’s 2012 Report on Responding to human rights judgments;
- any cases since July 2011 in which the European Court of Human Rights has found a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights by the UK or where a declaration of incompatibility has been made by a UK court
The Committee is particularly interested in receiving submissions in relation to the following issues:
- The right to a review for “whole life tariff” prisoners (Vinter v UK)
The right of “IPP” prisoners (serving indeterminate sentences for public protection) to a speedy review of the lawfulness of their detention and to access rehabilitative courses (Betteridge v UK ; James, Wells and Lee v UK)
- The state’s positive obligation to secure employees’ right to manifest their religion or belief (Eweida v UK) and to protect employees against discrimination based on political affiliation or belief (Redfearn v UK)
- The state’s positive obligation to investigate allegations of slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour (CN v UK)
- The right to an effective remedy in respect of the suicide of a voluntary in-patient in hospital (Reynolds v UK)
- Deportation of foreign national offenders and the right to family life (AA v UK) and lawful detention (Abdi v UK)
- The right to a judicial hearing on proportionality in possession proceedings against Gypsies (Buckland v UK)
Submissions should focus on how the Government should respond to the court judgment in question, including whether, and if so how, law, policy or practice should be changed.
The Committee intends to correspond with relevant Ministers where necessary and to ask the Human Rights Minister questions about the Government’s response to judgments when he gives oral evidence to the Committee later this year. It intends to report to Parliament on the subject during the current Session.
- Submissions should reach the Committee by Friday 27 September 2013 and be addressed to Mike Hennessy, Commons Clerk of the Joint Committee on Human Rights, Committee Office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA (email: firstname.lastname@example.org). Electronic submission in Word or Rich Text format is requested, but a signed hard copy should also be sent.
- It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals submitting written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the Joint Committee on Human Rights will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. View guidance on giving evidence to Select Committees.
- Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a proposed memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included.
- Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed, placed on the Internet or circulated by the Committee at any stage. You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so, you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee.
- Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege. If your evidence is not printed, it will in due course be made available to the public in the Parliamentary Archives.
- All communications to the Committee about its legislative scrutiny should be addressed through the Clerks or the Chair of the Committee, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.
- Evidence becomes the property of the Committee, and may be printed, placed on the Internet or circulated by the Committee at any stage. You may publicise or publish your evidence yourself, but in doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee. Evidence published other than under the authority of the Committee does not attract parliamentary privilege.