Human Rights Judgments - Call for Evidence

17 July 2013

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.


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