JOINT

Send us your views on the Human Rights Act

11 July 2018

The Joint Committee on Human Rights examines the Human Rights Act to find out whether the Human Rights Act has been effective, and whether rights truly have been “brought home” with a greater understanding of the UK-specific context (than the Strasbourg Court).

On 9 November 2018 it will be 20 years since the Human Rights Act was given Royal Assent. The aims of the Act were to “bring rights home”. Those promoting the legislation wanted to:

  • make it easier for individuals to assert their rights through the UK legal system
  • allow the British Courts to influence the development of Strasbourg jurisprudence
  • improve compliance with Convention rights.

In 1998 those who opposed the Human Rights Bill feared that it would weaken effective political democracy; that it would undermine the principle of separation of powers and therefore lead to a further increase in the power of the executive (through Remedial Orders), the diminution of Parliament, and the politicisation of the judiciary.

Challenges for the future

In the 20 years since the Act was given Royal Assent, there have been radical changes in the context in which it operates including:

  • Changing family structures
  • Global migration
  • Intensified security concerns
  • Technology
  • Increased concerns about privacy.

Send us your views

The Committee seeks evidence on:

  • the effectiveness of the Act in securing individual rights at UK rather than at Strasbourg level
  • the effectiveness of the Act in enabling UK Courts to apply human rights with a greater understanding of the UK-specific context (than the Strasbourg Court)
  • the effects of the Act on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and Parliament
  • the use of remedial orders; as the HRA improved individual rights in the UK, rather than requiring litigants to go to the ECtHR for justice? And, if so, has this improved citizens’ lives?
  • the influence of British jurisprudence on the European Court of Human Rights been capable of adapting to changing times? (e.g. rise of internet etc.)

1. Has the HRA succeeded in its aims as they were set out in 1997/8?

  • Has the HRA improved individual rights in the UK, rather than requiring litigants to go to the ECHR for justice? And, if so, has this improved citizens’ lives?
  • Has the HRA been capable of adapting to changing times? (e.g. rise of internet etc.)
  • Has the s6 provision making it unlawful for public bodies to act in a way which is incompatible with a Convention Right had an effect? Parliament to the judiciary?  And, if so, has this had a meaningful impact?
  • Is the ECHR Art 13 and the right to an effective remedy for human rights breaches adequately protected in UK law? have policy makers been unduly limited by the HRA?

2. Have any of the concerns raised about the HRA been realised or have there been any unforeseen consequences?

  • Has there been a shift of power from Parliament to the judiciary?  And, if so, has this had a meaningful impact?
  • Have policy makers been unduly limited by the HRA?
  • Has the power of the Executive been increased?

3. Could the HRA be improved?

  • Are there any improvements that could be made to primary legislation?
  • Are there any improvements that could be made to secondary legislation / supporting services? 

4. The future of the HRA

  • We have identified a number of changes (including migration, security, family structure, privacy and technology) in society. What other future challenges will need to be addressed through the framework of the Human Rights Act?

Please send written submissions through the written submission form.

The deadline is Friday 14 September 2018.

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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