Tuesday 21 October 2014

Where we are with human rights

Several recent post have looked at various aspects of human rights and its protection in the UK.  This is an absolutely vital area of law and one where there is a clear political schism as to the future of human rights law in the UK.

Barrister Adam Wagner of 1 Crown Office Row has kindly made available this excellent infographic showing the basic system of human rights protection in the UK as it is at present.

Please read it in conjunction with  - Human Rights Protection in Britain - 10 key points

In the event that a Conservative (majority) government comes into power following the 2015 General Election,  they will be committed to making changes and these are discussed at some length in Human Rights - a look at the Conservative Party proposals where many links to other commentaries will be found.  A draft bill has been promised in the near future.  The Conservative Party proposals are devastatingly and masterfully analysed by Francis Fitzgibbon QC - London Review of Books - Short cuts

The Labour Party position appears to be set out in the short conference speech by Sadiq Khan MP (Shadow Justice Secretary) where Khan indicated that his Party would block attempts to abolish the Human Rights Act 1998.

: The European Union and Human Rights :

Court of Justice of the EU - Luxembourg

The Council of Europe and the EU are distinct:

It cannot be said too often that the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights operate under the aegis of the Council of Europe.  This is NOT the European Union (EU).

The EU and the European Convention on Human Rights:

The EU has its own distinct court - now known as the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).  It was formerly called the European Court of Justice (ECJ).  The CJEU has the powers and responsibilities granted to it by the Treaties which are the basic law of the EU.

The CJEU recognises the European Convention on Human Rights as did its predecessor (the ECJ).  Since the Lisbon Treaty came into force - the fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, shall constitute general
principles of the Union's law.

The EU's own Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms:

On 7th December 2000, the EU agreed a Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.  Since the Lisbon Treaty (in force 1st December 2009) the Charter has the same legal value as the Treaties.

The Labour government in 2009 secured a particular position for the UK in relation to the Charter and this is discussed in this concise article by Hugh Southey QC - The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU

Accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights:

Work is on-going for the European Union (as a legal entity) to accede to the European Convention on Human Rights - see Council of Europe - Accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights


The European Union and Human Rights  

Law and Lawyers - 19th November 2013 - Does the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights apply in the UK or not - the Lisbon "opt out" (so called)

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