Thursday 3 February 2022

The future of human rights in the UK

With updates at the end ...

Responses to the consultation to the government's consultation on the future of protection for human rights in the UK must be in by 8 March 2022.

The government's proposals go well beyond the minimal recommendations of the Independent Review. The proposals seek to weaken the ability of individuals to enforce their human rights. The hand of the State against the individual will be strengthened. These regressive proposals ought to be rejected by Parliament.

My look at the Independent Panel's report commences HERE (5 posts) and the Government's Consultation is considered from HERE (3 posts).

This post sets out further links to

a considerable number of articles which have been published since the government issued its consultation in December 2021.

Review and Consultation:

The government appointed an Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 which issued a report dated December 2021 - Independent Review of Human Rights Act 1998 - report - (580 pages pdf).

The government issued its consultation document on 14 December 2021 - Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill of Rights - GOV.UK ( - with link to consultation document (123 pages pdf)

Joint Committee hearings:

The Joint Committee on Human Rights has held two recent sessions on the consultation -

Committee investigates proposals to reform the Human Rights Act - session held on 26 January 2022 with witnesses Lord Mance, former Justice of the Supreme Court, Professor Alison Young, Sir David Williams Professor of Public Law, Cambridge University, Professor Adam Tomkins, John Millar Chair of Public Law, Glasgow University, Dr Hélène Tyrrell, Lecturer in Law, Newcastle University

Justice Minister questioned on proposed Human Rights Act reforms - session held on 2 February 2022 with witness Lord Wolfson of Tredegar QC.

Reaction to the consultation:

Here are links to the views of of various commentators -

Law and Lawyers blog - the Independent Panel's report HERE (5 posts) and the Government's Consultation  HERE (3 posts).

The Equality and Human Rights Commission 14 December - Response to proposed Human Rights Act reforms | Equality and Human Rights Commission (

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission - NI Human Rights Chief Commissioner Responds to Proposed Replacement of the Human Rights Act | Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission ( - "The UK Government’s plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights is not only unnecessary, it risks being divisive. The Human Rights Act has long protected the rights of all people in Northern Ireland and it has done so in a way that is reasonable and balanced. The ‘problems’ identified by the UK Government are not problems created by the Human Rights Act; quite the contrary."

Scottish Human Rights Commission - - "The planned “overhaul” set out by the UK Government today is unnecessary, regressive and divisive. It risks watering down key elements of the legal protection the Act provides for us all. This will leave ordinary people with less access to justice and a weakened ability to hold the state to account."

Scotland Law Society -

The British Institute of Human Rights issued an "explainer" - Human Rights Act Review: New Consultation ( Institute of Human Rights - Human Rights Act reform

Conor Gearty on 16  and 17 December. See LSE blog 16 December - The consultation on the Human Rights Act: an incoherent proposal full of grand but empty gestures, and some nastiness and, on 17 December, The Government’s Plans for Human Rights | Conor Gearty

Writing in The Justice Gap, journalist Jon Robins described the government's plans as an unashamed power grab - Justice Gap 14 December

Nicholas Reed Langen - also in the Justice Gap 19 December  - condemned the proposals as a Distorted Vision of Human Rights. "Rather than accept that human rights exist to protect us all, the British population has adopted a reductive understanding of human rights, something for the few, not the many. Such a flawed perception has placed human rights on unstable ground, and has made them susceptible to unscrupulous governments, like that led by the current prime minister."

Alan Green, writing in The Oxford Human Rights Hub 19 December, comments - "Ultimately, these proposals are solutions in search of a problem. The motivation behind them is not to address some serious legal shortfalls affecting the HRA; instead, it is in their political utility" - Culture Wars and Constitutional Statutes: The Government’s Proposed Human Rights Act Reforms | OHRH (

The UK Human Rights Blog's weekly roundup published on 20 December - The Weekly Round-up: Human Rights Act reform, citizenship for Windrush claimants and European parenting rights - UK Human Rights Blog - noted in particular the proposed permission stage "making reliance on human rights more difficult and time-consuming for claimants."

The Law Society Gazette 17 December - "Driving a coach and horses through human rights protections and legal certainty risks damaging the UK’s international standing and could impact its attraction as a place to do business, the Law Society has said in an initial response to the government’s plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights."

Helen Fenwick - The Conversation 15 December - notes 5 elements in the proposals to which attention must be paid: Deportation and rights claims, Permission stage, Strengthening press freedoms, trial by jury, protecting public authorities - Five takeaways from the UK government’s proposal to replace the Human Rights Act

Richard Clayton QC writing on the Constitutional Law Group blog - Richard Clayton: The Government’s New Proposals for the Human Rights Act; Part One – The Proposals in Outline – UK Constitutional Law Association

and Part 2 and Part 3 of Mr Clayton's assessment.

House of Commons Library Research Briefing

Rights Information 20 december - Government Plan To Overhaul Human Rights Act Explained | EachOther

The Independent Human Rights Act Review and the government's Bill of Rights - UK Human Rights Blog

Human Rights Act ain’t broke - by Joshua Rozenberg (

The Constitution Society 27 January - The government's Human Rights Act consultation: divergence, context and evidence and The government's Human Rights Act consultation: omissions and opportunities

LSE British Politics and Policy 16 December - The consultation on the Human Rights Act: an incoherent proposal full of grand but empty gestures, and some nastiness

Public Law for Everyone 2 February 2022 - Do we need a British Bill of Rights? - This post forms part of a series of posts that Professor Alison Young and Professor Mark Elliott are writing against the background of the Independent Human Rights Act Review and the Government consultation arising from it.

Joshua Rozenberg 9 February - Bill of Rights Under Fire - article looking at the view of Lord Carnwath. Also see Justice Committee 7 February.

Other views are welcome. Please comment and send a link.

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