THE GOVERNMENT’S NEW PROPOSALS FOR THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT: AN ASSESSMENT

The Government explains its Proposals in its Human Rights Act Reform: A Modern Bill Of Rights A consultation to reform the Human Rights Act 1998 CP 588 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1040409/human-rights-reform-consultation.pdf, which represent a radical departure from the HRA. The specific Proposals are developed in the context of broader themes:

  • respecting our common law traditions and strengthening the role of the UK Supreme Court;
  • restoring a sharper focus on protecting fundamental rights;
  • preventing the incremental expansion of rights without proper democratic oversight;
  • emphasising the role of responsibilities within the human rights framework; and
  • facilitating consideration of and dialogue with Strasbourg, while guaranteeing Parliament its proper role.

The Government’s Proposals are designed to recast the HRA profoundly. They seek to create a framework for human rights which focuses principally on British law rather than ECtHR judgments and propose that the UK courts should give greater weight to the views of Parliament. The most important proposed changes concern:

  • amending s 2 of the HRA;
  • creating new protections for freedom of expression which will impact on claims for misuse of private information;
  • enacting a new permission test for human rights cases;
  • reformulating positive obligations (although the Government has not identified any precise changes it proposes); and
  • reframing qualified rights, particularly in relation to deportation and illegal  immigration cases.

You can read Richard Clayton’s full article here.

Richard Clayton QC