Human Rights Act’s replacement will cripple protections

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – According to MPs and peers, Dominic Raab’s proposal of replacing the Human Rights Act with a British bill of rights is not based on evidence and will weaken protection for individuals.

The joint committee on human rights, JCHR’s criticisms are the latest to be levelled at the proposed measures, which the justice secretary claims will combat “wokery and political correctness” while also speeding up the deportation of foreign offenders.

In a report released on Wednesday, the committee claims that the government would be violating the fundamental principle of universal human rights by imposing additional restrictions on who can initiate a human rights claim or lowering damages owed to a claimant because they are deemed undeserving.

While Raab says that the reforms will strengthen free speech – the liberty that secures all of the other liberties – the JCHR claims that it will damage other rights, like the right to privacy and a fair trial, against which it is now weighed.

Harriet Harman, the chair of the JCHR said that the government’s call that human rights legislation was in severe need of modification was not proven.  Nothing in their conversation would serve to strengthen the current protections, and much would serve to weaken them.

In many cases, what was referred to as rights’ strengthening was merely altering what was already protected while making it more difficult for people to exercise their rights.

It was found by the committee that the right to a jury trial in the new bill of rights was “symbolic,” given the present limit on jury trials in England and Wales for severe offences would not be changed. Fears that UK courts were making decisions that should have been taken by parliament were unwarranted, according to the report, rendering any need for change obsolete.

The proposals, which are open for consultation until April 19th, would also undermine the current requirement for UK courts to consider European Court of Human Rights judgements (ECHR).

The committee responds that the number of claims taken against the UK in Strasbourg has decreased since the Human Rights Act was passed in 1998. It goes on to say that if UK courts depart from accepted interpretations of convention rights as a result of the revisions, it would result in lengthy and costly litigation and, ironically, additional cases presided by the ECHR.

Their proposals would reinforce quintessentially British human rights, like freedom of expression, while remaining a party to the ECHR, a Ministry of Justice official stated.

They would also avoid abuses of the system by injecting a healthy dose of common sense and restoring parliament’s legitimate role as the final arbiter of laws that affect the population of the UK.

Ashton Perry

Ashton Perry is a former Birmingham BSc graduate professional with six years critical writing experience. With specilisations in journalism focussed writing on climate change, politics, buisness and other news. A passionate supporter of environmentalism and media freedom, Ashton works to provide everyone with unbiased news.