Author Archives: Eilidh Dickson

Opinion: Human Rights Reform – where the nuance could be more dangerous than the headline

The Conservative Majority government has recently announced the Michael Gove is to be our new justice secretary, and that part of his agenda is the Conservative manifesto promise to scrap the Human Rights Act. The Conservatives claims this would

Break the formal link between British courts and the European Court of Human Rights

in order to

imit the use of human rights laws to the most serious cases,

a promise that turns the stomach of most Liberal Democrats I know committed to universal rights.

Perhaps if the plans did not, as former Attorney General Dominic Grieve described, contain “a number of howlers” the Conservatives would be less convinced by the need for reform or even the prospect of their success. I don’t claim to be more than a law student (and a procrastinating one at that) and but here I’m going to contribute some brief comments taken from a year of public law essays.

Firstly, the Human Rights Act has been fundamentally significant. It lets us in the UK rely on our rights in the European Convention on Human Rights in UK courts for the first time, increasing human rights cases significantly including detention, immigration, privacy, voting and so much more. Until the Act, these cases had to exhaust UK courts and then if UK law prevented judges from upholding these rights they could take their case to the European Court of Human Rights – a process than took about 5 years.

Posted in Op-eds | Tagged | 22 Comments
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