‘everyone’ (the most important word in the ECHR?) #echr

Readers of this blog may be interested in this post by Natasa Mavronicola (on The Human Rights Essay site).

Amongst other things, Natasa notes that the campaigners for the HRA have directed their attention to getting popular support for the Act, by employing certain examples of its application. The examples used have been (generally speaking):

on the basis of largely law-abiding, relateable-to-the-average-voter UK citizens benefiting from [the HRA] (and standing to lose from its repeal)

Otherwise the strategy of defenders of the HRA has Continue reading


Four Bad Arguments (and a Good One) for the Human Rights Act

Some real food for thought here (well worth reading; scope for much discussion – thanks to SpinningHugo. I hope he (?) does not mind me re-blogging this.)


I am, on balance, in favour of the Human Rights Act, and think that the European Convention on Human Rights has made the world a better place. Whilst the European Court of Human Rights is capable of improvement, it is institutionally necessary if the open textured rights in the Convention are to be meaningful. Without such a central court, signatory states could each adopt their own idiosyncratic interpretations, and the entire purpose of the Convention defeated.

But, the case for the Convention is not as easy and obvious as its supporters sometimes believe. Two examples of such over confidence are

Shami Chakrabarti



Philippe Sands


in today’s Independent and Guardian.

Bad Argument One: Human Rights are Universal

The label ‘Human’ rights is deeply misleading. It lays claim to the idea that these rights are common to all human beings in all times and places. An examination of the…

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Human Rights Reform

Professor Adam Tomkins wrote this very interesting post on his blog two weeks’ ago. The discussion in the comments that follow is particularly interesting …

Notes from North Britain

Two tensions lie at the heart of disagreements about the constitution in the United Kingdom. The first is the relation of the state to the nations that comprise it — the territorial constitution, the Union and devolution. The second is the relationship between the courts and what Americans would call the “political branches” — government and Parliament. I can think of no constitutional lawyer who would contest the proposition that the courts in the United Kingdom have become significantly stronger and more powerful than they were — say — twenty-five years ago. It is not only a perfectly reasonable question but, I would argue, it has now become a clearly required question to ask: have they become too powerful and, if so, what should be done about that.

The government’s favourite think-tank, Policy Exchange, is — typically — in the vanguard. It has launched a “Judicial Power Project“…

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Still waiting… (autumn ends on… 21 December ?)

We are still waiting for the government to provide more details of its proposed UK Bill of Rights, further to its manifesto commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act. The consultation process that has been promised on this has yet to be launched.

On 9 September Dominic Raab (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice) stated that we would not ‘have too long to wait for the consultation’ which would be released ‘towards the end of the autumn’. The leaves have fallen – and so I am now assuming that this was a reference to the astronomical definition of autumn, which ends on… 21 December (or so I understand). Continue reading