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Argue for and against the incorporation of the Human Right Act into British law

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Politics essay Argue for and against the incorporation of the Human Right Act into British law. The Human Rights Act came in force in 2000 and has been successful in UK. This is because after a year Michael Beloff QC pointed out in The Times that 15% of the cases brought in the high court with Human Rights Act implication had been successful. The Act has the effect of in cooperating the European convention on Human Rights into British law. The home secretary Jack Straw said "these are the new rights for the new millennium. The Human Rights Act is the most important peace of constitutional legislation the UK has ever seen". A citizen is a member of state who expects the state to protect them but also has duties towards it. Being a good citizen means contributing to society and follows the law. Jack Straw described this as "Rights flow from duties-not the other way around. One person's freedom is another person's responsibility". The main reason for the new Human Rights bill is to protect citizens and their civil liberties under three categories-: fundamental rights such as to life, procedural rights such as the right to trail and qualified rights such as the freedom of expression. ...read more.


All these matters can now be protected in British courts. It is also true the political bodies must protect the rights or risk having to charge a decision or pay compensation. Parliament will legally stay sovereign. A determined-enough government, which feels that it has a mandate to set aside one of the rights contained in the convention, can do this if it can persuade parliament to back it. In such circumstances, there is nothing that the Judiciary can do about except to draw public attentions to the facts. There is basically going to be a balance of power between parliamentary sovereignty and the law. This is exactly what Professor Peele said that not only will there be a balance of power between the judiciary and Parliament but also the Act will put checks on parliament - "the human rights act is a dynamic piece of legislation with the potential to alter the balance between the government and the governed in a political system where hitherto there have been a few checks on the power of the state". The French philosopher Montesquieu introduced the area of the separation of power as an important part of representative government. ...read more.


In conclusion, the overall picture is mixed. Judges do have great powers, especially under the Human Rights Act, but they cannot overrule parliament and many of our rights remain rather vague. The judiciary cannot enforce rights against the will of a determined parliament. The independences of the judiciary mean that the political cannot interfere with judges. This means that the judges will take a neutral position in cases about the relations between the people and the government. Judges also must not be members of a political party or express political views. They should not just be independent; they must be seen to be independent. The importance of the act is that it might prevent government from abusing our rights. Ministers and civil servants will have to be careful in case a decision or a proposed law offends the act. This way the cause of human rights will be much advanced in Britain. We don't have a bill of rights like the US or France but we do have a set of rights - we need protection from the government minds (e.g. Blair went to war when the electorate was against it). ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Zainab Hassanali ...read more.

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