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CRITICALLY CONSIDER WHETHER THE COURTS HAVE HELPED THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998 ACHIEVE ITS OBJECTIVES

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  • Essay length: 3695 words
  • Submitted: 08/03/2012
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University Degree Human Rights Law

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CRITICALLY CONSIDER WHETHER THE COURTS HAVE HELPED THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT 1998 ACHIEVE ITS OBJECTIVES

The Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA)1 is one of the most ground-breaking pieces of legislation to have been passed by parliament in recent times. The act, which came into force on October 2nd 20002, gives further effect to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) within domestic British law. This essay will evaluate the role the courts have played in attempting to facilitate the act in achieving its objectives and the obstacles they have faced in doing so.

Firstly, in order to critically evaluate whether the objectives have been achieved, it may be beneficial to familiarise oneself with what the intended objectives actually were. One of the most fundamental objectives of the HRA is to develop domestic common law and statutes so that they reflect convention rights. Prior to the enactment of the HRA, UK courts had the option (if necessary) to look at cases from the Strasbourg Jurisprudence3 (judgements of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR4)) but "were legally not obliged to do so"5. However, now under Section 26 of the act, courts are required to "take into account"7 relevant

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