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Assess the impact of the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the rights of an individual in the UK.

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´╗┐Human Rights Act 1998 European Convention of Human Rights(ECHR) is drawn up by the Council of Europe after World War 2. The European Court of Human Rights is located at Strasbourg. The Convention sets out the rights and basic freedoms that people are entitled to expect. The Human Rights Act 1998(HRA) incorporates the rights enshrined by the European Convention of Human Rights into domestic law. Prior to the Human Rights Act 1998, a person can bring a case to court when the state has ratified the Convention. If a breach of rights is recognised by courts, UK will then amend their laws (that are in contrast with the ECHR), this may be expensive and slow. As the ratification of the Convention is not incorporation into domestic law, there is supremacy of the Parliament, hence judges have no jurisdictional basis on which they could employ the Convention. In the R v Inland Revenue Commissioner?s case it was held that will of parliament is upheld where the statute is clear and unambiguous. This position changed radically with the passing of Human Rights Act incorporating the Convention into domestic law. The Human Rights Act protects the rights such as the right to life (Article 2).There is no violation where a loss of life is due to reasonable self-defence and necessary for lawful arrest. ...read more.


HRA incorporation allows the rights to be enforced in the UK cases. Human Rights Act incorporates the Convention into domestic law which strengthens the protection given to individuals and provides improved remedies if rights are violated. If rights are violated, individuals can apply directly to the UK courts and do not have to go all the way to Strasbourg. S.2 HRA 1998 states that domestic judiciary must take into account the Convention as relevant to the case although it is not bound by it. The UK Courts have to interpret all legislation in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights ?so far it is possible to do so?. This is much further than just allowing ambiguities to be interpreted in favour of the Convention. However it is a weak obligation as courts are not bound to follow but it is still better than before as courts do not even need to consider the Convention. Section 2 does not give much impact on English law as it is not binding, but may be more impactful if it is. S.3 HRA 1998 requires the primary and secondary legislation, whenever enacted, to be interpreted and applied in a manner which is consistent with the Convention. ...read more.


s.7 states that only the victim of the unlawful act may bring proceedings against public authority. If it has been recognised that the public authority has acted unlawfully, relief may be granted under s.8. This further protects individuals as it deters public authority to act unlawfully. However, it is only limited to a range of people and is stricter than sufficient interest test. Pressure groups cannot bring issues to courts as they are not considered ?victims? under HRA. Article 15 states that a state member can derogate from ECHR in the time of war and emergency. However a notice must be given by the Secretary General. This does not enforce the ECHR hence does not protect individual rights. Advantages of HRA is that it can be heard domestically so people can be more aware of their rights compared to matters heard in Strasbourg. More people will be willing to bring matters to court and thus strengthens human rights. Also, UK courts have developed knowledge of its provisions as the decisions have been challenged in Strasbourg. Hence incorporation of tried and tested rights in the domestic law will be easier. However, there is no impact where derogations are used under Art 15 when ministers depart from ECHR in times of emergencies. HRA has much beneficial impact however it cannot enjoy greater impact unless human rights are entrenched and parliamentary sovereignty forgone to enforce ECHR. ...read more.

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