Human rights in Britain
Civil liberties are rights that an individual has; these rights are called Human Rights. The extent to which civil liberties are recognised varies with in different legal systems, however all democratic states recognise the following to some degree, freedom of speech this is where the government can not control the media, and freedom of belief this is religious freedom also freedom of assembly this is freedom to meet with others for example political parties and trade unions. The freedom to protest peacefully and freedom from imprisonment or other punishment when no law or no just law has been broken.
The traditional view of civil liberties in Britain before the European Convention on Human Rights were known as residual rights these included residual freedoms patchwork of United kingdom laws, restricting freedoms where necessary. European Convention on Human Rights only influences United Kingdom Courts; government had no obligation to alter legislation to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights also legal action under the European Convention on Human Rights was only possible through European Court of Human Rights.
The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights in to domestic law. The aim of this was to strengthen the protection of individual rights by United Kingdom Courts and also aimed to provide improved remedies where these were violated. The Human Rights Act also gives people the right to take court proceedings if they think that their Convention Rights have been breached or are going to be. The Human Rights Act also makes it clear that when they are interpreting legislation the Courts must do so in a way which does not lead to people’s Convention Rights being breached.
In particular, the Act makes it unlawful for any public body to act in a way which is incompatible with the Convention, unless the wording of an Act of Parliament means they have no other choice. It also requires UK judges to take into account decisions of the Strasbourg court, and to interpret legislation, as far as possible, in a way which is compatible with the Convention. However, if it is not possible to interpret an Act of Parliament so as to make it compatible with the Convention, the judges are not allowed to override it. All they can do is to issue a declaration of incompatibility. This declaration does not affect the validity of the Act of Parliament: in that way, the Human Rights Act seeks to maintain the principle of Parliamentary sovereignty.