Thursday, August 23, 2007

Conservatives pledge to scrap Human Rights Act

The line appears to be that if we didn’t have the Human Rights Act then things wouldn’t change because the UK is a signatory to the UN Convention on Human Rights. This suggests that cases currently litigated in Britain would end up in being decided abroad and taking longer to resolve, so, on balance the Human Rights Act makes no real difference, no harm done, move on. This might be persuasive if you forget the legal practises that sprang into being when the HRA was enacted and dismissed the number of times that it has been quoted since, for example when a con wants hardcore porn in their cell or a police force cannot publish the pictures of dangerous criminals on the run. If lawyers are making money from new stream of lucrative cases and criminals’ rights now count for more than yours or mine then something has changed, and not for the better. Even Jack Straw, the man who brought this pernicious piece of legislation on to the statute book, is claiming that he was misled when he discovered that the government could not deport a foreign murderer because it violated his right to family life, never mind the rights of the family without a father thanks to him.

Now David Cameron has committed the Conservatives to ditching the HRA. It will mean consideration of replacement legislation, and our position with regard to the EU and the Convention, but we do know that whatever the right answer the Human Rights Act isn’t it.

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