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Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pull out of human rights court, says ex-Law Lord

Pull out of human rights court, says ex-Law Lord

By Oliver Wright

Monday, 7 February 2011

A former Law Lord and director of Amnesty International will call on the Government today to withdraw Britain from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

In a surprising intervention, Lord Hoffmann, who has been a leading judicial advocate for human rights for over 25 years, warns that the phrase has become a "byword for foolish decisions by courts and administrators". His views will be seized upon by Conservative backbenchers who have always disliked the court and are furious at its recent ruling that Britain must give prisoners the vote.

Lord Hoffmann himself cites the prisoner voting issue as an example of the way the Strasbourg court has taken "extraordinary power to micromanage the legal systems" of the member states which needs to end.

Writing the introduction to a report by the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange, Lord Hoffmann laments: "Since 9/11 there have been enough real and serious invasions of traditional English freedoms to make it tragic that the very concept of human rights is being trivialised by silly interpretations of grand ideas."

Lord Hoffmann argues that the list of human rights enshrined in the 1950 European Convention, which now forms part of British law, is "admirable". But he says that since then they have been misinterpreted by judges in Strasbourg to such an extent that they have become discredited.

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