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Monday, March 21, 2011

British principles for human rights

British principles for human rights

Last updated March 21 2011 12:01AM

Parliamentarians, lawyers and academics give some basic principles to be used as a framework for human rights

Sir, We are parliamentarians, lawyers and academics who support the following principles:

1 Legal protection for human rights is an essential component of a democratic system.

2 The European Human Rights Convention defines the minimum level of human rights which must be so protected.

3 Our courts must retain the power under our Human Rights Act to give effect to those rights rather than reverting to a system under which British citizens must seek redress in the Strasbourg court.

4 Our courts must retain both the duty to take into account Strasbourg decisions where appropriate and the power to depart from those decisions when satisfied that there is good reason to do so.

5 Our courts must retain the power in particular cases not only to review the acts of public bodies generally but also to declare enactments by Parliament incompatible with human rights.

6 Parliament must retain the power to decide whether and when to correct primary legislation which has been declared incompatible.

7 There is at least an arguable case for legislation defining certain additional enforceable human rights which are not included in the European Convention.

8 There is however no arguable case for a British Bill of Rights which is inconsistent with the above.

We invite the Commission announced by the coalition Government to treat these principles as a framework for its deliberations and to confirm publicly at the outset that it will do so.

Stephen Hockman, QC

Vera Baird, QC

Sir Geoffrey Bindman, QC

Andrew Dismore

Baroness Williams of Crosby

Lord Goodhart, QC

Lord Oakeshott Of Seagrove Bay

Lord Marks Of Henley-on-thames, Qc

Lord Liddle

Lord Stevenson Of Balmacara

Professor John Uff, Qc

Professor Brice Dickson

Professor Francesca Klug

Professor Andrew Le Sueur

Professor Philip Leach

Sam Townend

Gerald Shamash

Roger Smith Obe

Helen Fenwick

Roger Masterman

Colm O’Cinneide

Richard Clayton, Qc

Adrian Williamson, Qc

Selman Ansari

Jill Barrett

Kevin Bonavia

Noemi Byrd

Grace Cullen

Lucy Garrett

Hilary Kitchin

Dan Squires

David Wolfe

(Source: The Times (£) Letters to the Editor).


James Higham said...

The bottom line, as you quite rightly state, is that human rights are important [small h] but not Human Rights as defined by the ECHR, which is not concerned with humans at all but a political agenda.

Tim said...

Hmm, what political agenda is that, James? I think it's the other way round, that it is the ECtHR that needs to be protected from political interference.

If an individual is in dispute with the State, it's not right for one party (the State) to appoint themselves arbiter of the dispute. The dispute should be dealt with by an independent third party - like the ECtHR.

As a disabled person, I would not trust the UK to protect my human rights.