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Thursday, March 10, 2011

QCs announced to sit on Human Rights Act commission

QCs announced to sit on Human Rights Act commission

Hirst v UK (No2), the Prisoners Votes Case, was decided by the Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on 30 March 2004. The Grand Chamber rejected the UK's appeal and handed down its judgment on 6 October 2005. Since that time the UK has ignored its obligations to abide by the Convention and Court's decisions.

On Monday 21 February 2011 09.55 GMT the Guardian reported "The government will soon launch a commission on the creation of a British bill of rights, but Clarke said it was not yet clear exactly how such a law would interact with the European convention".

On Wednesday 9 March 2011 the Independent reported "A commission will be set up within days to consider whether the Government should bring in a "British Bill of Rights" following mounting controversy over rulings by the European Court of Human Rights".

On Thursday 10 March 2011, today, the Daily Mail reports that Lord Lester of Herne Hill, QC, a LibDem peer, Martin Howe QC, a Tory, and Baroness Kennedy QC, a Labour peer, will sit on the commission: "The announcement, [is] to be made by Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke within days".

A couple of things cross my mind. Why do we have a Parliament at all, if the media tells the electorate what is happening before our elected representatives do in Parliament? When is Kenneth Clarke intending to fully comply with the judgment in Hirst v UK (No2)? First Charles Falconer, then Jack Straw, and now, seemingly, Kenneth Clarke have all abdicated responsibility in their roles as Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor. All they had to do was make a remedial order under s.10 of the HRA 1998 to amend s.3 of ROPA 1983 and lay it before Parliament. I can't wait for the media to announce that this is going to happen. In the meantime, I won't hold my breath...


Related content...

The Sun reports: Fury at Euro ‘cop out’


Published: Today

A LONG-awaited Government probe on how to tackle power-crazy Euro judges is being held up by bickering Tories and Lib Dems.

A commission on whether to have a new British Bill of Rights will be formally set up next week.

But the panel of seven won't have to produce any findings until as late as December 2012, The Sun can reveal.

The delay is because David Cameron and Nick Clegg have ALREADY written off the inquiry, a senior Government source said last night. The source added: "Both parties know they won't agree so they have decided to kick the whole issue back into the long grass again. It's a complete and cowardly cop out."

Mr Cameron now faces fresh rebellion from backbenchers furious at the delay.

They are also angry that Euro court supporter Mr Clegg put two prominent human rights campaigners on the probe.

Ultra-liberal QC Lord Lester - dubbed the founding father of the Human Rights Act - and Labour peer and civil liberties champion Helena Kennedy will sit alongside a third Lib Dem nominee, three members appointed by the Tories and a senior Ministry of Justice civil servant.

The commission was promised by the PM and his Lib Dem deputy when they came to power - but was only resurrected soon after the votes-for-prisoners ruling by the Strasbourg court.


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