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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The UK is a dysfunctional State

The UK is a dysfunctional State

It’s not nasty to fix our human rights problem

A debate about the flaws in the system must not be derailed by political point-scoring

"The difficulties caused by human rights laws far transcend any silly argument about a pet cat, and it is the duty of government ministers to deal with them, not to exploit them for political advantage".

"We cannot put right the wrongs of dysfunctional countries from the courtrooms of Britain".

Comment: Do we have a human rights problem? If so, what is the nature of the problem? Is it easy to fix?

In 1949 the UK signed up to the Council of Europe. Part of this deal is that the UK abides by the Articles of the Convention and this includes abiding by the Court decisions. The problem is that the UK tries to dilute their clear obligations. Part of the Interlaken Conference was designed to remind Member States of the Council of Europe about their obligations under the Convention.

The Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights welcomes the declaration and action plan which emerged from February’s high-level conference on the future of the European Court of Human Rights in Interlaken, especially its recognition of the basic principle that human rights must be guaranteed first and foremost at national level. Convention rights need to be better implemented nationally, states with major structural problems which give rise to repeated breaches of the Convention must deal with these more effectively, and Court judgments should be swiftly and fully executed.

For their part, parliaments can play a key role in stemming the flood of applications by, for example, scrutinising draft laws to make sure they are compatible with Convention standards and keeping up the pressure on governments to execute Court judgments.

What Hirst v UK (No2), the Prisoners Votes Case, exposes is that there is a systemic failure. The UK is a dysfunctional State. I see no valid reason why we cannot put right this wrong from the courtrooms of Britain.

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