Big changes to Human Rights or not ?
As widely reported in today’s press, there is a conference currently going on in which the UK hopes to secure what the Government says will be a big breakthrough in Human Rights law, and to stop the apparently endless tidal wave of attempts to use Human Rights legislation to delay cases, such as deportations, or to attach human rights principles to override other areas of law.
All indications are that some kind of deal is likely to be reached, which is being termed the “Brighton declaration” and which will be intended to ensure that only the most important cases and principles ever reach the European level and that national state courts decisions on human rights issues will stand.
This is clearly common sense, since what has happened is that cases which are lost in National Courts are now almost routinely pushed up to the European level and there is an absurd backlog of some 150,000 cases waiting for European level adjudication. frankly, short of massively expanding the European court for Huamn Rights, most of these cases are never going to get listed.
The potential problem, and we wait to see what the declaration will say is that, whilst there are over 4,0000 UK cases waiting at European level, this may not be the nub of the issue. The European courts have only rules against the English courts in a handful of instances, but it’s the uncertainty and possible bad PR of ignoring the possible appeal an, for example, in the case of Abu Qatada being seen as in breach of Eiropean law by deporting him before all avenues of appeal are exhausted, that creates the biggest issue perhaps.
It also seems to us that because the threat of being overturned has been high in Judge’s minds, we now have lots of precedents of Human Rights law being successfully used under English law, and until some of the absurd decisions made are perhaps overturned in the future, we are still stuck with a system where human rights arguments, such as a right to family law where tenants are behaving outrageously preventing their eviction are still utilised.
So, in summary, it appears that the laws stay the same, the UK is still bound by them, but that some kind of deal may be struck where it becomes clear that that, except in cases where there is clearly an important principle at stake (quite how that will be defined will be interesting to see) there may be some much tighter rules about being able to appeal cases up to the European level.
No doubt all will become clearer (hopefully) in the next few days.
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