Human Rights Under Attack

Published date30 December 2021
Subject MatterGovernment, Public Sector, Criminal Law, Human Rights, Crime
Law FirmRussell-Cooke Solicitors
AuthorMr Martin Rackstraw

The Government is enthusiastically pushing ahead with three substantial legal reforms which, in different ways, are likely to significantly increase the power of the state at the expense of its citizens. Some of the proposed measures are being loudly fanfared by the Government as long overdue curbs on the powers of the Courts and the reach of human rights legislation. Other measures are more technical and are progressing with less publicity. Together though, what is proposed should cause urgent concern because, if implemented, the result will be a major increase in the power of the Executive while chilling many of the checks and balances which currently hold ministers to account.

First, the eye catching, and no doubt vote catching, changes to the Human Rights Act. Justice Secretary Dominic Raab has announced a major overhaul of the legislation. The proposed Bill of Rights will introduce a "permission" stage in order, apparently, to counter the current "wokery" pervading human rights jurisprudence. In particular, the Government is targeting foreign offenders to make it easier to deport them.

The proposals are worrying for a number of reasons and whenever Government targets a particular group in the context of human rights law, alarm bells should ring. In this case, the group under attack is, yet again, foreign criminals. Old, recycled, and usually inaccurate stories about sex offenders being allowed to stay in the UK because of a right to family life are being propagated once more. As before, the inconvenient reality of the way in which the legislation actually operates is overlooked in all this. Human rights apply to er... all humans, whether UK nationals or not. But not all rights protected under the legislation are unqualified - the right to family life being one. The right is balanced against the need of the state to detect crime and protect the public for instance. The Government ignores this. The overhaul now suggested appears to be aimed at winning political popularity rather than correcting any flaw in the current law.

Meanwhile, the Government presses ahead with its campaign against judicial review with the Judicial Review and Courts Bill. In this, it is in fact merely...

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