The UK will retain its 'fundamental commitment' to the European Convention on Human Rights following the passage of the Bill of Rights, the lord chancellor said this morning. The proposed measure 'will strengthen our UK tradition of freedom whilst injecting a healthy dose of common sense into the system,' Dominic Raab MP pledged ahead of the bill's introduction to parliament.
A Ministry of Justice statement said that the bill 'will ensure courts cannot interpret laws in ways that were never intended by parliament and will empower people to express their views freely.'
It will help prevent trivial human rights claims from wasting judges’ time by introducing a 'permission stage' in court requiring people to show they have suffered a significant disadvantage before a claim can go ahead.
The bill will make clear that the UK Supreme Court is the ultimate judicial decision-maker on human rights issues and that the case law of the European Court of Human Rights does not always need to be followed by UK courts, the statement said.
According to the government, the measure will also:
- Boost freedom of the press and freedom of expression by introducing a stronger test for courts to consider before they can order journalists to disclose their sources.
- Prevent courts from placing new costly obligations on public authorities to actively protect someone’s human rights and limit the circumstances in which current obligations apply, for example, police forces having to notify gang members of threats towards them from other gangs.
- Insulate the government’s plans to increase the use of prison separation centres against legal challenge from extremist offenders claiming ‘a right to socialise’.
- Recognise that trial by jury is a fundamental component of fair trials in the UK.
- Prevent human rights from being used as a way to bring claims on overseas military operations once alternative options are provided by upcoming legislation.
- Confirm that interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights under Rule 39, such as the one issued last week which prevented the removal flight to Rwanda, are not binding on UK courts.
'This will be achieved while retaining the UK’s fundamental commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights,' the statement concluded.
UPDATE: The bill was introduced to parliament at 1236 today following a statement by the speaker of the House of Commons that he was 'extremely disappointed' at the prior release of details to the media. 'That is simply not acceptable,' Sir Lindsay Hoyle said.
This article is now closed for comment.