The European Union’s framework of fundamental rights is to come under scrutiny as part of the government’s examination of the relationship between the UK and the EU. Justice ministers today called for lawyers to contribute to a strand of its ‘balance of competencies’ review looking at protections for individuals built in to the EU’s legal system.
Foreign secretary William Hague announced the Balance of Competences Review last summer in response to pressure from the Conservative Party and UK Independence Party. The Ministry of Justice is leading the fundamental rights strand of the review, and said it is seeking evidence from lawyers, non-governmental organisations and the public.
The review will not cover the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights, which are mechanisms of the Council of Europe, not the EU. However the government is seeking evidence on how the EU's planned accession to the convention will affect the UK.
The call for evidence was announced by justice ministers representing both coalition parties.
Liberal Democrat Lord McNally (pictured) said: 'The debate about European Union action on fundamental rights must be based on an objective and evidence-based analysis of the facts. The call for evidence focuses on the EU’s framework of fundamental rights, and the work the EU does to support fundamental rights. The Balance of Competence Review will allow us to gather what is needed to inform the debate.’
Conservative Damian Green said: 'This review is an important chance to make sure that evidence is gathered as part of what is the most extensive evidence based analysis of our relationship with the EU that has been undertaken. The impact of EU fundamental rights on the UK is a central part of this endeavour and I hope those with an interest will be able to help with evidence.'
The public call for evidence closes on 13 January 2014. A report will be published next summer. For more details click here.