Independent Human Rights Act Review call for evidence – Law Society response

The Independent Human Rights Act Review has issued a call for evidence on reforming the Human Rights Act.

The review considers a range of issues in two key themes:

  • the relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights
  • the impact of the Human Rights Act on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature

Our view

The Human Rights Act confirms the rights and freedoms owed to all people in the UK and provides robust protection for these. It's important to our legal system, our constitution, and the protection of individual liberties.

The Human Rights Act is a subtle and carefully crafted legal instrument.

It contains mechanisms which work together to strike the right balance between the judiciary, executive and parliament, and between the national legal order and the European Court of Human Rights.

This results in a framework that upholds our constitutional balance of powers, protects the rule of law, and ensures access to justice without delay in the domestic courts.

There is significant evidence that shows the value of the Human Rights Act. We do not believe it needs to be amended.

Significant change would risk disrupting the delicate balance that has been struck. It could undermine the act’s purpose of protecting fundamental rights and providing a way for people to seek a legal remedy when they believe their rights have been breached.

Improvements could be made in some areas to strengthen the existing framework without requiring legislative change.

Steps should be taken to improve public education and understanding of the protections provided by the Human Rights Act.

The review panel could consider whether judicial dialogue with the European Court of Human Rights could be enhanced by signing and ratifying Protocol 16 to the European Convention of Human Rights.

Clarification on whether the remedial order process can be used to amend the Human Rights Act itself would also be beneficial.

Next steps

The consultation closed on 3 March 2021.

The Independent Human Rights Act Review panel will analyse the responses and produce a report making recommendations to government.

Submissions made to the review are published on the GOV.UK website.

Read the consultation on the GOV.UK website

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