Human rights

Bill of rights is a lurch backwards for British justice

The government introduced the Bill of Rights Bill to parliament on Wednesday 22 June. I. Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society, responded to the announcement by highlighting how the bill would leave some human rights abuses unchallenged and how it signals the government's disregard for the rule of law.

I. Stephanie Boyce is a Black woman with cropped dark grey hair. She sits looking at the camera, wearing a black suit with a silver broach.

Our response to the announcement of the bill of rights

The government’s human rights reforms were introduced to parliament on 22 June by way of the Bill of Rights Bill.

I. Stephanie Boyce has responded to the government's announcement of measures included in the bill:

“The erosion of accountability trumpeted by the justice secretary signals a deepening of the government’s disregard for the checks and balances that underpin the rule of law."

“An acceptable class of human rights abuses”

“The bill will create an acceptable class of human rights abuses in the United Kingdom – by introducing a bar on claims deemed not to cause ‘significant disadvantage’.

“It is a lurch backwards for British justice. Authorities may begin to consider some rights violations as acceptable, because these could no longer be challenged under the Bill of Rights despite being against the law.

“Overall, the bill would grant the state greater unfettered power over the people, power which would then belong to all future governments, whatever their ideologies."

Serious harm to Britain’s reputation

“The disregard for the rule of law the government is repeatedly signalling both at home and abroad – also inherent in this bill – risks inflicting serious harm on Britain’s reputation with trade partners, business and in the international arena.”

Human Rights Act reform

The Bill of Rights Bill, if passed, will replace the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). Currently, the HRA incorporates the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) into UK law.

The new law proposes to maintain the incorporation of convention rights but with radical changes.

In March 2022, we responded to the government’s consultation on HRA reforms.

We agreed with the Independent Human Rights Act Review that the HRA successfully protects citizens’ rights and that there is no case for the sweeping reforms proposed.

Find out more about the Independent Human Rights Act review

Read our response to the government’s consultation on Human Rights Act reforms

What’s next?

We’re continuing to campaign for citizens’ rights to be protected and the rule of law to be upheld.

Our work has been instrumental in increasing public awareness of the government’s human rights proposals.

We’ve worked with media outlets and programmes such as Newsnight, Sky News, the Financial Times and the Guardian to drive this conversation forward and hold the government to account.

We’re scrutinising the Bill of Rights Bill. To inform debate during the passage of the bill, we’ll be providing parliamentarians with a detailed analysis of the likely impact of the changes.

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