THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT
THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT IS A UK LAW PASSED IN 1998. IT LETS YOU DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS IN UK COURTS AND COMPELS PUBLIC ORGANISATIONS – INCLUDING THE GOVERNMENT, POLICE AND LOCAL COUNCILS – TO TREAT EVERYONE EQUALLY, WITH FAIRNESS, DIGNITY AND RESPECT.
The Human Rights Act protects all of us – young and old, rich and poor. Hundreds of people use it to uphold their rights and achieve justice every year.
WHO CAN USE THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT?
The Human Rights Act may be used by every person resident in the United Kingdom regardless of whether or not they are a British citizen or a foreign national, a child or an adult, a prisoner or a member of the public. It can even be used by companies or organisations.
WHAT DOES THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT ACTUALLY DO?
The human rights contained within this law are based on the articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Act ‘gives further effect’ to rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention. Note European Convention not the European union.
Our Human rights come from the ECHR not the European Union.
Our Human rights come from the ECHR.
The ECHR is a completely different organisation to the EU. The ECHR consists of 47 countries including Russia the EU is a trading bloc of 28 countries at this moment in time soon to be reduced to 27. The EU is not signed up to the ECHR but do require member countries to do so.
The EU have not signed the ECHR they are in the process and have been since 1970s using a process named ‘ACCESSION’
EU ACCESSION TO THE ECHR
What is EU accession?
The accession of the European Union to the Convention denotes the process whereby the European Union will join the community of 47 European states which have entered into a legal undertaking to comply with the Convention and have agreed to supervision of their compliance by the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Union will thus become the 48th Contracting Party to the Convention. Required under the Treaty of Lisbon, EU accession to the Convention is destined to be a landmark in European legal history because it will make it possible, at last, for individuals and undertakings to apply to the European Court of Human Rights for review of the acts of EU institutions, which unquestionably play an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. however there are lots of bridges and compromise before the EU gains ascension to the ECHR
This failure to ratify ascension is controversial as it signals a reluctance on the part of the Commission to redress a shift in the balance of power away from the interests of Europe’s citizens in favour of corporations that has been the defining point of the post-Lisbon era.
Court of Justice rejects draft agreement of EU accession to ECHR
The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that the draft agreement on the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is not compatible with EU law. The ruling deals a blow to efforts to make the Union accede to the ECHR as the Lisbon Treaty requires.
The ruling was announced 18 December 2014 by the Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Asked to comment, the Commission said it would first need to study its legal arguments.
All 28 members of the European Union (EU) are also members of the 47-nation Council of Europe (CoE) and as such are bound by the CoE’s European Convention on Human Rights
The Lisbon Treaty committed the EU as a whole to signing up to the convention, alongside its 28 member states and 19 other European countries – including Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, for example – which are not members of the EU
Currently, individuals cannot challenge EU laws and practices at the European Court of Human Rights in the same way that they can challenge national laws and practices in the UK Supreme Court
Discussed since the late 1970s, EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) became a legal obligation under Article 6(2) of the Treaty of Lisbon. The purpose of the EU’s accession to the ECHR is to contribute to the creation of a single European legal space, achieving a coherent framework of human rights protection throughout Europe.
The draft Accession Agreement of the EU to the ECHR between the 47 Member States of the Council of Europe and the EU was finalised on 5 April 2013. Asked by the Commission to deliver an opinion, pursuant to Article 218(11) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), on the compatibility of the draft agreement with EU law, the European Court of Justice identified problems, and gave a negative opinion in its opinion of 18 December 2014.
Referring to Protocol No 8 relating to Article 6(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), the Court recalled that the accession agreement had to fulfil certain conditions to make provision for preserving the specific characteristics of the EU and of EU law, as well as to ensure that accession does not affect EU institutions’ competences or the powers. In that context, the Court concluded that accession was liable to upset the underlying balance of the EU and undermine the autonomy of EU law.
It added that the advisory opinion mechanism foreseen by Protocol 16 to the ECHR would affect the autonomy and effectiveness of the preliminary ruling procedure provided for in the TFEU. Notably, the draft agreement excludes the possibility of bringing a matter before the Court of Justice in order for it to rule on a question of interpretation of secondary law, which adversely affects the competences of the EU and the powers of the Court.
Currently, solutions are being considered, which could imply a renegotiation of the agreement. Moreover, once a new draft agreement is negotiated, EU accession will also depend on ratification, not only by Member States, but also the States party to the Convention. Furthermore, European Parliament consent to the accession agreement (Article 218(6) TFEU) is required.
In its 2016 work programme, the Commission announced that it will continue its work on accession, taking ‘full account’ of the Court’s opinion. This statement was repeated in the 2017 work programme. In May 2017, in its staff working document on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in 2016, the Commission emphasises that EU accession to the ECHR remains a priority for the Commission. The Commission has been consulting with the relevant Council working party on solutions to address the various objections raised by the Court.
For the European Parliament, the principal benefit of EU accession to the ECHR lies in the possibility for individual recourse against the actions of the Union, similar to that already enjoyed against Member States’ actions. Moreover, in the Parliament’s view, accession to ECHR will constitute a further step in the process of European integration and will send a strong signal concerning the coherence between the Union and the Council of Europe’s human rights system.LINK
On 18 December 2014, the Court of Justice issued a negative opinion on the European Union’s accession to the ECHR as it would give an external body the power to review the application of EU law, thus bringing the accession to a halt. LINK
But basically the EU have not reached ascension and is not legally a signatory of the Human rights act which is governed by the European Court of Human Rights not the EU. UK citizens are protected by our own laws and the Human rights act legislated into UK law.
The Human Rights Act UK
Introduced into UK law by the Labour Party 1998
In this section you can find out about The Human Rights Act 1998 and the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to.
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the fundamental rights and freedoms that everyone in the UK is entitled to. It incorporates the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic British law. The Human Rights Act came into force in the UK in October 2000.
What human rights are covered by the Act?
The Act sets out your human rights in a series of ‘Articles’. Each Article deals with a different right. These are all taken from the ECHR and are commonly known as ‘the Convention Rights’:
- Article 2: Right to life
- Article 3: Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatment
- Article 4: Freedom from slavery and forced labour
- Article 5: Right to liberty and security
- Article 6: Right to a fair trial
- Article 7: No punishment without law
- Article 8: Respect for your private and family life, home and correspondence
- Article 9: Freedom of thought, belief and religion
- Article 10: Freedom of expression
- Article 11: Freedom of assembly and association
- Article 12: Right to marry and start a family
- Article 14: Protection from discrimination in respect of these rights and freedoms
- Protocol 1, Article 1: Right to peaceful enjoyment of your property
- Protocol 1, Article 2: Right to education
- Protocol 1, Article 3: Right to participate in free elections
Protocol 13, Article 1: Abolition of the death penalty
Articles 1 and 13
Articles 1 and 13 of the ECHR do not feature in the Act. This is because, by creating the Human Rights Act, the UK has fulfilled these rights.
For example, Article 1 says that states must secure the rights of the Convention in their own jurisdiction. The Human Rights Act is the main way of doing this for the UK.
Article 13 makes sure that if people’s rights are violated they are able to access effective remedy. This means they can take their case to court to seek a judgment. The Human Rights Act is designed to make sure this happens.
What does the Act do
The Act has three main effects:
1. You can seek justice in a British court
It incorporates the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic British law. This means that if your human rights have been breached, you can take your case to a British court rather than having to seek justice from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
2. Public bodies must respect your rights
It requires all public bodies (like courts, police, local authorities, hospitals and publicly funded schools) and other bodies carrying out public functions to respect and protect your human rights.
3. New laws are compatible with Convention rights
In practice it means that Parliament will nearly always make sure that new laws are compatible with the rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights (although ultimately Parliament is sovereign and can pass laws which are incompatible). The courts will also, where possible, interpret laws in a way which is compatible with Convention rights.
Equality Act 2010: guidance
The UK compound is citizens rights with the equalities act of 2010 giving UK citizens an unprecedented balance of rights.
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act became law in October, 2010. It replaced previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what employers and employees need to do to make their workplaces a fair environment and comply with the law. LINK
Can a Tory government get rid of or change our Human rights?
When all is said and done we must always be on our guard for changes that any government try make in legislation that affects any of our rights be it Human rights, Workers rights, or environmental rights. At this moment in time it would be virtually impossible to change any of these rights with a Government that sits with majority of one.
Parliament has two roles in law-making. The first is to pass the government’s programme of legislation – to turn the bills that the government proposes into Acts of Parliament. The second is to scrutinise the government’s bills, to prevent bad, excessive, or unnecessary law from being made. There is a tension between these roles, and this has been clear in the year since the 2017 Queen’s Speech, as Parliament has sought to balance the need to pass key Brexit legislation in a timely manner with its duty to ensure it is adequately scrutinised.
Government can introduce primary legislation – bills which it wishes to become Acts of Parliament – into either the Commons or the Lords, but each bill must follow the same process to become law. Bills must pass consecutively through each House of Parliament, after which any points of disagreement between the two Houses are resolved via ‘ping pong’, when the Houses send a bill back and forth until they agree. Once the bill is agreed, it must go to the monarch to receive Royal Assent, at which point it becomes an Act. Read more on Primary legislation
This government changing Human rights? Not likely!