College Papers

The government or police and private residents. One

The Human Rights Act is a UK law passed in
1998. It gives you a chance to shield your rights in UK courts and urges public
associations containing the Government, police and the council to treat
everybody similarly, with decency, fairness and regard. The Human Rights Act
secures every one of us – from the youthful and old, rich and poor. Many
individuals utilise it to uphold their rights and accomplish equity
consistently.

 

Most countries have a written constitution
for instance America have the bill of rights. A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is fundamentally a list of the most imperative rights to the people of that country. The purpose of it is to protect those rights against infringement from the public officials
such as government or police and private residents. One example of the bill of
rights is ” Amendment 1 –
Freedom of Religion, Speech, and the Press” This
means that Congress cannot make a law which disrespects an establishment of religion or prohibits the free exercise of it, nor can
they condense the freedom of speech or of the press, or the right of the people to peacefully make a petition
to the government for a reimbursement of injustice. The bill of rights is entrenched; entrenched
rights can be defined as rights which are safeguarded by the Constitution. This
means it is protected and stops the government from abusing power. These
rights have a special rank and are exempt from change. The United Kingdom’s legal system doesn’t have any entrenched
rights or values; this means that If we have a 51% majority in parliament we
can get rid of The Human Rights Act because it is not entrenched.

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Contrary to this, the European Convention on
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) 1950 was generated by the Council
of Europe. The Council of Europe was set up after the Second World War to
protect human rights and to encourage democracy through Europe. They additionally
done this to stop another devastation like the second world war and to never
allow the genocide or holocaust to occur again.

 

The rights contained in the
ECHR are put into articles. There are many articles, however the 5 key rights
which are contained are: Article 2: ”Right
to life”; the Right to life is that everyone’s right to life is protected by law. Meaning, no one is to be deprived of his/her life intentionally. By law It also means the government
should take suitable
measures to protect
life by making laws to protect you, this is most important. Alternatively,
another key right is Article 3:
”Prohibition of torture” this means it protects you from torture both mental or physical it also guards you from deportation or
extradition. Correspondingly,
another key right is Article 4: ”Prohibition of
slavery and forced labour”; Article 4 protects your right to not to be held in slavery or subordination,
or made to do forced labour. Slavery is when someone essentially possesses you like a piece of property and forced labour means
you are involuntary doing work that you have not agreed to because you are
under the risk of abuse. Likewise, Article 6 protects your right to a fair trial” this means that You have the right
to a fair and public trial or hearing if: you are indicted
with a criminal offence and must go to court, or a public authority is deciding
a verdict that has an impact on your civil rights. Finally, ”Article 8 protects your right
to respect for your private and family life” This
article safeguards your right for the government to respect your private life,
your family life, your home and your communication such as letters, telephone
calls and emails. You have the right to live your life confidentially without
government intrusion.

 

 

The European Court of Human Rights is
a legal body ensuring the rights are protected in the European Convention on
Human Rights for everyone under the jurisdiction. There has been a Court since
1 November 1998 which is in Strasbourg (France). The ECHR has had an impact on
the courts in the UK and has affected the UK Human Right Laws. For instance,
the ECHR wanted the ban lifted on prisoner voting, they wanted the UK to
potentially do something about it. The ECHR did not like the simple ban of anyone in prison not being able to vote, they can
accept that some people are unable to vote if they have committed serious
crimes
however the view that all prisoners being unable to vote was deemed as a
”violation of the right to free elections” (Guardian, October 2017) due to
this it has been noted that short-term prisoners may finally be permitted to
vote in elections.

 

Equally, another case where the UK laws
have been affected is the case of Abu Qatada (2012) who was granted asylum in
the UK after being tortured in his native country Jordan. What occurred was
that he was given life imprisonment in his home country, so the UK ideally
wanted to deport him, but the problems were that the evidence used to incite him
were brought about through torture and that there was a high serious risk that
he would be tortured once returning to his native. They could not deport him
because it would be a clear violation of the European Convention of Human
Rights: Article 3. It is known that approximately 90% of the cases in the UK
comply with the ruling of the European court of human rights.

 

The
Human Rights Act and the obligations of the judges have been impacted in the UK.

For example, a prisoner was denied the right to contact his solicitor in 1969,
what occurred was a prisoner was stopped from writing a letter to his solicitor. He wanted
to make a libel claim against a prison guard. He won his case. Not being
allowed to contact a solicitor was a violation of the right to a fair trial.

Therefore, the law was changed in 1977, and prisoners are now allowed to write
to their solicitors. Another case where the law was reformed was in 1989 where Mr
Goodwin who was a journalist was convicted of hatred of court for refusing to
reveal a whistle-blowing source for a story. It was unjust to punish a
journalist for doing their job to defend marketable interests. After this
judgment, the law was changed to better protect liable research for journalism.

This specific case violated Article 10: The Freedom of Expression. Also, in the
case of A V UK where a stepfather beat his stepson with a cane, which resulted
in the stepson having some bruising. The court said it was inhumane and
degrading to do so, thus changing the law and making it a law that you cannot
beat up your child. This occurred in 1996, this happened due to the fact that
it violates Article 3: Prohibition of torture.

 

The courts were given much more power than
before to hold the government and public bodies to account due to the Human
Right Act 1998. Judges can now make rights enforceable in the UK courts rather
than previously travelling to Strasbourg. The task is a new one for judges as
they will now be requested to give effect to the bill of rights. Judges can
also now make a declaration of incompatibility. A declaration of
incompatibility is a declaration released by judges in the United Kingdom in
which they consider the terms of a law, or act of a public authority, which are
conflicting with a UK obligation under the Human Rights Act 1998, can now be changed and
incorporated to the European
Convention of Human Rights and then made into a UK law. This is Parliament
is sovereign therefore courts can’t strike out law, there must be a vote, Due
to this factor people were also given a sense of power, it is relevant that
people can now argue articles of the Human rights act in UK courts which they
couldn’t do before.

 

The actual impact
that the Human Right Acts has had on UK laws is the incorporation of both ECHR
and HRA. For instance, the case of Dudgeon
V United Kingdom (1981). What occurred was the fact that male homosexual
acts were deemed as criminal in Northern Ireland, in which it would be
punishable by imprisonment, even under circumstances where both parties were in
private or gave consent. In 1981 a man called Jeff Dudgeon who was a gay man in
Northern Ireland was questioned for his sexual activities. The European Court
of Human Rights deemed this as a violation of his private life, this is because
a person’s sexual activities are the upmost intimate part of someone’s life.

This led to a change of the law as it was no longer inappropriate to treat
homosexual activities as a criminal law. The European Court of Human Rights
protected this man’s rights and made it so that Northern Ireland had to permit
consensual male homosexual acts. More so, in the case of R(RH) V MHRT, North and East London Region 2001 it is about a
man who is schizophrenic and is in a mental hospital, where he is placed in
confinement. The law argues that he can only be discharged if he can prove he
is ‘of sound mind’ but it is almost impossible for H to do so when he has been
placed in confinement in such a condition. The judges argued that it is not
fair for a man to prove his health to come out to be allowed back into
civilisation. They argued that it should be ”those in charge who should
distinguish that the patient may cause a threat to themselves or those around
them”. This case paved way for people with mental health patients, by now
giving them ”the right not to be locked up with the burden on them to later
prove their sanity”.

 

In conclusion, the
ECHR has impacted many people and protected their rights. I believe it is a
positive factor to the UK Law system, and promotes justice for the people.