why do we have the human rights act

So, in plain-English, whatPis the Human Rights Act? TheP Pis a law thatP Pfrom having our human rights taken away by the state. It means that public authorities have a legal obligation to uphold our human rights. A public authority is, for example, a hospital, school or the government. And everyone is protected. So, if youreP,P,P,P,P,P, straight,P, secular,P,P, aP
Por aP, then you will have rights under this law to be treated properly and with dignity. OK, I get it. So what rights do we have? The rights that are protected are basically the same as those in the European Convention on Human Rights (the ECHR). They re about fairness, dignity and justice. They include the, to, to and others. There are more you canPread ourP. That sounds pretty cool, when did it come into force? The Human Rights Act has been in force in this country since 2 October 2000. Almost 15 years, eh? So, before 2000 we had no human rights protections? Good question! We did have some protections, but itP. WeP. That is an international treaty which means that we are protected by a court in Strasbourg if the state breaches our human rights. But human rights werent protected in our own laws, so UK judges had no way of enforcing them, and few people were able to go to Strasbourg to get things sorted. Getting a case to the European Court of Human Rights takes a long time and cost a lot of money. Hey, this is getting a bit complicated. Why not just go straight to the European Court now? The point of the Human Rights Act is to bring rights home. So human rights casesP about P people P in the UK Pare decidedP by judges P in the UK. Its that simple. Now, only around 20 human rights cases every year are decided in Strasbourg, whereas thousands are decided in the UK. Okay, I get it. So who does the Human Rights Act apply to? Thats an easy one. It applies to everyone. Everyone in the UK has rights under the HRA, whether theyre British or foreign, an adult or child, a prisoner or member of the public. Even companies are protected. Any of these can claim against an organisation that is doing public work, which could range from your local council deciding what to do about library closures, to a private company running a care home for the elderly or disabled.


Its important to realise that the law can apply to private companies as well, if they are providing a public service. I read somewhere that this is Labours Human Rights Act. Is that right? Well, it was the Labour Party that introduced it, thats true. But it was passed by the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Right then, what happens if I think someone is breaching my rights? You need to get some expert advice andP. You usually only have one year to take action in court. It is always best to get a lawyers advice before launching a legal claim, as claimsPcan be very expensive. AP Pis a good start, or aP. And if the judge agrees with me, what can they do? There are aP Pa judge can do. They can award compensation. They can make an official statement about the case which means no-one else should have to suffer the same harm. And, judges also have the power to interpret every law so that the law protects humanPrights. Thats powerful stuff. But does it mean judges are more powerful than Parliament? Not quite! Judges cant refuse to uphold anP. So, if they think its impossible to interpret a law so it protects human rights they can make a declaration that the law is breaching someones human rights. But then its up to MPs to decide whether to change the law or not. Heres an example of how that works, in anP. This is all very well, but whats it got to do with me? Im not a criminal or a prisoner. That brings us back to where we started human rights law protectsP everyone, including you. The Human Rights Act has helped: P P P P P P P P There are many more examples. The Human Rights Act has helped thousands of people you canP. So what s going to happen to this human rights law? We are entering choppy waters on human rights, with the new government looking to fundamentally reform the Human Rights Act.


You can read more about the changes. It is now lookingPlike that. In the meantime, for safe passage through the storm,Pand find out what human rights laws do and why they should matter to all of us. This post was jointly written by Adam Wagner and Katie JukesP What will happen to the Human Rights Act under Theresa May? (Picture: AP) Justice Secretary Liz Truss that the Conservative government are still dedicated to scrapping the Human Rights Act, in the wake of rumours that Theresa May has ordered a review into the proposition for the new Bill of Rights that will replace it. Conservatives have been pledging to overthrow the Human Rights Act since 2010 as a way of stopping the European Court of Human Rights from interfering in British affairs, and now, with Brexit happening ( ) thereБs even more reason to amend the Act, as itБs currently closely connected to the European Convention on Human Rights Б which May has wanted out of for many years. Even if the Human Rights Act is scrapped, it wonБt leave the UK with no human rights protection at all. May has talked a lot about Бcommon-senseБ reforms that will give the UK more leeway to deport non-British-citizens who break the law. But is that the real reason sheБs keen to dismantle the Act, or is that just the one that the public can most easily get on board with? ItБs certainly the reason thatБs wheeled out time and time again. But MayБs tenure as Home Secretary was marred with what many see as human rights infringements. She attempted to get Ofcom to vet TV programmes before broadcast to crack down on extremist views, something the then Culture Secretary said would amount toб. SheБs also pushing through the Investigative Powers Bill (the so-called Б Б), which allows the governmentб to keep your internet search history on record for 12 months, which somewhat pushes the rules outlined in. You canБt help but wonder whether a new Act would allow for more surveillance of British citizens, something May has always been in favour of.


Human Rights Act WILL be scrapped, Justice Secretary insists SheБs also championed Extremism Disruption Orders, aimed at outlawing Б a term vague enough to potentially mean whatever any given government wants it to mean, if not carefully governed by rock-solid human rights laws. The emphasis on the Human Rights Act stopping deportation overlooks the good that the Act, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECoHR), does. For instance, the was presented as a hard-fought victory for the British government as the ECoHR had blocked it for 12 years. However, in blocking his deportation, the ECoHR (and the British government) first demanded Б and then achieved Б reforms to the Jordanian justice system which stopped them from using. Only once that had been achieved was Qatada deported. The Tories set out their, including promising that the new Act will not cover the actions of the British Armed Forces overseas, which could lead to some serious abuses of power, such as torture. The UK does not have a written constitution outlining our rights like many countries have. British lawyers were largely responsible for writing the European Convention on Human Rights, but it wasnБt until 1998 that we actually put those rules into our own law. The Human Rights Act is simple, clear and modern. ItБs already open to a certain amount of common-sense interpretation, as when applying it to technologies that are far more prevalent now than they were in 1998 (or simply didnБt exist then). ItБs not an outdated beast that ties our hands and wastes tax-payers money Б itБs the only legally binding document that outlines British rights, such as prohibition of torture and slavery, the right to liberty and life, the right to a fair trial and the right to privacy. The government being able to change theб human rights that British citizens are entitled to is aб potentiallyб slippery slope, and one that British citizens have a responsibility to watch closely. MORE: MORE:

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