20th anniversary of Human Rights Act: UK must renew its commitment to human rights
On October 2nd, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the Human Rights Act (HRA) coming into effect.
Britain in Europe experts, and independent experts working with our think tank and Knowing Our Rights research project, from across UK academia as well as legal professionals, NGO experts and politicians, have written to Conservative MPs and Peers, to highlight this important milestone and request that the Conservative party reflects upon the highly positive and beneficial influence that the Act has had on the lives of UK citizens.
The signatories include Wera Hobhouse MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Justice and Women & Equalities, and Shadow Leader of the House; former Labour MEP Julie Ward; former Labour MP, Roger Casale; and Baroness Sarah Ludford, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (on Exiting the European Union).
In their letter, our experts request that the government uses the opportunity of this seminal anniversary – in tandem with the forthcoming one, of November 4th, which will mark 70 years from the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in Rome – to renew the UK’s commitment to the ECHR and HRA.
In 2015, the Conservative party manifesto pledged to repeal the HRA; the 2017 manifesto committed to stay temporarily in the European Convention on Human Rights; and the 2019 manifesto promised to “update” the HRA.
In the most recent development in this area, the Lord Chancellor, HH Robert Buckland QC MP, has stated, in a letter to Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights, that the government plans for “an independent review” into the operation of the Human Rights Act to be launched “in due course”, and that the review will look into “the balance between the rights of individuals and effective government”, in line with the 2019 manifesto.
You can read the full letter here.
You can see the full list of signatories below:
Prof Dimitrios Giannoulopoulos, Goldsmiths University of London
Dr Ed Bates, University of Leicester
Kirsty Brimelow QC, Doughty Street Chambers and Visiting Professor, Goldsmiths University of London
Roger Casale, secretary general and chief executive, New Europeans
Prof Andrew Choo, City, University of London
Jonathan Cooper OBE, Doughty Street Chambers
Prof Conor Gearty, LSE
Wera Hobhouse MP, Spokesperson for Justice and Women & Equalities, Shadow Leader of the House
Dr Kirsty Hughes, University of Cambridge
Prof Paul Johnson, University of York
Dr Ed Johnston, University of the West of England
Dr Dimitrios Kagiaros, Durham University
John King, 9 Bedford Row
Prof Francesca Klug, LSE
Prof Dora Kostakopoulou, University of Warwick
Baroness Sarah Ludford, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)
Dr Dagmar Myslinska, Goldsmiths University of London
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Visiting Professor, Goldsmiths University of London
Prof Colm O’Cinneide, UCL
Dr Abenaa Owusu-Bempah, LSE
Prof Julian Petley, Brunel University
Dr Hannah Quirk, King’s College
HH Jeremy Roberts QC, member of the Parole Board
Prof Paul Roberts, University of Nottingham
Jago Russell, chief executive, Fair Trials
Prof Cris Shore, Goldsmiths University of London
Maya Sikand, Doughty Street Chambers
Prof Iyiola Solanke, University of Leeds
Prof Leslie Thomas QC, Garden Court Chambers
Adam Wagner, Doughty Street Chambers and Visiting Professor, Goldsmiths University of London
Julie Ward, former MEP
Josie Welland, Rahman Ravelli
Dr Ruvi Ziegler, University of Reading