Human Rights Law Reform

How and Why to Amend the Human Rights Act 1998

December 11, 2021

This paper is the text of the submission made on behalf of Policy Exchange’s Judicial Power Project to the Independent Human Rights Act Review, chaired by Sir Peter Gross.  This paper argues that the Human Rights Act 1998 is not a good means to secure, protect and promote human rights.  The Act puts courts in a difficult position, inviting and requiring them to address political questions which they may have neither competence nor legitimacy to address.  The Act encourages political litigation, making important modes of governing subject to judicial challenge or control and destabilising legislation on which one should otherwise be able to rely.  There is a strong case for repealing the Act altogether, even if the UK remains a signatory of the ECHR.  However, at a minimum, the Act should be amended to mitigate the constitutional problems to which it gives rise.

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Richard Ekins

Head of the Judicial Power Project

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