HomeInsightsGovernment introduces Bill of Rights to Parliament

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The Government says that the Bill will ensure that the courts cannot interpret laws in ways that were never intended by Parliament and will strengthen freedom of speech laws.

At the same time, the Government says, it will “help prevent trivial human rights claims from wasting judges’ time and taxpayer money”. A permission stage in court will be introduced, requiring people to show they have suffered a significant disadvantage before their claim can go ahead.

The Bill will also reinforce in law the principle that responsibilities to society are as important as personal rights. It will do this by ensuring courts consider a claimant’s relevant conduct, like a prisoner’s violent or criminal behaviour, when awarding damages.

The Bill will make clear that the UK Supreme Court is the ultimate judicial decision-maker on human rights issues and that the case law of the European Court of Human Rights does not always need to be followed by UK courts.

The Government says that The Bill of Rights will also:

  • boost freedom of the press and freedom of expression by introducing a stronger test for courts to consider before they can order journalists to disclose their sources;
  • prevent courts from placing new costly obligations on public authorities to actively protect someone’s human rights and limit the circumstances in which current obligations apply, for example, police forces having to notify gang members of threats towards them from other gangs;
  • recognise that trial by jury is a fundamental component of fair trials in the UK; and
  • confirm that interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights under Rule 39, such as the one issued recently, which prevented the removal flight to Rwanda, are not binding on UK courts.

According to the Government, this will all be achieved while retaining the UK’s fundamental commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights. To read the Government’s press release in full, click here.