On 17th January 2023, the industry regulator, the Bar Standards Board decided to hand down an order imposing a ban on a barrister preventing him from continuing to practise after evidence emerged
Human Rights Act: UK Government Unveils Reform Proposals
What just happened?
The government announced its intention to reform section 3 of the law to drastically limit the ability of public authorities and courts to read interpretations of the law in a human rights manner, if possible. (1)
Moreover, Dominic Raab proposes amendments to the law so that “certain categories of persons” cannot assert their rights to family life, in order to stop deportation, and that remedies for abuse depend on the “behaviour of the plaintiffs”. (2)
What does this mean?
Dominic Raab said the plans would allow the government to deport more foreign criminals, prevent "false or undeserved demands", strengthen the "quintessentially British right" to free speech, and ensure that parliament has "the final say on the laws of this world." .Shadow attorney general Steve Reid reacted by calling the reforms "a dead cat distraction" and "no mouth and no pants", adding that they hadn't proposed "anything new." (3)
The government wants to “prevent abuse and misrepresentation” of the ECHR, and the plans will be “very clear that British courts are not required to follow Strasbourg jurisprudence,” he said, adding that his “criticisms” were aimed at how the law worked and not to the UK judiciary, "which has tried to implement the law passed in this chamber fairly correctly." The Justice Department (DOJ) said the measures "will restore the role of parliament as the final decision maker" on laws affecting the UK, "by providing more room for deciding how to interpret judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg." and seeks to “find a fair balance between individual rights, personal responsibility and the broader public interest”. The government also wants people filing claims under human rights law to first seek permission from the courts, which means they must have suffered "significant inconvenience" or demonstrated "high public interest”. (4)
This move was criticized by Green Democracy spokesperson Zach Polanski as "the last step the government has taken towards authoritarianism." Raab told the House of Commons during the lunch break that the reforms would prevent serious criminals from relying on Article 8 (Respect for the Rights of Private and Family Life) to prevent deportation, again citing the example of a drug dealer convicted of domestic violence. Raab cited a case that began in 2008 as an example, stating that this change “prevents serious offenders from relying on Article 8 and the right to family life in Parliament to prevent their deportation”. (5)
How does this impact the legal sector?
The government's proposal is to include in the Bill of Rights a clause directing the courts to give priority to Article 10 when it conflicts with Article 8 or the broader public interest. The government suggests there may be room for one to be included in the Bill of Rights, given its "significant historical place" in the UK legal tradition. The measure proposed by the government would require British courts to consider whether the rights issue could be resolved at the national level before considering the rights of the European Convention or Strasbourg jurisprudence. (6)
The bill will also draw a "clearer line" between the division of powers between the courts and parliament, freeing British courts from the need to take into account the jurisprudence of the Strasbourg Court. Third, the UK courts will no longer be able to amend the new legislation. Instead, responsibility will fall on the “elected legislators” in parliament, who guarantee parliament “the last word in the laws of this country”. (7)
If the new bill of rights did not include the proposed “compelling reasons” clause, the permitting phase in Strasbourg would be less stringent than the national one. Raab argues that these measures will prevent “abuse of the system” by foreign criminals who use human rights laws to avoid deportation by limiting the rights available to them. But Raab said the reforms would strengthen "quintessentially British rights" and add "a healthy dose of common sense" to the interpretation of legislation and court decisions. (8)
After Brexit, it is almost inevitable for the Conservative government to take measures to abolish the Human Rights Act. The law incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) into domestic law and has a particularly strong influence. The head of the organization, Martha Spurrier (Martha Spurrier), said that the Human Rights Act is “an important law” that allows government agencies to be challenged “when they are wrong” and helps “to ensure life All justice from right to right... Freedom of speech." Critics say that after the government was deprived of many judicial and immigration human rights inspections, this inspection was politically motivated. (9)
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1 https://www.indy100.com/news/new-human-rights-proposals-controversial-b1975813 and https://www.politics.co.uk/opinion-former/press-release/2021/12/15/proposed-human-rights-act-reforms-would-fundamentally-undermine-the-rights-of-humanists/
2 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/human-rights-act-reform-dominic-raab-b1976034.html and https://theconversation.com/five-takeaways-from-the-uk-governments-proposal-to-replace-the-human-rights-act-173788
3 https://www.indy100.com/news/new-human-rights-proposals-controversial-b1975813 and https://www.cumnockchronicle.com/news/19783575.raab-unveils-new-bill-rights-replace-human-rights-laws/
4 https://www.itv.com/news/2021-12-14/dominic-raab-to-claim-overhaul-of-human-rights-act-will-create-common-sense, https://www.cumnockchronicle.com/news/19783575.raab-unveils-new-bill-rights-replace-human-rights-laws/ and https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/human-rights-act-reform-dominic-raab-b1976034.html
5 https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/raab-unveils-his-modern-bill-of-rights-plan/5110944.article, https://www.indy100.com/news/new-human-rights-proposals-controversial-b1975813 and https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/human-rights-act-reform-dominic-raab-b1976034.html
6 https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/raab-unveils-his-modern-bill-of-rights-plan/5110944.article and https://theconversation.com/five-takeaways-from-the-uk-governments-proposal-to-replace-the-human-rights-act-173788
8 https://www.itv.com/news/2021-12-14/dominic-raab-to-claim-overhaul-of-human-rights-act-will-create-common-sense, https://news.sky.com/story/human-rights-reforms-slammed-as-an-unashamed-power-grab-by-government-that-wants-to-put-itself-above-the-law-12495277 and https://theconversation.com/five-takeaways-from-the-uk-governments-proposal-to-replace-the-human-rights-act-173788
9 https://news.sky.com/story/human-rights-reforms-slammed-as-an-unashamed-power-grab-by-government-that-wants-to-put-itself-above-the-law-12495277, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/human-rights-act-reform-dominic-raab-b1976034.html and https://theconversation.com/five-takeaways-from-the-uk-governments-proposal-to-replace-the-human-rights-act-173788