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Human Rights Act - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Task Date The Human Rights Act is a means of safeguarding human rights. The Human Rights Act has been seen to have an impact on the state and the citizens. The Act has affected the development of policy by the government. The Human rights act came in place to ensure accountability and transparency in the development by ensuring that public authorities do comply with the provisions of the act…
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Human Rights Act
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Extract of sample "Human Rights Act"

Download file to see previous pages The act came into place in 1998 and before that a person who had his right infringed had to go all the way to the European Court of Human Rights to file such a complaint whereby a commission had to consider everyone’s petition in order to determine whether the case is admissible. Most cases failed to go through at this stage. The commission upon admission of a petition would then ascertain the facts and consider whether a friendly statement would suffice and if a friendly statement did not work, the court would come up with a report that illustrated its findings. Individual applicants could also not demand a hearing (Woodhouse, 2001). The act has placed powers on courts to defend the rights of individuals. These rights are important because they form part of our everyday lives. The United Kingdom has now been bound by case law from the European court of Human Rights rather than precedent. The act has created an obligation on the British courts to take case law from the European court of human rights into account and to interpret legislation in a way that is compatible with the convention on human rights. Initially there had been a conflict between the common law courts and the convention court. The courts have always upheld the common law principles and in doing so the courts came up with statutory interpretations (Rt Hon Lord Justice Elias, 2009). The European Convention on Human Rights is an international document and the European Courts of Human rights also applied their own principles in determining a case. This is whereby the convention courts made different interpretations from the British courts, An example of such a conflict is seen in the case of R (on the application of Marper) .vs. Chief Constable of Yorkshire [2004] 1 WLR 2196. Issue was whether the retention of DNA samples of people who had been arrested amounted to an infringement of rights under Article 8 read together with article 14 of the convention or not. The House of Lords ruled that there was no human rights infringement and the convention court held that there was an infringement of rights. The United Kingdom courts now have the power to undermine parliament. The act has influenced the process of policy formulation of the government firstly, through the process of making sure that there is compatibility with the convention rights. Secondly, through litigation whereby a particular policy may be changed or the method in which the policy is delivered could also be changed. Finally, there is the change that is made in behavior whereby the act requires that the behavior of public authorities should conform to convention rights (Department for Constitutional Affairs, 2008). The Human Rights Act provides a way of enforcing compatibility with convention rights. To begin the courts under Section 3 of the Human Rights Act provides that courts will construe legislation in a way that is compatible with the convention rights. A case that illustrates the effect which the act has had in the circumstances is that of A and others .vs. Home Secretary [2005] 2 AC 68, whereby the house of lords held that the Anti- Terrorism Act of 2001 was incompatible with article 14 of the Convention of Human Rights by requiring that foreign nationals be detained without trial and thereby it discriminated on ones nationality and even racial status. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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