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The European Human Rights Act - Essay Example

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The European Human Rights Act was passed in 1998. The Act incorporates the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed by the European Human Rights Convention into UK law. The Act also allowed for the provisions of the Convention to be incorporated into domestic law, which means that all areas of government are affected by human rights considerations…
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The European Human Rights Act

Download file to see previous pages... "In contrast to the importance attached to the democratic accountability of Parliament, institutional checks and balances, and the rule of law as means of safeguarding individual liberties, comparatively little significance was attributed to the European Convention on Human Rights before passage of the Human Rights Act." (Akehurst, Michael & Malanczuk, Peter 1997 p.65) This may be seen as a surprise considering the fact that the UK was an early signatory to the European Convention, and the UK was instrumental to the drafting of the human rights convention.
The effects of the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights on the English Legal System however, seem to be limited by the constitutional doctrine of dualism, which distinguishes international law from national law. "Considerations of national and parliamentary sovereignty require that treaties alone are unable to alter the internal laws of the UK, because the executive alone enters into treaties on behalf of the United Kingdom. Otherwise, the government could evade parliamentary scrutiny of its proposals through the exercise of its treaty-making powers." (Human Rights Act Research Project 2001)
Therefore, as treaties are not self-executing the terms of these treaties must be incorporated into an act of Parliament in orde...
courts. "While the European Convention, as an agreement between national governments, imposed obligations on the United Kingdom in international law, it did not impose obligations on Parliament or the government under British domestic law." (Council of Europe 2000)
Another challenge is posed by the desire to upgrade the legal status of the individual rights as described in the substantive provisions of the European Convention, while at the same time ensuring the preservation of traditional or orthodox notions of parliamentary sovereignty. "The courts are not given the power to invalidate acts of Parliament that are incompatible with the rights listed in the European Convention, but may only issue a declaration of incompatibility, which does not itself affect the validity or enforceability of an incompatible act." (Akehurst, Michael & Malanczuk, Peter 1997) Thus, the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights has had a significant impact on the English Legal System, and to the concept of parliamentary sovereignty.

2. a) Do you believe that section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 creates a new rule of statutory interpretation for judges

Yes, section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 does create a new rule of statutory interpretation for judges. "The Human Rights Act 1998 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom which received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998, and mostly came into force on 2 October 2000. The Act makes available in UK courts a remedy for breach of a Convention right, without the need to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. It also totally abolished the death penalty in UK law, although this was not required by the Convention in force for the UK at that time" (British Medical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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