Francesca Klug and Amy Williams: ‘The choice before us? The report of the Commission on a Bill of Rights’

‘The choice before us? The report of the Commission on a Bill of Rights’ by Francesca Klug and Amy Williams was published in the July 2013 issue of Public Law.

The report of the government-appointed Commission on a Bill of Rights ostensibly offers two alternatives for the future of human rights protection in the UK. A ‘majority’ report purports to recommend a UK Bill of Rights which, in accordance with the Commission’s terms of reference, builds on our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The ‘minority’ Commissioners suggest the time is not ripe for such a move and that the case against the current framework – the Human Rights Act 1998 – has not been made out. In fact there are at least three positions outlined in the report, given that a number of the ‘majority’ Commissioners are neither committed to building on, or indeed retaining our ECHR obligations, nor, in some cases, to the universal protection of human rights. The article analyses the different viewpoints expressed in the report and suggests that where universal human rights protection is at stake, it is imperative that we understand the true nature of the choice before us.

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