Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry: Defending Human Rights – Attitudes to Enforcement

The Joint Committee on Human Rights call for written submissions on factors that may impede individuals from using the UK’s human rights framework effectively. The deadline for submissions is 26 January 2018.

The Committee is particularly interested in the following areas:

Judicial independence

Among other things, judicial independence depends on a shared understanding of the proper role of the courts, of Government and of Parliament. In the context of human rights:

  • Has the Government been too ready to criticise the courts in ways which affect judicial independence?
  • Have some judicial decisions gone beyond purposive construction to change the law in ways which Parliament did not intend?
  • Has the concept of the ECHR as a “living instrument” meant that issues which are properly matters for Parliament are dealt with in litigation?
  • Is the principle of subsidiarity that underpins the European Convention sufficiently respected and working effectively, and has the Brighton Declaration produced an improvement in the way cases are handled at national or Strasbourg level?
Access to resources
  • Is there the access to justice needed to enforce human rights?
  • What effect has the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) had on the ability of individuals to access the courts as a means of enforcing their human rights?
  • What are the implications of the recent Supreme Court judgement on fees in employment tribunals?
Legal Independence
  • To enforce human rights it is sometimes necessary for cases to be brought against the Government itself.  When the Government is a defendant does it seek to use its power to interfere with legal professionals taking cases?
Cultural factors
  • Is there sufficient understanding (in Government, media and general public) of the role of the rule of law in ensuring that human rights are respected?
  • Is criticism from some parts of the media a problem or a healthy manifestation of free speech?
  • Is there a perception that there are some rights which are not given sufficient weight compared with others and does this affect willingness to attempt to enforce those rights?

Find more information on the UK Parliament website.

Make a submission.