Human Rights Act – abolition
The HRA was introduced with the intention of enshrining the European Convention for Human Rights in UK law. However, this was always an unneccesary piece of legislation.
My proposal is that this Act of Parliament is repealed, with the intention of returning to the status quo. The ECHR is already actionable here in the UK and people who wish to take things to court in order to protect their human rights continue to have the power to do so – in Europe. It is an Act which is overwhelmingly misunderstood and misquoted, and is therefore imposed inappropriately. People continue to cite this legislation in the most minor of circumstances and the effects are long-reaching into all aspects of our lives.
Why does this idea matter?
This is an important idea, giving confidence that we can continue to live our lives without fear of a Nanny State or the Health & Safety Executive continually being involved. People do not understand the Act, and it is not used appropriately. It would be more beneficial to people here in the UK if they were able to go about their daily lives without the constant fear of being sued if someone dislikes the way they live. The public need to be reassured that the Government is backing off wherever it can and returning responsibility to individuals. At present, people hide behind this Act in order to deny their own personal responsibility for their actions and behaviours. People seem to ignore the rights of others in order to further their own agenda. Take, for example, the recent court case of the woman who has had to be given an ASBO for her “noisy sex”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wear/10453199.stm
This woman is causing misery and distress because of her ignorant behaviour. The HRA was surely never intended to be used in order to protect this woman’s choice to behave the way she does. Yet this is the kind of situation in which we find it being used – to the detriment of the public and public confidence.
I propose that we do not then introduce a Bill of Rights for the UK. This would also be unnecessary. We are lucky enough to live in a country with an excellent human rights record. We are not a nation where there is a need for the “right to freedom from torture” is something that has to be written into legislation somewhere. This is an expectation of all of us that we would behave appropriately. The current legislation around assault; sexual offences; anti-social behaviour; driving offences; noise levels and so on, are more than sufficient to protect the individual and the public at large.
The introduction of the HRA was a major step backwards; rather than the intended step forwards. It continues to hold back positive development and instead has encouraged “no win no fee” companies to sue all and sundry. We have created a culture where yobs who have fallen through a roof of a building they were burgling are entitled and successful in suing the owners of the same building for injuries and “distress” caused by their own actions. We have members of the public too frightened to step in to help someone in distress for fear of being sued for injuries or prosecution for assault.
This needs to end, and a good way to do this would be to repeal the HRA. In addition, the public then need to be appropriately educated about why this is necessary, and to ensure that they understand that their “rights” continue to be upheld and protected by the ECHR, and that this change is a positive one. There will need to be a good campaign to justify the removal of this Act, however I think you’ll find that the overwhelming majority of the decent and hard working people of this country will be more than amenable and agreeable to this.