Updated 12th May

The House of Lords EU Committee has issued an important report - The UK, the EU and a British Bill of Rights - 12th Report of Session 2015-16 - 9th May 2016.

The committee held eight evidence sessions with academic legal experts, legal practitioners, two former Attorneys General, a former Lord Chief Justice and a former UK judge in the Court of Justice of the EU. The final evidence session was with the Secretary of State for Justice and Dominic Raab MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Human Rights at the Ministry of Justice.

The report has 8 Chapters each with its own conclusions.  A Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations follows.

The report requires a full reading and thought but this phrase in the Summary of Conclusions stood out - "If a Bill of Rights is not intended to change significantly the protection of human rights in the UK, we recommend the Government give careful thought before proceeding with this policy."

For my part, I hope that they abandon this ill-conceived policy and leave well alone.  Legal questions apart, the government's policy seems to be replete with political risk.  If following a British Bill of Rights being introduced, things go wrong then it will be the present Conservative government that reaps the whirlwind.

Summary of Conclusions and Recommendations

Update 12th May - Criticism of the report:

On 11th May, the Judicial Power Project published a criticism of the EU Committee report -  How not to dismiss human rights law reform - Richard Ekins and Graham Gee.  The authors see the EU Committee report as problematic in several ways: not least because they see it as an attempt to discredit reform before the detail of the reform is known.

The critical article does not address the committee's points about the impact on the devolved nations. Reform of human rights law is far from a legal exercise.  Any reform should be assessed on the basis of what rights does it provide for and how effective are the enforcement mechanisms against the State.  The Human Rights Act 1998 offers a strong protective framework. This seems to be at the very heart of the government's dislike of the Act.

Earlier links:

2nd February 2016 - Human Rights - EU renegotiation

2nd December 2015 - Human Rights proposals delayed - Lord Chancellor a the House of Lords Constitution Committee

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