A Bill of Rights

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A Bill of Rights A Bill of Rights is a statement of values and standards, of rights and responsibilities. It is a 'higher law' than those which Parliament passes, and a standard by which to judge these laws. It sets out our rights and responsibilities as individuals. Arguments for a Bill of Rights * a Bill of Rights gives you the chance to fight for your rights in court * if a Bill of Rights is 'entrenched', Parliament must make sure that laws take account of those rights included in it * a Bill of Rights can give protection to vulnerable minorities * human rights education is easier if there is a single document which outlines rights Arguments against a Bill of Rights * in many countries it is judges who interpret the bill of rights and can strike down laws which contravene it. As judges are not elected it means unelected officials are in a position to change laws * 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it!' - why introduce something new if the current system works? * a Bill of Rights is inflexible. Once a right is included e.g. the right to bear arms in the US, it is difficult to remove it The present situation The UK does not currently have a Bill of Rights. However it does have the Human Rights Act, which came into force on the 2nd of October 2000. This Act incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. It covers civil and political rights and freedoms. What could a Bill of Rights offer that the Human Rights Act does not?

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