The European Convention on Human Rights Act 1998

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The aim of this essay is to critically evaluate the statement 'The European Convention on Human Rights exists to guarantee legal protection to fundamental rights'. It will examine how rights are protected in law and the way the UK approaches the protection of these rights. Explanation will be made of the way that the UK addresses the implementation of the rights in the English legal system. Issues such as conflicting rights and legal limitations will also be considered. An evaluation will be made of whether or not The Human Rights Act 1998 protects the fundamental rights of UK citizens as contained in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Before the Human Rights Act 1998 was passed by parliament it had been considered unnecessary to incorporate the Convention directly into UK law. Specifically, it was thought that in the UK common law already provided adequate protection for its citizens. The reasoning behind this line of thinking was that the European Convention on Human Rights 1950 was largely based on British common law. However, a number of infringements were identified and this eventually led to the start of the legislative process which resulted in the Human Rights Act 1998.

In 1997 the government produced a white paper entitled 'Bringing Rights Home'. This formed the basis of what was to become the Human Rights Act 1998. The Act received Royal Assent on 9th November 1998 and finally came into effect in October 2000.

Arguments that were put forward for the incorporation of The European Convention on Human Rights into UK law were partly based on the costs and time considerations involved in taking cases before the European Court in Strasbourg. The Human Rights Act 1998 gave the citizens of the United Kingdo...

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... protected by Article 11: may be breached to prevent for instance, public disorder. The government is required to show that there are good legal reasons for breaching these rights. Justifications for breaching qualified rights must be necessary and proportionate.

In final analysis, the Human Rights Act 1998 largely protects the fundamental human rights of UK citizens and provides easier access to remedies if these rights are infringed by public organisations. Undoubtedly, since the Human Rights Act became part of UK law judges have had to take into consideration the rights that are protected by the Act when making decisions. Parliament, is also obliged to consider the human rights of the citizens of the United Kingdom when creating new legislation or making amendments to existing legislation.

Works Cited

Hoffman, D and Rowe, J. (2003) Human Rights in the UK.