Human Rights Act 1998 Essay

816 words - 4 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

The Act is limited, however, in that the sovereignty of parliament is preserved. Judges do not have the power to overrule parliament by declaring that a statute is unlawful. Judges may only declare that the provisions of a statute are incompatible with the Act if the provisions create an infringement of the rights contained within the Act. This is justified as judges are not elected and cannot therefore by held accountable to the general public.

As a consequence of the Act all public authorities in the UK including the NHS, local authorities and the police must by law respect the rights that are contained within the Act. Everyone without exception has these rights. If any of these Convention rights are breached the person or persons affected can take court proceedings against the public authority concerned. A procedure called 'judicial review' can be applied for in order to change a decision that has been made by a public authority. Under this procedure judges will decide whether or not the public authority has infringed the rights of the person affected and has therefore acted illegally. People can only bring cases against public authorities. However, because the Act has affected the way that judges are interpreting and developing existing laws it can also affect both individuals and private organisations.

Clearly though, there will be situations that will arise where the rights contained within the Act will be in conflict between...

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