We have submitted a response to the Independent Review of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), in response to its call for evidence which closed on 3 March 2021.
Our submission makes it clear that we see the HRA as an effective framework for promoting individual rights in the UK and that it strikes the right balance in ensuring judicial oversight of the executive and respecting parliamentary sovereignty.
We also explain how the HRA is embedded in the current devolution settlement through the Scotland Act 1998, and outline the positive efforts in Scotland to strengthen human rights frameworks through the UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill 2020 and the work of the National Task Force for Human Rights Leadership. We caution that a proposal to amend the HRA must be carefully examined in light of the impact on the devolution settlements with respect to each of the devolved authorities – Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
We have also worked with the Human Rights Consortium Scotland (HRCS) to support civil society to make a joint submission to the Review,
This submission uses examples from across civil society which demonstrate the positive impact the Human Rights Act has had in protecting people’s rights and promoting a more rights-based approach to service provision for vulnerable people across Scotland.
The Review will be looking at the operation of the HRA over the last twenty years, focusing on the relationship between UK courts and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as looking at the balance of powers between the legislature, executive and our judiciary as expressed in the HRA. The Review is scheduled to publish its recommendations in Summer 2021.