British academy

Human rights and the UK constitution  

Human rights law has been the subject of considerable controversy in the UK over the last few years. For example last year’s ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that the UK government should end its blanket ban on prisoners voting, once again raised the thorny issue of the UK’s relationship with the European Court and whether the UK should have its own Bill of Rights. The issue of human rights appears frequently within the media and often causes heated debate with the question of the UK’s relationship to the ECHR causing some of the more fervent aspects of the debate. 

In Human rights and the UK constitution Colm O’Cinneide clarifies some of the key issues at stake. He evaluates the workings of the UK human rights law, and the nature of the relationship between the ECHR and the UK courts and the Parliament.  Finally, the report explores how proposals for a new Bill of Rights may affect the protection of human rights within the framework of the UK’s unwritten constitution.

Human rights and the UK constitution finds that the current state of human rights law in the UK strikes a good balance between respect for democracy and the need to protest human rights.  Attempting to recalibrate this delicate balance may prove to be a difficult and thankless task.

Steering group:

Sandra Fredman QC (Hon) FBA (chair)
Vernon Bogdanor CBE FBA
John Eekelaar FBA
David Feldman QC FBA
Conor Gearty FBA
Francesca Klug OBE  

 

"Everyone across the country should know more about how the rights many take for granted are protected by our Human Rights Act. The executive summary of the British Academy's 'Human rights and the UK constitution' should be essential reading for those learning about human rights in the UK."

Sadiq Khan, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow 
Secretary of State for Justice (November 2012) 

 


Download the executive summary 

Download Human rights and the UK constitution


For more information on the report please contact Helen Haggart, Senior Policy Advisor, on h.haggart@britac.ac.uk 

The press release: New report casts doubt on need for UK Bill of Rights 

On Monday 12th November 2012 the British Academy Policy Centre held an event in conjunction with the Equality and Diversity Forum and the EDF Research Network. To read more about the report and to listen to a recording of the debate click here.