Should the Human Rights Act be repealed?

Since coming into government in May 2015 the Conservative Party has deferred repeal of the Human Rights Act until 2016.

January 2015

There is a lively debate in the UK about the Human Rights Act 1998 that incorporates into domestic law the European Convention on Human Rights of 1953. The Human Rights Act requires British courts to ‘take into account‘ of decisions made in Strasbourg.

In recent years UK governments have come into conflict with those decisions, for example over the deportation of Abu Qatada, regarded as a risk to British security, the right of prisoners to vote, and the right of illegal immigrants to a family life in the face of deportation.

Opponents of the Human Rights Act claim that compliance can in certain cases be an infringement of British sovereignty and contrary to the interests of British citizens. They favour the creation of a British Bill of Rights that is independent of the European Convention.

Supporters claim that the European Court of Human Rights has no authority to amend or override the constitutional arrangements of any country and cannot override parliamentary sovereignty in the UK.

There is speculation that the Conservative Party that leads the Coalition Government may include repeal of the Act in its May 2015 election manifesto.

April 14, 2015

The Conservative Party May 2015 election manifesto contains the commitment to repeal the Human Rights Act and 'curtail' the role of the European Court of Human Rights in English law.