UK justice secretary plans to stop European judges ‘dictating’ on human rights

Dominic Raab previously described parts of UK Human Rights Act as 'nonsensical'

Britain's justice minister on Sunday laid out his plans to reform key rights legislation to stop a European human rights court from “dictating” to the UK.

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said in an interview that the European Court of Human Rights was imposing too many “obligations on the state".

The UK Human Rights Act passed in 1998 incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law.

This was not directly affected by Brexit – the UK's decision to leave the EU – as neither the convention nor court are part of the EU.

The minister, himself a lawyer, said he is formulating a mechanism to allow the government to introduce ad hoc legislation to “correct” ECHR judgements when British ministers believe they are “incorrect".

Mr Raab, who served as foreign minister until a September reshuffle, announced an overhaul of the UK rights act at the Conservative Party conference this month, calling it “nonsensical".

He said at the time that the reforms could be achieved without the UK pulling out of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Mr Raab cited cases to The Sunday Telegraph where foreign criminals have avoided deportation by citing their right to family life under the rights act.

Quote
I don't think it's the job of the European Court... to be dictating things to, whether it's the NHS, whether it's our welfare provision, or whether it's our police forces
Dominic Raab

He also listed obligations imposed by the ECHR on military operations overseas.

And Mr Raab complained that under the current rights act, judges are required to take into account ECHR decisions when considering cases involving institutions such as the NHS state-funded health service.

“I don't think it's the job of the European Court ... to be dictating things to, whether it's the NHS, whether it's our welfare provision or whether it's our police forces,” Mr Raab said.

He said he expected his planned reforms to be submitted for consultation in the next two months.

Updated: October 17th 2021, 5:57 PM
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