'No evidence that the HRA needs to be repealed’: An update on the Human Rights Act

Posted by Sam Hawke on 22 March 2016

It’s always worth sharing good news, especially when it’s related to the Human Rights Act. And at a time when each new piece of Government legislation is peppered with dangerously divisive policy, we’re particularly eager for positive news.

So we thought we would update you on the recently published recommendations of the Scottish Parliament’s Human Rights Act Inquiry.  While the Government continues to stall on presenting their plans for an alternative to the Human Rights Act, this committee has praised its value – and in particular its importance to vulnerable people.

Here are the most mood-boosting of the many positive conclusions:

- There is strong opposition from Scottish stakeholders to any repeal of the Human Rights Act - as they did not perceive that there was any evidence for doing so

-There was strong consensus that the Human Rights Act had become a “key component of our society and an effective tool for the protection of our rights”, as well as “an effective means for individuals to challenge the actions of the State and seek redress in a more accessible, timely and affordable way than was possible before incorporation of the ECHR rights”

-Scottish stakeholders gave numerous examples of what the HRA had achieved in Scotland, and in particular how it had assisted some of the most vulnerable in society to seek redress, such as those with disabilities and older people.

-There was a strong consensus amongst Scottish stakeholders that the UK Government’s proposals were unnecessary and regressive, and that:

  • the HRA did not require any major amendment,
  • there was no evidence that the HRA needed to be repealed, and
  • the suggested proposals could undermine the further development of a human rights culture in the UK.

The committee have sent their conclusions to Michael Gove, to be taken into consideration ahead of any plans to repeal the Human Rights Act.

Exactly what those plans might be, or when we will see them, remains to be seen. But it’s clear that Scottish voices will be among the many speaking out in resistance.

As the inquest into the death of Private Cheryl James continues, we’re reminded of what a vital tool for justice the Human Rights Act can be. We must continue to celebrate its value whenever we can. 

Campaign reference: 

Save Our Human Rights Act