Reform of the Human Rights Act 1998

The future shape and content of human rights legislation is a live policy issue across all the main political parties in the UK. A Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) report in August 2008 revealed that each of the main political parties proposes distinctive reforms to the protection of human rights in the UK. A Joseph Rowntree survey in 2006 indicated that 77% favoured a British Bill of Rights to protect individual freedom.

Whilst consensus exists on this point, agreement breaks down over the nature and purpose of reforms: there is much debate on the types of rights to be protected in any future British Bill, the future for the Human Rights Act, and the impact of any reforms on the relationships between the executive, Parliament and the courts. These were the subjects of debate at a major international research workshop, entitled “After the Human Rights Act”: Problems and Perspectives.

The aim of the workshop was to engage with the debates around reform of the Human Rights Act 1998, specifically to bring together policy makers, pressure groups, lawyers and other interested parties to deliberate on the purpose, nature and extent of any reform.

Speakers included:

  • Edward Garnier QC, MP, Shadow Minister for Justice - Paper (PDF);
  • John Wadham, Group Director, Legal at the Equality and Human Rights Commission;
  • Professor Kent Roach (Toronto) - Paper 1 (PDF) and Paper 2 (PDF);
  • Daniel Moeckli (Zurich);
  • Professor Sandra Fredman (Oxford);
  • Jeff King (Oxford);
  • Alison Young (Oxford) - Paper (PDF); and
  • Edward Adams Head of the Human Rights Division, Ministry of Justice.