THE HUMAN RIGHTS ESSAY

IOO THINGS WE HAVE GAINED FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT

18 May 2015

1. A better balance between the powers of the State and the rights of the individual.

2. A barrier against secret courts and secret trials.

3. Support for existing environmental laws when arguing against noises and other nuisances ruining the enjoyment of one’s home.

4. A duty on police to investigate credible allegations of slavery or forced labour.

5. The development of the common law in the light of human rights principles.

6. The ability to make human rights arguments in our own courts rather than in the European Court of Human Rights.

7. Support for the principle of responsible journalism.

8. A comprehensive duty to investigate where someone dies and the police, prison authorities, immigration authorities or a hospital are involved.

9. A duty on police to properly investigate allegations of rape.

10. Support for the common law right of access to justice.

11. Recognition that human rights can be breached by doing nothing, as well as doing something.

12. Support for the common law right to a fair hearing.

13. A duty on hospitals to take reasonable measures to safeguard life.

14. Use of the principle of proportionality as a way of measuring whether what a public authority has done is too much of an interference with a person’s human rights.

15. A right to respect for private life.

16. Protection of those in care to ensure that they are not unlawfully deprived of their liberty.

17. A safety net for those facing the withdrawal of state support.

18. Support for the ancient writ of habeas corpus and access to court to challenge the lawfulness of detention.

19. Strong protection for public interest publications.

20. A way for courts to interpret laws compatibly with human rights principles.

21. A right to respect for social life and working life.

22. Improved independence for the Parole Board.

23. A right to respect for home.

24. Improved weapons in the fight to secure and protect an independent judiciary.

25. A right to compensation for those whose human rights have been breached.

26. A right to property including personal possessions and business possessions.

27. A public interest defence to a claim of defamation: now reflected in the Defamation Act 2013.

28. The development of a culture of awareness of human rights in public authorities, parliament and government.

29. A better balance between the media’s freedom of expression and respect for private life.

30. Respect in law for how you see yourself, and how others see you.

31. A duty to ensure public authorities do all that they can before a child is separated from his or her parents.

32. A duty to carefully respect and safeguard the human rights of all those in the care of the state.

33. An express guarantee of the presumption of innocence.

34. Support for the common law right of freedom of expression particularly where the limit on expression is imposed by an Act of Parliament.

35. Regulated policing of demonstrations to ensure tactics such as kettling are subject to strict controls.

36. An improved right to legal representation in criminal proceedings.

37. An ability for our courts to enter into a dialogue with the European Court of Human Rights over the meaning and application of particular rights.

38. Abolition of the death penalty.

39. An ability for journalists to challenge disproportionate restrictions on reporting such as anonymity orders.

40. A much improved duty to investigate allegations of torture or inhuman treatment in detention.

41. Protection of the rights of biological fathers.

42. Protection of the private lives of children and vulnerable adults.

43. A benchmark for welfare support below which no-one is allowed to fall.

44. Protection for a right to respect for family life encompassing all the diversity of forms the modern family takes.

45. A right to respect for family life.

46. Protection against unfair school exclusions.

47. Limits on the excesses of the tabloid press exposing the intimate details of a person’s life.

48. Protection against discrimination in taxation law and practice.

49. Improved protection for the common law right to silence.

50. Proportionate HMRC penalties and fair treatment in enforcement proceedings.

51. A much improved duty to investigate suspicious deaths.

52. Police protection for those facing serious racial abuse.

53. Influence from our courts over the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights.

54. Limits on police maintaining photographic databases of student protesters.

55. Influence on the human rights law world stage alongside the US and Canadian Supreme Courts.

56. Oral hearings where it is required for the proceedings to be fair.

57. Limits on police efforts to build a DNA database of the entire UK population.

58. Improved weapons in the fight for open justice and public access to information.

59. Improved protection for conscientious objectors.

60. Protection from the misuse of power by public bodies.

61. Humane treatment of asylum seekers until their claim is determined.

62. Fair sentencing arrangements with a focus on making sure the punishment fits the crime.

63. A qualified right to manifest religious beliefs in the workplace.

64. Confirmation that the UK will not deport or extradite someone to a country where they will face a flagrant denial of justice.

65. Fair decision making by public bodies such as local authorities, planning inspectors and schools.

66. A right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

67. Enhancement of the UK’s position on the world stage as a guarantor of human rights protection through law for its people.

68. Decisions of the Parole Board taking place within a reasonable time.

69. Control over police to ensure that they do not abuse their powers of stop and search.

70. Confirmation that the UK is a safe haven for those facing torture or inhuman or degrading treatment in another country.

71. Comprehensive guidance to those investigating deaths on important questions the investigation must answer.

72. Civil trials taking place within a reasonable time.

73. Better protection for those in care homes against closure, transfer and degrading treatment.

74. A barrier against planning decisions which have a disproportionate impact on a person’s home including compulsory purchase orders.

75. Better information on the legal consequences of end of life decisions.

76. Awareness of human rights principles in public authority decision making ensuring better protection for individuals.

77. Criminal trials taking place within a reasonable time.

78. An improved test to make sure courts and tribunals are independent and impartial.

79. Better protection for same sex couples against discrimination in housing law and practice.

80. A mechanism by which courts can signal to Parliament and government that a law is in breach of human rights.

81. A massive reduction in the applications against the UK declared admissible by the European Court of Human Rights, now only 1 percent per year.

82. A duty to take reasonable measures to protect members of the armed forces when deployed abroad.

83. A duty to give reasons where fairness demands this.

84. Improved clarity in legal provisions which seek to restrict human rights.

85. A duty to ensure taxes, duties and penalties are proportionate.

86. A duty to ensure recipients of welfare support are treated with dignity.

87. Protection from discrimination in the enjoyment of human rights.

88. Improved investigations into deaths in custody.

89. Protection for recipients of pensions and welfare support from discrimination in provision and withdrawal.

90. A duty on public authorities and courts to ensure that eviction from one’s home is proportionate.

91. Protection for those sources who wish to communicate with the media.

92. A duty on prison authorities to safeguard life where a prisoner is suicidal.

93. Protection from the disproportionate deprivation and control of property.

94. A duty on police to safeguard life where life is at risk such as where a witness is threatened.

95. Protection of disabled people against discrimination in the provision of state support.

96. A barrier against police collection, retention and use of private information.

97. Protection of private information from collection, retention, use and disclosure.

98. A barrier against government meddling in the decisions of courts and public authorities.

99. Protection for children giving evidence in civil and criminal proceedings.

100. Improved coroner’s inquests.