A Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom? Lessons from overseas

Book chapter


Donald, A. 2013. A Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom? Lessons from overseas. in: Masterman, R. and Leigh, I. (ed.) The United Kingdom's statutory Bill of Rights: constitutional and comparative perspectives Oxford, UK Oxford University Press (OUP).
Chapter titleA Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom? Lessons from overseas
AuthorsDonald, A.
Abstract

The right to participate in choosing or changing a constitution is becoming established in law and theory. The means of realising that right in the formation of Bills of Rights, and the consequences for democratic legitimacy, are matters of debate and experimentation. This chapter explores the processes used to develop Bills of Rights (or proposed Bills) in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and analyses key aspects of the design of those processes. It examines the context for creating a new UK Bill of Rights, including the work of the Commission on a Bill of Rights established in 2011. It reflects on the challenges facing the Commission in the light of experience overseas. It concludes that, on present evidence, the Commission is highly unlikely to achieve an outcome which might enjoy democratic legitimacy, in the sense of having been subject to inclusive and informed public deliberation.

[Summary of book containing this chapter:] By providing enforceable remedies for breaches of Convention Rights in domestic courts, and in allowing judges to scrutinise parliamentary legislation on human rights grounds, the United Kingdom's Human Rights Act 1998 marked a sea-change in the relationships between the individual and the state, and between the courts and the political branches of government, as they had been traditionally understood. Despite the undeniable practical importance of the Human Rights Act, widespread political and popular scepticism over the nature of rights adjudication and the relationship between human rights laws and-for instance-measures designed to combat terrorism and crime, has prevented the Human Rights Act from being seen as an established and essential part of our constitutional structures. This uncertainty has not however prevented the Human Rights Act from exerting significant constitutional influence within the United Kingdom, within the framework provided by the European Convention and European Court of Human Rights, and beyond. This edited collection of essays therefore seeks to chart the lasting constitutional impact of the Human Rights Act at a point when its political future is far from assured. To that end, chapters examine the relationships between the Human Rights Act and domestic constitutional doctrine, with the Convention's enforcement bodies at Strasbourg and with statutory bills of rights in other common law jurisdictions. Further, the collection goes on to examine the permanence of changes initiated in domestic legal reasoning and process-including to judicial technique and in advocacy-before finally turning to examine how the experience of the Human Rights Act might influence the future development of a Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom.

Research GroupLaw and Politics
LanguageEnglish
Book titleThe United Kingdom's statutory Bill of Rights: constitutional and comparative perspectives
EditorsMasterman, R. and Leigh, I.
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
British Academy
Place of publicationOxford, UK
SeriesProceedings of the British Academy
ISBN
Hardcover9780197265376
Publication dates
PrintApr 2013
Publication process dates
Deposited15 Jul 2013
Output statusPublished
Web address (URL)http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780197265376.do
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84925424304
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