A 'British bill of rights'

In recent years, all three major political parties have addressed the issue of a British bill of rights:

  • The Labour government raised the issue in its Governance of Britain green paper in July 2007
  • The Conservatives have established a commission to investigate the desirability of a bill of rights
  • The Liberal Democrats want one as part of a written constitution

JUSTICE has been at the forefront of the debate on the implications of a bill of rights. Our consistent argument has been that any such bill should build on, not undermine, the Human Rights Act 1998 - that is, it should be, in the jargon ECHR-plus.

In 2007 we published an in-depth report, A British Bill of Rights: Informing the debate, that looked at the issues that need to be examined in the debate.

 In 2010 we published Devolution and Human Rights, an assessment of the constitutional implications for the devolved administrations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland of attempting to amend or repeal the Human Rights Act.

The Bill of Rights Commission

In March 2011, the government set up a commission to "... investigate the creation of a UK Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in UK law, and protects and extend our liberties."

Helena Kennedy, Chair of JUSTICE Council is one of the commissioners, along with long-standing Council member Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC.