What in your opinion, has been the most significant impact of the incorporation of Human Rights legislation into British law?

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GRIN Verlag, Mar 15, 2004 - Law - 25 pages
Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject Law - Comparative Legal Systems, Comparative Law, grade: 62%, Cardiff University (Großbritannien; Law School), course: English Legal System, language: English, abstract: The most important piece of British legislation with regard to Human Rights is undoubtedly the Human Rights Act 1998. The Act, in force since 2 October 2000, incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights1 into British law and constitutes one of the most controversial legislative creations enacted by the Westminster Parliament in its impressive history. Rancorous opponents have described the Act as a “plot to undermine Parliament and make Britain subservient to the European Union”, nothing more than a “complainers charter” and a “bonanza for lawyers.”2 Proponents counter and say that the 1998 Act will advance the cause of liberty and check the power of Britain’s over-mighty executive.3 Whatever the reader considers to be true, it is indisputable that the Human Rights Act 1998 is a huge constitutional innovation with a crucial impact on Britain’s legal system. Consequently, the present Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, called it “a constitutional landmark” which “would be a point of reference for generations to come.”4 This essay will identify and analyse the most significant affects of Britain’s new human rights legislation. For that purpose it is first necessary to outline the historical development of human rights in the United Kingdom and to describe how these rights could have been enforced before the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force (Part A.) When considering this, attention will also be drawn to Britain’s political environment and its role in the development of international human rights instruments. Part B of this paper is then concerned with the question, of the approach taken by the British government in incorporating the ECHR, and how the concept of the Human Rights Act 1998 works in practice. The most significant impacts of the new Act will be examined in Part C.

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1 From Magna Carta to the Ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights
2 The Enforcement of Human Rights in the UK Prior to the Human Rights Act 1998
B Introduction to the Human Rights Act 1998
2 The Mechanism of the Human Rights Act 1998
C The Impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on the British Legal System
1 Effects on Statutory Interpretation
3 Judicial Review of Discretionary Decisions

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