Human Rights Law and Practice

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David Pannick, Javan Herberg
LexisNexis, 2009 - Civil rights - 974 pages
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This third edition of Lester, Pannick and Herberg: Human Rights Law and Practice has been substantially re-written to take account of the major changes which have occurred in this area of the law. It includes not only a summary of European and UK human rights law but also wider international and comparative case law. It places this subject within its wider parliamentary context and connects with other jurisdictions.Up-to-date as of March 2009 to include the very latest cases, such as the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in A v United Kingdom (finding that the United Kingdom was in breach of the Convention by detaining terrorist suspects without trial in Belmarsh Prison); judgment of the Court of Appeal in Purdy v DPP (how Convention rights apply in the context of a possible criminal prosecution of a man who assists his seriously ill wife to travel to Switzerland to commit suicide); and the House of Lords' judgment in RB (Algeria) v SSHD (considering risk of Art 3 ill-treatment on return and the return state's assurances, and Art 6 in connection with the removed person's right to a fair trial).Issues arising under the Human Rights Act, such as freedom of expression, conscience and belief, freedom of assembly and fair trial receive comprehensive treatment within the text. International Human Rights codes and comparative human rights law elsewhere in the Commonwealth, Ireland and the United States are also discussed. With specific chapters analysing the political history and the role of parliament in its conception and enforcement, this practical book covers all the information you need to interpret the Human Rights Act 1998 and this complicated area of law.Includes coverage on the UK government's Green Paper, Rights and Responsibilities: Developing Our Constitutional Framework.

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An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE, Richmond Green Chambers
With its enactment into British law in 1998 –a year which future historians may point to as a watershed in the saga of human progress—the original European Convention on Human Rights, as a concept, has had widespread and profound effects on the legal, and indeed, the social landscape of the United Kingdom now it is in legislative form.
Unlike much other legislation, which passes by almost unnoticed and unremarked upon by members of the public, ‘human rights’ seem to be familiar to everyone. Everyone knows about it. Everyone has an opinion on it. Some bless its existence. Others wish it would go away. So I welcome this third edition from Lester, Pannick and Herberg.
It’s interesting that ‘human rights’ continue to be controversial. And it’s not necessarily because of the intent, or the content of the legislation itself, but because of the continuing propensity of individuals -- laymen and indeed some practitioners too -- to misunderstand and misinterpret it … sometimes deliberately.
‘I’ve got rights!’ cry the disaffected, as well as the ignorant, often with little insight into, or regard for, their corresponding responsibilities- and some newspapers don’t help matters!
So what exactly are our rights? What are our entitlements under this legislation and what are its limits and limitations? Anyone seeking the answers as well as an in-depth and accurate understanding of this legislation would do well to read the third edition of “Human Rights Law and Practice” which put the subject into twenty-first century perspective.
In the Foreword, Lord Phillips sums it up as ’a work of general excellence’, describing its many and learned contributors as familiar figures at the coal face who together have produced a thorough and yet eclectic survey of the case law they have presented.
As for the controversial aspects of the legislation, or rather the continuing tendency to mis-apply it, the Preface reminds us that ’human rights have become on too many occasions an excuse for incompetent administrators, a rallying cry for irresponsible journalists and a weapon for partisan politicians.’ The example is given of a car thief who clambered onto a roof to evade arrest, threw missiles at the police and refused to come down. During the subsequent siege, the officers supplied him with a takeaway meal, a soft drink and cigarettes so as to “ensure his human rights”. ‘We hope’, say the editors, ‘that this book may throw useful light on the true potential and limits of human rights.’ They do, actually!
Of particular interest to laymen as well as lawyers is the section on the history and context of the Act after ten years, as well as all its articles and protocols, from the right to life and the prohibition of torture, slavery and forced labour to the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and so forth. More the preserve of practitioners is the section on principles of interpretation. As the authors have pointed out, human rights have their true potential and certainly their limits. What is notable is not what you can do under the legislation, but what you can’t.
Now in its third edition, this book has become the definitive and authoritative work on human rights. As the law is stated at 1st January 2009, this is a vital work to have on your shelf, especially bearing in mind that, as Phillips observes, ‘the law of human rights is also the fastest developing area of jurisprudence.’
ISBN: 978 14057 36862

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