A commission set up to examine the case for a British Bill of Rights will publish its findings today (December 18th 2012), but ahead of the publication, Justice Minister Chris Grayling has said in an article that criminals and terrorists should no longer be able to cite “human right” as a defence.
However, the Bill of Rights has been beset with controversy, with one of the nine commissioners, Dr Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, quitting earlier this year after deciding that it was a waste of time and that it had been “rigged” by Europhiles such as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
Some ministers are seeing its recommendations as short-term solutions because the commission was not asked to consider whether Britain should now leave the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
In his article in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Grayling said that he feels it is time to examine how to curtail the involvement of the ECHR in UK and that “I know my rights” has to stop being a defence against unacceptable behaviour. In fact, Mr Gayling went further and suggested that he may call for the UK to leave the ECHR if the Conservatives win the next election
The Commission, which has received around 900 responses to its consultation, will explain how a new Bill could be introduced by Parliament that would set out the fundamental rights for British citizens in a single piece of legislation.
However, it will recommend that such legislation be delayed until after the referendum on Scottish independence in autumn 2014.
According to the commission, the UK Bill of Rights “could also help address certain rights that had arguably been eroded by successive legislative measures” and it will demonstrate how similar legislation used in other countries can be considered by European courts.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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