A British Bill of Rights – what is it and do we need one?
Thursday 8th September 2022
Jointly organised by the Society of Conservative Lawyers and The Institute of Economic Affairs
The Institute of Economic Affairs
2 Lord North Street
(entrance on Great Peter Street)
London SW1P 3LB
An overhaul of the Human Rights Act and a British Bill of Rights were manifesto commitments of the Conservative Party in 2019, but what is the problem the government is seeking to solve?
The Bill of Rights was introduced to Parliament in June 2022. It will repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a new Act called the Bill of Rights Act.
The Ministry of Justice claims that the Bill will strengthen freedom of speech, recognise the right to jury trial, make it easier to deport criminals and reduce burdens on public authorities by limiting the imposition of positive obligations on public services. It is also intended to strengthen domestic institutions and the primacy of UK law and the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, some have criticised the Bill as an assault on human rights, rather than an effort to improve democratic accountability.
What should supporters of free markets and free societies make of this? Will the Bill address the perceived judicial overreach into matters of policy that some say the Human Rights Act 1998 gave rise to? Will the Bill have a material effect in combatting threats to free speech?
What are the risks of this approach? To what extent is it driven by political and presentational concerns?
Does a true assertion of the supremacy and independence of the Supreme Court, and the supremacy of Parliament, require the UK to leave the ECHR?
Members will wish to refer to the Society’s paper of March 2022 “A Glorious Revolution: a response to the Bill of Rights Consultation” – Andrew Warnock QC co-author of the paper will be speaking on the panel [PDF].
Discussion with experts from the Society of Conservative Lawyers, the IEA and other speakers.