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April 2023 Update

Image: European Convention on Human Rights, image reproduced courtesy of the European Court of Human Rights

Dear Friends,

Legal fabrics can fray. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is woven deeply into UK law, not only as a 70-year old international commitment - which the UK reaffirmed 25 years ago to help secure the Northern Ireland peace agreement - but also in domestic law through the Human Rights Act, devolution Acts and subject-specific legislation.

Unravelling the ECHR from UK law seems to be the objective of multiple Bills at the moment. Until the resignation of Dominic Raab as Justice Secretary, the Bill of Rights Bill 2022 threatened to do so - and it has not yet been formally withdrawn. More immediate dangers are now found in the Illegal Migration Bill, a draconian set of proposals that would disapply key provisions of the Human Rights Act to facilitate the detention and deportation of asylum seekers to "safe countries" such as Rwanda, with very limited access to justice during this process. This week, a naked threat to breach international commitments was added. During the last day of House of Commons debates, the Government added a clause that permits Ministers to ignore interim measures issued by the European Court of Human Rights (which blocked the first Rwanda flights last year). This has prompted criticism from many quarters, including the former Conservative Attorney General of the final Brexit years, Sir Geoffrey Cox MP. Yesterday, he challenged the Government to say if it was "asking the House to give legislative sanction to at least the possibility that a Minister of the Crown will deliberately disobey this country's international law obligations". The clause passed, and the Bill with its many strains on our human rights fabric heads to the House of Lords.

In today's Update:

  • Independent Commission on UK Counter-Terrorism Law, Policy and Practice
  • Independent Commission on UK Public Health Emergency Powers
  • Public and Youth Engagement Programmes: 3 Rs in London primary school
  • Whither Retained EU Law?
  • European Influences in UK equality law
  • Training courses offered by BIICL

You can read the whole Update here

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