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Parliamentary Committee investigates proposals to reform the Human Rights Act

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has held the opening session of a new inquiry into the Government's proposals to reform the Human Rights Act. It took evidence from witnesses, including former Justice of the Supreme Court Lord Mance and academic experts in constitutional law and human rights, Professor Alison Young, Professor Adam Tomkins, and Dr Helene Tyrell.

In December, the Government launched a consultation into proposals to reform the Human Rights Act. The proposals include replacing the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights, reducing both the role played by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights and the ability of the domestic courts to ensure that legislation is read compatibly with our rights. The Government has stated they want to place greater emphasis on protecting freedom of speech, enshrine the right to trial by jury and prevent abuses of the justice system. The Government argues that such reforms would make it easier to deport foreign criminals and cement Parliament's position as the ultimate decision maker on UK laws.??

In this opening session, the Committee explored the implications of the proposed reforms, focusing on the potential change in the relationship between domestic courts, Parliament and the government. It also heard evidence on how the Government's proposals would alter the relationship between UK courts and the European Courts of Human Rights.

To watch the session, click here.