The Independent Human Rights Act Review and the Joint Committee on Human Rights Call for Evidence
The UK Government created an Independent Human Rights Act Review (The Review) in December 2020. This was set up following the Conservative party’s pledge to “relook” at the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). The Review recently launched a call for evidence which is supposed to look at 20 years of the HRA’s operation.
The questions are quite narrow, and focus on how the HRA works in courtrooms, and the relationship between government, parliament and the courts. This does not reflect 20 years of the HRA’s operation. BIHR know from working with people, community organisations and public bodies that the HRA can be a powerful practical tool for advocacy, for planning, delivering and securing rights-respecting services, and to support calls to change policy and legislation which is not rights compliant.
How you are using the HRA in everyday ways really matters but may be missed in the Review. There is also not a lot of time to respond; the Review was announced on 13 January and the deadline for submissions is 3 March 2021.
In response to the Review, The Joint Committee on Human Rights (JCHR) is also gathering evidence, the deadline for this evidence is 19 February 2021. However, the JCHR will keep it’s call for evidence open a little longer, until 22 March 2021 to inform any further work related to the Review,
The British Institute of Human Rights are concerned about the narrow legal focus of the government’s independent review, as there are no questions about how the HRA works for people and their families and advocates. In reality, this law provides the fundamental protection to all of the groups we work for, and for each and every one of us who might be disadvantaged or excluded, and also underpins other legislation. BIHR have put together a web page of free resources to support people who might want to respond to the consultation. This includes things like top tips for responding, examples of surveys and free HRA upskilling sessions.
To find out more, please click here