The Human Rights Act Essay

1178 Words Jan 9th, 2016 null Page
The definition of the rule of law has been expounded upon since Dicey, and other theorists have drawn up principles they consider to be key in defining the rule of law. Lord Bingham, for example, favours a more thick conception of the rule of law where ‘substantive’ elements are also protected, such as fundamental human rights. He also believed there must be compliance by the state towards its international legal obligations.

Due to the United Kingdoms’ dualist nature, the Human Rights Act is derived from the European Convention of Human Rights. When looking at the Human Rights Act, the initial section 3(1) may raise the possibility that parliamentary sovereignty is limited as it requires courts to give effect to ‘primary and subordinate legislation … in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights.’ This sovereignty could be argued to be protected by it’s preceding phrase though, ‘as it is possible to do so,’ which allows parliament leeway to create contradicting acts if it so wishes to.

If there is conflict between a British Act of Parliament and the European Convention of Human Rights, then judges do not have the power to strike it down, but they can issue a declaration of incompatibility, which leaves the legislation in effect until parliament amends or repeals it. It then lies in Parliament to change or repeal that part of a statue if it decides to. This upholds the principles of parliamentary sovereignty. In this aspect of legislation, parliamentary…

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