Justice Secretary Alex Chalk has announced in the House of Commons that the government will not be proceeding with the Bill of Rights Bill.
In November last year, Lord Chancellor Dominic Raab’s Bill of Rights Bill was set to be reintroduced for parliamentary consideration under Rishi Sunak, according to reports, after previous prime minister Liz Truss scrapped its launch.
Raab initially introduced the Bill under Boris Johnson’s tenure as Prime Minister whom he previously served as Lord Chancellor under. The Bill aimed to give UK courts dominion over domestic human rights matters, which the European Court of Human Rights currently maintains.
This would have given UK courts the final say over human rights rulings with no rights to appeal. The Bill would also make it more difficult for foreign national criminals challenging deportations and introduce a new permission stage for human rights challenges.
Chalk told MPs:
“Having carefully considered the government’s legislative programme in the round, I can inform the house that we have decided not to proceed with the bill of rights.”
In a conference speech, the former Treasury solicitor Sir Jonathan Jones said the bill was a “chaotic” measure “surely to be consigned to the bin”, as reported by the Law Gazette.
Law Society of England and Wales President Lubna Shuja said:
“We are pleased the government has seen sense and decided not to pursue the Bill of Rights Bill, which would have been a step backwards for British justice.
Scrapping the Bill is the right decision as it would have created an acceptable class of human rights abuses, weakened individual rights and seen the UK diverge from our international human rights obligations.”
Labour’s shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said:
“The plans were a dangerous threat to peace in Northern Ireland, prevented us from deporting foreign terrorists and dented the rights of rape survivors. What’s astonishing is that a string of Tory prime ministers indulged this half-baked nonsense for so long.”