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European Convention of Human Rights and UK law - Essay Example

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European Convention of Human Rights and UK law

The various conflicts and revolutions in the world have shaped the concept of human rights as we know it. In the last two hundred and fifty years, we see the clamour for human rights as the clamour of a world and of the various peoples inside it for equality and freedom. The European Convention on Human Rights was crafted with the end in view of promoting and preserving these rights.
In the ECHR, the writer has chosen Articles 10, which pertains to Freedom of Expression. It While the right to free speech and assembly is a crystallized principle that has been place almost since the beginning of time, enjoying a cherished position in the bill of rights of virtually all civilized legal systems, the interpretation of what constitutes free and protected speech still has yet to be perfectly refined. This provision has been invoked many times over in the course of history, whether within the European Union or outside, successfully and unsuccessfully; and Courts have had many opportunities to set standards and devise guidelines to determine if the speech in question should be protected or not. It becomes more difficult when the right to free speech competes with another principle, for example, the principle of public order. In "easy" cases, all that should be done is look through jurisprudence until one finds the applicable case with similar facts. In "hard" cases with novel facts, the role of the judge becomes infinitely more difficult. The boundaries are ever-shifting; and internally, the judge will be trying not only to apply the law, but to subject the facts of the case in question to her own subjective inquiry in order to determine intent or mens rea.

Statement of the law
Article 10 of the ECHR reads:

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or the rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.
The United Kingdom law that will be examined in light of compatibilities and non-compatibilities are the Human Rights Act 1998, in particular the provision on the right to free expression and the right to privacy and the Public Order Act.
The Human Rights Act 1998 received royal assent on November 9, 1998 and came into force on October 2, 2000. The objective of said Act was to harmonize the domestic law of the United Kingdom with the European Convention on Human Rights. To reaffirm the commitment of the UK to human rights and civil ...Show more
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Summary

The concept of human rights is by no means of recent vintage. It is used primarily to define relationships between the citizens and the State, by constituting a check on the awesome power of the State and by enabling human beings to flourish to their fullest potential free from oppression, strife, hunger and discrimination…
European Convention of Human Rights and UK law
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