The European Human Rights Act

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The European Human Rights Act was passed in 1998. The Act incorporates the freedoms and rights that are guaranteed by the European Human Rights Convention into UK law. The Act also allowed for the provisions of the Convention to be incorporated into domestic law, which means that all areas of government are affected by human rights considerations.


"In contrast to the importance attached to the democratic accountability of Parliament, institutional checks and balances, and the rule of law as means of safeguarding individual liberties, comparatively little significance was attributed to the European Convention on Human Rights before passage of the Human Rights Act." (Akehurst, Michael & Malanczuk, Peter 1997 p.65) This may be seen as a surprise considering the fact that the UK was an early signatory to the European Convention, and the UK was instrumental to the drafting of the human rights convention.
The effects of the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights on the English Legal System however, seem to be limited by the constitutional doctrine of dualism, which distinguishes international law from national law. "Considerations of national and parliamentary sovereignty require that treaties alone are unable to alter the internal laws of the UK, because the executive alone enters into treaties on behalf of the United Kingdom. Otherwise, the government could evade parliamentary scrutiny of its proposals through the exercise of its treaty-making powers." (Human Rights Act Research Project 2001)
Therefore, as treaties are not self-executing the terms of these treaties must be incorporated into an act of Parliament in orde ...
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