Bringing Rights More Home: Can a Home-Grown UK Bill of Rights Lessen the Influence of the European Court of Human Rights?
Sarah Lambrecht, Bringing Rights More Home: Can a Home-grown UK Bill of Rights Lessen the Influence of the European Court of Human Rights?, 15 German Law Journal (2014)
30 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2015
Date Written: May 1, 2014
This article focuses on the strategy to replace the UK Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) with a home-grown Bill of Rights to lessen the influence of the European Court of Human Rights’ case law. Without attempting to disregard the national-specific elements, the discussion of these questions is very relevant for all States confronted with the influence of Strasbourg. The tension between coherence, efficiency and autonomy is overarching. The article therefore approaches the issue not only from an outsider’s perspective but also, where relevant, from a comparative constitutional law perspective. Both perspectives seem to be largely absent from the current (academic) debate. Firstly, this article analyzes the current relationship between the UK Supreme Court and the Strasbourg Court, which reveals that the judicial arguments in support of a mirror principle are not so much based on section 2(1) HRA, as they are, in the domestic courts’ relationship with Strasbourg, on concerns about international obligations, hierarchy, effectiveness of the Strasbourg Court, coherence and efficiency. Internally, judicial arguments are founded on concerns about separation of powers, limited jurisdiction, and accustomedness to the precedent system. In the second part, this article focuses on the potential impact of a home-grown Bill of Rights on the current relationship between both courts; concluding that a home-grown Bill of Rights will most likely cause domestic courts to receive less latitude by Strasbourg and will not absolve domestic judges from the duty of taking into account the Strasbourg case law.
Keywords: UK Human Rights Act 1998, ECHR, ECtHR, judicial dialogue, criticism on the ECtHR, home-grown Bill of Rights, margin of appreciation, human rights
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