The Implications of the Good Friday Agreement for UK Human-Rights Reform
Irish Yearbook of International Law (2017)
36 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 26, 2017
Speculation is rife as to the impact of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement upon the Conservative Government’s plans to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998. In the face of this speculation, the UK’s Conservative Government has provided little detail as to how UK human-rights reform will address the requirement for incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Northern Ireland settlement. We therefore analyse the Agreement as both an international treaty and peace agreement and evaluate its interrelationship with the Human Rights Act and the Northern Ireland Act. Once the hyperbole surrounding the Agreement and its attendant domestic legislation is stripped away, the effects of the 1998 settlement are in some regards more extensive than has to date been recognised, but in other respects are less far-reaching than some of the Human Rights Act’s supporters claim. The picture that emerges from our analysis is of an intricately woven constitution dependent on devolution arrangements, peace agreements, and international relationships.
Keywords: Good Friday/Belfast Agreement, European Convention on Human Rights, Human Rights Act Reform, Devolution and the Sewel Convention, Law of Treaties
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