Human Rights Advocacy after AB and the Supreme Court’s 'Conservative Approach'
European Human Rights Law Review  5 465-475
14 Pages Posted: 19 May 2022
Date Written: August 31, 2021
In AB v Secretary of State for Justice  UKSC 28, the Supreme Court adopted a “conservative approach” to a case on the rights of a child in solitary confinement. There are three dimensions of conservatism in the judgment: (1) procedural; (2) institutional; and (3) substantive. The judgment is reflective of a commitment to the pre-eminence of the political constitution. Its effect is to restrict the scope for human rights advocacy in national courts. There are clear lessons for human rights advocacy. There is fresh impetus for ambitious political advocacy to promote human rights. If the Supreme Court is unwilling the develop the law then legislative change is essential. In the courtroom, however, human rights advocacy needs to have the firmest of foundation in precedents from the European Court and, ideally, national courts.
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