We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The Human Rights Act 1998: A Bill of Rights for Britain?

TAYLOR, ROBERT,BRETT (2009) The Human Rights Act 1998: A Bill of Rights for Britain? Masters thesis, Durham University.



On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the coming into force of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), this thesis endeavours to explore the extent to which New Labour’s flagship piece of legislation can be considered a Bill of Rights for Britain. It explores the debate surrounding the characteristics of Bills of Rights in comparison to the traditional UK approach towards human rights protection, arguing that a compromise between the two positions exists in the form of third wave Bills of Rights; a model which increases the power of the judiciary whilst still preserving parliamentary sovereignty.

Although the HRA has the potential on paper to be a third wave Bill of Rights, it is argued that it can only be so if the judiciary takes a relatively expansive approach towards its key provisions: sections 2, 3, 4 and 6. Much of the thesis therefore focuses on finding traces of such expansive judicial reasoning, discovering that the judiciary’s application of the Act has been distinctively uneven. In some instances, the judiciary have taken a severely restrictive approach towards the HRA, whilst in others they have taken a more expansive approach akin to a third wave Bill of Rights. However, despite any inconsistency, this thesis nevertheless argues that a general trend by the judiciary, to move beyond the traditional British model of human rights protection towards a Bill of Rights, is beginning to emerge.

The thesis also argues that the HRA must, in order to be considered a Bill of Rights, have the support and backing of the public. This, however, has not happened; despite the fact that the HRA displays many of the general characteristics of Bills of Rights, as well as also reflecting British legal tradition. With calls for the repeal and replacement of the HRA, it appears unlikely that it will have the time needed to fulfil its potential as a Bill of Rights for Britain.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Jurisprudence
Keywords:Constitutional Law, Bills of Rights, The Human Rights Act 1998
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2009
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:19 Oct 2010 14:11

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter