Politics class: New bill of rights would allow UK courts to diverge from ECHR rulings

This article picked by a teacher with suggested questions is part of the Financial Times free schools access programme. Details/registration here.

Specification:

  • AQA Component 1, Section 3.1.1.1: The nature and sources of the British Constitution: debates about the extent of rights in the UK

  • Edexcel Component 1, 1.4: Rights in context: debates on the extent, limits and tensions within the UK’s rights-based culture

Click to read the article below and then answer the questions:

New bill of rights would allow UK courts to diverge from ECHR rulings

Background: what you need to know

The UK government has announced long-anticipated legislation designed to curtail the influence of the European Convention on Human Rights, the source of the 1998 Human Rights Act. This is topical, given the recent blocking by the European Court of Human Rights of plans to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda pending the outcome of a judicial appeal.

The government intends to make the UK Supreme Court, not the Human Rights Court, the final arbiter in any dispute of this kind. It also proposes to remove the requirement for UK courts to follow rulings made by the Strasbourg court. As the article notes, the move will face strong opposition within Parliament and from human rights pressure groups such as Liberty.

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the Human Rights Act has been effective in protecting citizens’ rights within the UK. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: Remember that, as the article points out, the European Convention on Human Rights is not institutionally part of the European Union. This is why the UK is still subject to the ECHR after Brexit.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College


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