Bar of Northern Ireland rejects ‘any amendments’ to Human Rights Act 1998
Any changes to the Human Rights Act 1998 could “significantly undermine Northern Ireland’s unique constitutional settlement”, The Bar of Northern Ireland has said.
In its submission to the UK government’s review of the law, it said it “would not support any amendments to the HRA as part of this review which would diminish the level of protection afforded to citizens in this part of the UK”.
It adds: “The Bar considers that this review arises out of a political context whereby a series of actions have been undertaken by the government aimed at curtailing the power of the courts and ultimately diluting human rights protections for citizens in the UK.
“Unfortunately we believe that any changes to the ‘operation and framework’ of the HRA will only have damaging consequences for Northern Ireland which we have discussed at length throughout our submission.”
Bar Council chair Bernard Brady QC said: “The Bar does not believe that any amendments to the Human Rights Act are necessary or desirable; we do not see any structural problems in relation to the operation of the Act which would justify any widespread changes to it.
“It already strikes the right balance in respecting the UK’s constitutional values and upholding the rule of law. Indeed it is important to bear in mind that it also played a unique role in underpinning the human rights guarantees and safeguards contained in the Belfast Agreement and Northern Ireland Act 1998.”