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Posted on April 15th, 2014, by

Human Rights Act 1998 simplified the procedure of protection of human rights by the UK citizens. After the implementation of the Act they did not need to file their lawsuits to Strasbourg. Instead, they could file them to the UK courts and they could take a decision on the ground of the European Convention of Human Rights. Such simplification of the procedure allowed the UK citizens to save not only time but also money.

On the other hand, the Human Rights Act 1998 still left the margin for disputes because some articles of the European v of Human Rights came into clashes with the UK legislation. For instance, articles concerning the private life raised the problem of the compatibility of the UK legislation with the European Convention along with the preservation of the freedom of press in the UK. In response to the growing criticism, the UK government has prepared amendments which adapted the UK legislation to European Convention and guaranteed the freedom of speech in the UK. Another debatable issue was the attitude of the church to the bill. Church leaders feared that the Act could be used to change the church policies on homosexuality, education and the ordination of women priests. In response to such criticism and anxiety, Section 13 was issued and afforded “particular regard”¯ to the right to freedom of thought and religion to meet requirements of the church leaders and existing traditions in the UK.

Nevertheless, in spite of all the efforts of legislators to adapt the Human Rights Act 1998 to the UK legal and judicial traditions, controversies concerning the act persist mainly because the uncertainty in the division of legislative and judicial power after the introduction of the Act. In this regard, the Parliament still preserves the right to issue laws and legal acts that courts cannot define as incompatible with the European Convention. In such a situation, the House of Lords can issue the declaration of incompatibility and to discharge the legal act that contradicts to or violates the European Convention of Human Rights. At this point, it is possible to refer to the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 which was incompatible with human rights by providing for the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects and discriminating against them on the ground of nationality or immigration status.

In such a way, the Human Rights Act 1998 evoked heat debate in the UK society because the Act evoked numerous contradictions between the UK legislation and judicial system, on the one hand, and the European Convention of Human Rights, on the other. The UK legislators attempt to adapt the UK legislation and legal norms to requirements of the European Convention and, simultaneously, to preserve the supremacy of the UK legislative traditions and norms. Such a policy naturally leads to the rise of controversies because the UK cannot adopt the European Convention to the full extent without sacrificing some traditional UK laws and norms. On the other hand, the UK cannot ignore the European Convention because of the British integration into the EU which makes essential the harmonization of the legislation of all member states.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the Human Rights Act of 1998 was implemented to meet the European Convention of Human Rights. The UK legislators decided to meet the European Convention because the UK integration in the EU grew stronger and the UK legislation and justice system had to be adapted to European ones. In addition, the Human Rights Act 1998 brought rights home since the British had not needed to argue in Strasbourg anymore. However, the Human Rights Act 1998 raised controversies between the UK legislation and the European Convention, which the UK legislators attempts to tackle using their legislative rights.

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