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Human Rights Act 1998 and Its Relationship to the European Convention

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Human Rights Act 1998 and Its Relationship to the European Convention
Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Discussion
  3. Conclusion
  4. References list


Under the European Union law on the convection of human rights, all the members are required to implement laws into their constitutions that uphold the fundamental rights of all humans. Likewise, laws enacted by the European court should be adopted into law by member countries and not be seen as mere substantive procedures. Therefore, the members are supposed to implement laws that reflect on the acts set by the community and not set up other laws that might be similar to it but undermine the authority of the law. Since the U.K is a member of the European Union it should embrace the human rights articles as dictated by the European Union convection into its law. The U.K in its implementation of the human rights law brought in clauses that contradicted the convection requirements thus, making the U.K parliament sovereign or superior to the European community this resulted in a breach in the European community laws set by the convection (Hanson, 2003).

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Human rights article 4 was an act passed by the U.K parliament and came into law in 2000. This law was created in order to embrace the European convention on human Rights which contained various articles on human Rights commonly applicable in all European countries. The aim of the law was to enable the U.K to have the capability to take into effect the human rights articles as contained in the European convention on human rights. This act enabled the U.K courts to have remedies in cases where the act was breached. Therefore, when the act was breached, there was no need for the U.K court to go to the European courts of human rights since there was a provision for that clause in its laws. The act enabled the U.K courts to take into consideration the laws of the European community in any manner that was compatible with the convection (Hanson, 2003)

However, there was a contradiction in the act since it was not possible for U.K courts to fully interpret the acts of parliament and make them compatible with the laid down the convention. In addition, the U.K judges were not allowed to override it or give interpretations that were inconsistent with the acts of parliament. Hence in such cases involving the convection, the judges had no options other than issue declarations of incompatibility. This declaration did not interfere with the authority of the act of parliament, therefore; the human rights Act sought to show that the U.K parliament was sovereign and superior to the European court authority.

The human right act was applicable to all public entities and the bodies exercising public authority over the people such as the U.K courts. Nevertheless, the act excluded the U.K parliament since it was seen as it was acting in its legislative capacity thus should be excluded (Hellenic Resources Network, 1995).


The human right act 1998, which was enacted by parliament, was meant to bridge the gap between the laws set by the European convection. Both the laws sought to embrace fundamental human rights across the region. However, as other member states incorporated the convection into their laws and become enforceable in the courts, the U.K brought a different clause into the law that made parliament be excluded from its application as they argued that the U.K parliament was sovereign to other laws applicable in the community.

However, not all laws passed by the community can directly be adopted by member states since the member states have different conditions or tendencies towards a particular matter as indicated by their respective constitutions. Nevertheless, the member countries should try and have laws that always that reflect on the common standing on a subject as other member states in the community. Therefore the U.K is in a breach of the convention on human rights and should reverse its laws to embrace a common understanding of the European convention.

References list

Hanson, H., 2003, Legal Method & Reasoning. 2nd ed. London: Routledge Cavendish.

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Hellenic Resources Network, 1995. Council Of Europe: the European Convention on Human Rights. Web.

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