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Parliaments and Human Rights: Redressing the democratic deficit

Parliaments and Human Rights: Redressing the democratic deficit

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Published by jailhouselawyer
Human rights today suffer from a democratic deficit. Debates about whether human rights are inherently undemocratic are nothing new, but in the UK they have reached a new intensity in recent times. Criticisms of court decisions on human rights for being profoundly undemocratic and calls for repeal of the Human Rights Act reflect concerns that democracy is being subverted by unaccountable judges who are sidelining Parliament.

Yet paradoxically there appears to be a new consensus, not only about the value of human rights, but about the importance of giving them legal protection through some form of legal instrument. Critics of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Human Rights Act are often in favour of the European Convention on Human Rights and of a UK Bill of Rights. The choice between the Courts and Parliament as the guardians of human rights is increasingly rejected. In place of that old dichotomy there is now widespread agreement that all branches of the State – Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary – have a
shared responsibility for the protection and realisation of human rights. What explains the paradox that this emerging consensus about the shared responsibility for protecting legally recognised human rights is accompanied by new levels of dissensus about who has the final say?
Human rights today suffer from a democratic deficit. Debates about whether human rights are inherently undemocratic are nothing new, but in the UK they have reached a new intensity in recent times. Criticisms of court decisions on human rights for being profoundly undemocratic and calls for repeal of the Human Rights Act reflect concerns that democracy is being subverted by unaccountable judges who are sidelining Parliament.

Yet paradoxically there appears to be a new consensus, not only about the value of human rights, but about the importance of giving them legal protection through some form of legal instrument. Critics of the European Court of Human Rights and of the Human Rights Act are often in favour of the European Convention on Human Rights and of a UK Bill of Rights. The choice between the Courts and Parliament as the guardians of human rights is increasingly rejected. In place of that old dichotomy there is now widespread agreement that all branches of the State – Parliament, the Executive and the Judiciary – have a
shared responsibility for the protection and realisation of human rights. What explains the paradox that this emerging consensus about the shared responsibility for protecting legally recognised human rights is accompanied by new levels of dissensus about who has the final say?

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Published by: jailhouselawyer on Apr 18, 2012
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Murray Hunt, HayleyHooper and Paul YowellRedressing the democratic defcit
Paramnts and Hman Rghts
AHRC PubliC PoliCy SeRieS No.5
 
Murray Hunt, Hayley Hooper and Paul Yowell
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Rr h r 
 
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Murray Hunt
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Dr. Paul Yowell
  lrr  lw  nw c, uvry  oxr.
Hayley Hooper
  lrr  lw  try c, uvry  oxr.

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