3/05/2013

ECHR and Judicial Overreach

I see that fresh from their humiliating defeat at Eastleigh the Tories are deciding if they should bang their right wing drums and lurch towards their traditional right base. This was articulated with their threat to pull out of the European Convention of Human Rights.


British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said he was "absolutely certain" the Tories would go into the election in 2015 with a plan to change the existing legislation based on Labour's Human Rights Act.

And he refused to rule out the prospect that a majority Conservative government could withdraw altogether from the 60-year-old European convention - which the act enshrined into British law.

Mr Grayling said recent rulings of the court had moved a long way from the original aims of the convention which was drawn up in the aftermath of the Second World War.

"Anyone who sits down and reads it as a document would struggle to find a word they disagreed with. It is a sensible balance of rights and responsibilities, of principles for a democratic nation."

"To my mind human rights is about some of the appalling things happening around the world, people being brutalised for their political views, people being put in jail. It's not about saying a prisoner has a right to artificial insemination while they're in jail."

It's not too often that I agree with the Tories but this time I do have sympathy for their position though perhaps for different reasons.

I abhor judicial activism and have always believed that the law should be interpreted in a strict, plain text reading. I don't support unelected members of the Judiciary going off on an Alice in Wonderland search for hidden meaning and absurd interpretation to suit their own political motives, be they left or right wing objectives.

The people elect the politicians and rightly or wrongly they are the only ones who should be making the law of a country. It is the job of the judicial branch to apply that law, not to invent their own which is sadly becoming more and more the case with Strasburg.

The lack of a democratic mandate and the almost monarchial power they hold makes the whole process feel very alien to my Republican philosophy.

A Human Rights act or a Bill of Rights should be about defending a citizen’s indelible Human Rights. Things like the right to life, a fair trial, the right to privacy etc

Having the "right" to artificial insemination whilst serving a custodial sentence is not a Human Right. It is a luxury that should be denied if only for the reason that as they are serving a custodial sentence luxury should not be a state they are enjoying.

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