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UN official condemns plans to scrap Human Rights Act

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Full details of a controversial plan to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights are set to be published in the next couple of months.

Minister for Human Rights Dominic Raab recently told the House of Commons that preparations for the new legislation were at an advanced stage.

“We will bring forward proposals on a Bill of Rights this autumn, they will be subject to a full consultation,” he told MPs.

The proposals, which have significant implications for a wide range of legal cases, including asylum applications and welfare disputes, are expected to assert the supremacy of the UK’s own judiciary over the European Court of Human Rights.

Civil liberties campaigners have roundly criticised the move, arguing that the Government is attempting to “rush in” a new regime and that the changes could jeopardise membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, potentially undermining the UK’s international reputation.

Last weekend, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, Juan Mendez, joined the chorus of critics, warning against the UK trying to shy away from its international obligations.

He told the Guardian that changes could mean that individuals seeking asylum could still be deported, even if they were facing cruel or degrading treatment if returned home.

“There are so many people in need of protection that this would read as an ungenerous and cold-hearted way of dealing with a crisis,” said Mr Mendez.

Lester Morrill’s public law team has expert knowledge of human rights legislation and handles a wide range of work involving reliance on human rights legislation, including statutory appeals to the High Court (and beyond) challenging decisions of professional regulatory bodies and planning decisions in Gypsy and Traveller matters, and judicial reviews including housing and eviction and community care and challenges against various decisions of government departments (including asylum removal cases in the Upper Tribunal). The firm also handles applications to the European Court of Human Rights. For further information about our services, please contact us today.