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  • AQA Component 1, Section The nature and sources of the British Constitution: debates about the extent of rights in the UK

  • Edexcel Component 1, 1.4: Rights in context: debates on the extent, limits and tensions within the UK’s rights-based culture

Background: what you need to know

The article reports on plans unveiled by the Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab, for reform of the 1998 Human Rights Act, which incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. The government does not plan to leave the Convention (which the UK played a part in creating). Instead, it wishes to give UK courts more control over human rights cases. This reflects longstanding Conservative dissatisfaction with the HRA and the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights.

The article gives as an example the party’s dislike of the way the Act has held up the deportation of criminals. On the other hand, it notes that the Labour party and human rights pressure groups such as Liberty are strongly in favour of the HRA, which they argue is a bulwark against abuse of power by those in authority.

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

UK to inject ‘common sense’ into human rights legislation

The UK tries to take back control of human rights

Make sure that you understand the provisions of the Human Rights Act and the reasons why it has been controversial.

Now answer one of the following questions.

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 1

  • Evaluate the view that the Human Rights Act has been effective in advancing citizens’ rights in the UK.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. (30 marks)

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 2

  • Evaluate the view that the Human Rights Act is in need of reform. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way.               [30 marks]

    TIP: The article reminds us that the ECHR is institutionally separate from the European Union. You must not confuse the two in your answer.

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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