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Fighting the Repeal of the Human Rights Act

Date: 09 June 2015

This paper seeks to analyse the impact on rights protection and society in general in Northern Ireland of the repeal of the Human Rights Act (HRA). It argues that repeal, on the terms proposed by the Conservative Party, would be a regression in rights protection and is unlikely to provide an opportunity for the enhancement of human rights standards. The paper suggests that “incorporation” of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) involves the jurisprudence as well as the text of the Convention and that repeal of the HRA would breach the Belfast Good Friday Agreement. It is also argued that repeal of the HRA would breach the “Sewell Convention,” which governs the relationship between the UK Government and devolved institutions, and is likely to provoke a constitutional crisis in terms of the governance of the Union. Following on from this analysis, the paper identifies the arenas in which the repeal of the HRA can be fought.

A platform piece by Brian Gormally, Director of CAJ