The Human Rights Act 1998 – Future Prospects

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It is now over fifteen years since the Human Rights Act was enacted in November 1998. Although in legal terms it is difficult to argue with the proposition that the Act is working in an effective manner, in political terms the Act remains one of the most highly debated pieces of legislation on the UK statute books. In recent years there have been numerous calls for the repeal of the Act, and for its replacement with a ‘UK Bill of Rights’. Such calls led to the establishment of a Commission on a Bill of Rights, which issued its final report in December 2012. Little progress has since been made on the issue. One notable occurrence however was the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 (Repeal and Substitution) Bill, a Private Member’s Bill which was eventually withdrawn in March 2013. This article seeks to assess the current situation regarding the bill of rights debate, and ultimately the question of the future prospects of the Human Rights Act, an issue of immense legal significance. Overall, it will be questioned whether the enactment of a UK Bill of Rights would constitute an improvement on the current position under the Human Rights Act.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-132
Number of pages13
JournalStatute Law Review
Issue number2
Early online date15 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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