Ministers must listen to the Joint Committee on Human Rights’ criticism of reforms to the Human Rights Act, APIL has warned.
In its report published today following legislative scrutiny of the Bill of Rights Bill, the joint committee urges the Government to either reconsider or remove a clause to introduce a ‘permission stage’ for human rights claims.
“In fact, reconsidering the clause is not enough, it must be scrapped,” said APIL president John McQuater.
“A permission stage would force claimants to show that they have suffered a ‘serious disadvantage’ before they can proceed,” he explained
“If the clause remains, it sends a clear message from the Government that some human rights breaches are acceptable. Human rights are universal, and no breach should ever be considered ‘acceptable’.
“The Human Rights Act is essential in delivering justice for those who rely on it as a route to redress, including bereaved families and people who have suffered sexual abuse, physical abuse, or serious neglect. Under the proposed legislation, they will have to jump through unreasonable hoops to have their cases heard. There will be people whose human rights have been breached, but who will still be denied access to the courts,” Mr McQuater went on.
“As a whole, the Bill of Rights Bill undermines the UK’s commitment to the importance of human rights. Whether the Government is listening to the outpouring of opposition on all elements of the legislation remains to be seen. We live in hope,” he said.