A former Court of Appeal judge, Sir Peter Gross, has been appointed by the government to chair a review of the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA).
The 2019 Conservative manifesto made a commitment to ‘update’ the HRA. The Ministry of Justice says
the review will take a ‘fresh look at the Act’ and consider specifically the relationship between the domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights, whether ‘domestic courts are being unduly drawn into areas of policy’ and the application of the Act ‘outside the territory of the UK’.
A commitment in the 2015 Conservative manifesto to scrap the HRA and replace it with a ‘British Bill of Rights’ was met with widespread opposition from campaign groups
and others. These plans were shelved in the 2017 manifesto which pledged not to ‘repeal or replace the Human Rights Act while the process of Brexit is underway’.
‘There has been a welcome shift in the political rhetoric around the HRA, but LAG and everyone concerned with protecting these fundamental rights will be watching carefully to ensure that the review does not recommend anything that would diminish them or make them harder to enforce,’ said Carol Storer, LAG’s interim director.
The review is expected to report in June/July 2021.