I am pleased that the UK has a long and proud history of freedom. However, over the years there has been a gradual shift to human rights law being used for more and more purposes, with elastic and innovative interpretations that go beyond what the architects of the Convention had in mind.
Therefore, I welcome the Government's consultation on reforming the Human Rights Act and replacing it with a Bill of Rights which will ensure our human rights system meets the needs of the society it serves.
The reforms included in the new Bill of Rights, which will be subject to a three-month consultation, will strengthen home-grown rights such as freedom of expression and the right to jury trial. In addition, the proposals will increase democratic oversight by ensuring the balance between the UK's domestic institutions is right by making sure that UK courts can no longer alter legislation contrary to Parliament's express will. Where human rights have been used to frustrate the deportation of criminals, the Bill will prevent such misuse, ensuring those who pose a serious threat can be deported. Furthermore, the reforms will reduce burdens and litigation on public authorities, prevent unmeritorious claims by requiring claimants to demonstrate a 'significant disadvantage' has been suffered, and place rights alongside wider responsibilities and public interests.
The Government is committed to remaining party to the European Convention on Human Rights and continue to meet its obligations under the Convention and all other international human rights treaties. However, I welcome the proposed reforms which will ensure that the UK Supreme Court has the final say on UK rights by making clear that they should not blindly follow the Strasbourg Court. This will be achieved by strengthening the primacy of UK case law and primary legislation, ending the requirement to follow the Strasbourg case law, and by introducing a 'democratic shield' when responding to adverse rulings from Strasbourg.
More broadly, I am encouraged that the Government is committed to protecting and respecting human rights. These reforms strike the right balance between restoring public confidence in the system and ensuring the system is not open to abuse. The consultation and further information, including how to respond, can be found online at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/human-rights/human-rights-act-reform/.