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The Legal Protection of Human RightsSceptical Essays$
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Tom Campbell, K.D. Ewing, and Adam Tomkins

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606078

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606078.001.0001

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Beyond the Human Rights Act

Beyond the Human Rights Act

(p.472) 23 Beyond the Human Rights Act
The Legal Protection of Human Rights

Conor Gearty

Oxford University Press

In the context of current debates in the UK concerning the introduction of a bill of rights for Britain to replace or supplement the Human Rights Act 1998, this chapter examines how the language of rights has been deployed politically over the last ten years. It asks about the future of human rights in a Britain in which governing elites advertise their estrangement from the very idea. The government is more committed to the responsibilities of Britishness than the rights accorded to every human in the jurisdiction. The Conservative party prefers a more British-based bill of rights, focussing on liberties rather than political correctness. While we might consider replacing the language of rights by that of values and social justice, just as human rights extremists lost the battle over the Human Rights Act 1988 (not getting the judicial supremacy they desired) so a new bill of rights for Britain could be made into something that can help rather than hinder the democratic process.

Keywords:   language of rights, UK Human Rights Act, Britishness, Conservative Party, bill of rights

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