Problems with the Human Rights Act 1998 and How to Remedy Them: Is a Bill of Rights the Answer?



Recently there has been much discussion of the prospect of replacing, or supplementing, the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) with a British bill of rights. The Government, opposition Conservative Party and others have published detailed plans and research reports. Whilst there has been some limited examination of the alleged failures of the HRA in providing effective legal protection for human rights, the debate has not been accompanied by a thorough examination of these types of problems with the HRA, free from political criticisms. Drawing on research concerning aspects of the HRA carried out over the past ten years, it is possible to identify concrete problems which have prevented the HRA from meeting the objectives originally set for it. But given the limitations of the present debate, future plans do not adequately address many of these problems making it uncertain how effective any new bill of rights will actually be.