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Rights brought home: The United Kingdom adopts a ‘Charter of Rights’

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  • Introduction: On 2 October 2000, the Uited Kingdom brought into full force and effect its Human Rights Act 1998,1 bringing forth a new era in the protection of civil and political rights in the UK. Although the HRA received Royal Assent on 9 November 1998, the government in Westminster deliberately delayed its full implementation in order to allow for a period of training and preparation in light of the legislation's significance and application to all areas of UK law.2 The Act has, however, been in force in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in relation to the activities of the new Scottish Parliament, and the new WElsh and Northern Irish Assemblies, since the Acts3 creating these bodies make it legally impossible for their legislatures and executives to act in contravention of Convention rights as defined in the HRA.4 Already, in Scotland, this has led to a significant number of cases invoking the HRA.5 The courts, as well as commentators, apepar to be developing a heady interest in the comparative value of the jurisprudence of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.6 Given the similarities between Convention rights and Charter rights, and the test of proportionality used in both documents, it may not be long before HRA jurisprudence is of similar interest to judges, lawyers and academics on this side of the Atlantic. As a result, this article aims to provide an overview of the key provisions of the HRA, indicating its scope for comparative constitutional analysis.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2000 Constitutional Forum. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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  • Citation for previous publication
    • Harrington, J. (2000). Rights brought home: The United Kingdom adopts a ‘Charter of Rights’. Constitutional Forum, 11(4), 105-111.