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Civil liberties

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Students will have an appreciation of how Civil Liberties are defined putting them in a British context regarding legislation in the framework of an uncodified constitution. The HRA & ECHR are taken into account as well as entrenchment, safeguards (or the lack of) & perceived threats in the absence of a 2-tier system.

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Civil liberties

  1. 1. Civil LibertiesCivil Liberties
  2. 2. www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk  Shami Chakrabarti
  3. 3. DefinitionDefinition The r----- and f------- that c------- enjoy inThe r----- and f------- that c------- enjoy in relation to the state and its laws.relation to the state and its laws.  The Right to V---The Right to V---  The Right to Stand for O-----The Right to Stand for O-----  The Right to a F--- T----The Right to a F--- T----  Freedom of E--------nFreedom of E--------n  Freedom of A---------nFreedom of A---------n
  4. 4. DefinitionDefinition The rights and freedoms that citizens enjoyThe rights and freedoms that citizens enjoy in relation to the state and its laws.in relation to the state and its laws.  The Right to VoteThe Right to Vote  The Right to Stand for OfficeThe Right to Stand for Office  The Right to a Fair TrialThe Right to a Fair Trial  Freedom of ExpressionFreedom of Expression  Freedom of AssociationFreedom of Association
  5. 5. Constitutional Guarantee??Constitutional Guarantee??
  6. 6. Human Rights Act UK 1998Human Rights Act UK 1998 (implemented 2000)(implemented 2000)
  7. 7. Prior to Human Rights ActPrior to Human Rights Act Civil Liberties ‘negative’ confined to limitsCivil Liberties ‘negative’ confined to limits i.e. what youi.e. what you can’tcan’t dodo For example…For example… LibelLibel SlanderSlander BlasphemyBlasphemy Incite hatred /crimeIncite hatred /crime TrespassTrespass
  8. 8. Why no constitutional codification ofWhy no constitutional codification of Civil Liberties other thanCivil Liberties other than Magna Carter 1215?Magna Carter 1215?  Common-Law traditionCommon-Law tradition  Parliamentary OmnicompetenceParliamentary Omnicompetence
  9. 9. Threats to Civil LibertiesThreats to Civil Liberties  Growing Police Power 1984 & 1994Growing Police Power 1984 & 1994  Erosion of Trade Union Rights 1980sErosion of Trade Union Rights 1980s  Civilians increasingly on Data BaseCivilians increasingly on Data Base  Clash between Govt. & MediaClash between Govt. & Media  Executive Power too strong and notExecutive Power too strong and not adequately kept in-check by Parliamentadequately kept in-check by Parliament
  10. 10. European CourtEuropean Court of Human Rightsof Human Rights  Set up in 1950 by Council of EuropeSet up in 1950 by Council of Europe  Not by the European UnionNot by the European Union  Expensive & SlowExpensive & Slow  Britain not bound ECHRBritain not bound ECHR
  11. 11. Labour Government from 1997Labour Government from 1997 Freedom of Information ActFreedom of Information Act European Convention on Human RightsEuropean Convention on Human Rights into Lawinto Law
  12. 12. Secretive 1970sSecretive 1970s  Citizens denied access to govt. info unlikeCitizens denied access to govt. info unlike rest of more open, democratic worldrest of more open, democratic world  Select Committees introducedSelect Committees introduced  Data Protection Act 1984Data Protection Act 1984  Internet developmentInternet development  FoIA watered downFoIA watered down  National Security info unavailableNational Security info unavailable
  13. 13. MPs Expenses ScandalMPs Expenses Scandal  Thanks to FoIAThanks to FoIA
  14. 14. Human Rights ActHuman Rights Act  Parliament immune from ECHR under theParliament immune from ECHR under the pretext of Parliamentary Sovereigntypretext of Parliamentary Sovereignty  Declaration of incompatibilityDeclaration of incompatibility  Citizen Challenge –Belmarsh 2004Citizen Challenge –Belmarsh 2004 (Anti-Terrorism Act 2001)(Anti-Terrorism Act 2001)
  15. 15. Areas Covered by ECHRAreas Covered by ECHR Human Rights Act (1)Human Rights Act (1)  Protection of PropertyProtection of Property  Right to LifeRight to Life  Prohibition of TortureProhibition of Torture  Right to Liberty & SecurityRight to Liberty & Security  Prohibition of Slavery & Forced LabourProhibition of Slavery & Forced Labour  Right to Liberty & SecurityRight to Liberty & Security  Right to a Fair TrialRight to a Fair Trial  No Punishment without LawNo Punishment without Law  Right to PrivacyRight to Privacy
  16. 16. Areas Covered by ECHRAreas Covered by ECHR Human Rights Act (2)Human Rights Act (2)  Freedom of Conscience & ReligionFreedom of Conscience & Religion  Freedom of ExpressionFreedom of Expression  Freedom of Assembly & AssociationFreedom of Assembly & Association  Right to MarryRight to Marry  No DiscriminationNo Discrimination  Restriction on Alien Political ActivityRestriction on Alien Political Activity  No abuse of RightsNo abuse of Rights  Limitations on Restriction of RightsLimitations on Restriction of Rights
  17. 17. Nice Rights, butNice Rights, but What’s New & Why all the Fuss?What’s New & Why all the Fuss?
  18. 18. Nice Rights, butNice Rights, but What’s New & Why all the Fuss?What’s New & Why all the Fuss? Codified in a Single Document
  19. 19. A British Bill of Rights??A British Bill of Rights??  Could this be the precursor to a part-Could this be the precursor to a part- written constitution?written constitution?  Can suspending civil liberties ever beCan suspending civil liberties ever be justified? Does a codified constitutionjustified? Does a codified constitution prevent this eventuality?prevent this eventuality?

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