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Uk 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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Uk civil liberties

  1. 1. UK Civil Liberties Habeas Corpus 1679
  2. 2. Differences between…  Civil Liberties  Civil Rights  Human Rights
  3. 3. Civil Rights Civil rights are rights that citizens have in relation to the state. The main examples are the right to…  vote or stand for office  engage in political activity  a fair trial if accused of a crime and access to the law.
  4. 4. Civil Liberties  Civil liberties are freedoms guaranteed by the law and the state. Examples of these are:  freedom from illegal discrimination  freedom of worship and belief  freedom of the press etc.
  5. 5. Human Rights & HRA The effect of the Human Rights Act is to enshrine civil liberties (though not to the same extent as civil rights) in law. Human rights are commonly accepted as universal rights all people should enjoy anywhere in the world. They include:  social & economic rights.  most civil rights  family life  education  good health  a decent standard of living as well as the right to live in a democratic environment
  6. 6. How are Civil Liberties Threatened? (1)  Non-jury trials  Surveillance cameras  keeping of DNA records, etc.  increases in police powers to stop and search, threatening freedom of movement.  issues concerning the treatment of terrorism suspects, illegal immigrants and asylum seekers.  threats to freedom of expression through limits to free speech over religion, etc.
  7. 7. How are Civil Liberties Threatened? (2)  use of sanctions such as anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) and anti-football hooligan measures which can be applied to individuals who have not been convicted of a crime  increasing use of surveillance by local authorities and social security agents against suspected benefits ‘cheats’ and tax avoiders  PM & Executive power  Uncodified constitution  EU withdrawal BREXIT implications on HRA
  8. 8. How are Civil Liberties Protected? (1)  Excessive police powers may be counterbalanced by the judiciary’s enforcement of the rule of law, by the right to a fair trial and, in some cases, by judicial review of treatment by the police.  The extension of surveillance has few safeguards. The ECHR does not consider that CCTV is a threat to privacy.  Curtailments of freedom of expression can be challenged under the Human Rights Act.  The Human Rights Act can also protect people from undue intrusions into their private lives, either by the media or by the state.
  9. 9. How are Civil Liberties Protected? (2)  The Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act enable individuals to discover what information is held against their names by public bodies. This may help to protect them from unfair treatment by the state.  The courts have helped to assert people’s rights to fair trial, to equal treatment by the courts and against the excessive use of imprisonment by police or security services. This is also true of asylum seekers, whose rights have been asserted through judicial reviews.  The DNA case referred to in IS 9.3 demonstrates how the right to privacy and fair treatment was successfully asserted through judicial review under the Human Rights Act.