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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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Statutory Bills of Rights: You Read Words In, You Read Words Out, You Take Parliament’s Clear Intention and You Shake it All About—Doin’ the Sankey Hanky Panky

Statutory Bills of Rights: You Read Words In, You Read Words Out, You Take Parliament’s Clear Intention and You Shake it All About—Doin’ the Sankey Hanky Panky

Chapter:
(p.108) 6 Statutory Bills of Rights: You Read Words In, You Read Words Out, You Take Parliament’s Clear Intention and You Shake it All About—Doin’ the Sankey Hanky Panky
Source:
The Legal Protection of Human Rights
Author(s):

James Allan

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606078.003.0006

The United Kingdom's statutory bill of rights, with its strong reading down provision, via s.3 of the UK Human Rights Act, as in Ghaidan v. Godin Mendoza, is tantamount to a ‘licence to rewrite legislation’. This makes UK judges just as powerful as they are under a United States style constitutionalized bill of rights, given the failure of UK governments to respond to radical reinterpretations and dispute declarations of incompatibility. All this is exacerbated by the undemocratic manner in which judges are now appointed in the UK. This chapter presents a pessimistic scenario for those who favour democratic decision-making, including decisions about the proper scope of rights, what to do when they conflict, and when limits are reasonable.

Keywords:   interpretation, UK Human Rights Act, Ghaidan v Godin Mendoza, judicial appointments, judges, democratic decision-making

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