Law Society says human rights should be priority for next UK Government

Category: Other human rights treaties and mechanisms

2nd March 2015

The protection of human rights including the retention of the Human Rights Act should be among the key priorities it believes the next UK Government should take action on, the Law Society of Scotland said on 2nd March 2015.

The Law Society of Scotland has published a document which sets out four major policy areas it believes the next UK Government should take action on. The paper also focuses on achieving a stable devolution settlement for Scotland and retaining legal services at the heart of a growing economy.

The first priority set out by the Law Society is:

1. The protection of human rights and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)

The Law Society is urging political parties to commit to the protection of human rights and to upholding the rule of law, by retaining the Human Rights Act 1998 and for the UK to remain within the jurisdiction of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The Society also calls on the UK Government to avoid taking any action which could impact the legal framework of human rights in Scotland without the explicit consent of the Scottish Parliament.

Alistair Morris, President of the Law Society of Scotland said: "Human rights are for everyone and ECHR is the most developed international human rights regime in the world. It has had significant positive impact, not just upon the Scottish legal landscape, but in helping to protect the rights of our citizens, paving the way for significant rulings such as the abolition of slopping out in prisons.

"Withdrawing from ECHR and repealing the Human Rights Act could damage the UK's standing in the international community and leave the UK alone with Belarus as the only two European states not signatories to ECHR.

We can never take the legal protection which comes from human rights legislation for granted. That is why the next UK Government, whatever its makeup, must protect human rights and respect the views of the Scottish Parliament before any decisions are taken on the legal framework of human rights here in Scotland."

The other three priorities set by the Law Society are:

2. A stable devolution settlement for Scotland;

3. The provision of long term clarity on the UK's membership of the European Union;

4. The retention of legal services at the heart of a growing economy.

 

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