Larissa Bourgi considers the UK government’s proposed Bill of Rights Bill

On 14 June 2022, then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that he would consider having the UK withdraw from the European Court of Human Rights. On 22 June 2022, the Bill of Rights Bill (“the Bill”) was introduced in the House of Commons. The government believes the Bill will restore a common-sense approach to human rights in the UK. They have created the following briefing note that sets out the purpose, main benefits and main elements of the Bill:

“The purpose of the Bill is to:

  • Introduce a Bill of Rights which will ensure our human rights framework meets the needs of the society it serves and commands public confidence.
  • End the abuse of the human rights framework and restore some common sense to our justice system.

The main benefits of the Bill would be:

  • Defending freedom of speech by promoting greater confidence in society to express views freely, thereby enhancing public debate.
  • Curbing the incremental expansion of a rights culture without proper democratic oversight, which has displaced due focus on personal responsibility and the public interest.
  • Reducing unnecessary litigation and avoiding undue risk aversion for bodies delivering public services.
  • Tackling the issue of foreign criminals evading deportation, because their human rights are given greater weight than the safety and security of the public.

The main elements of the Bill are:

  • Establishing the primacy of UK case law, clarifying there is no requirement to follow the Strasbourg case law and that UK Courts cannot interpret rights in a more expansive manner than the Strasbourg Court.
  • Ensuring that UK courts can no longer alter legislation contrary to its ordinary meaning and constraining the ability of the UK courts to impose ‘positive obligations’ on our public services without proper democratic oversight by restricting the scope for judicial legislation.
  • Guaranteeing spurious cases do not undermine public confidence in human rights so that courts focus on genuine and credible human rights claims. The responsibility to demonstrate a significant disadvantage before a human rights claim can be heard in court will be placed on the claimant.
  • Recognising that responsibilities exist alongside rights by changing the way that damages can be awarded in human rights claims, for example by ensuring that the courts consider the behaviour of the claimant when considering making an award.”

However, many believe it is a step back for British justice and will dilute the rights of the individual. This includes the Law Society of England and Wales who called the Bill a “lurch backwords for British Justice”. It, specifically, argues against the introduction of a requirement that those who wish to bring a human right case must be able to prove they have had a “significant disadvantage” from clause 15. It believes this will create an “acceptable class of human rights abuses”.

This Bill has its 2nd reading in the House of Commons on 12 September 2022.


For further information on this topic or on any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email or visit our Linkedin page.


Kieran Pezzack


This information was correct as at July 2022

Related News