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AIBU to say the HRA should be scrapped?

(12 Posts)
somethingwitty82 Sun 19-Jun-11 10:51:10

It has to be the most abused piece of legislation known to mankind.
Criminals who cant be deported because they own a cat, can't be sent to prison, it seems anyone can do anything they wish and claim HRA

It gets on my wick (cue candle threadsmile )

Gives cool linking a shot confused

The Fail

cookcleanerchaufferetc Sun 19-Jun-11 10:58:12

Did you read about the mp who is using the human rights act to allow him to take his DOG into houses of parliament!!! Shocking and disgusting.... The sooner we abolish it the better.

somethingwitty82 Sun 19-Jun-11 13:49:11

Disappointed, I was ready with all manner of candle based quips, but this thread quickly spluttered out.

Guess i'll never be a trendsettersad

I did read about the MP taking his dog in, hence the totally bitching cool link, which I am so proud of

I worked temped in an office that had an office cat, was super relaxingsmile

noncuro Sun 19-Jun-11 14:13:26

Erm, abolishing the HRA would not stop the "abuse" you talk about. I don't blame you for getting this mixed up as the tabloid media deliberately conflates it regularly, but there are 2 key laws here, the HRA 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The UK has been a party to the ECHR since the 1950s. The ECHR contains all the substantive rights; right to life, freedom from torture or inhuman/degrading treatment, right to a fair trial and in these cases, right to privacy, and private and family life etc.

The HRA does not contain any substantive rights itself. All it does is make those rights in the ECHR enforceable in UK domestic courts. Previously, the applicant would have had to take their case straight to the ECHR to get a ruling, whereas now UK public bodies (including courts) have a duty to interpret UK law in line with the ECHR, unless the law is crystal clear in its intention to override ECHR law.

So all the HRA does is give further effect to the ECHR, even if we did repeal it it would only have procedural effect. We cannot just abolish the ECHR as international law doesn't work like that.

The right in question in the cases you're talking about is Article 8. Completely agree that this MP is being ridiculous, but if you google Article 8 you'll find it has 2 parts:

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life
1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

So there are two issues here, whether the dog engages Article 8 family life, which I think it probably does BUT there is only a violation if the not allowing the dog in can't be justified. I think there's probably an argument about protecting health by not allowing a pet in, so I'd be very surprised if he was successful when he took the case to court. I think he's probably just threatening to see if they cave...

noncuro Sun 19-Jun-11 14:16:53

Sorry for long post, the human rights-bashing by some sections of the media is my pet (ha-ha) hate! Particularly when the 'reporting' is so obviously misleading.

somethingwitty82 Sun 19-Jun-11 14:57:56

Very informative thank yousmile, that seems quite robust and reasonable, how is it criminals manage to stay here when their sentence is served, is that something else ?

noncuro Sun 19-Jun-11 15:31:19

Again, that's normally Article 8 I think. The issue is if there are children this will normally trump any article 8 justifications. Though I suppose if someone was particularly dangerous, say an unrepentant serial killer was released after 5 years (hypothetical, obviously) then it would be difficult to let them stay, as they're a grave danger to the public, notwithstanding the fact they have children. Though obviously people who are that dangerous wouldn't be released for years and years, if ever, so they have no opportunity to go to court. We don't see cases that go the other way because those people who are dangerous enough to be deported are often dangerous enough to stay in prison.

It's a really fine balance, and sometimes the courts balance it differently to how you or I might.

I do think cases like this really get undeserved attention, but it's problematic as it's easy to say we should deport foreign criminals, but having children suffer for their parents actions, however bad they are, is hard to stomach. I feel conflicted about it myself. But it's not the HRA or even the ECHR itself that causes those problems, I'd argue that any decent society should think about the consequences its actions will have on dependents of that criminal. Deporting them might make us feel better, but would it really help?

Maybe I'm getting side-tracked into the aims of prison and punishment generally now!

Andrewofgg Sun 19-Jun-11 20:45:37

Don't judge the HRA (or anything else) by what you read in the Daily Mail.

Yes, there has been some abuse; yes, there have been some wrong decisions. That's the nature of new laws.

But the overwhelming effect of the Act has been to force governments (and even councils who are more resistant) to think about the human rights implications of what they want to do. And a good thing too.

porpoisefull Sun 19-Jun-11 22:01:23

Large sections of the media attacks the HRA at every opportunity and most of the stories are inaccurate. For example, a quick Google and I found the following debunking of myths - not recent but might give you pause for thought in believing everything you read about it in the papers:

A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Police said that a suspected car thief in a rooftop protest received food, drink and cigarettes because of his human rights.
Despite what she said, in fact the HRA doesn't give him the right to food in that situation - the police actually gave him food as part of a negotiating strategy aimed at getting him down from the roof

"Serial killer, Dennis Nilsen, 60, received hardcore gay porn in jail thanks to human rights laws" (The Sun, 13 May 2006)
Nilsen, who was sentenced to life in prison in 1983 for multiple murders, tried to use human rights arguments to challenge the decision of a prison governor to deny him access to a mainstream top-shelf gay magazine. However his application was refused by a single judge at an early stage. He failed to establish that there was any arguable case that his human rights had been breached and he did not get any greater access to materials.

"Daily Mail story headlined "The war criminals we cannot deport because of their human rights" suggested the HRA was to blame for genocide suspects living with impunity in the UK, but actually it was a loophole in the UK's implementation of international law, "

Also the case of Learco Chindamo, who became a hate figure when he was jailed for life in 1995 for killing headteacher Phillip Lawrence, when he was just 15. The decision not to deport him to his native Italy in 2007 was reported at the time as "the Human Rights Act gone wrong" - in fact the decision was taken under the terms of an EU directive and was not HRA-based at all."

'More criminals freed to protect human rights. Fury as more sex offenders are freed early under law on Human Rights.' (Daily Mail, May 2006)
Again, not a human rights issue but is in fact about decisions made by the parole board.

More examples here here, and here

And here is a report with examples of how the HRA has been used, for example to stop an elderly woman being strapped into her wheelchair.

So YABU. (Sorry it's a bit of a long post!)

JudysJudgement Sun 19-Jun-11 22:04:31

Don't judge the HRA (or anything else) by what you read in the Daily Mail.

unless it backs up the point you are making, then its fine and dandy smile

FlangelinaBallerina Sun 19-Jun-11 22:19:01

The not being deported because of owning a cat is complete rubbish, btw. Porpoisefull is right about the media making it up as they go along when it comes to human rights stuff. The judge made a quip about it (always an error when judges try to be funny) but it had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the case.

Just so you know.

FlangelinaBallerina Sun 19-Jun-11 22:21:15

Incidentally, I don't think the person in that case had a criminal conviction either, although I'm not 100%. Think his claim was based on being in a relationship with a British person.

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