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European Convention on Human Rights

European Convention on Human Rights

As part of a series of briefings on the UK's relationship with the European Convention on Human Rights, the British Academy has published four briefings by human rights experts. These were published in late Summer and early Autumn 2016.

Scotland and the British Bill of Rights proposals, by Professor Christine Bell FBA

This briefing addresses the specific considerations for Scotland of the repeal or replacement of the Human Rights Act. It states that if the Human Rights Act 1998 were to be repealed or replaced there would be a consequential need to amend the Scotland Act. 

Northern Ireland and a Bill of Rights for the United Kingdom, by Professor Colin Harvey

Professor Harvey aims to raise awareness of the Northern Ireland context in any new Bill of Rights, and the influence it would have on future relationships between the UK and Ireland.  

Human Rights from the Perspective of Devolution in Wales, by Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin

This briefing demonstrates that, since 1998, the Convention has become deeply embedded in a distinct governance structure which it would not be possible for a mere UK-wide statute to alter without considerable attention to the detail of the Welsh government system.

Human Rights Reform and the UK’s International Human Rights Obligations, by Dr Tobias Lock

This briefing paper aims to place the human rights reform proposals into the broader context of the UK’s international obligations. Firstly that the UK is enmeshed in a complex web of international human rights treaties. Secondly it demonstrates the greatly differing impact of these international obligations in the domestic law of the UK and how this may inform human rights reform; and lastly it gauges the impact that human rights reform in the UK might have on the system of international human rights protection.


These four reports follow on from the British Academy’s policy report ‘Human Rights and the UK constitution’, published in September 2012. This report by Colm O’Cinneide clarifies some of the key issues at stake. He evaluates the workings of the UK human rights law, and the nature of the relationship between the ECHR and the UK courts and the Parliament. Finally, the report explores how proposals for a new Bill of Rights may affect the protection of human rights within the framework of the UK’s unwritten constitution.


Listen to a podcast of Professor Christine Bell and Professor Colin Harvey discussing their briefings on Scotland and Northern Ireland.

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