The United Kingdom (UK) government announced on Wednesday a new Bill of Rights is to be introduced to strengthen freedom of speech, restrict some human rights lawsuits, and to facilitate the deportation of criminals.
The Bill will introduce a “permission stage” in court to prevent “trivial human rights claims,” from overwhelming the judiciary and it will restrict the ability of deportees convicted of crimes to claim that their children will suffer hardship if deported unless they can prove it.
The government’s legislation will also ensure that courts cannot interpret laws only in accordance with the meaning intended by the Parliament, which the government says will empower people to “express their views freely.”
The Bill has also says that the European Court of Human Rights’ case-law does not always need to be followed by UK courts. This would mean that injunctions by the Strasbourg Court, such as the one made last week to block the government’s first flight of asylum seekers to Rwanda, would not be binding on UK courts.
The government’s efforts have been subject to much criticism from human rights groups. Sacha Deshmukh, the UK’s chief executive for Amnesty International said the “[b]ill is a giant leap backwards for the rights of ordinary people that [the government] doesn’t like.” He further went on to state “the Human Rights Act is the cornerstone of people power in this country. It’s no coincidence that the very politicians it holds to account want to see it fatally weakened.”