Anyone who has been observing the direction of travel in relation to the rhetoric in recent times regarding "activist lawyers" will perhaps be unsurprised at the announcement that the Human Rights Act 1998 is to be reviewed. This comes at a time when there is already an ongoing review of the court's ability to "judicially review" the acts of a public body. There appears to be a clear desire to radically overhaul the role of the courts and their ability to check the power of the state, a fundamental part of the rule of law in the UK.
The Human Rights Act 1998 enshrines into UK law the European Convention on Human Rights. Which is a set of what most would consider fundamental rights that we all should enjoy and which the State should protect. It allows the court a framework to hold public bodies, including central government, to account.
The Human Rights Act, and ECHR, often wrongly thought to be part of the UK's membership of the EU, are signposts along a journey since the second world war to try and formalise the protection of the rights of all. The announcement of a review brings with it a threat to the status quo and a possibility that the UK's position in protecting fundamental rights will move backwards.
In a time where the inequalities in society are so apparent, perhaps the review should be focussing on more ways to protect the vulnerable. I fear this will not be the case.
Amnesty UK director Kate Allen said: 'Tearing up the Human Rights Act would be a giant leap backwards. It would be the single biggest reduction in rights in the history of the UK.'