On 13 January 2021, the Independent Human Rights Act Review (the “IHRAR“) published a call for evidence. The IHRAR is a panel of experts appointed by the Government to consider whether there is a need to reform the Human Rights Act (“HRA“) “to ensure it continues to meet the needs of the society it serves”.
The call for evidence is structured to cover two broad themes:
- The relationship between domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights (the “ECtHR“) in the context of section 2 of the HRA. Pursuant to section 2, domestic courts and tribunals are required to “take into account” the case law of the ECtHR, albeit they are not bound by that case law under the usual rules of precedent. The Review will consider how section 2 has been operating and whether there is any need for reform.
- The impact of the HRA on the relationship between the judiciary, the executive and the legislature. In particular, the IHRAR will consider the way the HRA balances those roles, including whether the current approach risks “over-judicialising” public administration and draws domestic courts unduly into questions of policy.
The specific questions on which the IHRAR has invited responses are listed in its terms of reference. See this blog post for further details of the terms of reference and the formation of the IHRAR. The call for evidence closes on 3 March 2021.
Sir Peter Gross, the Chair of the IHRAR, stated upon publication of the call for evidence that the ’review proceeds on the basis that the UK will remain a signatory to’ the European Convention on Human Rights.