Human rights : would our rights be better protected in or out of Europe?

McHarg, Aileen (2016) Human rights : would our rights be better protected in or out of Europe? In: Britain’s Decision. The David Hume Institute/Centre on Constitutional Change/The Hunter Foundation, Edinburgh, pp. 64-68. ISBN 978-0-9932780-1-3

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Abstract

To understand the implications of Brexit for fundamental rights protection, it is important to distinguish between two legal Europes. The primary human rights regime in Europe is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – a treaty drawn up by the Council of Europe, which is an older organisation than the EU with a much wider membership. The UK ratified the ECHR in 1951, and since 1966, UK citizens have been able to take cases alleging breaches of Convention rights to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg. In 1998, the ECHR was incorporated into the UK’s legal systems by the Human Rights Act (HRA) and the devolution statutes, thereby enabling Convention rights to be enforced in UK courts as well.