Lawyers cautiously welcome human rights White Paper

LAWYERS have welcomed with reservations the White Paper on the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights.

There are no plans for a human rights commission in the White Paper, Rights Brought Home, published by the Home Office last Friday, but the Government is not ruling it out in the future.

The Bill makes it unlawful for public authorities to breach the convention, and gives individuals the right to obtain compensation from public authorities in the same way as they would from the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Judges will not be able to set aside Acts of Parliament, but will be able to make a declaration that the law is incompatible with the convention. Using a fast-track procedure, a minister will be able to amend the legislation by statutory instrument.

But Bindman & Partners senior partner Geoffrey Bindman said: It is not clear how this will affect the individual taking the case, so it seems there could be a situation where a person remains in jail even though the court has declared that he is entitled to be free because his detention violates the convention.

Legal Action Group head of policy Vicki Chapman said the group was not too worried about the detail of incorporation, as it was very much in the early stages.