Labour lawyers attack Govt for lack of human rights funding

Government plans to incorporate the European Convention on Human Rights have been attacked by the Society of Labour Lawyers.

The society, which is affiliated to the Labour Party, said more money had to be made available to enable the public to enforce the rights guaranteed by the Human Rights Bill.

Specifically, it claimed a Human Rights Commission should be set up to educate the public about its new rights and to pursue key test cases. It also wants an announcement on whether legal aid will be made available for human rights actions.

Geoffrey Bindman, chair of the society's human rights and discrimination group, welcomed the bill, but warned that, without more funding, “immensely important constitutional reform on which the Government has embarked will be undermined and frustrated in order to make small and short-term savings.”

The Litigants in Person Society has also written to the Prime Minister and 500 MPs demanding Article 13 of the Convention be included in the bill.

The article, which promises “effective remedy” if any rights are violated, is considered unnecessary by the government because remedies are implied throughout the bill.

But the letter claims that the government is “cherry picking” from the convention and that and without article 13 the convention will be incorporated “without teeth in half measures”.