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Title: Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 : importance, impact and reform
Author: Weston, Elin
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Section 19 of the HRA 1998 (HRA) requires a Minister to make a statement to Parliament, before the second reading of a bill for which he is responsible, on the proposed legislation’s compatibility with Convention rights. This procedural mechanism is of central importance to the scheme of the Act, aiming to better protect Convention rights while preserving parliamentary sovereignty (Chapter 1). The section 19 procedure accords with similar developments in a number of other Commonwealth jurisdictions which emphasise the importance of human rights standards being taken into account in the legislative process (Chapter 2). However, despite its domestic and international significance, the importance of section 19 within the scheme of the HRA was overshadowed during the Act’s parliamentary passage and in academic studies of its operation (Chapter 3). Section 19 has resulted in the development of many positive practices relating to the preparation of legislation by central government (Chapter 4) and the scrutiny of legislation by Parliament (Chapter 5), notably the production of detailed guidance for the Executive and the work of the Joint Committee on Human Rights. However, a number of obstacles remain, such that section 19 has had a more limited impact than originally intended. Many of these limiting factors are illustrated in a case-study examination of the passage of section 19 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004 (Chapter 6). This thesis proposes reforms to the section 19 system designed to alleviate a number of the problems identified, including transferring the obligation to make statements of compatibility to the Attorney-General and providing education and training on human rights issues to parliamentarians (Chapter 7). These and other measures discussed in this thesis would help ensure that the democratically accountable branches of government fully contributed to the protection of human rights in the United Kingdom.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available