Human Rights Second Special Report


The Joint Committee on Human Rights has agreed to the following Special Report:—


1. The Human Rights Act 1998 was brought fully into force on 2 October 2000, after two years of intense preparation by Government departments and the courts. We have set out to establish what this means for Government, the courts and wider society. We have collected evidence from Government departments on—

  • Departments' efforts to prepare for implementation and to build what the Government has called a "human rights culture"

  • The Act's consequences for Departments' approaches to human rights issues, and for policy formulation and service delivery

  • The implications of court judgments on human rights issues

  • The impact of the Act on everyday life

  • Departments' approaches to the procedure under the Act (section 19) whereby Bills introduced into either House of Parliament must carry a Minister's statement as to their compatibility with the rights which the Act embodies.

2. We have also taken evidence in person from the Ministers, Law Officers and senior judges who have taken the lead in the process of implementation namely—

  • The Home Secretary

  • The Lord Chancellor and the Attorney General

  • The senior Law Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, and the Master of the Rolls.

3. Finally, we have collected the views of a range of non-governmental organisations on—

  • The process of implementation, and the building of a "human rights culture" in the United Kingdom

  • The Act's consequences for policy formulation and service delivery at both national and local level

  • The impact of the Act on everyday life

  • Their advice to us on how we should work within our remit.

4. We are grateful to all these witnesses for their assistance. All the evidence will be printed as soon as possible. In the mean time copies of the relevant documents will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. We offer this evidence to Parliament and the public as an initial indication of what the Human Rights Act has done so far for human rights in the United Kingdom, and where it may take us in the future.

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