Joint Committee On Human Rights Minutes of Evidence

2.  Letter from the Rt Hon Lord Falconer of Thoroton, Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor

  The Prime Minister has asked me to reply to your letter of 27 June.

  As you know, the Prime Minister has asked me to devise a strategy which maintains the effectiveness of the Human Rights Act, and improves the public's confidence in the legislation. As part of this strategy, I have initiated a review looking specifically at problems with the implementation of the Human Rights Act, covering three areas:

    —  firstly, the need for clearer cross-government guidance on the balance that needs to be struck by officials when making decisions with human rights implications, ensuring that public safety is at the forefront of decision making;

    —  secondly, whether primary legislation is needed either to amend the Human Rights Act 1998 or other legislation; and

    —  thirdly, how to improve public confidence in the Human Rights Act and its operation.

  The review will comprise both a comprehensive analysis of caselaw involving the Human Rights Act and evidence provided to DCA by departments about their experience of operating the legislation. In parallel, the Home Secretary has been asked to lead a review of the impact of the Human Rights Act and the European Convention of Human Rights Articles on decision making in the Criminal Justice, Immigration and Asylum Systems. Both reviews will pay careful account to the review conducted by Andrew Bridges into the release of Anthony Rice.

  The Government expects to make announcements concerning these reviews shortly. We will look forward to discussing them with your Committee.

19 July 2006

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