Annex 1: Outline of a UK Bill of Rights
and Freedoms |
This Annex sets out an outline Bill of Rights and
Freedoms. The Bill broadly follows and adapts the basic structure
of the Human Rights Act, which created a parliamentary model of
human rights protection. The Bill aims to improve on that model,
by giving Parliament an even more central role in the overall
scheme. Annex 2 explains the clauses in the Outline Bill of Rights
and Freedoms, and how its provisions might work in practice.
UK BILL OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS
This Bill of Rights and Freedoms is adopted to give
lasting effect to the values which the people of the United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, consider to be fundamental:
- The rule of law: the commitment
to power being exercised lawfully as determined by an independent
- Liberty: the freedom from both
unwarranted restrictions and basic wants
- Democracy: giving as much control as possible
to individuals over the decisions which affect their lives
- Fairness: the equal right of each and every person
to be treated with dignity and respect
- Civic duty: the responsibilities to each other,
to the communities to which we belong and to future generations
The Rights and Freedoms
1. In this Act the "rights
and freedoms" means -
(a) the Civil and Political Rights and Freedoms set
out in Schedule 1
(b) the Fair Process Rights set out in Schedule 2
(c) the Economic and Social Rights set out in Schedule
(d) the Democratic Rights set out in Schedule 4
(5) the Rights of Particular Groups set out in Schedule
Interpretation of the Bill of Rights and Freedoms
2. Any court, tribunal
or other person or body interpreting this Bill of Rights and Freedoms
(a) must strive to achieve the purpose of the Bill
and to give practical effect to the fundamental values underpinning
it, as set out in the Preamble to the Bill;
(b) must pay due regard to international law, including
international human rights law; and
(c) may consider the relevant judgments of foreign
and international courts and tribunals.
Interpretation of legislation and common law
3. Any court, tribunal
or other person or body interpreting any legislation (whenever
enacted) or applying the common law (whenever laid down) must,
so far as it is possible to do so, read and give effect to the
legislation or common law in a way which is compatible with the
rights and freedoms in this Bill and which promotes the purpose
of the Bill as set out in the Preamble.
Power of Legislative Override
4. Parliament may expressly
declare in an Act of Parliament that the Act or any provision
in it shall operate notwithstanding anything contained in this
Bill of Rights and Freedoms.
Limitation of Rights
5. The rights and freedoms
contained in this Bill may be subject only to such reasonable
limits, provided for by law, as can be demonstrably justified
in a society based on the values of liberty, democracy, fairness,
civic duty and the rule of law, and to the extent compatible with
international human rights treaties to which the UK is a party,
taking into account all relevant factors, including:
(a) the nature of the right;
(b) the importance and legitimacy of the purpose
of the limitation;
(c) the nature and extent of the limitation;
(d) the relation between the limitation and its purpose;
(e) the availability of less restrictive means to
achieve the purpose.
6. (1) The legislature,
the executive, the judiciary, public authorities and any person
or body in the performance of any public function must
(a) act compatibly with a right or freedom in this
Bill of Rights and Freedoms and
(b) take active steps to respect, protect, promote
and fulfil the rights and freedoms in this Bill.
(2) The factors which may be taken into account in
determining whether a function is a public function include:
(a) the extent to which the state has assumed responsibility
for the function in question
(b) the role and responsibility of the State in relation
to the subject matter in question
(c) the nature and extent of the public interest
in the function in question
(d) the nature and extent of any statutory power
or duty in relation to the function in question
(e) the extent to which the state, directly or indirectly,
regulates, supervises and inspects the performance of the function
(f) the extent to which the state makes payment for
the function in question
(g) whether the function involves or may involve
the use of statutory coercive powers
(h) the extent of the risk that improper performance
of the function might violate a right or freedom in this Bill.
Impact assessments and statements of compatibility
7. (1) A member of Parliament
who introduces a Bill into either House of Parliament must, before
Second Reading of the Bill, lay before Parliament
(a) an impact assessment , assessing the impact of
the Bill on the rights and freedoms protected in this Bill of
Rights and Freedoms; and
(b) a statement of compatibility stating
(i) whether, in the member's opinion, the Bill is
compatible with the rights and freedoms in this Bill and, if so,
the reasons for that view; and
(ii) if, in the member's opinion, any part of the
Bill is incompatible with any right or freedom in this Bill, the
nature and extent of the incompatibility.
(2) The obligations in sub-section (1) also apply
on tabling or making of
(a) Government amendments to Bills
(b) statutory instruments
8. Any person or body
who has a sufficient interest in the matter may bring legal proceedings
in the appropriate court or tribunal concerning the alleged breach
of any right or freedom in this Bill of Rights and Freedoms.
9. (1) Subject to (2)
below, a court may grant to any person or body whose rights or
freedoms under this Bill have been violated such remedy, within
its powers, as it considers just and appropriate and necessary
to provide an effective remedy.
(2) If a court is satisfied that a provision of primary
legislation is incompatible with a provision of this Bill of Rights
and Freedoms and cannot be interpreted compatibly, it must make
a declaration of incompatibility.
(3) A declaration of incompatibility does not affect
the validity, continuing operation or enforcement of the provision
in respect of which it is given.
Process following declaration of incompatibility
10. (1) Within 3 months
of a final declaration of incompatibility, the Minister responsible
for the relevant statutory provision must lay before Parliament
a written statement explaining
(a) whether the Government agrees that the provision
is incompatible with a right or freedom in this Bill;
(b) if it disagrees, its reasons for so doing;
(c) if it agrees, whether it proposes to remedy the
(2) If the Government proposes to remedy the incompatibility,
the Minister responsible for the relevant statutory provision
must, within 6 months of the final declaration of incompatibility,
lay before Parliament a written statement explaining in detail
how the incompatibility will be remedied.
(3) A Minister of the Crown must, within six weeks
of laying a statement under subsections (1) or (2) above, make
a motion in both Houses to take note of the statement laid.
(4) The Minister may by order ("a remedial order")
make such amendments to the legislation as are necessary to remove
(5) The court which made the final declaration of
incompatibility has the power to re-open the case in order to
consider whether the incompatibility has been remedied.
Relationship with European Convention on Human
11. (1) Rights and freedoms
in this Bill which correspond with rights guaranteed by the European
Convention on Human Rights shall be interpreted as having at least
the same scope as the Convention rights.
(2) Nothing in this Article shall prevent rights
and freedoms in this Bill being interpreted as providing more
extensive protection than the corresponding Convention rights.
Relationship with other existing rights
12. Nothing in this Bill
of Rights and Freedoms denies the existence or restricts the scope
of any other rights or freedoms recognised or conferred by common
law, statute or customary international law, to the extent that
they are consistent with the rights and freedoms contained in
13. (1) No derogation
from any of the rights and freedoms in this Bill shall be lawful
unless a state of emergency has first been declared and confirmed
(2) A state of emergency may be declared only when
there is a public emergency threatening the life of the nation.
(3) Any legislation enacted in consequence of a declaration
of a state of emergency may derogate from any right or freedom
in this Bill only to the extent that the derogation is strictly
required by the emergency and is consistent with the UK's other
(4) Any person or body who has a sufficient interest
in the matter may bring legal proceedings in the appropriate court
or tribunal challenging the validity of:
(a) a declaration of a state of emergency; or
(b) any legislation enacted, or other action taken,
in consequence of a state of emergency.
(5) A declaration of a state of emergency, and any
legislation enacted or other action taken in consequence of that
declaration, shall be effective only
(a) prospectively from the date of the Act of Parliament
making the declaration; and
(b) for no more than three months from the date of
(6) No legislation enacted in consequence of a declaration
of a state of emergency may permit or authorise any derogation
from the non-derogable rights listed in Schedule 1.
Prohibition of abuse of rights
14. Nothing in this Bill
of Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities may be interpreted as
implying for any person, group or body any right to engage in
any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any
of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Bill or at their
limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in this Bill.
15. (1) The Secretary
of State for Justice shall appoint an independent panel of reviewers
of the operation of this Bill of Rights and Freedoms.
(2) The independent panel shall conduct a review
of the first 5 years of operation of this Bill of Rights and Freedoms
and lay its report before Parliament.
Schedule 1 - Civil and Political Rights and Freedoms
- Physical and mental integrity
- Freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment
- Freedom from slavery and forced labour
- Private and family life, home and communications
- Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom of association
- Right of assembly and demonstration
- Right to marry
- Right to found a family
- Freedom of movement and residence
- Right to asylum
Schedule 2 - Fair Process Rights
- Rights of arrested and detained
- Right to a fair criminal trial
- Right of access to court
- Right to legal representation
- Right to a fair hearing
- Right to effective remedy
- Right of access to information
- Right to fair and just administrative action
Schedule 3 - Economic and Social Rights
Duty of progressive realisation
The Government must take reasonable legislative and
other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the
progressive realisation of the rights in this schedule.
Duty to report to Parliament
The Government shall report annually to Parliament
on the progress made during the previous year in realising the
rights in this schedule.
Parliament to determine eligibility
Eligibility for the rights in this schedule on grounds
of nationality, residence or other status shall be determined
by Parliament in primary legislation, subject to the rights in
(1) The rights in this schedule are not enforceable
by individuals against the Government or any public authority.
(2) The rights in this schedule are justiciable only
to the extent that they are relevant to:
(a) the interpretation of other legislation, or
(b) the assessment of the reasonableness of the measures
taken to achieve their progressive realisation.
When evaluating the reasonableness of the measures
taken by the Government to achieve the progressive realisation
of the rights in this schedule, the courts shall have regard to
the following relevant considerations:
(a) the availability of resources
(b) the latitude inherent in a duty to achieve the
realisation of the rights progressively
(c) the court has no jurisdiction to inquire into
whether public money could be better spent
(d) the fact that a wide range of measures is possible
to meet the Government's obligations
(e) the availability of an alternative means of realising
the rights is not, of itself, an indication of unreasonableness
(f) whether the measures include emergency relief
for those whose needs are urgent
(g) whether the measures are discriminatory
(h) whether the measures have been effectively made
known to the public
(i) whether the measures are capable of facilitating
the realisation of the relevant rights
(j) whether any deprivation of existing rights is
demonstrably justifiable in accordance with s. 5 of this Bill
(Limitation of Rights).
Everyone has the right to have access to appropriate
health care services, free at the point of use and within a reasonable
No one may be refused appropriate emergency medical
Everyone of compulsory school age has the right to
receive free, full-time education suitable to their needs.
Everyone has the right to have access to further
education and to vocational and continuing training.
Everyone has the right to adequate accommodation
appropriate to their needs.
Everyone is entitled to be secure in the occupancy
of their home.
No one may be evicted from their home without an
order of a court.
An adequate standard of living
Everyone is entitled to an adequate standard of living
sufficient for that person and their dependents, including adequate
food, water and clothing
Everyone has the right to social assistance, including
care and support, in accordance with their needs.
No one shall be allowed to fall into destitution.
A healthy and sustainable environment
Everyone has the right to an environment that is
not harmful to their health.
Everyone has the right to information enabling them
to assess the risk to their health from their environment.
Everyone has the right to a high level of environmental
protection, for the benefit of present and future generations,
through reasonable legislative and other measures that -
(i) prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
(ii) promote conservation and
(iii) ensure that economic development and use of
natural resources are sustainable.
Schedule 4 - Democratic Rights
- Right to free and fair elections
- Right to vote and to stand as a candidate
- Right to participate in public life
Schedule 5 - Rights of Particular Groups
- People with disabilities
- Victims of Crime