Enforcing human rights Contents


Committee information


1 Introduction


Our inquiry

2 Access to justice and the rule of law

The preconditions necessary for enforcement of human rights

The need for a strategic approach to securing access to justice to enforce human rights

3 The damaging effects of legal aid reforms

Legal aid reform in England and Wales

Criminal Legal Aid

Civil Legal Aid

Financial eligibility for legal aid

Exceptional Case Funding

Difficulties arising from the increase of Litigants in Person

Mandatory Telephone Gateway

Damaging impact of LASPO on human rights

Article 8 - the right to a private and family life

Article 2 - the right to life

Judicial Review

‘Legal aid deserts’ and the threat to the future of legal aid provision

4 The importance of a robustly independent judiciary

Role of the independent judiciary in enforcing human rights

The ECHR as a ‘living instrument’

The danger of Government criticism of human rights judgments

Government’s central role in supporting and defending the independence of the judiciary

5 The importance of a robustly independent legal profession

Potential threats to legal professionals’ independence

Legal Aid decision making

Proposal for an ‘embarrassment clause’ in the contract for criminal legal aid

Interference in professional disciplinary processes


6 The crucial role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and other UK National Human Rights Institutions

The need for sufficient powers and a stronger approach to enforcement

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC)

The Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC)

The need for adequate resources

7 The need for a culture of human rights

Public attitudes towards human rights, and differences across the UK

Media reporting of human rights

A hierarchy of rights?

Human rights culture in public authorities

The role of human rights education and public legal education


Conclusions and recommendations

Annex 1: Human Rights powers of the UK’s National Human Rights Commissions

Declaration of Lords’ Interests

Formal minutes


Published written evidence

List of Reports from the Committee during the current Parliament

Published: 19 July 2018