Four principles of the Bill of Rights debate

First published 2011

In response to the debate about a Bill of Rights, and looking both back at the experience of the Human Rights Act (HRA), the Commission developed a set of key principles. We believe they are essential in developing a Bill of Rights that will ensure both comprehensive protection of the human rights of all and a greater understanding and ownership of human rights throughout society.

The key principles are:

Principle 1

The HRA is essential for the protection of human rights in the United Kingdom and should be retained. Any Bill of Rights should build on the HRA. Any Bill of Rights that replaces the HRA should not be brought into force until and unless it contains at least the same levels of protection of rights and mechanisms under the HRA, and complies with obligations under international treaties.

Principle 2

The government should ensure that the process of developing any Bill of Rights involves and includes all sectors of society, that the process and result creates a feeling of ownership in society as a whole, that the consultation is conducted by an independent body, and that it is adequately resourced.

Principle 3

In any Bill of Rights process, the government should actively promote understanding of the Human Rights Act, European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the rights they protect, as well as countering any misconceptions.

Principle 4

The Commission will use the results and recommendations from its Human Rights Inquiry to inform its response to any Bill of Rights and further develop the current human rights framework.

Last Updated: 22 Apr 2015