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The Justice of the Peace
PROPOSED NEW BILL OF RIGHTS
The Justice of the Peace
on the 14
December 2021 at 14:09
- Posted in
It behoves politicians especially those in government to be precise in the words they use to explain previous or future actions or events. Failure to do so in an age where these words can live longer in the webosphere than the biblical three scores years and ten of humankind can be disastrous. On the day when the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor is less than three months in post he has opened the debate on the can of worms that is the European Convention on Human Rights. This organisation created in 1950, became operational in 1953 as a Court. It resulted from the inhumanity of the Nazis and the refugee crisis that followed World War 2 and was passed into UK law by the Labour government in 1998 as the Human Rights Act. It is not a court in the traditional sense and its members are not necessarily judges in the manner recognised in the UK.
My comment on the composition in general is that a senior judge in addition to having the requisite knowledge of the law is also an expert on human psychology insofar as s/he is presiding over human fallibility and making his/her own subjective decisions on the actions of all those in court. The absence of that facility in many members of the ECHR in my humble opinion is akin to those various eminent specialists in their own fields commenting on the current epidemic but not having the experience of the practising doctors actually treating patients in hospital. But to return to my opening remarks on words: Dominic Raab is quoted today in having said that a British bill of rights will " deliver a healthy dose of common sense" to enable the deportation of more foreign criminals and illegal migrants. As far as "common sense" is considered; it was a required attribute for magistrates when I applied for appointment to the bench in 1997. A year or two later it was withdrawn on the basis that the word "common" might not be well understood by some sections of the population. In other words some early so called "progressive" advisors considered that what was common knowledge for 90% of people might not be "common" for some. Yet now that term is being used by the self same department as a justification for the proposed changes. Notwithstanding that illegal migration has been a bellwether of the Tory right for many years. Huguenots, Irish, Jews and "blacks" have each over the centuries been (and in some cases still are) subjected to the most blatant discrimination. However beneath the hidden racism of some government supporters there is no doubt that the fundamentals of the ECHR (and consequently the Human Rights Act) have been manipulated in areas unforeseen in 1998. The desire for change to control a situation where billions of the world`s population immersed in wars and poverty see their future in the prosperous west is a matter of urgency. Those who are screaming loudest in opposition have no answer to the problem; The simple truth is that so called progressive thinking has allowed about one million undocumented "immigrants" to be living a life in this country beyond the reach of the law encouraging criminal activity and a black market for employment. This cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely if we are not to become a nation where "show me your papers" are the opening words when in conversation with police. Unfortunately some foolish Tory MPs are making their last stand on compulsory vaccination "passports" with that same phrase. It is intended that the Supreme Court will be the final arbiter on legal matters and parliament will be responsible for creating law. Considering that Boris Johnson was infuriated during Brexit debate when the Supreme Court threw out his intention to prorogue parliament it will be amusing if not downright worrying about its continued efficacy if prime ministerial push comes to prime ministerial shove but then the initials BJ are not indelibly engraved forever on the door of number 10.
As so often is the case those railing against the proposals are at risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. When the proposed bill is published it will be up to parliament to fine detail it. Errors on the scale of the Windrush scandal must not be tolerated. Scrutiny must be the watchword; not complacency, not party loyalty. The so called progressives must open their eyes to the current realities and offer positive opinions of what should be incorporated in the bill and what would indeed be an affront to justice and humanity. I sincerely hope those in and outside Westminster have the required perspicacity and wisdom.
Alterations in the legal process have been part and parcel of English law for centuries. In our own time the internet has been responsible for mind boggling changes in our courts unpredictable a generation ago. The law and the justice system accommodates when and if appropriate. An extract from Wikipedia on habeas corpus is an example.
"The Act is often wrongly described as the origin of the writ of habeas corpus. But the writ of habeas corpus had existed in various forms in England for at least five centuries before and is thought to have originated in the 12th Century Assize of Clarendon. It was guaranteed, but not created, by Magna Carta in 1215, whose article 39 reads: "No freeman shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor will we send upon him except upon the lawful judgement of his peers or the law of the land." The Act of 1679 followed an earlier Habeas Corpus Act of 1640, which established that the command of the King or the Privy Council was no answer to a petition of habeas corpus. Further Habeas Corpus Acts were passed by the British Parliament in 1803, 1804, 1816, and 1862, but it is the Act of 1679 which is remembered as one of the most important statutes in English constitutional history. Though amended, it remains on the statute book to this day."
It was followed 10 years later by the Bill of Rights which became the basis for the parliamentary democracy which exists today.
" the Bill of Rights is further accompanied by Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus Act 1679 and the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949 as some of the basic documents of the uncodified British constitution. A separate but similar document, the Claim of Right Act 1689, applies in Scotland. The Bill of Rights 1689 was one of the models for the United States Bill of Rights of 1789, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the European Convention on Human Rights of 1950.
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