Are civil liberties protected sufficiently in the UK? Essay

1079 WordsOct 27, 20145 Pages
Are civil liberties protected sufficiently in the UK? Civil liberties are basic rights and freedoms granted to citizens of a country through national common or statute law. They include freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom from arbitrary arrest, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and freedom of religious worship. Such rights and freedoms form the basis of a democratic society and are often denied to those living in a dictatorship. Civil liberties are distinct from human rights in that the latter are universal rights and freedoms to which all people throughout the world are deemed to be entitled however, the two often converge. The UK judiciary has several methods that provide an effective protection of civil liberties…show more content…
AP 2010 an appeal allowing the government to detain AP on a control order was taken to the Supreme Court to review its lawfulness. The Supreme Court ruled that in fact, based on the 2008 JJ case as a precedent, the appeal court's ruling in fact constituted a breach of article 5, and that the article 5 interests also contributed to breaches under article 8 of the act. The resulting ruling was that the government control order was 'ultra vires' and had to be rescinded. The judiciary's ability to reverse executive action by ruling it beyond its powers provides a very effective protection of liberties in the UK. Other examples of ministers being ruled ultra vires and ordered to reverse actions following judicial review include the freezing of terrorist assets with parliamentary approval in 2005, and more recently the reversal of Theresa May's immigration points system which again had not consulted Parliament. Finally, if both the above methods fail then the individual can take their appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Rulings from Europe are effectively binding on government and often defend the individual. Examples include the Hurst case in 2004 where voting bans for prisoners were ruled in breach of the ECHR, and more recently in 2012 with the blocking of Home Office attempts to deport terror suspect Abu Qatada to Jordan. Both of these cases have proved effectively binding on Parliament and while the prisoner’s votes issue is still ongoing, Qatada has

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