The UK Government is set to introduce new legislation allowing it to ignore certain decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
A new British bill of rights is being put before Parliament on Wednesday 22 June, with the aim of abolishing the Human Rights Act (HRA) and reducing the influence of the ECHR in the UK.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab said the new law would assert the Supreme Court in London as the ultimate arbiter on human rights issues in the UK.
The new bill comes in response to a judge in Strasbourg blocking the UK Government’s controversial planned deportation flights for asylum seekers to Rwanda.
The first removal flight to Rwanda was given the go-ahead to depart earlier this month by British courts, but the ECHR intervened at the last minute with an interim judgement to prevent its departure.
The new Bill would mean that interim measures from the court issued under “rule 39” are not binding on UK courts.
The Government says is attempting to deter immigrants from making illegal crossings of the English Channel, but its Rwanda plan has faced huge opposition since it was announced.
Campaigners and lawyers have expressed concerns that the new British bill of rights will not have the same protections as the HRA and that it will see individuals’ rights eroded.
Critics have also said that under current laws, UK courts are not obliged to follow decisions by the ECHR, so the changes will have more meaningful, negative impacts.
Sacha Deshmukh, Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, said the bill would be “a giant leap backwards for the rights of ordinary people”.
Raab, however, has stated that “these reforms will reinforce freedom of speech, enable us to deport more foreign offenders and better protect the public from dangerous criminals.”